Lotus Elan

Lotus 5 Speed gearstick part identification

PostPost by: vstibbard » Fri Oct 30, 2020 8:38 am

Hi,

I'm hoping someone is able to confirm one part of my 5 speed gear stick assembly. The part I'm interested in is the brown layer between the green ball and white nylon cup supporting the rubber bellows, shown the two attached pictures.

IMG_7592.jpg and
Lotus 5 speed gearstick 1

IMG_7593.jpg and
Lotus 5 Speed gearstick 2


I've had this for a long while and pulled it out and noticed the brown item was falling apart.

Does anyone have a good clear picture of the full use,bly. possibly from Lotus Parts Manuals with 5 speed supplement?

Is it a standard item?

Is it available?

Are the bellows available as its slightly damaged as noted in the pictures?

Regards

Vaughan
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PostPost by: mikealdren » Fri Oct 30, 2020 9:28 am

It is a Ford Cortina (Mk3?) that was once readily available and I spent a fortune on a Lotus part many years ago before finding a spare in a scrapyard. I was amazed that they had paired a Ford shift and Maxi geartrain!

The problem in my Lotus was that the high loads from the stiff shift caused it to snap on the snap ring groove.

I doubt the component parts are available, probably a make do and mend job.
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PostPost by: vincereynard » Fri Oct 30, 2020 1:03 pm

These any use?

902 Aug. 23 08.59.jpg and


P1040733.JPG and


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PostPost by: mbell » Fri Oct 30, 2020 7:01 pm

As mentioned the gear stick is ford part, from rocket e-type gearbox I believe. I think it is the same as the type 9 stick just with a different securing method.

Failure of the plastic parts is common, you'll want to take a careful look at the low ball under the blue cup. Exposure to gear oils generally isn't good for its long term health and it breaks up.

Parts for the stick aren't available and they aren't trivially user serviceable. Replacing any on the component means destroying the press fitted bushing between the two stick sections. Then finding a suitable replacement bush or alternative solution. Do-able but quite a few hours of work.

It normally best to try find a serviceable replacement. TBH I think your stick should continue to function with the broken part removed, you may want to fit a spacer under the c clip that holds the rubber bellow thou.

Also be sure the gearstick is secure on refitting. You don't want it to come out when driving as bits of the mechanism can detach inside the box, leaving you stranded in neutral and requiring the cover the gear stick is mounted to being removed.
'73 +2 130/5 RHD, now on the road and very slowly rolling though a "restoration"
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PostPost by: vstibbard » Fri Oct 30, 2020 7:51 pm

Thank you both, being in Australia there are not many Type e boxes in circulation so I'll have a look o ebay.

I noted in a post someone has provided measurements for the lower ball, if I have to go down this route I was thinking of using delrin (spelling?) as its hard, some has graphite impregnated and machines well, only down side is its expensive.

Ive also noted the modified version of late S4 gearstick, which is appealing as it removes all the movement, and I have spare S4 stick I could modify.

Cheers
Vaughan
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PostPost by: mbell » Fri Oct 30, 2020 8:50 pm

I measured and drew a 3D drawing of a replacement ball I got from another member:
viewtopic.php?f=37&t=46340

The replacement ball was machined from a stick of nylon in lathe I believe. I had the drawing attached 3d printed by a friend but haven't yet managed to get it from him, he didn't think it would work due to the 3d printed finish.

I don't think you want to remove all the flex from the stick as it might "sizzle". I replaced the bush by threading (M10) the lower part of the stick, then I made a thread insert for the upper stick that included washers just smaller diameter than the tube section on the upper stick. The insert+washer setep up was secured into the upper stick using a a soft silicon sealer.

This setup gives soft isolation to avoid sizzle but a small amount of force brings the washers into contact with the outer tube making it rigid.I haven't a massive amount of miles on it but so far so good, feels good and hasn't come apart yet.
'73 +2 130/5 RHD, now on the road and very slowly rolling though a "restoration"
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PostPost by: vstibbard » Sat Oct 31, 2020 7:05 am

Thanks for that I now have a better understanding of the modification.

Cheers

V
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PostPost by: Esprit2 » Sat Oct 31, 2020 6:12 pm

mbell wrote:I don't think you want to remove all the flex from the stick as it might "sizzle".
I have 1978 & '80 Eclats with the their revised, long-tail versions of this Lotus-Maxi 5-speed. The gear lever is a Ford part, and later, after Elan production ended, it was modified to make the 'U' yoke at the bottom considerably wider. Then a snap-in plastic 'U' bushing was installed to eliminate sizzle... ie, the vibration buzz from the gearbox. If anyone is irritated by the 'sizzle', the later lever and bushing are an option.

The downside is that the plastic is petroleum resistant, NOT petroleum 'proof'. After years or exposure to heat and gear oil, the plastic bushing crumbles and falls out. That creates an excess of side-to-side slop between the shift lever and the 'cranked' rod inside the gearbox, which then allows the ball & socket connection to move far enough to disconnect. When that happens, you loose all contact with the gears. If you're in neutral when it happens, you're not going anywhere.

Reconnecting the ball & socket is easy all by itself, but it requires removing the gearbox's top cover. In the Elite-Eclat, that means removing the engine & transmission from the car. I'm not sure about accessibility in the Elan.

But all you have to do to avoid the problem is periodically replace that plastic 'U' bushing. It's cheap, and replacement only requires removing the gear lever... which you can do from inside the car. The bushing in my 1979 Eclat died in 1993, so 14 years. Pro-actively change it in much less time than that, like once a decade, and you should never find yourself stranded.

Regards,
Tim Engel
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PostPost by: mbell » Sat Oct 31, 2020 10:05 pm

Thanks Tim, Interesting stuff.

Esprit2 wrote:The gear lever is a Ford part, and later, after Elan production ended, it was modified to make the 'U' yoke at the bottom considerably wider.


I hadn't realized this but probably should have, having had a saddle and it not fitting on my stick. Guess it might have been a change for the type9 gearbox as I know the saddle in used in the type 9. As sent mine to a member who was using the type9 voights conversion. I think saddle is available in both plastic and metal, as one I send was metal.

Esprit2 wrote:Reconnecting the ball & socket is easy all by itself, but it requires removing the gearbox's top cover. In the Elite-Eclat, that means removing the engine & transmission from the car. I'm not sure about accessibility in the Elan.


It can be done with engine/gearbox in place on the elan+2 with standard chassis. I think the rear bolts might foul against the spyder chassis but not sure.

I did it a couple of weeks ago after my gear stick became detached while driving. (Obviously didn't do a good enough job of securing the threaded section). The job is made relatively ok by have a articulating ratchet spanner, that makes getting the bolts out quick and easy. A bit trickier to get them back in, especially rear right but doable.
'73 +2 130/5 RHD, now on the road and very slowly rolling though a "restoration"
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