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Can't always get first


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Hi Guys,



Alright so I've read many threads on this topic so I have an idea about whats going on but I wanted to get your guy's thoughts anyways. I can't always get into first gear, the shifter seems to push into the right spot and feels right but when I lift up on the clutch I get no forward movement and the horrible sound of grinding gears. I've replaced the rubber/nylon bushings on the linkages as the old ones were disintegrating. My dad who had previously driven the car years ago said he never had trouble getting into first. I've gone through all the other gear from 2nd to 5th without any trouble other than a slight grind occasionally which I assumed was from shifting fast and possibly not completely clutching to the floor. I can get into reverse easily and without lifting the shifter, which from my readings is an indication that I need to adjust the cross gate a little bit so that its more towards 1st/2nd and less towards 5th/R.


So do I have the right idea or should I be looking at the linkages? Maybe because its easy to get 2nd indicates that the cross gate cable is fine and the the linkages need to be adjusted to push further into 1st?



Edited by marcbria
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  • Gold FFM

hi Brian, you have not said which car it is for as they are all different, if it's an S3 get back to me as I have just completed the same job and can give you a few pointers.



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On the left of the post in the member panel it says Esprit S1. Same gearbox though. :)

88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

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  • Gold FFM

Sorry for that guys, had a late night last night with a car breaking down on me near Newcastle and yes it was a Lotus.

Newly reconditioned alternator only 4 months old.

Anyway back to the gear linkage. If like me you have replaced all the bushes you will probably find that the metal rod will require adjustment but first check the crossgate cable movement, have someone sit in the car, disconnect the cable from the lever end on the gear box, get your assistant to hold the gear lever in neutral, slightly to the right and check the position for lining up the locating pin, the rod/cable only takes very very little to become out of place. I found I had the same issue as you and took up the tension but doing one turn at a time, reconnect then try the gears, if you go to far you will lose 5th and reverse so just turn it back again. On the rod where you have replaced the bushes you should find a rose joint where the unit is mounted to the right hand side engine mounting, again with having the bushes replaced I would suggest you take up one turn at a time on this one, i.e shorten it then try the gears again. It can be a bit fiddly but if you have patience you will get  there

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It's the usual "cut and come again" Lotus iterative process...I'd try getting someone inside the car to select 1st gear, then drop off the tubular linkage from the geabox and see if you can move the operating arm a bit further by hand whilst grovelling, and get 1st properly engaged. If so, then you know what you need to do to sort it! 

Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been." - Albert Einstein

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  • 3 weeks later...

Alright so I took the shift linkage of the transmission and manually operated it through all the gears noting which had the furthest forward and backwards motion. 1st and Reverse seemed to be the ones with the longest travel. While in first I gave the car a little push and it seemed to be happily in gear which wasn't the case when I had previously done the same using the shifter. When I held the linkage up to the arm I could see that when in 1st gear I was about 8mm too far back and when in reverse I was about 8mm too far back as well. So took the control rod off adjusted it 8mm and put it back on. No more problems getting into 1st gear, no of course I'm wondering how the adjustment got so far off. Need to take a look at the engine and transmission mounts to make sure the how things hasn't shifted forward, I hoping the worn bushing I replaced on the shift linkage were the only cause though. 


I will say that having confidence in finding 1st gear is a wonderful thing = )


I also discovered that the reverse lockout pin at the shifter is completely missing, which makes getting into reverse easy, but I always miss 5th gear  and the come back and end up in 3rd :shock: ... ugh at least first is easy to find now!


Brian M.

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