Lotus Elan

My Voigt 5-speed conversion

PostPost by: steve lyle » Thu Mar 19, 2020 11:09 pm

For anyone considering this conversion, I thought I'd start a thread re: my experience.

On Sept 12, 2019, I called and talked to Alan Voigt about ordering a transmission. 2500 BP, +200 BP, + shipping. Gulp, but this is basically my only vice, so let's go. 6 month lead time. Send him a snail mail letter with my details, and I should hear from him around the first of the year. So the letter went out that day.

I followed up with a phone call about 2 weeks later. Yes, he got the letter.

I called him around Nov 1, he said it looked like they'd get to me about the end of Nov.

I called early Dec, nope, it'll be the first of the year.

I called the 2nd week in January, not yet, but soon, he'll send me an email.

I called at the end of January. Didn't I get his email? Nope. Well, he sent it. Didn't get it. I'll send you one, you can then respond. That worked, I got his quote, tranny is ready to go.

I wired him the funds. There was another week or so delay while he packed it up. It got picked up by the shipper (TNT, which hands off to FedEx in the US) on Feb 7, 2020. I should get it in 4-5 days.

After a few days, tracking info showed it was sitting in the UK awaiting "more information from shipper". I contacted TNT, they couldn't tell me what they needed, but were working to get it (?) from Alan.

This started a period of no status change from TNT, while Alan tried to figure out what they needed. At one point the story was that they needed a code on what exactly was in the box. It looks like someone at TNT picked a code that translated to "military supplies" or some such, which got UK customs all lit up.

There were several other stories along the way. At one point Alan was convinced that TNT lost the package, and he told me he would make up another one and send it with a different shipper. That would be 1-2 weeks away because he needed another gear set.

Shortly after that he called to say that it was on the way. That was last week. Meanwhile, the status on the TNT site changed to "delivery date pending". It never changed from that, and it arrived today, March 19, 2020. 6 months and a week from ordering. Not bad, considering the stories I've heard.

Well packed in a box with lots of foam. Looks like everything's there and arrived undamaged. I hooked up the lever and shifted through the gears, seems fine.

So I've got something to keep me busy during our Corvid-19 "social distancing".

Here's the pics to prove it.
Attachments
IMG_0221.JPG and
IMG_0222.JPG and
IMG_0224.JPG and
Steve Lyle
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PostPost by: Chrispy » Fri Mar 20, 2020 2:41 am

Glad to see it arrived!

As much as I would like a nice 5 speed, I can't bring myself to deal with Voigt's...
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PostPost by: 1owner69Elan » Fri Mar 20, 2020 6:58 am

Hmmm.

Still baffled how you could order the gearbox in September 2019 and receive it, even with all the shipping hassles when I ordered mine in December 2018 (yes 2018) and still don't have it. It might be the "Voigt Lottery". And you won.

The good news, if it is to be believed, is that my gearbox is now completed and ready to ship. Hopefully, I won't have the same shipping problems - I plan on arranging this myself with a company that I use regularly for shipments between US-UK, efficiently and without drama.

The other good news is that the exchange rate, with all of the world's turmoil, has turned in favor of the dollar saving me some monies.

If received, the gearbox swap may provide a nice diversion from the lockdown that the entire State of California is now under (all 40+ million of us). I had planned to wait until the end of the year when worse weather had set in to make the gearbox change, so as to not miss out on Spring/Summer driving - but that appears moot at the moment.
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PostPost by: steve lyle » Fri Mar 20, 2020 10:45 pm

1owner69Elan wrote:Hmmm.

Still baffled how you could order the gearbox in September 2019 and receive it, even with all the shipping hassles when I ordered mine in December 2018 (yes 2018) and still don't have it. It might be the "Voigt Lottery". And you won.



No idea. Probably not clean living.

I did try to keep in contact with Alan, without getting to the point of annoying him. So he was certainly aware of my continuing interest. And I certainly didn't trust his skills with email.

I doubt Alan will be shipping with TNT/FedEx in the future. But yes, probably smart to use someone you trust. Alan mentioned that he shipped one out after mine got picked up, to someone in Washington state, using their shipper, who got it in 4-5 days.
Steve Lyle
1972 Elan Sprint 0248k @ https://www.mgexp.com/registry/1972-Lot ... 48K.30245/
1972 MGB Roadster @ https://www.mgexp.com/registry/1972-MG- ... 842G.4498/
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Fri Mar 20, 2020 11:53 pm

Is that an Alan Voight bellhousing?
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PostPost by: steve lyle » Sat Mar 21, 2020 3:23 am

gjz30075 wrote:Is that an Alan Voight bellhousing?


Yes. Cast aluminum.
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1972 Elan Sprint 0248k @ https://www.mgexp.com/registry/1972-Lot ... 48K.30245/
1972 MGB Roadster @ https://www.mgexp.com/registry/1972-MG- ... 842G.4498/
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Sat Mar 21, 2020 1:29 pm

steve lyle wrote:
1owner69Elan wrote:Hmmm.

Still baffled how you could order the gearbox in September 2019 and receive it, even with all the shipping hassles when I ordered mine in December 2018 (yes 2018) and still don't have it. It might be the "Voigt Lottery". And you won.



I did try to keep in contact with Alan, without getting to the point of annoying him. So he was certainly aware of my continuing interest. And I certainly didn't trust his skills with email.
.

That might be most of the problem...... We get some stuff done by Voigt's but always dealt with his son (Mark).

I was under the impression Alan was semi retired.
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PostPost by: 1owner69Elan » Sat Mar 21, 2020 8:11 pm

steve lyle wrote:I did try to keep in contact with Alan, without getting to the point of annoying him. So he was certainly aware of my continuing interest. And I certainly didn't trust his skills with email.


Unfortunately I could never make a good phone connection from California with him. He couldn’t hear me. Tried several times. A UK based forum member kept following up with him by phone on my behalf, but I think that may have confused Alan as to who the end customer actually was, and where I was in the queue. In any event, waiting more than a year apparently is not that unusual.

Alan’s email skills in the last couple of months, once I got his email address, are not that bad. Usually responds in a few days. Not instantaneously however. And some emails go "missing". But, better than nothing or "snail mail". If you can telephone that's probably your best bet.

It also appears that a number of us (fingers crossed for me) have been taking delivery of the 5-speed of late so maybe Alan's recent production problems (of which I was informed over the past year) have been overcome.
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Sat Mar 21, 2020 9:38 pm

1owner69Elan wrote:
steve lyle wrote:Tried several times. A UK based forum member kept following up with him by phone on my behalf, but I think that may have confused Alan as to who the end customer actually was, and where I was in the queue. In any event, waiting more than a year apparently is not that unusual.


I think in the beginning Alan may have confused you for Steve, but that issue was quickly cleared up. The problem seemed to be a delay in casting house supplying new casings. Then your gearbox had up rated gears which I think added to the lead time. Anyway I'm glad it was all resolved.
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PostPost by: 1owner69Elan » Sat Mar 21, 2020 10:22 pm

Mazzini wrote:
1owner69Elan wrote:
steve lyle wrote:Tried several times. A UK based forum member kept following up with him by phone on my behalf, but I think that may have confused Alan as to who the end customer actually was, and where I was in the queue. In any event, waiting more than a year apparently is not that unusual.


I think in the beginning Alan may have confused you for Steve, but that issue was quickly cleared up. The problem seemed to be a delay in casting house supplying new casings. Then your gearbox had up rated gears which I think added to the lead time. Anyway I'm glad it was all resolved.


Thanks again to “Mazzini” for repeatedly pursuing Alan on my behalf, locally from the UK. No doubt I would still be waiting, as without Mazzini I couldn’t even get in the queue.
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Sun Mar 22, 2020 1:48 pm

Thanks again to “Mazzini” for repeatedly pursuing Alan on my behalf, locally from the UK. No doubt I would still be waiting, as without Mazzini I couldn’t even get in the queue.[/quote]

Happy to help, though I don't really think I did much. It was nice talking to you, Alan and Mark.
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PostPost by: l10tus » Tue Mar 24, 2020 1:33 am

I'd like to second that!

Mazzini :-

Quite the nicest person you could wish to meet, a real gentleman.
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Tue Mar 24, 2020 7:07 am

Thanks Phil. That's kind of you. Hope you and your family are well.
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PostPost by: steve lyle » Sun Mar 29, 2020 1:29 am

Progress update.

I spent a couple of afternoons disconnecting everything from the engine and gearbox. No issues or tips from that, pretty straightforward.

Today was "pull the engine/transmission out" day. I had a load leveler and old engine hoist from my MGB work, so used that, and made up a harness out of 7/16 dacron line from my sailing days.

The big "gotcha" was finding out that it wasn't enough to just remove the shift lever - I also had to remove the big nylon cap below it. I guess I didn't read the manual closely enough. The big problem was that I didn't figure that out until I had the thing partially out, so the lump had to go back in a bit so I could get to it. Which was a problem because my harness tended to "spring" the engine out. But eventually I got it off.

This process did clear up one mystery. The right side shelf that's the roof of the passenger footwell has had a hole in it as long as I've had the car. At some point in the removal process, I heard a fiberglass tearing sound. What happened was the engine had rotated down a bit on the right side, and the intake manifold stud was fitting perfectly into that hole. Hmm, I wonder if that had happened to the PO, and he just never patched it?

In any event, the thing is out now, with no damage to the shiny bits. Hurray. Voigt seems to recommend putting the transmission in by itself, then mating the engine to it in the car, so that's how I'll go.

Meanwhile, I guess I'm going to need an input shaft to line up the clutch, which I hadn't thought about until now. And I've got to read up on removing the front driveshaft yoke, because the new tranny uses a different one that comes with the kit. Another thing I've never done - mess with u-joints.

Anyway, here's the proof.
Attachments
IMG_0234.JPG and
IMG_0235.JPG and
Steve Lyle
1972 Elan Sprint 0248k @ https://www.mgexp.com/registry/1972-Lot ... 48K.30245/
1972 MGB Roadster @ https://www.mgexp.com/registry/1972-MG- ... 842G.4498/
2007 BMW 335i Coupe
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PostPost by: 1owner69Elan » Sun Mar 29, 2020 7:21 am

Steve, very timely post. I expect to receive my Voigt gearbox this coming Wednesday (according to tracking, and no customs glitches at this end - already cleared UK scrutineers).

So, I will be following your posts with great interest assuming you keep chronicling your experience. I hope you do.

I was going to make the gearbox swap after the Spring/Summer driving season. But with the current virus constraints I’m going to proceed now. You are about 7-10 days ahead of me. No race, happy to follow your lead.

Regarding the clutch alignment tool. I think the Dorman 14503 (23 spline 1” OD, 15 mm pilot ) should work. Amazon: $4.49
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