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gearbox extraction

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As you know, I am fairly new to the forum and a new owner.  My GTO internals have arrived and as luck would have it, my existing gearbox has started to leak anyway, so surgery is coming soon.


I have not been able to find a good forum post (with pictures?) on all the little details of the removal process for the gearbox.  I read something about the fork sticking..  and maybe some upper link issues.. but the car is 15 years old now, there must be a comprehensive thread out there someplace, yea? 


Also , a list of tools absolutely needed ,and additionally, tools nice to have would be helpful too.  I'm always happy to go shopping!


Lastly, there seems to be some opinion on, "you might as well do this, that and this while you have easy access in there..."


chime in folks!  thanks!

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Easy peasy....

Step one.. disconnect battery as usual.. Remove the rear hatch -- 3 bolts each side and the hatch struts. DO NOT ATTEMPT WITH LESS THAN 2 PEOPLE.. 3 is really necessary... but it can be done with 2. Don't forget to remove the connections (antenna and rear brake light wire) before you try and unbolt anything. MAKE SURE YOU SEE WHERE THE 3 BOLTS GO.. they must be placed in the identical spots when you put it back together.

step two.. remove the rear deck lid (about 16 10mm bolts under the carpet around the perimeter).. don't forget to loosen the two 10mm nuts at the coolant bottle. Also, remove the bolts from the chassis cross member. You may have trouble getting them out.. but, in the next step, you will begin jacking the car up. As you apply more pressure to the jack point at the center of the chassis hoop, the chassis will begin to separate somewhat. While this is happening, you can remove the bolts as their tension will go away.

step three.. loosen the wheel bolts and then jack the car up from the centre of the rear frame hoop then remove the wheels. Now.. get under the car and remove the drain plug from the transmission and drain the fluid into a clean container.

step four.. remove the exhaust system (this isn't completely necessary.. but it makes things easier)

step five.. Remove the top and bottom main hub carrier bolts.. use a large brass drift to hammer the bolts out.

Step six.. get into the back of the car and stand straddled over the transmission

step seven.. have a friend rotate the brake disc until you can see the roll pin on the right drive shaft (located about 1/2" away from the casing of the transmission.. you will also want to line it up with the slots on the lash adjuster) The lash adjuster looks like a huge over-sized beer bottle cap, about 6" in diameter

step 8.. acquire some sort of small diameter (I use an allen key in a socket with a couple of 1/4" socket extensions) and a hammer.. Now.. beat out the roll pins

step 9.. repeat on the opposite side.

step 10.. carefully remove the shafts by simply sliding the shafts away from the transmission (you may want to have your friend pull at the opposite end. Be careful not to separate the cv axles from their receptacles, as they can be hard to re-align later.

step 11.. Remove the clutch slave cylinder (do not pull on the end of the piston) and then remove the clutch fork cover plate that the slave cylinder goes into.

step 12.. pull the clutch fork out and towards the rear of the car until you feel it "Kah-CHUNK".. It is a very evident feeling.

step 13.. Put a jack stand and wooden block under the engine as far back as you can on the oil pan and lower the car slightly until the engine is being supported by the jack stand and wooden blaock. Remove all of the necessary bolts from the transmission to the engine. The transmission will stay bonded to the engine afterwards because of your engine support and the alignment dowels. Now, remove the two linkages, you will need a 8-10mm (can't remember the size) backup wrench at the ball side of the connection to undo them.

Step 14.. grab your engine hoist and slide it to the back of the car and put straps around the front and back of the transmission. the front straps MUST go in front of the output shafts or the strap will slip when you are trying to yank on it.

step 15.. apply mild tension to the straps connected to the engine hoist. You want the transmission to effectively be neutral weight with respect to its mounts

step 16.. remove the transmission mounts FROM THE SIDE of the transmission (three bolts each). Next, remove the vertical bolt on both mounts (the bottom of each bolt needs a 15mm backup wrench that needs to be squeezed between the suspension control arm and the top of the chassis)

step 17.. Apply a little more pressure to the transmission vertically up.

step 18.. lower the car a little bit so that the chassis drops away from the transmission mounts by about 2-3".

step 19.. begin the process of pulling the transmission away from the engine.. First, pry the transmission away from the engine with some pry-bars to get the process started. This should not be a violent job.. And neither is the pulling back of the transmission -- just lower and raise the transmission with the engine hoist to get a point of easy removal.

step 20.. twist the transmission so that it is diagonal in the body and lift it out.

I know.. sounds like a huge job.. it's not.. it's about 4 hours for a newbie.. takes Gary and I about an hour and a half these days... done it a few times.. lol.

Modifying esprit's.. now that's fun..

PS... I AM NOT A CERTIFIED MECHANIC.. I Have chosen to help those in need, in the past and must not be construed as being a certified technician.

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Bloody good writeup dude. Send that to Lotus Esprit World. 


I'm gonna be taking apart my SE next winter for some major TLC and will be using the above! Can't wait to dig in.

Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '97 XK8

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Hehe.. thanks guys.. I may have removed a gearbox or 10.. or 20.. lol

It's funny... as I was writing the instructions.. I would visualize the process and I could actually see in my mind that I had missed a step -- example.. I was writing about how to remove the mounts and I realized that I hadn't instructed you to remove the shift linkages.. I think I have done this too many times.. lol

Oh.. and a little heads up.. I use Permatex "The right stuff" sealant to re-seal the transmission. The factory "anaerobic sealant" is minimally effective.

Modifying esprit's.. now that's fun..

PS... I AM NOT A CERTIFIED MECHANIC.. I Have chosen to help those in need, in the past and must not be construed as being a certified technician.

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Great write-up Mark.


Wondering about the hatch removal.  When Richard did my GTO kit install, I noticed he left the hatch in place.  IIRC he somehow disconnected the lower end of both struts and opened it up very wide, almost vertical.  He held it open with a shock cord hung from the ceiling.  I expect the shock cord length was carefully crafted so he could jack the car up and still keep the hatch wide open.  Thinking about it, I imagine this method only works with a shop ceiling that is sufficiently high though. :)


I haven't had the hatch off my car before, but from your excellent description it sounds reasonably difficult. If you have sufficient clearance leaving it in place might be easier. 





Stu Calgary Alberta ' 69 Plus 2 '0 0 Esprit V8

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Hi Stu!

You can remove the transmission without removing the hatch. I used to have my wife hold it vertically while Gary and I removed the engine and transmission. The hatch removal is actually not that difficult.. so that's why I typically just remove it.

There's one other advantage.. with the hatch removed, there is generally better lighting in the bay.. so you tend to get less frustrated when looking for bolts etc..

Modifying esprit's.. now that's fun..

PS... I AM NOT A CERTIFIED MECHANIC.. I Have chosen to help those in need, in the past and must not be construed as being a certified technician.

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