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Discussion Starter #1

If you click on "option 1" there is a spherical lower suspension bearing option.

A lot of money but its expensive to make all those bits.

I came across a place that sort of specializes in making suspension bearings, I think they could do it a lot cheaper but might have to send them a set of bushings to match.
 

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Not sure I would trust a kit that is the same for '87 to '04. At least the site doesn't ask for a model year when ordering. Power, weight, anti-dive, manual vs power steering, braking capabilities, wheel sizes, tire sizes, spring rates, shock rates all changed significantly over those years.
 

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If you click on "option 1" there is a spherical lower suspension bearing option.

A lot of money but its expensive to make all those bits.

I came across a place that sort of specializes in making suspension bearings, I think they could do it a lot cheaper but might have to send them a set of bushings to match.

If you click on "option 1" there is a spherical lower suspension bearing option.

A lot of money but its expensive to make all those bits.

I came across a place that sort of specializes in making suspension bearings, I think they could do it a lot cheaper but might have to send them a set of bushings to match.
So buy a smithy lathe/mill, and make your own.
 

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I've done extensive researching of shocks/springs for my 87 (currently in the shop for Gazmatic shocks installation). My front springs are rusty (I think it's cosmetic, but mechanics recommend replacing them). I'm ordering factory front springs for 87 (different than early Giugiaro spring likely due to the change in front suspension components circa 1985) and SJS-brand rear springs. The spring rates according to data on this forum is that 80-87 springs are different (front 80-84, front 85-88) but the rear springs 80-93 SE (?) are same. S4/S4s have a stiffer chassis and the OEM spring rates are even higher than the non-S4/S4s cars.
Lastly, the V8s are substantially different than 4 cyl.
Bottomline - as Mike says above, I would not trust a kit to be all things to 87-04 Esprits. The Lotac Bilsteins are interesting - the shocks are the same for all years, but the springs are different.

RE: spherical bearing - assuming for the bushing replacements? Age old question that I saw on the Mustang forums - for track, spherical probably great; not many track their Esprits that I've heard, let alone needing spherical bearings. But spherical bearings - while sound cool - IMHO would be unlivable in a street-driven Esprit.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I have had sphericals on several street cars and I could not tell the difference NVH wise and the handling was noticeably improved. These were street track cars anyway so kind of loud and rough. I am going to do light fun track days with the Esprit.

I would not put them on the Toyota Avalon.

The biggest difference for me is always the shocks. The modern high quality shocks are amazing, you can run really high spring rates and still have a great ride. I dont want to go too stiff with the spring rates because in 94' I dont think Lotus designed for a much higher rate then stock.

Nitron is a pretty good company, I would think that the product they are selling has had enough research to work really well.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So buy a smithy lathe/mill, and make your own.
I dont think I would get enough use out of a $2500 lathe/mill to justify the cost to make the bearings. I would love to have one though.

Do you have one? If I send you some bushings and bearings and stock metal will you make them for me?
 

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Nitron is a pretty good company, I would think that the product they are selling has had enough research to work really well.
Maybe, maybe not. My guess is they have an offering put together for a certain V8 year and figure as long as the car doesn't have trunnions, why not list the kit? I would be very surprised if they have sold more than a handful of these kits for any MY Esprit, much less enough to have useful field feedback at each factory suspension change across their supported range. I don't think you will find a similar offering across say 17 years of Corvettes or Mustangs. The real measure will be when someone with suspension skills tries the kit on an '87 or '88 and tries to work with Nitron on a tuned application.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I think you are right, they probably developed the kit by request for an individual and have sold very few.

I also think that the companies that build suspensions exclusively can probably get pretty close and then with adjustable shocks get the valving to match the frequencies pretty well.

Now that I think about it the spring rates are a little concerning - the two or three other systems that I have seen advertised have lower spring rates.

I have looked around at a few companies that develop custom systems for hot rods and race cars and it seems there is a "system" they use to figure out approximate spring rates based on car weight, weight distribution, probably un-sprung weight, maybe suspension type (strut vs a arm), maybe CG height, etc Similar for shock valving. Of course they also need the suspension travel and dimensions of stock components. I would guess they can look at the stock spring rates and settings and guess what the factory was shooting for and then using some standard performance metrics "tune out" some of the "compromises" OEMs have to build in (understeer, acceptable NVH for the masses, all weather handling etc.). Another way to say it is compromise the suspension so its biased more towards performance.
 

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I have had sphericals on several street cars and I could not tell the difference NVH wise and the handling was noticeably improved. These were street track cars anyway so kind of loud and rough. I am going to do light fun track days with the Esprit.

I would not put them on the Toyota Avalon.
[snip]
My 87 Esprit has unknown vendor polyurethane bushings - far from a spherical bushing, but my car sounds like a bucket of bolts driving down the street.

There is squeaking and weird metallic noises (guessing from the metal linings in the polyurethane). These are not metal-on-metal spherical bearings - I can only imagine what that is like.
I attached an action camera on the rear spoiler and the audio was picking up TONS of squeaks and mettallic clanking while driving - never had this issue with my 88 Esprit at all (it had OEM rubber bushings).

My 87 Esprit is in the shop getting the polyurethane bushings removed and replaced with rubber bushings. My car is a street car and I'm pretty sure a metal-on-metal spherical bushing would increase NVH. If no difference can be detected, more power to you.

But I can tell the difference between OEM rubber bushings and polyurethane bushing; spherical bearing would surely be noticeable. My action cameras confirm it.
 

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[snip]

Now that I think about it the spring rates are a little concerning - the two or three other systems that I have seen advertised have lower spring rates.
[snip]
My new Gazmatic shocks - the vendor was quoting springs in the 220 lbs range for my 87 Esprit. I told them that sounded too stiff. He claimed that all the Esprits he sold shocks used this spring rate.
I check with another forum member - he say he agreed that was dead wrong - the 87 Esprit uses springs that are 130 lbs/in front and 147 lbs/in rear - using 220 lbs/in spring is the spec for Esprit S4. If I used those stiffer springs, I'd get a harder ride, poor handling,and possible cracking of chassis since the older Giugiaro chassis apparently is less stiff.

If you go on SJ Sportscars website, you'll see the springs are so different on even 'minor' configurations changes.

Check out front springs for 'Esprit Turbo before 88' - in the UK, that is the Giugiaro Esprit and first year Stevens Esprit - they have different springs for cars with or without AC.
If the spring is different simply because of a ~100 lbs AC system, you have to imagine a twin turbo V8 vs single turbo 4 cyl will use vastly different springs.

So if the vendor says shocks work on all 80-04 Esprits, that may be true for the shocks, but not for the springs.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
My 87 Esprit has unknown vendor polyurethane bushings - far from a spherical bushing, but my car sounds like a bucket of bolts driving down the street.

There is squeaking and weird metallic noises (guessing from the metal linings in the polyurethane). These are not metal-on-metal spherical bearings - I can only imagine what that is like.
I have had similar experiences with Poly. The poly reduces deflection but seems to bind more. The beauty of the sphericals is that it reduces the deflection and resistance to zero (for practical purposes). Eventually I will install sphericals in my Esprit in some key locations and I will try to quantify my results. I think one of the best locations for a bearing would be on the rear swing arm. It looks like that arm moves in two axis so the rubber is always having to deflect. All of the resistance would be removed with a spherical. Changing a similar bush on the classic 911's rear swing arm is very positive.

Also, some of the high end sports cars are now coming from the factory with bearings in some of the key suspension points. I guess they have figured out how to get reasonable life from the bearing in a street environment.

I look forward to your observations switching back to the OEM rubber. If the part number for your car and mine are the same I would be willing to buy your old poly bushings to use as templates to make up some bearing mounts and give it a try if you are willing?.

My experience with old Porsche's is that you can hugely increase spring rate with minimal affect on ride quality if you are not using a "$100 shock". I think Lotus was limited by technology and budget in 1980s but was doing a great job with fine tuning with spring rate. I do have concerns about the chassis stiffness and damage from going too stiff since the highest spring rates offered I believe were 300/350. If I decide I can justify the cost of the referenced suspension I will ask some questions.
 

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On the Nitron link, I noticed it essentially says the kit is for Lotus Esprit V8. The 87-04 notation is definitely not correct for V8. Even so - if they fixed it to say 96(?)-04 V8, I believe the various V8 models had different springs (the FInal Editions I think had Bilstein shocks unique to it; it probably had special springs too?) All bad assumptions on my part, but the point is the 'fits all' kit may not fit all.

RE: old polyurethane - You can have the better samples for the cost of shipping when I get them back. However, my 87 Esprit might be different bushing than 94 S4 given the reputed stiffer chassis. Please double check part number if you still want to go this route.
 

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I have had similar experiences with Poly. The poly reduces deflection but seems to bind more. The beauty of the sphericals is that it reduces the deflection and resistance to zero (for practical purposes). [snip]
That might be OK for 94 S4. I had gotten reliable information (but I didn't cross reference with other sources) that the 87/88 Esprit actually requires deflection in the rubber to work correctly.

My 87 with the unknown brand polyurethane have a destroyed upper rear link bushing - but it's only on driver side. If the deflection issue crushed it, I would have expected both sides to be destroyed.


But again, you may want to make absolutely sure that spherical bushings with near zero deflection isn't going to cause other issue.
 

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@Erik L I have Eibach springs that came with my JRZ Race Doubles.
The rear springs are (10") 350lbs and the fronts are (8") 300lbs. The 8" front springs are a bit short... have to add a bunch of preload to get to the correct height.
The bottoms of the shocks are metal spherical bearings. The tops I had to make my own 2.5" spring cup adapters for the SE chassis. A 2.5" spring will not fit the earlier cars, but will fit sloppily in the later cars and the V8. I would still want a spring adapter or rubber isolator. I made an aluminum cup, and used a Energy suspension urethane isolator. The setup transfers a lot more clunk to the cabin...

The Nitrons above will work with a V8 as I said (the 2.5" spring will fit loose in the chassis upper mounts. The Nitron kit will not work on an SE without an adapter. @redfox used my design for his Nitrons on his SE.
 

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50n/mm front and rear. I haven't actually driven with the set as of yet, as I went into aligning setup methods that I could do myself, as I am tired of companies wanting moeny for a printout, but not able to adjust and remeasure. waste of time and money. So now I am gathering tools and do it myself.
I'd better take it nice and easy not to break the chassis untill I install the other bits to stiffen it up.
There is someone with a Sport300 who installed spherical bearings in the front of the radius arms, and went abroad and home (long'ish trip) with no issues. Teflon treated (sleeved) ones are self lubricating and more silent in operation. Will possibly also come with a sort of weather protective cover. HAve to be changed every now and then. It's never going to be a fit and forget.
But thinking of cases of quickly worn rubber bushings, I don't see the main difference there. It lies elsewhere.
I ordered a set of sferical bushings for said radius arm setup, and will see what it does. I am first installing the LOTAC polymounts, adn wil drive with that adn see how they perform. Compared the the shorein their other offereings, they seem softer . more close to the rubber ones. Definately not like a hard typical track bushing.

I also installed poly rings to road isolate, when installing the new Nitron suspension (which use 15N/mm helpersprings rear).
We'll see how the chassis performs with those. At the time I ordered, tehre were several people also ordering the kit, adn they would probably have installed and used the kit by now. Maybe they could give some feedback.
The LOTAC Bilstein/Eibach kit (non-adjustable) I have tried and it is too soft for my liking. I don't feel it offeres anything over a relatively fresh set of original dampers and springs (+ new rubber bushings).
I am going to stiffen my SE chassis on more points. Jsut need a lot of time and effort from me to do ;) Will come at some time.
I need to to not too many thing at the same time, so I can better differentiate between what it feels like and what it does. Too many changes at once, makes this difficult, and can hide potential problems or lower positives.
Another things for me at least is, that it seems that companies have developed positively on suspension over the last ten ormore yeas, compared to what was the good stuff when my Esprit was nes in 1990. More advanced tech (though we never saw Lotus own megnetic ride), better valving, better polishing and less stiction also seems to have developed in those years.
Just my two-cents on the matter.

Cheers,
Redfox
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I would think the helper springs will make for a decent ride on the road. Looking forward to your experience. I agree I think shock/suspension tech has really changed since the 90s, The aftermarket has figured out how to make fairly sophisticated shock tech at a price enthusiasts can afford and there was enough market to justify it.
 

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Hi Everyone. Hope you are all safe and healthy.

Looks like Nitron has 2 kits available: https://www.nitronusa.com/buy-online/automotive/lotus/esprit-v8/esprit-v8--87-04--

I also looked through my old emails as I recall in 2015 or so I emailed them about the kit and the email reply from them was that the kit was designed from a V8. There is a guy on YouTube: Tims Enthusiast Garage and he just received the Nitron kit and will be installing it on a S4 shortly. Might be an interesting watch when he posts it.
 

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Hello jfitz981,

That is basically the same kit. The street kit runs 50N/mm springs adn the track kit runs 60N/mm springs.
The dampers, valving, polishing, and other bits are the same. I called them and had a lengthy talk with them, before ordering. They clearly told me that for a street and track day car, the street kit is good. Only if you are more interested in tracking than streeting, the 60N/mm kit is the one to go for.
Also, if you want, the springs can be chosen around 3-4 steps up or down with 10N/mm steps. The choice is yours.
I have not yet ridden mine, as I picked the car apart afterwards in the rear to install other trick bits and shine up a few bits and bobs, The few meters I did forth and back, before taking the car apart again, felt firm and good on flat and uneven surfaces (even going slowly over some old rail road pieces of wood in a drive.

So, choosing the 60N/mm track kit or even stiffer, will probably demand a stiffer chassis, which ONLY the Sport300 had by the mid bracing and the engine bracing, AND the Sport 350 had by the SP300 mid brace and the THICKER engine cradle tubing, and finally the X180R by means of the roll cage.
There is sometimes mentioned, that the Sport300 and S4 onwards had extra bracing in the front part of the frame, bolted in, but that is not true. The SE chassis of 1989 onwards had the same stiffening welded in, and I prefer that to bolting something in.
The Sport300 also had extra bolts holding the body to the chassis, because it was thinner hand laid, compared to VARI done shells.
As I have the SP300 parts, I will start out with the 50N/mm kit and possibly go stiffer later on (I seriously dislike comfort and soft cars and motorcycles, so I don't have any ;) . I also have another plan to stiffen the complete chassis, but it will mean I have to take it apart completely, so not now in the Summer ;)

I don't mind that the kit was originally designed for a V8 Esprit, as they are generally softer driving cars with more comfort and thicker carpets more lazy if you want, than the more out and out 4 cylinder cars. That is the nature, not the springs, pro-dive, anti-dive, castor, camber and toe, I am talking about.

I wrote to an english Nitron kit user (the first one) and he attested the kit to be fairly comfortable. I don't remember if he uses the rubber bushings etc, or the newer firmer LOTAC bushing kits. (there are many). But compared to what? To an old used setup that is over 10 or 30 years old? Or to a setup that is not made for the Esprit? Or compared to a bad setup which is cheaply made, and which only makes the car crashy and makes it just on the pavement? And only last 1-2 years, tehn it leaks? O a spring setup that does not match the dampers, so will require them to be fully dampened? There are enough bad suspension sets out there, and we should all avoid those,as it makes our cars loose something, not gain anything. I will not point in any particular direction here. You must do thar bit of reading on or offline and decide for yourself what should be steered clear of. Or use PM's.

So, to give you an idea of what I want for my car, I want it to be a trackable streetcar, with no comfort and quick response and precision. Note precision. And light, more power and more torque. I have the two last points where I want them, but a little more to come by parts I have on the shelf. A portied cylinderhead with bogger ligher valvetrain and some nice trick H-beam conrods are on the wish list.
Now, I am focussing on slowly build a bulletproof gearsetup: better shift, more precise shift, stronger gears, stronger casing, stronger clutch, higher 1'st and 2'nd and generally stronger internals. All with special treatment. To complement all the other parts involved in making the car drive even better. But that is another talk.

If you want an out and out track car, buy their completely different multi-adjustable 4-way kit. Or a kit from Öhlins or similar.

More importantly, I am trying to accomplish to set up my Esprit as good as can be done, so I am slowly collecting all needed special tools to do so, and do it myself. No more companies involved. Got to do it yourself. As I found out, it takes time, but pays big dividends.

In the end, I think we as humans, as drivers, are all different persons with different perspectives on the matter. How can I tell you that something is soft, medium or hard, if you have another scale to understand it by? And so on. So I take everything I read with a grain of salt. No mistrust, but a realization of the fact, that we want different goals and we understand the same things a bit differently.

Ultimately, for me personally, the Esprit, mostly the 4 cylinder cars, is an ultra diserable genuine supercar, handmade by enthusiasts and I see our work on the cars as means to fully explore the finetuning of the driving abilities, very much based on Lotus' formula 1 developments, say for example the wheel setups, and that much more so, than most other sports car companies, who generally speaking base a production of streetcars on streetcars, to earn money to go researhing in F1 for F1. Nothing wong with that as such, but it's an entirely different approach, than Lotus have had. But today that bridge is melting together. It's an entirely different thing some 30 odd years ago, when very few men with very little money had some extraordinary good ideas (read: Lotus), compared to all the rest who mostly relied on a huge amount of money spent by many people with very few good ideas (read: the rest). That is why Lotus is a well kept secret in supercar driving. It's not a brand to be factored or recognised amongst all the people full of money and with a wish to display themselves and their personal success to the remainders of the planet Earth. It's a brand of enthusiasts made for enthusiasts. Therefore it will remain a secret of being a supperrior sportscar.
Those people who claim that a Lotus is built to the best ever, and cannot be improved even the slightest, I'd say they are just plain wrong, as history shows. Lotus themselves would have done the same - researched in further development if it was to have been continued. And in fact they did to some extent. Look at for example the LOTAC programme. You see, I believe that everything, I mean everything, can be improved and perfected. Just not because of the sake of changing, but for improving. It's will, drive, time and effort which are the deciding factors, not a brand.
I am thereby also implying, that we cannot make Lotus a supperrior car compared to neither Lotus nor any other supercar or hypercar of today, but we can most certainly improve on the matter by means of development of new materials, new procedures, new ideas, new ways of machining and also including far more precision to parts and tolerances.
Much of this is made possible by means of the internet, which does not only spread and promote a lot of garbage to be avoided, but also very usefull good positive info for the ones who search for it. It is also now far more easy to get in contact with others about that, compared to many years ago (when the Esprit was new). Remember that we had to buy a mag or join a club somewhere else on the globe, and then read their mag, write a letter, mail it, wait for it to be in the mag, if at all, and then hope for someone else to answer? Yes, today is delightfully easy in comparison. But one has to e able to discriminate too. That alone also increased the will to develop and fabricate new parts and solutions, also for our old cars ;)

The chioce is therefore open to each of us, what we want to obtain with our car. And the best thing is, that it's doable.
And the end result is indeed a superior sportscar made by enthusisasts for enthuasiasts that shows it's tail to many a new car on the road even today.
That is some accomplishment and add to that the enormous joy and satisfaction it gives to drive a Esprit, not even yet getting into the territory of a propper set up one ;) The Esprit really becomes the extension of your mind.

Okay, enough mind gobbling from me, back to suspension!

Cheers,
Redfox.
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