Main cause of "floppy" gear lever..

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Main cause of "floppy" gear lever..

Postby Jamie N » Sat 25.04.2015, 10:15

What do you reckon is the main culprit for the poor gear change on the Elan?, I have uprated cables on mine, fairly new and properly adjusted, the balljoint at the base of the gear stick is fairly tight, I have had the selector from the box in bits and everything there is solid enough, no excessive free play, yet it still feels like the proverbial "stirring porridge", maybe it is a combination of all components together and not one specific item?, maybe its partly due to driving Honda's most of the time which have a superior gear change setup :D (albeit a totally different system), its something that has always bugged me on the Elan ,the rotten gear change.

This annoys me to the extent that it is the next mission on the list, i have been looking at a few modern setups in the Breakers, many vehicles (or most) nowadays have cable shift mechanisms and from what i have seen so far i reckon there is potential for being able to swap over the whole lot from a modern car onto the Elan, I think having a precise gear change would transform the feel of the car massively. Any thoughts?.
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Re: Main cause of "floppy" gear lever..

Postby Fredjohn » Sat 25.04.2015, 10:39

Jamie
Don't know which cables you have fitted (BB? AB?), but I replaced mine with BCN's cables, which I think may be a copy/update/improvement of these earlier designs. However, I have also fitted his short shift kit. The two items together transform the gear change, removing the porridge completely.

Cross it off your list as job done and save your time and boundless energy to attack another aspect of the Elan which causes a problem :!: :D and buy this short shift kit to complement your cables: I believe it fits the previous designs as well as the standard cables, but happy to be corrected on this.

So what is next on the list?? :bowdown:
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Re: Main cause of "floppy" gear lever..

Postby Jamie N » Sat 25.04.2015, 20:37

I have the AB cables fitted which are a big improvement on standard but still no where near the feel of some modern designs, i was in and around many cars today just checking stuff out and some of the gear change setups i found were just superb, one that really impressed me was the Mazda RX8, exceptionally precise, but other cars were almost as good and some with very similar looking cable setups. Definitely going to persevere and see what can be done, a good friend works in the big breakers so i can take stuff away for testing out and if its no use i can return it and it costs nothing. I am quite certain there will be something out there that is a big improvement on the standard setup, if i can find it then the chances are it will be something thats readily available and costs very little, is that not what we all want to hear? :D .
Scott J - If you read this how would you compare the gear change on your MX5 to the Elan?, if its anywhere near the RX8 it must be fantastic!, obviously its rear wheel drive with a completely different setup to the Elan, but i have been in FWD cars which felt similarly precise and slick and if one of those can fit the Elan then that would be a great discovery, remember there are still plenty of owners with the standard setup and dont want to fork out big sums for custom parts, if found then this would be a Godsend,It would be a massive improvement over standard and at Scrapyard money!, Im on the case Folks :-D .
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Re: Main cause of "floppy" gear lever..

Postby muley » Sat 25.04.2015, 20:53

Jamie

I can answer along with Scott - I run an Elan with modified cables and short shift (not sure of provenance) back to back with a MK3 NC MX-5.

There is absolutley no comparison - the MX-5 change feels like a rifle bolt and the Elan is like, well, stirring porridge - it really lets the car down..

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Re: Main cause of "floppy" gear lever..

Postby lotusflasherman » Sat 25.04.2015, 22:45

Any gearlever that goes straight into the box is going to be better than a rear or mid-engine car that has joints in the linkage which in turn is going to be better than one operated by cables.

I have a 'Bill's Isuzuperformance Short shift' on my Elan that's been on a SORN a couple of years. That uses the standard cables, a different cable anchor bracket to compensate for the relocated pins on the Cross Shaft Lever and Bellcrank Lever. The lever is very tight and precise but a bit too short as the difference between the 1st/2nd gate and the 3rd/4th gate is very tight and sometimes I've gone from 2nd to 5th, not 3rd, if I wasn't concentrating.

Bill's kit came with modified levers already in a selector housing so I still have the original selectors & housing so I'm considering modifying those in a similar manner to fit my SE which is in daily use - it doesn't look too challenging. I'm thinking I might move the pivots about 80% of the distance towards 'Bill's position' so I get a short throw but not a very short throw and make a new anchor bracket that's appropriate to the revised pin positions.

I'll make notes and take photos so I can post as a Project if it works.

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Re: Main cause of "floppy" gear lever..

Postby HJ2 » Sun 26.04.2015, 06:38

I wonder how much of the free play comes from the levers in the gear box themselves!

I obtained the last new gearlever balljoint, added Bob Brown's gear cables (after successfully repairing my S2 ones) and to top it off I have one of Daves Short-shift.
There is virtually no free play between gear lever and short-shift. The short shift itself acts as a divider and reduces the free play left in this trajectum.

The short shift itself is sturdy enough, as is the selector box. However the slides in the gearbox have quite some free play left, and i suspect the coupling between selector box and slides does so too.

However with my setup i am satisfied as it is a major improvement over (S2!) stock. I however don't like the feeling of the gearbox itself! It feels sloppy in terms of fully in gear or not. The tactile feedback of the fore-aft movement of the moving parts Inside the gearbox could do with some improvement. I would prefer a harder end-stop and a more clicky feel when the gear is fully engaged.

Well, my 2 cents anyway! :cheers:

Edit: I do make use of the word 'however' quite a lot! :oops: :lol:
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Re: Main cause of "floppy" gear lever..

Postby Jamie N » Mon 27.04.2015, 13:40

[quote="I have a 'Bill's Isuzuperformance Short shift' on my Elan that's been on a SORN a couple of years. That uses the standard cables, a different cable anchor bracket to compensate for the relocated pins on the Cross Shaft Lever and Bellcrank Lever. The lever is very tight and precise but a bit too short as the difference between the 1st/2nd gate and the 3rd/4th gate is very tight and sometimes I've gone from 2nd to 5th, not 3rd, if I wasn't concentrating.

Bill's kit came with modified levers already in a selector housing so I still have the original selectors & housing so I'm considering modifying those in a similar manner to fit my SE which is in daily use - it doesn't look too challenging. I'm thinking I might move the pivots about 80% of the distance towards 'Bill's position' so I get a short throw but not a very short throw and make a new anchor bracket that's appropriate to the revised pin positions.

I'll make notes and take photos so I can post as a Project if it works.

Phil[/quote]

That would be interesting to see Phil. I have done dozens of short shifts on Honda's (different system entirely) for people but personally i never liked the feel of it, a slight shortening on the Elan though sounds interesting so it would be good to see your version.

Henk-Jan, you are probably right, the free play in the box itself will also be a contributor although i would imagine it is fairly slight, from my own observations i would say the biggest contributor is the balljoint in the lever itself and the way it is set up. From what i have seen so far in other vehicles, the Elan's is a poor design compared to some modern ones, if we can find one that is an easy mod then it has to be a great leap forward, same with the cables, very rarely do i hear of any modern cars which regularly break gear cables and taking a walk round them shows very very few that have been removed, backing up that theory, so there are multitudes of them in breakers yards, and so many different types that there is bound to be something that can be used for our cars, and if there is, a pair of gear cables from a breaker are going to be somewhere in the region of 20 or 30 quid, (after all ,it is only a bit of wire in a sheath :D ) now that would be good news.

Muley... I know exactly what you mean, and if its anything like my Rifle bolt it must be awesome :P .
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Re: Main cause of "floppy" gear lever..

Postby HJ2 » Mon 27.04.2015, 15:25

... murmles something about getting a rifle somewhere.....
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