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Damper and Spring Kits , Part Numbers

Suspension

 

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Damper and Spring Kits

 

Compiled by Dot

Lotus started of with "cylindrical" type springs (with the red koni dampers). After complaints from customers about the springs rattling against (actually touching) the dampers, Lotus changed the springs to "barrel" shaped springs. Due to the shape, the springs did not touch the dampers any more (change point # W3580). The same dampers were used with the later springs, but the securing clip on the damper is in a different position because the later springs are a bit longer. Lotus sport suspension has again different springs and different (yellow) dampers.

Almost all the aftermarket ones adjust for height, but consensus seems to be that if car is dropped by more than 25mms then speed bumps etc start to become real problems. Most also have some adjustment of damping rates.

Good suspension units is not a cheap exercise, and if you upgrade the suspension you should also budget to uprade the Anti Roll Bar at the same time. Every time you change the ride hight you (officially) have to adjust the geomerty of the suspension. The adjustment of the damping rate is nice for road or track.

The Lotus Sport set up is a fair deal firmer than standard but actually more comfortable as it doesn't crash and bang about like the standard kit which is a bit on the soft side IMHO. The kit includes the brackets to lower the steering rack so that you don't get bumpsteer. No rose joints so quite easy to maintain and reasonably quiet. . The ride height is adjustabble, but you are stuck with the factory settings for the dampers.

The Leda kit (datasheet) is more race oriented with rose joints that do need to be kept clean (Fd : although rubber bushed road orientated versions of the dampers now seem to be available from Race-Speed) and can be noisy. Very much harder spring rates and some people reckon too hard for the road, although others love it. It is adjustable. General opinion is that they are excellent for track use, but a compromise for road use.

Raceline have developed their own adjustable shocks and springs specifically for the Elise, working with a small British outfit called Nitron The kit allows adjustment of the ride height as well as damper rates: http://www.raceline.co.uk/

Nitron NTX dampers are also available through Eliseparts and direct from Nitron themselves, for the same cost.

The following posting from the Lotus BBS descibes the various suspension options in more detail:

 

Simon S
Posted 23 October 2001 at 18:04:01 UK time
I think that some basic stuff needs to be covered first:

1) Just because you run a lower ride height does not necessarily mean that you will ground out more compared to the std setup, if you run it 20mm lower with ~30% stiffer springs, it will take the same load to achieve the same reduction is height.

The other bit to remember is that is what the bump valveing of a damper is for, to limit the speed of the wheel rising into the arch.

2) ride quality (in terms of how stiff the car feels) is 90% to do with the dampers, not the springs, don't be afraid of what seem like really stiff springs.

3) The LSS is only 'adjustable' in that the spring platforms can be adjusted, this does not make them 'adjustable dampers' all it means is that you have some ability to corner weight and limited ability to alter ride height.
 

Of the after-market ones, they basically fall into 3 types:

1) Single way adjustable -

These have one adjuster for either rebound only or bump & rebound, the latter being at a fixed ratio (normally 3:1 for road cars).

They will have usually anywhere from 8 to 30 'clicks' from one extreme to the other, thus to set them you count the clicks from one end.

If you are looking at these sort they are usually relatively cheap, but vary in quality a lot, better ones are re-buildable (nothing lasts for ever and a re-build is way cheaper then replacement).

I personally am not a great fan of SPAX, they are really cheaply made, Leda are OK but I am aware of seal problems, Nitron ones look good, but I have no personal experience of them.

As I said earlier, the default ratio for this is usually 3:1, for the Elise, I would suggest something more like 2.2:1, this seems to be more balanced for road/track use.

2) 2-way adjustable -

These have separate adjustments for bump and re-bound. Dampers like these are getting to the serious end of the market and are NOT cheap, what you do get though is the ability to independently tune the dampers to the car/spring combination for all circumstances.

Realistically, you are NOT going to get these for road and track day use, they will take you a year to learn how to use them, and another to set them up!

Lotus sell Dynamics (as used on the LS-1), these are just stupid money, and whist there is nothing wrong with them, they do not justify the sort of price tag asked. Koni make very acceptable ones (I use these) as do Leda, Ohlins, etc, etc. They sort of go from 1,200 to 4,000 a set.

3) -way adjustable -

Now, this is where we get onto sill stuff. These have two bump adjustments and 2 rebound adjustments (1 with 3 ways!). The difference between the two is one is called fast the other slow, what this means is that if the wheel is trying to rise because of a bump in the road, the slow valve will control the damping, if however, instead of a bump it's a kerb, the force applied to the damper will be much greater, so the fast valve would also come into play along
with the slow valve.

This is all well and good with mega-bucks touring cars etc. that are designed to go kerb-hopping, but with a light car like the Elise, it's almost totally wasted, aside the need for 10,000 worth of suspension data logging and M. Shumie's understanding of what it's trying to tell you. These can cost from 3,000-20,000 a set.

Getting back to what Dot asked for, I would strongly suggest something like the Leda/Nitron set with 350/450 (front/rear) springs and 2.5:1 bump/rebound ratio and an up-rated ARB, this should cost you well under the LSS kit including having it fitted.

As for ride high, if you have a particular problem with grounding the car now, then with the above spring rates, 110/120 should be no worse (and probably better) than what you have now.

Whichever route you go down, you will need to have the geometry changed to match the dampers/springs and take into account what tyres and use you want out of the car.


Part Numbers

Compiled by Fd

 

Don't pay the dealers over the odds for simple suspension parts.

These part numbers are definate for the S1, if you know them to be correct for the S2 please let us know.

Wishbone end balljoints :-

QH part number QSJ883S

Track rod end balljoints :-

QH part number QR2382S
First Line FTR 4212
AP Lockheed (also known as Delphi)TA1498
GSJ 732 (UNIPART)

Available from any decent motor factors.

Disclaimer : All information is supplied as a guide only.
No Guarantee as to its reliability can be issued.
You use this information entirely at your own risk.

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© Elise FAQ Team 2002