Lotus Elan

Ground Clearance Lotus Elan +2

PostPost by: BenMcCarthy » Wed Mar 10, 2004 4:51 pm

My Lotus Elan +2s 130/4 1971 seems to love the streets of South London, however the height is very low at the back and I come very close to speed bumps - especially those car width blob-type bumps.

I'm replacing the exhaust and need to source one that fits within the conduit of the underside of the car. This may be difficult because the manifold also seems to sit rather low. Does anybody know where I can source a decent St Steel exhaust that fits the car?

I also intend to raise the rear which appears to be abnormally low compared to other +2's I've seen. Does anybody know what post-production dampers and springs are recommended for the rear over the poorly surfaced roads in speed bump London?
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Wed Mar 10, 2004 5:06 pm

what i had to do to mine to get the exhaust pipe at a decent height was to jack up the car via the y piece(with packing pieces) while at the same time playing a torch on the two downpipes near the bends
worked a treat,the centre pipe now runs in the chassis channel
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PostPost by: Craig Elliott » Wed Mar 10, 2004 7:23 pm

Ben

I have similar problems with speed bumps in South London with my +2 (in some cases where the camber of the road is extreme and the car is loaded up it doesn't even need to be a speed bump!). They always had low ride heights so it's probably going to be difficult to completely solve the problem. Sorting the exhaust and ensuring the suspension is in good condition is probably as far as you can reasonably go...

Aside from ensuring that the exhaust is routed as high as possible you could try using different types of clamp to secure the various sections together. I found that these were the main problem - especially the U bolt type.

With regard to the springs/suspension, if the rear of your car is lower than other +2s your springs may need replacing. I believe that the workshop manual gives recommended ride heights so you should be able to find out for certain by checking this. Drop me an email and I will check in my copy if you don't have a manual, if I recall correctly it should be something like 4 1/2 inches from the chassis to ground. You can get different types of springs (Tony Thompson racing?)but I don't know how they differ from standard in terms of stiffness/rideheght. You may find that after 30+ years the original ones have sagged and simply replacing them with standard will help. You can also get adjustable dampers which would then let you play with the stiffness of the dampers to reduce bottoming out, but the general ride may get harsh.

The other things you could check are the bump stops - these are rubber springs fitted on the damper inside the steel spring and they could have gone soft/perished. Also on some late +2s there is supposed to be an aluminium spacer around the damper below the bump stops so that the stops come into play earlier in the suspension travel. I don't know if these are available now but they are designed to prevent the car bottoming out on bumps/when loaded. At the same time it would be worth checking your lotocones (i.e. the rubber bushes at the top of the strut) as if these are perished/soft they could be contributing to the problem (I guess).

You should be able to get most above from the usual UK Lotus parts suppliers (e.g. Paul Matty/Christopher Neil/SJ Sportscars/Spyder engineering).

A note of caution - I would be very wary of raising the ride height at the rear of the car from standard as you could ruin the handling.

Time we started complaining to our local councils!?!?

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PostPost by: Craig Elliott » Wed Mar 10, 2004 10:17 pm

Just checked the design ground clearance given in the Lotus manual - it should be 6 1/2 ins...
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PostPost by: BenMcCarthy » Thu Mar 11, 2004 2:17 pm

Thanks: a big help

I'll see what's available with springs/ dampers and bump stops
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PostPost by: BenMcCarthy » Wed Jun 16, 2004 10:43 am

News back from the garage, finally, is that the springs needed replacing (as Craig suggested). I was narked becauise these springs were bought from Christopher Neil in 1998 along with dampers. The new springs were sourced by Bell & Colvill via Miles Wilkins I think. Seem to have done the trick. Still got the old Monroe dampers. I'll let you know how I get on.
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PostPost by: dj_powell » Fri Jul 02, 2004 1:33 pm

Hi Ben,

Just geting speeds ramps installed in our village - nasty things. :angry:

I've got a shade under 3inchs clearance with no occupants on board but I can still clear most bumps etc in first gear.

Got the spyder chassis with their rear suspension set-up. Spax height adjustable shocks with uprated springs, and an exhaust that hangs underneath the chassis.
With the Spax at their lowest settings I've got just under 3in between the exhaust and the ground. I set the suspension fairly hard so there is little 'bounce' when going over obstacles. I'd go with the other suggestions of checking the condition of your shocks/springs, any wear here will result in bounce which will still ground out even with a high ride height.

One thing you might want to try is Micalor exhaust clamps in place of standard u-clamps ( get them from Demon Tweeks ). They look rather like a gaint jubilee clip but about 1in wide and only 1mm thick, hence only 1mm less ground clearance than the actual exhaust pipe. About ?5 each but well worth it.

Either that or carry a set of ramps on the roof !!!! :D

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