The Esprit is one of the best handling cars
in the World!
Why change it?
Everyone knows one of the Esprits best qualities is it's handling. So the suspension is one of the last things anyone thinks about went either modifying or replacing worn parts. The truth is the suspension is great, but it can be improved, (which Lotus themselves are now doing, read below) depending what you're after. Remember when a car is made for the general public, car manufacturers dilute certain things to make sure they appeal to a larger market. Although not as extreme as some manufacturers, Lotus have made the suspension slightly softer to accomadate those after a more comfortable ride. Depending on what you want from your Esprit, depends on whether you can improve it.
Firstly and the easiest upgrade (although not the cheapest) is fitting a later model suspension. Nearly all models are fitted with the same type of springs and dampers, just different spring and damper rates
LEW would advise looking at Lotus' New suspension which is due out late 2005. Probably the best bet for an upgrade.
Secondly, there's the aftermarket suspension makers, that have suspension kits for the Esprit.
Lastly, there's the track stuff, which can be used on the road, but expect a hard ride and trouble over speed bumps.
Changing your supsension to stiffer/shorter springs and higher quality dampers, will decrease body roll considerably, and improve handling, which in turn will make for a less comfortable ride. If you go for an adjustable set-up, remember, setting up the suspension is very difficult unless you have plenty of experience. You could end up making the set-up worse that what you started with if you don't know what you're doing.
All the suspensions set-ups below are untested. All will work, but some may find them not to their liking. Suspension set ups could also increase tyre wear, so keep an eye on your tyres once new suspension is fitted. Also always fit new suspension in pairs, never fit a single corner of your car.
Below I'll show you some of the stuff that's on offer and that can be fitted to your Esprit. Whether it's right for you or worth the extra cash only you can decide.
New 2005 Lotus Suspension:
Lotus' Spring & Damper Programme was started in mid 2005 and will cover Esprits from 1987 to 2004. Lotus will test and set-up each Esprit model (turbo, SE, S4, S4s, GT3 & V8) with new springs and dampers and do a baseline appraisal on the current parts before they begin the development exercise.
Lotus Ride & Handling Engineers will then fit special springs and dampers for development. Lotus are looking at creating new specifications based on the old set-up, but refining it. With the advancement in modern materials and design, they can develop a suspension package for the Esprit models of the past using today's know how.
Lotus will create new spings & dampers for each model retaining the 'feel' of each model, but improving the ride & handling without making all the models feel the same. Lotus are taking this project seriously and are investing a lot of money in it's development. The development is being done on both track and road and covers many different types of road surface, including motorway, A-roads, B-roads and the varying surfaces these can have. As you should know, Lotus one of the leading companies in Ride & Handling and have years of experience in setting up road and track cars.
Once the programme has finished and Lotus have all the data for the springs and dampers, they will decide on how many kits need to be produced to cover the models. S4 and GT3 are likely to share that same kit, as are the V8 Esprits. Dampers will be manufactured by Bilstein and are planned to have dual platforms, so the ride height can be lowered 10mm from standard. Adjustables would work out too expensive and with all the work done by Lotus, you won't need to adjust them.
Springs will be from Eibach and will fit both the Bilstein dampers and the standard Lotus dampers. Meaning you'll be able to fit just the springs to your Esprit or the whole package. Lotus are working on fitting them to 1983-1985 Esprits as well. So nearly all models will be covered.
LEW has been helping with the development of the suspension and has been impress by the amount of work being done for what is basically an out-of-production vehicle. Our view is this is going to be the best upgrade you can buy for your Esprit. Developed by Lotus, in a field they are renound for worldwide, for their own cars and using the lastest materials and technology. The Esprit is hard on it's suspension so many older cars with average mileage will be running on original suspension, which is probably well worn. Upgrading to the new spec, would not only give the improvement of fitting new standard kit, but with the newly developed spec you should see a massive change in ride and handling. We know, we've tested it!
More information will be posted here as it's released. The price should be reasonable on it's release, which we hope to be well before the years end.
A very exciting development.
Original Lotus Suspension:
Esprit 2003-04 (US spec)
This is the suspension fitted to the last of the Esprits and is the first Esprit to get adjustable suspension, the springs are EIBACH and the dampers are BILSTEIN. Not cheap, but it seems the ulimate from Lotus. This can be fitted easily to any V8. It will also fit older types, but with different weights it may have a negative effect on your handling and tyre wear. I've felt the weight and quality of these and it's definately top spec stuff.
Front springs - A082C4257F - x2 ( £62.20 each + vat)
Rear springs - A082D4185F - x2 ( £62.20 each + vat)
Front damper - A082C4258F - x2 (£267.59 each + vat)
Rear damper - A082D4186F - x2 (£267.59 each + vat) = £
Esprit Sport 350
This is the suspension fitted to the Limited Edition Esprit Sport 350 and is what LEW runs on it's Esprit. Not really suitable for 4-cylinder Esprits as the rebound is too hard. LEW will be running with S4s/GT3 suspension.
Front springs - A082C4256F - x2 ( £77.43 each + vat)
Rear springs - A082D4180F - x2 ( £85.09 each + vat)
Front damper - A082C4255F - x2 (£373.42 each + vat)
Rear damper - A082D4179F - x2 (£373.42 each + vat) = £2136.99 (inc. vat)
This is the suspension fitted to the Esprit V8. Only really any use if you have a V8 and you'll already have this suspension. So not really an upgrade of any sort. Gives you an idea of price compared to the 350 or 03 stuff.
Front springs - A082C4247F - x2 ( £66.69 each + vat)
Rear springs - A082D4173F - x2 ( £56.47 each + vat)
Front damper - A082C4244F - x2 (£140.25 each + vat)
Rear damper - A082D4174F - x2 (£86.47 each + vat) = £822.22 (inc. vat)
Note: V8's are 50kg heavier at the rear and 37kg heavier at the front compared to a 4-cylinder Esprit. This difference may affect ride height when fitting between different models.
Esprit S4, S4s & GT3
This is the suspension fitted to the Esprit S4s, which is also the revised suspension for the S4. When the revision was made it was used to replace the original S4 spec springs and dampers. This spec was also used for the GT3, which is why the GT3 sits a little high, due to it's reduced weight compared to the 2.2-litre Esprits. This is really the only choice for Steven's 4-cylinder Esprits, unless you're looking at replacing with an original set-up. This is the suspension LEW will be running on it's 92 Esprit SE.
Front springs - A082C4241F (for heater cars) A082C4242F (A/C Equipped cars) - x2 ( £60.02 each + vat)
Rear springs - A082D4169F - x2 ( £60.02 each + vat)
Front damper - A082C4240F - x2 (£90.39 each + vat)
Rear damper - A082D4168F - x2 (£90.39 each + vat) = £706.93 (inc. vat)
P.U.K. Esprit Racings has two suspension kits. A Fast road (4 dot springs) and a Light track (5 dot springs). Both are Fully adjustable suspensions (4 dampers, 2 springs), Fully adjustable for ride height, bump and rebound. 2 different spring rates available on-line, more spring rates available on request. Fits all Stevens Esprits.
P.U.K. also do a set of bushings made of PolyUrethane and feature a stainless V4A core/bearing. They provide a much more precise/accurate handling, the car feels 'tight'. But more importantly, because they are indestructible, you can be sure that they will last forever and that their performance will remain constant.
P.U.K.'s Top Links allow you to adjust the camber setting of your rear wheels, which will avoid tyre wear if you fit larger wheels than was intended. Allowing earlier Esprits to run the latest V8 wheels without ruinning tyres.
Like you know our kit is not one of the cheap ones. I know that in the UK you can source the gas-dampers for less money but ours is a complete suspension kit with 4 fully adjustable (ride height, bump and rebound) dampers and 2 or 4 uprated springs. The kit itself is available with different spring rates:
1. two front springs 4 or 5 dot (the rears get reused) Price: €1035,-
2. four springs: front 6 dot, rear 7 dot OR front 7 dot, rear 8 dot (this is the setup that I actually like most :o)
Price: €1035,- + 2 springs (each €79,-) = €1193,-
Attention: For the SE and S4 with 4 springs you need additional rear spring adapters (each €49)
Fast Road €1035
Light Track €1035
Top Links €218
Leda suspension supply a kit to fit the Esprit, consisting of 4 dampers and 4 springs. John Hazzard uses this on his Racer. Fully adjustable and perfect for track days. You can purchase your kit from them, or use one of the suppliers below. Leda also have fitting facilities and a full rebuild policy.
Lotus Performance can supply Leda suspension. Email them for a price!
Fully adjustable suspension Kit for the Esprit: (with race springs) adjustable in heigh and tension, different springs available. 1988 onwards, all models.
Poly bushing kit for all Esprits from 1988 up to 2003 for front and rear with V4A core/bearing. With these bushings you replace the original rubber parts and then you get a much more precise/accurate handling, the car feels "tight". Our bushes are made of polyurethane and they are easy to fit.
Adjustable upper link for the rear (Esprit 88-92) You get these links exchange for your old ones which are not adjustable. Optional we can fit these links with ploy bushes.
With 2 springs for front € 1035
with 4 springs € 1199
Bushes € 390-350 (88-97 & 98 onwards)
Top Links€ 218 (set of 2)
Esprit Fully adjustable suspension. Adjustable in height, tension and pressure, will fit 88-2003 Esprits. Different spring rates available.
Price: € 1035
SJ Sportcars sell full adjustable Gazzard suspension for the Esprit at a very reasonable price. Kits are available for both Giugiro and Steven's Esprits. Call Steve for more information on 01363 777790.
Single Adjustable Trakspax Dampers
Designed by SPAX motorsport engineers, this new range of ultra lightweight dampers feature on-car adjustability and expectional stroke to lenght ratio..Fast & easy on-car adjustment, Precision CNC machined from aircraft quality aluminium, Individually calibrated and computer dyno tested. Hard anodised surface treatment. Hydroscopic gas cell permits upside down fitment. 25 stage adjustment.
Double Adjustable Trakspax Dampers
Aircraft grade aluminium body, CNC Machined & hard anodised for unparalleled Quality & 20% lower. 100% independent bump & rebound adjustment with easy to use anodised alloy adjuster knobs. Each damper individually hand built, Dyno tested & calibrated to ensure quality and consistent performance. Traxspax dampers are FULLY REBUILDABLE & SERVICEABLE by SPAX Factory Technicians ensuring long and economic life. 3 Day express rebuild service available to ensure you are back on the track within a week.
Feel free to e-mail LEW with your opinion on this guide and any other available suspension that could be added to this page. firstname.lastname@example.org
Lotus Esprit World cannot be held responsible for anything you attempt on your Esprit. This is just information which you must decide how to use. Lotus Esprit World doesn't recommend fitting suspension yourself. Please use a fully qualified mechanic.