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adma23

Original Poster:

54 posts

26 months

[news] 
Monday 9th July 2012 quote quote all
Really hoping someone out there can help.

I have bought a 2007 Exige S. It has been tuned by Lotus in Holland by its previous owner. Not sure what power it is running but it started out as a 220 and was charge cooled, had injectors changed, smaller pulley etc etc. Only relevance to my issue is that as a result of the tuning it is probably putting more torque into the 'box and the engine bay is heating more than a standard S.

Also I am from Malta which is HOT (hovering around 38 degrees celsius today for example).

the problem is that after half an hour of driving, downshifting into second becomes nearly impossible. Then after a further quarter of an hour, the whole gearbox becomes very stiff especially in the traffic. Once i start driving again, the second gear still has a problem but other gears seem ok except first and reverse which become very very difficult to select. It seems like shifting towards the left side of the gear lever becomes problematic in general and i have to push even further left. There comes a point when reverse crunches to go in after struggling with it.

I might have two problems - synchro on second is dead so when oil loses viscosity second gear just becomes problematic. But as to the other gears? it is a mystery to me (and the several mechanics engineers who have helped out on my car).

I have changed clutch, pressure plate and clutch slave cylinder.
I have heat wrapped the gear linkages cables at the side of the engine/box.
I have used race spec transmission fluid (Motul).
I have removed the pipes which push against the yellow zinc coated weight near the linkages at the side of the engine.
NO IMPROVEMENT

1. What could it be?
2. Why does it only do it when hot?????

Had a track day a few months back and it would only give me one lap on the track before jamming.

I am seriously disappointed in this car. Did not expect a Lotus to have such a primitive 'box and gear-shifting mechanism.

Shall be shipping it to Greg at Hangar 111 with the hope that he can fix it once and for all.

Ta.

Arun_D

1,921 posts

80 months

[news] 
Tuesday 10th July 2012 quote quote all
As you probably know, I believe an issue that a few people suffer from is the stretching of the gear selector cables with heat, which can make selecting gears quite not so easy. With repeated heat cycles the cables can be prone to failure. There are upgraded Lotus Sport cables which available which a more resistant to this.

However, I see you've heat wrapped your cables already, so maybe the mystery continues.



Edited by Arun_D on Tuesday 10th July 07:17

scode

41 posts

36 months

[news] 
Tuesday 10th July 2012 quote quote all
sounds like your car will be pushing out 300bhp, in which case gearbox problems are only a matter of time. normally 3rd gear goes first though

on exiges.com they seem to think the best bet is to cool the gearbox as much as possible, obviously tricky given your location.

adma23

Original Poster:

54 posts

26 months

[news] 
Tuesday 10th July 2012 quote quote all
scode said:
sounds like your car will be pushing out 300bhp, in which case gearbox problems are only a matter of time. normally 3rd gear goes first though

on exiges.com they seem to think the best bet is to cool the gearbox as much as possible, obviously tricky given your location.
Am still awaiting exiges.com membership smile Apparently EVERYTHING to do with Lotus means time, money or most often both!

bordseye

936 posts

77 months

[news] 
Tuesday 10th July 2012 quote quote all
Lots Of Trouble Usually Serious ;-)

You might blame Lotus for the linkage but blame Toyota for the gearbox. truth to tell, both engine and gearbox are really at their comfortable limit at about 200bhp give or take a bit. If you are really pumping out 300bhp then you are taking both of them beyond the limits they were designed for and by quite a way. That is bound to affect both reliability and cost of operation.
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m1nky

141 posts

92 months

[news] 
Tuesday 10th July 2012 quote quote all
I'm following this with interest as I've just had a quote from Christopher Neil to upgrade my 220 with their 260 package which actually gives approx 280bhp?
My concern is whether or not the gearbox is upto the job (I can upgrade he clutch), the dealer told me that it won't be a problem, after all the 240 / 260 variants use the same box .
It would seem that reliability may be affected though?

farook

111 posts

114 months

[news] 
Tuesday 10th July 2012 quote quote all
Hi,

I have had this problem when it's been hot (on the couple of days it was >30) and it's 2nd gear which is problem for me too. But it's not hot here that much so it's not being a big problem. My car was under warranty and they checked everything and could not find a problem - but suspected the gear cables. I have a 2010 Exige s 240 running the 260 upgrade.

I was told that the Motorsport cables make the gearshift much more clunky and stiffer....

Hope Greg sorts it and I would be keen to hear the solution. Best, f

bordseye

936 posts

77 months

[news] 
Wednesday 11th July 2012 quote quote all
m1nky said:
I'm following this with interest as I've just had a quote from Christopher Neil to upgrade my 220 with their 260 package which actually gives approx 280bhp?
My concern is whether or not the gearbox is upto the job (I can upgrade he clutch), the dealer told me that it won't be a problem, after all the 240 / 260 variants use the same box .
It would seem that reliability may be affected though?
There is a fair body of reported practical experience suggesting the box is not up to hard use and 280 bhp. As far as I know, designed it for cars with typically less than 150bhp. Suggest you do a forum search on the subject rather than believe a dealer with a vested interest.

adma23

Original Poster:

54 posts

26 months

[news] 
Wednesday 11th July 2012 quote quote all
Dear all I have read the replies with interest and I shall try and include my response to all in bullet form. I have spent literally sleepless nights scouring all possible forums in my research on the subject and to save you all a lot of time the following are my findings:

1. The 2ZZ gearbox was taken straight from Toyota and put on the Exige without modifications. It was therefore tried and tested by Toyota for up to 190 BHP Natural Aspirated. Same for torque which is even more relevant to this topic.
2. The Linkages were developed by Lotus and are very poorly heat wrapped.
3. The synchros are referred to on most forums as 'made of cheese'. They speak matter of factly about WHEN not IF the 'box gives in on a supercharged car.
4. Generally synchros and third and fourth gear are most common failures. However second gear syncrhro known to fail (tell me about it).
5. Uprating oil can help but will not solve the problem.
6. The only real alternative gearboxes are another Corolla gearbox which has a slightly longer final gear (and is just as fragile but costs less to replace) and the E153 gearbox from the MR2 Turbo which needs quite a lot of power to work properly and it is 5 gear which is ok for circuit use. alternatively you can go the expensive route and custom fit an Audi or Honda gearbox. Eliseparts had a Honda adaptor kit launched las year but not sure whether it is still in production.
7. General consensus is that a gearbox oil cooler can help a lot towards preventing damages.
8. There is no 100% reliable solution as yet.
9. Linkages are extremely expensive to replace.

Truth be said. It is a fantastic car but I am extremely disappointed in Lotus for a number of reasons. I was prepared to compromise on the build quality to have a fantastic handling car but the fact that I cannot even use it at its limits pretty much makes the car useless to me. I come from a Honda S2000 which didn't have a fraction of the handling of the Exige but at least I could literally do over a hundred laps in a day in scorching temperatures and then just drive the car home without missing as much as a single beat.

I am a happy Lotus owner don't get me wrong. But i am also tired of trying to solve issue after issue rather than enjoying what could potentially be a fantastic car.



jfk01

106 posts

69 months

[news] 
Wednesday 11th July 2012 quote quote all
Pretty much spot on with the above post .
One thing I might add is that the Audi box will not fit without extensive modification including chopping the subframe ...
It is a major achilles heel frown

macgtech

887 posts

44 months

[news] 
Friday 13th July 2012 quote quote all
We have had this problem too, and it did return to normal when everything cools down - we took temperature readings off the casing and it was very hot (cant remember the exact reading now but too hot to touch) so we determined that the internals running too hot. We thought that if it were the cables, the issue would remain when cold.

The best bet as suggested here would be to fit a cooler. A small (235mm 7 row) radiator can be bought for circa £60, we would recommend -8 lines, and a Mocal oil pump (circa £120-£150); I would guess a total of £250 for all the parts with the lines and fittings included. We were going to go down this route but stopped using the Exige on track so didn't do it in the end. There are plenty of places on the Exige/Elise to mount the cooler, and I would suspect that this is certainly the problem as mentioned previously.

The only complication/issue would be where to take the oil lines off, we never got this far but at worst its a case of taking the box off and getting a hole tapped for the fittings. I am sure someone who has done this (there must be plenty of people running big power Superchargers/Turbos etc who have done it).

Replacement cables are easily sourced from a company like Felstead (they do ones with high temperature outer sheaths too). My car seems to have a much more positive gearshift than others I have driven, so I suspect that the previous owner changed the linkages or bushes at some point - it's certainly an improvement over the others I have tried and I am sure it would not cost too much to do.

The fatigue strength of metals reduces at elevated temperature, so keeping things cool is the order of the day. One thing to note on the above discussion is that the Lotus is considerably lighter than the Celica so the loading through it would be reduced, but this could well be negated if high grip R888's or similar are used regularly - instead of the wheels spinning, the torque is transmitted through the transmission at a higher level.

bordseye

936 posts

77 months

[news] 
Friday 13th July 2012 quote quote all
adma23 said:
I am a happy Lotus owner don't get me wrong. But i am also tired of trying to solve issue after issue rather than enjoying what could potentially be a fantastic car.
Its not clear exactly where power output scale that the unreliability starts to appear but I suspect it is north of the standard R and SC output levels. Certainly I dont think it is reasonable to buy an already highly tuned car and then blame Lotus for it becoming unreliable after further tuning to higher outputs. Or to put it another way, if you want a 300bhp car then buy one that the manufacturer sells at 300 bhp output. Or alternatively do what Ronan has done and re- engineer it.

Esprit

6,343 posts

168 months

[news] 
Saturday 14th July 2012 quote quote all
adma23 said:
Truth be said. It is a fantastic car but I am extremely disappointed in Lotus for a number of reasons. I was prepared to compromise on the build quality to have a fantastic handling car but the fact that I cannot even use it at its limits pretty much makes the car useless to me. I come from a Honda S2000 which didn't have a fraction of the handling of the Exige but at least I could literally do over a hundred laps in a day in scorching temperatures and then just drive the car home without missing as much as a single beat.
A bit rose-tinted don't you think? Using the S2000, even in stock form, hard on bumpy surfaces is known to destroy the weak differential. I've seen many in NZ towed off the track with blown diffs.

Running a cooler on a track-used gearbox is wise, regardless of the car. On a gearbox like the Toyota that is perhaps marginal on torque, it's essential.

I've got a Quaife 6-speed PG1 Rover gearbox behind my tuned VHPD and I run a cooler on it. I also have a temperature sensor on the gear oil datalogged by the ECU and I also control the cooler pump with the ECU. In normal driving, the gearbox oil temp creeps up to about 65-70 degrees over a long time. On track the oil temp gets hot very quickly, the oil cooler is set to come on under full throttle above 65 degrees and on full time at 80 degrees. The the hottest I've seen it is 82 degrees, but it'd rapidly go higher without the cooler.

Also bear in mind that in a front engined car the box has a lot more air-cooling than in a mid-engined car with an undertray like the Elise/Exige..... so cooling really helps when used hard! smile

Edited by Esprit on Saturday 14th July 01:57

TarmacT

28 posts

131 months

[news] 
Thursday 19th July 2012 quote quote all
This problem has nothing to do with the gearbox itself, It is entirely cable related. I have had this problem twice with standard cables and once with m/s cables while doing extended periods of driving on track (funny enough about an hour and a half into a session) but I could see driving on the road in hotter climates causing the same problem...

Basically at the gearbox end the two gear cables have a black plastic sheath that extends out past the point where they clamp to the top of the gearbox.

After a couple of hours of hard running the plastic ends start to become so hot and pliable that instead of the cable pushing against the gear change mech it finds it much easier to bend the plastic out to the side and simply not engage the gear. If you keep going you'll find the gear stick will eventually start hitting the handbrake lever it will have that much travel in it. (it will always be either 2nd or 4th that are the problem gears as they operate off the same gear throw). As soon as they cool down the plastic re-hardens and you have your gears back...

The Motorsport cables, although stronger and don't have the plastic ends also fail through the same heat exposure (they don't not engage the gear they just seize up solid basically with the metal to metal contact they have with the heat).

I'm trying a completely new approach to the problem as my car is track use only and anything more than an hours running and we have the same issue over and over. This is not a power relayed problem as I'm only running a 111R...

Ive had some metal inserts made up to replace the plastic ones on the standard cables which dont have the same close tolerance of the motorsport ones and are relatively cheap and easy to swap out on the car without too much trouble.

Speak to Datum Motorsport in Weston nr Stevenage who made mine for me, I'm sure they will only be too happy to help you out! Bear in mind though that if you've had this problem for a while and you been crunching it into 2nd you may have caused damage to the syncros which will need to be sorted before you change the ends out....

Gav Kirby



Edited by TarmacT on Thursday 19th July 07:00

otolith

25,594 posts

89 months

[news] 
Thursday 19th July 2012 quote quote all
adma23 said:
1. The 2ZZ gearbox was taken straight from Toyota and put on the Exige without modifications. It was therefore tried and tested by Toyota for up to 190 BHP Natural Aspirated. Same for torque which is even more relevant to this topic.
Is it not the same gearbox Toyota used in the 215bhp/158lbft supercharged version of the Corolla? Presumably dragging a 50% heavier car also has an impact?

macgtech

887 posts

44 months

[news] 
Friday 20th July 2012 quote quote all
TarmacT said:
This problem has nothing to do with the gearbox itself, It is entirely cable related. I have had this problem twice with standard cables and once with m/s cables while doing extended periods of driving on track (funny enough about an hour and a half into a session) but I could see driving on the road in hotter climates causing the same problem...

Basically at the gearbox end the two gear cables have a black plastic sheath that extends out past the point where they clamp to the top of the gearbox.

After a couple of hours of hard running the plastic ends start to become so hot and pliable that instead of the cable pushing against the gear change mech it finds it much easier to bend the plastic out to the side and simply not engage the gear. If you keep going you'll find the gear stick will eventually start hitting the handbrake lever it will have that much travel in it. (it will always be either 2nd or 4th that are the problem gears as they operate off the same gear throw). As soon as they cool down the plastic re-hardens and you have your gears back...

The Motorsport cables, although stronger and don't have the plastic ends also fail through the same heat exposure (they don't not engage the gear they just seize up solid basically with the metal to metal contact they have with the heat).

I'm trying a completely new approach to the problem as my car is track use only and anything more than an hours running and we have the same issue over and over. This is not a power relayed problem as I'm only running a 111R...

Ive had some metal inserts made up to replace the plastic ones on the standard cables which dont have the same close tolerance of the motorsport ones and are relatively cheap and easy to swap out on the car without too much trouble.

Speak to Datum Motorsport in Weston nr Stevenage who made mine for me, I'm sure they will only be too happy to help you out! Bear in mind though that if you've had this problem for a while and you been crunching it into 2nd you may have caused damage to the syncros which will need to be sorted before you change the ends out....

Gav Kirby



Edited by TarmacT on Thursday 19th July 07:00
Interesting. It could well be that the smaller engine bay in the Elise over the Exige does cause the cables to overheat, which could well be a totally different issue to the Exige but with similar symptoms. Certainly our issue wasn't the cables, and was definitely the box. We had no extra throw on the stick but it simply would not engage. Would be interesting to compare engine bay temps on an Exige NA and an Elise R - I would bet my bottom collar that the Elise reached a higher temperature.

TarmacT

28 posts

131 months

[news] 
Saturday 21st July 2012 quote quote all
macgtech said:
Interesting. It could well be that the smaller engine bay in the Elise over the Exige does cause the cables to overheat, which could well be a totally different issue to the Exige but with similar symptoms. Certainly our issue wasn't the cables, and was definitely the box. We had no extra throw on the stick but it simply would not engage. Would be interesting to compare engine bay temps on an Exige NA and an Elise R - I would bet my bottom collar that the Elise reached a higher temperature.
No, it happens on Exige's as well...

You will have stopped the car most probably when it started to happen so will not have had the stick travelling further back than normal, or not what you could notice any how.

I was an hour and a half into a 9hr race and we had to go on!! In the end we ran for 7hrs with no 4th gear (3rd has still to forgive me yet...).

Certainly what doesnt help the situation is all the water heating pipes that sit directly above the cable ends making thins even warmer...

Its easy enough to tell if it is the cable ends (youll need a mate in the cabin mind), when it starts to happen again simply pull over, turn the car off and stick your head in the engine bay while you mate operates the gear throw not working. You have to hold some of the water pipes out the way to see but you will clearly notice the whole black plastic sheath assembly being pushed out to the side rather than towrd the changing mechanism on the gearbox....



adma23

Original Poster:

54 posts

26 months

[news] 
Thursday 16th August 2012 quote quote all
Car has been shipped to the Uk and today Greg from Hangar 111 starts work on the 'box. I decided to go for jubu 3rd and 4th, synchro replacement, new cables and a gearbox cooler. Shall also be installing a limited slip while we're at it and a truleo quick shifter. Fingers super crossed! Will keep you all updated and thanks a lot to all of you for the input.

adma23

Original Poster:

54 posts

26 months

[news] 
Thursday 4th October 2012 quote quote all
UPDATE - Problem finally solved!!!!

It was the slave cylinder bolted to the gearbox with the wrong bolts which were slightly long. When the gearbox heated, the bolts expanded and the motion of the slave cylinder was compromised so the clutch was not disengaging properly.



Hope this helps someone out there as it has been months and months of sagas before finally finding the problem.


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