Front Drivers side sits low

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NickC
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Front Drivers side sits low

Post by NickC »

Any suggestions as to why my SA seems to sit perhaps 5/8" lower on the drivers side than the passenger side. The Springs and shocks were changed about four years ago for genuine Lotus ones, also a couple of years back I recall swapping the fronts side to side but still the same.

I don't know if the car is naturally heavier on one side or whether there is some other reason for this. Can't just get adjustable shockers because these fronts are chassis to wishbone, no room for adjustment.

As the front has always been slightly lower than the rear I would like raise it a little and maybe stiffen-up a bit if possible. Has anyone established which spring rate and length would do this. Original springs were 350 lbs/in, free length 12.85".

What about also lengthening the spring and removing the 1/2" rubber spacer that was fitted at the top end between the spring and the chassis, does that have any purpose other than trying to raise the front a little?

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dpr59
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Re: Front Drivers side sits low

Post by dpr59 »

NickC wrote:Can't just get adjustable shockers because these fronts are chassis to wishbone, no room for adjustment.
Nick,
I've adjustable dampers all round
Don't even need to jack the car up to adjust the front, but it is easier, just turn the wheels
full lock and in with screw driver between the spring.

Pics from fitting elsewhere.

Not really the answer but my SA sits square.
Isn't it the springs that do the ride height, has one cracked?
A

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alanmoss
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Re: Front Drivers side sits low

Post by alanmoss »

I had the same symptoms a few months ago; broken right front spring was identified. All springs and dampers were replaced and now it is fine.
Interestingly the coils had settled on each other and the car was still working reasonably well apart from the droop.
Alan
Excel Celebration, 1999 Mini Cooper S, Dacia Duster 4x4

NickC
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Re: Front Drivers side sits low

Post by NickC »

Sorry meant can't get shockers with adjustable spring seats.
dpr59 wrote:
NickC wrote:Can't just get adjustable shockers because these fronts are chassis to wishbone, no room for adjustment.
Nick,
I've adjustable dampers all round
Don't even need to jack the car up to adjust the front, but it is easier, just turn the wheels
full lock and in with screw driver between the spring.

Pics from fitting elsewhere.

Not really the answer but my SA sits square.
Isn't it the springs that do the ride height, has one cracked?

NickC
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Re: Front Drivers side sits low

Post by NickC »

Hi Alan,

Good to know that your SA sits square so it is not a design problem of weight distribution. How does your SA sit front to back, is the front much lower than the back?

I know it is not a broken spring because like I mentioned the fronts have been swapped side to side. Perhaps the next thing might be to swap the rears side to side, see if that makes any difference.

Cheers,
Nick
alanmoss wrote:I had the same symptoms a few months ago; broken right front spring was identified. All springs and dampers were replaced and now it is fine.
Interestingly the coils had settled on each other and the car was still working reasonably well apart from the droop.

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alanmoss
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Re: Front Drivers side sits low

Post by alanmoss »

Hi Nick
It is an SE Celebration, and yes it is square, but also having had new springs and dampers all round it is now higher (correct ride height as measured at Peter Smiths). It had got lower as the springs had aged, so a check of the rears might be appropriate.
As to you having swapped them side to side and still get it lower on one side I am not sure what to suggest.
Alan
Excel Celebration, 1999 Mini Cooper S, Dacia Duster 4x4

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Re: Front Drivers side sits low

Post by NickC »

Sorry Alan, it was DPR59 that mentioned the SA.

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Re: Front Drivers side sits low

Post by NickC »

What about uprating the front springs, has anyone got details of what spring rate/length would be suitable. Perhaps I could lengthen the spring by enough to remove the 5/8" rubber spacer on top of the spring, as far as I know they were only fitted to the SA anyway.

What is everyone elses opinion on front ride height, do your Excels sit low at the front or is the rubber bump strip around the car level front-back? What about the SA, are all SA's a bit lower at the front.

Thanks,
Nick

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Re: Front Drivers side sits low

Post by Graham F »

Also have an SA and i uprated the suspecion all around some 4 years ago, site square and i can't say it is lower than any other excels. Sorry i can't give any extra advice the broken spring seemed like the natural candidate GF

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Re: Front Drivers side sits low

Post by NickC »

Graham,

When you say you 'uprated your suspension' can you remember what spring rates and lengths did you used to do this, did you keep those spacers on the front or remove them?

Nick

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Re: Front Drivers side sits low

Post by Peter »

What differance did you notice when you swapped out the old susp for new? mine also sit's lower on the drivers side and i think it's down to the susp being old and worn, the springs look pretty rusty

Thinking of getting it freshened up

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Re: Front Drivers side sits low

Post by Graham F »

when i first got the car it was sitting horribly low having investigated things i opted to upgrade the suspension; short of time i handed the work over to to Pat Thomas at Kelpsorts http://www.kelsport.net who came highly recommended so i confess the technical details were down to him, suffice to say the car was transformed. Best Wishes Graham

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Re: Front Drivers side sits low

Post by salviablue »

My front drivers side also sits low, since I got her a couple of months ago or so.
I have presumed (hoped!) it to be down to a broken spring on that side and will be ordering a pair from lotusbits this month sometime, so I will report back once I have replaced them.

The thing is, the next morning after taking her home for the first time, I checked all the fluids, fuses, tyre pressures etc. and the front passenger tyre was over inflated (over 30psi!). I think this was to compensate for the broken spring (car drifts ever so slightly to the left).
The guy that sold it to me is the guy that rebuilt it (three years ago), but he wasn't the owner (obviously had it since rebuild but not used too much - 700 miles or so). The owner bought it as a bit fo a shed and got it rebuilt inc. full geom set up/alignment etc..

There is evidence of crash damage as she has had a new nose, wings and rear three quarter panels around where the rear flanks join the rear bulk head. I do most sincerely hope that this is not the source of the droop as I think it would point to chassis damage.

To me, the chassis looks fine as do the front triangles, the bushes all look good and as far as I can tell the front susp set up looks sound. The front spring both look a little worse for wear, but not one worse than the other, and I can't see any cracks/ but its hard to see through the rust :shock: :!:

Graham F,
Not wishing to doom monger, but just have a look and see if you can notice any evidence of previous crash damage.

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Re: Front Drivers side sits low

Post by Ozzy_UK »

Mike Taylor does a Fully adjustable coil over, with adjustable ride height, and any spec springs you like on Avo 12 click? adjustable dampers....

very VERY pleased with mine! when i bought them they where about £550 for the set, got 400/300lb springs front/rear...

Wish i had gone a little harder with the springs, but then i do like to track her :)

Oz.
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Re: Front Drivers side sits low

Post by Lotus-e-Clan »

Oz

a) Do you know the normal Excel spring rates?

And .....

b) What rate are used for racing?


For fast road/comp have 100lb front 440 lbs rear on my Clan (std Clan is 65 / 220 !!! :shock: ).

Full race for a Clan would be 150 front 550 rear.

Full race Imps use 200-250 front, 700-800 rear (std is 120/400)

So working roughly from above, I'm wondering if full race for an Excel would work out about 2 - 2.5 X normal rate?
Peter K

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