Lotus Elan

Lotus 5sp Shift Problem & H-light Fault

PostPost by: Ramsden » Mon Oct 27, 2003 6:24 pm

I've recently bought a +2 130/5 in "excellent condition" and am now engaged in the inevitable task of sorting all the problems that mysteriously lie hidden until after you've handed over your hard earned. I would appreciate advice in relation to a couple of these.

The first of these is the shift into and out of 5th/OD. This almost always requires a significant shove (or pull), though just occasionally it shifts as smoothly as the other gears. Not having had the opportunity to try any other cars with the lotus 5sp box, I'm not sure whethere this is normal.

The second has only occurred once. Whilst negotiating a corner at speed, in the dark, all the lights (interior and exterior) failed. Some frantic stabbing at the dash revealed that the hazards were still working as were the fogs. After 10 or fifteen seconds, there was a quiet "pop" and all the lights came back on again. Being a late car the headlight system is the failsafe version which indicates that the vacuum re-engaged to cause them to lower. The absence of interior, side and tail lights indicates that the electrics also switched off. As for the root cause, I am something of a loss.

Can any one help/reassure me.

Many thanks

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PostPost by: Bill » Tue Oct 28, 2003 5:02 am

Halloween aproacheth - beware the deadly Lucas - the prince of darkness.

Go thru the electrics, clean, tighten / confirm all connections - start with all grounds (earths) .
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Tue Oct 28, 2003 11:40 am

Can't help with the g/box as I've never driven a 5speed, but I've heard there is a thermal cut out on the electrical system on +2's. Some of the +2 owners should be able to confirm this.
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PostPost by: tdafforn » Wed Oct 29, 2003 10:28 am

I've had the same sudden darkness problem. In fact if you leave my car with the lights on they switch themsleves off and on at 3 minute intervals. I can also hear a click. I think it is the thermal cuttout, and have traced it to behind the dash centre consul on the passenger side. (you can buy new ones from paul matty for a price)
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Wed Oct 29, 2003 11:06 am

The 5 speed has weak syncros and a vague change from new. Add to that wear and bad rebuilds as the bearings are now hard to find ( they are mainly RHP specials and not available from other manufacturers) and things generally get worse.

To improve the gear change do the following in increasing degrees of difficulty.

1. Put in Redline MTL gear oil

2. Increase the preload on the rubber bellows that holds the gear lever ball joint in its socket by placing a few washers under the circlip that holds it in place. The bellows has generally lost some tension with age.

3. Put in a lighter compression spring that holds the lever in the 3/4 plane and has to be compressed when going into 5th / reverse. Adjust the spring to get the degree of feel you like.

4. Finally properly rebuild the box with good syncros and new bearings. The bearings are not easy to find but worth hunting for. I last rebuilt the box in mine about 5 years ago. All the bearings in the box were available then from local RHP distributors but I understand they are now harder to find. This rebuild greatly improved the gear change but it will never be as nice as the Elans 4 speed.

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