Lotus Elan

Tightening front suspension - add weight first?

PostPost by: lotocone » Sat Jul 24, 2010 1:45 pm

My front suspension has been apart and now I'm about to tighten it. I know the Workshop Manual says to tighten with
the car in the "normal ride position". Should I account for weight in the seats and trunk/boot? I am asking because
a recent post under Things in Common - Rear Suspension Geometry says that the Plus 2 Manual Section X gives the following
weights that should be added.

Plus 2 info:
Front seats............168 lb
Back Seats..............80 lb
Boot.......................72 lb
Fuel Tank................50 lb, equiv to 5 imp gallons, 23 l, 6 US gallons

Section X in my Elan manual has some missing pages and I don't remember anything like this. Is there anything in the Elan
Manual that gives recommended weight to add?

I am thinking about just adding weight to the driver's seat to account for myself plus a full tank of fuel. That would be
about the most common situation for my car. Maybe I'll add some wt to the pasenger seat also to even it out..

The car will be on the ground or the wheels will be jacked up to the normal ride position for the tightening.


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PostPost by: summerinmaine » Sat Jul 24, 2010 5:15 pm


I'm trying to remember where, but I read a manual that recommended using blocks of wood (of a certain height). You weighted down the car until the threaded ends of the front dampers just "nipped" the wood, and then tightened the suspension.

Can't for the life of me remember where, or what height. :oops:

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PostPost by: terryp » Sat Jul 24, 2010 6:22 pm

I think the manual is basically saying, don't tighten the suspension up whilst its in the air.
But I don't believe the car has to be weighted down or anything, just rolled back and forth a bit to make it settle. I don't even think its particularly critical as it will settle further a bit anyway.
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PostPost by: kerryblu » Sat Jul 24, 2010 8:29 pm

Having the same problems, the WSM says in section X blockes of wood are 6 & one eighth for the front & 6" for the rear.
Took me just over 3 hours to try, used concrete blocks on rolling chassis to get the wish-bones level with floor, torqued up the nuts took off the blockes and it went back to where I started.( back to the drawing board). Not shore what to do next.Sleep on it, hope something comes to mind tomorrow.


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PostPost by: paddy » Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:05 pm

Tightening everything at a given position won't change the ride height. All it will change is the amount of stress on the bushes at the normal ride height (prolonging the life of the bushes).

if the ride height is wrong and you've recently replaced the springs, give it some time and it will probably settle. Or, if you have adjustables, adjust.

BTW instead of loading the car with weights, I put a block of wood (say 3") under the wheel on one side and lower the car gradually (so that side is taking more of the weight) until the suspension on that side to the correct "normal" position for tightening. Then move the block to the other side and do the same there.

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PostPost by: stugilmour » Sun Jul 25, 2010 1:46 pm

Bob & Gerald:

To add to my post regarding adding weight to the Plus 2, the manual mentions placing the added weight down the centre line of the car. I figured this is impractical with the centre consol installed, and just placed the weight on the seats evenly side to side. When I added weight the movement in the front suspension was way smaller than in the rear.

Agree completely with Paddy that this will not alter the suspension setting & final ride height. Have decided to leave my rear suspension high for now and see how much it settles with road use. Options if It does not fully settle is shorter springs, adjustable perches, which will require disassembly anyway.

Not sure of assembly procedure for the Elan, but I have the car resting directly on the tires on four 8 1/2" high blocks. This allows weight to act correctly and provides access to underside of car. Made the blocks out of 2 x6's about 12" square. Figure they will be handheld other service jobs in the future.
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PostPost by: lotocone » Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:57 pm

Summerinmaine - thanks I see the info about the wood blocks. I see they are mentioned in the Front Suspension section of the Workshop Manual.

Just noticed my car sits too high in the front due to the springs which I will replace next week. I think I might have Plus 2 springs now. Will also go with adjustable AVO shocks.

Stu, thanks for the extra info. I agree with you and Paddy that adding wt and tightening the bolts will not change the ride height. It might limit wear on the bushings. Today one of the guys at Dave Bean suggested adding some wt. I think that I'll add approximately my wt before tightening the suspension bolts. In the past I did not add any wt, but it seems like reasonable thing to do.

Can't wait to get this done and get on the road for the fisrt time this year.
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