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Re: Twin-Cam to T5 Bellhousing Anyone?

PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 1:52 pm
by CBUEB1771
garyeanderson wrote:I think that Burtons gets it from Neil at

The Twin Cam or Kent to T-9 bellhousing from Burtons is the type that allows installation of the starter on either side. What appears to be the same bellhousing is also available in the US from Taylor Race Engineering, Tayor is one of Quaife's distributors in the US. There are no images of the 105Speed bellhousing on their web site. I much preferred the style that was shown in a post at This one had the starter on the normal side only and was available for either the standard or annular clutch actuation schemes. Gary, wasn't it "Jono" who made those Cortina bellhousings? The general discussion forum seems to have vaporized from the Cortina site. I searched on five speed conversions there and got hits, but any attempt to follow the hit comes back with a "forum does not exist message".

Re: Twin-Cam to T5 Bellhousing Anyone?

PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2009 11:48 am
by garyeanderson
Maybe this topic deserves to be revisited. I don't know where Johnc has gone. This topic has a lot of info that the new topic that Worzel opened doesn't and may not receive.


I guess its just me but its winter and cold and rather restart a new topic that gets a couple of posts and dies, maybe this should be resurrected and get John Connin back here to give us an update on where his project has gone. Rob Walker has done some work on bellhousings and if enough interest was generated then maybe his project might get a boost that it needs to be completed.
I want to thank John Worzel for bringing it back to folks attention and hopefully getting some of the new people on the forum interested.
It would seem that John Esposito's T9 (Alan Voigts) box has been delayed again so maybe the Elan owners in the U.S. need to think of alternatives again. The 6 Speed from Vincent Haydon seems to have gone silent too so if there is a real interest in making something happen LETS DO IT here.

Hi Russ

I guess I didn't read your post clearly. Jonners is the person on the LCR that had the bells for the type 9. These bellhousings appear to be for the 4 cylinder boxes. These are two of the photos that Jonners posted a couple years back.


Maybe it?s for just for the earlier gearbox (possibly the early 6 cylinder boxes will work too, I am not certain about the change points)

The later gearbox that the U.S. got in the Merkur has a different front countershaft bearing arraignment and the Bell housing is relieved for it. The photos below are from an 1989 Merkur 2.3 Turbo with theType 9 gearbox. The starter is also different and the flywheel is for the 135-tooth variety that was used in the U.S. Ford's so something needs to be done for this to be made to work.

Top 2 bellhousing bolts are mounted higher just as in TomR T5 bellhousing that is for the 2.3 liter mustang. Both of these bells are drilled for the gearbox that is twisted 7 degrees to account how the engines are mounted in the Mustang and Merkur that aims the right exiting exhaust down. The photo shows the pocket for the front countershaft-bearing retainer.

1989 Merkur gearbox shows the front countershaft retainer

I guess if I was to make the swap to a 5 speed I would probably go with the T5 in a folded steel Elan chassis. This is mostly because of all the T5 stuff is available here in U.S. and TomR has done the proof of concept. There is a lot of mixing and matching to do and as with most swaps one thing leads to another and all problems need to be solved simultaneously.


Re: Twin-Cam to T5 Bellhousing Anyone?

PostPosted: Sat Dec 26, 2009 1:26 am
by CBUEB1771
garyeanderson wrote:It would seem that John Esposito's T9 (Alan Voigts) box has been delayed again so maybe the Elan owners in the U.S. need to think of aternatives again.

I've called John Esposito about every three weeks since I put down my deposit for the kit. I believe John ordered nine or ten kits from Alan Voights with BGH ratios back in August. The last that John had heard from Alan was that three of the kits were complete. This has been dragging on badly but I still plan to go this route, at least for a while longer.

Re: Twin-Cam to T5 Bellhousing Anyone?

PostPosted: Sat Dec 26, 2009 10:30 am
by bigvalvehead
I've recently had some pattern work done for 26R style spinners for 5 peg knock ons together with rear calipers and AR calipers , Cam covers etc.
I could get pattern costs for a bellhousing to mount the T5 to T/C and if enough interest we could go ahead with a small run.

The pattern guy laser scans an original item and generates a CNC pattern allowing for shrinkage rates for the alloy used. He has already done belhousings where he scans the rear of one and the front of another to make the conversion work.

If I could get an indication of firm interest I will get some prices.

An adaptor plate to take a standard T/C belhousing would probably still be the cheapest option without the need to source new clutch slave cylinder options.

Dave Hughes
26-R-9, S1 Elan Shapecraft replica

Re: Twin-Cam to T5 Bellhousing Anyone?

PostPosted: Sat Dec 26, 2009 9:03 pm
by curly type 26
Dave a sound idea, but what about coming up with the revised tail end of the gearbox for a type 9 ie with gear change mods as well, most can source their own type 9. Burtons supply concentric clutch kits, 90deg speedo drive,BGH do ratios & uprated gear kits. Following that route people could easily build their own 5 speeder according to budget or any other requirements, I for one would be interested in a revised alloy tail housing & selector rod if it could be done. Anyone else?
Regards Colin 8) And Merry Xmas & a very good New Year to all

Re: Twin-Cam to T5 Bellhousing Anyone?

PostPosted: Sat Dec 26, 2009 10:42 pm
by msd1107

Although a new tail housing would look nice, it is not necessary.

worzel has outlined several ways to relocate the shift lever which requires only cut and welding to relocate the shift lever. Depending on the approach taken, the shift rod needs to be modified to provide the shift pattern and retain the reverse/5th gear lockouts. The T9 modified for the Lotus Elite followed this approach.

The big problem is that the input and output shafts are not Lotus compatible. This requires adapting the output shaft splines to the Lotus yoke and sourcing a T9-Lotus compatible clutch, as well as a T9-Lotus bell housing. The BGH gearsets do not solve the problem since they do not provide Lotus compatible input/output splines. And as other posts have highlighted, the standard T9 gear ratios are largely unsuitable for our cars, being designed for heavier sedans.

So, instead of trying to source new castings for the tailshaft and/or bellhousing, get a new gearset cut with Lotus compatible splines and gear ratios more suitable for our lighter cars. There was a very long thread recently on a 6-speed gearbox that went into some technical detail about gear ratios. The cost of a new gearset would be less than a BGH gearset plus the mods to adapt the output and input shafts to/from T9 and Lotus.

Weld and re-drill the gearbox to provide a Cortina compatible bolt pattern and you do not need a foreign bellhousing.

Then you need a 90 deg speedo drive and a gearbox to frame bracket.

No expensive new castings are necessary. In low volumes, the labor involved in welding is less than the cost of new housings.

Once we have the Lotus compatible gearset, John Esposito has the infrastructure to acquire and assemble the modified gearboxes. John's problem right now is that even he has spent four years negotiating the Voight tailhousing and BGH gearsets, he still is not able to get deliveries to a reasonable schedule (roumor has it that a very few gearboxes have been assembled since he announced the availability of the gearbox some months ago).

1968 36/7988

Re: Twin-Cam to T5 Bellhousing Anyone?

PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2009 9:42 am
by bigvalvehead
check this site ot
t5 to twincam bellhousing in alloy at 180gbp ... od_15.html

i'll contact them on tuesday to see if they are back in work and get some dimensions
cheers dave

Re: Twin-Cam to T5 Bellhousing Anyone?

PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2009 3:09 pm
by curly type 26
Hi David in USA, thanks for reply,have followed the posts on gearbox conversions. Initially i was really interested in the 6spd but i have elise 111r with 6 gears & for normal road use i use mostly 1,2,4,6 or 1,2,3,4,6 , 5th only gets used occasionally so unless a convincing argument put up i have decided on type 9, They are cheap & easy to source i have several including 2.8. My point was not everyone has or wants to shell out around ?1,900.00p on a gearbox converstion. I stand to be corrected but is it not only the 2.8 box that creates machining probs on length of input shaft all t9 use 23 splines, Burtons carry that clutch as a stock part so not a problem, I also have correct ally bell, again i believe burtons & others supply. I also am lucky enough to have access to alloy welding so converting for me not a problem,but again not all have access so if mr voight cant/wont supply rear tail housing assey as a seperate kit perhaps someone else could? by the very nature of the typical elan & 2+2 owners I think there would be a few takers.Regards Curly :) 1964 26Rr

Re: Twin-Cam to T5 Bellhousing Anyone?

PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2009 6:39 pm
by prezoom
The project to create a "universal" bell housing has been slowed to a crawl due to other projects, known as "Honey Do's". The funding, unfortunately has also been transfered to those projects. Need to keep the distaff side happy.

Five bellhousing have been cast, with one machined to mate with a T9. The other four are waiting for machining until I have this one installed and have proven its worth. The housing will also accept a T5 or a 2000E. Needless to say, no project goes exactly as planned and there have been a couple of issues that have delayed the completion so far as the T9 goes. The clutch release has been configured to accept the standard release arm, or an annular of some type could be fitted, getting the slave cylinder away from the exhause. I tried a Tilton unit, however that unit is designed for a racing type disc and does not have the travel distance one would need with a street driven vehicle. Solid race discs are basically an on and off switch and not designed to slip. The "ring", which holds the slave cylinder is a bolt on unit, which if used will make engine removal and re-installation much easier, as the slave can be unbolted from the housing and no re-bleeding would be necessary. The ring can be used or not, and the hole for the release arm could left un-machined if an annular release is utilized. The pivot for the release arm was robbed from an existing iron bell housing, but could be machined from stock, saving the usefulness of the original housing. For this project, I took the eay way out.

David mentions converting the speedometer drive to an angle drive. Although untried at this time, the adapter piece I machined, slips in place of the T9 cable housing end and allows for threading of the original angle drive. This piece is held in place by a small interal expanding ring clip and is not as sturdy as the bolt on arangement employed on the 2000E tail housing. This may have to be changed if it cannot provide an adequate seal or secure enough mounting.

Yet to be done, are the modifications to the input shaft, and identification and selection of an appropriate clutch disc. Fabricating a new rear transmission mount, and moving of the shift mechanism, and of course modifications to the drive shaft for length and input spline to accomodate the for the difference in size.

No work has been done with regards to fitment of a T5 at this time, although, the appropriate bosses are in place in the new housing to accomodate the bolting of the T5. The CAD program for location, machining and bolting has been written. but has not been applied.

Attached are some photos of my ongoing quest.

Rob Walker

Re: Twin-Cam to T5 Bellhousing Anyone?

PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2009 7:55 pm
by johnc
Hey Gary, I appreciate you re-starting this thread as it may be timely given Esposito / Voights status. Hopefully, it will help move the ball forward.

My current situation is much like Russ's -- willing to wait a bit longer for my Esposito - Voights order.

In addition to the T5 to twincam bellhousing, the RWD Motorsports site has some other interesting items:

T9 to twincam bellhousing, ... od_17.html

T9 close ratio gear kits, ... od_33.html

The location of the starter motor on above T9 to twincam bellhousing is reversed. Does this cause any interference problems in the Elan? My twincam and transmission are removed so I can't currently eyeball mine.

Bigvalvehead when you contact RWD Motorsports, you might want to explore their interest in assisting a Elan T9 effort is some way.

Recapping, as TomR has demonstrated a T5 based conversion is possible with the constraint that frame and center console need modification to accommodate gear shift location. Alternatively, John Worzel has outlined three different ways to modify the T9 with no modification to the frame or center console.

In the early part of this thread tended to favor the T5 because its abundant availability in the US. However, my current take is there should be more than enough Merkur T9s in the US to support our needs (e.g 2 * Esposito orders = 20 +/-). Ideally, I am thinking it would be great if we could find someone, for profit, willing to take one of John Worzel's approaches and fabricate the parts needed which can not be sourced elsewhere.

Re: Twin-Cam to T5 Bellhousing Anyone?

PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2009 8:03 pm
by msd1107
Hi Curly,

Interesting comments about 6-speeds. Some other members have made analogous comments. On the 6-speed thread, one member proposed a custom gearset with a 2.65 1st. 1.0 4th, and overdrive on 5th and 6th. This would be very close to the BGH 5-speed with a true overdrive. This mighrt be more acceptable to minimize shifting since you would use 5 speeds in most normal driving situations with 6th on motorways.

With respect to replicating the Voight T9, that conversion uses a custom tailhousing, but also a center housing for the 5th gear, and modified shift forks and modifications in the main gearbox. So you wind up with a new car between the block and drive shaft. And that may be why Alan does not sell the kit separately.

This is the basic cost vs capability tradeoff that all conversions face. Several owners have made an inexpensive conversion using the T9 with driveshaft conversion, clutch, bellhousing in addition to the necessary gearstick relocation and other issues. They have to live with the standard T9 ratios. In essence, they get 4 high geared ratios with a startup gear. But they live with the result.

It costs more to improve on this. And the point is that the costs in a BGH gearset plus the driveshaft, clutch, and bellhousing costs are close to a new gearset with Lotus compatible splines. The capable owner can carry out the modifications them selves, and this is always the benefit of having a well equiped workshop. The tradeoff is spending substantially more money for a well engineered solution that is professionally modified and assembled. The greater cost puts it out of the range of many of us, just like the assembly complications put the inexpensive solution out of the range of the less mechanically capable among us.

Another aspect of these discussions is an emphasis on the the technical and mathematical properties of the actual gear ratios in the various gearboxes. The Lotus Elan community has a downloadable spreadsheet at their dispsal that allows them to evaluate the properties of different gearbox ratio sets without the cost and agony of procuring what may appear to be a solution, but which turns out to not be so good. The proposed 6-speed conversion is a good example of this. The developers of this picked what appeared on the face of it to be a good solution. However, extensive communication has outlined the problems with this proposed solution that were not apparant on the surface.

For those of use in the US, there is limited availability of T9 gearboxes. Gary has pointed out some problems with using XR4TI gearboxes that were in US cars. John Esposito appears to be a source of T9s, since he imports them and has other T9 conversion kits for other cars.

I am also in the Esposito queue.

1968 36/7988

Re: Twin-Cam to T5 Bellhousing Anyone?

PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 12:42 am
by garyeanderson
Thank you Rob, JohnC, David, John W and Curly.
All of us that have owned an Elan equipped with the 3.9 differential know what a drag it is to spend several hours in an Elan at highway speeds. My longest non stop drive was from Indy to Scituate (900 miles), 16 hours in an S4 with a 3.77 and to get up and drive to work 8 hours later was not much fun.
I think we beat this subject to death and there are still several good real world solutions. Unfortunately the Alan Voigts/John Esposito ready made T9 is an expensive and in the U.S. a waiting game. The roll your own from a T9 or T5 is a more cost effective way but the waiting game is more self imposed as Rob can tell us. Even for a self-motivated person, life gets in the way.
The 3.54 RS2000 differential is the most cost effective bolt in way to get a reasonable drop in rpm at 60mph, but it soon becomes a mute point as speeds approach 80 mph and your back where you started. My solution has been to keep in the slow lane or just keep off of the interstate highways and enjoy the back roads. That?s a rather limited way of doing things but for now that?s what the budget dictates.
I think the Merkur boxes have had a hard life, the torque of a turbo 2.3 is about the same as a 5.0 Mustang. Their first owners may have babied them but most of the subsequent owners didn't do so. I would count on bearings, balk rings and gaskets. The same goes for any of the 5.0 T5's out there, I know I abused the crap out of mine and never did any maintenance. The only option that will ever be cost effective and possibly save you some money in fuel and will offset the purchase is the 3.54. I know that?s not the reason to do any of these swaps but its still at the top of most peoples minds especially in the U.K where fuel is near a 10 U.S. dollars a gallon. The other possible solution is the adapter plate for the T5 and use as much of the stock Elan components as possible, at least in the U.S.
I might lean that way if I happened upon an 1983 2wd S10 pickup for nothing and I wanted another project on top of the 20 or so in the queue that aren?t getting any closer to being finished now. I dragged this topic back because of all of the new folks that have joined the group in the past couple years. John W new topic didn?t in my opinion bring with it the amount of time and thought that others had already put in and to ignore that would have been a waste of a lot of good ideas that had previously been expressed. I hope that this topic can be revived and some of you can see some of the faults that we stumbled on and keep moving right on through them.


Re: Twin-Cam to T5 Bellhousing Anyone?

PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 4:41 am
by CBUEB1771
msd1107 wrote:With respect to replicating the Voight T9, that conversion uses a custom tailhousing, but also a center housing for the 5th gear, and modified shift forks and modifications in the main gearbox.

David - The center housing for the fifth gear is a part of the Ford (Germany) design for the T9 and nothing that Alan Voights has done. Many five ratio gearboxes of the period were done this way, basically the addition of one overdrive ratio as an overhung gear set tacked on to the end of an existing four speed design. Even the T-5 has the fifth gear set overhung out back of the main case.

Re: Twin-Cam to T5 Bellhousing Anyone?

PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 7:30 pm
by msd1107

I was just repeating what was told to me shortly after the first announcement of the Voight conversion. Perhaps the reference was to the internal mods. Sorry for any confusion.

Which brings up the question of long term maintenance and spares for this rather complicated conversion. Most of our 40+ year old cars can be repaired with internet sourced parts. But what happens downstream if the Voight conversion needs repairs? What will the spares situation be like? At least a cut and weld conversion can be maintained by a machine shop or the owner.

1968 36/7988

Re: Twin-Cam to T5 Bellhousing Anyone?

PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 7:48 pm
by curly type 26
Some great replies chaps, must admit forgot about geography making some boxes harder to source depending where you live. Dave i think it would be good sense on the 6 speeder to have the bottom 4 gears as the elan 4spd & 5n6 over overdrives or the likes, In some respect it would be pure evolusion for the young pretenders gearbox to end up as a transplant into the original big daddy. Gary you brought back a distant memory with 3-9 fitted raced a dutch tr4a for mile after mile back in 76 speedo registered 112ish rev counter needle trying to escape out the bottom of the instrument,back then did i think it noisy NO! it was brilliant the howl from the twinc & the windrush still makes me grin but as time goes by you become conscious that the revs just seem to high for the speed you are travelling at great on a&b roads but motorways pooey!Then they introduced 5gears so we all want 5, and even after what i said about 6 in our familly car i do try for an imaginary 6th now and again. Back to type9 if someone did produce a usable rear section & rod ect it would be a lot cheaper & easier to supply around the globe.Curly 1964Rr :D