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Floppy nose section


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On our Esprits, the heavy front bumper/nose section is not structurally supported.

Bumper, headlamps and radiators/coolers filled with several gallons of liquids cantilever forward, beyond the chassis forward support bracket.

This, often results in fiberglass cracks propagating along bottom of the windscreen or around front bonnet opening and front boot floor.

The whole nose section is supported only by the fiberglass fenders and wheel wells, nothing else.
Many weeks ago, I've conducted an experiment.
I gauged up the RH front corner and jacked it up very slowly until the chassis moved.The corner flex is ~10mm! Static deflection!
Yikes! Looks like our cars are equipped with (horizontal) deely bobbers, LOL.


Picture shows the weak spot inside the front boot where fiberglass flex creates a hinge point. Paint cracks indicate flex point location.

To support front corners properly, a structural steel brace should be added. It spans from the front lower control arm attachment of the chassis bracket to the stud holding the radiator shroud to the body. Objective is to support the "flopping" nose section, eliminate the “hinge point” and improve the front bumper section stiffness.

Another manifestation of the problem are cracks around the bonnet latches, which are not designed nor strong enough to stabilize the forward protruding heavy nose section.

More details on page 20 and 21 of this thread http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f164/x180-improvements-246153/index21.html

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Edited by MrDangerUS
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Heavy front bumper/nose section is not adequately supported. This pertains to all Esprits!

Bumper, headlamps and radiators/coolers filled with several gallons of liquids cantilever forward, far beyond the chassis forward support bracket.

This, causes a fiberglass cracks propagating along bottom of the windscreen or around front bonnet opening and front boot floor.

The  nose section is supported only by the thickness of fiberglass fenders and wheel wells, nothing else.

To read more about it, see: 

 

Edited by MrDangerUS
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Well my car is 16 years old and shows no signs of what you are saying. I have never heard anything about this from any other owner.

If it is just your car showing a fault, that is a rather small sample isn't it?

All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them, some just stink more than others.

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  • Gold FFM

No problems on my 2 SEs either. There are stays from the chassis to the nose section as standard, looks like those are sufficient.

I have made many mistakes in my life. Buying a multiple Lotus is not one of them.

 

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  • Gold FFM

Among hundreds, I've seen this twice.  Both G cars, both years after frontal crash repairs.  Otherwise I've seen no evidence of such an issue.

British Fart to Florida, Nude to New York, Dunce to Denmark, Numpty to Newfoundland.  And Shitfaced Silly Sod to Sweden.

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On 5/23/2017 at 00:44, Vulcan Grey said:

No cracks on my 89SE, and my Esprit has the thinnest fiberglass I have measured... along with the X180-R...  Much thinner than the 89, or S4, or S4s,,,

 

Wait...you actually MEASURE the glassfibre thickness of yours and other's Esprits? :o

 

Not by drilling a hole (when nobody's looking) I hope! :lol:

Atwell Haines

'88 Esprit

Succasunna, NJ USA

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I've seen two cars, SE and S4 that have cracked open between the inner and outer shells of the rear wheel arches. Possibly initiated by the rear bobbins busting out of their chassis bolts in the first place. That area seems to have the highest torsional stresses on the car and only relies on those two bobbins and then the bulkhead bolts to lock it all together.

DanR

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The GRP thickness (and type of reinforcement cloth) will vary depending on the strength required in a given area, hence you cannot measure it at one point and assume ithat the rest of the structure is identical. There will have been a laminate schedule in Esprit production, and theoretically all the cars of a type should be the same, until or unless a change is made to that schedule. If the bodies are VARI mounded, there should be less variation between them, but they're still a hand-built product, and rely on the skill and accuracy of the laminator to place the reinforcements in the correct area of the mould. They might have been pre-cut, but if the laminator had to cut them himself, it introduces more variables.

  • Like 2

Margate Exotics.

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  • 1 year later...

@MrDangerUS, how many other Esprits have you seen this problem on? From comments above, you may be the only person?

If this was an issue pertaining to all Esprits, this would have come up before now.

All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them, some just stink more than others.

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21 hours ago, ramjet said:

@MrDangerUS, how many other Esprits have you seen this problem on? From comments above, you may be the only person?

If this was an issue pertaining to all Esprits, this would have come up before now.

Well, most of the people having a heart attack never had one come up before... LOL

So far 2 more cars (pre 93), in addition to mine.

Lets not forget that on older cars, body forming process was a "hit and miss" ; fiberglass was not a prepreg+pressed, just  layed by hand and resin was introduced by the vacuum (in the hard molds!), which creates notorious resin rich areas. Bottom line: it was vacuum fill and not high tonneage press "squeeze" process, like on Chevrolet Corvette.

IMNSHO, it is more important to me to demonstrate how to remedy the FUBAR, even if I can help only a handful of Lotus Brothers.

Later cars had a better chassis structure and body manufacturing was greatly improved, however the front clip bracing was not completely resolved..

Edited by MrDangerUS
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On 25/05/2017 at 20:39, DanR said:

I've seen two cars, SE and S4 that have cracked open between the inner and outer shells of the rear wheel arches. Possibly initiated by the rear bobbins busting out of their chassis bolts in the first place. That area seems to have the highest torsional stresses on the car and only relies on those two bobbins and then the bulkhead bolts to lock it all together.

Anyone, except me and Loren had a thought about reinforcing the open hat section brace under the rear floor? 

Ultimately an additional tubular side wall brace spanning fore-aft may be feasible ( "boxing" the side sections) = just food for thought for the brave souls.

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Edited by MrDangerUS
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@ MrDangerUS

That's very pity for you.........

BTW...my 1990 LH Esprit Turbo SE / 32.500 mls; I am the  2nd owner since 1993.........has no problem in that area...

Regards, Ruud

Edited by rudolphwolven
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You might be onto something, you may not. I keep seeing you add weight to a car that was created to be as light as it could be, by some very clever people.

If you keep 'fixing' things that you believe may be an issue, you may as well sell your car and buy a big truck. FORD make a few.

I don't know the production numbers of Esprits pre '93, but if you have seen three with this issue, I would think we are talking a VERY small percentage of the number of cars made.

A statement such as:

On 23/05/2017 at 12:59, MrDangerUS said:

This pertains to all Esprits!

is not really helpful to other people who may be new to Esprit ownership.

I'll let someone else that may have the production figures for pre '93 work out the percentage.

All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them, some just stink more than others.

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I've merged your two topics John. You are posting in the Stevens section then posting on the same topic in the Guigiaro section. Since you own an '88 and a '95 model, I have merged it all into the Stevens area.

All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them, some just stink more than others.

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I don't think reinforcing the connecting bracket will resolve the problem. The rear cradle is what twists. There are only four points, the two rear bobbins and then the brackets bolted to the bulkhead, that resist the torsional twisting forces of the springs and shocks. Think of a shoe box and how much stiffer it becomes with the lid on. The 300 Sport has a massive bracket linking the rear bobbins to the front of the cradle near the bulkhead. The 300 Sport had a lighter, hand laid body, not as thick or strong as the varimold bodies, so Lotus had to restore the strength somehow. 

What I did several years ago was two things. Firstly I eliminated the bobbins and made alloy plates. The bobbins work in tension and there's not much surface area so eventually they bust out. With upper and lower plates about 50mm square and 6mm thick and several years of use,  I've had no more problems. 

The second thing I did was making additional brackets halfway between the bobbins and the bulkhead. I used square tubing about 400mm long bolted into the inverted "u" channels on each side of the inner body molds. You can feel those channels by running your fingers under the air cleaner and corresponding side next to the exhaust manifold. From the mid-point of the square tubing I welded triangulated brackets that bolt to the engine mount plates on the chassis. That part of the body mold is very strong, being a box to hold the petrol tanks and inner guards.

I well remember my delight the first time I drove my car over a rough road how much stiffer it was with the new brackets. A bit of effort but worth it. Only weigh a kilo or two, well hidden and can't be seen without a very close look.

  • Like 1

DanR

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