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Horrible handling

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As said in a previous thread my Esprit is downright dangerous to drive, any bump or imperfection in the road the car will dart off left or right. It's recently had an MOT, nevertheless i've checked all the bushings etc and all looks good, in addition i've measured and calibrated the chassis so that's all good but it still does it.

I noticed in the service history that it had one? front coil replaced so i'm thinking this could be the criminal. Fortunately i have a good relationship with GAZ suspension and they have agreed to make me some mono-tube coilovers, this is good and bad, the good is that they are free, the bad is that i wanted to keep everything original..

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Which model of Esprit?

Have the geometry checked and set to factory standard.

And don't consider the Gaz stuff despite the tempting price tag.

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Hey Tony - you got any room on your ramp tomorrow - I have to come to you for part 2 of my geo setup! Also, would love to chat with you about yours and maybe drive it a few hundred yards - it's exactly the same model as mine, and mine was awful until recent work. Whaddya say?

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I agree with Graham the 1st thing I would do is get the geometry checked on a computer/laser based system like the Hunter Hawkeye system for example, by someone who knows Lotus Esprit as the adjustments can require some previous knowledge of the cars to get right.

Had both the S4S and Excel checked and both were out and needed correcting to Factory specification. Before correction the S4S would wander left and the Excel would follow any imperfection in the road so the steering was all over the place. Both cars are now top notch and handle how they should. Might also be worth checking your tyres for uneven wear as this can have an effect.

If this fails then further investigation will be needed.

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Geometry is my field so i know the chassis is ok, GAZ are making the suspension for free as a kind of "thank you", so no complaints there. Tyres are wearing fine.

I'm not sure of the model, but it's this

post-9661-127437013806.jpg

Sorry Sparky i'm booked until Monday.

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What are the specs you set the car at?

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Mine was the same, and has the same chassis & suspension set-up, although brands of components may be different.

Mine was found to be dampers & springs, springs too soft, dampers giving insufficient damping.

Could be that.

If I put my full weight (16st 6lb-ish) on one rear corner of the car it will move no more than 1/2 inch. Front is similar. I'd suggest you check how much yours moves under load, excessive could indicate the problem, or rule out another option.

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The handling may be poor as someone in the past has fitted rubbish springs and dampers which weren't designed for the car but merely fit in the gap. Don't fall for the same mistake yourself, oh, wait...

At a serious danger of boring myself, Gaz are making you something that fits the gap. Lotus designed springs/dampers would be made to fit your car by the world's greatest ride and handling engineers. If you're serious about owning a supercar, fit the parts it's deserves especially in such important areas.

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Thanks for the replies everyone...

@ GKB. I set the chassis to stock positions.

@ Bibs. I have every faith in GAZ, the dampers will be single point bump/ rebound adjustable and coils suited for the cars weight, i'm not going to lower the car below the stock height.

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Thanks for the replies everyone...

@ GKB. I set the chassis to stock positions.

@ Bibs. I have every faith in GAZ, the dampers will be single point bump/ rebound adjustable and coils suited for the cars weight, i'm not going to lower the car below the stock height.

With due respect Tony, "Coils suited for the cars weight" is light on substance, weight is only one of numerous factors influencing spring rate.

One thing 99.9% of us need to acknowledge is that the team that designed the suspension on the Esprit, know more about it than we do, instead of guessing find out what the spring rate should be, the diameter of the wire, the uncompressed length, is the wire tapered?

Do the shocks have adjustable spring seats, if not you can't adjust ride hight, do you know the distance from the eye to spring seat.

Advice on this forum is offered in good spirit, whether or not you take it to hart or not is your call, but I see dollars and disappointment in your posts, you need intimate detail knowledge to go down anything but the "stock" path.

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All,

I think it fair that I should point out that Tony is being a little modest in his posts, not misleading but not shouting about his abilities. He is somewhat of an expert in geometry and has immediate access to Hunter Hawkeye alignment equipment so there is no doubting the accuracy of settings. I think he is really asking if there is anything specific about the Esprit that he may have missed that perhaps is common on these cars that others have found.

A very helpfull chap who has set up three cars for me including my Esprit, and all were a vast improvement after they came out the workshop and I wouldn't hesitate to recomend his services.

Trevor.

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I completely echo what Trev has just said.. he set up my Marcos Mantis for me and I could immediately notice the difference. There are only 34 of my type of car so the settings could not be read out of a book/manual. He is a true expert in this field.

Tony, as Sparky will tell you, your front bushes may need a serious looking at, despite one 'expert' having said that they never wear.

On removal, Sparky's bushes were looking very tired and worn. It can be a complete pig of a job and the wear is not immediately and fully apparent until they are removed for examination. Their replacement has put a huge grin on his face and he now waxes lyrical about his handling having suffered the same symptoms as you describe.

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Again thanks for your replies.

GAZ already make coilovers for the Esprit but as a "thank you" to me they are giving me a set of mono tube. I don't make suspension so how they determine rates and valving is not my area. The current suspensions 19yld so since the GAZ are free i have nothing to lose.

In the event she still handles poor after the coil install, I'll change the bushings regardless.

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make sure your steering rack mounting bolts are tight...mine had worked loose after some time driving on a blown shock

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Really...... I wasn't looking for that but if they are loose it would explain things. To be honest this handling is really disappointing, i literally have to hold the wheel with both hands or it's off into the bush time. It's not a pull it's a bolt to one side or another depending on the road variation.

I will check the rack bolts, thanks for the heads up on that, and I'll change to the new GAZ suspension and blog that here it I'm allowed? then as said I'll change the bushings despite the fact they passed the MOT and look fine.

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My Esprit was doing this quite badly until I changed the upper ball joints. One was seized and the other was rattling around in its housing, so might be worth checking these as well.

I still can't drive mine on the tram lines left by trucks in the inside lane of most motorways, but before I changed the upper ball joints it was like going a couple rounds with Mike Tyson but without the facial bruising.

Also it might be worth having a drive of someone else's Esprit to see how it handles and compare it.

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As said she has a new MOT, i have checked the bushings/ joints and Geo and all appears good, i'm going to change to GAZ coilovers but maintain the OEM ride height so the roll centres are spot on and go from there really...... As we know the older car had some oddities regarding the chassis positions and the Esprit expresses some of them but this what i would describe as "bump steer" is so aggressive. I've checked the suspension and suspension pick up points and the radii's are unremarkable.

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I agree with earlier comments that the steering rack could be a possible cause. My brother had a minor accident damaged and repaired Excel which seemed fine apart from terrible bump steer. He tried most things to fix it but nothing did, eventually before selling it he replaced the rack and the problem went away.

I am not saying this is your issue but there is huge potential in this area for problems.

Good luck.

cheers

-Chris

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When you are checking geometry are you going by Lotus figures quoted in the manual, or the settings specified by the geometry machine manufacturer? We a certain firm did mine we found the settings from the machine manufacturer were woefully out (rear toe out instead of in etc)

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Sorry for the long delay answering your post......

The datum overlap is against the OEM data, in the event this is wrong i would know that since the calibration is my industry... All looks good, so at the moment i'm going to change the suspension once GAZ suspension gets off the pot and then it will be the bushings, although they appear fine?

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So did mine mate. Changed all fronts recently and it's a different car. My top ones, although very small, made a world of difference.

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ARB bushes, I cannot emphasise enough the difference these make as they add to the torsional stiffnes. Critical, Critical, Critical.

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