Lotus Elan

6 speed gearbox for the Elan

PostPost by: msd1107 » Sat Aug 01, 2009 11:24 pm

Did you see page 43 of the July issue of Club Lotus News?

"New Elan 6-speed Gearbox"

It says to call Neil or Ken on 1604 644982 or Vincent on 190 68208 or 7860 391320.

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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Sun Aug 02, 2009 12:01 am

msd1107 wrote:Did you see page 43 of the July issue of Club Lotus News?

"New Elan 6-speed Gearbox"

It says to call Neil or Ken on 1604 644982 or Vincent on 190 68208 or 7860 391320.

David
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No, do you have a link?
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PostPost by: msd1107 » Sun Aug 02, 2009 12:50 am

Gary,

http://www.club-lotus.co.uk, but it doesn't have an online version of the newsletter

New Elan 6-speed gearbox

In response to customers looking to improve their cars' driveability on today's roads, Ken and Neil Myers and Vincent Haydon have been working hard for some time on a 6-speed gearbox to fit the Elan and +2.

Neil and his engineers looked at all the options and decided that a modern lightweight close-ratio 6-speed gearbox was the way forward. After some intensive develpment work they are now ready to offer it for sale. Ken tells us that they've already had orders for the first 12 boxes!

The new box is all aluminum and is a totally straightforward conversion using the majority of the original parts. No modifications are required to your chassis or engine bay so your car can easily be returned to its original condition at a later date if so desired. Even the gear lever remains in the same place so you'll not need to cut your interior trim at all. It's all been very carefully thought out...

As you'd expect from Ken and Neil, the standard of engineering is of the highest quality. As we go to press they're just putting the finishing touches to their demonstrator but this will be available by the time you read this. We've been promised the first drive and there will be a more detailed report in our next issue.

It is possible of course to fit the gearbox to other cars such as the Lotus Cortins Mk1 & 2 and Lotus/Caterham Sevens - in fact anything with a Twin-cam or Ford Crossflow. Please call Neil or Ken on 01604 644982 or Vincent on 01590 682508/07860 391320 for further details.

Well, what does everybody think?

I like the phrase "using the majority of the original parts" Is this 51%??? How much of the original Elan is relegated to bins for storage? If this is a Miata gearbox, then a previous post indicates this is a wide ratio gearbox, 1st gear is a startup only gear, 1st-2nd is widely spaced, and 6th is too low. Good start for an ideal conversion.

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PostPost by: CBUEB1771 » Sun Aug 02, 2009 3:09 am

MintSprint wrote:The 5 speed used with the 2.2 litre Lotus Twincam is essentially the same gearbox as was used with the 5-speed Elan +2; the good news therefore, is that there's a readily available conversion for anyone who wants it.


True, it is essentially the same gearbox. If you compare the part numbers in the Elan and Elite parts manuals you can easily identify what parts need to be swapped to put the later version into an Elan. The availability of these parts is another question. Keep in mind that Lotus switched to a Getrag box for the Elite not long after introduction. I suspect the Lotus/Austin Maxi 5 speed was not up to the demands of the 2.2 liter engine output and Elite (not Type 14 mind you!) weight.
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PostPost by: lotuselan2 » Sun Aug 02, 2009 5:30 pm

Posters
Please specify country that Neil, Ken and Vincent are located. Posters are in US but the numbers are clearly not US and not preceded by a 44 for the UK, so please clarify. Maybe it is back on page 4 of the thread. Thanks
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Sun Aug 02, 2009 6:50 pm

I think U.K. so use 0044 and remove the first 0 ...

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PostPost by: msd1107 » Sun Aug 02, 2009 6:51 pm

from the US dial 01144 and delete the first 0
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PostPost by: bill308 » Sun Aug 02, 2009 7:23 pm

Personally I don't understand why we can't get some solid information on this box. Even John Voight's conversion was pretty well described in a flyer he published. He described it as based upon a Ford T9, with a properly positioned gear shift lever, the included gear ratios, and the necessary accessories needed to make it work, like a slave cylinder and an output shaft. While not a perfect description it at least gave you a pretty full picture, like it or not. The information also provided a basis to speculate about what changes could be made to tailer it to ones own taste like alternate gear sets and housing materials.

Folks posting here have speculated for pages as to what this 6-speed gear box is all about. I can understand that not all details have been established, but other than the most broad of strokes, little has been defined as to what it really is or what it will be, or when it might be available or what it's final cost might be. Perhaps the (12?) folks who have committed to purchasing one have more information but up until now, nothing appears to be solid nor is there any indication as to where they are in the design process. One would think that if the designers were interested in marketing this box to the general Elan community, they would be requesting some feed back from the potential customers.

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PostPost by: JJDraper » Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:17 pm

I have been watching the progression of this gearbox conversion for the last six months or so with interest. I am not involved in the project other than as a bystander at the workshop where Vincent, Ken and Neil have been developing the six speed conversion. They based in the UK and now the project has broken cover in print I feel able to comment here and set a few things straight. The project is the conversion of a Mazda MX5 (Miata) gearbox and propshaft to fit an Elan (or +2), not to convert an Elan to take a Mazda gearbox. The gear ratios are not USA variants and should give a similar spread for the first four gears as the original box, with the remaining two an overdrive and very overdrive for motorways. Don't expect the car to pull 6500 rpm in top gear! This should keep the character of the drive train when pressing on, but allow relaxed motorway cruising for covering the miles between your favourite twisty bits without thrashing the engine (its painful on the ears, I know).

The Mazda gearchange has been moved to match the existing Elan gear position with no change required to either internal or external body and fittings. It will consist of gearbox and new propshaft and will even use the standard mechanical speedo drive (although I am sketchy on the details of this). The clutch actuator will move to the other side with the benefits of removing hydraulic lines from the exhaust area. I cannot comment on which clutch plate is used yet. The existing Mazda bellhousing is substantially modified to fit the Twinc block with a custom sandwich plate. Not sure what they have done to the input shaft, so some secrets remain! The gearchange is moved to match the standard Elan position, with the added advantage of making the Mazda gearchange short throw and more direct, matching the Lotus original. I am not sure of the starter arrangements yet, but if you have to go with a Mazda one, well quel dommage (not)...

The stage of the project is a working mule, with road testing to be the next step. This means there is no shrink-wrapped kit available yet; you will have to wait.

In line with Vincent, Ken & Neil's objective, the conversion has been developed with all the hard work done to make it fit right first time. The box has been in and out of a chassis; endlessly tweaked to get the fit right and deal with the ancilliaries - speedo, clutch and reversing light.

The response from punters has been a testament to the demand for the solution. And if the next owner wants a standard car, just put the old bits back and sell the conversion on.... As the project is still in the pre-production stage I cannot comment on a price and will leave that to the developers. They do visit these pages from time to time...

No pictures yet, as I do not want to infringe any technical property.

I have no financial involvement and am regrettably not one of the 12 punters (I am already close to my budget on my current project) who are queued up. Having seen the detail work that has gone into this project, I will have to start saving...

Now back to my own problems... paintwork, interior, getting the car useable again..

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PostPost by: bill308 » Sun Aug 02, 2009 11:49 pm

Now that's what I call some solid information. Thanks Jeremy.

The apparent decision to have 2-overdrive gears is the right one in my opinion. I hope the lower ratios fall about midway between those of the close and semi close ratio gear boxes. Such a gear box should have wide appeal for both the Elan and +2.

I wish them well.

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PostPost by: msd1107 » Mon Aug 03, 2009 12:10 am

Jeremy,

Thanks for the update. This sounds very promising!

Do you know the gear ratios in the gearbox? I have not been able to find any alternative ratios to the 3.76 ... .843 set, whether in the US, Uk, Europe, or through Mazdaspeed.

Will Vincent divulge them?

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PostPost by: CBUEB1771 » Mon Aug 03, 2009 3:00 am

JJDraper wrote:The response from punters has been a testament to the demand for the solution.


Given the common definition of "punter" I imagine we well know what the "sellers" of the five and six speed gearboxes are! Mr. Voights has done a kimono dance for the past two years. I hope this new venture is more serious.
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PostPost by: gordont » Mon Aug 03, 2009 6:54 am

to save me reading 6 pages of posts do we have a price on these yet?
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PostPost by: GrUmPyBoDgEr » Mon Aug 03, 2009 7:56 am

I get the feeling that the developers of this g/box may be considering the financial feasability of the project.
They started "testing the water" here & now have a "teaser" in Club Lotus magazine.
Just 12 possible customers would probably result in a non-starter, as I can imagine that the cost of new tooling etc. would make the unit price too high.
The 2 overdrive gears is what I would be looking for in a 6 speeder as I mentioned earlier, so the box is now looking more attractive.
Having to buy a compatible propshaft to go with it is an acceptable compromise I think.
No doubt something will also be need to be done to the g/box mount?
No mention of speedo drive yet, or have I missed something over the time span of this thread?
I wonder if it will fit into the more confined space of a standard Spyder space frame chassis?

Cheers
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PostPost by: JJDraper » Mon Aug 03, 2009 8:51 am

There is surprisingly little tooling required, with the sandwich plate/spacer the most important piece. This is CNC cut from steel plate and the design effort is what has taken the time. As I said the existing Mazda gearbox casing is modified, so no tooling for this, but some skilled alloy welding and machining is required. The propshaft is a custom made item, but these again are not difficult to fabricate at reasonable cost. Not sure about G/box mount, but existing speedo drive is to be retained. Even the existing gear lever can be retained with some modification. With regard to the Spyder Elan chassis, I can't comment, but it was my understanding that they usually gave better access - is this wrong?

As to ratios, I don't know details, but trust their combined judgement.

Jeremy
PS if no-one answers the phone in the Myers' workshop, it is probably because they are working on a car, so have a clear message ready to leave before you ring! It may be my car he's working on so don't disturb Neil too much....
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