Lotus Elan

Auto gearbox?

PostPost by: elansprint » Fri Jan 08, 2021 3:13 pm

There was a +2 on sale at Rothwell Northants about 30 years ago I looked at which used the cortina BW35 box but I did not like the way it drove looked at it because wife prefers an auto
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PostPost by: lomh 13 » Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:13 am

On my Daimler V8 250, there was a BW 35 gearbox. Only 3 gears, no lockup, no overdrive. The box was very slow to change gear and the engine seemed powerless.
I have fited a ZF four speed from a Jaguar XJ40 and now the car is very pleasant to drive.
I don't know how was a Plus 2 with a BW 35, but it was certainly very different than a manual 4.
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PostPost by: 2cams70 » Sat Jan 09, 2021 10:07 am

I ran an Mk1 Escort 1300 with the BW35 as a daily driver for many years. It was no rocket of course but tolerable. The auto Escorts have the advantage of a larger than standard transmission tunnel for an easy 5 speed conversion. That project never happened because I ended up buying a Twin Cam. In the UK believe it or not for a short time only you could have the BW35 in combination with the 1100 engine in the Escort! . A lot of it depends on how well the torque convertor and valve body characteristics of the transmission have been calibrated to match the engine. These parts may sometimes look the same and be interchangeable across all variants of the transmission but they don't perform the same.

I'd be interested to know how the factory BW35 conversion was done on the UK RHD plus 2 and what bellhousing they used. Perhaps there's a LHD version of the Ford BW35 bellhousing that was used in continental Europe available with starter motor on the RHS. On the other hand the regular Ford crossflow has the exhaust on the same side as the Twin Cam and there's no problem with exhaust clearance when running the starter on the LHS for the auto.

My experience of the ZF 4HP20 transmission in a Peugeot aren't good. Rough shifting and unreliable. Very obviously a communication problem between the French and Germans on that particular project!
1970 Ford Escort Twin Cam
1972 Ford Escort GT1600 Twin Cam
1980 Ford Escort 2.0 Ghia
Peugeot 505 GTI Wagons (5spdx1) (Autox1)
2015 Honda City 5spd.
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PostPost by: nmauduit » Sat Jan 09, 2021 5:39 pm

2cams70 wrote:My experience of the ZF 4HP20 transmission in a Peugeot aren't good. Rough shifting and unreliable. Very obviously a communication problem between the French and Germans on that particular project!


4HP20 suffer from a serious conception fault from ZF, that is the oil filter can't be changed without splitting the gearbox open, and on PSA cars it most often requires an engine off, only on Renault Espace possibly one can lift it alone with lots of tricks (just did it on an XM, 10 days of work, 75-80 hours, mistakes included - never again) ... as a result the manufacturers decided to market the corresponding autos as "lifetime lubricated" , though ZF recommends regular oil changes (only possible one third at a time, unfortunately) .. and these gearboxes seldom pass 250 000 km on their original filter, which gets clogged from friction material eroding over time.

if your 4HP20 shifts rough, you should consider quickly changing its oil (LT71141, honey color, not red), 3 times in a row with 100km in between, or planning on a replacement sooner rather than later I'm afraid...
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PostPost by: Spyder fan » Sat Jan 09, 2021 7:36 pm

Put a lot of batteries in and a jolly big starter motor from a Tesla. Problem solved
Kindest regards

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