Lotus Elan

weeps - gearbox and diff

PostPost by: Marcus+2 » Tue May 28, 2024 9:14 pm

Hi. I have 2 leaks that were identified in a mechanical inspection when first buying my '68 +2 a few months ago.
I was told that they are nothing to worry about, but they are annoying now as I don't like having leaks on the floor, especially when I can't fill them back up!!
1 leak is in the rear gearbox seal and 2 leak is the n/s diff drive shaft seal.
I have not much inclanation to get under the car, and not much skill and fixing big stuff, but I can do the basics.
Arte these leaks easy to repair, or should I take it to a mechanic, and what sort of price would I be looking at?

Thanks for your help.
Posts: 7
Joined: 11 Apr 2024
Location: North Wales

PostPost by: alanr » Wed May 29, 2024 10:35 am

Welcome to the forum and +2 ownership!
There are two things to bear in mind owning an old classic Lotus
1.All these old classic Lotus's seem to leak oil from one place or another and the cheapest solution would be to buy or make a drip tray to sit underneath your car.
2.If you are not going to get involved mechanically in your +2 ownership yourself and 'have a go' things can and will get rather expensive. Owning a classic Lotus and farming out work needed is not going to be cheap!
Having said that...
You have identified where the leaks are coming from so I will try and explain what is involved.
The n/s diff output shaft seal can be changed with the diff in situ but it entails removing the driveshaft and the drive joints be they Rotoflex or CV and then removing diff output shaft. It is quite labour intensive and not a nice thing to change but perfectly doable at home yourself depending on your skill set and tools that you have.

The tricky one is the gearbox extension housing oil seal.
Some say they have changed them with the gearbox still in the car and worked through the small transmission tunnel oil filler bung hole. But that depends if you find you can remove the prop shaft without removing the gearbox. Again, some say you can do it this way but I am sceptical.
Personally not having tried on a +2 I am not myself convinced that it can be successfully done that way in which case you are looking at removing the engine and gearbox to change the seal. This of course is labour intensive if farmed out but not a difficult job to do at home if you have the tools.
If you are still intent on paying to have this done my suggestion would be not to take the car to your local mechanic who probably won't have clue what he is doing on an old classic Lotus but instead find a classic Lotus specialist and get some proper quotes, but be prepared for a large bill.

My real advice would be buy some new overalls and to have a go yourself. This is a good and knowledgable forum and we will all no doubt chip in and help you through the trials and tribulations of your +2 ownership.

Hope this helps, and good luck. Keep us posted.

'71 +2 S130/ 5speed Type9.
Fourth Gear
Fourth Gear
Posts: 945
Joined: 14 Sep 2018
Location: Derby, UK

PostPost by: alan.barker » Wed May 29, 2024 12:56 pm

Hi Marcus,
For the oil leak at the Gearbox i suggest you remove Propshaft first which is an easy job. Check the Welch Plug in the Propshaft UJ. This often is a cause of Oil leak from Gearbox.
Alan.b Brittany 1972 elan sprint fhc Lagoon Blue 0460E
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
Posts: 3763
Joined: 06 Dec 2008

PostPost by: 2cams70 » Thu May 30, 2024 5:25 am

Personally speaking if they are the only issues you have after several months ownership of a newly acquired classic Lotus I'd be cracking open the champagne. Congratulations - you've done well.
1970 Ford Escort Twin Cam
1972 Ford Escort GT1600 Twin Cam
1980 Ford Escort 2.0 Ghia
Peugeot 505 GTI Wagons (5spdx1) (Autox1)
2022 Ford Fiesta ST.
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
Posts: 2110
Joined: 10 Jun 2015
Location: Australia

PostPost by: rgh0 » Thu May 30, 2024 8:24 am

check that the gearbox leak is actually coming from the rear seal and not from the speedo angle drive in front of it which is ogten a source of leaks

User avatar
Coveted Fifth Gear
Coveted Fifth Gear
Posts: 8897
Joined: 22 Sep 2003
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPost by: Marcus+2 » Thu May 30, 2024 11:23 am

2cams70 wrote:Personally speaking if they are the only issues you have after several months ownership of a newly acquired classic Lotus I'd be cracking open the champagne. Congratulations - you've done well.

I wish, my friend - I've got War and Peace listed here!! :oops: :cry: :D :D
Posts: 7
Joined: 11 Apr 2024
Location: North Wales

PostPost by: Marcus+2 » Thu May 30, 2024 11:26 am

Thank you all for your informative and supportive posts.

I'll try and get access to have a better look, and we'll go from there. :)
Posts: 7
Joined: 11 Apr 2024
Location: North Wales

PostPost by: JasonJ » Sun Jun 02, 2024 10:48 am

Hi Marcus,

I had exactly the same issue last year, please see finding.

Firstly the Welch/ core plug was missing this can be checked through inspection hatch in transmission tunnel from inside car with centre interior removed.
Please search Welch plug ( in Gearbox section)and you will see my findings and solution.
Also at the time I found I had spacers missing on gearbox mount which in turn angled tail end of gearbox towards ground slightly… or enough to help loss of some oil.
I never needed to remove tail seal thankfully and all has been fine since.

If you need to remove prop shaft it will come out through front engine side, just undo gearbox mounts and carefully place jack and wood under gearbox and raise slightly, a little awkward but doable.

That said this was all done with car raised 2ft off ground

The is great posts on here, the search is the thing :D

First Gear
First Gear
Posts: 43
Joined: 27 Mar 2023
Location: United Kingdom

PostPost by: gus » Tue Jun 04, 2024 11:36 am

With time and miles, the seal will wear a groove in the driveshaft nose. They are available.
Output shafts on early cars are subject to failure, so removing them to check condition and type is not a bad idea.
The inner seals are a stock item, the bearings are common also.
If the output shafts are of the 'necked down' type they can fail, so ought to be replaced, but if you don't drive like me, they might last quite a while.
Fourth Gear
Fourth Gear
Posts: 736
Joined: 05 May 2011

Total Online:

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests