Lotus Elan

Baby Elan Suspension

PostPost by: lutz » Tue Sep 23, 2003 11:13 pm

Hi guys,

nice place here, maybe someone has technical information for a beginner
with a S3 SE dhc since 1.5 years and 6,000 mls in daily transport.

The left rear quarter is hanging down about 1" more than the right one and
I think the rear springs are a little bit tired. But also if not, the difference in
load between only me in the car and two persons with luggage of 40 lbs for
holidays causes a difference of abaout 2" in ride height. So I intend to use springs of the +2. What is the rate of these ones on the rear and on the front ?

Thinking about tires, I would like to improve cornering ability with tires of the latest technology. But this is not possible with the original 4.5" knock-on wheels.
So I would like to use the +2?s 5.5" ones. Does someone know, if they fit to the S3 using 175/65or60 tires and what?s the difference in offset. I neither know the offset of the 4.5" nor of the 5.5" ones.

If standard springs are not convenient maybe I try to use the 2.25" o.d. ones.
Where to get these threaded tubes to weld in or on the rear damper tubes to
convert to adjustable platform ?

Lutz
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PostPost by: Jolly Jumper » Wed Sep 24, 2003 8:32 am

Hi Lutz

The tyre question has been often discussed (but not yet here).
I think most people agree the Elan suspension was designed for old tyre technology and it does work best with it! Wider tyres will increase pure grip a little bit, but you sacrifce handling, finesse and feeling which is after all what this car is all about.
Fairly soft suspension and narrow tyres may sound strange today, but the car was designed around them and can be driven quite fast with them. The perfect weight transfer helps to build up amazing grip even on skinny tyres.
Also, on an S3 you will have problems with 175 tyres anyway, they will foul the wheelarches.
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PostPost by: BillGavin » Wed Sep 24, 2003 12:34 pm

I have +2 K/O wheels on my S2 Elan - the outer edge of the wheel is in the same place as the 2-seater wheel, all the added width is to the inside. The good news is that wheel arch clearance is maintained, the bad news is that the inner edge will foul the stock springs. I have small diameter springs with threaded collars, and good clearance.

Small diameter spring conversions are available from the usual sources, Tony Thompson does a replacement tube, others do a 'drop-on' conversion which requires removal of the original spring seat.

I'm running some cheap 155/80-13 tires on my car, and they clear the wheel arches, but not by much. The car had 175/70-13s on it when I bought it, but they hit the front wheel arches when the wheel was turned. The car had been lowered quite a bit; I have since raised the suspension up to near stock height. I measured a set of 165/70-13s and they seem to be somewhat lower and narrower through the sidewalls than the 155s.

I would avoid excessively wide tires, as has been noted, the car doesn't really want them, and camber control is not good enough to keep really wide tires flat on the ground. Better adhesion for better braking would be a good idea in today's traffic, but that is better gained through tire design and rubber compound than through width. Such tires are not easy to find here in the US, maybe they're more available in Britain or on the Continent?
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PostPost by: steveww » Wed Sep 24, 2003 2:31 pm

You can get 2.5 spring conversions from Spyder engineering as well B)
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PostPost by: simonknee » Wed Sep 24, 2003 8:20 pm

Hi

There is no need to run wide rubber.
It may squeal a lot but I stick like glue in the dry. (wet's a different, slippier matter).
Fit the suspension that the maker intended.
Lotus design the worlds best suspension systems.
Always did, always will (I hope), Colin knew what he was doing.
Put a new set of ordinary springs on and all will be OK.
However the car will always sag to the drivers side somewhat.

I just finished 2000 miles around France on standard springs, Dunlop 145/80 and a full boot. Noboby could keep up with me in the Alps and I didn't bottom out, even embarking the ferry!

Simon
'67 S3 FHC
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PostPost by: elj221c » Thu Sep 25, 2003 2:10 pm

It does all depend on what you want, or in my case, what I got when I bought my S2. It runs on 6" front and 7" inch rear JAP wheels. Tyres last run were Uniroyal 185/60 and 205/60 respectively. This works fine as long as you use fairly hard springs. (2.25 on the back because of the offset) My car has 200lb/" on the front, 9.25 length on Shortened spax with adjustable platforms and 120lb/" rear with shortened Koni inserts, as the rear tubes are, I believe, 26R length. All a little 'up' on the original 26R rates of 128 and 100. This set up gives great grip in the dry but it is rather suspect in the wet! No different there, then, Simon! Neadless to say the body has flaired arches, 26R style front but no idea what the rear ones came from. About 1 degree front and 2 degrees negative camber seems to work. Standard roll bar on the front and none on the rear.
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PostPost by: Jolly Jumper » Thu Sep 25, 2003 2:25 pm

<!--QuoteBegin-elj221c+Sep 25 2003, 02:10 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (elj221c @ Sep 25 2003, 02:10 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'><!--QuoteEBegin--> It does all depend on what you want, or in my case, what I got when I bought my S2. It runs on 6" front and 7" inch rear JAP wheels. Tyres last run were Uniroyal 185/60 and 205/60 respectively. This works fine as long as you use fairly hard springs. (2.25 on the back because of the offset) My car has 200lb/" on the front, 9.25 length on Shortened spax with adjustable platforms and 120lb/" rear with shortened Koni inserts, as the rear tubes are, I believe, 26R length. All a little 'up' on the original 26R rates of 128 and 100. This set up gives great grip in the dry but it is rather suspect in the wet! No different there, then, Simon! Neadless to say the body has flaired arches, 26R style front but no idea what the rear ones came from. About 1 degree front and 2 degrees negative camber seems to work. Standard roll bar on the front and none on the rear.
Roy
'65 S2 [/quote]

Does this set-up work on real world roads, with bumps and camber changes?
185/205 on a street Elan, I can't believe it... ;)
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PostPost by: elj221c » Fri Sep 26, 2003 4:35 pm

Well, it worked for me although I have to confess the car has been off the road since '89.....
Real world roads? Here in the UK we have since sucumbed to speed humps and cushions, so it's difficult to say. That said, UK roads have never been the finest, despite the amount we pay for post '73 road fund licences.
It was brilliant in the dry, rather floaty in the wet (good for practicing ones Peterson/G.Villeneuve impressions!) but great fun all the same. Camber changes were never a problem but because the car is very low, I became very adept at reconnecting the centre pipe to the silencer!
The car was used daily to commute to and from London from '77 until '89, a round trip of about 30 miles with very little trouble. We also used to go on holiday to Devon in it, three up, my daughter sitting in a child safety seat on the diff bump until she was two and a half, by which time she was changing gear with her toes!

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PostPost by: Jolly Jumper » Fri Sep 26, 2003 5:55 pm

With real world roads I mean a proper english B-road, narrow, bumby, and so on. Roads for which the Elan was designed. (I am german but i know english roads...)
Amazing to hear it worked in a way, but I still think for a road Elan original is best.
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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Fri Sep 26, 2003 10:34 pm

I have taken a middle route here, fitting 5 inch Minilites and 165x70 Goodyear NCT's. So I have gained a little width, have almost the same rolling diameter but have a modern rubber compound and tread pattern. The result is far better than the original set-up, handling and road holding both wet and dry is much improved, but because I have not deviated too far from the original dimensions I have not lost anything in ride quality; and the tyres do not foul either the body or the rear spring perches!

Pete
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PostPost by: lutz » Sat Sep 27, 2003 10:33 am

<!--QuoteBegin-elansprint71+Sep 26 2003, 10:34 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (elansprint71 @ Sep 26 2003, 10:34 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'><!--QuoteEBegin--> I have taken a middle route here, fitting 5 inch Minilites and 165x70 Goodyear NCT's. So I have gained a little width, have almost the same rolling diameter but have a modern rubber compound and tread pattern. The result is far better than the original set-up, handling and road holding both wet and dry is much improved, but because I have not deviated too far from the original dimensions I have not lost anything in ride quality; and the tyres do not foul either the body or the rear spring perches!

Pete [/quote]
Quite interesting Pete, that?s the way I also try to go. Did you modify the
spring rate or do you use the standard ones ?

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PostPost by: elj221c » Sat Sep 27, 2003 10:53 am

[With real world roads I mean a proper english B-road, narrow, bumby, and so on. Roads for which the Elan was designed. (I am german but i know english roads...)
Amazing to hear it worked in a way, but I still think for a road Elan original is best.]

For me, this is original. I beleive the car was rebuilt thus in '70 or '71 and I bought it in '75. So of its 38 years, over 30 have been in this guise. I believe it was built for sprinting which is why it has a lot of 26R type features although it is not one.

A number of friends have suggested I put it back to standard, but that would be less original to me and would also cost a small fortune to do. It certainly did work very well on my favourite lanes in Surrey, Sussex and Devon. I also love the small roads in Germany, especially those around and including the Nurbergring! Nordschleife, of course!

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PostPost by: elansprint71 » Sat Sep 27, 2003 3:55 pm

Lutz,
I just left the springs (andeverything else) the way it was, standard as far as I can see. I am planning to fit a Spyder chassis with their twin wishbone rear suspension and skinny springs this Winter so the comparison will be interesting.

Pete
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PostPost by: cabc26b » Fri Oct 10, 2003 8:59 pm

B) Lutz,

A lot of right answers here -
things I have learned along the way -

5 inch rims don't impose much on early body work amd will allow sufficient rubber for most fast road work.

if you can , make the investment in ajustable suspension.
Rear - min - spring pearch and small diameter springs , rod end wishbones are nice
Front min - adj uper arms and spring pearchs , full adj is ok , sometimes...
go up a little in spring rate

Spend the time and money to get somebody who really knows what they are doing to set the car up - bump , cornerweights, ride height, make sure geometry is good through out travel etc, etc., etc.

learn your car , and in lotus tradition go kill some giants....
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PostPost by: steveww » Wed Oct 15, 2003 9:59 am

<!--QuoteBegin-elansprint71+Sep 27 2003, 03:55 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (elansprint71 @ Sep 27 2003, 03:55 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'><!--QuoteEBegin--> Lutz,
I just left the springs (andeverything else) the way it was, standard as far as I can see. I am planning to fit a Spyder chassis with their twin wishbone rear suspension and skinny springs this Winter so the comparison will be interesting.

Pete [/quote]
Did you get the 5J rims and 165/70 tyres to fit with the standard springs or did you have to switch to the smaller diameter ones?

If the rims fit OK with the standard springs do you know what offset they are and where did you get them?
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