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Gearstick snapped

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I was driving the car into work this morning and at the last turning I could not select a gear at the traffic lights.  V embarrassing - then I got 3rd and clutched it to get it moving so I could get it onto a bit of road where I could stop.

I did this (smelly clutch).


Then I stopped and to my horror the gear stick has broken!


While waiting for the AA I removed all the stuff around the stick, disconnecting the window lift buttons etc.


The stick is broken!


Not only had one part broke off but various other pieces had crunched up.


The stick is literally separated from the car!


The car is now with Taff at SGT (probably one of the most trusted Lotus people I know - he rang me up as soon as the AA arrived with it).


The discussion we had lead to a bit of fear.


Those sticks are not available.


Currently he is ringing around all the people he knows, including someone who has a burnt out esprit where the cabin is still intact.


I'm crossing my fingers folks - the thought that a high profile experienced Lotus nut (and I mean that in a good way!) is searching around his contacts fills me with fear.


He told me that he has never seen this happen before. Ever.   He told me the car was lovely and during the discussion I mentioned where I got it from and something came up in the discussion that gave us a possible root cause.


When I test drove it the dealer told me that the gear alignment was out but they would fix that.  To go from 3rd to 2nd you had to whack it left to locate 2nd.


Obviously at the time I took these instructions and the promise of a fix as 'current'.

However - how long had this Lotus been driven in such a manner?  Something I never thought about (why would I?)


He (and I) believe that this 'abusive' method of gear change must have caused fatigue if it had been going on for a while (and remember the previous owner could not afford to service it).  So I think we have our root cause.


I cannot bear to think of losing this car so in case Taff cannot locate an S4 (S4s) gear stick mechanism does anyone know where one could be found?  Is there anyone out there breaking an S4 right-off or whatever?


Any help would be ABSOLUTELY appreciated!


Can you believe the luck I'm getting with this car?   Bottom line is I really love it though.


I guess that if it REALLY ends up as a write off just because there are no gear sticks out there then I can fall back on the warranty.


You might well have guessed why I'm not using my rights to get this fixed under warranty for the moment!

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There's a chap there (Taff).   He appears to work like a contractor for them rather than an SGT employee.  I'm not sure of the arrangement.

If you ever have the chance to meet him you will find a mine of information.  And he'll never be too busy to talk to you.

I recommend him massively.

Taff knows someone who can make alloy moulds etc but that would be amazingly expensive, apparently

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I'm not having a go as I don't know him so couldn't comment on him personally but it has been quite a few years since SGT were a Lotus main dealer. 


Having read some of the problems that you've had with your car I suppose I'm just a bit surprised that you've not taken it to a 'recognised' expert in fixing Esprits or at least asking who might be the best person/garage to take it to.


I hope he helps you sort it out.

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  • Gold FFM

Why is this your problem?  Straight back to the seller.

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British Fart to Florida, Nude to New York, Dunce to Denmark, Numpty to Newfoundland.  And Shitfaced Silly Sod to Sweden.

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Hahahahaha how the **** did you manage to snap the gearstick off!?!!?!?


No worries, even if the world goes to shit, there's always Douglas Valley Breakers - they'll probably sell you a stick for £795.


No but seriously, check the burnt out wine red S4 on eBay and contact the seller - he probably can hook you up.

Vanya Stanisavljevic '91 Esprit SE | '97 XK8

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Bazza - it's ok - I didn't take it as 'having a go'.  I don't really know SGT 'the company' as such however I was fortunate enough to be attended to by Taff back in 2000 when I had my first Esprit.  He lives, breathes, drinks Lotus and has helped me a few times with advice, knowledge etc with no regard to charging me.  When the AA delivered the car to SGT he was straight on the phone telling me it had arrived and explaining the history of the stick mechanism and involvement he's had in the past in all things 'Esprit'.  It could have been a different story if the first SGT visit didn't involve Taff I guess.  I get your point though.


Sparky - I fully appreciate your sentiment (genuinely) however it took ages to find the right model in the right colour etc and I already have become 'hooked' to it.  My first point of call is my nearest dealer with a willingness to pay otherwise it's back to Southampton and waiting ages to see it back.  My 'final option' will be to use the warranty if I cannot get hold of the stick and linkage, before the warranty runs out - like a safety net.


superdavelotus - thanks for the info - I will get an email out tonight and contact them tomorrow - cheers.


'Lotusbits' - I think Taff has tried them but I'll make sure and try that route.


Bibs - 8" high heels at that!  Actually - I really am very worried.  The fact that major failures can get fixed somehow yet a bloody gearstick is like hens teeth.  I'm addicted to driving the thing and - yes - I'm a bit panicky about the whole thing - owning a car with an engine, gearbox, clutch, loads of other things just how I like it - except for..... that bloody stick!  Sorry if I sound melodramatic but I'm genuinely worried.  Especially after saving up for a dream to come true.  Hmmm, that sounds a bit drama-queen too. Apologies!


Vanya - snapped at the base.  Lots of bits that should be together!  Already beat you to the breaker!



Thanks for the leads, chaps.  I'll get onto it.  

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Surely any engineering firm can make you a stick?

Amateurs built the Ark

Professionals built the Titanic

"I haven't ridden in cars pulled by cows before" "Bullocks, Mr.Belcher" "No, I haven't, honestly"

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The chap at SGT says he knows someone who could engineer a stick as a one-off but he reckons that it would be very expensive.


They used to keep a 'spare concorde' when they stopped making bits for that plane.  If I had the money..........

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The earlier cars like my 89SE, the rod is just a straight rod, would be easy.


On your S4s, it should look something like this.




Not sure where your's broke, or the actual inner construction of those shifters on the later cars like your S4s...


Vulcan Grey 89SE

My Lotus Photo and Projects Album

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Steve relax buddy, your posts read like your world has just caved in. Its just a gearstick you will get another and fix it don't panic, as already mentioned their is a guy on ebay breaking a s4 right now or try or one of them will have a gearstick its really not a problem.

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To Vulcan G - Unfortunately the stick innards changed a little bit in the 90's - your picture is close but there's a coupe of ball socket joints and an extended square shaped taller at the bottom than the top with a hole in it.  "in place" (lower picture) it looks very close except for the lack of ball and socket joints.  Thanks for the pics though.



Sailorbob - I'll be on to them right after I hit 'post' here !


jimblob - thanks for the 'virtual valium'  :-)  Another resource to check. Ta.



Funny how things escalate - the car has been lifted for inspection and left overnight.  There's now a damp oil spot right under the car which is transmission oil.  Hopefully just a new seal but Taf wants to look in there 'proper' to why that's come up - he's quoted 1.5 hours.  He's also spotted an issue with a clutch but does not strictly need to be done right now if I want to cut the spend.  I cannot remember all the details about the clutch side as I was parking a car while talking!


He's found 2 gear sticks but is waiting for pictures of them because of a change in design in '96 or something.


One thing that made me smile a bit in all this - "it won't be ready for the weekend, I'm afraid".   What a difference in attitude with the waiting game for the fuel pump (other thread).

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The item with the ball joints on it is a part of the master unit mechanism rather than the gear lever. This is only available as a complete unit with very few parts (washers and bushes etc) available as spares (I had to get a small run of springs made up when I found the gear lever centering spring broken in mine).

Edited by sailorbob
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my ca was fine but had a rad pipe go now needs a headgasket etc, but this has lead to new rear dampers etc and more..


just got to get on with it, but if you bought from a dealer and it has issues i'd have issues with the dealer..

Amateurs built the Ark

Professionals built the Titanic

"I haven't ridden in cars pulled by cows before" "Bullocks, Mr.Belcher" "No, I haven't, honestly"

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my ca was fine but had a rad pipe go now needs a headgasket etc, but this has lead to new rear dampers etc and more..



Funny how that happens (the other meaning of 'funny').  Whilst on the operating table at SGT (a car lift) the engine oil leak spots I was having is actually transmission fluid leaking.  And has progressed a bit.  Also the waste gate actuator is knakered..


Oh and then there's some set up somewhere which confused me but the upshot is that a certain part - in it's current condition - could lead to the suspension and stuff dropping.  He was pretty concerned about that.


And then there's an issue with the clutch which I forget the details but it is not dangerous to 'live with it' if I wanted it fixed at a later time.


Taff's first words were 'Wow, it's gorgeous, isn't it' but having had a good inspection he could tell it had missed being serviced for some years.


Yes, you tend to get a major failure and somehow other parts and mechanisms throw a wobbly in sympathy!!

Just ordered some parts from Steve at SJs and he said he was getting some gearsticks manufactured as they are obsolete and he needed some for stock.

Great coincidence.


Anyway - I've had what should be good news.


A replacement has been found and is on it's way to Maidenhead.  It's also in v good condition.

I'll be happy once it's in there doing the job it was born for!!


He's going to try to get it sorted early next week (the part should arrive on Monday).   Fingers crossed etc.

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"A replacement has been found and is on it's way to Maidenhead."


:thumbup: Most excellent. One of those rare times when a parts merchant "sticks it to you" and you're a happy camper.

Being second is to be the first of the ones who lose.

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