I seem to recall reading (not sure where) that Gentry Lee's contributions to the latter three Rama books were larger than Clarke's, or at least more significant than might be assumed from the relative sizes of their names on the book covers. From what I remember reading of Bright Messengers (1995), a solo book by Lee set in the Rama-verse, it had all of the elements you identify as characteristic of the Clarke/Lee trilogy as opposed to the Clarke original.
It's widely-believed that the novels were written solely by Gentry Lee (though Clarke doubtless discussed ideas, gave approval, etc.). Though they have their technical strengths and entertainment value, the later Rama novels are not at all in the style of Clarke or in accordance with his worldview in other work.
Google has a cat transcript in its cache. During the chat, Lee says, "Arthur and I talk about the books, I write all the text, he reads and makes editing suggestions."(Elsewhere in the chat, one can find Clarke supporting some silliness about cold fusion tapping the "zero-point energy", which seems to be an idea floated several years back to salvage the credibility of cold fusion, and which to me makes no sense at all — the actual value of the zero-point energy being so small there's just nothing there to tap.)
Ah, I'd forgotten about that chat transcript. Yes, I also found it - a few years ago when I was trying to nail down the nature of their collaboration. I thought it might be a confabulated memory for a second, but then came across bits that I clearly recognised such as Clarke complaining about being called "Clark".
The link to the article seems to be broken.
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