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Lotus Elan Central
Suspension Alignment

The Elan handles like no other car! To keep your Elan performing like it should and to help keep away excessive tire wear, the front and rear alignment need to be periodically checked/adjusted. I would recommend doing this each time you get some new tires for your baby! You should seek out an excellent alignment shop with a state-of-the-art alignment machine. If they do not know what a Lotus is or sound clueless, call the next shop. Be careful because you may find a shop that says, "sure, bring it over," only to find out when your tires wear wrong that they had no clue how to adjust your car right! The Elan is actually not more difficult to adjust than other cars.

It just so happens that I have a shop in my neighborhood which is state-of-the-art: "Stokes Tire Pros" in Santa Monica, California: phone 310-393-0767. They have a top-line "John Bean 3D Visualiner" alignment machine which no one else has yet! I am putting them here for reference only—maybe they can help others find shops with similar equipment?!

Below are the alignment specs out of the Lotus Service Notes for the Elan. These are the factory specs! I will not go into discussion about all the terms, but will refer you instead to the "Ingalls Engineering" website dictionary of alignment terms.


NOTE: suspension geometry should only be checked at "mid-laden" ride height = (with 75kg driver and ½ tank of fuel).

FRONT SUSPENSION GEOMETRY:

Castor: +1° ; +½° , - 0°

Camber: - ¼° ; + or - ¼°

Steering axis inclination: 10 ½°

Toe-out: 0° to ¼° total

(**Difference in set-up between the SE and S2. S2 toe-out was changed to 1.2mm +/- 0.2mm)

Scrub Radius: - 3mm

Castor, Camber, and Toe-out should be checked and/or adjusted in the following order:

(1) Castor, (2) Camber, and (3) Toe-out.

REAR SUSPENSION GEOMETRY:

Camber: - ½° ; + or - ¼°

Toe-in: +1.5 to 2mm each side. It is essential that rear wheel alignment be checked using equipment which measures individual alignment.


When adjusting the alignment, the condition of the bushings and struts should be checked and addressed if needed.

You can also read discussions on-line about different camber and toe adjustments and how they affect performance and handling in general. You may even find someone who suggests a "better" alignment set-up for cars or the Elan. Personally, I will keep my car "factory" to be sure I enjoy its Lotus handling heritage.

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