Lower cost Bilstein option! - Page 2 - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #21 of 176 (permalink) Old 01-14-2013, 07:38 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Vulcan Grey View Post
That data is for the earlier '83-'84 Turbo Esprit... Not an 89!
no problem. The guy at bilstein is using the lotus bilatein shocks to compare to. He has a shock for the rear but still working on the front. The fronts are very short.

1989 Lotus Esprit
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post #22 of 176 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
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Here are the part number I got from Bilstein

24-020541 rear
24-187824 front

The rears are from a C4 Corvette and the fronts from a Nissan Frontier. The rear shocks should be very close, but the fronts may have too much rebound. Bilstein suggested I give it a try and if needed Bilstein's can be re-valved. Bilstein can do this or some shops that revalve shocks can do this.

You can enter these part numbers into Ebay and find them for very good prices.

To use these as coil overs you need coilover kits from Bilstein or other seller on Ebay. The kit you use needs to be for a 2.5" diameter shock. Most of these kits require machining a groove into the shock body for a circlip that holds the threaded sleeve. You will also need springs. $2.5 ID springs are needed and can be found in any spring rate on Ebay for cheap. Not sure of the spring length needed and will try to get that info from Bilstein.

After checking some prices, you could put together a complete set for $500-$700

1989 Lotus Esprit
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post #23 of 176 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 03:27 PM
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Speaking of machining.... I have the Lotus/Bilstein/Eibach setup on my S4s. They are on the lower suspension height, which is at least as high as stock. The front is still a bit high for my liking. Would it be possible to take the front shocks to a machine shop and have another groove added to lower them, or would it be easier to just have a machine shop trim just a bit off the springs?
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post #24 of 176 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 03:57 PM
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Lower cost Bilstein option!

Never trim the spring -- well known fact. You will not be happy with the ride if you do that.

There are companies that can make any spring you want to order for about $300 a pair. I did that for a car and they worked/fit great.

As cool as it is to have Bilsteins, that's a lot of work and bother for about the same cash as the Protechs that are fully ride and dampening adjustable.


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post #25 of 176 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 06:18 PM Thread Starter
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Speaking of machining.... I have the Lotus/Bilstein/Eibach setup on my S4s. They are on the lower suspension height, which is at least as high as stock. The front is still a bit high for my liking. Would it be possible to take the front shocks to a machine shop and have another groove added to lower them, or would it be easier to just have a machine shop trim just a bit off the springs?
While you can cut the coil, what I would do is by the coil over kit which requires the groove to be cut in the shock. Maybe you will get lucky and one of the grooves you already have will work or a machine shop can add the groove for you. the fixed posistion seat you have is held to the shock the same way the adjustable sleeve is. Really anyone with the Bilsteins you have can change them to fully adjustable.

1989 Lotus Esprit
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post #26 of 176 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 06:27 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by lotusespritse View Post
Never trim the spring -- well known fact. You will not be happy with the ride if you do that.

There are companies that can make any spring you want to order for about $300 a pair. I did that for a car and they worked/fit great.

As cool as it is to have Bilsteins, that's a lot of work and bother for about the same cash as the Protechs that are fully ride and dampening adjustable.


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I have read everthing possible on the Protech's, and haven't found anyone really singing its praises. but the guys with Bilsteins are in LOVE! What people are saying about the Bilstein's is similar to my past experience with them. I already have GAZ shocks on my car and read the same guy designed the Protech and GAZ. The only twin tube shock that really impressed me was Koni. Bilstein is a mono tube design which does have some advantages. I know on paper a fully adjustable shock sounds great!, but I can adjust my shocks all day long and I still can't get the ride quality I am looking for. Another cool trick you can do with Bilstein's is welding a schrader valve into the base which allows you to vary the nitrogen pressure.

1989 Lotus Esprit
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post #27 of 176 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 07:36 PM
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I'll sing the praises of the ProTechs. I had Bilstein PSS9 on my 996 Porsche, and they weren't any better than the ProTechs on my Esprit. In fact, the Bilsteins on the front cluncked like crazy unless you put the stiffness setting way up.

I love the way my Esprit rides and corners with ProTechs.
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post #28 of 176 (permalink) Old 01-28-2013, 04:44 AM
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....I have the Lotus/Bilstein/Eibach setup on my S4s. ........ Would it be possible to take the front shocks to a machine shop and have another groove added to lower them........?
You will not be able to lower them much by doing this as you have to allow for the bottom spring platform getting closer to the bottom arm as it moves. IIRC there's only about 10 mm of clearance on the lower platform setting at normal ride height and you might loose half of this during movement. You would need to let the arm travel (with the spring removed) from full damper extension to full compression to ascertain the minimum clearance required.

You can gain a little bit more by trimming down the rubber spring top insulator.
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post #29 of 176 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
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`I have been watching Ebay like a vulture and was able to get a pair of the Bilstein's for the rear for $105 shipped! I will buy the coilover conversion kit after the shocks arrive and I measure the length of the tube. I believe I will need a kit with the 5 inch long threaded tubes. coilover conversion kits for Bilstein can be had for $37 plus 16 shipping for each shock. I am finding springs for $20 each. It looks like the rear springs will be 12 inches long and 2.5 inch ID.

I was also able to find out what is on my car now. The springs are marked KW 70-250. I called KW and they said my rear springs are 400 pound linear rate springs! No wonder it is rock hard! KW suggested 200# front and 220# rear. They said upping the rear a little over the front will reduce understeer and make the car handle more nuetral. Thoughts?

It looks like the completed rear setup will cost a total of $252. I should be able to do the fronts for about the same. If I end up with a complete setup for the car for around $500 I will be very pleased. If the valving needs work, there are plenty of race shops that can re-valve a Bilstein for me.

UPDATE:

Just found and bought a great coilover conversion kit made for Bilstein shocks. Cost for a pair was $87.53 shipped, with springs, I am now down to $232.53 for a complete rear set up.

Latest update: Just worked a deal for springs at only $10.00 each! They are from Nascar Driver Dave Blaney's son's race car. They are getting out of the class they are in and selling everything. they have a huge stockpile of spare parts new and used. I bought what I needed for all four shocks for $40 plus $20 shipping. I now have bought everything I need to complete two rear coilover Bilstein shocks for $222.53 and already purchased the springs for the front. The fronts will need another pair of coilover kits for 87.53 plus shocks that I can buy new on Ebay at any time for $150 a pair. If I don't find a better deal for the front shocks, the fronts will end up costing 267.53 which comes to only $490 for all four shocks!!


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post #30 of 176 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 03:20 PM
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Great Job LANTANA TX! Keep diggin...you may want to add those to our Lotus Xreference List to help out the community.
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post #31 of 176 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 03:41 PM
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Lower cost Bilstein option!

Excellent updates. I was really excited to see the factory lotus upgrade but for their cost and product line used, I was disappointed. Thanks again.


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post #32 of 176 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
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Great Job LANTANA TX! Keep diggin...you may want to add those to our Lotus Xreference List to help out the community.
I wouldn't know how to add this but will provide a how to and part needed once I have tested this out.

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Excellent updates. I was really excited to see the factory lotus upgrade but for their cost and product line used, I was disappointed. Thanks again.

agreed, When I looked at the lotus/Bilstein setup and the cost, I recognized the line of shocks and the Eibach springs and thought, "they are out of their minds!" I know the cost of the parts they used. I am using the same quality of parts and will be able to adjust the ride height. The hard part is doing all the math to figure out spring rate and length. The Lotus version seems to use pretty long springs which tells me they are using rates very close to stock and also need the length to pre-load for ride height. The spings I bought are 13 inches long which will make them harder to get together but will also give me a good static length at ride height. If I got this wrong, springs are cheap.

1989 Lotus Esprit
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post #33 of 176 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 05:53 PM
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A how-to and parts list would be a great service. I am not familiar with using these coil-over add-on kits and would like to get an explanation of how they operate and what is necessary to install them. I'm not clear on how they are fixed to the shock tube to form the lower perch for the spring.

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post #34 of 176 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 06:19 PM Thread Starter
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A how-to and parts list would be a great service. I am not familiar with using these coil-over add-on kits and would like to get an explanation of how they operate and what is necessary to install them. I'm not clear on how they are fixed to the shock tube to form the lower perch for the spring.
If you look at the picture, you will see a found circlip. this is pushed down over the the shock body and snaps into a groove. It does not fit flush with the shock body but sticks out a little. then the threaded tube is pushed down over this circlip and snaps into place. This is also how the non adjustable lower spring pad fits on the Lotus/Bilstein shock. I am still learning as I go, but I believe that some of the stock upper parts are used at the top and not the top mount that comes with the kit. I will find out when I go to install them. I should have the parts and ready to install by next weekend.

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post #35 of 176 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 07:01 PM
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Thanks! I understand - so the shock tube does not require any machining. And what about at the top? The cone shaped piece looks like it is meant to slip over the rode end of the shock (I' guessing). Does it articulate with the rubber boot which cushions the top of the OEM shock? Or does it substitute?

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post #36 of 176 (permalink) Old 01-30-2013, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! I understand - so the shock tube does not require any machining. And what about at the top? The cone shaped piece looks like it is meant to slip over the rode end of the shock (I' guessing). Does it articulate with the rubber boot which cushions the top of the OEM shock? Or does it substitute?
I have heard conflicting informaiton about is the groove is already in the shock or has to be machined. Also not sure about the top mounting. I haven't taken my shocks off yet but it looks like you resuse the stock upper parts. I will find out soon.

1989 Lotus Esprit
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post #37 of 176 (permalink) Old 01-31-2013, 08:30 AM
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I'll sing the praises of the ProTechs. I had Bilstein PSS9 on my 996 Porsche, and they weren't any better than the ProTechs on my Esprit. In fact, the Bilsteins on the front cluncked like crazy unless you put the stiffness setting way up.

I love the way my Esprit rides and corners with ProTechs.

I'm happy to sing the praises of the Protech's on my '02 V8 as well. I got the set that is separately adjustable for bump and rebound (in addition to height adjustment) and while this gives me an infinite number of ways to screw things up, it also gives me the adjustability of tuning things up (and to run harder during track days and softer when I'm off the track). Also, it seems like a good value for a setup that just installs without having to do much investigation and exploration to find something. To me it seems like a good value solution from one of the suppliers that spoends a lot of energies supporting our cars.

Knut
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post #38 of 176 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 05:26 PM
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I’m a little late to this. I’ve been absent for the past few months with other “stuff” going on.

I see you’ve already bought you’re hardware. I don’t think you’ve installed yet, though, so maybe this info will help still.

The spring rate/length/damper question is more complex than it might seem because Lotus was always fiddling with it to make performance improvements, meet ride height regulations, and adjust oversteer/understeer characteristics. Here are a few specific model specs that might help.

Non-SE 89:
Front: Rate – 22.8 N/mm / 130 Lb/in, Free Length – 369mm, Static Length – 203mm
Rear: Rate – 27.5 N/mm / 157 Lb/in, Free Length – 334mm, Static Length – 205.7mm

SE
Front: Rate – 29.1 N/mm /166 Lb/in, Free Length – 372mm, Static Length – 219mm
Rear: Rate – 27.5 N/mm / 157 Lb/in, Free Length – 347mm, Static Length – 218mm

S4/S4s
Front: Rate – 41 N/mm / 234 Lb/in, Free Length - N/A, Static Length – 214mm
Rear: Rate – 45 N/mm / 257 Lb/in, Free Length - N/A, Static Length – 227mm

The front damper platform height for each of these measurements is 59mm. The rear platform height is 115mm.

The extended/compressed length for the front is 12in./10in., and the rear is 16in./12in.

I hope this helps.
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post #39 of 176 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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I’m a little late to this. I’ve been absent for the past few months with other “stuff” going on.

I see you’ve already bought you’re hardware. I don’t think you’ve installed yet, though, so maybe this info will help still.

The spring rate/length/damper question is more complex than it might seem because Lotus was always fiddling with it to make performance improvements, meet ride height regulations, and adjust oversteer/understeer characteristics. Here are a few specific model specs that might help.

Non-SE 89:
Front: Rate – 22.8 N/mm / 130 Lb/in, Free Length – 369mm, Static Length – 203mm
Rear: Rate – 27.5 N/mm / 157 Lb/in, Free Length – 334mm, Static Length – 205.7mm

SE
Front: Rate – 29.1 N/mm /166 Lb/in, Free Length – 372mm, Static Length – 219mm
Rear: Rate – 27.5 N/mm / 157 Lb/in, Free Length – 347mm, Static Length – 218mm

S4/S4s
Front: Rate – 41 N/mm / 234 Lb/in, Free Length - N/A, Static Length – 214mm
Rear: Rate – 45 N/mm / 257 Lb/in, Free Length - N/A, Static Length – 227mm

The front damper platform height for each of these measurements is 59mm. The rear platform height is 115mm.

The extended/compressed length for the front is 12in./10in., and the rear is 16in./12in.

I hope this helps.
Thank you! Great information that I wish I had sooner. I had to figure out most that on my own, but it looks like I am in the ballpark. I decided to go with 13" long springs that are 225# front and 250# rear which looks close to the S4/S4s. I also think this is close to the V8 springs. I went with these rates because I am going to V8 size wheels and tires and will be installing a V8 (Ford DOHC Coyote 5.0 that weighs less than the Lotus V8 engine)

I guessed that I would end up with about 3-4 inches of pre-load on these springs at ride height. Lotus would have a much tougher time getting the spring rate and free length figured out becuase they have a fixed perch. Since I went adjustable, I only have to be in the ballpark. I recieved the springs today and the shocks and coilover conversion kits came yesterday. The circlips were missing from the kits, so Speedway performance is going to send them on Monday. I still need to buy the front shocks. Not sure I want to do much testing until I can put on all four. Since my car currently has 400# racing springs, just doing one end might make the car dangerous. Also the shoocks do not have a groove for the circlips so I will have to have my machinist do this. I know this is acceptable becuase Bilstein was going to sell me their kit (twice as much) and told me to have the groove cut in the shock. I believe you want the groove cut so that .120" of the ring is above the shock body. Once the groove is in place, you just drop the thread sleeve onto the shock.
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post #40 of 176 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 06:08 PM
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Yeah...I think you're in the right neighborhood. probably the most usefull info at this point is the perch height relative to the loaded spring length. That info should make the first cut a little easier. I'm eager to see what you put together.
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