Lotus Elan

Front suspension woes

PostPost by: elanern » Sun Oct 17, 2010 8:05 pm

So, after working on the passenger window today I decided to look into why the Elan has 8" clearance at the front crossmember vs. the ~6" suggested. I recently installed new Spax adjustable front shocks I got from Ray Dent using the original springs. What is curious is there is almost no compression (maybe 1/2") even with my pushing down on the fender (wing). Without the shocks installed the suspension moves freely through its entire arc. Yes, I have not tightened down the suspension. Yes, there is anti-seize on all the bolts. By the way, the car acted the same way with the old shocks (too high, no compression).

The car sat for over 10 years with the front wheels off the ground. Is it possible for springs to take a "set" and harden while extended? Should I have bought lowering springs with the Spax shocks to maintain the correct ride height? What else could possibly be causing the front suspension to sit 2" higher than normal and have almost no compression at all? :(

As always, thanks for your consideration.

Regards,
Ernie
Florida, USA
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PostPost by: nebogipfel » Sun Oct 17, 2010 8:45 pm

elanern wrote:.......I recently installed new Spax adjustable front shocks............
Regards,



I would suggest that is your problem.

I tried a set on the front of my S4 and it completely screwed up the ride height and geometry. I took them off and fitted OE ones and all was fine.

(I also sent the rears back and fitted Konis)

I've said it before but I wouldn't fit Spax to my wheelbarrow :!:
John

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PostPost by: paddy » Sun Oct 17, 2010 9:22 pm

Mine had Spax adjustables at the front when I got it. At the lowest setting the car was at least an inch too high. I'm not sure where they came from, but perhaps that specific combination of spring and damper was sold somewhere as being correct for the Elan.

I could have replaced the springs with ones with a shorter free length but, in the event, I replaced the whole unit after a series of shocking(!) failures with Spax reported here.

Paddy
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Mon Oct 18, 2010 8:46 pm

I pulled out some front Elan shocks, most are well used but it shows the relative heights of the mounting eyes and the perches. The shocks are fully extended and I tried to line up the bottom eyes on the line on the floor in the first photo. The Two Spax shocks on the left have the bottom perch up higher that the Koni or the Armstong, I think that they are supposed to be used with a shorter higher rate spring. I think I gave $50 or $60 for the Spax's with the fixed perchs one year at Limerock, the springs are from Dave Bean and I believe that they are 115 lb. x 12 inch. I don't know if they will work or not as they haven't been installed yet.
Image
This picture is more lined up with the top of the spring perch. From Left to right are Spax adjustable, Spax Adjustable with adjustable perch, the next 3 are Koni adjustable and on the right is an original Armstrong I think.
Image

This last photo for LOG30 is someone with the same issue as elanern has in that the front end appears to be about 2 inches to high. Nice looking elan though.
Image

Image
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PostPost by: elanern » Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:48 pm

The shocks I took off are Monroe. All dimensions between the Spax and Monroe shocks are the same. However, although the upper spring perch of the Spax shock is the same as the Monroe, the mounting point for the upper rubber mount where it meets the suspension upright about 1 - 1 1/2" taller than the Monroe, which obviously will raise the front of the car. I don't know why I accepted that as a non-issue before installing them.

I'm still wondering why I can't compress the front suspension more than 1/2" or so.
Ernie
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Tue Oct 19, 2010 5:50 am

The two left hand shocks in the picture are Plus2 items....

John :wink:
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