Lotus Elan

My Voigt 5-speed conversion

PostPost by: steve lyle » Wed May 20, 2020 10:28 pm

pharriso wrote:
steve lyle wrote:
pharriso wrote:Steve, this is the Speedo Gear in my Voigt box:

Obviously black, the Root Diameter is 0.84" & the OD 1.025"

Your gear is just too small.....


But my gear is the same size as yours. Does yours work?


Gearbox is on basement floor, but the Gear seems positely engaged, let's see if I can find a meaningful measurement with what it meshes with... :roll:


Phil - the check would be to insert the pinion in the hole without the carrier - and see if it seems to be centered in the hole, or not. If offset iniboard, then you've got the "barely touching" issue I do, if it's centered in the hole with full mesh of the teeth, you're good.
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PostPost by: pharriso » Thu May 21, 2020 2:10 pm

steve lyle wrote:Phil - the check would be to insert the pinion in the hole without the carrier - and see if it seems to be centered in the hole, or not. If offset iniboard, then you've got the "barely touching" issue I do, if it's centered in the hole with full mesh of the teeth, you're good.


Looks to be good:
IMG_0406.JPG and
Plenty of engagement


You're saying the bore for the speed drive gear may be upto .090" to far outboard? I have a hard time believing that - gearboxes are precision mechanical devices, 90 thou is huge...
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PostPost by: steve lyle » Thu May 21, 2020 2:49 pm

pharriso wrote:
Looks to be good:

You're saying the bore for the speed drive gear may be upto .090" to far outboard? I have a hard time believing that - gearboxes are precision mechanical devices, 90 thou is huge...


You have a hard time believing that a mistake can be made in machining? LOL - I wish I did, too, but at this point I don't have any problem believing that at all!
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PostPost by: steve lyle » Thu May 21, 2020 7:57 pm

Alan called this morning. He verified that my pinion is correct. They have several transmissions in process or ready to ship, and he says some have the same problem, some do not. Very odd, since they're CNC machined. He's also concerned about the other 10 he's shipped this year. He'll be reaching out to those buyers.

Meantime, he's sending me a new pinion and an eccentric carrier that should take care of the issue in my case.
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PostPost by: 1owner69Elan » Thu May 21, 2020 11:17 pm

During the process of obtaining a Voigt gearbox (started Dec 2018 - delivered March 31, 2020) with Mazzini's local help, Mazzini told me, just about a year ago, that the Voigts were having trouble with their computerized machining (software problem) and this was causing delays. They were machining some 40 cases in a batch.

I wonder if those machining problems have "come home to roost" in some of what Steve has been running into? From Alan's last phone call it sounds like those problems have proliferated through some of the latest production:

1. Fifth gear shift rod, drilling in wrong place - how widespread?
2. Speedo offset issue (more than a few)

I have dodged the speedo issue, as I am using a GPS speedo and just plugged up the hole (whether it is machined correctly doesn't affect me). I did have an issue with the gear change bore hole not being sealed. The plugs sent by Alan were too small - I ended up making my own from larger diameter aluminum rod. A minor issue.

There was also the gearbox mounting plate issue discussed before - but not related to gearbox machining. Also readily cured.

I hope that more problems don't arise from this latest batch of gearboxes as people get around to installing them. Given that the Voigts had been producing these for 15+ years I had thought the kinks might have been ironed out. But, apparently new production problems have been introduced. How serious, I don't think we entirely really know. Unfortunately, Steve is bearing the brunt of this.

It would be reassuring to hear from others that have installed boxes produced over the past 12 months that are performing well.
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PostPost by: steve lyle » Fri May 22, 2020 2:10 am

1owner69Elan wrote:There was also the gearbox mounting plate issue discussed before - but not related to gearbox machining. Also readily cured.


I talked to Alan about this issue as well. He was unaware of it, but validated it. His fix is going to be to eliminate the block of material on the case that the crossmember interferes with. Apparently it was there for previous manufacturing purposes, and no longer necessary. They changed the crossmember from 2 flanges to 1 when their supplier for the original ones didn't want to make them anymore.

By the way - he also said that when they eliminated the front flange, they increased the material thickness, and he agreed that it was plenty strong and agreed that notching around the case would be fine.

It seems quite common that people get these things and have some significant delay before installing them, thus the issues lay dormant for awhile.

And I agree, I was hoping that all the bugs were worked out after all these years. But apparently there are frequent changes for manufacturing reasons - new tools, different suppliers, etc..
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PostPost by: 1owner69Elan » Thu May 28, 2020 9:07 pm

So my Quaife Type 9 short shifter finally arrived from the UK. Took a couple of weeks to arrive since the supplier did not use a courier service.
IMG_5460.jpeg and


The Quaife shifter is quite a bit shorter than the Voigt supplied shift. Probably too short, will be adding a short extension most likely and will also need to adapt the 12mm-1.75 thread for the standard 3/8 (correction: 5/16-24) Lotus gearshift knob.
IMG_5445.jpeg and


I was forewarned that the Quaife shifter would not immediately fit the Voigt box. It was said that the Quaife shifter extended deeper and needed to be shortened. But, this was not an issue. Rather the collar on the underside of the shifter has a 2.2" OD while the Voigt box has a 1.75" opening. Presumably the Quaife shifter adheres to the dimensions of the standard T9 box and Voigts has modified the shifter that they provide to the 1.75" dimension to fit the Voigt tailpiece opening.
IMG_5453.jpeg and


So, had to turn down shifter collar from 2.2 to 1.75 inch with a lathe. It then fits cleanly and firmly into the gearbox. All of the gears are selectable, so should be good, except for maybe a short stick extension.
IMG_5451.jpeg and
IMG_5450.jpeg and
IMG_5459.jpeg and


I then checked the throw, changing between gears. In my earlier post, I noted that the Voigt shifter has a 30 degree sweep vs 20 degrees for the stock shifter. The Quaife shifter reduces the 30 to 24 degrees. So, lands between the Voigt and the stock 4-speed. It is not a radical difference from the Voigts shifter, but coupled with a shorter stick should give something closer to the feel of the stock setup.
Last edited by 1owner69Elan on Fri May 29, 2020 11:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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PostPost by: steve lyle » Thu May 28, 2020 10:33 pm

You people with lathes, always showing off...

I'm definitely following your experience on the shifter - something I might want to do. Thanks for the update. Good to know I can do it later without having to pull this thing AGAIN.

BTW - my latest parts shipment from Alan is in US customs in Chicago, so I might be back in business in a few days.
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PostPost by: CBUEB1771 » Fri May 29, 2020 3:07 am

1owner69Elan wrote:I was forewarned that the Quaife shifter would not immediately fit the Voigt box. It was said that the Quaife shifter extended deeper and needed to be shortened. But, this was not an issue. Rather the collar on the underside of the shifter has a 2.2" OD while the Voigt box has a 1.75" opening. Presumably the Quaife shifter adheres to the dimensions of the standard T9 box and Voigts has modified the shifter that they provide to the 1.75" dimension to fit the Voigt tailpiece opening.
IMG_5453.jpeg


So, had to turn down shifter collar from 2.2 to 1.75 inch with a lathe. It then fits cleanly and firmly into the gearbox. All of the gears are selectable, so should be good, except for maybe a short stick extension.


I guess it is a matter of interpretation. The Voight tail housing has two, concentric bores through which the gear lever passes. The larger diameter bore the right diameter for the Quaife body but too shallow. That is why I reduced the height of the cylindrical locating feature on the the Quaife housing to seat in this larger bore. You took the other approach which is to have the Quaife housing seat in the smaller diameter bore. Either way the Quaife body has to be modified. I also had to do a little fiddling to get the depth of the lower end of the Quaife lever to seat properly in the selector rod. BTW the Lotus gear lever is 5/16-24.
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PostPost by: 1owner69Elan » Fri May 29, 2020 5:04 am

CBUEB1771 wrote:
1owner69Elan wrote:I was forewarned that the Quaife shifter would not immediately fit the Voigt box. It was said that the Quaife shifter extended deeper and needed to be shortened. But, this was not an issue. Rather the collar on the underside of the shifter has a 2.2" OD while the Voigt box has a 1.75" opening. Presumably the Quaife shifter adheres to the dimensions of the standard T9 box and Voigts has modified the shifter that they provide to the 1.75" dimension to fit the Voigt tailpiece opening.
The attachment IMG_5453.jpeg is no longer available


So, had to turn down shifter collar from 2.2 to 1.75 inch with a lathe. It then fits cleanly and firmly into the gearbox. All of the gears are selectable, so should be good, except for maybe a short stick extension.


I guess it is a matter of interpretation. The Voight tail housing has two, concentric bores through which the gear lever passes. The larger diameter bore the right diameter for the Quaife body but too shallow. That is why I reduced the height of the cylindrical locating feature on the the Quaife housing to seat in this larger bore. You took the other approach which is to have the Quaife housing seat in the smaller diameter bore. Either way the Quaife body has to be modified. I also had to do a little fiddling to get the depth of the lower end of the Quaife lever to seat properly in the selector rod. BTW the Lotus gear lever is 5/16-24.


Ah, I now see what you were saying. Makes sense. More than one way to make the modification. It didn't occur to me at the time. I was looking at Voigt's gear shift and it seemed logical to me to have the Quaife body extend down into the bore in a similar fashion. But, as you say a different perspective.

The Voigt lever is actually stepped: a shallow ring of 2.2"OD and the deeper barrel at 1.75" OD. It was the latter that I chose to adapt to. If I had been a little more observant I could have made the Quaife also incorporate the step. But, I don't think it really needs it. The Quaife is a strong, single monolithic piece instead of a separate body located on a pressed steel piece.

T9 - Voigt:
IMG_5464.jpeg and


Quaife:
IMG_5451.jpeg and


Anyone trying to make this Quaife mod later can pick their preferred approach.

Also, thanks for correcting the stock gear lever knob thread as 5/16-24. I was looking at the Quaife specs, instead of the Lotus lever itself, and they have two different knob sizes: 12mm-1.75 and 3/8 UNC (Caterham). The "short" lever I received has the metric thread. Neither spec fits the stock Lotus knob.
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PostPost by: CBUEB1771 » Fri May 29, 2020 1:18 pm

1owner69Elan wrote:The Voigt lever is actually stepped: a shallow ring of 2.2"OD and the deeper barrel at 1.75" OD. It was the latter that I chose to adapt to. If I had been a little more observant I could have made the Quaife also incorporate the step. But, I don't think it really needs it. The Quaife is a strong, single monolithic piece instead of a separate body located on a pressed steel piece.

Anyone trying to make this Quaife mod later can pick their preferred approach.


We are on the same page, either approach works. I think you made the right decision not to turn two, stepped diameters. I am a big proponent of designing with the absolute minimum number of locating features to make sure parts go together easily but only one way and the right way!
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PostPost by: steve lyle » Tue Jun 09, 2020 3:28 am

To jump to the punchline, I now have a 5-speed Elan. Nine months after contacting Voigts, and 3 months after receiving it.

So, whether it was the swarf, or the linkage, or both, the "grinding in 5th" issue is fixed. I also have a speedometer. And presumably a reverse light - more on that later.

Lessons learned:

The first is obvious if you've been following this thread - use a GPS speedo like Mr. OneOwner, or test out the speedo drive early on, and request an eccentric pinion holder if you don't get sufficient engagement of your speedo pinion with the worm gear. The Voigt's sent the pictured carrier quickly pretty quickly after I reported the problem (that they said I couldn't have), without me providing any measurements,making me think that this is a known issue and they have the part on the shelf ready to go. In any event, it fit perfectly and works great so far.

IMG_0374.JPG and
Eccentric pinion carrier...


One of my challenges that I ran into when installing the T9 the first time was keeping it stable on the jack. This time I took a 1X8 and used a chisel to get a groove in the end that would sorta match the profile of the bottom of the 5th gear bearing carrier - the big aluminum piece between the case and the tail extension. I then tied that on in place. It wasn't perfect, but it was MUCH easier to control the transmission on the jack during the install.

IMG_0375.JPG and
My "stability board"


IMG_0376.JPG and
Ready to go on the jack...


When installing the first time, I broke off the contacts of the reverse light switch. I attributed that to the fact that the transmission was flopping around on the jack. This time I had better control, so less, basically no, flopping. I hooked up the harness before installing the tranny. What I found was that there was very little room in the tunnel for the connectors that the Voigt's sent - basically I couldn't get the transmission in without the connectors hitting the tunnel wall and getting knocked off the switch.

My solution was to make up L shaped connectors to replace the Voigt's straight ones. I took the female half of some connectors commonly sold at Autozone, cut out the metal part from the insulation, bent them at 90 deg so they were L shaped, crimped and soldered them onto the harness, and wrapped them in electrical tape. Half the challenge was getting their diameter "Mamma bear" just-right so they would fit snugly onto the switch. The L shape gave me just enough room to get them on the switch with the tranny loosely installed.

IMG_0379.JPG and
Harness connector raw material...


IMG_0380.JPG and
Connectors prior to wrapping


Other than that, the lessons learned were the "Doh" kind. Like, don't put the headers on before the bell housing bolts. Don't try to start the engine without the high tension wire hooked up. That sort of thing.

Yes, the shift throws are longer. Shorten the lever the Voigt's send - I've taken an inch off of mine and it's about right. If the stock tranny gets a 10 on shift feel, this one gets an 8, maybe a 7. But if you're going long distances on straight roads at 70 and above, that fifth is sure a nice thing to have.

I still have some fine tuning to do, and the gaiter/shift boot isn't on yet, but letting the clutch out in 5th and not get a grinding sound was certainly a milestone in this saga.

Steve
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PostPost by: alanr » Tue Jun 09, 2020 4:36 pm

Steve,
Good to hear you have it all sorted at last! I have been following your painful saga and troubles with keen interest. :D
Without me trawling back all through this long thread can you remind me please have you gone for the stock Voigt T9 ratios or a different ratio set with a higher 1st gear and if you do have the Voigts stock ratio gearbox how are you getting on with the low 1st gear? Is it much of a problem?

Thanks,

Alan.
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PostPost by: steve lyle » Tue Jun 09, 2020 8:18 pm

alanr wrote:can you remind me please have you gone for the stock Voigt T9 ratios or a different ratio set with a higher 1st gear and if you do have the Voigts stock ratio gearbox how are you getting on with the low 1st gear?


Alan,

I sprung for the modified gear set that's a very close match to the stock ratios - I can't remember what the charge was, but it was several hundred $'s and worth it, IMO. That's definitely what they sent, as well - I can't tell a difference in the ratios between the T9 and the original.

Steve
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PostPost by: 1owner69Elan » Tue Jun 09, 2020 8:45 pm

Congrats Steve!

Your skill and persistence won out. Quite a saga, not without frustration I'm sure. But, your experience (good and bad) has been very helpful to those of us in the process of installing or contemplating the Voigt 5-speed.

A summary of my (tentative - as I may still encounter some issues) conclusions:

1. The mounting plate needs to be modified to fit. Either put a fold or notch on the leading edge. Voigt has indicated that he may be fixing this in future production.
2. Check for the gearbox bore plug. Mine was missing.
3. Consider using an uprated bronze shift saddle (has to be modified to remove the tab). The used plastic one supplied by Voigt on my gearbox was already eroded. Remains to be seen if the metal version is noisy (buzz or rattle).
4. If you have an uprated engine, consider not using the "standard" clutch pressure plate and friction disk as supplied by Voigt as this is for a "standard" spec engine (lower torque and horsepower). Options for uprated versions are available from AP Racing and Helix.
5. Check the engagement of the speedo gear carefully, may require an eccentric carrier - supplied by Voigt. Or, as I do, use a GPS speedo and simply plug the speedo hole - this also significantly reduces the trimming of the frame to just a small notch for the tailpiece as there is no need to clear the bulky speedo angle drive.
6. Consider use of a shorter throw (quick shift and/or lever shortening) setup as the Voigt 5-speed and supplied lever have a significantly longer throw than the stock 4-speed.
7. Incorporate a different bleed line grommet that fully seals in the bell housing (BMW part). The Voigt supplied plastic one fits poorly.
8. Consider using a flexible bleed line replacing the hard copper line provided. Less prone to kinking and easier to route to the bulkhead.
9. When specifying the gearset ratios to be supplied, get Voigt to be clear about what is being delivered. My fifth gear was longer (0.75) than what was offered and specified (0.82). A surprise when I checked it.

Overall, a very useful thread thanks to Steve. I hope to add my experience when I finally get around to actual installation.
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