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What is going on with my suspension

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Recently bought an SE esprit.

The was bought with a few known issues and priced accordingly.

The rear shocks were bad (completely rusted though)

The springs unloaded lengths were also different on the back so I fitted new protech shocks and springs to the rear to match the low mileage new looking protech shocks and springs on the front.

I set all the platforms to a matching height front and rear but the car drooped about 20mm to the drivers side?

As I bought the car the front right hand spring platform was set 15mm higher than the Left.

Doing this again gave an even ride height 170mm as per manual. The car still does not handle well.

So next i built a corner weight set based on bathroom scales(absolute accuracy not that good but relative and repeatable results.

Weights with the 15mm higher platform on the front right

Front LH 318kg front RH 300

Rear LH 340.5 Rear RH 393 !!!!!

Total weight 1351.5kg

the car was empty with spare wheel and some petrol.

The swinging arm assembly did seem very stiff when i changed the springs and shockers.

Do the standard lotus bushes slip on the steel centre or are they bonded?

Are bushes my problem? I would have thought they would have torn if they were providing a 52.5kg spring assistance?

Another thought i had was a bent anti roll bar but as i say no sign of accident damage.

I have checked the chassis and it seems to be straight with no signs of accident damage.

the wheel camber caster and tracking are within workshop manual specification.

The protech shocks look nicely made and seemed very good value, mistake?

I wonder if the front right hand spring is a different strength to the left.

When adjusting adjustable dampers do you set the same value on front and rear? or more where you have a heaver load?

Thank you for help in advance.

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+1 for Trevor's comment. It is supposed to be set with a certain weight in both passenger's and driver's seats.

Next the questions answered. The bushes steel sleeves are bonded, so do not slip. The pinch bolts for these should be secured with the car at ride height, so if that's awkward, measure the ride height and distance of the wheel centre from the body, jack the car up on the hub carrier until the hub centre is at the right distance from the body (calculate based on distances measured earlier).

Have you checked wheels for individual alignment, in other words is the rear toe correct overall but offset to one side?

Which car is it and year? The suspension changed considerably through the years, S1 & S2 the same, S3 different to those and had two different systems in its life.

I'm far from a fan of Protech shocks, there are others on here who agree and others who have no issues with them. I've had them wear out very quickly giving virtually no resistance to fluid movement. I assume you've tried the bump test (press down on a corner of the car, see how many oscillations before the car stops moving), I've got the new Lotus Bilstein/Eibach set-up on, it's pretty much press down, and car moves back to height. The Protechs I had would have bounced several times before settling and they were like that as soon as they were on for 6 months. Check the dampers.

Springs? Are they the right rate? I've had some supplied with Protech dampers (Protech do not do springs) that were way too soft.


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The car is a 1989 chargecooler turbo SE,

So if the previous owner tightened the bonded bushes unevenly that could account for the odd load figures.

I did try to loosen them and set them under load but they are probably seized in the wrong position.

The protech shock on the front came with the car and seem fine they are adjustable and pass the bounce test. the shocks on the back are new the rear springs are standard but new.

The protechs were cheap and matched the front.

Plan is get the car running and driving properly and decide if its a keeper (so far I think it is great) since I sorted the idle issue out it accelerates very nicely (I believe the 260-280 BHP) for once.

The shocks move ok so should not change the corner weights. I suspect the front springs may be crap though.

I have checked the wheel alignment as per the workshop manual and with dunlop tracking gauge (the calliper type) and got the same values

The front tracking was completely wrong and the rack was not centralised.

This is my plan of action: What do you think?:

set all platforms level.

loosen bushes if possible, correctly tighten under load.

check ride height and corner weights.

attempt to set corner weights with 80kg driver load.

Does anyone know if the right hand rear of the car is heavier than the left (without a driver)?

If this does not sort the car

Replace springs and dampers with new standard lotus approved ones.

Replace all bushes. I was going to fit poly bushes but if these are not bonded as the originals then won't they completely change the handling of the car? probably mean i would need stronger springs and dampers?

The car is right hand drive so the corner weights look very wrong.

So should I go with the new lotus bushes or does it not make a difference on a road car?

Thanks for your comments

Edited by lotusesprit1
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If anything, the left should be heavier as the engine is all on that side of the car, head/manifold/turbo etc. The only thing of any weight on the right is the battery - other than that you've got the induction system and water header tanks so not nearly enough to account for such a discrepancy.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I do hope you won't be offended by what I'm about to type, but I've had to slap one of my friends around after wasting an hour trying to check the corner weights on his 911 only to find out that it hadn't occurred to him to disconnect the ARB before trying to make a measurement....D'oh!


Sorry to state the blooming obvious, but it's essential that the car is on an absolutely level surface before trying to make a measurement.


Finally the OP's profile omits (or am I blind?)  to mention his location, but if it's anywhere near Hampshire you'd be welcome to make use of my flat pad and corner weight gauge - and use my car as a reference.

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  • 3 months later...

Found this out a while back but thought I would post as someone else may have the problem


The problem was the way the front coil assemblies overs had been assembled and the spring pads were completely different in both thickness and softness. now with left to right platforms set the same height the chassis is parallel to the test ramp table within 3mm.


Which considering I still have a few very old but serviceable bushes on the car very good.


The can handles so much better .

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