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I'm curious

JeffR, When this happened did the car just immediately spin? I had the rear of my car become unstable, and feel like it was swaying left and right just before it went into a spin. Granted I might have handled it better but it was disconcerting that this happened very quickly on straight, flat, dry road. Just curious.
 

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SERVICE BULLETIN Date: 24.08.06 2006/21
Model: Elise/Exige/Europa

TITLE: Ball joint plinth security.

REASON: To ensure that ball joint plinths are properly secured after camber adjustment.

ACTION: On both front and rear suspension, if the plinth for the top swivel ball joint (combined with steering arm on front) is released from the hub carrier to facilitate adjustment of the camber shim plate pack (or for any other reason), it is essential that the correct procedure is followed when reassembling.

Refer to Service Notes section CI (front suspension) page 5 & 9, or DH (rear) page 5 & 9.

See also Service Bulletin 2004/08
- If a steering arm or ball joint plinth bolt is disturbed or removed, the locking action of the thread adhesive will be lost. The bolt must then be completely removed and the old adhesive cleaned from the thread using a wire brush, before finally degreasing with acetone. The bolt holes in the ball joint plinth should also be cleaned.
- If necessary, re-assemble dry to check geometry adjustment.
- On final assembly, Permabond A130 thread locking compound (A912E7033V) should be applied to the bolt thread following package instructions, before fitting and torque tightening.
- In March 2004, the 8.8 grade cap head bolts securing the steering arms to the front hub
carriers, and the top ball joint plinths to the rear hub carriers, were commonised with the uprated 10.9 grade versions used on motorsport cars, with a corresponding increase in torque setting from 45 Nm (8.8 grade) to 68 Nm (10.9 grade). Check the marking around the cap head to establish the grade and appropriate torque setting.
- The 10.9 grade bolts may be used as service replacements on any car fitted with forged steel hub carriers. Caphead Bolt, 10.9 grade, steering arm forward fixing, M10x40 A117W7211F 2 off Caphead Bolt, 10.9 grade, steering arm rearward fixing, M10x60 A117W7213F 2 off Caphead Bolt, 10.9 grade, rear ball joint plinth, M10x50 A117W7212F 4 off

If for any reason a bolt is found to have become loose, and the car has been operated for any period in this condition, the bolt should be renewed as a standard precaution and related components carefully inspected for hole ovality or wear.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
...the locking action of the thread adhesive will be lost. The bolt must then be completely removed and the old adhesive cleaned from the thread using a wire brush, before finally degreasing with acetone...
Interesting, mine weren't Locktited from Lotus. I removed the bolt shaft by slotting the end and turning it with a screwdriver. The threads were completely clean. Oh well, they lasted >30k miles (including >8k track miles) before failing. The car has held up surprisingly well.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
JeffR, When this happened did the car just immediately spin?
Oh my yes. It was an immediate and violent snap spin. The rear wheel was not controlled in any direction, and slapped around hitting the wheel well (no serious damage). Data logs show that I went from -1.4 lateral G to +.9 in about a 1/4 second. -1.03 is the normal max for that corner.
 

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One more car suffers same failure

I had my left rear wheel come loose while making right turn. Luckily it was low speed and not much damage.
The car had gone only 1500 miles since last service (total of 6870 miles).
 

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Anyone know the correct torque setting for the 12.9 bolts? I'm assuming they need a certain stretch to stay put or are we just relying on loctite?
 

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I had my left rear wheel come loose while making right turn. Luckily it was low speed and not much damage.
The car had gone only 1500 miles since last service (total of 6870 miles).
Doublecheck your damage assessment. In your pic it looks like the wheel has been cracked in two places. Could be an illusion, but definitely check it while its off.
 

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Update: the car is back home restored

The wheel is fine, just a scratch.

Local dealer (SVAG) took prompt care of the whole thing and it was covered by Lotus :clap:

Repairs included:
  1. New lower wishbone
  2. New drive shaft
  3. new wheel liner
  4. new bolts on both left and right side
  5. new toe-link
  6. alignment
  7. their body-shop repaired small crack in rocker panel where wheel was rubbing against it and re-painted it. New star shield was applied today (see pic).

Doublecheck your damage assessment. In your pic it looks like the wheel has been cracked in two places. Could be an illusion, but definitely check it while its off.
 

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No ideas.
This is not new. I was checking these very bolts (and every other bolt in suspension, not just toe-link bolts) each time when doing self-service on my 2005 red Elise at 3750mile intervals (took me ~ 8hours to go over all check points, oil-change, etc).

If this thread(s) does not make you do so I don't know what will :crazyeyes

Did they have any ideas abut the cause? Is this a new set of bolts that we need to keep checking?
 

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apkom, was there previous alignment or camber/shim work done on your BRG car? I know you mention checking your red Elise often...but what about this one? If you didn't do any changes, did you buy the car used or new?
 

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Yes, alignment was done in 2007 and locktite used on these as per instructions. Since then I had car serviced at 5000 miles.
I did not check this car personally so have to trust the shop.

apkom, was there previous alignment or camber/shim work done on your BRG car? I know you mention checking your red Elise often...but what about this one? If you didn't do any changes, did you buy the car used or new?
 

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Yes, alignment was done in 2007 and locktite used on these as per instructions. Since then I had car serviced at 5000 miles.
I did not check this car personally so have to trust the shop.
Gotcha. So it was a long time between the work and the failure. That makes me worry less. :D
 

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I would not call 1 year long time. Plus, last service was done just 6 month ago. I'm not sure though if those bolts were checked at that time.
Could this been just a bad batch of bolts (the car was built in Sep.2005)?

I have not brought this car to a track a single time (and such desire is greatly reduced after this mishap), only do moderate club autoX with local lotus and BMW clubs. I don't run sticky (Hoosier, Slicks) tires either. First set was stock A048's and now I have similar in traction R888's. Hmm, may be I'll switch to street tire class again when this set wears out. On my red car I ran stock AD07's and then Falken RT615's after upgrading it to LSS specs.

As for using harder steel (12.9 grade) would not this make these bolts more brittle so they snap instead of shear? Besides, something else will brake then as the whole suspension thing is pretty balanced I assume.
And then using non-factory specified bolts will be looked upon unfavorably by Lotus should something bad happen.

Gotcha. So it was a long time between the work and the failure. That makes me worry less. :D
 

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....what do you mean by 12.9 and 10.9??? Is that mm? Is any additional work required to install them or do they fit where the stock ones go?
These are the material strength property classes. They are designated by a number. The metric grades are 4.6, 4.8, 5.8, 8.8, 9.8, 10.9 and 12.9. The higher number is essentially a harder bolt. They also take a different maximum torque (which is also based on length of the bolt). They vary in their proof load stress (for carbon steel from 225 to 970 MPa), minimum tensile yield strength (from 240 to 1100 MPa), and minimum tensile ultimate strength (from 400 to 1220 MPa).

Dumb question...
You ask, you learn.... you don't, you're dumb.
 
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