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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi guys,

I was enjoying some spirited driving yesterday and partway through my drive I noticed a change in the character of the ride that is a little hard to describe. My steering wheel is now slightly off center (as if the car needs an alignment) and when I accelerate hard I get a feeling similar to torque steer where the car tracks differently under acceleration than when at steady speed. I hit no bumps or potholes that would account for a sudden alignment problem.

It were my commuter DeLorean I would have presumed the rear alignment shims on one of the trailing arm bolts dropped out, but when putting the car on my lift, I can see no signs of anything being amiss and everything looks and feels perfectly solid (bushings, ball joints, shocks). Now I'm starting to wonder if I'm past due for my cat scan.

I'm hitting the track again in a week and want to go into it with good confidence that all is OK. Anyone encounter something similar and have suggestion on whether I should be seeing a head doctor or whether I should pull out the wrenches?

Knut

(BTW, I have an '02 V8)
 

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Hi guys,

I was enjoying some spirited driving yesterday and partway through my drive I noticed a change in the character of the ride that is a little hard to describe. My steering wheel is now slightly off center (as if the car needs an alignment) and when I accelerate hard I get a feeling similar to torque steer where the car tracks differently under acceleration than when at steady speed. I hit no bumps or potholes that would account for a sudden alignment problem.

It were my commuter DeLorean I would have presumed the rear alignment shims on one of the trailing arm bolts dropped out, but when putting the car on my lift, I can see no signs of anything being amiss and everything looks and feels perfectly solid (bushings, ball joints, shocks). Now I'm starting to wonder if I'm past due for my cat scan.

I'm hitting the track again in a week and want to go into it with good confidence that all is OK. Anyone encounter something similar and have suggestion on whether I should be seeing a head doctor or whether I should pull out the wrenches?

Knut

(BTW, I have an '02 V8)
Well it could be from the rear?
The list would include:
1) A binding joint/pivot/rod-end
2) A binding damper/shock.
3) A bent piece or alignment knocked out.

It will take some time moving everything around and checking for #1 and #2.

Have you checked the tire pressures?
 

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My car started doing the same thing for no reason. I found two issues, slipped bushings and loose (way under torqued) outer tow link joint on the left side.
Check the rear upper A arm bushings. They can slip for and aft under acceleration, de-cell, braking, but look normal at rest. minimal pressure with a pry bar is enough to check for play. Just my experience.
 

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Also check to make sure you don't have a sticking caliper though that's probably unlikely on a V8 unless the braking system has been seriously neglected.

Definitely something amiss to have such a sudden change so figure it out before taking to the track.

Check torque on all the suspension bits and particularly the bushing and pivot bolts on the trailing arms.

Has your car ever been wrecked?
 

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Not experienced on the V8 but I'm sure you already checked the front joint of the trailing arm where all sorts of oddities like delimitation of the rubber joint can happen. We also had the bolt bend for reasons not fully understood that changed the rear tracking instantly.

One thing to keep in mind is that lots of tyres show quite dramatically different behaviour as they wear and sometimes the tram lining and camber following traits can emerge quite quickly. What is it like on the other side of the road where the road camber is different.
 

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wait a sec, you have both a delorean and an espirit!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
wait a sec, you have both a delorean and an espirit!!!
Isn't that pretty common? Need to drive something mellow to work during the rainy winder months, and the DeLorean is just the ticket for that. For some real thrills, nothing beats the Esprit. Need a car for every occasion.

Knut
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all the helpful suggestions

Hi all,

Thanks for all the helpful suggestions. I took a crowbar to various joints and bushings this afternoon and so far everything looks rock solid. My rear tires do have substantially different wear (one tire had been replaced due to a failure leaving the wear uneven) and since I'm putting some more suitable tires on it for track use anyway, I think I'll start by getting the mismatched wear addressed first. With all the bushings and ball joints looking good, I'll check torque on all the critical fastners and get the new tires on to see how that might improve the picture. I might still be due for my cat scan, but I'll address the most obvious stuff first.

Incidentally, for the Lotus improved shocks and springs program, is that something that can be obtained through the regular sources (Lotus Garage, JAE)? I have browsed the web sites and cann't readily find the setup.

Knut
 

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You have to go over the whole suspension system but I suspect the problem is in the rear. If you cannot find the source of the problem take it to a shop for an alignment and once they put their equipment on it the problem will be obvious.

Having a Lotus AND a Delorean is not that weird is it? I also have one of each! I consider them "cousins " in most respects. It is just too bad the Delorean did not wind up with more performance and less good looks!
David Teitelbaum
 

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Isn't that pretty common? Need to drive something mellow to work during the rainy winder months, and the DeLorean is just the ticket for that. For some real thrills, nothing beats the Esprit. Need a car for every occasion.

Knut
It is just that they are so very similar. Woulda gone with two cars at the opposite end of the spectrum
 

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...
...and since I'm putting some more suitable tires on it for track use anyway, I think I'll start by getting the mismatched wear addressed first.
...
You say "addressed first", but it is likely that the wear and handling have the same causal mechanism - so it might be that one (alignment) solves both issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
You have to go over the whole suspension system but I suspect the problem is in the rear. If you cannot find the source of the problem take it to a shop for an alignment and once they put their equipment on it the problem will be obvious.

Having a Lotus AND a Delorean is not that weird is it? I also have one of each! I consider them "cousins " in most respects. It is just too bad the Delorean did not wind up with more performance and less good looks!
David Teitelbaum

Hi Dave,

Thanks for the suggestions. I've had the car on the lift all weekend poking around and inspecting/prying various joints/links and I'm stumped. I think I'll take your advice of taking it to an alignment shop as soon as I have the new tires fitted. I figure I'll do the suspension upgrade this summer while I can enjoy it during prime track season, and there's nothig like having everything out of the car and putting it back again to find and fix something that might be amiss.

I think I've judged your DeLorean before ages ago when the DMC Houson concours was just starting up. I find my DeLorean to be a very reliable and servicable daily driver (although not a performance car). I put 200K miles on my first one before I sold it for the same as I bought it for, and I'm now getting great service out of my second one.

Knut
 

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Discussion Starter #14
You say "addressed first", but it is likely that the wear and handling have the same causal mechanism - so it might be that one (alignment) solves both issues.
Thanks for your comments and suggestions. It's nice to be part of a helpful and constructive forum.

In my particular case the uneven wear on the rear tires is at lest partly due to tires of different vintage (although it might also be contributed by alignemnt issues). One rear tire was wrecked at the track and replaced with a new matching one, so my two rear tires have different wear on them.

I think my next steps to get this resolved is to first get a new set of track tires fitted and then get an alignemnet and I'l assess from there. I'll be replacing the suspension shortly, so if my attempts at finding a weak link this weekend has overlooked something, hopefully it'll be one of the bushings I'll be replacing anyway.

I'll shred what's left of this set of tires on the track next week and then scrub my next set of track tires for a couple weeks before the next round.

Knut
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It is just that they are so very similar. Woulda gone with two cars at the opposite end of the spectrum
My 91 Lotus Elan has a very different character. With some enhancements it's my car of chocie for auto-X as well as on the odd day here in Oregon when the sun is out and I can take the top down. I guess there might be a theme in what appeals so I end up with cars of a similar character.

Knut
 

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while you are checking things, you might take a look at your steering column (they are collapsible in the event of a crash, and it's possible that they can bend or break, I'd guess. Also look at the steering U-joints, make sure they are tight.
 

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From the O.P's description of the way the car behaves it sounds to me like it has a bad inner or outer tie rod end causing a toe out condition.

A good way to check them is to raise one side of the car at a time, leaving the opposite front wheel in contact with the ground , and push/pull on the wheel that is off the ground whilst observing the outer balljoint and the rack gaiter (bellows) for evidence of unwanted movement.
 
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