free hit
counters
PNM V8 AVO SHOCKS - Suspension/Brakes/Wheels/Hubs/Steering/Geo - The Lotus Forums Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I need to replace the shocks and springs all round, I don't need or want to pay the price of a fully adjustable setup as I've no intention of tracking my car, so just for fast road use (no speeding obviously). 

I'm interested in the AVO's with Bilstein springs that PNM have listed at a reasonable price, has anyone used these? How do they compare with the standard Lotus setup? They also offer shorter lowering springs, some feedback on ride height, standard over lowered would be much appreciated. 

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Upgrade today to remove Google ads and support TLF.

I haven't changed my springs and dampers as yet, still mulling over the available options, so I'm also interested to see what people think.

But I wouldn't change the ride height from the factory spec. as there's a reason for Lotus setting it like that. Also, my front spoiler is already close to the ground, any lower and it'll be history.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Chillidoggy said:

But I wouldn't change the ride height from the factory spec. as there's a reason for Lotus setting it like that. Also, my front spoiler is already close to the ground, any lower and it'll be history.

I've not checked the ground clearance, and have I read somewhere that US spec cars are taller due to some minimum lighting height regulation? If so there may be slight differences in aftermarket spring lengths.

My car with original Lotus suspension could definitely lose a couple of cm at the rear, though the fronts look about right. Perhaps I have the Red Bull racing setup going on, don't suppose you have any side elevations of yours for comparison? 

FB_IMG_1462841690755.thumb.jpg.998974b67b94caeb1d1e58891cce9b02.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only one I could find is here, but it's not exactly on level ground. Also, I wonder what difference there is if there's 16 gallons of fuel in the tanks?

I don't take too much notice of the appearance, only the factory settings. From memory, the ride height is governed by measurements from the centre front and rear of the chassis, but it's in the service notes somewhere. I've got a couple of pillars I machined up to the correct height, so I used them stuck under the measuring points to get it right.

2017-07-24%2019_32_30_preview.jpeg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Go for the LOTAC setup from the TLF shop on here Steve. Seriously, Lotus designed as an upgrade to the original Esprit suspension and thoroughly tested. Quite a lot of money but it has to be the real deal. Plus you get discount as a FFM. Got it on mine and it is wonderful, haven't hit a signpost in years, even with my LSD...

  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I put the PNM Avo shocks and Bilstien springs on my Sport 350. Can't comment on the difference over standard as my existing shocks were gone, but I did a couple of track days, a couple of ring trips and plenty of road miles on them and found that they coped really well. 

From memory there is damping adjustment.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Chillidoggy your car sits perfectly and looks right, whereas mine is definitely too high at the rear, there were newish poly bushes fitted to mine before I purchased it, it's possibe the mechanics didn't follow the correct on the ground tightening procedures.

3 hours ago, Daniel said:

From memory there is damping adjustment.

Thanks Daniel, this type of feedback is what I was hoping for, and yes they have adjustable damping rates, but nothing else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, swindon_alan said:

Go for the LOTAC setup from the TLF shop on here Steve. Seriously, Lotus designed as an upgrade to the original Esprit suspension and thoroughly tested. Quite a lot of money but it has to be the real deal. Plus you get discount as a FFM. Got it on mine and it is wonderful, haven't hit a signpost in years, even with my LSD...

They may be seriously Lotus designed, but also seriously overpriced. As I said I've no intention of racing,  just the odd blast early on a Sunday morning of the type that makes you grin and chuckle to yourself once you've released the loud peddle. Then maybe off to a car show, the Esprit is a beautiful car, and I like as much attention to detail under the car as on top. LOTAC could have sold many more units if they didn't look so cheap and tacky, so even if I could afford them (which I cant), I wouldn't, because the only Esprit they would suit is a yellow one, 

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Strange reply really Steve. Lotus designed the Esprit suspension in the first place - and that is one of their fortes - then made it even better with the LOTAC upgrade. That was for normal road use, not for track days. Sure, buy something else that is half as well engineered and tested. Your call. That's like putting crappy EBC green brake pads in. If it's just the colour that puts you off then have a word with Mr Kearley, I'm sure he can get them powder coated Azure Blue for you...

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The standard lotus rides too high and looks strange, even odd with so much air between the top of the tyre and the wheel well......I lowered mine 25mm all round and it looks so much better and gives it a wider stance on the road.....my next setup will be the Nitron racing shocks.....the best out there....LOTAC are overpriced for what they are. I think the standard height is 160mm measured from the chassis to the road.

Edited by davevr6car
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, swindon_alan said:

 That's like putting crappy EBC green brake pads in. 

 I would never put those crappy EBC green brake pads in.........They would clash with my calipers. 

Of course if I had a green V8.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From what i can tell on the web ,  Avo do not have a great reputation for aftermarket help or customer help !   do some web searches on various car brand forums...............

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, swindon_alan said:

Yeah ok, whatever.

Perhaps you could have a root through your garage and find four old Kawasaki rear dampers. I'm sure that they will be fine. It's only a nigh on 180mph supercar after all and the manufacturer knows bugger all, these aftermarket boys really are so much better at it.

/ends

In fact I do have a set of Kawasaki dampers in the shed, I had to swap them out as the manufacturers (Kawasaki) knew bugger all, under hard cornering and braking the rear end would skip all over place, I had to use progressive sprung suspension and those aftermarket boys certainly were so much better at it. The thing was they were a shock absorber specialists whereas the manufacturer was a motorcycle manufacturer trying to save a few bob on build cost.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Slam a nice airbag ride system on there chap

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know where all the flak is coming from...

I certainly can understand Steve. If you're not planning to extract every last bit of performance from your Esprit, it's hard to justify the price for the Lotac or Nitron kit. After all, coming from old (standard) dampers, you're likely to get an improvement with any new damper. I've opted for Protech on my SE when the rears needed replacing. The fronts are still good, but will probably be replaced by adjustables at some point as well. I got Protech on my Excel as well, very happy with both sets. I did keep the original springs, as I'm convinced Lotus did a great job on suspension design on all cars.

I did look at AVO, but decided against them based on reviews and price.

Filip

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just had a look, and the setting height for the suspension for the S4 and S4s is 170mm under both the front chassis cross-member, and rear chassis hoop, but I don't have any info on the V8 so best check the service notes for your car, Steve.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few Words of my take on the matter.

I haven't had avo or protec, but I do know a friend who bought the Lotac bilstein/eibach set for his esprit, back when it was nearly half Price. Just because it's now quite expensive, it didn't actually perform better or worse.

I am well aware that Lotus have psooibly the best competence in the suspension and Wheel setup department of more or less the Whole car manufacturing World, but for me at least it also represents a few points that I personally don't need. I like having the Wheels on the ground, also when a bit bumpy. Right, it's not a rangerover, but still I think it's best to keep the Wheels on the asphalt all the time, for obvious reasons.

Next, I like a firm suspension. Not a soft one. In my view, the Esprit is a supercar, that being a better version of a sportscar. Having driven a few cars and fast cars from time to time, I can certainly say that I want firm suspension. And I personally find the current Lotac offering a bit soft, a bit too high, non-adjustable and too americanized (too much comfort), which to me is a compromise.

Then there is the hight matter. No matter how he tried with weight, following procedures, it was never going to be riding the height it was supposed to. the only other option was to lower the retaining ring that support the perch that support the spring, and that is only one step of 10mm. Upon driving it he said that it's the same as fresh original dampers and springs. not worse, not better. Just plain good working. and a tad soft. No less, no more. I agree.

Next is the adjustability. I'd like to have my next set adjustable for spring height and damping, possibly return, not needing both slow bump and fast bump damping and return damping.  The Nirtron kit and Öhlins are offering that.

Next is quality. I cannot say anything about the Nitron kit yet, others here may be able to do that, but a propper Öhlins kit is made very well. All internals are polished more, valved better and so on, compared to normal suspension. That means something for stiction. Less stiction, more control, less need for alternative suspension settings that will worsen the suspension functionality. On my Öhlin suspension (another vehicle), it Works so much better that any other I've tried. The firmness is actually a little bit on the hard side, but rock hard does not get propper grip, and soft comfort does weight shift too much, as well as tilting the car in Sharp corners etc. This is not the case with my set, as the production quality is so good, that they have so much less stiction, that they can afford to make it a bit harder, while still feeling soft and comfortable (well, a bit). It eats up uneven roadsurface and stays much more planted going fast and in corners, both sweepers and Sharp ones, that anything else I've tried.

Next is Price and quality. I personally want something that is rebuildable, and for example both Öhlins and Nitron are rebuildable. The use good qaulity materials and can both be changed to have other features, if need be. And they are light. I don't think that a really good set is coming cheap, as it have to be exposed to more hours of fine adjustment, fine polishing, valving etc. And that means more man hours.

Ridehight and low stance and what that does to the angle of suspension arms and roadholding , is another matter.

I have seen Öhlins suspension factory installed on Ducati's more expensive offerings inside in a Company who undertake rebuilding Öhlins, and they were not polished and treated the same way as Öhlins own stuff. Why? I was clearly shown all the internals on which they were cut Down in quality. Because Ducati cut costs Down on even their expensive models and demanded looks over function. So not all shiny bits are the same. I don't want to Shell out for something that looks good and pretend to be something that it ain't. I want the finetuned quality if possible. Ihaven't had a chance to compare say 'Ohind and Nitron in reald World experience in an Esprit, but I spoke to both factories, and they claim that what they do for the Esprit, is highly polished, surfacetreated, coated propperly inside (and outside) etc.

In my Humble view, it doesn't help to have a fast engine, if the suspension is not fast - it' won't be a fast car.

Soft suspension eats up my braking power and makes it less controllable. Rock hard make it jump and have less time with Wheels on the asphalt.

So to sum it up: would i but a non-adjustable, non-rebuildable standard suspension for a supercar like the Esprit? No. As it is presently, the Lotac kit does incorporate both roadholding and comfort in their offering and that is fine for some users. But I want the extra mile, and look for that. If Lotus did such a set which was adjustable and lighter and rebuildable (and they use both Öhlins and Nitron for their factory offerings now, I'd go for that. Sure thing. The present suspension offer for the Esprit from Lotac is not up to the task for what I want at this moment, as it represent too many compromises and want to do things I don't look for. The Lotac bushing programme is totally another matter, and I've got them all. Great stuff.

Kind regards,

jacques

ps: as far as I remember, the Sport350 was subjected to better slightly adjustable Bilstein dampers, thicker anti roll bar front from en Esprit Turbo SE 1989-1991 and lowered and a bit firmer. I may be wrong though. I seem to remember that the dampers on the Final edition V8's were having better Bilstein dampers, with fat piston rods and larger chambers, as they Work better. Not the thin Sticks on the current offering. but then Again at least most of the v8's were a tad softer than the 4-pots. At least softer than the SE.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My only experience of the Protect shocks was putting them on an S3T. I thought they were pretty poor quality, a bad fit and didn't damp well. From observation I've see Lotus suspension fitted and it's always resulted in a carvthat rides very high and owners have had to remove spring seats to get it down a bit so they're not a simple satisfying fit. I've had Nitron's on my Sport 350 and these were excellent in their damping and would be my choice if I was doing it again although even Nitron recommend you don't get too excited with the pressure washer around them and give them a mist of WD40 every now and then.

 

Trevor.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Escape said:

I've opted for Protech on my SE when the rears needed replacing.

Thanks Filip, How funny it is that a German forum member has pointed me to a small British shock absorber manufacturer that I had heard of, but had not remembered whilst searching for options. And better still looking on their website, not only see 5* reviews for product and service but note the factory and head office less than 20 miles away.

These shocks offer preload, rebound and height adjustment, lightweight aluminium bodies, and large diameter rods, at a similar price to the AVO's. Well worth a trip down the road for further investigation me thinks. 

Oh....they look nice too!

@Trevsked your thoughts noted, thanks.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Jacques

Have you read this book by Jan Zuijdijk (founder of JRZ Suspension Engineering (with the guy who later founded Moton, and formerly with Koni)

https://www.amazon.com/Vehicle-Dynamics-Damping-First-Revised/dp/147724736X

I had to buy this book, in order to understand how to adjust my JRZ double adjustables (no documentation).

JRZ has a philosophy of minimal rebound damping (to keep the tire following the ground, and to prevent suspension jacking due to slow rebound), and increasing the compression damping only up to a point to force the tire into the ground and prevent large weight transfers.  They prefer minimal anti-roll bar stiffness to allow the other components of the suspension to work, and instead use "platform" which is an air spring in the remote reservoir, acting through the compression valve damping porting.

Anyways, this is what I have on my Esprit SE...  May not be for everyone...

nKSk7r8QiTfVGtpJHYtxCtMewuqogXYP96Xc5-Lp

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Steve V8 you can mention the war to me, I'm not German. Slightly different flag, but same colors as the Belgian one. Actually I'd prefer the Flanders black lion on a golden field as a flag, maybe I should ask one of our friendly mods. ;)

As for the ProTechs, I've had them on my Esprit for about 20k miles, I can't fault them. But I don't track my car and don't drive it too hard neither. Regular use on poor roads though. I set them halfway (7 out of 13) and haven't felt the need to fiddle any further. Got them from SJ, quick and easy.

Filip

  • Confused 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Travis. I did and do keep an eye on your very nice suspension setup.

I'll definately read this, but before I buy it, I'd like to ask you if they are primarily focused on racing or sports car driving? Racing on a track is so much different than driving well, a bit spirited, on back roads, which I prefer ;) But that is another matter. As with brakes, I like to have a great reserve, that can be called upon on demand, if need be. For example I like a suspension body that does not go really hot inside, when it see some action, as valving etc, changes, and stiction changes. Remote reservoirs is also something I like a lot. I see that many of the points they talk about, I share, not being a maestro or anything. Just years of driving and having tried various solutions.

JRZ, Öhlins and Nitron have one major big problem for me though, and that is that they build their suspension on demand. That Means that they have no papers with approval from authorities, and therefor all ILLEGAL in my country, Denmark. And they have no intention in doing so, because it demands money, hours and fiddleing. As a member of the EC, there should in theory be no differences, but reality shows very clearly, that Danish authorities don't gave a toss about other rules than their own.

The theoretical consequences of this is, that I can get a heavy fine for installing them and driving on public roads with them, as the police now regularely make razzias bringing along MOT people, WHO undetake this aspect, so noone can fool them any more. Another example is that from 1'st of January 2018, if one is takes with driving a chipped car or motorcycle, it gives you a fine of 2000 gbp. plus manhours, courtcase etc. A serious slap in the face, I'd say. This is only because some East European (Polish, Russian, Romanian, Lithuanian and a few other ) truck drivers have installed chips in their big heavy diesel engined trucks, thereby spreading extreme amounts of pollution and Black smoke in Denmark, when passing through to Germany and further South and North. As the minister of Transport said in national medias: "A heavy rain of fines will now also hit the Danish population". The sames goes for suspension, illegal hid lighting etc.

The other aspect is something that came up around 2016, which is the Insurance, which does not cover cars that have these unapproved suspension sets installed. There have been a few courtcases in which the judges made principal descisions deeming them illegal without Danish Authorities Approval, which cost two sets of suspension, two cars of which one will be crashed to complete destruction, and then 20.000 - 50.000 thousand gbp to pay for the man hours, testing facilities etc. I, for one, cannot and will not pay this, to have new suspension on my Esprit. Because the internet and cheap'ish shops have been selling crap chinese made, European branded suspension to drivers who doesn't mind at all about road safety and abilities, the authorities now demands every single mot (every second year here in Denmark) to inspect suspension to approval papers. A loophole that sometimes exists, sometimes not, is a german Tüv. Sometimes they accept those, but it is pure luck, and then the car will carry a notification from that date onwards, both on papers and electronically stored systems, that this particular car have this and this mod on it. Mot'ers and police can immediately look this up, when you are stopped on the street. And trust me, they do. There were several cases of mot'ers being bribed to shut up, and just passe the car, and when it came out in medias, they were sacked.

None of the JRZ, Öhlins and Nitron carry that approval, because they are very small limited production or even 1 piece set setup's. The only set that is legal, is the one from Lotus Lotac programme, which is not at all what I want, as I am sorry to say, find them pretty sub standard, no offence, even though they basically are Bilstein dampers and Eibach springs, which both are okay good brands. Take a look at for example B2 and B4 which resemble the Lotac tuned offering, valved and spring-defined to Lotus demands, of course. But in reality a set like the B16 or clubsport, again fine tuned by Lotus, would be more in the line of a supercar. I don't see the bilstein as their programme is today, as something I'd use for an Esprit. As I mentioned earlier, weight is important, and without remembering the exact numbers, weight saved on unsprung parts, resembles 4 or 5 times the weight when it's after the suspension travel bolt on point. And light weight suspension (and brakes) makes a more controllable wheelsetup as fas as I know. I may stand corrected though, as there have been so much Development in suspension (as well as brakes).

Hmm... choices... I think I'll drive up to my usual car mot'er and have a good long talk with him on the matter.

ARGH! back to suspension ;)

Kind regards,

jacques

ps: if anyone here or elsewhere have some good ideas of how to solve this, please write here or pm me, as we are more and more people who suffer with our cars from this unintelligent crazy system.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Escape said:

@Steve V8 you can mention the war to me, I'm not German. Slightly different flag, but same colors as the Belgian one. Actually I'd prefer the Flanders black lion on a golden field as a flag, maybe I should ask one of our friendly mods. ;)

As for the ProTechs, I've had them on my Esprit for about 20k miles, I can't fault them. But I don't track my car and don't drive it too hard neither. Regular use on poor roads though. I set them halfway (7 out of 13) and haven't felt the need to fiddle any further. Got them from SJ, quick and easy.

Filip

Sorry Filip, I didn't mean to offend your national pride, I never was any good with flags, but drove through Flanders last year so should know better. 

Back to your Protects, Do you know which range (400 or 600) you have? And how would you compare the ride quality to standard Lotus? I was pleased with the standard setup (except not being able to adjust ride height), but the springs had a corrosion advisory last year and 'hopping' under wheelspin points to tired dampers. 

I'm leaning towards these due to the adjustability and as an overall package within a budget, but I'll need to speak to the makers and see the quality or lack of, in the flesh.

Also rose jointed mounts are available in place of bushings , what are the benefits of these if any on a Lotus?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×