Lotus Elan

Plus 2 Spyder - Wheel clearance and body damage

PostPost by: nickruss » Fri Feb 07, 2020 7:09 pm

Today I hit a drain cover at a moderate speed and this happened. Is this a common thing? My Elan +2 (Spyder) has alloy Minilite wheels and Nankang NS-2R tyres fitted (185/60R14 XL). Any advice on wheel choice/tyres/offsets much appreciated!

56AA10B8-1C06-41CF-9EDF-D3A73C31E033.jpeg and


1F6F127E-0AA3-42D1-B0BA-CAEEAC310265.jpeg and
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PostPost by: Matt Elan » Fri Feb 07, 2020 8:46 pm

Standard fitment is 165x13 so a 185/60 x 14 is significantly wider so it’s not surprising that the tyre is clipping the wing. And that’s not taking into account the wheel offset.
If you fit wider tyres then check clearance by operating the suspension without the damper fitted, that’ll show you if you have adequate clearance over the whole suspension movement.......
In this case it looks like too wide a tyre and a bit too much wheel offset making the edge of the tyre just catching the arch lip.
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PostPost by: EPA » Fri Feb 07, 2020 9:33 pm

It may be the angle from which the picture was taken but the tyre appears to be sitting further out of the wheel arch than similar size wheels and tyres do on my car. I wonder if the offset is correct
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PostPost by: HCA » Fri Feb 07, 2020 9:39 pm

In fact the tyre is .75” wider than the width of a correct 13” tyre, but certainly in your photo, it sticks out a fair bit. I would imagine the offset of the wheel is too much and/or it has a spacer.

Your car has allegedly - I was told when I briefly enquired details - was built to a rally spec and allegedly has had some rally success, so something not right there if one smack on a road cover can do that damage! Maybe go back to the seller as a car with rally spec suspension should be better than that...

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PostPost by: nickruss » Fri Feb 07, 2020 10:28 pm

HCA wrote:In fact the tyre is .75” wider than the width of a correct 13” tyre, but certainly in your photo, it sticks out a fair bit. I would imagine the offset of the wheel is too much and/or it has a spacer.

Your car has allegedly - I was told when I briefly enquired details - was built to a rally spec and allegedly has had some rally success, so something not right there if one smack on a road cover can do that damage! Maybe go back to the seller as a car with rally spec suspension should be better than that...

Hal
Thanks Hal, I will indeed check the wheel offset. Out of interest, where did you hear my car was built to rally spec?
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Sat Feb 08, 2020 1:46 am

If the car has the standard large diameter rear springs the offset may have been increased to clear these and thus pushing the wheel to far out at the front to clear the guard in full bump. That sort of damage is especially common when the wheel is turned to drive into an uphill driveway at low speed.

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PostPost by: HCA » Sat Feb 08, 2020 9:28 am

nickruss wrote:Thanks Hal, I will indeed check the wheel offset. Out of interest, where did you hear my car was built to rally spec?


I heard from the seller! (I have spoken to pretty well all +2 ads in Car & Classic over the past six months!)

Do not get me wrong - he only ever said minor spec, so do not go out and register for a WRC entry! I was interested in the zetec aspect and of course he drummed up the capabilities.

My point is that I assume you purchased the car in a commercial sale, and I think I know what you paid, and for these reasons you have a g ood case to return the car for repair and rectification. I certainly would not expect to buy a car retail and have the wing try to chop the wall off the tiyre.

You might question the tyres as well, yours have a 22.7” diameter against a 23.4” standard - causing a 2” reduction in circumference meaning you will have an unnecessary high rpm for ordinary road use. (Depending of course on the final drive ratio) But of course if you wish to use the car compeitively, then the size might be ideal - just sort out the track and spring travel!

Seriously consider though seeking retribution from the seller...

Bon chance!
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PostPost by: nmauduit » Sat Feb 08, 2020 9:55 am

it looks like the tire is rubbing against the fender lip : when that happens with fiberglass, even very lightly, damages are bound to follow.
Clearance may be obtained by using equivalent rims with more backspace, in a plus2 there should be room to fit your tires (significantly more room than for 2 seaters). I would suggest to measure actual backspace of your rims and check with others that are successfully using a similar setup.

If one wants to max out the size of tires then it is a matter of meeting several constraints (fender lip for the outside and spring/plateform for the rear and sometimes lower suspension wishbone extremity - though with 14" you should be fine with a backspace compatible with the spring part). The fender lips could be ground off a bit, but not much is to be gained from that before weakening the fender (not enough here I think) and also this will be detrimental to the fender aspect, not appropriate for a nice car if seen on beat up racers.

tire rubbing.jpg and
tire rubbing by about 1cm


Of course one also needs to ensure that front fender clearance is reasonably safe, including with the wheel at an angle and not just straight (esp. for the occasionnal track day).
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PostPost by: vincereynard » Sat Feb 08, 2020 3:35 pm

I think that 185/60 X14 is what Spyder normally fit to their cars.

Whilst I'd agree it looks a bit strange (too wide and too short) you would be better off asking SpyderFan
about what he has fitted. Perhaps the wheels themselves have excessive offset?
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PostPost by: nickruss » Sat Feb 08, 2020 8:08 pm

Thanks everyone for such detailed information. I got a chance between rain showers to take some pictures of the suspension on both sides. I’m far from knowledgeable, but note the number of threads showing on the spring adjuster is a lot more on the nearside (where the damage to the wheel arch took place).

[Note, this is a Spyder converted Plus 2]

I also checked the tyre pressures and dropped them from 30psi down to 25 psi.

4D3FFE3A-9B84-4082-B9E8-6A88C3901E0A.jpeg and
Last edited by nickruss on Sat Feb 08, 2020 8:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: vincereynard » Sat Feb 08, 2020 8:25 pm

That's not a standard Triumph / Lotus front assembly. No Trunnions. I imagine it is an after market replacement - presumably some sort of ball joint to rreplace the trunnions.

How (or if) that effects the geometry I've no idea. You would have to ask the builder. Presumably Spyder.
Good Luck with that!
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PostPost by: nmauduit » Sat Feb 08, 2020 8:28 pm

nickruss wrote:I also checked the tyre pressures and dropped them from 30psi down to 25 psi.


the corner weight and general geometry aside as a matter in itself, I would go with the tire pressure recommended by the manufacturer to get started : if underinflated the tire walls do not keep their rigidity and the contact patch suffers. I would not be surprised if the recommended pressure for these would be closer to 30 than to 25, esp. considering that the Plus2 is not that light (no offense) - yet of course you may optimize tire pressure for your own car and preferred use by testing on the track, but that would come after a good chassis tuning I would think.

ps: your rotor appears to be getting a bit scratched
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PostPost by: HCA » Sat Feb 08, 2020 9:08 pm

Do those springs look right? I am not well versed on the various suspension configurations yet, but to me they look pretty near coilbound. But maybe not if you managed to bounce the wheel up as high as you did.

Based on your damage, the apparant poor setting and Vince’s comments, I urge you to go back to WD Wins and get it sorted.

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PostPost by: vincereynard » Sat Feb 08, 2020 10:00 pm

This is what my front looks like. Note the brass trunnions. (Also the non standard Spyder wishbones.)

P1040749.JPG and


I'm not saying there is anything specifically wrong but it would be good for you to know what it is and what has been done. (The discs look rather grooved as well!)

As a guide, under normal running load, the bottom wishbone should be nigh on horizontal to the road.
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Sun Feb 09, 2020 9:40 am

I used to fit the same wheels but with Yoko AO48 tyres for track days, I don’t remember them sticking out so much from the wheel arches although I did have quite a gap between the top of the tyres and the wheel arch to make up for the awful Spyder exhaust manifold that always scraped tarmac at the least bump.

This is how my car looks as of a few weeks ago, it has 185/65/14 tyres on Minotor 14x6 rims ( I can’t remember the offset, but can get it for you). Note that the tyres don’t stick out and that they fill the arch nicely.
2019-12-30 15.03.52.jpg and


As per my PM, the temporary fix is to raise the spring perches especially on the side that’s affected as per your photos, then investigate different wheel and tyre options. To get to the same look as mine you will most likely need to change the exhaust manifold to get ground clearance, although a change to 65 profile tyres with correct offset wheels will raise the car by 1/2 inch.
Kindest regards

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