Lotus Elan

Rear ride height/spring length

PostPost by: s28ven » Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:20 pm

The rear ride height is simply too high. I have measured the rear spring fitted at 10.5” am I right in saying I should be seeing 8.5”?

I have tried loosening all the bush bolts and applying weight although it just springs back.

I’m guessing the shocks are knackered. They are 40+ years old although they were fitted back on the chassis when I was 8years old so not sure what condition they were in (now 35 years old)

Before I go and dismantle the rear end to check/replace does anyone have any other ideas?
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:21 pm

Looks like the springs free length is to long for the spring rate so that normal ride height is 2 inches too high. The dampers should not affect ride height. Tightening up the bushes with the suspension on full droop can also affect the ride height to a small degree ( as well as shorten the bush life) but it should not affect it to the degree seen.

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PostPost by: 69S4 » Fri Jan 24, 2020 6:51 am

Maybe I’m seeing it wrongly but they look like narrow springs. If so are they on adjustable perches? If they are (a lot of ifs) you may be able to adjust the ride height.
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PostPost by: 512BB » Fri Jan 24, 2020 8:26 am

They look like original springs to me. If you push down on the rear wing of the car 2 or 3 times and the suspension firms up, the dampers are probably okay. If the car keeps bouncing without firming up, the dampers are knacked. If the suspension firms up, the dampers could still be leaking from the top seal. Clean them up where the rod exits the body of the damper and carry out some bouncing, then check for leakage.

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PostPost by: s28ven » Fri Jan 24, 2020 8:36 am

Definitely not adjustable.

Rohan, I don’t have full knowledge of the inner working of the shocker although my thinking was the the retainer that stops the strut coming out could have failed allowing further travel. Although on thinking again if this was the case and my thoughts were correct the retainer would stop any droop which wouldn’t be correct.

As you can see in the pictures the springs are red, is this common?

When I’m measuring the spring length I’m measuring from the underside of the lotocone to the bottom of the bottom seating plate?

The issue I have at the moment is that I have just fitted driveshafts and as per previous posts the clutch is seized. I don’t want to try and free the clutch with the suspension at such droop. Am I worrying too much?

Thanks Again, Steven
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Fri Jan 24, 2020 10:21 am

s28ven wrote:Definitely not adjustable.

Rohan, I don’t have full knowledge of the inner working of the shocker although my thinking was the the retainer that stops the strut coming out could have failed allowing further travel. Although on thinking again if this was the case and my thoughts were correct the retainer would stop any droop which wouldn’t be correct.

As you can see in the pictures the springs are red, is this common?

When I’m measuring the spring length I’m measuring from the underside of the lotocone to the bottom of the bottom seating plate?

The issue I have at the moment is that I have just fitted driveshafts and as per previous posts the clutch is seized. I don’t want to try and free the clutch with the suspension at such droop. Am I worrying too much?

Thanks Again, Steven
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E83D40ED-2034-4CB3-93D5-E33CF3CAC3F8.jpeg



The shocker does nothing when the car is at rest and on its wheels. The ride height is purely a balance between spring rate and spring free length and car weight. Your spring length measurement is near enough to correct and is too long with the cars weight on the wheels but what I would expect with the car jacked up and the suspension on full droop

As long as the car is supported securely and the wheels turn free on full drop there is no problem running the engine with it in gear and then putting on the brakes and depressing the clutch pedal to free a seized clutch plate. However you will get a lot of shock and vibration so make sure you have a free area in front of the car so you can brake if its comes off the supports and that it is securely supported with the rear wheels off the ground. If you have the facilities for tying the car down so it cant run forward if it comes off the supports it is useful also.

Original springs were not red as far as I am aware but the may just have been re painted at some time

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PostPost by: Gordon Sauer » Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:41 pm

Finding this on my +2 I cut the top loop of the spring off and then bent down the top rung to line up again with the top mount, made the difference, Gordon Sauer
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