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Glyn Harper

Gearbox woes

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At some point we all need to use specialist.

It would be great if there was a link on the forum up to date that recommends experts who members have already selected based on cost/efficiency/product/location etc. 

If the service provider offers a discount for any recommendations then other members benefit.

I know nothing about gearboxes, its a dark art to me. I just find it hard to believe that alternative boxes Renault or otherwise aren't available to keep the cost down. I made an assumption when I bought the car that a new gearbox would be hundreds £s not thousands. My last Lotus was an 1986 Excel and the gearbox for this was bullet proof.

Please let me know how you get on with refurb and if the supplier is UK mainland?

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I will post how I get on.. possibly with some internal pictures depending on what happens.

Going to be a while though. I'm not bothering to take the box out till this weekend.

Got me thinking now whether I should keep an eye our for a UN1-27 V8 gearbox as well, on my list of boxes to look out for.

I have a brand new front gear change mechanism I purchased about 10 years ago in the parts sale. It's whether I can get the correct bowden cables and other bits though I guess. Investigate this, I will.

But for the time being, I'm going to rebuild my current box and cross my fingers.

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The gear selector on the UN 27 V8 box is on the left side, the UN 26 is on the right, but the torque capacity is the same on both, so you may want to take that into account if you're looking to buy.

If you've not had a gearbox overhaul for 15 years, then you've done well, especially with such a high powered engine.

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Yeah, I read up a bit more. The V8 selector only fits the V8 as the water pipes in the central tunnel are moved down. Or something like that.

So it's really the UN1-26 I'd be after.

It's more like 17 years since it's last overhaul! And it's probably done maybe 20,000 miles in that time (I'm really guessing though) so if I get the same again, I can live with that I guess.

I'll just hold off that nitrous install I was going to fit. (joke)

Still going to be £1800 though. Ouch. And then when it's running again, I'll still have a leak in my charge cooler system and all the other little faults I needs to resolve. :(

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1 hour ago, ian29gte said:

The gear selector on the UN 27 V8 box is on the left side, the UN 26 is on the right, but the torque capacity is the same on both, so you may want to take that into account if you're looking to buy.

If you've not had a gearbox overhaul for 15 years, then you've done well, especially with such a high powered engine.

To add to Ian's point, I don't see a reason to prevent you obtaining a V8 box and swapping over the selector mechanism and rear casting to convert the V8 box to suit your car's selector mechanism.

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5 hours ago, Glyn Harper said:

Sorry all, just a bit depressed about the whole thing today.. no good news really.

I just spoke to the guy that rebuilt my gearbox last time, and I do indeed remember he's moved buildings from when he last did it.. which was 16 years ago!! So in actual fact, I think it was more like 17 years ago it was last done. Time flies.

He spoke a lot of sense though. We discussed the amount of miles I do, and did back then, and it was certainly more when I first got it than these days. He said (and it's a good lesson to everyone) that not using them really does hurt them as the oil runs off all the gears and you get condensation building up on the shafts and the gears. He said every few weeks they should just be run for 4 or 5 minutes, the gears selected to make sure the shafts are lubricated, and they should last a lot longer.

I've only been using mine a few times a year for the last 10 or 12 years, so it's probably not surprising it's gone bad.

The extra torque I have probably isn't as much of a problem, as I just don't thrash it, track it or anything like that. I know they were built to be driven hard, but I do drive it nicely. Quick, but not like an idiot. I don't do wheel spins or dump the clutch or anything like that.

So, I'm just tempted to get this one rebuilt again as it was 17 years ago, and hopefully I'll get another 17 years out of it.. I'll certainly be doing less miles than I did when I first had it rebuilt.

Puts the state of the oil into perspective as well.. it's 17 years worth of oil and swarf that came out when I drained it.

I think the lesson here, is to change your gear oil every couple of years, and start the car and run it when it's sat in storage.

Just hope he can still get hold of the correct crown wheel and pinion, which Is the most critical part I gather.

I'll leave the power as is I reckon. It may not last 60,000 miles.. but if it lasts 6,000 miles, that's about 15 years with the usage it gets.

I'll keep an eye out for a UN1-26, which may come up in a few years time if I'm lucky, then think about swapping it at that point. Otherwise I really am going to go nowhere.

I'd be far more interested in the actual findings of what's inside that box than a theory. 

Please remember they use these transmissions in gt40 kits and do put a whole lot more through them even without the shaft upgrade. As long as you don't sprint race off the line and spin the wheels 1-2 it will cope. On and off the throttle in 5th going up a hill ain't a good idea either.

a very large percentage of failures of these boxes - are often 5000 miles or so after a rebuild - and that's cos they haven't been set up right 

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Thanks Barry. This is pretty much what he was saying. As long as you don't hammer them, then they're pretty good gearboxes. I don't know as much about gearboxes so I can only take his word on stuff.. He did say when they fail because of power, then it's the shafts that go. In my case I'm losing case hardening off the gears which could just be down to wear and tear, and lack of use. Don't know. I think when it's opened up I'll know a lot more.

I do appreciate everyones responses, by the way. Bit of a miserable time really.. mainly because of all the unknowns, and the 'do I try and get a later style box' situation or not. I keep changing my mind.

Probably going to be safer to just rebuild mine though. If I get something second hand, I just have no idea how it's been treated of what condition it's in. As well as all the extra work converting selectors over and stuff. Still a possibility I'm considering though.

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4 hours ago, Chillidoggy said:

The gear selector on the UN 27 V8 box is on the left side, the UN 26 is on the right, but the torque capacity is the same on both, so you may want to take that into account if you're looking to buy.

If you've not had a gearbox overhaul for 15 years, then you've done well, especially with such a high powered engine.

The translator is on the right on the V8 same as yours.

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Just a thought, fifth gear ratio is the difference between the 026 and 027, as fifth gear is housed in the end cover on the back of the box it may be possible to change this without a complete stripdown, as this is also where the gearchange mechanism is housed could it be possible to use your existing left mounted translator end cover and fifth?  You would need to consult a specialist to advise on this possibility. 

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That’s an interesting option.

Any specialists on here give me any advice on this? I think I’m going to need to retain the selector mechanism from my gearbox, if I did decide to go with the un27.

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Kevin and Lee at GTO racing are specialists in UN1 transaxles, if anyone will know what options are available to you, they will. 

They're not on here, you'll have to look them up on the net.

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11 hours ago, Steve V8 said:

The translator is on the right on the V8 same as yours.

Up to 1997, yes. There was a change to the linkage orientation between 1998 - 2004. It's on the other side, although it may be possible to convert back, not sure. Pretty sure all the GT3 UN 28 boxes are left hand side change.

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I think this is an indication of how much it can actually cost to run an Esprit. At the present time I budget on £1,500 - £2,000 every winter, and if it comes within that, then whoopee, and that's with me doing the work. Those figures include maintenance and improvements already carried out, and intended in the future, but they should reduce as I've replaced/spent so much already (can't be much left to do), but you can be caught out at any time with a sizeable bill like a gearbox or engine rebuild. Or an exhaust manifold, in Barry's case.

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2 hours ago, Chillidoggy said:

I think this is an indication of how much it can actually cost to run an Esprit. At the present time I budget on £1,500 - £2,000 every winter, and if it comes within that, then whoopee, and that's with me doing the work. Those figures include maintenance and improvements already carried out, and intended in the future, but they should reduce as I've replaced/spent so much already (can't be much left to do), but you can be caught out at any time with a sizeable bill like a gearbox or engine rebuild. Or an exhaust manifold, in Barry's case.

You are gonna suffer an agonising death....

i hope you feel the pins going in the voodoo doll now.

to be fair - on my esprit I have no budget allocation at all. However £2-3k is sensible and fairly representative of what mine cost. Still better than drinking it down the pub

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I reckon I’ve spent roughly £1000 a year on mine, averaged out over 19 years. But a lot of that has been upgrading parts as I replace them. Things like the Sport 350 wheels, 98 spec interior, Brembo brakes, bells and rotors like the Sport 350.. so I can’t grumble as it’s been a constant process of improvement rather than just repair and replacement.

Although now I think all my upgrades are pretty much done, I’m into that repair and replacement phase. Can’t grumble really I suppose.. I’m just not looking forward to this gearbox removal. I won’t mind once it’s back in and working again!

I joke to my friends that it’s like Concorde.. for every hour driving it needs 14 hours maintenance.

Edited by Glyn Harper

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