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New Lotus Dampers...

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K, they have to be done asap on the GT3, the driver side is now bouncing around like a kangaroo, it's just not going to pass the MOT.

Plan to order on 25th so I've just looked at this propperly...


Quick question, from this do I assume all the 4 cylinder cars have the same damper (same part #)

and the S4 / S4s / GT3 springs are the same ?

I thought the cars were done seperatly and were individually setup ?

Does anyone know what the 5445* means on the front spring set for the S4/S4s/GT3 ?

Was deciding whether to use the S4s or the GT3 settings as mine has wider tyres but they look like the same setup from whats shown here.

I thought GT3's would have their own setup considering their weight (esp those fitted without air con).

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This is my understanding of the damper/spring exercise calibration for the GT3.

Lotus did test all cars including (SE, S4 GT3, S4s). The test drivers evaluated all the cars individually. For example, Patrick's GT3 had 17/18 in wheels, they set his car back to stock with 17in wheels and then redid the whole exercise with his V8 wheels.

When it was all done they discovered that all the setups of the S4/S4s and GT3 were within the tolerance of one common calibration. This has allowed them to saves a bit on costs.

Don't know what 5445* means. Correct ride height very critical for the Lotus geometry. I think the tolerance is only 5 mm. They are not so keen on 18in wheels on the S4 or GT3 from a pure handling perspective.


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Thanks Dermot, that was my guess one size fits all but wasn't sure.

I know they did Patricks car without the V8 wheels, I didn't know they put them back on and re-tested it.

With the V8 wheels, the rears are 18" but the fronts are still 17" - at lest you have the option to drop the car slightly so that should help.

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I asked that a few weeks back, but I'm going to do it myself and get get Sinclaires to sort out the geo.

Getting to the point where I'd like the car set up and checked over but apart from restoring it to factory settings or doing my own mods I've not found anyone to do it.

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My SE is at Strattons right now getting the springs, dampers and polybush kit fitted. Taking no chances on this hence them doing it.

Also fwiw spoke to several pople at lotus motorsport re altering shocks/setup to suit bigger rims as i am soon to have the S4s rims fitted they all concur that SE should have SE kit as the chasis was 'stiffened' after the SE. They also aren't keen on the bigger rims - however there are enough people on this forum/LEW who have done this and i have also spoke to them for their feedback.

I have to be honest this isn't something i'd even consider fitting myself and would recommend the best you can afford to fit this. If you call them/email any dealer they should give you a price for the 'job' including all alignments and geometry. I think the number for Lotus Motorsport was found via some chap i got from Kimbers.

Also when i asked Strattons to consider this job - they went to Lotus Motorsport to check their own facts first from the factory before getting back to me. This concurred with my own research/decision, their own feelings and indeed the factory 'philosophy' so i am pretty certain i am doing the best for my Esprit!!!

Oh and ClubLEW members get discount on parts!!!!

Will be updating LEW owners page soon.....


2009 World Singstar Champion

No I don't like the Europa, Evora or Exos.

"Like a cockmonkey with 3 cocks."


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Glad to see you are doing this after all the hassle you had with the previous parts.

Please keep up to date with pics and all, would love to see how a GT3 reacts to the new kit.

In the garage no-one can hear you scream 

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5445 IIRC, is some sort of adapter kit/or plate that you need for the front springs. Its something like if you keep your old springs they will work with the new dampers but the new springs are slightly different shape and need an adapter kit fit to the new damper.

The price was about

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Well I'll be doing it myself, the rears take about 30mins each to change, the fronts are a little harder becuase of the double wishbone but I need to take it all to pieces anyways to do some fancy restoration work, change the bolts and fit the poly bushes. After thats done I'll get the geo sorted.

I was thinking of going for the S4s setup but tbh I think I'll end up taking it on a few track days to fine tune it - I can always make my own platforms as well.

Mark - it was always the plan to sort the GT3 with Lotus suspension, it's just that I didn't have time on my side, the rears were totally shot and the MOT was looming - I'm 50/50 with the car atm but the front driver side damper is so bouncy it's little wonder the car steers straight at all !

With 4 new dampers and springs I'm hoping the car will improve hand over fist (after owning the Elise for a year and a bit the Esprit is like a boat) so I'm looking forward to it - full battle report will be accessable when it's done, the thing I'm most concerned about is scratching the paint on my springs when compressing them !!! :huh:

Thanks for the reminder, we get parts discount from Strattons dont we....wonder if I can order them from SW Lotus too ?

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Sorry to come in here a bit late but I just got around to this part and thought I could pass along my experience.

I have an 89 Esprit Turbo that I started to use in auto-X, at first, and later for track day events.

The first thing I noticed was that the car understeered terribly with the OEM shocks and springs and was totaly unpredictable when looking for the limits of adhesion. The rear would give out abruptly without much of a warning when pushed hard.

There was no way to correct this problem since the OEM units, (even ones from a later S4), did not have any height adjustment capability.

After a bit of hunting and comparative shopping I went with a set of Gazmatic dampers and coils from PUK in Germany.

Along with the dampers and coils I replaced all the front bushings with urethane units from SJ Sports cars and a set of tapered bushings at the rear upper and lower control arms. The tapered bushings are only available localy to my knowledge.

The final result is a car that behaves in a totally predictable fashion, has virtually no understeer unless I choose to set it so, and has been lowered approximately 1 1/2".

I had to go to a U.S. supplier for a different set of coils for the front than what came from PUK in order to obtain the proper ride height range.

I have been running the car now for the past year and a half and am exceptionally pleased with the resaults. At the time I did not go with the hardest rated springs but the next level from. The ride is a bit harsh for the street but not unliveable. Very similar to that of an Elise or Exige. I do feel every bump, crack, pebble, and irregularity in the road but at the same time the car is not skitish on rough surfaces.

If you are looking for better handling and control, a set of fully adjustable dampers is the way to go. Even if only for street use.

Al B.

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I do understand that, suspension can be very individual, see F1 - I'll have adjustables on the GT2 when, in the next 30 years, it gets finished !

The rear would give out abruptly without much of a warning when pushed hard.

Sounds like an Esprit :huh: but not much different to any high powered rwd car ? My 120hp Elise could switch ends easily if you did that too.

But you dont sort under/over steer out with height adjustment...its the damping / spring rate that is generally altered to correct depedning when the error occurs. Thats the only real benefit of adjustables is the damping rate....yes you can lower them to reduce centre of gravity but the moment you do you need to increase the damping to prevent bottoming out on severe bumps.

All cars must/should understeer for safety reasons or you'd have spin outs all over the place.

But the reason I opted for the Lotus dampers is mainly becuase its a road car only. They went to town re-designing them, and tbh I feel a bit of a loyalty urge to try them out considering the effort they went to on a discontinued product - but more than anything I wanted to experience the car as Lotus had intended it to be.

Lotus make road cars so if you're tracking YES adjustable has to be the way to go if you want control of the settings to suit your style, but for road....Lotus are renowned for their expertes in chassis and suspension so I'd like to give that a crack before trying to better the car myself :)

The other thing is I want a bolt on kit, the last set of adjustables I bought didn't fit by a mile and were not tested even though they were for the Esprit they were dangerous and layed my car up for ages.

When the GT2 gets fitted I will probably use PUK's adjustable and try an base it on the road car as much as possible before tuning, I'd love to get into ride and handling but to do that even on a track car for personal use is time consuming and expensive (all them different spring rates) if you do it propperly.

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I have to disagree with you regarding the understeer comment. Raising the rear or lowering the front will in fact effect understeer. I am sorry that I cannot offer a more technical proof. It's there I just do not have it to post. The first thing I did was adjust the ride height and it did drammatically effect the understeer situation. I set the ride to it's original level first to do a comparison.

As far as the rear snapping out, yes you can achieve that result on almost any car. The difference is the communication between you and the car.

It's one thing when you are pushing hard in a turn and you can feel the rear starting to loose it's hold, it's entirely different when under the same condition the car does not communicate, by feel, that the rear is starting to loose it's grip.

As it was explained to me, the Lotus suspension is such that it does not flex enough in a given direction to translate what is happening to the driver.

The rear will, in effect build up like a spring as more tension is placed on the system untill it reaches it's limit. Then instead of gradually releasing the load, (loosing the suspension grip, not tire), the system unloads rapidly and the rear snaps out. Sorry, I know that is a poor description of events and if I were a suspension engineer I could give it to you in more precise terms.

But that is what is happening. The change out to the tapered rear bushings allows the rear suspension to flex rather than tighten up in hard cornering. The way my car is set up now, the rear will start to step out in hard cornering compared to before where it would just break loose.

As far as Lotus being expert chasis and suspension designers, absolutely I agree. But that does not mean that your car is set up for optimum handling off the show room floor. What you get there is a compromise between handling and comfort level. The average street driver will seldom if ever push their car hard enough to reach the limits of the cars suspension setting under normal conditions. I was perfectly happy with my car's handling on the street. It was not untill I put it on an Auto-X circuit that I realized the difference. It was substantial.

That was why I stated that if you plan on doing anything other than street driving a rethink of suspension componenets would be worthwhile.

Some of the modifications I made I would not necessarily recomend for street use, some I would. The change to rear suspension bushings does make the car safer in an emergency situation. I know of a few people in our local club who can attest to the effects if need be.

Again, it's a matter of what you wish to achieve and uch time you want to spend.


Al B.

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Raising the rear or lowering the front will in fact effect understeer.

Ah, you didn't say that :o

You said the car had been lowered by 1.5" :D

If you bias the ride height you change the roll centres of the front in ralation to the back. This affect a lot of the dynamics regarding weight shift and body roll, but it really affect braking and acceleration which is why it's more common + easier to change the damping settings instead plus having a mid engined car you'd ideally want to keep a fairly even ride height.

You also increase camber on the wheels with the lowering of the axle which helps cornering grip. The way you posted it made out that lowering all over cured your issues...

At the end of the day it's achedemic - if it works for your driving style then great !


The thing is unless you're seriously tracking then a standard suspension setup by a company like Lotus is going to be very good. The difference being the Esprit isn't a track car, it's much more of a GT in my opinion. The thing is you can't really push a car like this on the road safely anywhere near what you can on a track.

Which is the main reason why I have the other one to play about with, the hardest thing I have encountered with the turbo Esprits is throttle control, with an NA car you can back it off and re-feed it with ease but the Esprit's turbo is so agressive it does lead to a lot of cornering:accelerating issues.

It'll be very interesting to see how the 2 compare when they're done on and off the track.

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