Lower cost Bilstein option! - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 181 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 07:45 AM Thread Starter
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Lower cost Bilstein option!

I was talking to Bilstein USA today and they told me that if I give them the extended and collapsed length of the stock shock, they would come up with a standard part number that would would great for our cars. The shock would most likely be standard part number non coilover type shock that would be easy for anyone to order from anyone selling Bilstein. They sell a kit to convert this shock to adjustable coilover for $80 per shock. Many other aftermarket suppliers sell similar kits as well. Summit Racing sell the 2.5" kit for $37 per shock! The coilover conversion kits all use the standard 2.5" ID spring that is available dirt cheap from just about anyone making springs. This would give us pretty much any srping rate we want.

Does anyone have a stock front and rear shock off a car and provide these measurements?

I have used Bilstein's on previous cars including a replica Cobra. I love their shocks. They are not adustable like some, but they are self adjusting and give a superb ride that stiffens up automatically when the car is pushed.

BTW, I am also starting to work on a cost effective big brake option for my car. I have built my own kits in the past and was a major supplier to the Mini Cooper racers until it got to be too much to manage and keep my day job. I sold the project to Detroit tuned. The kit I sold to the Mini Cooper racers used an OEM Toyota TRD rotor from the Twin Turbo Supra, with Outlaw calipers and SS Goodridge brake lines. I am looking to do something similar on my car. If the Supra rotor will work, 17" wheel are required, the non turbo Supra rotor requires 16" wheels.

Last edited by LantanaTX; 01-08-2013 at 08:14 AM.
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post #2 of 181 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 11:59 AM
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Bilstein is definitely considered one of the best, but you might want to check into the Protechs. They are height and dampening adjustable coil overs that fit easily onto the Esprit and they are not expensive. I have had them for a few months, and I doubt I would tell the difference over Bilsteins (which I have used on 911's).
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post #3 of 181 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by LantanaTX View Post
I was talking to Bilstein USA today and they told me that if I give them the extended and collapsed length of the stock shock, they would come up with a standard part number that would would great for our cars. The shock would most likely be standard part number non coilover type shock that would be easy for anyone to order from anyone selling Bilstein. They sell a kit to convert this shock to adjustable coilover for $80 per shock. Many other aftermarket suppliers sell similar kits as well. Summit Racing sell the 2.5" kit for $37 per shock! The coilover conversion kits all use the standard 2.5" ID spring that is available dirt cheap from just about anyone making springs. This would give us pretty much any srping rate we want.

Does anyone have a stock front and rear shock off a car and provide these measurements?

I have used Bilstein's on previous cars including a replica Cobra. I love their shocks. They are not adustable like some, but they are self adjusting and give a superb ride that stiffens up automatically when the car is pushed.

BTW, I am also starting to work on a cost effective big brake option for my car. I have built my own kits in the past and was a major supplier to the Mini Cooper racers until it got to be too much to manage and keep my day job. I sold the project to Detroit tuned. The kit I sold to the Mini Cooper racers used an OEM Toyota TRD rotor from the Twin Turbo Supra, with Outlaw calipers and SS Goodridge brake lines. I am looking to do something similar on my car. If the Supra rotor will work, 17" wheel are required, the non turbo Supra rotor requires 16" wheels.
I know my 88 has Toyota sourced rotors and pads on the front.. I could see the Supra rotors working for you pretty easily.

Current Rides:
2014 Fiat Abarth (every bolt on)
1997 Lotus Esprit V8 TT
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post #4 of 181 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 01:47 PM
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Call me confused but don't they already have a standard part they make for Lotus as replacements for our cars already? The Non Coil over versions that is.
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post #5 of 181 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 02:33 PM Thread Starter
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I know my 88 has Toyota sourced rotors and pads on the front.. I could see the Supra rotors working for you pretty easily.
The TT Supra rotor is 323mm x 28mm thick. Should be plenty for this little car.

Anyone know the extended and colapsed length of the stock shocks?
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post #6 of 181 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 02:42 PM Thread Starter
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Call me confused but don't they already have a standard part they make for Lotus as replacements for our cars already? The Non Coil over versions that is.
Got a part number? Bilstein USA could not find a part number. They said if they made a number for Lotus, he would not have it as it would be propriatary. I don't like the price of the official Lotus shocks.
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post #7 of 181 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 05:58 PM
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Got a part number? Bilstein USA could not find a part number. They said if they made a number for Lotus, he would not have it as it would be propriatary. I don't like the price of the official Lotus shocks.
Esprit Damper Programme 2006

Lotus actually spent a great deal of time and effort in the mid-'00s to re-engineer the Stevens suspension with a modern Eibach/Bilstein package which should be readily available through the usual sources (I think JAE may have obtained some sets). Might as well take advantage of it because it's probably the last effort we'll see from the factory directed at the older cars ever again.

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?? '10 (or maybe '11, or maybe hybrid, maybe '12, maybe '13...maybe '20) Esprit
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post #8 of 181 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 06:34 PM
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Esprit Damper Programme 2006

Lotus actually spent a great deal of time and effort in the mid-'00s to re-engineer the Stevens suspension with a modern Eibach/Bilstein package which should be readily available through the usual sources (I think JAE may have obtained some sets). Might as well take advantage of it because it's probably the last effort we'll see from the factory directed at the older cars ever again.
I think he wants to save some $$. Those Bilsteins that Lotus breathed on are expensive now. Most parts sellers will tell you they are not worth the cash.


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post #9 of 181 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 07:13 PM
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What you are paying for is the engineering of the components precisely matched to the cars capability by one of the premier suspension companies in the world. I have seen the Lotus supplied replacement shock package on a shock dyno and they are as close to theoretically perfect as possible, yes they are expensive compared to other Bilstien shocks. I do wish I could afford them.
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post #10 of 181 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 07:15 PM Thread Starter
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I think he wants to save some $$. Those Bilsteins that Lotus breathed on are expensive now. Most parts sellers will tell you they are not worth the cash.


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Bingo... I have worked directly with Bilstein in the past and they did a great job on my 289 Cobra replica. I have spent a lot of time working on the suspension of other cars I have owned and built. After wasting a lot of time working with Spax, AVO, KYB, in the past. the only shocks that really gave me what I was after was Bilstein and Koni. Ride is a personal thing and I guess I have expensive taste. But I have also learned to do things myself and save. There is no way I want to pay the Lotus tax on the Bilstein/Eibach setup when I know what the individual pieces cost. Also the Lotus/Bilstein upgrade for an '89 is not ride height adjustable. Bilstein is more than happy to work with me directly to come up with a suitable shock, If I give them the measurements they want. I really don't want to tear my car apart to get this, plus I don't have stock shocks anyway as I have GAZ on my car and Bilstein wants the stock measurements.

Anyone have a set of old shocks laying around that could provide the fully extended and fully collapsed lengths for the front and rear?
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post #11 of 181 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 07:43 PM
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What you are paying for is the engineering of the components precisely matched to the cars capability by one of the premier suspension companies in the world. I have seen the Lotus supplied replacement shock package on a shock dyno and they are as close to theoretically perfect as possible, yes they are expensive compared to other Bilstien shocks. I do wish I could afford them.
That's what you WERE paying for when they first came out. Not any more.

Now you are paying for their rarity because of low supplies. They are a lot more expensive now than when they came out and Lotus is not ordering them in big batches that would bring the cost down. At least that's what one of the parts sellers told me.
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post #12 of 181 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 09:08 PM
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.... did you find this?

Turbo Esprit Wiki - Esprit.TechnicalData

Jeff
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post #13 of 181 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 05:18 AM Thread Starter
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.... did you find this?

Turbo Esprit Wiki - Esprit.TechnicalData

Jeff
Thanks Jeff, That is exactly what I need
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post #14 of 181 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 07:08 AM
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I am quite interested in this project...please keep us posted as you proceed.

Thanks.
Jason
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post #15 of 181 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 08:07 AM
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post #16 of 181 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 08:15 AM Thread Starter
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I am quite interested in this project...please keep us posted as you proceed.

Thanks.
Jason
I just spoke to Bilstein and gave them all the data inluding typical corner weights, spring rates and the link to the shock data. They make a ton of shocks. They will see if they have an existing yellow body shock that is suitable. With some standard part numbers it will be easier and cheaper to order.

I have experienced Bilstein on other cars and read the driving impressions from the link above on LEW. I agree with the comments on the link. They don't feel soft but do make a bumpy road feel like it was repaved. They firm up when you push the car. They self adjust.

BTW, Lotus used a non coilover yellow body shock with a spring perch added to it. I will do the same but use a theaded perch for ride height adjustability. Non ride height adjustable was a common knock on the Lotus setep.

Now I have to just sit back and wait to hear from Bilstein. Lets hope something suitable already exists.

For grins, I called the Dallas Lotus dealer to see what the cost and availability was on the official Lotus setup. I was told $3,300 plus about $264 tax, but they are not currently available from Lotus and Lotus is blaming Bilstein for lack of inventory. $3,300 should be easy to beat. Average Ebay price for four new shocks is about $450, coilover conversion kit from Summit Racing is $37 each, Srings are about $40 each. That comes to about $758.00 total or about 80% cheaper than Lotus.

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post #17 of 181 (permalink) Old 01-13-2013, 02:19 PM
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I recently got a pair of rear Bilstein "dampers" for my S4s from JAE for $870. Even though they were supposed to have exact fit, they required machining of the bottom spring support so that the coil-overs would fit.

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post #18 of 181 (permalink) Old 01-13-2013, 02:33 PM Thread Starter
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I recently got a pair of rear Bilstein "dampers" for my S4s from JAE for $870. Even though they were supposed to have exact fit, they required machining of the bottom spring support so that the coil-overs would fit.
Did you use stock springs? If they are the Lotus development shocks they would probably have both a Bilstein and Lotus part number. Can you tell me the Bilstein part number? Bilstein has a kit to install coilovers on their yellow shocks but They require a 2.5" ID spring.

1989 Lotus Esprit
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post #19 of 181 (permalink) Old 01-13-2013, 03:14 PM
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I kept my original springs. The #s are worn off on the side I can see the label. I'd have to crawl under to see the other side - maybe later. The remaining #s are:

F4-BE5-C607-T..
LOTAC05405
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95 Esprit S4s #158 (for sale!)
2015.5 Volvo V60 T6 (factory delivery)
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91 MR2 turbo (gone but not forgotten)

Last edited by lcf_guy; 01-16-2013 at 06:29 AM. Reason: more #s
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post #20 of 181 (permalink) Old 01-14-2013, 04:43 PM
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Thanks Jeff, That is exactly what I need
That data is for the earlier '83-'84 Turbo Esprit... Not an 89!

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