Lotus Elan

T9 Conversion

PostPost by: sgbooth » Sun Oct 25, 2009 8:18 am

A friend is considering a T9 conversion for his +2, which is on an early Spyder chassis, and has asked for my opinion of the issues he will face.

Trawling through the archives suggests the following:

Input shaft
Bellhousing
Tailshaft
Gearbox mount
Speedo gear clearance
Propshaft

Anything I've missed ?

Regards,
Stuart.
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PostPost by: elanman999 » Sun Oct 25, 2009 12:00 pm

Stuart,
You could add:-
gear lever position
Low first gear ratio.
Cheers
John
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PostPost by: sgbooth » Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:40 pm

Thanks John,

I'm hoping that someone who's done this conversion (preferably on an early Spyder +2 chassis)
will offer their "blow-by-blow" account of the procedure/problems involved, where parts can be
sourced from, etc.

Personally I'd recommend my Lotus 5 speed gearbox, quickshift gearlever and 3.9 diff.
Gives me 70mph in 5th at a tad over 3500rpm, if speedo/tacho are to be believed.
Might now be worth considering a stereo !

Regards,
Stuart.
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PostPost by: msd1107 » Sun Oct 25, 2009 6:45 pm

See elan-f15/quantum-mechanics-john-esposito-speed-offering-for-elans-t19015.html for such a conversion. John has been taking orders for awhile now.

As far as the T9 fitting Spyder chassis, look in the archives. There was a series of pictures showing a T9 in a Spyder chassis. It is best to use a later spyder chassis, as the earlier ones had less clearance in the transmission tunnel.

David
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PostPost by: Foxie » Mon Oct 26, 2009 6:54 pm

msd1107 wrote:As far as the T9 fitting Spyder chassis, look in the archives. There was a series of pictures showing a T9 in a Spyder chassis. It is best to use a later spyder chassis, as the earlier ones had less clearance in the transmission tunnel.

David
1968 36/7988


Alan Voigts had never supplied a T9 for a Spyder +2 chassis when I ordered mine, he didn't know if it would fit. I had to use the grinder on the chassis former section, and some projections on gearbox casing . I gave Alan drawings of my mods.

There is still a problem with the gear-lever detent projection on the gearbox cover jamming on the underside of the body when removing/refitting engine. I remove the detent before removing the engine/gb, but the detent plunger needs to be replaced in the correct orientation when refitting, and must be done with the gearbox out. I then replace the engine/gb before fitting the sump. Has any one a better solution ?

Sean
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PostPost by: alaric » Mon Oct 26, 2009 8:16 pm

Hi.

I have the same problem as Sean with the detent spring cylinder on top of the t9. Mine was in contact with the underside of the body once installed, so I've cut a hole for it in the bodywork. The cylinder just clears the heater box and shouldn't foul on the dash. So, when I installed the engine and box last time I was able to do it with the plunger off, and fit the plunger once all was in place. Not sure I'll be able to get to it once the dash is in though - should be able to just reach in but not sure. My plan was to cover it with a rubber grommet.

I don't have any spacers between my chassis and the body on the underside along the flange at the bottom of the chassis tunnel. I read recently that there should be some. This won't affect the height of the body and hence the interference of the plunger cylinder with the body - nah, bonkers idea that.

Best plan would be to reduce the height of the plunger cylinder as I believe Sean has done.

All the best.

Sean.
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PostPost by: Foxie » Mon Oct 26, 2009 10:29 pm

alaric wrote:Hi.

I have the same problem as Sean with the detent spring cylinder on top of the t9. ..... when I installed the engine and box last time I was able to do it with the plunger off, and fit the plunger once all was in place. Not sure I'll be able to get to it once the dash is in though - should be able to just reach in but not sure.


You can fit the spring tower from underneath the car, using a shortened 19mm rachet ring spanner, before fitting the gearbox mount. However, the second time I did this, the cylindrical plunger rotated, and the ramped side rotated off the cam, resulting in reverse gear being blocked. So to be sure it is aligned correctly, it needs to be fitted to the cover plate, with the cover plate removed. This problem could possibly be resolved by machining a flat on the plunger to prevent it rotating

Best plan would be to reduce the height of the plunger cylinder as I believe Sean has done.
Sean.

Yes, I did minimise the height, but it's still catching
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PostPost by: worzel » Tue Oct 27, 2009 1:03 pm

Hi

Is your "early spyder chassis" a stressed skin version? If so the T9 fits without any problems as far as I know (my sprint has one of these chassis and the T9 in mine has plenty of clearance).

If yours is a spaceframe I think you'll have a problem with clearance at the beginning of the centre box section.

Bellhousings- a "Rocket to BDA" item bolts direct to the block and the T9 without a sandwich plate.

Propshaft- GKN will make you one for about £130 or so with a 2/3 week turnaround.

Clutch- use the std cover with a racing MGB friction disc from DemonTweeks (about £80/90).

Speedo cable- either have Speedy Cables make a one-off or do what I did and use a std Sierra item and graft on the end that fits on the instrument.

Gearbox mounts- use the std mount- as far as I know spyder already supplied early chassis with alternative mounts on them. As I said my elan had captive nuts welded on for both 4 and 5 speed boxes.

Gearing- seems to attract quite a few opinions. Can only speak from experience- my car uses a T9 from a 2.8 Capri with a 3.35 1st but with higher intermediates. The previous 4 speed box was fitted with a 2.97 1st. In practice I haven't really noticed much difference in use- but that might be because of the low weight of the 2 seater masking the differences. Makes hill starts very easy though!

Lever position- it's pretty easy to move it if you're reasonably competent mechanically. Otherwise I believe the Frogeye sprite company do a similar conversion on the linkage.

Regards

John
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PostPost by: elanman999 » Tue Oct 27, 2009 4:22 pm

John,
Some good info there.
You say the gear lever position is pretty easy to move. How are you achieving this? With a linkage outside of the tail housing?
Cheers
John
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PostPost by: worzel » Wed Oct 28, 2009 12:00 pm

Hi

It's "relatively" easy to move the lever position. Basically it's a cut and shut operation involving a bit of alloy welding and some machine shop precision engineering.

There are a couple of options- the one in my own car is the simplest and as I prefer to keep it simple I'd say it's probably the best and cheapest way to go about it.

There are at least 2 other ways to do it that I know of and have personally seen but each becomes more complex and the end results don't work any better in terms of shift quality etc. They're also a lot more expensive to achieve.

I wouldn't even attempt to try to describe on the forum what's needed- the best way, if anybody wants more info is to ring me on 0151 480 8400 and I'll go thru it and no- I'm not trying to sell anything- the work involved doesn't make it worth doing conversions as a business.

Price if you do the work yourself-

Used gearbox- around £50-75 (best to try to get hold of one out of a 2.8 engined car since 1st is higher than boxes from smaller engined Fords).

Gearbox overhaul- £200-300 from the trade plus cost of machining down the input shaft to fit the spigot bearing (probably around £30 or so if you dismantle the box yourself and take just the input shaft to the machine shop).

Propshaft- about £140 from GKN (new)

Clutch friction disc- about £80 from DemonTweeks
Clutch pressure plate- use the std one from the 4 speed
Bellhousings- options- "Rocket to BDA" alloy used if you can persuade the old Ford rallye boys to search their workshops for the few lying around gathering dust- about £120-130
or- new one on the internet £350

or- Ford RS2000 alloy one and modify it for the hydraulic clutch- probably all-in at around £200 or so

Speedo cable- custom one from Speedy Cables- probably £30-40 I imagine or use a 2nd hand Sierra one (£5) and graft on the instrument fitting end from your existing elan speedo cable

Gearbox rubber mount- use the std one you already have

Gearbox support bracket- has to be a custom one but max cost should be no more than £20

Gearbox oil- special from Ford- £15 per litre (wouldn't advise using any other)

Clutch arm pivot post (the one inside the bellhousing)- you MIGHT need to have a special made- about £20

Once you've all of the bits it's straight swapover- I did mine (or most of it) over a weekend and a week later was back on the road.

Last point- somebody sent me a private e-mail about my previous post- unfortunately I don't seem to be able to use his e-mail address so if he contacts me direct on [email protected] I'll try to reply to his questions.

John
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PostPost by: sgbooth » Wed Oct 28, 2009 5:45 pm

Thanks all for the responses (especially Worzel).

I will pass the info on, and we'll see what he decides to do.

Regards,
Stuart.
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PostPost by: alaric » Wed Oct 28, 2009 6:37 pm

Sean, you're exactly right. Now you mention it I think that I did end up fitting the detent thingy from under the car while the box was lowered on a jack. I just couldn't get it to engage through the small hole - big chunky finger issues. So, I can just glass a little box round the plunger and it's done. Cool.

I fitted a front sidelight cluster last night. Had to fettle the aperture that it drops in to. But it's in now. Only 5 more light clusters to go. :)

All the best.

Sean.
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PostPost by: kstrutt11 » Wed Oct 28, 2009 11:13 pm

Mine's in a std lotus chasis and was done at minimal cost,

Bell housing - standard Left hand drive Type 9.(puts starter in right place)
Clutch actuation - Adaptor turned up to carry Scopio concentric slave cyl, and front bearing housing also modified.
Clutch - std lotus cover Sierra disc.
Propshaft - custom made part.
Gearstick - std Ford position Bent forward (works suprisingly well).
Speedo - made adaptor to fit std right angle drive close to box

The whole lot cost around £300 including the box and has been in the car for 13 years now with no problems.
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