Springs and dampers - 1978 S1 Elite

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theelanman
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Springs and dampers - 1978 S1 Elite

Post by theelanman »

can't find a section for suspension.....so thought I'd try here

just thinking out loud

I've completely rebuilt the suspension of the car but used the springs and damper that were on the car......all looked good...so thought why not........they all work well but I wondered about adjustable seat coil overs

Having recently seen a lovely grey elite that looked like it'd lost a couple of cm's off the ride height.........

I'm thinking I might do this......gives me an option to be a bit lower of at the standard height......

Anyone got any experiences?.......anyone know the best place to get adjustable seat dampers?........any insights?........

Thanks in advance........

Like I say.....I'm just thinking out loud.....

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Lotus-e-Clan
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Re: Springs and dampers - 1978 S1 Elite

Post by Lotus-e-Clan »

I'd steer clear of coilovers for the Elite (or Excel).

Image


The function of the Elite rear suspension in particular relies on the carefully designed the sum of its parts. The rear trailing arms run in an arc which requires a lot of flex of the bushes to resolve the imperfection in the geometry - given the fixed length driveshaft used as the upper location for the rear hubs.

OK - the damper bushes are less involved with that process - but you will note the slight conical nature or the rear springs AND the excessive length (long travel)...plus the spring rate is relatively soft (compared to the Excel for example). You will be hard pressed to find a rear coil over spring that covers the ride and road holding function of the std rear spring. The spring top location at the ends of the chassis rear cross member also works in conjunction with the top damper mount to dissipate the load into the chassis. If you fit coil overs then all of that load will go through the coil over's top damper bush ..so at the very least expect a harsher ride.

You could drop the rear ride height by reducing the spring length but the driveshaft u/j's will run misaligned most of the time -instead of some of the time ..expect to replace the u/js even more frequently than normal (if it were a 10k mile commuter the u/js only last about year),
Peter K

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Re: Springs and dampers - 1978 S1 Elite

Post by Pete Boole »

Are you planning to stick with the same spring rates? If I change my dampers I will go to the company who re-build Leda dampers (amongst others) and get them to valve some for me - I spent a morning with them a few months ago measuring my original Elite dampers on their dyno. I you change spring diameter you need to fabricate some supports for the tops of the spring towers - the suspension tops are not made to take the top of a typical coil-overs. I agree that the Elite/Eclat look better for being slightly lower in their stance.

Let us know what you decide to do! I don't think we've seen photos of your car yet!! :wink:

Pete

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theelanman
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Re: Springs and dampers - 1978 S1 Elite

Post by theelanman »

Just thinking out loud really
The other option would be bigger wheels and tyres with stiffer spring I suppose........but that'll knacker up the speedo....and handling......
I've not got a clue which way to go
I'm just going to run it with standard at the moment and see what i think......it was all pretty new looking so i never thought about changing anything........
I don't wanna go low low......just take it down by max 1"
I didnt want to lose the original alloys either

And i apologies for the lack of pics........
I didnt take any while it was in bits......and its been at the painter and trimmers since Feb........got stuck in covid........so I'll post some finished pics.....oops....when i get it back......

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Lotus-e-Clan
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Re: Springs and dampers - 1978 S1 Elite

Post by Lotus-e-Clan »

Image

No doubt that a low ride makes the Elite looks uber cool! 8)

Can't remember who owns this but I'd be inclined to ask him about how he did it and how it rides. Definitely a poser job - and definitely nowt wrong with that as long as you don't mind slow and low. Maybe the ride height is adjustable from the dash? :)
Peter K

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theelanman
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Re: Springs and dampers - 1978 S1 Elite

Post by theelanman »

Red panther
Air ride
I did look at this a few years ago when it was up for sale.......
Too low for me....but uber cool for the retro low rides
Think the handling wouldn't cope with a track day.....but it might.......
I'm only after a small drop......lol

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Re: Springs and dampers - 1978 S1 Elite

Post by Pete Boole »

If you like the basic set-up - how it feels on the road - you could get some new springs made and keep the dampers - it's not expensive. No need for adjustable platforms. I've used a company in Sheffield (down the road for you!) called Springcoil - they will make you anything you want.

Pete

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Re: Springs and dampers - 1978 S1 Elite

Post by Lotus-e-Clan »

To drop an inch you will only need to shorten the springs by just over 1/2 inch.

As a quick and dirty check on what ride height you really want within a limited range you could temporarily compress the coils with clamps (multiple Jubilee clips on the last few coils - dodgy but you'd get a much better idea of what looks and works without stressing the U/J's too much). Then get a proper OEM spec conical pair made to the new free length (say 0.7 inch shorter) at the appropriate rate ( I'd try only about 5% -10% stiffer with the slightly shorter spring) using Pete's preferred spring maker SpringCoil in Sheffield. Less is more if you don't want to completely destroy the work done by Chapman's boys. :D Dampers may need a tweak (rates + body and rod length) too if you go too stiff and short...otherwise OEM would likely be OK of you stuck to only 5% stiffer @ 0.7 inch shorter.
Peter K

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Re: Springs and dampers - 1978 S1 Elite

Post by DavidOliver »

What does the term COILOVER really mean?
It appears that Elite and Excel originally carry coilovers but this Forum refers to changing to Coilovers.
Can someone clarify, please?

Dave the cog.

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Re: Springs and dampers - 1978 S1 Elite

Post by theelanman »

The coil/spring is on the outside/over the shock/damper

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Re: Springs and dampers - 1978 S1 Elite

Post by Hawaiis0 »

Sounds like a general misconception on the term - for me anyway. The previous description makes clearer sense.

I now understand we should be talking adjustable and fixed height coil overs. (if that is the correct terminology to use)

OEM were fixed height, but as the Excel's Armstrong rear shock originals, with fixed spring seat , are like hens teeth the current solution is to get adjustable coil overs for the rears.
Umm! What to do next?

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theelanman
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Re: Springs and dampers - 1978 S1 Elite

Post by theelanman »

The coil/spring is on the outside/over the shock/damper.......i have always assumed the spring was captive on the shock......with an integral mount at the top and bottom of the shock........
The Elite version is virtually the same but I think the top of the spring sits on the chassis.......?????

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Re: Springs and dampers - 1978 S1 Elite

Post by Pete Boole »

A coil-over uses a collet at the top to retain the spring - it can be removed from a car as a single unit. The weight of the car then goes through the top damper mounting. On the Elite/Eclat/Excel the spring sits up against the chassis, so the chassis takes the weight, leaving the top damper mounting point just to hold the damper rod.

Pete

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theelanman
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Re: Springs and dampers - 1978 S1 Elite

Post by theelanman »

Anyone know the standard specification for the front and rear springs.....?
I might just try the slightly shorter spri g option first just to see......

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Re: Springs and dampers - 1978 S1 Elite

Post by Pete Boole »

Mine measured 142lb/inch at the front and 110lb/inch rear.

Pete

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