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I'm watching this thread with a lot of concern. I do not like the idea of the rear end 'letting go' on me all of the sudden. The video posted on google is shocking to watch. Imagine if he's ahead of a train of cars on the track, or lets say public highway and then that happened?!?!?! wth?
:eek: -eek- :mad:

That video and car should be examined by Lotus if they are a responsible company and the exact cause should be determined. I hope the owner/dealer took a lot of pictures to document what went wrong and that this suspension issue is properly addressed.

Sorry but that type of breakage should not happen. This type of problem can kill.
 

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Don't think Lotus will even adress this issue or any relating to suspension torque, the dealer is not responsible for the car be speced each time it comes in for basic service.

The company announced " cars being used on the track need more than the normal maintence, above what factory manuals and scheduled maintence require", that is not a direct quote but it is the essence of the statement.

I know of no dealer/manufacturer ( Ferrari FFX excluded) who would support track activities as far as checking suspension nut/bolt torque, etc.

Tech inspection and scruiteenering of your car is your responsibility when you take it to the track.
 

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R'elise Me said:
With loctite, I believe the torque setting is not critical but I'm not positive. Anyone have the torque spec?
The torque spec will always be critical, regardless of whether loctite is used. The torque results in a clamping force or preload that helps keep the joint together. Without that preload, the parts could separate slightly (depends on the application, naturally).

Cleaning off the old loctite is definitely the right thing to do, as the torque will depend on the friction between the threads and some old loctite in there will gum it up.
 

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raggedy1 said:
without looking it up myself, can someone post the torque spec for these bolts?

mattg, we had our cars serviced at the same dealership, and to be honest, I don't think they checked ANY torque specs on my car. the toe link loosening problem wasn't even recognized yet when our cars were in for the 1k service.

I think a lot has been learned over the past 3 years. I would guess that many bolts are now being checked for proper tightness.
Bolt, M10 x 50, 10.9G,cap hd., hub assy. to hub carrier

68 Nm Locktite Blue
 

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goelise said:
I'm watching this thread with a lot of concern. I do not like the idea of the rear end 'letting go' on me all of the sudden. The video posted on google is shocking to watch. Imagine if he's ahead of a train of cars on the track, or lets say public highway and then that happened?!?!?! wth?
:eek: -eek- :mad:
Yes, my main concern as well. I am however confident that with the proper torque/loctite it is reliable and will never "let go" unexpectedly. I still track the car regularly with out fear.

goelise said:
That video and car should be examined by Lotus if they are a responsible company and the exact cause should be determined. I hope the owner/dealer took a lot of pictures to document what went wrong and that this suspension issue is properly addressed. Sorry but that type of breakage should not happen. This type of problem can kill.
Agreed it should not happen and it does have the potential to kill. You would also think that it is in Lotus' best interest to address this issue as each time it happens it costs them big $$$ in warrenty repairs. It happened to me a year ago and at the time my dealership told me Lotus had never seen anything like this happen before. Strange when you think that this suspension has been in use for over a decade in one form or another in the UK. My dealership did have to courier the broken parts to Lotus for examination so they could determine the cause. I would expect that after a few of these occur they would issue a service bulletin, its the responsible thing to do.

Maybe this thread will help as well.
 

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R'elise Me said:
Those bolts require loctite whenever you realign the camber. I can't see how that bolt can walk out with proper loctite. I always wirebrush the old loctite off and clean with solvent prior to reinstalling with new loctite. With loctite, I believe the torque setting is not critical but I'm not positive. Anyone have the torque spec?
I agree the bolt shouldn't walk out if there is loctite on it. However, the point in one of my earlier posts was that the factory did not put loctite on the bolts in my car as they were supposed to. How many others don't have loctite on these bolts?
 

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ChrisH said:
Another way that the hub (shim) bolts might be breaking is if they come loose, even a little (a millimeter or two), the hub will shift suddenly as the car shifts side to side in during handling. The bolt will stop the hub when it reaches the head, which will cause sudden hard shocks to the bolt and could eventually snap it. The shock force can be much greater than if the bolt is tight because in the tight case, it picks up the load gradually due to the tire dampening the side to side onset of force a bit. Even if only one bolt is loose, the flange (that bolts to the hub) can shift at that bolt location (it twists around the tight bolt). Hence, I wouldn't be surprised if the slightly loose bolt breaks before the tight one does. If the bolt manages to get very loose without breaking (too far out for the bolt head to be hit with a shock), then I would expect the secure bolt to break first.
I think you got it pegged, completely agree.
 

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Chris said:
Agreed it should not happen and it does have the potential to kill. You would also think that it is in Lotus' best interest to address this issue as each time it happens it costs them big $$$ in warrenty repairs.
I have no idea what's going through Lotus' minds, or what the real extent of this issue is, but Ford had an issue with the Pinto fuel tanks way back, and calculated that the cost of recalling all vehicles was greater than the cost of not doing so (though they ended up incorrect in that assumption and paid the price, literally). I think that's the balance any automaker is looking at - what is the cost of any potential lawsuits from inaction, versus what is the cost of recalling all the cars to check or fix something. Sad but it's the reality of the situation.

Personally, I'd be satisfied if Lotus just investigated it and sent owners a letter with advice and recommendations on what to do. I'm not asking them to recall my car necessarily, but I WOULD like to know if they've identified any safety issues and what the fix is.
 

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MattG said:
Also, note that in the first picture, the 'tooth' of that locking tab appears to be slipping off of the chassis member there, doing little to actually prevent rotation.
My thoughts exactly.


On a different note, is there a torque spec for these bolts?
 

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babak said:
My thoughts exactly.


On a different note, is there a torque spec for these bolts?
See attached image. Note the change in bolt spec for the top ball joint connection. According to the manual, this change in bolt spec happened around March '04 at approximately VIN number 1537. I wouldn't trust that one bit though, for my car, VIN #73, had a build date of May '04. :shrug:

Also note, they seem to use the terms 'swivel joint' and 'ball joint' interchangeably.
 

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MattG said:
According to the manual, this change in bolt spec happened around March '04 at approximately VIN number 1537. I wouldn't trust that one bit though, for my car, VIN #73, had a build date of May '04. :shrug:
The 1537 VIN is probably an '04 VIN. They didn't change the ROW VINs from '04 to '05 until around August of '04. At the same time, the Fed Elises being built were '05 models with the '05 VIN sequence.
 

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Discussion Starter · #74 ·
MitchT said:
Don't think Lotus will even adress this issue or any relating to suspension torque, the dealer is not responsible for the car be speced each time it comes in for basic service.

The company announced " cars being used on the track need more than the normal maintence, above what factory manuals and scheduled maintence require", that is not a direct quote but it is the essence of the statement.

I know of no dealer/manufacturer ( Ferrari FFX excluded) who would support track activities as far as checking suspension nut/bolt torque, etc.

Tech inspection and scruiteenering of your car is your responsibility when you take it to the track.
With the exception of the occasional autocross, my car has never been in the track and I too am having these problems obviously. In normal circumstances we cannot expect the dealer to go through the car checking critical bolts, but this is not a normal circumstance. This problem can easily lead to a fatality, and it appears to be a defect in design. I have never had this happen to any other car that I've had despite some pretty aggressive street and mild track use.

I hope something happens at Lotus HQ, perhaps in the form of a recall, to address this issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #75 ·
ChrisH said:
Another way that the hub (shim) bolts might be breaking is if they come loose, even a little (a millimeter or two), the hub will shift suddenly as the car shifts side to side in during handling. The bolt will stop the hub when it reaches the head, which will cause sudden hard shocks to the bolt and could eventually snap it. The shock force can be much greater than if the bolt is tight because in the tight case, it picks up the load gradually due to the tire dampening the side to side onset of force a bit. Even if only one bolt is loose, the flange (that bolts to the hub) can shift at that bolt location (it twists around the tight bolt). Hence, I wouldn't be surprised if the slightly loose bolt breaks before the tight one does. If the bolt manages to get very loose without breaking (too far out for the bolt head to be hit with a shock), then I would expect the secure bolt to break first.
This theory makes a lot of sense. :up:
 

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Discussion Starter · #76 ·
neckstrap said:
You guys are confusing me. I admit it's not that hard to do.:)

But, did the hex headed bolts that go through the rubber control arms break OR did the allen headed bolts that hold the tie rod link onto the hub carrier break OR both?

In either case, I cannot determine if the bolts are "graded". The best solution for breaking fasteners is to replace them with higher "graded" fasteners. I can buy grade 8 bolts like these at Home Depot for about $1.50 each. The allen headed bolts are a little more. But, why not replace them? And why hasn't lotus issed a recall to replace all of them under warrenty? Maybe we all need to start a writing campaign? This is a serious safety concern.

Paul
The Hex bolts, see the diagram I posted above and the pics Matt posted.
 

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Lotus should address this problem before someone gets killed if they haven't already. My friend had a 2006 Jeep Liberty which had a similar problem, he lost his wheel at 65 MPH on Route I-95 in Delaware with his 5 month old daughter in the truck. He spun around 3 times and crashed into the concrete divider and made about 10 other drivers swerve to miss him. He was lucky not to get killed and when he took his car to the Jeep dealer to get fixed a mechanic told him that this problem wasn't uncommon with the Liberty.I dont' know if Jeep has addressed the problem but it seems like they ignored it for a long time. After he got it fixed he traded it in on a BMW because he didn't feel right about selling it to someone else. There is no reason that a new car should have a problem with critical bolts loosening on the control arms under normal driving conditions, it's poor engineering and there should be a recall. Lotus can't expect everyone to have access to ramps and a torque wrench to adjust critical parts on a regular basis. I don't care about my windows rattling or other detail oriented engineering problems with my car but if I have to worry about my wheel falling off on a 2 year old car because I haven't had time to get ramps, jack and a torque wrench from my local Snap On dealer, that pisses my off! I was going to buy an Exige S but after reading this thread I am going to put more consideration into a Cayman S because my wheel never fell off my 1986 944T and I drove it hard for 15 years and I have not even seen my torque wrench in 20 years. For a company that claims that the Elise was one of the most advanced cars ever made, Lotus should hire some engineers that know how to keep the wheels on or just market the car as a handyman special and throw in a Lotus torque wrench, do it yourself video and some mechanix gloves at the time of sale.
 

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From what I've read here, so far, it sounds more like an assembly problem than an engineering design flaw. At least some show no signs of having thread locker used on them and who knows how they were torqued. That's the down-side of the "hand built" often bandied about by Lotus owners.

Back when demand was far outstripping supply, Lotus hired a bunch of contract employees to add the equivalent of a half a shift. The oil cooler problem fell out of that due to inadequate training and experience. This might have too. My car was built during that period and I've already had the oil cooler failure, so it will be interesting to see the outcome of this.
 

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cbelon said:
Lotus should address this problem before someone gets killed if they haven't already. My friend had a 2006 Jeep Liberty which had a similar problem, he lost his wheel at 65 MPH on Route I-95 in Delaware with his 5 month old daughter in the truck. He spun around 3 times and crashed into the concrete divider and made about 10 other drivers swerve to miss him. He was lucky not to get killed and when he took his car to the Jeep dealer to get fixed a mechanic told him that this problem wasn't uncommon with the Liberty.I dont' know if Jeep has addressed the problem but it seems like they ignored it for a long time. After he got it fixed he traded it in on a BMW because he didn't feel right about selling it to someone else. There is no reason that a new car should have a problem with critical bolts loosening on the control arms under normal driving conditions, it's poor engineering and there should be a recall. Lotus can't expect everyone to have access to ramps and a torque wrench to adjust critical parts on a regular basis. I don't care about my windows rattling or other detail oriented engineering problems with my car but if I have to worry about my wheel falling off on a 2 year old car because I haven't had time to get ramps, jack and a torque wrench from my local Snap On dealer, that pisses my off! I was going to buy an Exige S but after reading this thread I am going to put more consideration into a Cayman S because my wheel never fell off my 1986 944T and I drove it hard for 15 years and I have not even seen my torque wrench in 20 years. For a company that claims that the Elise was one of the most advanced cars ever made, Lotus should hire some engineers that know how to keep the wheels on or just market the car as a handyman special and throw in a Lotus torque wrench, do it yourself video and some mechanix gloves at the time of sale.

Man, this thread may be getting a bit out of hand. What are we at, a grand total of a few Elises that have had this problem? Of the thousands sold?

If you are not mechanically inclined and have concerns over this I am positive the mechanics at the Lotus dealership will gladly go over the car if you request them to do so at your next service. I wouldn't compare this to something like the firestone tire debacle of a few years ago, the infamous pinto exploding gas tank issue or the FORD cars cathing on fire burning down peoples houses while they sleep dealio. Big car companies (especially in north america) have multi million dollar recalls all the time and for each one there are usually tonnes of deaths involved before they take action.

Like I said before, at the time Lotus claimed they had never encountered anything quite like this before and I believe them. They also completely took care of me and fixed it better than new even replacing parts that were fine just in case. Now a year later a few others have had the problem and maybe it is time to start looking a little more closely into it. Make the checking of these bolts part of the regular service check list. I do have complete faith in the design of the suspension, it just needs to be put together properly.

Don't get me wrong, I completely see your points and Lotus should (and probably will) look into it, but you may be a tad over reacting talking about getting a p-car -poke-
 

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I agree with Chris on this. A few cars with a problem don't equal total disregard for safety from Lotus. It is not hard to check and I agree it should be done but lets not flame the maker! All hail the maker.....All hail the maker.....(of our beloved cars of course).
 
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