Lotus Elan

Transportation issues

PostPost by: Kihansi33 » Sat Jan 24, 2015 7:55 pm

Dear all

I need some professional advice, my elan was transported about 200 miles from the repairers, the transportation was by an experienced firm who tied the car down as per the attached photos.

When I received the car all seemed ok as first but during the initial test drive I noticed a knocking from the rear, I notified the repairer and we looked at the possibility of loose exhaust or spare wheel.

The car passed its mot 4 days after delivery with no issues.

The knocking from the rear continued and in the end I just needed to find out what is was, following a detailed investigation we now know that both rear shock absorbers are badly damaged and the centre shafts of the shock absorbers are moving back and forth more than 5mm.

Both shocks were brand new Koni units fitted to refurbished coil overs.

The repairer who is a lotus specialist is adamant that the cause of the failure is the transportation and that the straps were too tight creating excessive lateral force.

To me this doesn't make sense as the transport straps and method of transportation looks ok and the car passed its mot 4 days after it was delivered.

Does anyone have an opinion on this, I really need some assistance. Thanks


The
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PostPost by: fatboyoz » Sun Jan 25, 2015 6:29 am

Hi,
I once had to be recovered due to a faulty rear wheel bearing. The tow truck driver strapped the car down in a similar manner to your photo's. I was not happy with the way the straps were pulling at the upper half of the wheel and straining all of the suspension. I finally had him strap it over the top of the tyre to make me feel better.
Your last two photo's look as if the wheels are under strain from the top, and would be putting pressure on the struts.
Cheers,
Colin.


uote="Kihansi33"]Dear all

I need some professional advice, my elan was transported about 200 miles from the repairers, the transportation was by an experienced firm who tied the car down as per the attached photos.

When I received the car all seemed ok as first but during the initial test drive I noticed a knocking from the rear, I notified the repairer and we looked at the possibility of loose exhaust or spare wheel.

The car passed its mot 4 days after delivery with no issues.

The knocking from the rear continued and in the end I just needed to find out what is was, following a detailed investigation we now know that both rear shock absorbers are badly damaged and the centre shafts of the shock absorbers are moving back and forth more than 5mm.

Both shocks were brand new Koni units fitted to refurbished coil overs.

The repairer who is a lotus specialist is adamant that the cause of the failure is the transportation and that the straps were too tight creating excessive lateral force.

To me this doesn't make sense as the transport straps and method of transportation looks ok and the car passed its mot 4 days after it was delivered.

Does anyone have an opinion on this, I really need some assistance. Thanks


The[/quote]
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PostPost by: UAB807F » Sun Jan 25, 2015 7:31 am

Hmm, 5mm of movement sounds an awful lot to generate in 200 miles of transportation, and not something you would expect to miss at an MoT. Of course that doesn't rule out that it was missed, but it would be surprising because you'd also expect to find seals wrecked and fluid all over the place ?

It actually sounds like something's loose to me, either the damper in the casing (top mount screw cap) or the lotocone attachment nut from the hood tray.

I had my Elan transported for around 140 miles and from what I can recall it was tied down in a very similar manner. Plus of course the transport guys will use very much the same methods for any car they transport and henceif there were faults with their methods you would surely expect more claims ?

I doubt anyone on an internet forum can rule definitively on this one, but in your position I think I would ask the specialist garage "if you considered it was inappropriately tied down (as you're now claiming) why didn't you do something before the car left your premises ?"

Surely someone from the garage supervised the car being loaded ? When mine was transported it was inspected before loading for preexisting damage/marks, the guy asked me to watch it loaded and then we both checked the car at it's destination again. He was only a one-man business but very professional throughout and from conversation it was the way everyone operated to protect themselves from bogus claims.

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PostPost by: Chancer » Sun Jan 25, 2015 9:25 am

Shit happens and you invite lots of further grief by seeking to make others responsible for your misfortune.

There will have been far less dynamic lateral force on a car transporter than from spirited cornering an Elan.

Sounds like Lotocone failure, it would have happened soon anyway.

Looking at the straps the lateral force, which is far less than the downward force, is very low down as it should be replicating the cornering loads from the tyre contact patch.
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PostPost by: Chancer » Sun Jan 25, 2015 9:28 am

Were these brand new Koni units fitted by the repairer, or perhaps removed and refitted?

If so then they either have been incorrectly fitted, are faulty or are dimensionally incorrect, the repairerer is just trying to blame someone else.
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Sun Jan 25, 2015 10:08 am

IMHO the straping down would not cause a problem, I don't quite understand where this movement is but I think it more likely that the insert is loose in the strut
I have seen a car that the "experts' fitted inserts and the top securing cap nut on the strut came loose causing a knocking and had play.
Some shocks need a spacer as they are slightly shorter, if no spacer is fitted it would also case a problem.
You need to determine exactly where the play is but my money is on a loose nut.
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PostPost by: Kihansi33 » Sun Jan 25, 2015 11:55 am

Thanks for the responses.

The shock absorbers were supposed to be new Koni units, the struts are TTR and were refurbished by the lotus specialist garage.

I understand that the repairer received the new shock absorbers, built the units up on the bench, and fitted them to the car.

I spoke with the transporter, they said that they have been in business 6 years and never had an issue.

I agree that the lateral force created by the straps in the positions as per the photos would be much less than that exerted by hard cornering.

The garage owner is point blank blaming the transporter, but there is no solid evidence at all that the straps where too tight, its just an opinion, based on the photographs, you are right when the car was being loaded the responsible thing would be to point out any issues with the straps at the time.

I had the car looked at by an independant lotus specialist and his opinion is that the transportation isn't an issue, but that the problem is more than likely a defect with the build.
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PostPost by: EPA » Sun Jan 25, 2015 1:12 pm

It may be that someone forgot to tighten the top damper nut after fitting the spring.
I was supplied ready assembled rear struts for my car by a well known Lotus specialist (quote: ready to fit on the car).
As it was a nice day I was just outside my garage door getting ready to fit the units when I realised that the lower spring mounts needed to be wound higher to allow the discs to be fitted. When I started to wind the mount higher the nut came off almost immediately and the spring shot off down the drive just missing my other car and ending up in the flower bed.
I still wonder if I would have noticed before I fitted the struts( I usually check such things) but as the nut is under tension it can be deceptive.
The other strut was the same
In some ways it's quite amusing now but in other ways it's most certainly not

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PostPost by: RichardHawkins » Sun Jan 25, 2015 10:21 pm

Kihansi33,

When your car was strapped down, the strap should only pass around the tyre/wheel. Perhaps the strap passed around the strut? This may be the cause of your problems.

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PostPost by: Kihansi33 » Sun Jan 25, 2015 10:30 pm

Thanks for the post, but the strap was passed around the tyre only not the strut, the straps where not tied to any of the cars suspension components, and only the proper straps were used.
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PostPost by: Kihansi33 » Sun Jan 25, 2015 10:33 pm

One other issue was that when I was investigating the noise I checked the tightness of the top damper retaining nuts, they are quite big nylocks, I noticed that the off side nut was loose and the nearside tight. I tried to tighten the loose nut but the damper strut just rotated.
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PostPost by: Kihansi33 » Sun Jan 25, 2015 10:38 pm

Here is another view of the strappings
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Sun Jan 25, 2015 11:08 pm

The Koni units I believe all need a sleeve or a specially machined nut to fit correctly inside the top lotocone rubber mount. if this sleeve is not fitted then the top of the rod can move in the lotocone. My guess this sleeve is missing or the nut securing the shock body into the strut tube is loose or both.

While it may be possible for the side loads from the strapping being excessively tight to cause damage I find it hard to believe they could cause 5 mm of free play in a correctly assembled rear end strut.

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PostPost by: Kihansi33 » Sun Jan 25, 2015 11:29 pm

Hi Rohan

Thanks for your post, I can see what you mean about the specially machined top nut, I understand that it should have a step on the underside, that fits into a recess in rider to centralise and stop the strut moving around, the nuts fitted to my struts look like ordinary nylock, this is a really good point, Thanks
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PostPost by: Kihansi33 » Sun Jan 25, 2015 11:32 pm

Here is a photo of the top nut
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