Lotus Elan

Spyder +2 steering problems

PostPost by: Craig Elliott » Sat Mar 03, 2012 9:00 am

Julian - where are you?

On my car the steering is moderately heavy at parking speeds (smaller steering wheel than stock) but fine while driving. It does self-centre when driving BUT having read and got involved in this thread I did notice yesterday that when you turn on, or near to, full lock it does't self-centre - in fact it tends to go towards full lock. This is using standard wheels, steering rack, uprights, top ball joints and lower trunnions and a lotus chassis with spyder wishbones and supaflex top and lower inner wishbone bushes. It also has TTR adjustable dampers/springs. The front ride height is possibly a little low (it gives about 5 1/2 inches ground clearance at the crossmember BUT this is running with 70 profile tyres). Wheel alignment was done at a local garage used to working on and restoring classic cars. I'd suggest it probably is worth checking the alignment and ride height but I'd also see if there's someone else with a +2 nearby that you could compare notes with.

C
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PostPost by: julianaston » Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:05 pm

Craig Elliott wrote:Julian - where are you?

On my car the steering is moderately heavy at parking speeds (smaller steering wheel than stock) but fine while driving. It does self-centre when driving BUT having read and got involved in this thread I did notice yesterday that when you turn on, or near to, full lock it does't self-centre - in fact it tends to go towards full lock. This is using standard wheels, steering rack, uprights, top ball joints and lower trunnions and a lotus chassis with spyder wishbones and supaflex top and lower inner wishbone bushes. It also has TTR adjustable dampers/springs. The front ride height is possibly a little low (it gives about 5 1/2 inches ground clearance at the crossmember BUT this is running with 70 profile tyres). Wheel alignment was done at a local garage used to working on and restoring classic cars. I'd suggest it probably is worth checking the alignment and ride height but I'd also see if there's someone else with a +2 nearby that you could compare notes with.

C

I am in South Wales (Monmouthshire), so if there's anyone out there nearby, I would love reference mine against theirs.

Craig, thanks, I have driven quite a few cars with that full lock characteristic and guess it's something to do with camber at full lock. The more I think about mine, the more I think tracking (toe-out in particluar). Heavy steering is expected to some extent, but I have to kind of "push" it back to dead-ahead, which is the irksome bit.

I have only used some Jewsons lasers fixed to the wheel hubs to do the tracking myself and will now go and get it done by a garage.
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PostPost by: ricarbo » Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:36 pm

When checking the tracking, you should, I understand, take the readings, then move the car so the wheels rotate exactly half a turn, repeat the measurements and then take the average. This entirely eliminates errors due to wheel run out. Some people say to take three or more measurements to get an average, but they are wrong.
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PostPost by: julianaston » Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:40 pm

Good point. I will try again with the half rotation.
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PostPost by: julianaston » Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:30 pm

Right. Think I have found the problem.
Today took the car to get tracked. It had toe-out and the garage rectified it, but afterwards the steering was worse with a real reluctance to turn.

On the way back home, the bottom suspension joint broke and the nearside collapsed into the gutter. Good thing I was doing 25 and not 60. Also luckily I think the bottom wishbone has taken the grief from the road surface and there is no other damage to the car.

So when the car was jacked up, the bottom steering joints seem OK - no play and free moving, but when loaded they prevent movement presumably as they are badly corroded.
I am now going to go through the whole suspension and renew it all, just to be on the safe side.

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PostPost by: Craig Elliott » Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:08 pm

:shock:

Good luck with sorting it - I've heard of trunnions doing this but not ball joints (assuming that that was what broke)....
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PostPost by: julianaston » Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:39 pm

Now the steering is stripped, I can see that the lower ball joint was corroded and worn. So OK when no load on the joint, but when the car was down, it was grinding away at the joints.

On the mend now and it already feels good with one joint done (the other to go).

Thanks to all for their input to this thread.
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