Lotus Elan

Front ride height

PostPost by: s28ven » Sat May 16, 2020 5:18 pm

I have a S3 SE which rides ridiculously low at the front and I’m trying to figure out the cause. There is around 5/10mm between the tyre and the arch when stationary.

Can someone confirm the length of the dampener when fitted and jacked up from the top plate to bottom plate?

I have 2 units, one of which was on the car previously (40 years ago) and looking at my dads old pictures it never used to sit this way. There is only 10mm difference between the two units which doesn’t seem right either.

When it is on the floor the chassis end of the wishbone is 10mm lower than the wheel end.

Thanks,

Steven
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PostPost by: bitsobrits » Sat May 16, 2020 6:03 pm

Comparing the unloaded length of two dampers isn't going to tell you much unless the dampers are the same spec from the same manufacturer, in which case they should be identical. The length of loaded to unloaded of the same damper tells you very little unless you know the spring rate and actual load value at that corner. Best to instead focus on the ride height, which on Elans is typically measured to the bottom edge of the front crossmember or the center of the lower A-arm pivot pin (assuming it's not bent). Factory specs are in the manual.

If the car is in fact lower than intended, you will need new springs, at least. Adjustable spring perch dampers are available which aid in setting ride height once you have the correct springs. If you are unfamiliar with the various spring options available, I would consult with one of the many reputable suppliers.
Steve

Elan S1 1963-Bourne bodied
Elan S3 1967 FHC pre airflow

Formerly:
Elan S1 1964
Elan S3 1966 FHC pre airflow
Elan S3 1967 FHC airflow
Elan S4 1969 FHC
Europa S2 1970
Esprit S2 1979
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PostPost by: s28ven » Sat May 16, 2020 6:36 pm

Thanks for your reply. I will check the manual and have a measure.

It is on a spyder (not tubular) chassis so I will need to check the pivot pin as I assume the front cross member is different dimensions.

Thanks,

Steven
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PostPost by: vincereynard » Sun May 17, 2020 9:16 am

Load the car with normal running load (ish) and check the bottom wishbone.

It should be nigh on horizontal.

1201 May. 17 10.12.jpg and
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