Lotus Elan

Stuck in 1st gear

PostPost by: 69S4 » Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:37 am

piss-ant wrote: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


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

site:www.lotuselan.net/forums shifter


That's worth knowing. I just googled Lotus Elan gearbox stuck or jammed or something like that. I didn't think to specify this site as well.
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PostPost by: Old English White » Fri Apr 17, 2015 7:59 am

Yesterday, at the french MOT, my Elan had the same problem; Wanting select reverse, stuck in first gear, with an operating clutch.
Drive back home slowly, having only 2.5 miles to do...
Now, having the car safe, after a bit of research on LotusElan.net, I understand that it surely is just under the gear lever...
So my questions are; having the gear lever & the center console removed, will all the bolts of the gear lever cap be visible if I cut the fiberglass shell!?! The chassis should be to close, no!?! Remove engine & gearbox is the only solution!?!
Any helping advices/opinion apreciated,
Christian. :mrgreen:
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PostPost by: prezoom » Fri Apr 17, 2015 3:31 pm

On my first outing with my Elan, I too had a problem with the shift lever. While attempting to engage reverse gear, the gearbox became locked between two gears. With the gearbox locked in two gears, the car would not move. Needless to say I was panicked because the car was in a dangerous position in an intersection.

What I found, after unscrewing the cap, was both reverse and 2nd gear were both engaged. This was caused by the shifter lever being raised up too far, and catching the 2nd gear shift rail. Once I knocked it out of 2nd, everything was fine. Since I was on a tour, for the remainder I was very careful not to pull up on the shift lever until it stopped. Just enough to engage reverse.

After I got home, with some trial and error, I wound up with a .035" spacer that I installed on the shift lever, to prevent the lever from being raised to the point that it would select two gears. I should note that the retaining cap is metal, rather than the plastic style. Nary a problem since.
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PostPost by: Old English White » Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:48 am

End of alert.
Back in the car, I first managed to cut out some of the fiber around the plastic cap to get more space, and , with an adjustable pliers, I -gently- unlock the cap. What I discovered was the same as you, Prezoom.
Quite easy was to set on neutral, and get "OEW" back on the road...
To the next issue...!
About aluminium cap, I'm still not sure. I imagine the same situation, having the small allen screw to remove prior the following operations... I'll stay with that plastic cap until its death, 49 years experience on it is a proof.
Christian. :mrgreen:
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PostPost by: Stevie-Heathie » Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:53 pm


My S3 got stuck in first gear in the office carpark this afternoon after taking a colleague for a spin.

In between meetings I took the trim, the gear stick, and the domed plastic cap off, I lined up the forks with a big screwdriver, put everything back together (no bits left over always good) and hey presto 4 forward gears and a reverse as well. Quietly impressed with myself.

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