Lotus Elan

5 speed box quandry

PostPost by: genneton4 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:12 pm

Hello fellow Elan'ers. I am a rookie to Elan's and this site. I have just purchased an Elan +2 130/5 with a known gearbox fault, yes it is the maxi one and it is a problem with 4th syncro.
Being a pensioner I am not able to grovel about under cars anymore so I am seeking some guidance for the most cost effective way to get this work undertaken. I am in Nottingham, UK.
I guess the cheapest way would be to have the old box fixed with all new syncro's but driving the car little as I have I find the gearchange woolly. The chassis is a Spyder circa 2001.
Alan Voigts does a Sierra version - will this fit the chassis ?.
Will an MT75 fit this chassis ?.
Both of the latter versions seem to come in well over ?2k fitted. Wasn't expecting that.
Can any seasoned Elan'ers guide me please ??

Thanks Keith Ash (Genneton4) 1973 Lotus Elan +2S 130/5
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PostPost by: alan d bell » Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:05 pm

seems that you do not alan voights telephone number it is 01516303575, speak to him and he will answer your questions about fitting and cost, i think that you will find the cost to be very reasonable.
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PostPost by: jimj » Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:11 pm

The last time I checked a Voight gearbox was getting on for ?2000.....but.......your "proper" 5 speed has a considerable value even requiring a rebuild. That said, I`d guess it would be much cheaper to have your gearbox rebuilt, the engine-out costs are the same, of course.
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:04 pm

Hi Keith. Welcome to the forum and to a great little car. Sorry for length...

I would concentrate on re-building the original transmission as well. It keeps the car original, and all the tough 'custom' stuff is already figured out for you, such as shifter placement, exhaust routing, driveshaft length, transmission mount, etc. I believe this will end up the most economical option for you.

Alex Black had a very detailed thread regarding putting the Lotus five speed in his Elan. I believe he had some advice in there somewhere on ensuring the shift quality is as good as it can be. Take a look or PM Alex for a few details. The key point is this thread provides an overview of some of the hassles encountered in swapping a box, which would get spendy quickly if you are getting the work done.


I can't speak to the Voight box. The MT75 might be able to be fitted in a 2001 Spyder, but pretty sure some modification will be required. If you give Andy or Sean a call at Spyder with your Spyder chassis number handy they can advise you on what you have. The 'later' Spyder chassis I have (purchased around 2008) was modified to make it easier to install the Zetec and MT75; I am not sure of the change-over dates and exact differences but Spyder will know. At a minimum I bet you will need to modify for the starter. Believe the other mod they added is two tapped positions for the transmission mount; take a look at this area on yours and see if you have extra tapped holes there. Not sure of Lotus 5 speed mount details, but sure there are photo's in Alex thread above.

Even with this frame and a Spyder supplied MT75 and all parts to connect to the Lotus TC this was not without adventure. A bar in the chassis web had to be cut out and modified to accommodate the starter, I had difficulty with the pilot bearing and replaced with a bush, the reverse light switch was difficult (new part is NLA), the shifter position moved slightly from the four speed requiring custom interior mods, I had to fabricate proper sheet metal pieces to cover the clutch housing, the exhaust needed re-routing and still is very low around the bell housing, the clutch is completely different, etc... All of this was done during a frame off, which makes some of the preliminary fitting issues easier. I shutter to think of the cost of all this if I was having all the work done.

Still very happy with the MT75 conversion, but we didn't really get the 130/5 in Canada in any kind of quantity, so it was the only practical way for me to get a five speed. If I had one already, I would just get it fixed. :)

One thing I would definitely try to do is drive the car a bit to get an assessment of any other engine work you may want done while it is on the bank. Even little things like an oil pan or cam cover leak are easier with it out.

Not sure of available services in your area, but for sure they are way better than my area. Perhaps you can keep costs down by having a more general repair shop perform the drivetrain removal and installation and send the box to a specialist for proper rebuild? Just a thought.

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PostPost by: alexblack13 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 8:32 pm

Hello Keith,

The most economical solution would be to have your existing lotus box repaired & the person to do this for you would be Graham Boulton. He has all the spares required and the expertise being the ex lotus 5 speed box guru.

I don't have Graham's tel number as I have changed my phone but Sue Miller (Mick Miller Lotus) will give it to you if you give her a ring. Ring Graham and talk to him.

My Elan now has the 5 speed box and some mods to the shift. I got rid of the very soggy shift lever etc, and put in a less strong 'protection' spring. I am now at the stage where the shift is almost.. not quite but almost as good as the 4 speed. And I find a 5TH gear now when I go looking for one. I am very happy now with the Lotus 5 speed box. I am aware it will never be as strong as the Ford 2000E (4 spd box) but what a difference it makes when on long trips. Just don't hurry it when its cold.. &&&& use REDLINE MTL OIL.. That makes a huge difference.

Have your local trusted garage remove the engine and box for you. Unless there are any of the elan.net guys available to help? I would do if for you but you will need to get your car up to Scotland. When the gearbox is out send it over to Graham.. He is in Norfolk area.

All the best with it. Keep it std if you can.

Alex B .... 8)
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PostPost by: elansprint » Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:49 pm

Keith as Alex says send to graham boulton
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PostPost by: genneton4 » Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:04 pm

Thankyou for your wisdoms. I hear you loud and clear. I will have the old original box rebuilt. I think this should be ok as I will not be doing much urban driving. My problem is that of logistics and car storage. Am I right in thinking that Alan Voigts and Graham Boulton are only gearbox rebuilders and I will have to look elsewhere to get the engine and box in and out. ??

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PostPost by: bobashton » Fri Feb 08, 2013 4:24 pm


Alan Voights is a gearbox expert, he and his son have a garage in Wallasey, across the water from Liverpool. He manufactures the bell housing and tail section around the Ford type 9 gearbox and will either supply only or fit it for you if you wish. He is worth a ring as he is a mine of information and more than happy to chat. I've got one of his boxes; best investment I ever made in the Elan.


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PostPost by: l10tus » Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:15 pm


PM sent - may be able to help.

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