Lotus Elan

Gearbox Oil Level

PostPost by: William2 » Thu Jun 20, 2019 5:55 pm

After 2000 miles since my Elan rebuild I thought I would check the gearbox oil level using my friendly local garage's pit. I found that it required about 0.2 litre to bring it up to required level. I assume that it must be slowly weeping from the front or rear oil seal. I did replace the rear seal before the box was replaced back in the chassis but I think the front one was left alone. Or is it possible that a small amount of oil can be lost if the car is jacked up at the front at an angle which I have done a few times for access to the engine oil filter, etc?
Should I be concerned about an oil loss of this amount or is it acceptable if checked on a regular basis - say about every 1000 miles? Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.
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PostPost by: tedtaylor » Thu Jun 20, 2019 6:17 pm

you mention a loss, but you don't say whether you have any visible external signs of oil seepage, pooling, dripping, staining, etc. ??
in other words, if completely clean (no sign of external leakage, then maybe it was never filled to begin with?
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PostPost by: elanner » Thu Jun 20, 2019 7:05 pm

I'm about to get under my Elan in another attempt to stop annoying gearbox leaks. Aside from front & rear seal leaks I think the favourite places are:

- Through the exhaust bracket threads. I thought I'd sealed these properly a couple of years ago, but now I'm not so sure. If one of them leaks (and the lower one is below the fill line) then the oil will mostly end up on the exhaust pipe. So, depending on the severity of the leak, it could just burn off while driving and not end up on the garage floor.
- Through the speedo angle drive. Oil leaks through this miserable little item are regularly discussed in the forum. I do battle with mine every couple of years, to no obvious benefit except loss of skin while trying to reattach the clamp. I think it has more places to leak per inch than any other part of the Elan, which is quite an achievement. :D

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PostPost by: Grizzly » Thu Jun 20, 2019 7:16 pm

I had a similar kinda thing with mine, i filled it via the gear selector hole with the amount stated in the manual (my memory isn't that good but i think it was 2lt) when i came to check it via the plug in the side of the box a few months of driving later it took a far bit to bring it up to the level.

Another instance going back quite a while i changed the gearbox oil in my +2 but jacked it up on the drive, i didn't pay particular attention to the amount of oil going in but just filled it with the hand pump until it started to trickle out of the filler hole....... must be a year later when i was doing it's MOT service i had it on the ramp and unscrewed the plug to get half a cup full of stinky gearbox oil pour out all over the show.

Personally i don't like to over fill anything (thats the easiest way to start oil leaks) so now if i want to check the oil i drop it, measure how much there is and pour it back into the gear selector hole, bit of a pain to do but it takes and guess work out of it. This is assuming you don't have oil all over your floor from a leak........
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PostPost by: William2 » Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:39 am

Regarding any signs of leakage, there looked like the odd drip from the bottom of the bell housing on the sandwich plate but I think it is sometimes difficult to ascertain whether this is coming from the gearbox or engine. There also may have been a bit of oil round the speedo drive. The rear oil seal cannot be looked at as the chassis is boxed in at that point.
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PostPost by: 2cams70 » Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:48 am

Not sure if it applies in your case but note the oil will expand quite a bit when warm compared to when it is cold. Some manufacturers advise the oil to be level with the filler neck when box is warm. If you subsequently then check the oil when cold you will find the oil level to be slightly below the filler neck
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PostPost by: Grizzly » Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:05 pm

William2 wrote: there looked like the odd drip from the bottom of the bell housing on the sandwich plate but I think it is sometimes difficult to ascertain whether this is coming from the gearbox or engine. .

Smell it...... Gear box oil and engine oil smells completely different.

Speedo drive is fairly common, took me two attempts to get mine dry.
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