89 Esprit SE needs new shocks - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-03-2009, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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89 Esprit SE needs new shocks

I am in need of new shocks on all four corners. Right now I have the SPAX that came on the car. JAE wants $480 a pair. Seriously, $1000 to shock a car? Does anyone have experience with another source and type that is compatible?
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post #2 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-03-2009, 05:12 PM
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Check out SJ sportscars ltd.
Home page - SJ Sportscars Ltd - Independent Lotus Specialists
bought all 4 of my '89s shocks there (aluminum adjustable) and I like them.
The rears for your car are about 82 pounds sterling each, and use your original spring.
Not going to like the shipping 'tho.
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post #3 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-04-2009, 07:22 AM Thread Starter
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Re: shocks

Sent them a quote request. I'll post what they say. Thanks.
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post #4 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-04-2009, 10:46 AM
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I am also running the adjustable aluminum shocks from SJ. They are working well, they also have adjustable dampening which is nice.
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post #5 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-04-2009, 04:22 PM
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Isn't the Lotus/Bilstein spring/shock conversion only about $1600 (including springs but not installation)?

The two local guys who have fitted the improved Lotus setup have only good things to say.

Atwell Haines
'88 Esprit
Succasunna, NJ USA


"Not all angels have wings." - Turbo R
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post #6 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-07-2009, 04:15 AM Thread Starter
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Hey Carbuff, where do I find out about the Bilstein conversion setup?

Last edited by stockcar44; 12-10-2009 at 04:45 AM.
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post #7 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-07-2009, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by stockcar44 View Post
Hey Carbuff, where do I find out about the Bilstein conversion setup?
You can get the conversion from a dealer (since it is a Lotus factory part) or from one of the "Usual Parts Suspects". Our guys both bought their kits from JAE

JAE - Vintage and late model Lotus car parts specialists

Jeff at JAE can talk to you about the best way to set them up to your liking (there are three height settings, for example).


Atwell Haines
'88 Esprit
Succasunna, NJ USA


"Not all angels have wings." - Turbo R
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post #8 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-08-2009, 06:59 AM
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The Lotus setup is a million, billion times better than what SJs have to offer. In fact, I'm just taking the SJs setup off my car and putting the Lotus developer Bilstein/Eibach kit on.

Lotus are the ride and handling gods, SJs found some components that fit in the holes ok.
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post #9 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-08-2009, 08:44 AM
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I have an 89 Esprit and have redone the full suspension. I used Gazmatic adjustable dampers which I purchased from PUK motors in Germany.
With new spings and bushings the ride difference is amazing.
I have been able to dial out most of the understeer the car originally had and was able to level the car out and balance it at all four corners.
The stock sert up from Lotus did not allow for any major adjustment except for what can be done by replacing shims.
Look up PUK and email Marcus if you have any questions.
Tell him Al Brussich from Houston recomended him. No gain here, just a personal favor.
If you have any questions I'll be happy to answer what I can.
Email me off line at [email protected]
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post #10 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-08-2009, 04:34 PM
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The Lotus setup is a million, billion times better than what SJs have to offer. In fact, I'm just taking the SJs setup off my car and putting the Lotus developer Bilstein/Eibach kit on.

Lotus are the ride and handling gods, SJs found some components that fit in the holes ok.
A million billion times better?
PLEASE......give us all a break.
Are you pushing parts for Lotus?
I own a 2003 V8 with 9K miles on it to compare with. My '89 with rebuilt suspension and the SJ shocks has a large advantage in the ride quality department. Handling and roadholding on the street is about the same.
I suppose if you don't have the knowledge or confidence to set up adjustable shocks by yourself, it would be a better bet to go with the new Lotus items.....
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post #11 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-08-2009, 04:45 PM
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I have an 89 Esprit and have redone the full suspension. I used Gazmatic adjustable dampers which I purchased from PUK motors in Germany.
I have travelled (at high speed) about 400 miles in a S4s with those shocks on it and can say that they work very good indeed. In fact I commented to the owner about how well the the suspension was controlled and he told me they were the PUKs.
In fact his opinion was that they seemed to be a bit better than the SJs, which worked well until one blew a seal leaping over a bump on the highway at maybe 140 MPH. (hey, it was Thailand, anything goes)
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post #12 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-09-2009, 02:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Gixxer View Post
I have travelled (at high speed) about 400 miles in a S4s with those shocks on it and can say that they work very good indeed. In fact I commented to the owner about how well the the suspension was controlled and he told me they were the PUKs.
In fact his opinion was that they seemed to be a bit better than the SJs, which worked well until one blew a seal leaping over a bump on the highway at maybe 140 MPH. (hey, it was Thailand, anything goes)
I had that happen on one of mine. I emailed Marcus and he air-freighted out a new one the equivilant of overnight, (from Germany), so that I could have it in time for a track event.
I'll definitely stick with the Gaz's.
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post #13 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-09-2009, 05:05 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Alphonse. I emailed Marcus to see what his take is on all this. I look forward to his reply.

Last edited by stockcar44; 12-09-2009 at 10:10 AM.
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post #14 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-09-2009, 02:19 PM
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I've fitted Gaz and Spax shocks on the S4 and S4s that I've owned and while they were ok there is no way they can compare to the Bilstein/Eibach setup from Lotus, IMHO.

Jim
1995 S4s
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post #15 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-11-2009, 04:40 AM Thread Starter
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After much research and bothering Steve at SJ with many questions I decided on SJ's setup for the S4 on my SE. I can get new springs and dampers for $150 less (delivered from England) than JAE charges for just four SPAX dampers (without shipping). The other option is not viable thanks to my stupid governments idea to just print trillions and devalue the dollar against the Euro.
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post #16 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-11-2009, 03:20 PM
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It's called getting the best value for your money.
I've ordered a couple of Lotus items from Germany and the UK recently and the exchange rates are not good at all. Adding insult to injury, you usually have to wait a couple weeks for the stuff to clear customs in NY.
Have fun, I think you'll like the shocks.
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post #17 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-12-2009, 07:18 PM
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The other option is not viable thanks to my stupid governments idea to just print trillions and devalue the dollar against the Euro.
If the other option is the Lotus/Bilstein setup,

What are they asking now?

Atwell Haines
'88 Esprit
Succasunna, NJ USA


"Not all angels have wings." - Turbo R
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post #18 of 40 (permalink) Old 12-14-2009, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
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4 springs, 4 shocks and 2 spacers came to 1404 Euros from PUK, roughly $2000. Not their fault my government solves money problems by printing and borrowing.
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post #19 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-12-2010, 03:52 AM Thread Starter
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SJ equipment installed

Parts are on but still awhile until tires are purchased and installed. Installation and equipment is a good fit and for those looking to reduce unsprung weight these Proshocks are a few pounds less than their replacements. Track day someday. Photos can be seen here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...00000131336804 I would post them here but I can't figure out why it won't paste them.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pi...00000131336804
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pi...07478132599897
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pi...07478135933230
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pi...07478139266563
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post #20 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-12-2010, 06:37 AM
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I like that home made spring compressor. I was fortunate in that the dealership is only a mile from the house and I had them assemble the front shock/spring for me.
Those new ones look pretty good and fully adjustable. Good deal. You now can dial out the understeer inherant in the Esprit. About a 1/2" lift at the rear, (relative to the front), is a good start, then adjust from there to suit your needs. You can also adjust out the left side lean that is common to the Esprits. To get a really good set up you definitely need a set of scales.
There, life is so much simpler now, isn't it?


Did you go with a stiffer spring rate or were you not allowed to vary?
for tracking purposes the stock factory setting is a bit soft. Remember that the factory was looking for the sweet spot between comfy ride and decent handling for street applications. When you go out on the track the factory compramise will become apparent.

Al
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