Lotus Elan

Voight gearbox oil change

PostPost by: jimj » Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:26 pm

Firstly, my Voight gearbox is little notchy, first to second when cold. I keep reading about the miracle Redline MTL. Is it widely available?
Secondly, am I missing something? I can`t find the oil drain plug.
Thirdly, after draining the old "ordinary" oil will I need to flush the gearbox before putting in the Redline?
Jim
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PostPost by: jimj » Thu Mar 12, 2009 10:12 am

Doesn`t anyone else know the answers to these questions? Surely.
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PostPost by: hatman » Thu Mar 12, 2009 10:33 am

Phone Alan Voights?
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PostPost by: SimonH » Thu Mar 12, 2009 10:49 am

Jim,

Redline MTL is reasonably easy to get hold of. One online supplier is Demon Tweeks.

As the Voights box is based on a Sierra type9 then I think it doesnt have a drain plug at all. Its not expected to be drained just topped up. I have heard of people drilling a hole in the bottom, the oil then runs out and takes away the swarf. What happens to the swarf from tapping it for the plug I dont know.
Unfortunately an Elan doesnt allow access to the top cover to suck the old oil out with a pump or syringe I think so beyond taking the box out and tipping it up to drain I dont know how you can do it.

If its rated the same as what in the box then I guess the MTL should be ok with a drop of old in there but better to check that one.

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PostPost by: worzel » Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:24 pm

Hi

I've a T9 in my sprint (not a Voights' conversion I should add). I'm given to understand from someone who knows these boxes very well that the only oil to use is Ford's own. Apparently anything else might damage the bearings.

It's about ?14 a litre and you'll probably have to order it from a Ford Agent.

As for drain plugs************- the casing is really too thin to permit it to be tapped so on the spare casing I have I've used a spare filler plug (and its surrounding metal) and had it carefully welded to the lowest possible point short of protruding proud of the bottom of the casing (in case it contacts anything).

I'm going to swap over the internals later.

Tells you something about how long a life Ford predicted for the donor cars if you can't change the oil!

John
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PostPost by: peterako » Thu Mar 12, 2009 4:30 pm

worzel wrote:Tells you something about how long a life Ford predicted for the donor cars if you can't change the oil!


Is this 'good' or 'bad' :?

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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:12 pm

Doesn't sound too unreasonable Peter.
A well known Bavarian car maker fills its G/boxes & Diff's with oil "for life"

John's (Worzel) mention of Ford recommending the use of only their oil is interesting & possibly significant.
From past experience, the Ford branded oils are very good.

Having said all that, I think that Hatman's advice to phone Voigt's is the best bet.

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PostPost by: gerrym » Fri Mar 13, 2009 8:18 am

No drain on type 9 gearbox? Can you suck it out the filler hole (with a suitable bent piece of hardline to reach down into the oil). Thank you Ford for changing from this silly practice when designing the MT75. It does have a drain boss - and also needs special Ford oil.
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PostPost by: bcmc33 » Fri Mar 13, 2009 6:23 pm

In my last job before retirement I was involved in complex transmissions which were "sealed-for Life" which were supported by oil checking not being part of the maintenance schedules.
However, they were all fitted with drain and filler plugged holes. Strange, or what?
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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Sat Mar 14, 2009 9:34 am

bcmc33 wrote:In my last job before retirement I was involved in complex transmissions which were "sealed-for Life" which were supported by oil checking not being part of the maintenance schedules.
However, they were all fitted with drain and filler plugged holes. Strange, or what?


Brian,
your mention of drain plugs etc. has, so to say, hit a nerve with me.
Before I continue my rant I'd like to explain that I worked as a desugner & dev. engineer for 27 years for a well known Bavarian car maker.
To kick off I'd like to say "don't blame the poor designer".
There are many factors that influence the design of a product; the main ones being cost, weight & efficiency.
But in the real World, unfortunately, other factors have be taken into account.
One which is difficult to overcome is the "Chief Designer" with a stick in he mud attitude, but the most influential factor is the dealership & service departments.
They can always talk the proud owner of a car, for which he's spent half his life savings on, into oil changes, services etc. which are not necessary with the reasoning that he is really "looking after his pride & joy".
Actually with modern materials & manufacturing processes a modern engine will well outlast the rest of the car, with correct servicing.
Engine oil changes are necessary because oil is subjected to combustion gasses, unburnt fuel etc.
However back axles & G/boxes have so called "sealed oil systems" so the life of the oil can be accurately predicted.
Putting an oil drain plug into a G/box may on the surface seem a simple decision, so why not do it?
Firstly putting a hole into a casing costs money, filling it with a plug costs more but that's only the begining.
It is when the engine/gearbox is being built; the assembly guys have to ensure that every drain, blanking or filler plug doesn't leak.
And that has to be 100% in order to comply with modern hydrocarbon emission standards.
In recent years I worked as Liaison engineer between the engine development dept & an engine manufacturing plant in GB.
In that position I was faced almost on a daily basis with leakage problems that had to be overcome.
Material defects, surface finish errors, tightening torque variations, spindle speed errors; all capable of causing a plug to leak.
I've even experienced cold forged blanking plugs actually having fold fissures which lead to leaks!
To be honest, if I'd had my way, the engines that were designed to be built "for life" would have had no unnessesary holes in them. They'd also have been glued together instead of using gaskets & seals that can be incorrectly fitted or damaged during assembly.
In a modern engine asembly plant a complete engine can be manufactured for far less than it would cost to overhaul one.
So taking a further step in that direction there would be no need to take into account oversize pistons, bearing shells etc. thus also reducing sub-supplier costs.

Ah yes well hrrrm. Glad you mentioned the subject, I bet you wish you hadn't :oops: :oops: :oops:

Cheers
John
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PostPost by: mikealdren » Sat Mar 14, 2009 11:13 am

An Elan without oil leaks, where's the fun in that.

Well actually John I'm following your Zetec route so I agree. I've also wondered about gearbox oil life. My daily runner is an Alfa 166 and it's now getting rather old. the gearbox oil level was checked at the 120k service and was fine. It's now at 164k. It's also, incidentally on the original clutch as well. Things have certainly improved immeasurably since the 1960s.

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PostPost by: hatman » Sat Mar 14, 2009 11:27 am

'Sealed for life' may be fine as an engineering concept but the weasel word there is 'life'. How long is that life intended/expected to be? From a manufacturer's viewpoint, probably between five and ten years but, as owners of old, cherished cars ourselves, we take rather a different view of the 'life' of a car and, of course, that view is very widespread.

Jaguar XK's for example have 'filled for life' gearboxes but knowing and prudent owners accept that it's a pretty good idea to change the oil and filter at about 40K and, lo and behold, out comes brown. discoloured transmission fluid plus lots of iron filings on the magnets. If left, the boxes tend to soldier on towards 100K before giving up the (very expensive) ghost (?2500/?3000 to replace). :shock: Just had mine done and I'm very pleased to have done so.
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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Sat Mar 14, 2009 11:49 am

Dear Hatman,

you are quite correct with your statement on "life". However car makers of repute do in fact conduct strenuous durability testing to ensure that the components are well cpable of fullfilling a highly satisfactory service life.
Manufacturing errors can happen & parts can therefore go wrong at various stages due to that & occasionally a replacement part will be needed.
However the mention of all that rubble found in your Jaguar g/box does leave me wondering about the quality of the product.
How did Jaguar react to your findings?
Did you or a dealer find the contamination?
Why do "prudent customers" accept that it's necessary to meddle with a sealed for life component. A bad reputation I assume?
But back to the origin of the thread. If a person decides to substitute an older part with a "modern" part then the required servicing will be in accordance with that "new" part

nix f?r ungut & Cheers
John
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PostPost by: hatman » Sat Mar 14, 2009 3:10 pm

D.J.Pelly wrote:
How did Jaguar react to your findings?

Didn't tell 'em (they wouldn't have been interested as the car is now 10 years old)

Did you or a dealer find the contamination?

Found by the Jaguar-trained indie that I use for my servicing - the change was done at my request and with oil and filter that I supplied so, if I'd been wasting his time and my money he would certainly have said so (politely - he's a nice guy :D )

Why do "prudent customers" accept that it's necessary to meddle with a sealed for life component. A bad reputation I assume?

No, bitter experience on the part of some unfortunates led to word spreading amongst owners who then tend to have it done as a relatively cheap precaution - even Dave Marks, the highly-experienced, seen-it-all, phlegmatic servicing guru who provides engineering agony answers in the JEC magazine strongly recommends changing oil and filter at about 40K. (On reflection, I suppose I've just defined 'bad reputation' :? )

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PostPost by: bcmc33 » Sat Mar 14, 2009 4:11 pm

Well then John, it appears we had a parallel life ? I was a Procurement Liaison and Feasibility Engineer with Ford for over 20 years.

For my recent career in transmissions doing the same sort of job there was no responsibility for product design but there was the responsibility for approving the component designs for manufacture.
I have reason to well remember during one of the many liaison visits were to that well known Bavarian company where, over a canteen lunch of Spargel, I was making fun of our chief designer regarding him putting drain and fill plugs for the ?sealed-for life? unit to be put firmly in my place as it was a specific customer requirement.

I cannot remember ever having problems with the steel plugs, but do remember the occasional complaints from our assembly plants for leaks due to the copper sealing washers during leak testing.

And when it comes to special lubrication ? this specific unit I have in mind beats everything known before it. It took Castrol 2 years to develop the oil in an attempt to meet an impossible duty test cycle, so as you can guess the cost escalated out of control due to the complex coctail of friction modifiers. So the question remains ? is the oil available from the parts counter? I guess it must be, but at what price? Still, if you can afford such expensive vehicles ? a few quid for an eggcup of oil should not be a problem.

Are you definitely going to Donnington?
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