Lotus Elan

Tough shifting

PostPost by: Pete M » Sat May 23, 2020 8:20 pm

I've noticed that shifting into reverse is difficult to do without substantial grinding. I've tried shifting into first gear then reverse with no change and progressed as far as shifting into all four gears prior to reverse but still get grinding. The other thing I note is when shifting into first from reverse it is terribly difficult to get the shifter out of reverse. It is also difficult to shift into first when the light turns green. There is no grinding in any gear but reverse so I suspect my clutch hydraulics are good. My resto guy just installed a new hose between the clutch master and slave and bled the system after a catastrophic hose failure on the road. Someone in a previous thread mentioned a part on the shift lever that wears. Could that be what's causing the problems?
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Sat May 23, 2020 9:11 pm

Are you pushing down as you shift?
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PostPost by: Concrete-crusher » Sat May 23, 2020 9:31 pm

Hi I had a similar problem after installing a new gearbox, and clutch.

The cure was to extend the master cylinder pushrod slightly, in fact there seem to be several pushrod lengths, then shim the slave. Cylinder to eliminate movement there and finally correctly adjust the salve push rod, then gear changes were quite smooth again

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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Sat May 23, 2020 11:34 pm

Could be the fork is starting to crack.
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PostPost by: SENC » Sun May 24, 2020 12:34 am

First, when is the last time you checked/changed the gearbox oil?

Second, I was thinking slave/rod, too, but not sure why that wouldn't affect all gears, so wondering about reverse gear fork... and/or if something is hung up on that rod or the springs/spacers need adjusting. The good thing is it is a very simple gearbox to work on... the bad thing is the engine and gearbox come out to do so.

Where in NC are you?
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PostPost by: Panda » Sun May 24, 2020 4:45 am

Hi Pete, For reverse gear to clash, indicates that the input shift is still rotating when you have fully depressed the clutch pedal. This is usually the hydraulics are faulty, or it could be a failing (about to break) release lever, clutch plate seized to input shaft, unlikely, or a seized spigot shaft bearing in the back of the flywheel. I have had this problem myself. The reason it doesn't crash in the forward gears is they all have synchromesh which acts like a brake and stops the input shaft turning. Its simple to have someone check if the clutch slave is travelling fully by watching while a helper depresses the pedal and if it is, then its a pull out the gearbox job

Good luck Alan P
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PostPost by: Elan45 » Sun May 24, 2020 9:41 pm

Your clutch is not fully releasing. You can get into the forward gears because they are syncronized, but not reverse. I sometimes have trouble because the bleed screw is at the halfway position, so even if it feels like you've got allthe air out, the top half may still be filed w/ air.

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PostPost by: Pete M » Sun May 24, 2020 10:06 pm

Did a little more snooping around today and found the plunger in the master clutch cyl. has a wallowed out hole. This allows about an inch or more free play before the pedal develops any pressure. I am currently looking for a very small person to disassemble the cotter pin and pin from inside the vehicle. Holy cow that is a tight space. Suspect I'll have to replace the master.
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PostPost by: SENC » Sun May 24, 2020 11:06 pm

Pete M wrote:Did a little more snooping around today and found the plunger in the master clutch cyl. has a wallowed out hole. This allows about an inch or more free play before the pedal develops any pressure. I am currently looking for a very small person to disassemble the cotter pin and pin from inside the vehicle. Holy cow that is a tight space. Suspect I'll have to replace the master.


Yes it is a tight space. It took me quite a while to figure out how to get myself in there, then how to do it again to reinstall, and I'm quite certain I couldn't repeat it. If I ever do a full reno one of my plans is to cut an access from above.
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PostPost by: draenog » Mon May 25, 2020 12:32 am

Last October I lost clutch completely. After rebuilding slave and master cylinders (requiring removal of pedal box) I got clutch back, but reverse was difficult. This was fixed by readjusting the slave push rod (I'd been a bit generous in setting the gap).
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