Lotus Elan

4-Speed Gearbox help please

PostPost by: TroonSprint » Mon Dec 14, 2015 2:37 pm

During the rebuild of my Sprint I naturally had a look inside the original 44 year old gearbox. I decided to replace the following components:
Oil Seals
Lay Shaft
Lay shaft Needle Roller Bearings
Lay Shaft Thrust Washers
Main Shaft Spigot
Tail Shaft Bush
Both 1st/2nd and 3rd/4th Selector Forks, but not the Reverse Selector.
I bought all the parts from Paul Matty's.

Having completed the car and driven it, I find that the gearbox works well in all forward gears, although the change is a bit "notchy" in feel. There is no difficulty selecting or deselecting any forward gear. It goes into reverse easily too, but doesn't want to come out of reverse. It needs a hefty thump on the gear lever to get it back into neutral. The gearbox is quiet in operation. The clutch, clutch pipe, and both clutch cylinders are all new and the hydraulics are working properly. I am using Redline MTL oil in the box.

I have tried screwing the reverse light switch out as far as it can go while still working. I have also put an extra gasket under the plastic cup that holds the gear lever down. Neither of these ploys made any difference.

Can anyone shed any light on where the problem might lie? I'm not keen to start dismantling again unless I have some clear idea of what to look for.

Thanks in anticipation of your knowledge.

Mike
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Mon Dec 14, 2015 3:15 pm

Interesting to hear what some of the answers may be. For 38 years, my Sprint has always required a good whack to get out of reverse and has always been notchy on shifting. No rebuilds in the past, even before I owned it. I've tried different Redline fluids but have always like regular 89/90.

I know its different because I've driven earlier cars and have owned two LoCorts and their boxes have felt
different, ie, 'easier'.
Greg Z
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PostPost by: el-saturn » Mon Dec 14, 2015 3:33 pm

although or even though i am quite knowledgable, an old master (bruno schaffner/racing) assisted me 2000k's ago when "we" restored the box, actually needed new seals. -------------------------- it shifted nice then and now: reminds me of a Rolls Royce tbh!! PS maybe the machining tolerances are (i.d. or o.d.) too close/tight on the new bits!? cheers sandy - still driving: it's mid DECEMBER!!
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PostPost by: PeterK » Mon Dec 14, 2015 3:51 pm

Couple of quick thoughts in increasing order of grief....
1 - clutch adjustment. Is it as difficult to get out of gear with engine turned off ?
2 - indent spring and / or a slight burr on the shaft where the indent ball fits

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PostPost by: TroonSprint » Mon Dec 14, 2015 4:55 pm

I'm always amazed how quickly replies come in to a post. Thanks guys for your input so far. To answer Peter, the clutch adjustment is correct (checked again recently) and the reverse gear is as stubborn to disengage with the engine off as it is when running.

Keep your ideas coming please! :mrgreen:

Mike
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Mon Dec 14, 2015 5:04 pm

This is an Interesting topic, both my Elans are four speed and they both like to keep hold of Reverse even though they have never been open.

I had some clutch issues with my +2 (bad Nylon hose) which meant i had to pump the clutch before it would engage (Forward and reverse) but strangely it didn't make much difference to taking it out of gear (Forward gears where still ok and Reverse was still reluctant)

I did try a few different oils in my +2 but all that did was make the forward gears Smoother (it has Redline MT-90 in at the moment), the guy who rebuilds are Boxes at work told me to be careful the oil was brass friendly but i'm not sure if he was trying to wind me up :)

So i assumed that was how they all where.
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PostPost by: richardcox_lotus » Mon Dec 14, 2015 9:59 pm

My sprint also has needs encouragement to get it out of reverse, the box has never been rebuilt, and it's always been so.

Regards
Richard
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PostPost by: Robbie693 » Tue Dec 15, 2015 12:29 am

Both the Plus 2's I have owned and the MkII Cortina I had with the same or similar gearbox have required a light slap with the palm to get out of reverse. Not really a heavy whack though. I just developed the knack to it and assumed it to be a peculiarity of the box. I imagined it like knocking the lever off the 'shelf' that you have to pull the lever up on to to get reverse...

It was an odd feeling when I first drove a Plus 2 and my hand seemed to remember the 'knack' from driving the Cortina, even though it was a good 15 years or so between the two!
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PostPost by: pereirac » Tue Dec 15, 2015 12:44 am

So pleased to learn it's not just an issue with my Sprint gearbox .... :D
Carl

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PostPost by: frogeyesimon » Tue Dec 15, 2015 9:43 am

The 4-speed in my +2 doesn't exhibit the behaviour described - should I be worried.... :?
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PostPost by: TroonSprint » Tue Dec 15, 2015 9:48 am

To Greg Z, Grizzly, Richard, Robbie and Carl, you guys have given me a great Christmas present. :D I no longer feel that I must take my gearbox out again and strip it down. The fact that five of you suffer the same problem (to different degrees) with your gearboxes leads to me to realise that, while it may not be the way the gearbox is meant to work, the slap needed to get out of reverse is pretty common.

Thank you all.
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PostPost by: TroonSprint » Tue Dec 15, 2015 9:51 am

FrogeyeSimon, your gearbox comes out of reverse smoothly? Hmm, worrying amount of wear I should say.... :lol:

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PostPost by: Chancer » Tue Dec 15, 2015 10:40 am

Robbie693 wrote:Both the Plus 2's I have owned and the MkII Cortina I had with the same or similar gearbox have required a light slap with the palm to get out of reverse. Not really a heavy whack though. I just developed the knack to it and assumed it to be a peculiarity of the box. I imagined it like knocking the lever off the 'shelf' that you have to pull the lever up on to to get reverse...

It was an odd feeling when I first drove a Plus 2 and my hand seemed to remember the 'knack' from driving the Cortina, even though it was a good 15 years or so between the two!


Blimey its been 20 years since I drove with one of those gearboxes but I can still recall the feeling you describe and the knack of overcoming it, I reckon I too would immediately revert to a long forgotten knack (can no longer find the right word in my mother tongue) if I got behind the wheel again.

So make that 6 people!
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PostPost by: jimj » Tue Dec 15, 2015 11:20 am

I put the Voight 5 speed in our S3 a few years ago, just for the more relaxed higher gearing. Initially I thought the clutch wasn`t connected, it was so light (in a good way), and the "modern" smooth gearchange made me actually miss the clickety original, more classic-car experience. Now we also have a Sprint in factory spec.and, again initially, I thought the (dare I say) more agricultural, gearchange a bit of a pain but, now, I really like the difference. Driving any old car smoothly is all part of the pleasure, otherwise I`d recommend you buy an MX5.
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PostPost by: steve.thomas » Tue Dec 15, 2015 12:33 pm

Just to echo the other posters, both elans I've owned have needed a gentle whack to get out of reverse and I always assumed this was a standard feature.
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