Lotus Elan

T9 gearbox conversion

PostPost by: alaric » Sat Dec 10, 2005 7:57 pm

Thanks for the above comments etc.

Looking at the box and the measurements it's clear to me that if the input shaft was shorter this would be a great kit / conversion. I haven't had a chance to chat to AV yet - driving all day yesterday.

The numbers on the side of the gearbox case include these. I have no idea what they mean. s

83 9T - 7006
G24625
P8 U
88
8

I could put piccies on if I knew how to - is it possible?

Sean.
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PostPost by: storrar54 » Mon Dec 12, 2005 4:31 pm

Sean
There is an article in "Classics" (Jan 06) about fitting 5 speed boxes.
They say that there is a long and a regular input shaft variant of the Ford type 9 or N box. The short shaft has standard Sierra ratios the long shaft is either from a diesel with undesirable ratios or from a V6 with desirable close ratios.
The input shafts can be swopped over.
It sounds to me as if you should check that this isn't a diesel box before just getting the shaft swopped over.
Richard
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PostPost by: alaric » Mon Dec 12, 2005 10:22 pm

Thanks for the advice Richard. I had established that the v6 box was an attractive option but with the wrong input shaft, but was not aware of the diesel, so that's something else for me to check out.

Ok, I've now found a copy of the magazine, and it's actually got a picture of the input shaft that's on the box that has been supplied to me, alongside the input shaft that fits the twincam! The difference is blindingly obvious. Wish I'd had this article two weeks ago.

I've measured the ratios on the box, by doing ten turns at the input and noting the turns at the output. I've estimated them at 3.636, 1.96, 1.36, 1., 0.78 for 1st to 5th respectively. These are not the ratios that the conversion was advertised with. They should be 3.65, 1.967, 1.367, 1, 0.815. The latter match the maxi 5 speed ratios to within 2% apart from 1st gear which is 14% higher. I phoned Alan concerned about 1st gear, but was assured that it was ok.

So I think it's the wrong box. But maybe not a diesel - not sure what those ratios should be.

I spoke to Alan Voigts earlier today. His first comment was 'So your telling me that it doesn't fit. There's only one shaft, so it must be your engine that's not standard'. From that point on I knew that it was not going to go well.

I impressed on him that it was a standard engine, and that my original 5 speed had fitted ok, and that when they built the engine QED would, I'm sure, have mentioned that the flywheel was 21mm further away from the block than is usual. It's quite a big difference isn't it. Not one that you would miss, really, I think.

Anyway, he asked me to measure the distance of the spigot bearing from the engine block, so I told him the measurements of the spline distance from the bell housing front face that I'd already taken, and the equivalent on the maxi 5 speed - that's about 21mm difference between the two.

He's off to lift the engine out of his Elan now, to measure it.

So where do I stand now? I now have no confidence in Alan, and want to wash my hands of the whole thing. Can I get my money back?

Having read as much as I have over the last week, I now feel confident of doing the conversion myself.

I would appreciate feedback from other people with Alan Voigts boxes - has he just made a stupid error, or is this what I should expect? Will the box rebuild be ok? It's hard to tell without taking the top cover off, which I am loathe to do as it's still as supplied.

Thanks again for the help.
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PostPost by: storrar54 » Tue Dec 13, 2005 12:50 am

Sean
AVs response to your problem sounds horrendous and commercial stupidity!
He should of course arrange to collect your box, swop shafts and deliver back to you, all within a week and at his expense.
I think you may need a solicitors advice/letter detailing all this as the goods sold to you are not of usable quality. I would want AVs commitment in writing as well.
However at the end of the day it is easy to swop over the shafts yourself if he refuses to budge.
My only dealings with AV have been when my release bearing carrier became worn and jammed the clutch. (5sp box) and I needed a new one. He said he had one on the shelf but refused to let me collect it and finally posted it to me about 4 weeks later. I wasn't impressed.
Richard
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PostPost by: lotusanglia1965 » Tue Dec 13, 2005 8:34 pm

Hold on a minute!
I fitted an alan voights 5-speed to a baby elan(was 4-spd) a few months ago. It went straight onto the engine and in the chassis no problem.
From my previous dealings with ford parts,I seem to recall that the long and short input shafts are NOT interchangeable .The whole box must be changed. It seems unlikely that alan would have built up a five speed conversion on the wrong box.If i have any criticism at all it would be that he only had experience of fitting the box in one or two permutations of elan and plus two. But he was happy to help me with any mods required to fit it in my spyder chassis.Must have caught him on an off day. Is it possible that a gremlin spigot bearing is the cause?
Martin
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PostPost by: lotusanglia1965 » Tue Dec 13, 2005 8:38 pm

Also noticed, your estimated gear ratios are only a gnats away from the advertised, so i would assume them to be the same. the long input shaft box from the 2.8 has much taller 1st gear,nearer the original semi-close ratio 4 speed. The plot thickens.....
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PostPost by: alaric » Wed Dec 14, 2005 1:39 am

I've only estimated the ratios, so they are probably the correct ones - I wasn't sure how critical they were.

Re the spigot bearing, I've just been out to the garage - at 1 in the morning - must be mad - and peered into the end of the flywheel/crank assembly to see what's there. To my amazement thare's another roller bearing recessed right in the hole, behind the one that's flush with the flywheel. Gobsmacked is the expression that comes to mind.

The recessed roller bearing appears to have a smaller internal diameter than the outer roller bearing.

Checking in the manaul, there is mention of a larger diameter bore spigot bearing on pE38, but no mention of two needle roller bearings.

So I guess the question is, should I take off the flywheel and tap out the insert as suggested by barrydoran on the 9th. Interestingly, Barry started from the same engine and box as myself, namely the maxi 5 speed. So do the 4 speed set ups have a different clutch cover with a pressure plate and use a recessed needle roller bearing i.e. one in the end of the crank instead of in the flywheel? Or is this just down to chance?

I need a guarantee that this is the correct coarse of action; will the shaft fit the internal spigot bearing. The plot thickens still further.

The bottom end of the engine has been balanced to a very high spec by QED, so I am loathe to disturb it. I'm already not happy to find that I need to change the clutch cover. Now I have to alter the flywheel....

Thanks again for the help. I'll speak to Alan tomorrow to see what he suggests.

Sean.
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PostPost by: lotusanglia1965 » Wed Dec 14, 2005 9:10 am

Hi Sean,
I don't have experience of the lotus five speed, but every four speed i've seen has the spigot in the crank recess.Is it possible that lotus added the larger spigot to the flywheel to accomodate the five speed input shaft (shorter?) If so, don't remove flywheel, just use puller/extractor to remove larger spigot. good luck,
Martin
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PostPost by: alaric » Wed Dec 14, 2005 9:50 am

Martin,

That's precisely the confirmation that I'm looking for at the moment. If this is the case then I'll write this up and let Alan know, so that he can avoid this confusion in the future - I hope the problem is that he's only converted 4 speed elans in the past and hence not come across the problem, so my interaction with him the other day raised genuine surprise and confusion on his part.

The easiest solution for future would be for Alan to supply the shorter input sfaft version for the 5 speed maxi boxed cars.

If you look in the manuals there's no mention of the different spigot bearing arrangement on the 5 speed - unless I missed it. It just talks about the crankshaft needle roller bearing.

I think a call to QED may help clarify this.

I may have a 15mm drill at home that I can use to check the internal diameter of the crank spigot bearing.

All the best.

Sean.
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Wed Dec 14, 2005 4:59 pm

Having just recently changed from 4-speed to Maxi 5-speed i can conform the spigots are the same and as follows the needle roller bearings are the same...
Seems to me that the second(smaller) needle bearing is stopping the input shaft from going fully home....
Maybe you should take both out,try the fit,and refit just the larger of the two....
John :wink:
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PostPost by: alaric » Wed Dec 14, 2005 10:35 pm

The plot thickens yet more.

I have unearthed my copy of 'Lotus Twincam Engine' by Miles Wilkins. On page 85 there's this:

'The spigot bearing on some transaxle installations (Europa) and the 5-speed +2S130 model locates in the flywheel, and can be tapped out using a drift to match the outside diameter. The spigot bearing on the 6 bolt crank and for most 4-speed cars i.e. all Elans and +2S, sits in the end of the crankshaft. It can be removed .... blah blah blah ... The early type of bearing, which was a phosphor bronze bush, was used solely in the 4-bolt crank...'

That sounds to me like my car, which is a +2S130 5 speed, is completely standard. The 4 speed Elan could have the spigot bearing in the crank or in the flywheel, presumably depending on the length of the input shaft that happened to turn up on the 4 speed gearbox.

I think this clears this up for me. I now need to decide what to do. I don't want to replace the clutch cover - it's been balanced to the crank. I can't see why the pressure plate should be required if one wasn't required for the standard set up. I'll go and measure the crank spigot and the lengths etc again to see what'll work.

Thanks for all your help - hope this isn't getting too boring.

All the best.

Sean.
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PostPost by: alaric » Thu Dec 15, 2005 1:34 am

After checking the bore of the insert in the crank - ~38mm, the outside diameter of the spline ~21mm, the additional travel that the spline would have once the flywheel roller bearing was removed ~ 21mm (familiar!), I removed the flywheel. Having verified that I can tap out the insert easily (removing the roller bearing alone would not give enough clearance) by getting it moving with a hammer and socket, I offered up the new box.

It fits!

I've bolted the bell housing in place with the flywheel and clutch assembly removed. Checking the length of the spline on the input shaft it appears to be just over 13/4", which matches pretty much the depth of the flywheel and the ford clutch plate. So hopefully it should all go together.

Just need to sort out the clutch cover now. If I have to buy one of these I may get a competition plate too, since the engine is up to 140bhp.

Sean.
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Thu Dec 15, 2005 7:18 am

Don't forget to let A.V. know,he might be toiling away as we speak,do you have the pressure plate with open fingers or the flat insert?, as i'm sure a conversion is available.
John :wink:
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PostPost by: alaric » Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:21 am

I was planning to talk to Alan asap.

My understanding is that there are two clutch covers. I have the one for the 5 speed box +2130S, which does not have a pressure pad on the diaphram springs / fingers. Alan tells me I need to replace this with a 4 speed clutch cover which will have the pressure pad on. I need to cost this out, as I may also need a competition clutch plate for the power that my engine's producing.

The clutch pressure plates are all the same I believe - I'm referring to the heavy lump that is pushed by the diaphram spring.

There comes a point where this ceases to be a conversion kit doesn't there - it's now become a prototype for fitting Alan's kit to a 5 speed Elan. If I'm helping Alan to refine his kit, from which he's making money, it seems reasonable that he helps me out too - now what's my hourly rate going to be.... My point is that Alan should know this stuff!

At some point I'll put together a write up of what's involved; more than happy to help other lotus enthusiasts by relaying my experience.

All the best.

Sean.
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PostPost by: types26/36 » Thu Dec 15, 2005 10:16 am

alaric wrote:My understanding is that there are two clutch covers. I have the one for the 5 speed box +2130S, which does not have a pressure pad on the diaphram springs / fingers. Alan tells me I need to replace this with a 4 speed clutch cover which will have the pressure pad on.
The clutch pressure plates are all the same I believe - I'm referring to the heavy lump that is pushed by the diaphram spring.


I have never worked on a 5 sp Elan box so I dont know the specifics but the different pressure plates require a different release bearing, the 4 sp (with the thrust plate) should have a flat faced release bearing, the 5 sp without the thrust plate requires a release bearing with a slightly round face.
I fitted the 5 sp clutch set (press plate without pad, 8.5" friction plate and round release bearing) to my 4 speed S2, it was quite a long time ago so cannot remember if I had to modify the release bearing support sleeve in any way or if it fitted stright on, just something for you to check. :wink:
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