Gear shift problem

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Gear shift problem

Postby SteveMac » Mon 05.12.2016, 19:31

Hi all,

I wonder if anyone can help. I have just acquired a 1990 SE and the gearchange was woolly at best. On investigation, one of the circlips on the fore/aft cable at the lever end had come off, so I put a new clip on, thinking this would solve the problem. Both circlips are in place and these are the OEM cables for the car, complete with all the plastic problem parts.

If I move the lever fore/aft there is no movement at the gearbox lever. If I move the gearbox crank lever by hand (the one with the disc weight on it), the gear lever moves back and forth as it should. The gearbox lever is not hard to get into either plane by hand from the neutral position. Moving the gear lever just seems to spring the cable internally and both circlips are still in place.

The crossgate cable moves the other gearbox crank lever from the gear lever just fine.

I can't see how a steel cable can push the gearbox crank lever and there is no spring action action to assist the movement. Am I missing something? The actions listed were carried out without the engine running and with the clutch depressed and the car was in neutral.

Any help would be appreciated
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Re: Gear shift problem

Postby John_W » Mon 05.12.2016, 21:53

Steve,

It may be that the other end of your cable has broken. To get to it, remove the centre console and unbolt the gear lever assembly. Have a look at Dimitris' write-up HERE or on the Wiki.

John
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Re: Gear shift problem

Postby SteveMac » Mon 05.12.2016, 22:17

Hi John,

No that is not the problem, the cable is intact and does move the gear lever fore/aft when I move the fore/aft gearbox crank lever. I just read the lotus service notes write up about shifting to 3rd on the crossgate gearbox crank lever then inclining the gear lever 5 degrees forward/10 degrees inboard then locking the plastic collars. I'll try that, see if it works!

Thanks, Steve
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Re: Gear shift problem

Postby Brit-Car-Nut » Mon 05.12.2016, 22:26

There are FOUR (4) circlips/E-Clips holding the cables in place. Make sure the clips at the gearbox end are also intact and the housings are being held.

It is possible the adjuster mechanism has failed on the offending cable but the amount of adjustment is minimal and you might have a "long' throw to go from gear to gear, but you should still be able to move the gearbox levers from the shifter.

Both the inside cable AND the housings need to be fixed in place to have the shifter move the gearbox linkage in both directions.

It is strange that one of the E-Clips was missing and you were able to just add one. Usually the only way for the E-Clip to come off is when the plastic end breaks and the outer section (that holds the E-Clip in place) breaks off and then the clip will continually slip off the end with little effort.
Last edited by Brit-Car-Nut on Mon 05.12.2016, 22:35, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Gear shift problem

Postby SteveMac » Mon 05.12.2016, 22:32

Hi,

Yes all 4 E clips are fully secure at both the lever and the gearbox end. As I explained in my first post the fore/aft cable has to pull and push the fore/aft selector lever on the gearbox and it won't push the lever at all, it just springs internally. I'll check the adjusters are fully locking the cables at the gearbox end though when I do the service manual set up instruction.
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Re: Gear shift problem

Postby Brit-Car-Nut » Mon 05.12.2016, 22:41

There are three possibilities as to why a gearbox lever doesn't move with shifter operation: broken plastic abutments at the E-Clips, the outer cable housing has broken away at the adjuster mechanism or a broken internal cable.
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Re: Gear shift problem

Postby SteveMac » Mon 05.12.2016, 23:02

Ok I'll double check all of those, thanks for the reply. I notice you do a replacement gear cable kit that improves shifting considerably, what is the cost of this kit to the uk?
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Re: Gear shift problem

Postby Brit-Car-Nut » Mon 05.12.2016, 23:16

SteveMac wrote:Ok I'll double check all of those, thanks for the reply. I notice you do a replacement gear cable kit that improves shifting considerably, what is the cost of this kit to the uk?

Just click on the green cables/short-shift price link below
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Re: Gear shift problem

Postby dapinky » Tue 06.12.2016, 12:32

Steve,

From your explanation I would expect that the problem is in one of the plastic sections. When I had very similar problems I found that all of the metal clips were in situ, and all looked good. But when I had an assistant operate the fore/aft movement at the gearstick I could see the plastic fitting at the gearbox end had split but not broken.

Movement of the stick going forward caused the split to open, so the internal cable was moving, but the outer cable was going with it, and no movement of the selector rods at the box.

It can be repaired with a bit of superglue and a home-made (bodged!) metal frame/clamp to support it - but replacement is the proper repair.

One direction of the stick will cause the split to open, but going the other way still worked as it was being compressed.
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Re: Gear shift problem

Postby lotusflasherman » Tue 06.12.2016, 21:24

SteveMac wrote:Hi all,

If I move the gearbox crank lever by hand (the one with the disc weight on it), the gear lever moves back and forth as it should.


Steve,

The Lotus setup did not have a disc weight on it. Yours sounds like the Bob Brown short shift conversion so the Lotus Manual info and drawings may not exactly fit yours. Does it look like this photo I found on this site and saved ....

Picture 004.jpg


I have a Bill's Isuziperformance Short Throw conversion on my older SE. It came in a selector casting but is 'very short' so was thinking of making the spare OE mech' a 'halfway house' conversion so took a comparative photo...

SS v OE.jpg


Short shift is on the left, OE is on the right and matches the drawings in the Lotus Service Notes. (Section FF Page 4) (A new cable anchor bracket is required as well.)

I acquired a Bob Brown conversion this summer and a member posted me a paper copy of the original instructions (thanks TrevorB). I've created a pdf file so can email it to you if that's what you've got and think it would help.
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Re: Gear shift problem

Postby SteveMac » Wed 07.12.2016, 00:12

Thanks Dave, I'll see if I can spot the plastic splitting when I move the lever.

Phil, yes the photo with the fore/aft lever with the large disc counterweight is what I have, does that mean the adjustments needed at the cable are different from the service notes?

Thanks
Steve
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Re: Gear shift problem

Postby John_W » Wed 07.12.2016, 00:37

The adjustment will be the same as standard.
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Re: Gear shift problem

Postby SteveMac » Wed 14.12.2016, 20:21

UPDATE:

I could not get the gears to shift correctly using the standard SE cables, I suspect there is flex in the fore/aft plastic sleeve at the rachet but it was not easy to see. So I decided to go with the upgraded S2 cables and these work great, the shifting is now quite crisp with the modified short shift fore/aft crank arm on the gearbox end as pictured here before.

I now have a pair of SE cables spare which look in decent condition but cannot guarantee it. Anyone interested in buying them off me?
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Re: Gear shift problem

Postby roy666 » Mon 18.06.2018, 22:03

Hi.. I thought i would tag my question on the back of this topic. My gear shifting has become quite stiff recently (no puns). It just takes more than the usual slip out of gear than I'm use to, more of a concerted pull now. Sometimes it will also snap out of the gear, especially going from 3rd to 4th. Any ideas? the cables were repaired about 2 years ago when they broke on the side of the road, the garage I got taken to did some welding and they have been fine since. M
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Re: Gear shift problem

Postby Brit-Car-Nut » Mon 18.06.2018, 23:51

It is rarely the cables that cause any problem with shifting except when a cable abutment or adjuster fails and there is no feel at all to the shifter.

Not being able to get it "out of" or into gear is usually a clutch issue. There are several possibilities but first, you should adjust the clutch cable to make sure you are getting full release. If you are getting full motion at the clutch fork, then you could have a bad pilot bearing, damaged pressure plate, or the disc is warped or a torque spring has snapped and the broken part has gotten between the disc and the plate causing the plate to not fully release.

I am assuming that you have checked the oil level to verify the gearbox is being lubricated.

Adjustment is the easiest thing to try first. I have no idea what would have needed welding when you had your earlier problem, but if it fixed it, then it was something I haven't seen before.
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Re: Gear shift problem

Postby roy666 » Tue 19.06.2018, 21:36

Thanks BCN.. I'll check all that. the welding thing may be me just not using he right techno-speak, but I'm sure the garage mechanic said he fixed the end of the cable (gear box end of the cable where it had broken) by welding it back together! I'll try and have look.

CXheers M
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Re: Gear shift problem

Postby lotusflasherman » Tue 19.06.2018, 21:53

In my post of Dec 2016 above I mentioned a revised cable anchor bracket... that''s a steel bracket that bolts on the bellhousing to anchor the outer cable and takes the strain when the clutch is depressed.. could be that broke and was re-welded to fix it.
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