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Roadster rear toe links

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by thefortunes, Apr 30, 2016.

  1. thefortunes

    thefortunes Member

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    First, let me say that I am out of my comfort zone here, so I am looking for a little help.

    Since I have 63k miles on my 2.5 non-sport Roadster and I do not believe it has ever had an alignment (unless Tesla snuck one in during an annual), I took it to a well-known (in this area) shop that does Lotus alignments.

    We found some play in the rear toe links and the shop recommends replacing them. This doesn't surprise me as you can find all kind of Elise failures with a simple google search.

    I have a call in to the nearest Tesla repair facility to check availability and $$ for stock parts, but the service guy I spoke with said he couldn't find any in the midwest. The parts guy will call me Monday.

    The shop has never worked on a Roadster (I believe there is only one other in Wisconsin), so they are going to do some research if there are aftermarket Elise options that will work on the Roadster, but I thought I would ask here in case someone has thoughts (or has already replaced them).

    I found these 36 Toe Link Assembly, or these Elise S1 S2 Exige Mk1 and 340R Rear Toe-Link Kit | Hangar 111 which I think might work.

    Thanks for any input :)
     
  2. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    You HAVE to use the Roadster Toe links unless you have the specs that you can verify they'll hold up to the extra 900lbs in the rear. Tesla ditched the Lotus ones for that they would not hold up to the stresses of the battery weight, hence you see many of them getting blown out.

    With any suspension parts, you can't skimp and you can't put a part that does not meet or exceed the original requirements.

    Call Tesla, order a set of Rear Toe links for the rear and have a competent mechanic or Tesla install them.
     
  3. thefortunes

    thefortunes Member

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    Thanks for the quick response. I was unaware that Tesla switched out the toe links (but it makes sense).
     
  4. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    Yes, and whenever you hit a bump hard the rear takes the brunt of the force.... typically throwing your rear toe out. Hence why they beefed it up. Its a major failure point if it wasn't addressed.
     
  5. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    Several of us have replaced rear toe links. I did the job myself with parts from Tesla. @wiztecy is right they're not the same as any Lotus parts. If you search you'll find the thread where I posted pics of the job.

    The rear toe links are made for racing and don't have a great seal to keep moisture out. It's a common Roadster failure point anywhere that gets much rain and especially if you drive on salty roads. There's no grease fitting so I greased mine before installing with a needle.
     
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  6. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    Here's my thread on the inner toe links. Lots of good information for you.
    Rear Tie Rod ends
    I spoke with a veteran Roadster tech who said it's rare to see the rear toe-links last much longer than 40k miles unless you live in a dry climate. Good luck.
     
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  7. thefortunes

    thefortunes Member

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    Thanks Henry.

    Did you replace the toe links also, or just the inner tie rod ends?
     
  8. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    #8 hcsharp, May 1, 2016
    Last edited: May 1, 2016
    The inner tie rod ends are the same thing as the toe links (on the rear of the car). The tie rod ends on the outside are sealed better, stronger, and generally last a long time. It's the inner toe links that are prone to failure.

    It took me a little while to understand the lingo. I'm still not entirely sure what the difference is between a tie rod end and and toe link. On the rear suspension of a Roadster they both control the wheel alignment as opposed to steering. Perhaps a tie rod end has a bolt attached at 90 deg for securing to the control arm on the wheel hub. I think a toe link has a separate bolt that passes through it which is called a heim joint. Hopefully someone who knows better than me can chime in.
     
  9. thefortunes

    thefortunes Member

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    I didn't phrase my question very well.

    Did you replace the toe link rod in addition to the inner ball joint that you showed in the other thread? (You can see the full Lotus assy here Lotus Garage | The Internet’s Premier Lotus OEM Parts Source).
     
  10. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    No. There's no reason to replace the rod. The only real question is whether to replace the bolt that goes through the toe link and A arm. I replaced it and the nut on the recommendation of Tesla. Not sure it was necessary as the old bolt was just fine but the results are bad if that bolt or nut fails. I torqued everything to spec. Don't let them talk you into replacing the rod unless something is wrong with it (bent, stripped, etc.).
     
  11. JohnGarziglia

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    In the past six months or so, I have noted a squirrelly or uncertain feeling from the rear suspension, particularly on wet or icy surfaces, that I do not recall experiencing before (almost as if the rear of the car is experiencing oversteer even though I am travelling in a straight line). My 2.5 roadster has approximately 65,000 miles on it. Would this be an indication of failing or loose rear inner toe links?

    Is there a way I can diagnose the integrity of the rear toe links myself or does this diagnosis require an experienced mechanic? What do I look for? Will the inner toe links have some sort of play, or visual indication of failing, or do I look for play in the rear wheels themselves?
     
  12. thefortunes

    thefortunes Member

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    Jack up the rear of the car, grab the rear tire at 9 & 3 and try to make it move (not rotate, but move as if it were a front tire turning slightly in or out). There should be no play - if there is, there is something wrong and (based on Henry and my experience) you most likely need to replace the inner ball joint.

    If you find play, I would take it to an alignment shop (or Tesla) and have them do a diagnosis (and repair).

    BTW, "squirrely" is also why I took mine in for an alignment. It had gotten to the point (especially with the more squirmy winter tires) that I would not let anyone else drive it as I was uncomfortable that they would be able to compensate for the random movements that were occurring.
     
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  13. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    Squirrely, unpredictable, unexpected darting in one direction or the other, describes it pretty well.

    @thefortunes answered this quite well.
     
  14. JohnGarziglia

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    Somewhat reassuring, when I jacked up the rear and looked for horizontal play in each rear wheel, there is none. Even so, I think I will have Tesla look at the rear suspension the next time it is in for service. I need to take it in to have a tire pressure monitor replaced even though at this point the error screen and beep has not annoyed me enough to make an appointment to get it done.
     
  15. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    When was the last time you had the Roadster's alignment done? They're very sensitive to the numbers being on and the rear toe is the first to go out from any minor imperfection in the road due to the heavy weight back there. I can tell everytime when a pot hole or bridge uprise connection threw the rear out. The car drives very wonky, it'll want to whip the rear out and it feels in my opinion out of control and a true danger to you and others on the road.

    So you may have Tesla check your #'s while you're in there.
     
  16. JohnGarziglia

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    An alignment has never been done since I purchased the car new so it is likely time for it. Is this something that a regular shop can do, or is it advisable to have Tesla do it (and does every Tesla service center have an alignment machine or is this something they contract out)?
     
  17. Stefan T

    Stefan T Member

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    That's posible for a regular shop to make alignment
    A frend of mine helped me to align my roadster rear suspension
    it nesecary to have chamber shims thats fitt
    Lotus use the same
    or made them by our self (i did that) from sheet metal in diffrent gauges
     
  18. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    #18 wiztecy, May 7, 2016
    Last edited: May 7, 2016
    Your camber won't change from what it was already set if its set correctly from the beginning, same with caster. (It will if you have other suspension issues, shock sag, etc). Camber/Caster typically does not get thrown off if its tightened down properly, only the toe. That's because the toe rod, control bushings, and sometimes the control arms slightly bend/move. If you don't see any odd uneven wearing on your edges, your camber is most likely fine. If you never had your car aligned you might want to check your camber.... I've seen many camber settings off on Roadsters that were never aligned after the factory.

    If you do want to adjust your camber I recommend buying the V2 shims from sector111.

    I wouldn't use a regular alignment shop unless you have a strong background on alignments and can supervise them. Take it only to Tesla or specialized Lotus shop who works on Lotus Elises.

    I take mine to a local alignment shop that offers lifetime alignments. However I've made a great effort in understanding all about these numbers and what they mean. I started out taking mine to an Specialized Elise Shop, talked, and learned from then when they did my first 2 @ $240 a pop. That's what you'll spend for a good alignment. I now paid $140 and that's for the lifetime of the car, not a single dime anymore and I can take it in as many times I like.
     
  19. thefortunes

    thefortunes Member

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    Finally replaced the inner ball joints this morning.

    OMG, what a difference! I had forgotten how much fun this car is since I was driving so carefully due to the instability. One additional improvement - the car is MUCH quieter over bumps.

    My rear camber is off (around -3.0 on each side, if I remember correctly). It is probably time for new springs (it does look like it may have sagged a little in 63k miles).
     
  20. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    Glad you're back on the road. -3.0 sounds a little extreme and think you have the number wrong, I can't push mine past -2.5/-2.6 with all the shims pulled! Same with the Elise... Do you have the adjustable suspension or the stock Bilstiens? If adjustable you can stiffen the springs, if the stock Bilstien non-adjustable I'd throw those in the trash and get some quality shocks put on there.
     

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