Lotus Elan

Gearbox prep'

PostPost by: rgh0 » Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:12 am

The use of engine oil in the original Austin maxi box was because the box was in the sump and shared the same oil supply as the engine. The had no choice once they selected a box in the sump design - it was a compromise then and its still a compromise. There is nothing special or specific about the gears or bearings or synchro rings that was specifically desgined for use of an engine oil.

Even the very best engine oils lack many of the properties of a good gear oil. You can run the 5 speed box on an engine oil but it will not work as well or last as long despite what the UK's No1 Lotus 5 speed expert may say. He may be very good at building gearboxes but I am not sure if he is a lubrication engineer. or he may simply have been misunderstood. I dont know because I have not talked to him. In the end you dont need to make the same compromise that Austin made now that your gear box is in a separate housing

The Redline MTL and MT90 manual transmission oils are specifically designed for the lubrication needs of manual gear boxes for the bearings, the gears and the synchro rings. The MTL is the right weight for this box and other Lotus boxes, the MT90 is too heavy an oil for our Lotus boxes( I use the MT90 in my Landcruiser which specifies an 80/90 weight oil). An engine oil is specifically designed for lubricating pistons and cams and journal bearings which is a completely different set of problems and requires a completely different oil. I would not put a gear oil in my engine sump anymore than I would put an engine oil in my gearbox.

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PostPost by: alexblack13 » Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:07 am

rgh0 wrote:

The use of engine oil in the original Austin maxi box was because the box was in the sump and shared the same oil supply as the engine. The had no choice once they selected a box in the sump design - it was a compromise then and its still a compromise. There is nothing special or specific about the gears or bearings or synchro rings that was specifically designed for use of an engine oil.

Even the very best engine oils lack many of the properties of a good gear oil. You can run the 5 speed box on an engine oil but it will not work as well or last as long despite what the UK's No1 Lotus 5 speed expert may say. He may be very good at building gearboxes but I am not sure if he is a lubrication engineer. or he may simply have been misunderstood. I don't know because I have not talked to him. In the end you don't need to make the same compromise that Austin made now that your gear box is in a separate housing

The Redline MTL and MT90 manual transmission oils are specifically designed for the lubrication needs of manual gear boxes for the bearings, the gears and the synchro rings. The MTL is the right weight for this box and other Lotus boxes, the MT90 is too heavy an oil for our Lotus boxes( I use the MT90 in my Landcruiser which specifies an 80/90 weight oil). An engine oil is specifically designed for lubricating pistons and cams and journal bearings which is a completely different set of problems and requires a completely different oil. I would not put a gear oil in my engine sump anymore than I would put an engine oil in my gearbox.

cheers
Rohan



As normal all good advice and sensible comments. But.. The gentleman I am referring to is very highly respected in the lotus world. He runs Lotus cars himself, has had a long association and employment with Lotus Cars Ltd. He holds virtually all off the parts for the gearboxes and rebuilds and overhauls many gearboxes every year. That is what he does. So. Whilst I have a high regard for all of Rohan's advice, on this occasion I am going to go with the advice (and I am not alone on this forum) given By Graham Boulton. It is he who is standing the warranty for the boxes he reconditions weekly... Very unlikely he has got it wrong.

We can agree to differ can we not?

You have no arguments from me as far as Red line products go though Rohan. You are preaching to the converted! I have been a convert for quite a while now. I had it in the 4 speed too. I think everyone running a 5 speed box especially should convert to it. Best Christmas prezzie you will ever give yourself.. See pics.... As you can see I use the appropriate product in the diff' too..

Question for UK guys.. Anyone know where to obtain Red Line products without paying through the nose for it?

Rohan... Do you think suitable (I do) for the Porsche box? Boxster S 3.4. Six speed with quick-shift?? just a quick question whilst I was thinking about it...

As I always say guys... To each their own. Do what YOU think is right for you. It would be a strange world if we all thought the same.. Very Dull.

Alex... 8)
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:14 am

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PostPost by: alexblack13 » Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:19 am

Aye I was about too, but thanks for the link...

Way to go... :wink:

Thanks...

Al' .....
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:38 am

Hi Alec

We can always happily agree to differences in opinion :D
You only learn by discussion of differences of opinion so always happy to hear what some else thinks and why. I would certainly be interested more in the "whys" behind Grahams recommendation

I just wonder how much exposure Graham Bouton has had to Redline MTL and whether he would change his recommendation if he saw the outcomes more? I suspect Redline MTL meets and exceeds the same "whys" that Graham is tryng to achieve with his engine oil recommendation.

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PostPost by: vernon.taylor » Thu Nov 22, 2012 7:17 am

Salut Alex

Just got throught the nineteen pages of your adventure - you even had an addition to the family during the opus! Belated congratulations.

I'll have to gen' up about the spigot bearing and carrier to see what I need and why; but a couple of questions about your gearstick mod' if I may:

- my understood summary of your final version: 5-speed lever cut down, machined 'washer' to compress the rubber bellows firmly, and shorter stick attached via a compressed rubber bush (+ your spring mod'). Is that correct?
- In hindsight is the compressed rubber bush necessary? Is there unpleasant feedback without it?

I can understand the shorter shift distance being more pleasant - I'll contact a guy near me who has a five-speed Lotus 'box to ask him if I can try his.

More questions:

- the Lotus bulletin lists new tunnel covers/trim for both the Elan and +2 - does the gearstick not come out in exactly the same position?
- couldn't make out if the reverse switch is the same as the 4-speed box
- would you or anybody know if the +2 speedo cable needs to be changed, too?

That's all for now, but there'll be more!

Merci et @+

Vernon
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PostPost by: alexblack13 » Thu Nov 22, 2012 9:05 am

The mods I did to the lever (Mk 2.... :lol: ) I did to take out the very vague rubbery and twisting action using the 5 speed lever.

I straightened & machined the top of the 5 speed lever and threaded it to take the special T nut from the 4 speed stick used to clamp the rubber cushion / metalastic bush.

Then I cut down the rubber bellows from the 5 speed and left it just long enough to apply some pressure on the nylon 'Ball cup'

A little turning then made the washer which sits bellow the metalastic bush. I then cut off the bush from the gearstick and removed the remaining weld material (NO HEAT.. DONT grind it off if you can). The bush was then mounted onto the 5 speed lever and resulted in a similar job to the 4 speed ass'y but without the lever. Clear as mud? Just make sure the metalastic is clamped firmly but still flexes as it should.

The lever...... This I set to length and angle and welded it onto a sleeve which slips snugly over the metalastic bush and clamps on using three m6 grub screws into drilled dimples in the bush's steel outer ring. This brought the lever back more or less into dead center of the hole in the trim and almost exactly the same position as the 4 speed box. As you can see it uses the 4 speed rubber gaiter and looks std. It even fooled Paul Matty. (Didn't tell him how I did it though... :lol: :lol: ) The change of the box feels very similar to the 4 spd. Redline MTL works wonders. (Thanks go to Rohan for that Great bit of info).

The final mod I did was to replace the security spring with a less strong one of similar dimensions. This makes changing back down from 5Th much much easier and smoother. It clicks nicely into 4Th (for eg) with ease.

I'm happy to let anyone drive the car but logistics make that difficult. But if you are in Scotland. Come looksee.

Meanwhile if you want to do the same. Just check out the pic's etc and ask away.. I am also happy to make the required parts for you and modify your 5 speed lever. it really is very simple. You do need the machinery though.

All the best guys..

Alex. 8)
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PostPost by: alexblack13 » Thu Nov 22, 2012 9:26 am

Sorry..Missed a bit.

Regarding the question about the 'compressed rubber bush' the Matalstic bush that is pressed into 'ring' on the 4 speed lever.

I pressed the rubber bush out of the gearstick and mounted it onto the 5 speed lever.. (as the pic's). I would def' use this. Never tried it without, but it is there for a reason. I suspect the change feel would be quite unpleasant without it. You do not want to leave it out. Why would you? So. Yes use the rubber bush. Get a new one. My one was a new one fitted when I reckoned the 4 speed. (Came from Sue M ...r)

Just remembered I used the top of the 5 speed lever too and cut it down to length and turned and threaded the end to take the 4 speed knob.. I cut off the rubber bush assy from it (the 5 spd lever) and left a 'flange' big enough to weld onto the special sleeve I made which slips over the metalastic... as above.

Hope its clear for you.. :shock: I is an ingineer... Not a writter!! :wink:

Alex...
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PostPost by: vernon.taylor » Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:06 pm

Salut

PM has new 5-speed gear levers in stock so I think I'll go for one. Question is: was it black or chrome originally? PM has both.

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PostPost by: rgh0 » Fri Nov 23, 2012 1:27 am

Hi Vernon
Chrome originally on my 1973 Plus 2S 130/5 but with Lotus they may have used black ones also at some time depending what was in the parts bin on the day

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PostPost by: vernon.taylor » Fri Nov 23, 2012 7:39 am

Merci, Rohan.
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PostPost by: vernon.taylor » Fri Nov 23, 2012 7:56 am

Salut

Err - how does one remove the gear lever assembly?

Merci

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PostPost by: alexblack13 » Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:14 pm

Straighten out any lock tabs which have been 'deployed' and then unscrew the nylon cap assy. (Anti Clock)

Put the box into 4TH gear 1st. It makes life a bit easier. :wink:

Cheers.. Alex.. 8)
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PostPost by: vernon.taylor » Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:19 am

Merci, Alex. I'll give that a go. I take it the gear lever cover stays on the 'box?

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PostPost by: vernon.taylor » Sun Nov 25, 2012 8:12 am

Salut Alex

I'm feeling dumber and dumber.

Unscrewed the nylon gear lever base (in 4th). Gently pulling there's resistance. Can I just tug harder?

Merci

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