Lotus Elan

Spax dampers

PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Fri Jun 26, 2009 12:13 pm

rdssdi wrote:I received my front Spax dampers from Spyder with the coil spring attached. They performed this service gratis as I had purchased both dampers and springs from them.

Bob
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1968 TVR Vixen S2


Hi Bob,

bearing in mind all that has been posted here do you feel comfortable with that; I wouldn't.
When I purchased all of my stuff they charged for every fitting service,bushes, springs etc.
That's why I decided to do the jobs myself; even though, that I had to make up a number of special tools to do the jobs

Cheers
John
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PostPost by: rdssdi » Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:37 pm

I do not feel comfortable with the Spyder spring / Spax combination in light of the previous postings. I would like to determine where the defect lies. Is it an improperly manufactured damper or is it the use of the Spyder supplied springs?

It is making me look into new koni shocks for my TVR project. I have also purchased new TVR springs from a UK specialist and they report that they are as originally supplied on the TVR Vixen even though they are not duplicates of the springs I removed. Coulkd be "deja vu" all over again.

It is possible that the OEM +2 springs were different from the Spyder supplied springs. I can find my original 2 springs to compare. Does anyone have a "set" of Spyder front springs and OEM +2 front springs free to compare ID, number of coils, free length, and "wire" diameter.

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PostPost by: spyzee » Sat Jun 27, 2009 6:24 am

I've just picked up my new chassis from spyder and they are now using protech shocks so hopefully my little baby isn't going to be limping home anytime soon. Sorry to hear about your woes with SPAX - it's amazing how many of all these great names from the past are just simply that these days.
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PostPost by: Allison » Sat Jun 27, 2009 11:17 am

We take our Elans to parts of the world where 4*4 are more suitable - Mauritania and India for example - and roads are seriously rough. We've never had a problem with anything snapping (apart from the drive shaft!). However the Spax (rear) did give up all damping very quickly whilst the Koni just gently deteriorated.

Spax were totally unresponsive when I tried to complain so I'll not use them again. In India we had Spyder supplied springs and Spax all round. I somehow feel that if they didn't snap in those conditions - they aren't going to snap. The fronts (Spyder springs and Spax) are still ok - though the wishbone bushes all collapsed.

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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Sat Jun 27, 2009 12:01 pm

Allison wrote:We take our Elans to parts of the world where 4*4 are more suitable - Mauritania and India for example - and roads are seriously rough. We've never had a problem with anything snapping (apart from the drive shaft!). However the Spax (rear) did give up all damping very quickly whilst the Koni just gently deteriorated.

Spax were totally unresponsive when I tried to complain so I'll not use them again. In India we had Spyder supplied springs and Spax all round. I somehow feel that if they didn't snap in those conditions - they aren't going to snap. The fronts (Spyder springs and Spax) are still ok - though the wishbone bushes all collapsed.

Peter


Hi Pete,

Well there's the other side of the story, so to say.
With the punishment you put your Elan through it would be fair to expect damper deterioration or failure; it's not uncommon on those sort of events, I believe.
It would be interesting to get those "snapped" damper rods into a materials laboratory to check the failure mode.
Maybe it was just a batch problem due to a heat treatment problem or even Hydrogen embrittlement.
Or does the groove for the aformentioned Circlip in fact introduce a weak spot?

Bob,

I can't imagine that the Spyder springs could be the cause of the problem. In the fitted position they would have the same pre-loading as any other standard road Elan spring (more or less).
I think that in their spring "design??" they used a longer lower rated spring in an attempt to achieve more comfort perhaps.
In any case the springs that I had from them were very long in the free state & that made them incredibly difficult to compress to fitted length.

Cheers
John
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PostPost by: M.J.S » Sat Jun 27, 2009 2:00 pm

It's pretty grim reading this thread. I suppose you pay for what you get and prestige brands who use Koni, Bilstein and the likes do so with good reason. Still that's no excuse for selling what is to all intents and purposes an unsafe product.

Mark S.
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PostPost by: Roy Gillett » Sun Jun 28, 2009 9:46 am

Since I kicked this thread off, I think a few comments may be called for.

First my brother has a set of Spax dampers on the front of his +2 that he has had for many years and more miles than either of my sets managed . That fits with Peter's experience with older units. Perhaps the brittleness is a recent problem. However, it is not short-lived as the two sets that have failed for me were bought several years apart.

Both my failures have been associated with Spyder springs, but I can't work out how they might contribute to the failures.

I have my 'latest' failed damper which I am happy to make available for metallurgy if anyone wants fto pursue that. The fracture surfaces certainly looks very granular and both have failed at exactly the same place at the base of the thread.

I have moved on to Protech dampers from Spyder with all sorts of assurances from Andy Widnall that they will be fine. I shall be really choked if they are not and Andy knows it. All their Zetec +2s use the Protechs so Spyder have a lot riding on them being OK.

In one way I consider myself really lucky that I have had two failures which could have pitched me off the road or into an accident both happen unspectacularly and close to home.

Roy



One common theme is Spax's indifference to our (their) problems. That is really disappointing.
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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Sun Jun 28, 2009 11:21 am

Wish I could oblige with the metallurgy, unfortunately I'm too far away.
From your description my money's on hydrogen embrittlement . A process problem not a design fault.
I expect Spax know anyway :roll:

Cheers
John
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PostPost by: umbyfer » Sun Jun 28, 2009 2:26 pm

Hello,

this is a bad news for me !
I am going to replace actual front and rear dampers and springs with new. I have just bought new Spax and springs at Paul Matty shop... ; Recently I have also bought front Koni/springs never used on ebay.

I use the car on road only and for regularity race. My actual set up is with adjastable system with small spring on the back (see pictures), but I would like to go back to the original system in order to install the original wheels/tires 155x13 instead of the actual Plus 2 wheels and 175/70 R13 tires.

What do I have to do now, after your experience, in order to avoid any problems before starting replacing job?

Thank you for any advise.
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Attachments
koni front dumpers.jpg and
front spring.JPG and
rear spring.JPG and
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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Sun Jun 28, 2009 4:11 pm

Umberto,

I'm not really happy about advising you which choice to make. :oops:
I can only say that I threw away the springs supplied by Spyder & fitted TTR fast road springs front & rear.
The rear dampers were also from TTR but the front ones Spyder supplied over 10 years ago.
I can only assume that those could also be Spax. But I think they are most likely Koni :?
Your photos are interesting & the ydepict a point I raised earlier.
The spring damper units lying on the bench show quite clearly the closeness of the spring coils & considerable spring buckling that I encountered when fitting Spyder springs onto the Spyder dampers.
They're sure to make horrible squeaking noises at least :roll:
Are they Spyder springs or from Matty? (Are Matty springs Spyder springs Maybe???)
The picture of your car's front suspension shows much wider spacing between the spring coils; quite obviously a different design.

A question: Are the Spax dampers stamped with a makers name which can be seen when fitted to the car?

Cheers
John
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PostPost by: umbyfer » Sun Jun 28, 2009 4:39 pm

John,

I bought at Paul Matty shop front and rear springs together with Spax dampers but he suppplied me separate...
I don't know the brand of the springs...
On ebay i bought Koni dampers with spring already installed as shown in the picture.

Regarding your last question I dont' remembar if the maker Spax name can be seen when installed... they are at the garage of my mecanic now... Why this question? I can check...

Thanks and regards,

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PostPost by: Roy Gillett » Sun Jun 28, 2009 6:27 pm

John

In my experience Spax dampers have always been painted a very bright yellow. Certianly since the 1960's. I strongly suspect that if they are yellow they are Spax and if not, then not.


Roy

D.J.Pelly wrote:Umberto,

I'm not really happy about advising you which choice to make. :oops:
I can only say that I threw away the springs supplied by Spyder & fitted TTR fast road springs front & rear.
The rear dampers were also from TTR but the front ones Spyder supplied over 10 years ago.
I can only assume that those could also be Spax. But I think they are most likely Koni :?
Your photos are interesting & the ydepict a point I raised earlier.
The spring damper units lying on the bench show quite clearly the closeness of the spring coils & considerable spring buckling that I encountered when fitting Spyder springs onto the Spyder dampers.
They're sure to make horrible squeaking noises at least :roll:
Are they Spyder springs or from Matty? (Are Matty springs Spyder springs Maybe???)
The picture of your car's front suspension shows much wider spacing between the spring coils; quite obviously a different design.

A question: Are the Spax dampers stamped with a makers name which can be seen when fitted to the car?

Cheers
John
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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Sun Jun 28, 2009 6:46 pm

roygillett wrote:John

In my experience Spax dampers have always been painted a very bright yellow. Certianly since the 1960's. I strongly suspect that if they are yellow they are Spax and if not, then not.


Roy

D.J.Pelly wrote:Umberto,

I'm not really happy about advising you which choice to make. :oops:
I can only say that I threw away the springs supplied by Spyder & fitted TTR fast road springs front & rear.
The rear dampers were also from TTR but the front ones Spyder supplied over 10 years ago.
I can only assume that those could also be Spax. But I think they are most likely Koni :?
Your photos are interesting & the ydepict a point I raised earlier.
The spring damper units lying on the bench show quite clearly the closeness of the spring coils & considerable spring buckling that I encountered when fitting Spyder springs onto the Spyder dampers.
They're sure to make horrible squeaking noises at least :roll:
Are they Spyder springs or from Matty? (Are Matty springs Spyder springs Maybe???)
The picture of your car's front suspension shows much wider spacing between the spring coils; quite obviously a different design.

A question: Are the Spax dampers stamped with a makers name which can be seen when fitted to the car?

Cheers
John


They's red, so more'n likely Koni's; was say thee?
Did them down at Spyder ever sell they?
Mine thee I be a bit colour bline :oops:
"Bristol text speak"

Cheers
John
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Editor: On Sunday morning, February 8th 2015, Derek "John" Pelly AKA GrumpyBodger passed away genuinely peacefully at Weston Hospicecare, Weston Super Mare. He will be missed.
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PostPost by: umbyfer » Sun Jun 28, 2009 8:11 pm

what I bought at paul matty are yellow and are gas dampers.

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PostPost by: alan71 » Sun Jun 28, 2009 8:30 pm

Koni Sport Dampers are yellow.

Alan.
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