Lotus Elan

bizarre gearbox/clutch problem?

PostPost by: twink » Sat May 30, 2015 2:09 pm

Hi everyone, new to the forum here, however have been following anomalously for a while!

Today I went to see my step-father's lotus elan +2 130/5 (1974) which has been in a barn covered up for the past 8 years or so. It hasn't been started for probably two years now. As you would expect the paint has bubbled here and there and the sills are the Niagara falls of rust, however i noticed a problem with the clutch/gearbox.

When we went to try and put it in gear, it did, however it seemed rather 'lumpy' and vague - there was no real feeling of it wanting to stay in gear. As a result it popped out of gear with just one finger (and no clutch). But it didn't go back into neutral it just sat there halfway in between the gears. This suprised me as the car only has 22k miles on it. The clutch pedal went down fine with resistance suggesting an absence of a hydraulic leak (there wasn't any spills on the floor or major discolouration on the ground either), however there wasn't really much bite. Surely the clutch itself hasn't worn out after 22k? Both owners weren't exactly boy racers. It may well just be the old transmission fluid clogging it up, but seems unlikely.

Annoyingly i couldn't start it (as the fuel was so old in the tank i didn't want risk starting it with old petrol, or causing a fire if there is a leak), therefore i don't know how it behaves when running.

Apologies if I'm just being ignorant.

Would greatly appreciate your opinion upon what the problem is. As we are restoring it over the summer.

Many thanks.
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PostPost by: RogerFrench » Sat May 30, 2015 6:36 pm

How can you judge bite if the engine's not running?
Wait until it is, then try again.
1967 Elan S3
1972 Europa Twin Cam
2005 Elise
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PostPost by: twink » Sat May 30, 2015 7:01 pm

RogerFrench wrote:How can you judge bite if the engine's not running?


egg on face - i'll blame tiredness.

I'm still confused by the vagueness of the gearbox - is this a trait of the austin maxi gearbox which the elan uses?
"If in doubt, flat out" - Colin McRae
"Simplify then add lightness" - Colin Chapman

1974 Lotus Elan Plus 2s 130/5 - Lotus Yellow (Summer Restoration Project)
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Sat May 30, 2015 9:29 pm

The five speed gearbox is not as " tight " as the ford box but don't dismiss it,with correct/sympathetic rebuild it can be a pleasure to use,especially on long journeys.....

John :wink:
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PostPost by: twink » Sat May 30, 2015 9:49 pm

I'm hoping a rebuild isn't needed as the 'box only has 22k miles of driving from two gentle drivers. When it was running last (after a service and inspection from an ex lotus dealer/engineer), i don't remember it being as vague. It certainly didn't cause any problems on hard acceleration or over run. I'm hoping the old transmission fluid has just gummed up in there and a flush with some clean new fluid will do the trick. I live in hope. The fact the car is on its original backbone steel chassis and there isn't a rust spot in sight amazes me so i still have trust in our little lotus.
"If in doubt, flat out" - Colin McRae
"Simplify then add lightness" - Colin Chapman

1974 Lotus Elan Plus 2s 130/5 - Lotus Yellow (Summer Restoration Project)
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Sat May 30, 2015 11:41 pm

There is a rubber bellows that holds the gear lever in place in its ball joint, if that is perished you will get a very vague and loose gear change feel.

cheers
Rohan
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PostPost by: twink » Sun May 31, 2015 6:50 am

Thanks Rohan, I will have a look and see if this is the case - seems incredibly likely.
"If in doubt, flat out" - Colin McRae
"Simplify then add lightness" - Colin Chapman

1974 Lotus Elan Plus 2s 130/5 - Lotus Yellow (Summer Restoration Project)
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