Lotus Elan

+2 Spyder Zetec Ground Clearance / Ride Height

PostPost by: daverubberduck » Fri Aug 08, 2014 5:45 pm

I have become interested in the issue of ride height on Zetec +2s and I have a question. After reading the above, is the whole issue of exhaust (or sump) a red herring? The original tyre spec for the +2 was 165/82R13 which gives an overall diameter of wheel/tyre of 600.8mm (please correct me if my figures are wrong). Spyder use a 14" wheel but lower profile tyres, they use 185/60R14 which has a total diameter of 577.6mm which is almost an inch smaller than the original. Not only does the wheel look small in the arch, but they have to make the suspension higher in order to regain the original ride height. The overall look of the car is odd. Now Alan has gone for 65 profile on 14" which returns the diameter to 596.1mm, close to the original. An excellent solution and I think his car looks great. So why do Spyder insist on using 60 profile tyres? One more question, if 15" wheels were used with 185/60R15 then the diameter would be 603mm, almost identical to the original. So why don't they do this? Perhaps there is a problem with using 15" wheels. Is there?
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PostPost by: gavk » Sat Aug 09, 2014 7:41 am

Hi Dave,

The sump is a red herring, my fault as I misunderstood the issue before I took ownership of my car.

The low point on Spyder zetecs is where the 4-2-1 exhaust manifold passes beneath the spaceframe chassis.

I believe Spyder also changed the centre sections of their exhausts. For later builds Spyder added a resonator in place of the centre pipe and the additional diameter of this part also adds to the issue. I have had a new exhaust fitted with a straight through pipe in the middle and this has gained me a bit of clearance in that area.

Switching to a larger diameter tyre, closer to original spec is obviously a Great idea and I'll be doing this next tyre change.

On this subject, a question for Alan. On full lock with 185 60 14s I experience the back of my tyres rubbing in the wheel arch. I assume the extra diameter of the larger tyres will worsen this problem, have you found this? Have you fitted lock stops to your rack, if so which ones?

Back to your question Dave, I assume 15s May be avoided by owners due to the extra unsprung weight or maybe the less period look? I would certainly be interested to see how it looks.

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PostPost by: gavk » Sat Aug 09, 2014 7:50 am

Just checked some pics I have.

This car is owned by one of the forum members. It has 15x7J wheels, not sure of tyre size
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PostPost by: daverubberduck » Sat Aug 09, 2014 8:48 am

Hi Gav
I didn't know that about the resonator. Why have they added that, is it necessary? What's wrong with a straight through pipe?

Anyway, back to wheels. The pic you posted is very interesting. I would love to know what tyres are on those wheels. 185/60 I suspect. You also raise an interesting point about 185 tyres rubbing. If they are rubbing with your 185/60-14s then the problem will be worse with 15" wheels. I wonder if they rub on that car. Do you know which forum member the car belongs to?
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Sat Aug 09, 2014 2:20 pm

I'm very pleased with the look of my car now that it has 65 profile tyres, I don't have any issues with the tyres rubbing on full lock. I don't have any stops on the rack, it's the standard Spyder offering of a LHD Classic Mini rack, I have the control arms drilled to give a smaller turning circle and this means the wheels and tyres really do turn at a sharp angle but no problems with clearance.

Gav, It is possible that the offset on my wheels is different to yours, the wheels on my S4 have a shallower offset than those on my +2, but they will fit the +2 and yes the tyres did rub on full lock when I tried it. Take one of your wheels off and measure to the rear face of the wheel centre ( use a bit of wood or something to span the rim), let me know what the figure is and I will check it against one of mine.

As this exercise is pretty much aesthetic with the added bonus of extra ground clearance it sort of makes sense to use a diameter of wheel that is reasonably close to the original.

The reason Spyder went for the 14 inch rims rather than stick with 13 inch was because there is a far greater choice of performance tyres for wheel diameters of 14 inch and above. Somebody probably made the decision to go with 60 profile for sharper handling and was obviously oblivious to the looks of the car and they didn't weigh more than 60 kilos or have any friends hence they were not bothered with ground clearance either :mrgreen:

One of the old regulars on here was building a Spyder Zetec S4 and he was using 15 inch rims with no problems, I can't see any good reason to use 15 inch rims on a +2 other than the aesthetic reasons.

The centre resonator keeps the noise down to bearable levels on longer trips, my +2 has one fitted but still fails the noise test at Castle Combe and records 102db .. (The limit is 100db) but without the resonator it would probably be 104 - 105db -- don't forget that it's a logarithmic scale measurement of noise and that 2 or 3 extra DB equals a lot more noise once you get over 100. Of course beefing up the rear silencer would help here.

Over the last 3 or 4 years myself and others have got Andy and Sean at Spyder to have a look at the more common gripes with the conversion; it almost seemed to me that they just copied what they first did in the late 1990s without a thought towards development, the attitude seemed to be that the conversion worked, so what's the problem.
I'm pleased to say that progress is being made with brake pedal effort and steering lock issues and that my tyre swap has won them over as well.

Sorry for the long blog, hope that answers some questions and gives some more info.
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PostPost by: gavk » Sat Aug 09, 2014 8:39 pm

Dave, that car belongs to a forum member called Bob who I spoke to a while back but I cant seem to find which of my old threads or PMs i spoke to him in.

I removed the centre resonator to make my exhaust a little louder and for the extra clearance. The joins on my old system were blowing, i wanted a straight through back box and different appearance to the tail pipe so I replaced everything after the manifold. Im very happy with the result, after looking at a lot of exhaust companies I ended up going with "Edwards Motorsport"
http://www.edwardsmotorsport.com/

They do top quality work for a fair price and they are nice guys, i will post some pics soon. They have fitted a large cylindrical straight through absorption silencer at the back so i still have a fair amount of silencing but with better flow than the old back box.

Alan, ill check my offset when i get the chance, I hadn't considered that, when you say shallower offset do you mean a more positive offset (less dishy)?
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Sat Aug 09, 2014 8:57 pm

Sorry I get my terminology mixed up at times, from the face of the hub to the rear face of the wheel is a lesser distance on my +2 wheels than on my S4 wheels. Imagine there's a spacer built in on the +2 and you will get the idea. This allows full lock and no fouling.
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PostPost by: gavk » Sun Aug 10, 2014 6:07 am

So your +2 wheels sit further out from the centreline of the car, giving a wider track and this gives no contact for you?

The place where mine rub is the outer rear edge of the tyre so if I turn full lock to the right then the rear outer edge of my drivers side wheel rubs on the rear upright of the arch (by the pedalbox in this example).

In my case I would assume an offset giving more track would worsen my problem but it could be the case that the arch tapers outwards, giving more tyre space as you move towards the edge of the car, I'll investigate and update.

It's totally off topic anyway so I'll be quiet now!
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Sun Aug 10, 2014 8:25 am

I don't think it's off topic, it's all to do with ride height issues and how to cure it. I have the manufacturers pcd and offset dimensions back at my house, I will fish it out when I'm back next week.

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Alan ( stormy seaside house)
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PostPost by: daverubberduck » Sun Aug 10, 2014 11:06 am

I'm toying with the idea of starting a new Zetec project which would be a car with very basic interior for use both on the road and for track or hill climbs. So the message I'm getting is that although the exhaust may be a little lower than standard, there is no issue if the ride height is kept to original spec. Spyder use 60 profile tyres on 14" wheels which is an inch smaller than original on the overall diameter, so they have to raise the suspension to get the original ride height. One solution is to go with 65 tyres on 14" wheels, and if your Elan is already built then this is by far the best solution. But if starting a brand new project then 60 tyres on 15" wheels is also an option (I'm ignoring the issue tyres rubbing as it sounds like it's not a problem). So my questions are: if using 15" wheels, would that mean not using the standard Sierra hubs, and could it mean better brakes, Ford Focus for example? Or something else? Another question, what is the gearing like on Zetec Elans? With the standard Spyder 185/60R14 what is the theoretical top speed in 5th. I ask because this will get higher if using 185/65R14 or 185/60R15, and while that may be good for cruising, it might be too high for a track or hill climb car.

One more question about exhaust noise: I always thought the twin cam was a loud engine. Is the Zetec louder?

Dave

p.s. I hope you haven't been washed out to sea Alan, it's pretty stormy here too.
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Sun Aug 10, 2014 4:28 pm

I can't see an issue using 15 inch wheels and 60 profile tyres. As for brakes the very best are Willwood Midilite 4 pot calipers for which there is a kit that bolt straight onto Sierra uprights. I have them on my S4 and they are superb.

The MT 75 gearbox with hydraulic clutch as fitted by Spyder ( ex Granada Scorpio ) along with the LSD once again ex Scorpio has a low first gear which is handy for modern stop start traffic, then 2nd 3rd and 4th are reasonably close ratio a genuine 70 mph in 4th is about 4000rpm with my wheels and tyres and drops to 3250 in 5th, theoretical top speed is 140 plus.

For a hill climb car I would expect not getting out of third for most of the time no matter what the engine or gearbox. I have never used 5th on a track day, but have pulled well over 6000 rpm in 4th. 5th is for driving home on the motorway.
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PostPost by: daverubberduck » Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:11 am

Thanks Alan. That's all interesting information. I will check out the brakes.
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PostPost by: gavk » Mon Aug 11, 2014 4:50 pm

I have looked into my tyre rub and found that it's my fault. I fitted a Stop for my throttle pedal so that I don't damage the linkage when I mash the pedal to the floor. The interference on full lock was the tyre contacting the end threads of the throttle stop bolt. While I checked clearance after installing, I did this with the front jacked up, its only at normal ride height that the problem presents itself. Spare bolt threads now chopped and all is well.

Dave, on my 185 60 14s, 64mph in 5th at 3000rpm so theoretically just under 150mph at 7000rpm.

Alan, Spyder supply a Wilwood kit for approx ?430 on their site, including mounting kit, not sure if this includes VAT.

Rally design have potentially the same calipers for ?330 Inc VAT
http://www.rallydesign.co.uk/product_in ... ts_id=8317

I'm wondering if the extra cost for the spyder kit is all in the mounts or just different pricing, did you buy from Spyder?
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Mon Aug 11, 2014 5:07 pm

Gav,
Spyders prices are subject to VAT. You need the calipers, the mounting brackets to suit Sierra uprights, some good quality discs and brake pads some here on Ebay I'm pretty sure I have seen this advertised at approx. ?450 inc vat all in. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Ford-Sierra-Wilwood-Brake-Kit-MIDILITE-4-Pot-Calipers-/120658324171

Spyder fitted mine, but I supplied them. Then they realised how good they were and offered them as part of the kit.
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PostPost by: olia » Mon Sep 22, 2014 2:23 pm

back on this topic again

good to see there may be a solution to the ride height simply by using higher profile tyres

-regarding the steering issue (heavy steering)
how feasible is to go back to standard at the front??: ie uprights , steering rack , control arms

i guess this would mean the steering would be back to light and nimble with good turning circle.
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