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Discussion Starter #21
Busy few weeks, finally got back into the garage.
Painting went ok, I got rushed at the end and resulted in a few runs. Nothing that hinders the performance of the paint but rather the aesthetics :|
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When I was cleaning the bushing holes with sandpaper I was impressed by how hard the paint is. I wasn't gentle handling them and the part held up well. I used por15, which has mixed reviews, but I think it turned out well. It will be a test to see how long it will stay nice (and how well I did my prep)...

I noticed that my new ball joints have some surface rust on them :/ not sure if they came this way or not, but they gave been inside my garage with no exposure to water...
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A little bit of scotch bright and they are clean.

I reinstalled the exhaust cat and heatshield, I took the opportunity to give some love to the stainless steel on the sonic fury.
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1/2 way done, need to give my arms a rest :)

My rear wheel bearings are stiffer compared to the front, They are still smooth but I have to hold them tightly in order to turn them.
so I ordered some replacements...
 

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Discussion Starter #22
Bushings:
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I was inspecting the bearings in the kit I got and I was not impressed... there was a thin and not to well applied PTFE layer and more concerning, there was play in the thrust direction. These units appear to be made by the company LS.
I decided to bite the bullit and ordered higher quality SKF units.
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There is a clear quality difference, and it appears there is a 3x price difference as well :/ for some reason all of the domestic SKF distributors sell the geh15 bearing for $90 a price, wtf! I order from bearings direct in England for less the $20 a unit.
None of the lotus aftermarket sellers of bushing kits specific the brand of bearing used except HPE, which leads me to believe the most seller are using basic bearings...
FWIW, I have ordered parts from 5 different companies and enjoy a rather robust selection of parts for our cars considering the volume that are out in the world, We have options in quality and price. I am hoping that the use of high quality bearings will make my bushing last much longer. Time will tell.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
I’m finally assembling everything, a long time coming.
Ball joints went in ok, I don’t think my press was 100% square as every joint was slightly a skew while going in, the leveled out and pressed in fine. A nice hydronic press would have be nice :)
I needed up setting the preload on them to The “lowest setting” they are fairly free in movement now.
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The front lower arms have a flange that interferes with the press, so I hade the privilege to touch up my paint already :/
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The bushings went in ok, I tried to use some spray lithium grease, I aborted the installation as it became very difficult to press the bearing in. I backed out the bearing and re did it with standard lithium grease, it was much easier to do.
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the press is meant to center the bearing In the arm, it does a reasonable job but considering the tolerances of the arms and any paint or powder coating they may be slightly off. To help make sure things are consistent, I pressed the bearings in from the same direction. Even doing that I still had to tweak a few of them to make them fit into the frame.
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some of my arms had some sloppy welds that made the tool not sit square, so I had to install them from the other direction and tweak them to fit.

regarding the front upper arms and the caster shims, I used a scrap piece of redwood that I shaped to fit inside the bushing, I cut it to fit and installed it with the wood holding everything together. I then simply pushed in the bolt and the wood was ejected out, no fuss, Worked on the first try :) For the front most bushing I push in the bolt and simply cut the wood in pieces as it came out. Redwood is soft so I used a wire cutter.
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I replaced the large fender washers with another stack of washers I had laying around, due to the fact that the aftermarket bushing don’t allow for the usage of the rubber washer, so the stack is now different. Make sure to measure the total stack height so it fits similarly...
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Finally some progress.
Rears are done and on the car.
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Spitfire link went on very smoothly, it is a very well designed kit.
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I did a ballpark alignment with a long stick matching the old to links settings, I will follow up with a string alignment and then a proper corner balance at west end.
A minor hiccup with the penske on the rear, the drivers side was touching the mounting point at full droop. it is barely touching, but it’s enough that I want to fix it. 30 sec with file, lil bit of paint and all is well.
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I marked all of the bolts and nuts with “tamper paint”, so checking torque should be a breeze.

I need to measure the caster in the front, I haven’t torqued everything down yet because if that. It will be this weeks project.
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Discussion Starter #25
I’m done installing everything! It has taken a long time, but that has mostly been my schedule.
I pained the front hubs to help keep the rust off, not sure how well it will last but I figure it wouldn’t hurt, and looks better :)
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I had to adjust my front top a arm bushing again, after measuring the caster I wasn’t happy with my adjustment range. I want to max my caster and was unable to do as my bushing were slightly different between the two side meaning that I had to add 2 washers in front on the right side to make the caster match between both sides. So I popped out the arm and scooted the bearings a lil bit and now the caster is within matching spec at 4’
I need to do a quick toe alignment to make sure I won’t kill my tires on the way to get an alignment. I was going to do a sting alignment but I think I may just do a “toe plate” to get the total toe good enough for the drive there.
I figure it would be a good time to do oil, transmission, brake, and supercharger oil change as well.

I am very eager to get back in the road.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Well, got everything on and the car back on the ground and I now realize I have a bad steering rack. I have had an intermittent clunk that I attributed to my bushings. I figure there was a chance that replacing all of the suspension parts may not fix it. I should Have just purchased it to start with...
I’ll have to wait a bit more to get my car aligned and ready for the track/canyons :/
 

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Discussion Starter #27
In preparation for the rack install (which is back-ordered) I started removing the seats. And I found that my seatbelt buckle wire was damaged.
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It appears that the previous owner had a harness installed and messed this up. The wire was pinched between the bolt, wearing the wire down, but also allowing for conductivity. This explains my intermittent seatbelt light...
Considering this holds my ass to the seat, I want to fix this properly. So more parts to order...
 

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AFAIK the only thing those wires do is light up the seat belt light. Those who have a harness often disconnect it so that they don't have that light on when they are using the harness in place of the seat belt. Assuming you still have the plug it would probably be just as easy to repair the wire rather than replace it with a new part.
 

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Discussion Starter #29
AFAIK the only thing those wires do is light up the seat belt light. Those who have a harness often disconnect it so that they don't have that light on when they are using the harness in place of the seat belt. Assuming you still have the plug it would probably be just as easy to repair the wire rather than replace it with a new part.
wouldn’t the airbags not fire if there was no seatbelt detected? maybe i am assuming that lotus put more thought into there safty systems?
 

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In the USA air bags don't assume you're wearing a seat belt. In Europe, they do. Lotus did get an exception on air bags but I'm not sure the detail.... I doubt you can disable them by clipping that wire, if that was true it would be way easier to defeat the system than the paths others have taken.

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Modern airbag systems take the seatbelt sensor into account when deciding whether to deploy and with how much force. The airbag might deploy in a low speed crash only if no seatbelt is detected. In a higher speed crash, deployment is with more force when the seatbelt isn't detected.

I doubt Lotus ever had that, but would like to know for sure. Perhaps one could tell from the wiring diagram by checking whether the seatbelt sensor feeds into the airbag ECU. This is relevant to anyone running a harness with the airbag.
 

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Thank you to the OP for this detailed walkthrough of a suspension refresh. This thread officially convinced me that I should not attempt to replace my bushings myself...way too much going on behind the wheels for someone with limited mechanical experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #34
Thank you to the OP for this detailed walkthrough of a suspension refresh. This thread officially convinced me that I should not attempt to replace my bushings myself...way too much going on behind the wheels for someone with limited mechanical experience.
I have learned a lot since I purchased my car. This is the first car that I have done more than just oil and brakes. There is so much info available and an amazing community that I find encouraging to try new things.
Fwiw, the suspension is straight forward, just time consuming and a bit tedious depending on what products you choose. The right tool makes all the difference as well.
I should post up so more info, I have now started to tear into the seats and shifting mountings, because I have to wait for my steering rack...
 
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