Lotus Elan

Sagging Front End.

PostPost by: AlfaLofa » Mon May 24, 2010 7:58 am

The front off-side of my Elan is about 3/4 inch lower than the near side.

The sag is obvious when looking at the car front-on.

Is the recommended remedy new front dampers and springs - and if so what do all you petrol heads recommend??

At the moment the dampers are standard non-adjustable with standard springs.
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PostPost by: neilsjuke » Mon May 24, 2010 8:20 am

Do check the rear as well as a fault at the back can transfer to the front.
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PostPost by: bcmc33 » Mon May 24, 2010 11:02 am

AlfaLofa wrote:The front off-side of my Elan is about 3/4 inch lower than the near side.

Is that with you sitting in the driver's seat?

If not, measure again with someone in the driver's seat to see just how bad it really is.

AlfaLofa wrote:Is the recommended remedy new front dampers and springs??

My recommendation is adjustables from TTR/Spyder. Don't forget to order a spanner to adjust the springs to get the car sitting level at the height you want with you in the driving seat.

This assumes that, like me, you are normally the only person in the car.

And Neil is quite correct, the rears will need looking at as well.
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PostPost by: AlfaLofa » Mon May 24, 2010 12:27 pm

Thanks for your responses.

I've just checked the tyre pressures and remeasured the distance from the ground to the lower edge of the sill as shown in the photos.

The unladen (but with half a tank of fuel) distance at the front (A) is:

6 1/8" offside
6 3/4" nearside

The unladen distance at the back (B) is:

7 3/8" offside
7 3/4" nearside

Taking your advice bcmc33, I asked my wife to sit in the driver's seat. With her in the driver's seat the offside front measures 6" and the nearside front 6 3/4".

According to the workshop manual the distance should be 6" all round - but it doesn't say whether this is laden or not.

I've got adjustables on the back but standard on the front - but no spanner to adjust the dampers.

So whatever happens it looks as if I need to buy a spanner and lower the back.

How's that done - by trial and error presumably?
Attachments
B.jpg and
A.jpg and
Last edited by AlfaLofa on Sun May 30, 2010 6:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: Bahamayellow » Mon May 24, 2010 1:19 pm

Just been through all this and had the geometry checked by Spyder. I'm relatively new to Elans but it was obvious the PO had made a bit of a pigs dinner of the suspension set up after restoring the car and I thought it best to get Spyder to have a look at it. They told me that one important thing to remember is that the body is not the best measurement of ensuring you have the correct ride height all round. If the body has been off the chassis it may not have been put back on correctly. I was told by spyder that for road cars you should start with the suspension geometry/height as set out in the workshop manual and get that correct at all four corners and then check if the body is sitting on the chassis correctly.
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PostPost by: Elanintheforest » Mon May 24, 2010 1:20 pm

I seem to remember Steve that you restored this car fairly recently. It's just a thought, but when you torqued up the wishbones, did you do that when the car was on the ground and the suspension loaded, or with the wheels in the air? If the suspension wasn't loaded it would have an effect on ride height....and handling!

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PostPost by: AlfaLofa » Mon May 24, 2010 1:45 pm

Mark,

The car has been back on the road for about ten years now. I can't remember what I did way back in the late 90s but I think I would have done it by the book.

Since the Elan has been back on the road it has covered about 7000 (usually entertaining) miles - and the "sag" wasn't really noticeable until now.

In that time I've already had the rear adjustable shocks fitted by Kelvedon motors - but the front shocks are as fitted by me in the late 1990s.

Ten years after the restoration a few bits are looking nicely worn in (i.e. tatty) and repairs are beginning to become necessary.

The donuts have been replaced and 4 years ago I got a new bonnet from TT (the original S1 bonnet buckled and split due to the power of the springs over a period of more than 40 years).

I've still not finally fitted the bonnet (no reason to rush things). It's on the car but unsprayed. It will stay like that until I somehow make it fit a little better.

Bahamayellow, I'll get the manual out and do a spot of suspension measuring.

I'll report back shortly.
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PostPost by: billwill » Mon May 24, 2010 2:45 pm

AlfaLofa wrote:The front off-side of my Elan is about 3/4 inch lower than the near side.

The sag is obvious when looking at the car front-on.

Is the recommended remedy new front dampers and springs - and if so what do all you petrol heads recommend??

At the moment the dampers are standard non-adjustable with standard springs.



Erm, you have checked the obvious, I hope, that your front chassis turrets have not rusted through and collapsed?

elan-f15/how-repaired-rusty-front-suspension-turrets-t16727.html?hilit=%20weld
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Mon May 24, 2010 4:03 pm

AlfaLofa wrote: I asked my wife to sit in the driver's seat. With her massive bulk the offside front measures 6" and the nearside front 6 3/4".



Whoa! She doesn't read this forum, does she?

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PostPost by: AlfaLofa » Mon May 24, 2010 5:11 pm

No the chassis is in excellent condition

And no she doesn't read this forum - anyway I was being rather unkind!!
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PostPost by: Galwaylotus » Tue May 25, 2010 7:25 pm

If I put my wife in my Elan I probably wouldn't see any difference in ride height!
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PostPost by: simonknee » Fri May 28, 2010 8:16 pm

With all else equal the ride height will be set by the springs. Sounds like your ample wife has cause the passenger side to sag before the drivers side. It's a pain but if you take the suspension off and measure the springs you may well find that one is now longer than the other. Perhaps an easier way to check is to look at the relationship of the lower wishbones to the front cross member. Are these at different angles?
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PostPost by: alexblack13 » Fri May 28, 2010 8:57 pm

If I put my wife in the Elan I would never see it again. :shock: :shock:

Happy days... :lol: :lol:

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PostPost by: gerrym » Fri May 28, 2010 9:24 pm

Yes, just thank your lucky stars it's a sagging front end and a sagging backside.

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PostPost by: AlfaLofa » Sat May 29, 2010 5:11 pm

The Elan and the wife.

The Elan I've had since 73 and the wife since 74.
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Tarbet2.jpg and
Last edited by AlfaLofa on Sun May 30, 2010 6:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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