Lotus Elan

Aluminium bell housing

PostPost by: Davidb » Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:19 am

It amazes me that Lotus fitted such a heavy bellhousing to the otherwise light Elan. Did Ford make aluminium (aluminum) bellhousings for any regular "street" cars? The cost from specialists for these items is horrendous.
I was discussing this with an "old" Elan racer today and he said that he thought the bellhousing from a 2 liter Pinto engine installation will work.
Can anybody confirm this?
Last edited by Davidb on Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: S3FHC » Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:35 am

Hi Davidb,

I'm not sure if Ford made aluminium bell housings for regular "street" cars at that time but aluminium bell housings are available in the UK at over ?200 (magnesium are over ?400!)
I'm not sure if tax (VAT) is applicable to these prices?

then there's the shipping costs...

regards,

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PostPost by: Davidb » Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:44 am

Hi Mark, thanks for such a quick response!
Yes the shipping cost from the UK would certainly make a difference.

But, does anybody know if the 2 liter Pinto bellhousing is usable? I suppose this would be a North American question wouldn't it?
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PostPost by: vxah » Fri Feb 05, 2016 8:18 am

Afaik the Pinto has the starter on the wrong side and would get in the way of the headers? The clutch I think was cable operated and again on the other side to the Twink? Did the pinto ever use a 4 speed? I thought it was only available with the type 9 five speed so the gearbox mounting holes will be wrong?
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PostPost by: promotor » Fri Feb 05, 2016 3:01 pm

If you are talking about the Elan 4 speed 3 rail 'box then the Pinto bellhousing definitely won't fit that.
Different size hole for the front bearing carrier/nose and different bolt spacing for the bellhousing to gearbox bolts.

Maybe it could be made to fit with modification but sometimes the project is harder/more expensive than buying the suitable replacement.
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PostPost by: elanman999 » Fri Feb 05, 2016 4:17 pm

The Pinto was available with a 4 speed box but it was the later single rail box. I had Mk3 and 4 Cortina's with them.
I don't know what bell housing was used.
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PostPost by: Vic » Sat Feb 06, 2016 5:09 am

In the U.S. I did find an aluminum bell housing that I will be fitting to my Elan. It has a casting number of D12A-6394-BC. The "D1" would indicate a 1971 casting. I believe it is from a 2.0L Mercury Capri, that used an British 4-speed instead of the German 4-speed. The Kent Lotus blocks share the same bell housing pattern as a 2.0L "Pinto" block (group... correct me if I'm wrong). The 2.3L block pattern is different. For the transmission side of the bell housing, the British three rail and single rail have the same pattern, but the German 4-speed pattern is different, possibly the German pattern is the same as a T9 5-speed, but not usable for an Elan 4-speed. Yes, U.S. Pinto's with both 1.6L and 2.0L were available with 4-speed transmissions, but which transmission? I have some old interchange books and they show 1971 to 1973 Pinto 1.6L bell housing with British transmission is a D1FZ-6392B and with a German transmission is a DiFZ-6392A. For the Capri, the interchange is just: all with 1.6, or all with 2.0.

The bell housing I have, was given to me by a Ford Cortina collector (hoarder). He knew of this odd aluminum bell housing, went over to his stack of bell housing, picked it out and gave it to me. It is set up for cable clutch, so I will be using an annular throw out bearing and the starter pattern is slightly wider spaced, but in the correct location. That's the other difference between a 1.6 (Kent) and a 2.0 (Pinto), is the starter pattern. Just a little more work to make it all fit and function.

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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Sat Feb 06, 2016 8:56 am

David
The Aluminium bell housing from the Lotus 5 speed box will fit straight on ,needing no modification....

P.S.
you also get the bonus of aluminium gearbox housing and tail housing and 10% overdrive....

John :wink:
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PostPost by: Davidb » Sat Feb 06, 2016 4:46 pm

John: The Lotus 5 speed solves one problem-low gearing-but brings another-less precise gear change-or so I have read on this forum! (Ignoring cost...)

Vic: Many thanks for that-I have been offered an aluminum bellhousing that came with a two liter Pinto engine and perhaps I should go and look at it-you have given me hope!
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PostPost by: nmauduit » Wed Nov 30, 2016 5:58 pm

Along the same line, I just picked up this Ford bellhousing with other parts, supposedly modified to fit elan TC engine and 4 speed gearbox (slave cylinder and pivot welded on) : it is cast Ford A-6394 BE, any idea what is its original application ?

img-20161130-02952.jpg and

img-20161130-02953.jpg and

img-20161130-02954.jpg and


Any opinion of suitability or limitations for elan use (with a reduction starter and annular clutch) ?
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PostPost by: pharriso » Wed Nov 30, 2016 6:28 pm

6394 is just Ford's part code for a bell housing...
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PostPost by: nmauduit » Thu Dec 01, 2016 12:50 pm

going through photos on the net it looks like a pinto bell housing... which is about 178mm tall vs. 6"3/4 or 171.5mm for the stock elan, so about 1/4" difference.

now remains to decide what use it may be fit for (esp. 2000E, or maybe T5 conversion)...
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PostPost by: Davidb » Thu Dec 01, 2016 6:21 pm

We need Vic to comment on this-he seems to be the expert on these obscure bellhousings.
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PostPost by: Vic » Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:09 pm

That is a Pinto bell housing, with a slave cylinder mount added. The full casting number is D12A-6394-BE (mine is BC at the end). I have one in my hand. David asked me to do some more research on it. I got mine from a Cortina parts hoarder. He gave me this bell housing several years ago and I recently contacted him for more information. It came from a 1971 Ford Pinto 1.6L with an "British" transmission. He also told me that Pinto's had a longer input shaft than a Cortina and back-in-the-day he would swap input shafts when using this bell housing in a Cortina. I have several Elan, Cortina and this one Pinto bell housing. I measure the depths as 6 3/8 inch (Cortina), 6 11/16 inch (Elan) and 6 15/16 inch (Pinto). I am going to attempt to use mine in an Elan and use an annular throw out bearing.

To answer David's private message (and others likely to ask), the hoarder has one more that he's not willing to sell, but would trade something for it (work on his farm?). I did see one previously listed on ebay and my brother-in-law purchased it for an Elan project he's working on. There are two currently listed on car-part.com for $50 each (one of those says it's from a 1973 Pinto, which is unlikely correct).

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PostPost by: nmauduit » Thu Dec 01, 2016 10:25 pm

Vic wrote:That is a Pinto bell housing, with a slave cylinder mount added. The full casting number is D12A-6394-BE (mine is BC at the end). I have one in my hand. David asked me to do some more research on it. I got mine from a Cortina parts hoarder. He gave me this bell housing several years ago and I recently contacted him for more information. It came from a 1971 Ford Pinto 1.6L with an "British" transmission. He also told me that Pinto's had a longer input shaft than a Cortina and back-in-the-day he would swap input shafts when using this bell housing in a Cortina. I have several Elan, Cortina and this one Pinto bell housing. I measure the depths as 6 3/8 inch (Cortina), 6 11/16 inch (Elan) and 6 15/16 inch (Pinto). I am going to attempt to use mine in an Elan and use an annular throw out bearing.

To answer David's private message (and others likely to ask), the hoarder has one more that he's not willing to sell, but would trade something for it (work on his farm?). I did see one previously listed on ebay and my brother-in-law purchased it for an Elan project he's working on. There are two currently listed on car-part.com for $50 each (one of those says it's from a 1973 Pinto, which is unlikely correct).

Vic


Hello Vic, and thank you for the precisions. I gave the part a look to ponder whether there would be meat enough to mill it a bit and get closer to Lotus TC specs (though I sort of recall having read somewhere that there is some margin in the input shaft position - a blank mount will help to check). The casting seems light: no ribs, thin walls, I'm wondering if that could be a problem for a race engine (on a budget)... I was planning to fit a Saab annular clutch, I'm pretty happy with that on my Lotus 5 speed gearbox so far and would not trust much the welded pivot - there is also the starter attachment to check.

Please drop me a line if you make progress with your project.

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