Lotus Elan

6 speed gearbox for the Elan

PostPost by: steveww » Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:06 am

At the Castle Coombe Track day there was a +2 with some flyers giving details of a 6 speed gearbox for Elans. I picked up a copy but appear to have lost it. It may have flown out of my Elan on the drive home with the roof down.

Did anyone else see this? Anyone know any details? Is the designer a member of this list?
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PostPost by: jono » Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:14 am

I am guessing it will probably be a Caterham box.

I had one in my seven with a tuned K series engine. Worked brilliantly and suited the rev happy nature of the K but I am wondering if it would suit a twincam?

The Caterham box is a bespoke unit, I understand using Land Rover internals.
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PostPost by: Vincent Haydon » Tue Jun 09, 2009 10:30 pm

Reference 6 speed gearbox - it was me that was at the last Club Lotus, Castle Coombe. All the various flyers were on the screen of an Elan Sprint DHC. My name is Vincent Haydon, a Lotus enthusiast and collector but also deal in Lotus cars from 1957-1978 (I have previously been involved in Lotus franchise dealerships) and it was my colleague Neil Myers (son of Ken Myers partnership) who many of you will know. Neil any I have decided to form a partnership dealing specifically with the aforementioned period for sales/service/restoration/spare parts.

Firstly it is not the Caterham 6 speed gearbox.

The following information is taken from the flyer:

"For Elan and Elan +2 owners replacement and enhancement for the original 60's Elan.

New 6 speed all aluminium gearbox straight forward conversion using the majority of the original parts. No modifications to your car chassis, engine bay etc. This will keep the car with an original appearance. Now could be the opportunity to enjoy your Lotus for modern day conditions with the 6 speeder.

Neil Myers and his team of engineers and some loyal customers have requested Neil to solve the conundrum of using the car in today's day to day conditions. Neil looked at the 5 speed options and the obvious choice of the 5 speed Ford variations and decided that a more light weight and correct ratios (in true Lotus traditions) was a modern 6 speed is the way forward. After looking at many options he has now found a suitable gearbox."

For further information contact: Neil Myers 01604 644982 or Vincent Haydon 01590 682508 / 07860 391320
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PostPost by: steveww » Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:46 am

Great, thanks for the reply. It sound very interesting and will definitely be calling for more details. I love driving my Elan but do find it hard work on longer journey involving motorways.
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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Wed Jun 10, 2009 10:56 am

Hi Vincent,

is it possible to post some more information i.e. ratios, clutch release mechanism, input / output spline size, max power / torque rating etc.?
Are 5th & / or 6th gears overdrive?

Thanks
John
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Wed Jun 10, 2009 11:21 am

Ditto....would be the best option rather than everyone calling Neil/Vincent...

John :wink:
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Wed Jun 10, 2009 11:37 am

A price would be good too!

Ok as long as were asking for things "any Photos?"
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PostPost by: CBUEB1771 » Thu Jun 11, 2009 4:25 am

garyeanderson wrote:Ok as long as were asking for things "any Photos?"


Or any other "get real" evidence before I try to adapt my 12 speed Campagnolo sequential bicycle chain drive to my +2. Is Mr. Voight alive?
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PostPost by: pauljones » Thu Jun 18, 2009 5:36 pm

vincent,you have a pm ref the gearbox.

Paul Jones,
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PostPost by: bill308 » Tue Jun 23, 2009 11:39 am

Vincent,

I think there are a number of people with a great interest in your project, me included.

I've just recently aquired the makings for a T9 based Voight conversion with what I think is a very good gear set with ratios between the close and semi close ratio Lotus gear boxes, but closer to the close ratio box and with a 0.82 5th gear. The gear set is made by BGH. I opted for the aluminum gear case and cover. The weight is a bit more than the standard gear box assembly but I don't know the final weights yet as the T9 gear box needs to be built up.

A fellow Lotus enthusiast recently showed me his T-5 conversion. It was a really tight fit in the chassis but with some strategic chassis clearance cuts, it fit.

I suspect your business partners are very early in the design process. May I suggest some characteristics for deliberation:

Price is important. The Voights 5-speed conversion is about 1500 GBP. The best BGH gear sets are about 1000 GPB. An aluminum maincase housing and cover, are about 372 + 62 = 434 GBP. The grand total is about 2934 GBP plus VAT if applicable. I would think you need to come in below 3500 GBP to be viable.

I suspect the transmission would never be legal for competition, but I think a case could be made that for competion use there is no advantage and in fact a weight penalty, unless you are endurance racing. The main market would likely be for enthusiasts who want to drive in todays environment. In the state of Connecticut, USA, traffic on the iterstate roads moves at about 75 mph ,with a few driving up to 90 mph and some going 55 mph. I generally cruise around 80+ when I think it is safe.

Some other things to think about:

For road use, a semi helical gear set is desirable, to keep the noise down when cruising. I think they are also more durable.

Alternate gear ratios would be highly desireable. I think the close ratio Lotus gear box is pretty good for a baby Elan, but a little too tall in first gear. The 2.66 first gear of the BGH gear set set should be about right for my driving and for high speed cruising, a 0.65 6th gear would be very nice with maybe a 0.82 5-gear. I woud pair it up with a 3.55 rear and 155 x13 tires.

What would your shift pattern look like? For a 2.66 first gear, a forward left engagement would be nice with following gears in their logical orientation. Reverse would want to be out of the logical pattern.

Best of luck with your endevor. Make me something I want to buy. Keep us informed of your progress and request our input as you see fit.

Bill
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PostPost by: steveww » Wed Jun 24, 2009 8:58 pm

I hope I am not speaking out of turn here but the gearbox in question is out of the Mazda MX-5. IIRC 6th is 0.84 which should nicely with either 3.55 or 3.77 diff.
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Wed Jun 24, 2009 9:48 pm

http://www.rsmotorsport.com.au/forums/v ... .php?t=467

The link above is from RSmotorsport.com and shows a mazda box beside an escort 4 speed. I guess there is a bit more there also on how he mated it to a kent block...
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PostPost by: bill308 » Fri Jun 26, 2009 11:04 pm

Thanks guys.

If I was serious about building an Elan transmission, I think I'd start in the same location. Select a top notch, high volumn gear set and fit it to a custom aluminum housing that will fit into the backbone (and maybe the Spyder) chassis and have the proper gear shift location.

Bill
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PostPost by: msd1107 » Sat Jun 27, 2009 2:28 am

If indeed it is the MX5 gearbox under consideration, there are several observations that can be made straight off.

The MX5 has an integrated bell housing and gearbox. The article attempted to cut off the MX5 bell housing and weld it to an Escort bell housing. For us it would probably be better to cut off the bell housing, if necessary weld in an adapter plate, and drill it for the Cortina bolt pattern.

The starter motor is definitely a question mark.

The output shaft is Escort compatible, but that does not help us.

Then there are questions about the input shaft length, diameter, and splines to mate to the TC block, clutch, and flywheel.

The shift lever is even further back than the T-9. Without disassembling the transmission, it is hard to say what would be involved in locating the shift lever forward to the Lotus position. The T-9 has at least three ways to accomplish this.

To mount in a Lotus, there has to be a proper gearbox to frame bracket.

They wanted to use an electric speedometer instead of dealing with the problem of sourcing the proper transmission to speedometer drive gears. There are no modern electric speedometers that have a compatible look with our Smiths instruments.

This is a wide ratio sedan gearbox. 1st gear, at 3.76, is good for hardly 30 mph even with a 3.55 differential. 6th gear at .843 is too low, even with a 3.55 differential. As Bill pointed out, it would be desirable for 1st to be closer to the BGH 1st gear of 2.66, with 4th direct, 5th around .82/.83, and 6th around .71. (2.66, 1.71, 1.262, 1.00, .828, and .707 for example). The big question is how to re-engineer the shift linkage to accomplish this.

In summary, the MX5 gearbox has several good points. It is a modern aluminum cased 6-speed produced in good volume. To fit in a Lotus, the usual problem areas need to be addressed: Transmission to bell housing bolt pattern. Starter motor. Input shaft length, diameter, and spline count. Output shaft length, diameter, and spline count. Frame mount. Gearbox to speedometer gear. Shift lever position. Suitable gear ratios.

The original people are more than two years into the project. I hope that Vincent can be more productive.

David
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Sun Jun 28, 2009 10:09 pm

I saw this pdf on the miata engine and gearbox. It includes the 6 speed gearbox cases, gears, shafts, shiftrail, etc (pages 55 to 74)

01-02 Miata Parts Catalog

File size: 9.1 MB
file: Engine
Sections: 1000A-4360A

http://www.mazdamotorsports.com/pdfs/MX ... 1359_1.PDF
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