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Old 04-09-2011, 10:30 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Citroen Trans Replacement

I've been doing some research into the S2 Giugiaro Esprits.

Prices are good in the mid and late teens.
The 2.2l engine is superb
The styling still looks brilliant today
The handling... its a lotus.

However, one issue that seems to crop up everywhere I look is the Citroen trans-axle.
Now I've taken note that these transmissions are no longer made, nor are the replacement parts readily available.
Harry Martens Limmen seems to have a few parts here

It would seem that at least one manufacturer would make a complete replacement for the classic cars that still use that particular trans axle.

After an extensive search through the esprit section all I found on the subject was this:
http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f164/replacing-engine-transmission-another-automakers-any-successful-cases-52329/

Which seemed to really only talk about the Renault UN1 trans-axle.


How often in reality does the Citroen trans go wrong?
When they do, how much does it cost to rebuild it?
Does any manufacturer make a complete drop in replacement for the Citroen Trans-axle?
Are there any other transmissions that might fit?
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Old 04-09-2011, 11:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I can really only comment on one of your questions. With two cars, totalling 33 years of Esprit ownership I've never had a gearbox problem. They are driven pretty quick (especially the turbo) but I always warm them well and never really do traffic light grand prix. Clearly they can be weak in second but I suspect that you only get to read about the problems so the issue might not be as large as it appears.
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Old 04-09-2011, 06:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Regarding question #2, a throw-out bearing just cost me $386.

I thought they had misplaced the decimal point.
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Old 04-09-2011, 08:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AgentZero View Post
How often in reality does the Citroen trans go wrong?
When they do, how much does it cost to rebuild it?
Does any manufacturer make a complete drop in replacement for the Citroen Trans-axle?
Are there any other transmissions that might fit?
The Citroen gearboxes are the weak link in the drivetrain, but if treated gently they will last for many years. They will quickly deteriorate and fail in the hands of an abusive driver and as your research has indicated, parts are scarce and expensive. There are no other transaxles that are a drop in replacement including the Renault boxes as fitted to the later Esprits (the Citroen box uses inboard brakes while the Renault uses outboard brakes) and there are no other manufacturers making anything close to fitting in place of the Citroen box. As far as what it costs to rebuild a broken Citroen box, it all depends on what exactly broke and who you can find to rebuild it, but it will most likely cost thousands of dollars no matter what needs to be repaired.
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Old 04-10-2011, 12:12 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Hi,

I have the Lotus Esprit gearbox in stock. Either the " previous" and the Turbo version.

Fully overhauld unit costs $ 3500. Exchange.
Fully overhauld unit with Quaife ATB differential costs $ 4800. Exchange.

One year warranty.

with kind regarDSm,

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Old 04-10-2011, 04:58 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petersracing View Post
I can really only comment on one of your questions. With two cars, totalling 33 years of Esprit ownership I've never had a gearbox problem. They are driven pretty quick (especially the turbo) but I always warm them well and never really do traffic light grand prix. Clearly they can be weak in second but I suspect that you only get to read about the problems so the issue might not be as large as it appears.
This sounds good. Its all about you treat it. Its not an M-22 Muncie Rock-crusher tranny like in a 1970 Chevelle SS.

Besides - drag racing is lame anyways. Let the Fast and Furious crowd worry about that. You just stick to GT-driving and stuff like that and you'll be fine.
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Old 04-10-2011, 05:06 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I'd hazard an opinion that the normally aspirated S2 Esprit would be a lot easier on the gearbox than the Turbos. IIRC the 'box was designed for the 140HP Citroen SM (isn't that correct Harry?) and the later Esprits put out upwards of 220 HP.

A local clubmember had a "breathed-on" S2 and used to track the car regularly for several years...never a trans problem.




12 years ago when I had our Esprit trans rebuilt (crownwheel bearing failure) it cost me about $8K. Much of that cost was sourcing a new crownwheel and pinion (Harry has those now) and Shipright's Disease...I replaced the clutch while the 'box was out even though it didn't need it. I also replaced EVERY suspect bearing inside etc etc etc.

Harry Martens (dsvitesse1) is a great source of transmission parts and knowledge BTW.

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Old 04-10-2011, 08:10 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Hi, true the Citroen SM has standard 170 bhp.

I've been told by Tim Engel from the US that for the Lotus Esprit Turbo, most parts were specially hardened.

However, if treated well, parts will last. I have a customer in US who does iceracing with a special tuned Citroen SM and Jerry Hathaway also in US has the worldrecord speeding on salt.

I have new original Citroen CWP sets, very,very good quality!!.

In combination with Quaife differential the CWP will hold even better, because no more sudden movements inside the differential.

with kind regarDSm,

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Old 04-10-2011, 08:33 AM   #9 (permalink)
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The prices that Harry quotes or the rebuilt units are excellent. Prob is they're in the Netherlands and shipping on exchange would kill you. Parts are readily available from the usual sources: Harry, Dave Bean, JAE, SJ. When I did a full rebuild, I got parts from three of them, replaced all bearings, syncros, input shaft and CWP, put a Quaife in and had all gears and shafts REM treated and the box professionally assembled and spent prob around 6k without R&R (still pending). Someone like Tim Engel could do it for half or 2/3 due to his guru-status expertise with these cars. These are now what amounts to "vintage" units. There are no cheap rebuild solutions. There are no cheap replacement solutions. By the time you source and re-engineer a replacement, you will spend more than you would for a rebuild. SM World once quoted me +/- 25 hrs labor for a rebuild which was borne out by my local shop. When it comes to repair solutions on these cars, the phrase "go ahead and bite the bullet" comes up frequently.
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Old 04-10-2011, 09:08 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Hi,

exchange is only for bellhousing and topcover. I do not need the complete gearbox back.

cheers,

Harry Martens
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Old 04-10-2011, 10:28 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Hi,

exchange is only for bellhousing and topcover. I do not need the complete gearbox back.

cheers,

Harry Martens
Hi Harry, isn't each bellhousing machined individually to each casing or is that not as important as it sounds? Thanks!
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Old 04-10-2011, 11:43 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Hi,

yes, but I have so many casings I make a proper next set up.

with kind regarDSm,

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Old 04-12-2011, 05:20 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Thanks for the replies.
From the way I see it, the driving conditions make the difference.
Drive it like a high school kid and you'll need a new tranny.
Drive it respectfully and you'll need to change the oil.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eurosport View Post
When it comes to repair solutions on these cars, the phrase "go ahead and bite the bullet" comes up frequently.
I heard that tune before.
Unfortunately, the only thing I wont muck with is the inside of a transmission.
I tend to call in a specialist on that one.
In reality, $3500 isn't too terribly bad, and is a bullet I could actually bite.

Thanks for all the help.
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Old 04-12-2011, 05:44 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Thanks for the replies.
From the way I see it, the driving conditions make the difference.
Drive it like a high school kid and you'll need a new tranny.
Drive it respectfully and you'll need to change the oil.
This pretty much sums it up - like I said, I AINT a musclecar tranny thats maade for bangshifting and clutch-roasting. Just keep the gearbox oil(Redline MT-90) freshened every other year and dont drive it like a punk and it wont be an issue.
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Old 04-12-2011, 06:01 PM   #15 (permalink)
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This pretty much sums it up - like I said, I AINT a musclecar tranny thats maade for bangshifting and clutch-roasting. Just keep the gearbox oil(Redline MT-90) freshened every other year and dont drive it like a punk and it wont be an issue.
I think your previous statement is absolutely correct. "It's a GT car" If you go hunting overboosted ricers you will get the car broken (and you will be soundly thrashed)
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Old 04-13-2011, 04:34 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I think your previous statement is absolutely correct. "It's a GT car" If you go hunting overboosted ricers you will get the car broken (and you will be soundly thrashed)
Correct - The Esprit Turbo was fast when compared to other cars of its era, like the Ferrari 328, the Porsche 911, etc, etc. However, times have changed! You wont be winning many drag races today and neither will 25 year old Ferraris or Porsches for that matter! But, why even give those clowns the time of day? Let them ruin their Mothers car racing other punks driving their Mom's cars.
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Old 04-13-2011, 06:07 AM   #17 (permalink)
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There is another "caveat" to treating the transmission with care. If the clutch gets "funky" and you cannot properly disengage the clutch (either because of the clutch itself or the hydraulic release mechanism) you will tear up the transmission. And there is the circlip and pilot bushing that can be upgraded. "Dumping" the clutch is a prescription for a quick and expensive transmission failure. You will tear up the final drive. It is not a matter of if, only when. That will happen in the Renault box too. Easy to confirm with an ECU download. The transmission is the weak link in the drivetrain but even so it still can take a LOT of abuse before it dies. I don't care what kind of car you drive, if you flog it regularly you WILL be replacing expensive parts.
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:39 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Has anyone tried cryogenic treatment?
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:47 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Has anyone tried cryogenic treatment?
Dean Smith on the TE mail-list has cyro treated several components inside his Citroen transmissions.
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Old 02-12-2013, 05:24 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I have never broken my transaxle in 12 years of "enthusiastic"motoring, and back in the day the Car Magazines used to thrash the living daylights out of them during performance testing with no failures that I ever read about.


If you require some parts closer to the USA you can always try Jerry Hathaway at SM World in California, and of course used one's come up on ebay from time to time from people who are swapping them out.
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