The Lotus Cars Community banner

1 - 20 of 92 Posts

·
Less is Better
Joined
·
2,369 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've received my ShiftR111 and am waiting on the SSC cables to arrive and then will be doing the replacement of of my stock shifting system. Before that, though, I took a video to demonstrate the shifting behavior of the stock system with just Stan's mod.


I was on the fence with replacing the cables and shifter (it took me a couple of years to decide to do it) because as you can see, my shifter works really nicely, which appears to be rare. But there is always room for improvement. I'll do an after video when I do the replacement in a couple weeks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,965 Posts
On my 2009 Elise, the stock shifter seems OK to me. Finding reverse is sometimes a bit finicky but other than that it is fine.

I do remember though that the shifter on my previous car, a Toyota Tercel, was much smoother.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
549 Posts
The difference was night and day, similar to when the Penske shocks went on my car - this is what Lotus should have done if they had the proper R&D funds.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
492 Posts
On my 2009 Elise, the stock shifter seems OK to me. Finding reverse is sometimes a bit finicky but other than that it is fine.

I do remember though that the shifter on my previous car, a Toyota Tercel, was much smoother.
Toyota puts rubber bushings on both ends of the shifter cables and uses a nylon ball on the shift lever, all of which softens the shifter. My '92 Celica also has enormous throw length (I'm in the process of removing the much better shifter from my parts car '93 for a transplant), which makes the shifts soft, smooth, and rather mushy. I tend to shift the car with a two-finger flick of the wrist most of the time, and tend to over-muscle the synchros if I've been driving the Elise recently.

Shift smoothness is influenced by three things: 1. the design of the synchros and shift collars (Toyota calls them Hub Sleeves) that actually do the shifting in the transmission, 2. dampers in the linkage (like the rubber bushings mentioned above), and 3. the length of the lever throw. A shorter throw means a harsher/notchier/more positive shift. Note that I am using terms that have both positive and negative connotations where shifters are concerned. This isn't an accident. You can't get one without the other.

The S2 Elise has a pretty short shifter throw, which means that you don't have much mechanical advantage over the synchros, so shifts are pretty sudden. The C60 transmission's internal shift linkage was designed around a certain amount of leverage. Lotus has used less to make the throw shorter, so the shifter is very notchy/positive.

Why would a manufacturer deliberately soften the shift linkage by using elastomeric components? Because transmissions are noisy, and shift mechanisms move around. No matter how perfectly the machining and how tight the tolerances, there will always be some gear whine and usually some chatter in the internal shift mechanism including the forks and collars. It's not usually a pleasant sound (I should know - I have a sport package Elise with no foam on the firewall), and NVH engineers always want it gone. Elastomers and some slop in the linkage help with that. Shifters move around because all recent car transmissions I can name use helical cut gears, so there's always some axial motion on the primary and secondary shafts associated with getting on and off throttle. Sure enough, the shift linkage including the lever moves around as the shift forks follow the shafts as they move back and forth a mm or so compressing the Belleville washers on the shaft ends. NVH engineers also hate that, so the engineers add deliberate slop to hide it.

That's why the shifters all have the same amount of slop between the Elise, the NA Miata, and the Aston Martin.

As an aside, I always find it amusing how much ink the enthusiast press spends on shifter feel. You either get the gear you expected or you don't, and it's either your fault or it's not. Linkage design isn't a black art. If it feels a particular way, it was almost certainly designed to feel that way (on a mass-market car. On a Lotus, it probably met the 'good enough...ship it' standard). Whether or not the way it feels is appropriate to the car is a subjective decision. Focus groups (and automotive journalists) can have good or bad influences on engineering decisions...
 

·
Less is Better
Joined
·
2,369 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Toyota puts rubber bushings on both ends of the shifter cables and uses a nylon ball on the shift lever, all of which softens the shifter. My '92 Celica also has enormous throw length (I'm in the process of removing the much better shifter from my parts car '93 for a transplant), which makes the shifts soft, smooth, and rather mushy. I tend to shift the car with a two-finger flick of the wrist most of the time, and tend to over-muscle the synchros if I've been driving the Elise recently.

Shift smoothness is influenced by three things: 1. the design of the synchros and shift collars (Toyota calls them Hub Sleeves) that actually do the shifting in the transmission, 2. dampers in the linkage (like the rubber bushings mentioned above), and 3. the length of the lever throw. A shorter throw means a harsher/notchier/more positive shift. Note that I am using terms that have both positive and negative connotations where shifters are concerned. This isn't an accident. You can't get one without the other.
I agree that damping takes away from the mechanical feel of the mechanism and is something that I also don't desire.

Friction, flex and slack in the connections between the linkage and the shift fork will determine how crisp, sloppy, precise, and mechanical the shifts feel. In my experience, there's a strong correlation between the feel of the shift and whether it's a direct, rod, or cable actuated system. cables having the most flex and friction and correspondingly the least enjoyable shift action. Some cabled systems are better than others, my Boxster S had an excellent cable operated system, for example, this partially has to do with the gauge of the cable and how direct the routing is to the transmission.

The S2 Elise has a pretty short shifter throw, which means that you don't have much mechanical advantage over the synchros, so shifts are pretty sudden. The C60 transmission's internal shift linkage was designed around a certain amount of leverage. Lotus has used less to make the throw shorter, so the shifter is very notchy/positive.
While I wouldn't call it a long throw, I don't consider the Elise especially short. There's probably about twice as much leverage on the Elise shifter than there is in the Miata. Consequently, the force needed to put the Miata into gear is noticeably higher.

Why would a manufacturer deliberately soften the shift linkage by using elastomeric components? Because transmissions are noisy, and shift mechanisms move around. No matter how perfectly the machining and how tight the tolerances, there will always be some gear whine and usually some chatter in the internal shift mechanism including the forks and collars. It's not usually a pleasant sound (I should know - I have a sport package Elise with no foam on the firewall), and NVH engineers always want it gone.
The touring package adds the insulation to the firewall. It is independent of whether the car has the sport pack or not.

Elastomers and some slop in the linkage help with that. Shifters move around because all recent car transmissions I can name use helical cut gears, so there's always some axial motion on the primary and secondary shafts associated with getting on and off throttle. Sure enough, the shift linkage including the lever moves around as the shift forks follow the shafts as they move back and forth a mm or so compressing the Belleville washers on the shaft ends. NVH engineers also hate that, so the engineers add deliberate slop to hide it.

That's why the shifters all have the same amount of slop between the Elise, the NA Miata, and the Aston Martin.

As an aside, I always find it amusing how much ink the enthusiast press spends on shifter feel. You either get the gear you expected or you don't, and it's either your fault or it's not. Linkage design isn't a black art. If it feels a particular way, it was almost certainly designed to feel that way (on a mass-market car. On a Lotus, it probably met the 'good enough...ship it' standard). Whether or not the way it feels is appropriate to the car is a subjective decision. Focus groups (and automotive journalists) can have good or bad influences on engineering decisions...
Agreed that shift feel is subjective, but there is a certain level of force, throw, and positive feedback of motion and engagement that makes a shift satisfying.

To that point, I'm pretty happy with my Elise as it is, but the increased rigidity and improved cable friction and linkage design of the ShiftR111 and SSC cables will hopefully further improve it. I'll report back when I've done the job.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
492 Posts
I agree that damping takes away from the mechanical feel of the mechanism and is something that I also don't desire.
Friction, flex and slack in the connections between the linkage and the shift fork will determine how crisp, sloppy, precise, and mechanical the shifts feel. In my experience, there's a strong correlation between the feel of the shift and whether it's a direct, rod, or cable actuated system. cables having the most flex and friction and correspondingly the least enjoyable shift action. Some cabled systems are better than others, my Boxster S had an excellent cable operated system, for example, this partially has to do with the gauge of the cable and how direct the routing is to the transmission.
I think we're on the same page here. My point was that you can firm up the shifts on a cable-shifted car simply by swapping out the rubber bushings in the ends of the shift cables for something stiffer. This is a popular mod on the Fiat 500 Abarth, for instance. Because the linkage ratio stays the same, you still get the same mechanical advantage, but a crisper shift feel. I haven't bothered to look carefully yet, but am presuming that the Lotus shift cables are solid on both ends from the noise and chunkiness of the shift.

The touring package adds the insulation to the firewall. It is independent of whether the car has the sport pack or not.
A bit vague on my part - the only option my car came with was the sport pack. I have lots of shiny aluminum in the interior and a distinct lack of damping. One PO added a couple of 1x1' pieces of Dynamat under the seats, which seems to be the car's entire concession to interior NVH management. There's some lateral shifter flex, so I don't think it has the 'extra bolt' mod on the shifter, though that's on my to do list.

Agreed that shift feel is subjective, but there is a certain level of force, throw, and positive feedback of motion and engagement that makes a shift satisfying.
True, and everybody is different on what they want out of this. Application matters too - I expect a different shifter feel on my 1965 Chevy van than I do on the Elise.

To that point, I'm pretty happy with my Elise as it is, but the increased rigidity and improved cable friction and linkage design of the ShiftR111 and SSC cables will hopefully further improve it. I'll report back when I've done the job.
I'm very curious to see your results, and thanks for being kind of scientific about this and taking a before video. I might very well decide that one or the other mod is a necessity after seeing your after video.

Speaking of which, would it be too much to ask that you put the cables in, do a test, then swap out the shifter or would that be an unreasonable amount of duplicated work?
 

·
Less is Better
Joined
·
2,369 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Speaking of which, would it be too much to ask that you put the cables in, do a test, then swap out the shifter or would that be an unreasonable amount of duplicated work?
I have been thinking about this. I'd really like to do them in stages but I have a feeling that removing the seats and the shifter support will make replacing the cables easier, in which case I don't want to install the old support back in and then the seat, adjust the cables and then remove it all again. Once I'm in there I'll be able to better tell how easy it would be to do in stages. I do plan to compare the ease of cable actuation and play in the shifter side by side when everything is out and I'll take a video of it so if nothing else, we'll at least have that.

I'm also hoping to record the entire replacement process on video. It hasn't been done yet on a 2ZZ as far as I can tell (but D3Sshooter has a really good video series on the Rover car). I'm not a Youtuber so we'll see how successful I'll be with the quality.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
492 Posts
I'm not a Youtuber so we'll see how successful I'll be with the quality.
Don't sweat it too much: if you are sharing knowledge that other people actually want, production values don't matter very much. Your first two videos were fine. Videos are great for things that are more easily shown than told. Watching a guy in Argentina take the injector rail off of a 5S-FE without removing the intake manifold (not the Toyota approved method) while narrating in Spanish and poorly auto-translated was just as useful as it would have been with higher production quality.
 

·
Less is Better
Joined
·
2,369 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
The parts are all here now. I have to say, the SCC cable quality is as impressive as the ShiftR111. Now I just need to carve out some quality time with the car.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
If you intend to reinstall your shifter console, I would at least leave it off for a few days until you get the shift and cables adjusted to your liking. I added new cables and Shiftr111 at the same time and had the reverse lock out pop off a couple of times until i eventually got everything dialed in. A bit of a time consuming install but not particularly difficult. I am very happy with the result.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
240 Posts
Don't sweat it too much: if you are sharing knowledge that other people actually want, production values don't matter very much. Your first two videos were fine. Videos are great for things that are more easily shown than told. Watching a guy in Argentina take the injector rail off of a 5S-FE without removing the intake manifold (not the Toyota approved method) while narrating in Spanish and poorly auto-translated was just as useful as it would have been with higher production quality.
Agreed. As long as you can see whats happening in the video (not too dark to see, camera pointed in the wrong direction, etc.) anything else production quality wise is just a bonus.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
211 Posts
Thanks for sharing your video. If you can make a DIY write up with tips and lesson learn, that would help many members that's thinking about doing this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
738 Posts
Very interested to see the output. Thanks for sharing!

Remove the rear clam to install those cables. It will make your life a TON easier. Hardly anyone ever believes this. But it is true. The rear clam comes off in a couple of hours, goes back on even quicker. The cables are RIGHT THERE in your face when you remove the clam.

As I've understood the "problem" from reading about this over the years, the root cause of "poor shifter feel" in these cars is the bend the cables must take to enter the transmission. And no one has solved that.

I think what you have there will drastically improve shifter "solidity", a build quality factor, ie. zero slop. But as far as the "feel of the shift" itself - the precision of the movement between gear slots - I think what we have is simply "character" and has to be lived with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Hi,

I've just finished installing the exact same cables and shifter than you :)
Everything works fine, however the gear stick doesn't come back to its neutral position when moving from 1/2/5/6 gears... When I disconnect the CG cable, then the lever comes back easilly. I've asked Inokinetic if I might have gotten the old CG spring (not likely as I think they've upgraded all kits since 2017).

Good luck for your install ! Not very easy, but I was able to install everything, and the cables without removing the rear clamshell !
 

·
Less is Better
Joined
·
2,369 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Very interested to see the output. Thanks for sharing!

Remove the rear clam to install those cables. It will make your life a TON easier. Hardly anyone ever believes this. But it is true. The rear clam comes off in a couple of hours, goes back on even quicker. The cables are RIGHT THERE in your face when you remove the clam.
I have the cables off. It's a little bit of acrobatics to get the R-clips off, but doable. The problem with access (which I'll show in my video when I finish it) is all the hoses and tubes in the way. I have never had the rear clam off, but unless you have to remove the hoses to get the clam off, I can't see how it helps. And if you do, you can just take the hoses out without taking the clam off to get the same access. Do you have any pictures of the access with the clam off?

As I've understood the "problem" from reading about this over the years, the root cause of "poor shifter feel" in these cars is the bend the cables must take to enter the transmission. And no one has solved that.
Any bends in the cable serve to increase friction. A cable that can bend but not experience as much friction as a result will yield better shift feel. This has alot to do with the materials that the cable and sheath are made from because of the stiffness of the material and the friction between materials. I've actuated the SSC cables and stock cables next to each other outside the car, there is a slight improvement in the ease of movement in the SSC cables.

I think what you have there will drastically improve shifter "solidity", a build quality factor, ie. zero slop. But as far as the "feel of the shift" itself - the precision of the movement between gear slots - I think what we have is simply "character" and has to be lived with.
There is a big improvement in the quality feel in just adding Stan's mod. Flex in the sift mechanism and play in the joints can be felt as slop. I'm expecting that the ShiftR111 has less flex in the mounting structure than the stock support, even with Stan's mod, which should make the overall feel one of higher quality.
 

·
Less is Better
Joined
·
2,369 Posts
Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
The install is (mostly) done. Part one is mostly removal of the stock stuff. Part 2 is install. Sorry about the sketchy audio quality in parts. The first part is quiet, it gets better.



I do include my first impressions at the end of part 2. I will put down some of my thoughts here.

The cables are a pain to remove and install on the transmission. I got it done without removing the intake hose, but it would have been easier with it removed.

The SSC shift cable can't be shortened to the length of the stock cable, but it's short enough that the shifter is nearly vertical in it's final position.

Assembling the ShiftR111 includes a lot of individual parts assembled together. Much more so than the stock unit. The unit includes philips and hex screws in addition to reusing stock posi drive screws. It's a lot of different driver bits. There are no torque specs on the parts. There's alot of holding cables and brake handle in place while putting everything together as opposed to laying the parts in as you build up the assembly. The sheet steel attachment for the console cover needs to be deburred and is pretty thick considering it's purpose. There should be a stop on the reverse lockout so that you can't accidentally pull it too far. I'd also like to see some solid stops to the shift gate travel. It gives the shifts a nice, hard stop point.

And on to the shift action. Keep in mind, this is with the reference being a stock system that was working well. I'm finding that the shifting is very similar to the stock system. The gates feel the same, the play feels the same, it sounds the same. I really can't tell much of a difference. Am I disappointed that there wasn't an improvement? A little, but at the same time, the parts are robust and likely to retain their high quality feel longer than the stock system. My advice is, if you have one of the good shifters on your car, just stay with it because it's probably as good as it can get.
 

·
Less is Better
Joined
·
2,369 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
can i ask what year car yours is I heard the stock shifters are better for newer year cars?
I understand that Lotus did change the cables in later years. I don't know what changes were made. Mine is a 2005 and was a car ordered in 2003-4 so it's about as early as fed Elises come.
 
1 - 20 of 92 Posts
Top