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Is this much play in the gear stick normal? - Engine & Ancilliaries/Gearbox - The Lotus Forums Jump to content
soldave

Is this much play in the gear stick normal?

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Just wanted to check something with you guys and girls out there.  When the car is in gear I'm getting about an inch or so of play in the gear stick.  See the video below:

 

 

Is this a normal thing, or is there something that might be worn and need replacing?

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Is that 'play', or just the movement across the gate?

 

The only piece I am aware that you can replace is the little plastic saddle that sits directly under the gear lever.  This loses it's corners over time, which results in very very vague gearshifts.  It's easy to get from SJs and to fit it.  

 

This is discussed in some more detail on another post on this forum.

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Sorry, I really should have explained more.  That is movement when the car is actually in 1st gear, so it's not movement across the gate.

 

Was just wondering how much play is classed as "normal" with these things.

Edited by soldave

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The part I was talking about is SJ075F0009  on http://www.sjsportscars.co.uk/index.php?mod=10

 

Its £11+VAT.  You can check your part against the picture before hand too, it you take the gear lever out.

£89 for a new gear lever, but I'd doubt that is the problem, or indeed the gearbox itself.

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Herc.  Thanks.  Will probably see if I can inspect the lever.  That level of play when in gear might just be a normal thing though :)

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Certainly not normal, would have been unaceptable when the car was new. 

 

As mentioned first check would be the plastic saddle at the base of the gear lever, with that amount of play it may be missing completely. 

 

Replaced mine recently and made a big difference, still a bit of play but no where near as bad as your vid.

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Certainly not normal, would have been unaceptable when the car was new. 

 

As mentioned first check would be the plastic saddle at the base of the gear lever, with that amount of play it may be missing completely. 

 

Replaced mine recently and made a big difference, still a bit of play but no where near as bad as your vid.

Thanks Mark.  That's the confirmation I was looking for.  Will try to check it out tomorrow if I have the chance.  Can you remove the gear lever easy enough without that "special tool" mentioned in the service manual?

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Whether you need a special tool depends on how tight the plastic nut will be i think ?, i was lucky in that mine was fairly loose (had been out before), there will be a lock tab under the plastic nut to knock back but apart from that it's pretty straightforward.

 

I read something about having the car in a certain gear but i dont think that's needed if just removing the stick (i didn't bother), think that's when removing the top inspection plate from the box which is a bit of a swine to get back on.

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The manual recommends selecting 3rd or 4th gear.

 

The special tools isn't necessary.  I just use a pair of gland nut pliers and a lot of skin off my knuckles.

You bend the tabs flat and you need to remove a bolt near the locking ring.

 

It's a faff, but you just need a bit of perseverance.

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OK, with my limited tools and knowledge of these things I got so far but didn't know where to go from here to check the condition of this plastic saddle below the stick.  I've seen these locking tabs mentioned but am not sure if I got that far down or not.

 

Could someone take a look at these pics and advise my next step.

post-17588-0-91590900-1413131381.jpg

post-17588-0-88585700-1413131384.jpg

Edited by soldave

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Sorry, I missed your last post.  Did you sort it?  

 

It looks a bit odd to me - no locking ring and is that welding instead?  Looks like someone has welded the gear lever assembly onto the gearbox?  And the nylon collar is all broken.  I suspect the locking ring disintegrated and someone got their welding torch out.

 

I can get you a pic of mine later in the week if you are still stuck.  There is a pic of the lever assembly on the SJ SportsCars site, and also in the manual.  I suspect you are going to need a whole new top plate for the gearbox and a new gear level assembly.  A call to LotusBits is probably the place to  start.

 

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.  Let's hope I am wrong.

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Look on my thread, I'm pretty sure I have the photos you need, yours does look odd, some diy repairs going on there.

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I didn't sort it yet but very interesting what you're saying on this.  John - can you comment?

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http://www.thelotusforums.com/forums/topic/63099-right-then-better-start-my-77-s1-project/page-2

You have no locking ring, and is that weld around the bottom, looks a mess (not your fault) some monkey has botched that repair.

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http://www.thelotusforums.com/forums/topic/63099-right-then-better-start-my-77-s1-project/page-2

You have no locking ring, and is that weld around the bottom, looks a mess (not your fault) some monkey has botched that repair.

Thanks for the link.  Wow... that does look quite different. :(

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Hi guys, ok to shed light on this subject, this is not a botched repair as suggested by some, ( Herc, how can you weld the gear lever to the gearbox and still be able to change gear, With it welded !!, glad to see you said Hope you are wrong ) what happened here was the locking ring had lost most of its tabs, in fact I think there were only one or two left so this piece of tin was made up as a replacement, it was cut to fit the saddle of the gear leaver as in like a two pronged fork, a run of weld was made around the inside edge to give it a bit of strength then it was ground down to make a neat fit. There is a tang just towards the rear of what you see and this has two holes drilled in it which is bolted to the gearbox casing and that keeps it secure, look at the first photograph, just behind Davids thumb, you can just see the head of the first bolt, this was far better than the locking tabs and you don't rip your fingers to bits trying to unscrew the plastic. Oh and if you are really clever you can use it as a tool to unscrew the plastic saddle as it's a perfect fit. This was a very common modification when I used to race stock cars away back in the early 70's. So guys to reiterate, it is not some monkey who has done a botched repair and the marks on the plastic saddle are where some other previous owner had used a screwdriver or something similar to unscrew the plastic. Secondly, I can confirm that if you plan to remove the gear lever to make any changes you simply MUST MUST engage 3/4 gear BEFORE removing the leaver or is simply will not go back in again and you will have to remove the engine and gearbox, remove the top plate, reset the selectors with the gearbox in second, which can be a pig as I found when I fitted the rebuilt gearbox.

David, if you have any further problems, send me an email. I am currently back overseas but can access me emails between midnight and 5 am we have a security blocker on at all other times, strange, yes but hey this is the Kazi country.

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Rather than go to all that bother, why didn't you just source a new lever and lock ring, they aren't that hard to find? Without you explanation it looks like a dodgy repair, sorry. 

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Hi Charlie, that would be the norm but as the car was due on show and it was a couple of days before I was going back overseas, the mod was fine and as I said I had done it many times before on old Ford box's. Admittedly it doesn't look the best but rest assured it is a good fix for an age old problem with the tabs and keeps everything locked in place and simple to remove again. I must admit to anyone who hasn't done this mod before it does from the photograph look a bit ropey but when as I said you remove the two bolts you simply turn the part and it acts like a spanner by holding the plastic saddle and unscrews, one for the memory banks maybe. It would look far nicer being made in a piece of alloy plate or even if I had ground the welds down a bit but it is what it is and it's fully functional and in my mind an improvement on those bloody awful tabs and sharp edges.

No apology required, everyone is allowed an opinion and hey we have all got it wrong at some point, hence we have had world wars, fights over football and every other stupid thing on the planet. I even once bought at Wartborg as a daily runner. Now that was getting it wrong.

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Well that's that cleared up I think :)

 

Still might have a look at it at some point and see what state the saddle underneath it all is in.

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John's description matches pretty much what I thought had been done.   

 

His mod it's not dissimilar in concept to the top of the '60s ZF in my Alvis.  That suffers from the problem that you have no adjustment in it vertically - you have to shim it or reshape the cover.  I would have though the Lotus original screw fitting, knuckle-scraping as it is, has some element of adjustment in it. 

 

Which leaves the original issue of why the level is wobbly.  Hopefully the lever can be removed and the new saddle tried.  The pic seems to show a split nylon collar, which is doubtless a bad thing.  

 

I'd personally restore the original arrangement:  see what LotusBits want for a second hand level assembly and anything that needs replacing.  The locking ring tabs all disintegrate, so worse case you have to stump up £100 an get a new lever assembly (B050F6094Z) from SJs.

Edited by Herc

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Which leaves the original issue of why the level is wobbly.  Hopefully the lever can be removed and the new saddle tried.  The pic seems to show a split nylon collar, which is doubtless a bad thing.  

I'm guessing the nylon collar is a part of the gear lever assembly, and can't be replaced on its own?  Ah well, will try and take it apart this weekend and see what I can find.

 

Must remember to put it in 3rd or 4th.  Must remember to put it in 3rd or 4th...

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From your pictures it is evident that the circlip is missing that fits above the rubber on the gear stick.

Using without the circlip allows excessive lift in the stick and excess play.

Looking at the state of the stick assembly from your pictures it is basically a butchered piece of scrap.

 

I would replace with a new or good secondhand one. In comparison to the Lotus it looks like Escort MK1 or 2 / Cortina 3 4 or 5 however there are different sizes denoted by the colour of the plastic nut and the angle of the stick shaft. The angle can be changed with the use of the trusty FBH and a vice.

.

The stick assembly was not one of Fords greatest achievements.

It was easy for a DPO or DPM to crossthread the plastic thread into the gearbox, particularly if the circlip was not removed first and refitted later. The locking tabs always broke off and was only was only improved upon in the Sierra. This had a three screw fitting instead of the plastic screw, (Not possible to fit to the Lotus).

 

If a previous owner had left the plastic screw loose or crossthreaded, the threads would wear rapidly and it was a regular occurance to have a completely disengaged gear stick in your hand. I have come across ones glued in with Araldite, not recommended if ever you wish to remove it. A handy bodge if selling the car. Tut, tut, what am I saying!

Fitting the aforementioned circlip on an Escort or Cortina was a pain to fit even with better access than the Lotus. I have spent hours searching the workshop floor for circlips that sprang off whist fitting.

 

So Dave have a scout around the breakers in Wakefield for a Ford stick or bite the bullet and go to SJS.

Another option is a quick shift kit. Available from Escort rally suppliers, have a look on the web.

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P.S.

Almost forgot to mention. When the gearstick is out of the gearbox. Look down into to gear box and see if the plastic piece where the fork on the stick engages is present or in good condition. If not replace it. It stops gearstick buzz at speed.

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Just had a look on the web.

 

I came across GS Escorts in Widnes. (I did ask how much for a hand job but they said they sell Escort parts. Only joking).

 

They sell s/hand Escort sticks at £12 inc vat plus delivery. So if it matches the Lotus stick a cheap buy.

 

What particularly interested me was a rose jointed quick shift lever they offer for £45 inc vat plus delivery.

 

This I am going to check out at my earliest opportunity. Their picture shows a gearstick with altered fulcrum with steel spacer and looks a doddle to fit.

 

Widnes is not far from me and if this fits the Lotus Elite/Eclat it is the best of both worlds.

 

Fit and forget.and less stick travel.

 

I will report back later.

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Thanks for the thoughts and do let us know if the quick shifter fits.

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