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Issues Getting into reverse...

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Hi all,

before I posted this, I looked at all the previous posts and I think I'm screwed...

My 2000 Esprit has developed an issue getting into reverse over the last month. Sometimes it's ok, most times you have to really yank on the stick. I read through all the other posts and this seems to point to the clutch since it got gradually worse but not yet unbearable.

I think I'm in for a new clutch but before I commit to that, I'm looking for a service manual.

My dealer is a full 1200kms from my house and I have learned that if you want to own this car, you better know how to turn a wrench. There is one shop in town that will take it in but I really don't feel like getting raped this month for something I *should* be able to handle myself.

In the process of elimination, here is what I have done:

1. Gearbox fluid r/r. No help here, same issue however on the bright side, no real metal in the fluid. Just a few flakes of brass.

2. Clutch pedal adjustment. Again, no help here, same issue.

3. Bleed the clutch. Waaay simpler than I thought it was going to be once the trunk pan is out. No fix.

Next is to do a gearshift alignment but I need the service manual. Does anyone know of a spot I can download?

After that fails, I think I'm in for a new clutch where that service manual will be really handy...

Any other thoughts from anyone out there?

Thanks!

- Howard.

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How about gear action into first? I wouldn't automatically jump into the need for a new clutch. Most signs of a worn clutch include a chatter at take off, as well as slippage when in high gear and full power applied. How many miles do you have on the car? how many have you put on yourself? Any known clutch replacement since new? How would you describe your clutch style? (i.e. aggressive with lots of hard shifting, etc or gentle and frequent attempt to try to rev-match?).

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Thanks for response...

How about gear action into first?

No issues. It's not super fluid but no issues getting to first. A bit chunky but it's never not wanted to hit first.

I wouldn't automatically jump into the need for a new clutch. Most signs of a worn clutch include a chatter at take off, as well as slippage when in high gear and full power applied.

No chatter at take off, it's smooth... As for slippage at high gear, none that I'm aware of but I can easily test that one.

How many miles do you have on the car?

~13,000

how many have you put on yourself?

~4000

Any known clutch replacement since new?

No, sorry no history. I'm the 3rd owner and the second owner never had the car long enough to do anything. He was enamoured with a DB9 and had to sell this one.

How would you describe your clutch style? (i.e. aggressive with lots of hard shifting, etc or gentle and frequent attempt to try to rev-match?).

LOL!

If you had a high performance sports car in the garage, how should it be driven? It's also my daily commuter so to and from work (3miles), it's a serene drive but when I get the chance, I'm into it for sure... No super hard shifts / missed shifts but I do put my foot into it. You have to check and make sure the rev limiter is still working from time to time, right?

Other ideas?

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Oh I'll admit that I too enjoy jumping on it occasionally, however seeing the car has only done 13K, I'm willing to bet that the clutch probably isn't too worn, especially if it's not been slipped heavily during its life.

Going back over your original post you mention that occasionally it shifts well, and other times you have to work at getting it into reverse. Is it random, or does it seem to occur more frequently in certain situations such as at initial startup, after driving for a while, etc? Any noticable loss of fliud? Does the pedal feel any different when working correctly vs. struggling to shift?

Sorry for all the questions, but trying to narrow things down to either air still trapped in the system somewhere or a leaking seal. The only other suggestion I can make from this end is that the disk splines aren't freely sliding on the input shaft either due to a lack of lubricant or physical damage.

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are you sure it isn't just rust in the pilot-bearing (that is stuck in the crank end..) -so the shaft turns not fully free sometimes. If you want to pull the gearbox out, than you can inspect that anyway.. .

On point of shifting alignment: remove the cables on rear end of the box. the levers on the box end (and the gear-lever for itself) should go to 'middle' position. On the gear lever end: you can undo the body-colored surround on '98 and later style versions very easy. the upper plate is with 13mm (M8) wrench socket & spanners , and the sifter has an bracket for the *reverse* lift -that is adjustable...


*********************************************************************

to name the things if I see them, that's what I call integrity..

*********************************************************************

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Hi mate ,ive also had this problem , tried a service kit on slave cylinder to the clutch - CRAP !

so i invested in a new slave cylinder and bled it with brand new oil , hey presto problem solved , also another tip when trying for reverse engage second gear and release clutch to biteing point then depress clutch and select reverse this usually works on mine, hope this helps.

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I'm hoping to not have to yank the gearbox if possible...

it really doesn't look that bad but I want to make sure I lay my hands on a service manual before i even start. if anyone has a link, .pdf or idea where to buy one, please pass the info along.

Also, with the dealer 1200kms away and stocking NOTHING, I'm destin to have the car down for a couple weeks minimum if I end up down that path.

freshcut:

Going back over your original post you mention that occasionally it shifts well, and other times you have to work at getting it into reverse. Is it random, or does it seem to occur more frequently in certain situations such as at initial startup, after driving for a while, etc?

no, it's a regular bitch of a time now. One other poster mentioned that he has to get the car rolling in first to get to reverse. we aren't there yet but it's been getting slightly worse over the last week after I have been "fixing" it.

Any noticable loss of fliud?

none. everything is dry with no loss of fluid.

Does the pedal feel any different when working correctly vs. struggling to shift?

it's really only in reverse. 1 -> 2 has never been a quick or easy shift so I have learned to not hammer on it for this shift. all the rest of the shifts are seamless up.

On the way back down 3 -> 2 and 2-> 1 are slow and chunky but not really an issue. maybe I just learned to drive around it... There are NO other esprits in this city (1 million people) so I don't even have a frame of reference to compare against.

The pedal is 100% consistant. no change at all. it feels better after I ran 1L of fluid through in the clutch bleed but no change at all...

I'm off to Calgary tomorrow an I know that there are at least a couple esprits in town there. If I'm lucky, I can track someone down and get a frame of reference on their car.

Oh yah, no slippage in 5th, full load on the clutch. no chatter and no change in engagement since this started a month ago. Does this mean we are eliminating the clutch as the issue?

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you can find pdf-copies of the Lotus workshop-CD if you try to google it. Several on e-bay, and some on *download portals* for that stuff. If you order an Club-Esprit [on LEW]/ or Full LEF member [same, LEF] registration -than you can download an parts list on LEW/LEF. Bud i think Bibs can arrange an workshop-file too :whistle: !?

for 25GBP per anum, and that covers LEW/LEF -think that's worth it ! Plus -you get discounts on some dealers in the UK...


*********************************************************************

to name the things if I see them, that's what I call integrity..

*********************************************************************

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Please don't buy illegal copies of the workshop manual off e-bay or the like. Purchase the genuine article from our friends at Lotus

The Parts manual is available as Gunter says free of charge by joining LEF :whistle:


Wing Commander Dibble DFC<br /><br />
North Midlands Esprit Group<br /><br />
NMEG "the formidable squadron"<br /><br />
"probably the most active Esprit group in the world" Andy Betts, Castle Combe May 2007

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With the lack of slippage and chattering I would rule the clutch assembly out. My original comments stand in that the hydraulic system is a suspect point, and as Gunter pointed out, pilot bushing may also be to blame. Have you tried engaging reverse with the engine off? If it's still difficult to engage I'd suggest looking at the shift linkage adjustment.

I have to admit however that I'm leaning quite a bit to the hydraulic system as a major cause, especially with your comment of "it's getting slightly worse". This could be a result of a pocket of air moving through the hydraulic line that didn't get bled, or even the result of a seal leak in either the master or slave unit. The slave would likely not indicate ANY fluid dripping since the main points of a leak are obscured by the bellhousing. I would pull the slave cylinder out and inspect the dust boot for signs of a fluid leak or damage to the pushrod.

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Thanks freshcut.

I will pull the slave tonight and check to see if there is any leakage at all.

There are NO issues getting into any gear while the car is off.

I did put over a liter of fluid through when I bled the clutch and there were some very tiny bubbles that came out after the first few strokes but none after that. If there is a bubble trapped somewhere, it's really trapped...

Is there any way to tell if the slave is epxeriencing any "blow-by" on the seals? I read some of the other posts about the slave moving 1/10 of the master but i doubt you would be able to see if fluid is being bypassed without any load on the piston.

Thoughts?

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If there's any "blow-by" at the slave it will be blowing fluid out of the unit itself and you would see plenty of fluid leakage and the fluid level would get low.


1995 S4s

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Hmmm, no fluid loss ever from a resevoir perspective. It's been 100% static

I'll pull the slave tonight and see...

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Alrighty,

Here is where we are at:

Clutch pedal adjusted (it has more throw than recommended but I assume that's not an issue)

linkage adjusted - no change it was fine already.

Clutch bleed.

Slave pulled, no leaking, no issues that I could see

Clutch bleed again just in case since it was already opened up.

None of the above helped at all.

This is interesting and may help you help me figure out what's next. While I had the slave off, I used compressed air to blow out the clutch dust (w/respirator, I'm not dumb) and after I put it back together, the first couple shifts into reverse were like butter. Once I had gone through a couple of cycles, the problem returned.

So my question is, was it because I took the slave off or because I blew out the bell housing?

My thought is that when I blew the dust out, perhaps the pilot bearing was freed up a bit and this is where the real issue is.

Anyone have any thoughts?

If this is the issue, do I have to pull the gearbox or will I have enough room to slide it back, pull the plates and work on it from there? One of the posts in another thread suggests that it can be done and then you don't have to pull the shafts.

If you have some experience with this type of surgery, please let me know what I'm in for.

As Stink suggests below, yes, hit 2nd with some engagement and then a quick shift to reverse works but it pisses me off if any of my stuff isn't perfect and that's a work around, not a fix.

Cheers.

H-

ps - Gunter, I signed up for the full LEW forum subscription as well.

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My thought is that when I blew the dust out, perhaps the pilot bearing was freed up a bit and this is where the real issue is.

If this is what you call the spigot bearing for the 1st motion shaft then I have to admit that it is a logical conclusion. Mine has a tendancy to do exactly the same when everything is hot and I have been following the thread with interest...

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Hi H-

The spigot bearing is a sealed ball type bearing, so I doubt that it was affected by your air. However, if you want to replace it you will have to remove the gearbox and the clutch pack in order to gain access.

This will also afford you a good opportunity to inspect the clutch properly and also to apply the special grease (LiMoS2) to the primary shaft and guide tube.

It only takes a few minutes to replace the bearing, but you will need an alignment tool for the clutch pack prior to re-installing the gearbox.

Cheers,

Mike S


1996 Esprit V8, 1998 Esprit V8 GT, 1999 Esprit S350 #002 (Esprit GT1 replica project), 1996 Esprit V8 GT1 (chassis 114-001), 1992 Lotus Omega (927E), 1999 Esprit V8SE, 1999 Esprit S350 #032, 1995 Esprit S4s, 1999 Esprit V8 GT (ex-5th Gear project), 1999 Esprit V8SE ('02 rear)

1999 S350 #002 Esprit GT1 replica

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Interesting that you say it is a sealed type bearing Mike.

Parts list shows an open type bearing and lists a special packing grease for it too. Surely they wouldnt do that for a sealed one?

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You right with the query. :D For clarification, the bearing is open on the rear only - which is encased in the sealed portion of the crank nose.

The exposed part of the bearing is sealed......

:sofa:


1996 Esprit V8, 1998 Esprit V8 GT, 1999 Esprit S350 #002 (Esprit GT1 replica project), 1996 Esprit V8 GT1 (chassis 114-001), 1992 Lotus Omega (927E), 1999 Esprit V8SE, 1999 Esprit S350 #032, 1995 Esprit S4s, 1999 Esprit V8 GT (ex-5th Gear project), 1999 Esprit V8SE ('02 rear)

1999 S350 #002 Esprit GT1 replica

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as Mike told: the open part of the small 'pilot'-bearing should be faced (or placed on an rework..) toward the crank. Otherwise you will get a lot of dirt (clutch abrasion and roads dirt.) in the bearing soon. Bud the open side can suffer from rust if the grease gets older and gets harder over time. So there will always be an chance for problems.

Other point: as you can see in my engine rebuild post of yesterdays progress: I've managed to pull the gearbox back -far enough to get it out of the splines. In an way it does not turn over if you idle the engine. For that you need to lift the engine up a little. Just high enough that you can undo the gearbox mounts from the rear frame section. Not the central screw, just the small M8 screws of the rubber mounts. You can slide the box back , far enough to get your hand in (it is tight bud you can work there..!) . The rear crossmember should be undone too.. .

If you want to have more space to work ->undo the catalyst from the turbo, otherwise you will hit the tube bend with the driveshafts... . If you are an 'spanner man' type, then maybe you can undo the clutch pack (do it with patience and be careful!) insitu... .

good luck!

mention one thing at least: If you really loosen up all screws of the clutch pack, than you will need to get your box out -that's for sure! Just as you have to realign all the plates for an perfect refit. If you just want to inspect your clutch shaft splines and re-grease the 'clutch release'-bearing slide tube that covers the gearbox shaft -than it should be good enough. If you loosen up the clutch totally and get out with an worn clutch on the inspection -think it is worth to lift the box out just to have an perfect workspace. And you don't need to do much , there is only driveshafts-pins to sort out & upper or lower suspension arm (upper is more easy, lower works too..) and some water piping above the bellhousing. An gearbox pull is not that big work at least :sofa:

(have done it three times in two days :D)

Edited by G

*********************************************************************

to name the things if I see them, that's what I call integrity..

*********************************************************************

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Thanks Gunter.

One final diagnostic question...

Over the last day, the situation has become much worse.

The car doesn't want to go into first gear from a stop. going from first to second is also sticky and not comfortable.

The gears grind and it will eventually go into gear but it's not pretty.

In my head, I'm thinking that this can no longer be a bearing and must be clutch or something else. I'm still experiencing no shudder on take off and no slippage in high gear with a full load which would point away from the clutch.

Is it possible that the slave isn't pushing the release bearing from the clutch pack to get full clutch disengagement?

Could a sticky bearing be causing all this grief?

Could it be the master that isn't sending enough pressure to the slave to move the release bearing?

I need to nail this down as close as possible... The dealer is 1200 kms away and there is nobody in town that can provide parts so I need to order everything I could need before I start to minimize downtime.

As it stands now, the car is undrivable.

Also, if I have the gearbox out, are there any other things I should replace in a regular course of maintenance?

From everyone's advice, I'm still left with a few possibilities and I need to tighten up that list:

Slave cylinder?

Master cylinder?

Spigot Bearing?

Clutch pack?

Where do I start?

Where would you start?

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on the point as you had used the 'compressed air' to blow your bellhousing out -there it was that you better should have looked that:

1) there is no notable pieces/abrasion/clutch material in the bellhousing & no smell of burned clutch.

2) that there is still some minimum of 'gab' along the plate material to see (normally the clutch friction material is segmented on the plate, so you can see if there is some usable thickness left to wear off -or that you just run on the rivets.. .

3) you should have tested it with an lever behind the clutch release fork. The slave would never go that far , so you can test (on axle stands..) if it is possible to select an gear on idle/ on an stand still by releasing the clutch with 'man power' on a lever.. . And if you pull the gearbox back a little (as it is in the above note) than you can see whats with the splines/ release bearing slide surface.

Some years ago, there was an problem with my clutch that is still to see on some points. One of the plates was 'turned over' on the splines, and gets stuck there. So it was not possible to change any gear without knocks an grinding. Simply as the release process was not possible -the plate was stuck on the spline and did not go back. the input shaft runs steady with an little rev from the crank/ engine idle. So it is possible that your clutch can be burst -even if the friction material looks perfect. The tooth profile from Renault is an other possible weak point in the system !

On the positive side: If there is no fault on the splines/tooth profile of your clutch and simply the plates have to much wear -than you can get your plates redone for an cheaper amount as an full clutch set. Most owners use 'reworked' plates in the cars now.... . Some companies do make it perfect, some have variations in the size (as Mike about that, an oversized clutch plate can cause a lot of trouble :) )

Edited by G

*********************************************************************

to name the things if I see them, that's what I call integrity..

*********************************************************************

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I did put over a liter of fluid through when I bled the clutch and there were some very tiny bubbles that came out after the first few strokes but none after that. If there is a bubble trapped somewhere, it's really trapped...

I had a similar problem with reverse last week, after replacing the clucth hose and bleeding the system I couldn't get into reverse without grinding, also first and second were quite difficult. I bled the system three times at home to no avail.As I hadn't changed anything else, in desperation I took it to a clutch 'specialist' who bled the clutch system again putting about 250ml of fulid through it. It didn't fix the problem either. The guy started talking about the clutch being worn out and release bearings being shot etc. He even suggested I get under the pedal box and try adjusting the push-rod to the Master cylinder.

I still wasn't convinced and tried one more time myself at home, this time removing the slave cylinder and hanging it vertically with the bleed nipple at the top. Gravity did the rest with no need to pump the clutch pedal - with a clear tube connected to the bleed nipple fluid started flowing slowly followed by 5 air bubbles which must have been trapped in the slave cylinder. I couldn't believe it, with the car horizontal the bleed nipple must not be high enough to get all the air out. Anyway, no more grinding and the gear shift works again. Hopefully yours will be as easy to fix as mine was.


Too many Toys are never enough !

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Ok, finally spoke to a mechanic at the dealer that works on Esprits almost exclusively. He cut me off short and is certain that it's the clutch. I'm fairly certain as well since the pushrod is nowhere near the bell housing as it should be in a new clutch.

I spent about 1.5 hours on it tonight and I'm pretty much ready to pull the gearbox. So far it's straight forward. I'm not sure if that clutch fork is going to come out but the service manual I have says it doesn't need to be out, just released.

Once I had all the plubming disconnected, it dropped all the antifreeze so I washed it again and I'm just waiting for things to dry out. Sure am glad I have a floor drain and hot / cold water in my garage!

More updates as I bust more knuckles...

also, quotes on a new clutch pack are pretty wild. Once I have the gearbox out, we will see what I can get away with versus the complete assembly. I called a few dealers and some are saying it's a whole unit, some are saying that you can just get the friction plates. my fear that is if it damaged the flywheel, I may need a new one or at least a resurface.

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The flywheel grinding is not too expensive, just get them to retain the correct step (0.5-0.6mm). If you're replacing the friction plate you might as well replace all three components at the same time. A partially worn pressure plate may cause the friction plate to wear excessively, and you don't want to consider what happens if the bearing ceases.

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