Lotus Elan

5 Speed Box: Whirring in 5th after Redline oil change

PostPost by: derek uk » Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:16 pm

Having had a final year Ford Cortina GT I did a Google image search for the gear stick to see what was going on. Didn't realise that the Elan had a dog-led mod to it. A picture for that lead me back to this forum and I found the info in that thread useful. viewtopic.php?f=37&t=31260
I'm not a lotus owner but have a Volvo Amazon Estate, had a few Amazons over the years. They have a very long gear lever and that has a rubber bush in the bottom of the chrome wand that fits onto a stubby piece that is actually the lever that comes out of the box. Buzzing and vibration with that is usually the big retainer nut coming loose but the rubber bush can be made less effective if you fit a heavy after market gear knob, say a big alloy one. There could be scope for tuning out the sizzle by trying a few different weight knobs. Just an idea. I doubt if doing that will alter your whirring noise though. My Amazon gear lever boot has a thickish felt lining to reduce noise transfer and if the Elan has or doesn't have any felt sound barrier in that area it might be worth revising or adding some as long as it doesn't effect the gear change. Too stiff can cause the box to pop out of gear.

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PostPost by: JonB » Mon Nov 25, 2019 1:49 pm

I've taken the joint apart (was Araldite and nuts) and fitted a flexible connection made up of fuel and vacuum hose. The vacuum hose fits inside the shifter cup and the fuel hose is inserted into that and whacked home with a mallet. It's a tight fit, but when screwed onto the gear selector tightens up even more. You can feel the flax but it will still change gear fine.

Took it out for a test in the miserable rain. Noise is reduced but it is definitely not as quiet as it was. Then after about 5 miles the joint came apart and I had to limp home in second. The fuel hose stayed on the shifter and the vacuum hose stayed in the cup. I put it back together with a little RTV although I doubt that will stop it happening again. I suppose some sort of mechanical fix is in order - say, a screw or two like Vince suggested.

But that apart, it still does not cure that damned noise. What other gearbox oils can I try?
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PostPost by: billwill » Mon Nov 25, 2019 2:24 pm

My anti-sizzle stick comes apart. I think; the bottom portion pokes through a sleeve in the rubber and, as mentioned, there is a big washer fitted at both ends of this sleeve, Then there is a nylock nut on top of the bottom part of the stick to hold it all together.

Or it might be exactly like the slightly more complicated arrangement in the Lotus diagram
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PostPost by: JonB » Mon Nov 25, 2019 4:19 pm

That's a 4 speed box, Bill...

There is a section in the manual that deals with this stupid noise. Selector fork synchroniser sleeve groove (try saying that after a few pints of ale) surface finish causes it, which makes sense as you can move the gear stick about and alter the noise.

What I don't get is how it has deteriorated between me pulling the box and now. Perhaps the previous sloppy gear change was masking it. Either way it looks like another engine & gearbox pull (would be my third in as many weeks). I think I'll delay it!
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PostPost by: Craven » Mon Nov 25, 2019 4:36 pm

IF the problem is surface finish then surely your first thoughts about the change in oil type must have to be considered further.
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PostPost by: JonB » Mon Nov 25, 2019 4:43 pm

Indeed. I'm happy to try another oil here, but which one? Redline (which I have used) is supposed to be the best.

According to most people on here who expressed a preference, that is...!
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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Mon Nov 25, 2019 4:57 pm

The motorcraft is synthetic gl4 and seems fine
At least its listed for the box
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PostPost by: vxah » Mon Nov 25, 2019 5:14 pm

I found this quite interesting when I was looking at gearbox oil https://widman.biz/uploads/Transaxle_oil.pdf
I was thinking your issue could be one of the bearings at the rear end of the gearbox? When in 5th there is quite a lot of load on the layshaft double roller bearing and the mainshaft bearings (one roller and one ball) The ball bearing is quite small and would not really be loaded up in 4th.
Could you not rig up your gear lever so it deliberately comes apart then, get it in 5th and pop the top part off.. see if the noise goes?
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PostPost by: JonB » Mon Nov 25, 2019 5:26 pm

Done that, and the noise goes, sort of. It's not being transmitted into the cockpit. However, the "anti sizzle" joint I made up, which is more flexible than the original, still transmits the noise.
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PostPost by: JonB » Sat Nov 30, 2019 2:01 pm

Okey dokey. I've spent a lot of time fiddling with the anti sizzle joint and tapped the cup, fitting grub screws that should hold the thing together. Initial tests were disappointing (too rigid) so I backed the screws off a bit. Didn't seem to make any difference. In the end I experimented with extra insulation around the shift gaiter base and I think it is acceptable now. I used a bit of black automotive carpet and some high density rubber foam to cover the gear stick opening completely and this has made a surprising difference to the noise transmitted into the cockpit (from the 'box and engine).

At which point I will call the matter settled for now, as I don't have time right now to fettle it any more.
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PostPost by: 2cams70 » Sun Dec 01, 2019 2:27 am

I don't understand why you've done all this without eliminating the oil as a cause. More sound insulation only addresses the symptoms. You can drain the oil into a container and keep it in case it isn't positively identified as a cause. If it is the wrong oil and is causing the noise you could be doing your gearbox damage. Personally I wouldn't waste my money shelling out for Redline oil.
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PostPost by: john.p.clegg » Sun Dec 01, 2019 7:02 am

I second the above....

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PostPost by: c.garde » Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:17 am

Good morning genst and nerds,
Please allow me a piece of advise re taking the shifter apart.
It is really quite simple: open up or simple drill out the 2 lugs locking into the rubberbush .
With the help of some ad hoc drawing tool it is now easy to pull apart. ( The box part of the shifter locked in the vise , pull on a nut on the upper end. You can employ a couple of threaded rods pushing against the vise )
With a little luck you can now also pull off the bush itself for re-use.
Dont forget to check the plastic ball . If it is on the way dissolving into cheese, do find a new ball .
The debris can make untold damage to the bearings ( dont ask ! )
enjoy
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PostPost by: JonB » Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:28 am

2cams70 wrote:I don't understand why you've done all this without eliminating the oil as a cause. More sound insulation only addresses the symptoms. You can drain the oil into a container and keep it in case it isn't positively identified as a cause. If it is the wrong oil and is causing the noise you could be doing your gearbox damage. Personally I wouldn't waste my money shelling out for Redline oil.


Simply put, it?s too much effort putting the car on stands, but the job can be done without dismantling anything so it is on the list. I?ll swap the Redline out and see. In the meantime I doubt I?ve driven more than 20 miles in it (mostly test runs to try to diagnose the misfire).
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:07 pm

2cams70 wrote:I don't understand why you've done all this without eliminating the oil as a cause. More sound insulation only addresses the symptoms. You can drain the oil into a container and keep it in case it isn't positively identified as a cause. If it is the wrong oil and is causing the noise you could be doing your gearbox damage. Personally I wouldn't waste my money shelling out for Redline oil.


100,000 kms on the road for my 5 speed plus 2 with Redline MTL in gear box since last rebuild with the gear box still in good condition with no noise or gear change issue
20,000 kms racing on my 4 speed Quaiffe Elan with Redline MTL in gearbox since last rebuild
430,000 kms on my Toyota Landcruiser on Redline MT90 in gearbox since new without rebuild.

Also use Redline gear oil in the diffs with similar results. I did a practice and half a race in the Elan with no oil left in the diff after a crown wheel bolt failure put a hole in the alloy case before it started making a noise !!

If you have noise in a gearbox or diff using Redline gear oils you have another problem..... it is not a lubricant issue

Personally I think Redline is worth the money and if you understand Lubrication technology and the benefits of Polyolester lubricants you understand why. Similar Polyolester gear oils from other makers cost similar money. But in the end its a personal decision if you want to pay the premium for a premium oil.

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