Lotus Elan

Stuck in 1st gear

PostPost by: 69S4 » Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:42 pm

After a particularly bad bout of stuck clutch syndrome I finally managed to free it up last weekend with a few sessions of heat soak and starting the car in gear with the clutch depressed. This week I came to take the car out of the garage, put it into first without problems and drove out but there it has stayed. The lever won't come out of gear. The clutch is working but something in the gearbox isn't. Up to this point the gearbox has been fine without any signs that something might be on the way out. I've tried to use the search function but all I'm getting is an error message atm. Anyone any suggestions as to what might have happened and what I should be looking at to fix it.
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PostPost by: Jason1 » Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:03 pm

Hi Stuart

I did the same to mine last weekend and got it stuck in first. I let it cool down and rocked the car back and forth; then with a bit of force it went back into neutral.

My clutch it still stuck; bit will get back to it soon.

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PostPost by: types26/36 » Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:29 pm

Could be the gear lever has jumped out of position between the selectors, try taking off the domed cap that holds the gear lever in and removing the lever.
Have a look if the three selector rods are all in the neutral position, if not lever the selector into neutral with a big screwdriver then refit gear-lever.
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PostPost by: 69S4 » Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:54 pm

OK, so there are a few things I can try before hauling the engine out :D I've tried the "leave it for a day and see if it'll resolve with a bit of "encouragement"" route but no luck. I've just been out to the garage and taken the console bits + gear lever off and the plastic domed cap seem to be a little loose. It's not the easiest thing to get to though - the glassfibre aperture is smaller than the diameter of the plastic dome. I'll either have to get some lessons from my wife in keyhole surgery or dig out the dremel and cut some of it away. That won't happen until tomorrow though so I'll report back then.
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PostPost by: 1964 S1 » Sun Jun 24, 2012 8:50 pm

Hello, I agree with Brian,
My S1 did the same thing once and it was a loose shifter cap. Easy fix ! And hopefully that's your prob. Let us know.
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PostPost by: 69S4 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 12:04 pm

A quick update - it may well have been the shifter cap loose. I cut away enough glassfibre to be able to get to it and it was loose enough to be able to unscrew it by hand . After I'd cleaned everything up I put the shifter mechanism back in with the gear lever attached and it moved the rod back into neutral. I was then able to run through all the gears as normal.

Screwing the cap tight by hand, even with my improved access, is not easy so I knocked up a tool that fits over the flats at the bottom and tightens it a bit more. Hopefully that'll be good enough. I'm still not sure how having the cap a turn or so loose allows the mechanism to get so out of alignment that it'll jam but mine not to reason why at the moment as it's working. Thanks for your help - without the cap suggestion I'd be halfway through taking the box out at present :(
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PostPost by: memini55 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 5:57 pm

Glad you have it fixed. I would also add to the group of the jamb in the shift rods. We autocross one and like anything with 40-50 years of age they have become sloppy. In the heat of racing we have gotten it stuck a few times.
Loosen the top and pull out the shifter drop back to neutral and put it back together and off we go.
Some day I might get around to proper repair of setting up all the gate clearances.

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PostPost by: Jason1 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 6:38 pm

Sounds like I may need to check my cap?

Cheers :D
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 2:04 am

Just trying to figure out the root cause of this problem.

I believe if the shift lever cap screw comes loose. then the foot of the shift lever lifts up a little relative to the shift rails. Then when you select first the lever foot can come clear of the slot in the shift rail. It can then not rengage as the shift rail moves foward a little and the lever foot will not go back down into the slot effectively jamming the box in first gear until you remove the shift lever. Hard to diagnose as the problem goes away when you remove the lever. The box becomes more sensitive to this happening with wear on the lever foot and rails overtime so it takes less of a loose lever cap screw to cause it to happen in a worn box.

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PostPost by: reb53 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:52 am

Not just first gear that this happens on.

When mine came loose I had no idea of what was wrong, ( as a new owner), so kept going and drove a 100 miles home with only top gear.
Could have been worse, imagine 100 miles in 1st.....

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PostPost by: 69S4 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:25 am

Thanks for that explanation Rohan. I took another look at the mechanism last night trying to figure out what the sequence of events might have been as it's not the sort of thing you want to have happen out on the road. The shift lever is held in place by the screw cap against a spring, which seems to be compressed about 3-4mm when the cap is all the way down. You can lift the lever against the spring - for example when selecting reverse but there is a limit to how far it will go based on the way the shift lever is constructed. When you do this you are lifting the lever foot out of position in the rail but normally, with all the dimensions and clearances correct, the foot will stay within the slot in the rail.

My guess would be that with the cap loose there is a little bit of extra vertical movement available and if somehow you combined raising the lever and pushing it forward into first at the same time the foot could come out of the slot at the end of its travel. 40 yrs of wear would only make matters worse.

As you say it's difficult to prove as you can't see anything until you remove the shift lever and that takes any misalignment evidence along with it. In my case when I replaced the shift lever it went straight back into neutral. I had a good look at both the foot and the slot in the rail and couldn't see any significant wear but as I don't have any new ones to compare with that probably doesn't mean much. All I can do at the moment is put the mechanism in my keep an eye on it list and make sure I have the tools needed to take it apart in the tool kit from now on.

Ralph - yes it could have been difficult in first :( . I was fortunate it happened on my drive when I was celebrating success after three months of trying to free up the clutch. If it had happened earlier I'd have been stuck in first with no clutch. That could have had me reaching for a can of petrol and checking the fire clause on my insurance :D
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:18 am

Lots of topics on the shifter cap. I written some on it and this post has some info and link to others.

elan-f15/speed-gear-selection-problem-t19254.html
witch points to thes 2
elan-f14/gearbox-woes-t15201.html
elan-f14/different-gearbox-woes-now-t15211.html

this one is page 4 of someone else's problems
elan-f14/naff-t21798-45.html

clearly the above is refering to having the shifter base off but the photos are better than the ones shown here... :)
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PostPost by: prezoom » Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:52 pm

On the first outing of my Elan, I had the gear lever select two gears at the same time, when going for reverse. Cap was tight, but the lever lifted too far and slipped out of the grooves. Of course panic set in, but after a bit of messing around, I was able to see what happened. When I got home, I made a ring out of Delrin, to slip over the lever, beneath the cap, to prevent my lifting the lever too far. No more problems. The ring is only about .037" thick. My cap is steel, not plastic.

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PostPost by: 69S4 » Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:52 am

piss-ant wrote:Lots of topics on the shifter cap. I written some on it and this post has some info and link to others.

elan-f15/speed-gear-selection-problem-t19254.html
witch points to thes 2
elan-f14/gearbox-woes-t15201.html
elan-f14/different-gearbox-woes-now-t15211.html

this one is page 4 of someone else's problems
elan-f14/naff-t21798-45.html

clearly the above is refering to having the shifter base off but the photos are better than the ones shown here... :)



Thanks for those links, very helpful. I tried using the search facility when the problem first occurred but for some reason it kept giving me an error message. Even using Google to bypass it didn't come up with anything. Plenty on M100 gearboxes but nothing (helpful anyway) on ours. Seemed to be working now though so it may have just been something temporary.

It would seem that shifter cap based selection problems are more common than I thought and that a millimeter or two may be the difference between functional and stuck somewhere (in both senses). The gearbox is one of very few bits of the car that have not been touched over the years other than an oil seal here and there so I suppose I should consider myself lucky that nothing much has gone wrong with it before now. It's such an awkward thing to get out that I've been happy to leave working dogs lie :D Third gear is getting a little noisy as well so it may be time to add an overhaul to the winter work list.
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PostPost by: garyeanderson » Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:27 am

On google, searches can be effective with a couple of qualifiers and specifying this site as most of the info is concentrated here. So my google searches (after trying the search engine here) start with

site:www.lotuselan.net/forums

And then add a qualifier (or two if there are too many hits)

site:www.lotuselan.net/forums shifter
http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aw ... ms+shifter
185 hits with one of those I linked on the first page.

the next one I did I put my name in as I sign most of my replies and got
http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aw ... ifter+gary
this gave me 52 hits. The others may be in those 52hits I didn't look but you get the idea of "how" I search.

Most everything has been discussed here and much (most?) of it as relevant today as when it was written. With the amount of off topic useless trash posted now (and yes I am guilty), searches will become more and more difficult when looking. Searches only look for words and commonly used words get tossed/rejected in some cases. I did a search of 6037 and it returned nothing and it I was looking at it in a topic with that number written so it will get worse before it gets better.

Gary
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