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Glutton For Punishment
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251 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Car has 57k. Going through everything as I bought the car as a project. Replaced the circlip as the original was worn out. In doing so found one of the carrier (crownwheel) bearings worn out. Looks like it had been chattering in the housing slightly. Didn't destruct but was pitted. Replacing with new bearings from timken.

So 3 questions

1) Is this normal, and are there any other pitfalls with this transmission I should look into while it is out and apart?

2) Are the bearing shims still available, or do I need to get creative to tension them properly? Output housing paper gaskets tore slightly, was thinking about removing those and just using a sealant assuming that it doesn't over tension the bearings. Is this all cool?

3) Where do the little vent hoses go that come off the bottom of the output housings? Mine have degraded and I can't find where they terminate.

Thanks for the help.
 

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Premium Member
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149 Posts
Car has 57k. Going through everything as I bought the car as a project. Replaced the circlip as the original was worn out. In doing so found one of the carrier (crownwheel) bearings worn out. Looks like it had been chattering in the housing slightly. Didn't destruct but was pitted. Replacing with new bearings from timken.

So 3 questions

1) Is this normal, and are there any other pitfalls with this transmission I should look into while it is out and apart?

Pitting is often found at cwp and rear bearings.

2) Are the bearing shims still available, or do I need to get creative to tension them properly? Output housing paper gaskets tore slightly, was thinking about removing those and just using a sealant assuming that it doesn't over tension the bearings. Is this all cool?

I have all shims and new paper gaskets aswell.

3) Where do the little vent hoses go that come off the bottom of the output housings? Mine have degraded and I can't find where they terminate.

They go just down. If the seal inside diffaxle carrier would fail, the oil would not come on the brake disk but will just drop on the floor.

Thanks for the help.

Cheers,

Harry Martens
VERSNELLINGSBAKREVISIE
 

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How does one know that the circlip is worn?
 

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How does one know that the circlip is worn?
the shaft will ride forward and make a very specific chattering noise. Shifting will still be possible...but the noise will become louder (more noticeable) - usually when shifting into neutral from reverse.

Cameron
 

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Super Moderator
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How does one know that the circlip is worn?
FYI Mike - your 90SE has a Renault transmission and is not affected by this circlip issue.

Only Esprits with the combination of turbo and Citroen transmissions are impacted - 80 - 88 USA Esprits.
 

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480 Posts
Eddie,

Has Mike bought a car? Jon's is an 88 like yours, and indeed has the citroen transaxle...

MY BAD, I see Mike is in the process of buying a 90 SE.

Brian
 

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Glutton For Punishment
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251 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the reply Harry. Going to check the tension with new bearings and see what needs to be done.
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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6,309 Posts
Jon,


Agree with all Harry's points.

Good move, buying new crownwheel support bearings. I had a failure of one bearing in 1998 at 42,000 miles and had to buy a new crownwheel and pinion. :( At 78K miles, one of the bearings was sloppy again. I got Timken bearings this time instead of OE.

JAE sells a transmission seal kit for the Citroen transaxle, it consists of the paper output shaft housing gaskets and the two o-rings for the release bearing guide tube. Cheap. All other mating surfaces use sealer, not gaskets.

The shims and spacers for output shaft endplay and CW&P backlash are available from Harry, JAE, or direct from Lotus Cars USA.

I got new vent hose tubing at Home Depot. I could send you some, I have a lot left over, but for the price of shipping you may as well buy some locally. The tubes attach to the trans vents and are held to the car's frame by little clips. The tubes should be long enough to stick out a half-inch below the control arms.


If you are game to rebuild the entire trans, look for worn synchros. These are $150 each from JAE. You can evaluate them simply by removing the top cover from the trans.

Everything else in my transmission was serviceable, but I had been religious about replacing trans fluid regularly over the years.
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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6,309 Posts
Here are pics of the vent tubes. The close-up shows the clip on the frame.



 

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Glutton For Punishment
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251 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the photos and descriptions. I have those tube holders on the chassis so now I can at least get that part back to original. I have all sizes and shapes of vent hose so I am sure I already have something that will work.

I am popping the top cover off today for a visual inspection. The way this project has been going I will probably need synchros as well.
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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6,309 Posts
As an aside, my first picture reveals the color of the reddish Loctite 5188 towards the upper right-hand corner, is this the color of your sealer in the Cylinder Liner Topic?
 

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Glutton For Punishment
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251 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
The good news is that the innards of the trans looks brand new. Synchros are not ground or worn out, bearings all feel good. In fact I didn't see a bit of wear anywhere in the trans at all. Only things worn were the diff carrier bearings which seems bizarre given the condition of the rest of the tranny. It must have been freshened in its life, as it is even clean as can be in there. Also there were a variety of washers and missing washers on the bolts holding the top cover on, so not factory original.

Bad news is my cylinder sealant doesn't look like your picture carbuff, and it was rubbery, much like rtv. Time to pull on my liners to see if they pop out.
 

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How does one know that the circlip is worn?
'When it happens'

I have not looked into my car however the way it happended is exactly the way 'Brother Atwell' described it... lost drive power.

I turned wrenches for 25 years on a professional level and this has to be the most stupid design of engineering I have ever seen. A 'Pre-loaded input shaft' pushing against the 'primary shaft' without rollar bearings against a 'nylon washer' held by a retainaing steel 'cir-clip' and depending upon the 'low life' needle bearings in the pilot of the crank to keep things true... what were they thinking?

Needle roller bearings are the last thing you want to support the crank between the pilot bearing of the crank and input shaft of the clutch...

Just my opinion.

Robert
 

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It is a sloppy design but the needle roller bearing was never meant to take any thrust load. That is carried by the circlip and the nylon washer. It is a crazy place to save what would amount to pennies for a longer lived solution. You have to keep in mind Lotus was not into trying to build cars that would last a long time. They followed a minimalist philosophy basically saying less = more and every part should serve at least 2 functions. Back when they were designing and building these cars they never expected them to last this long! If you drove it as intended ie, racing, you would have replaced the clutch long ago and done something with the circlip before it wore out. In the case of the circlip they adapted the transmission for use with their motor. Could have done a better job. In other applications (non-Lotus) they probably took better precautions against this.
David Teitelbaum
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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6,309 Posts
Also, in Citroen's defense, the original design was a 90 degree "step" at the circlip area. This design did not experience circlip failures to my knowledge.


Lotus introduced the tapered input shaft in an effort to strengthen it. After all, the trans was designed to be installed into a 140 horsepower car. But the taper put a lot more stress on the circlip.
 

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Integrator
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2,930 Posts
In my personal opinion,

there were some serious omissions and shortcuts committed in the process of putting this car together,
(word "design"-purposefully not used here).

Unsuspecting customers were assigned most of the tasks of the Validation Department.
Not to mention abysmal reliability and serviceability.

Therefore, with the exception of collectable S1, S2, keeping Esprits "stock" is shear insanity.

Correct everything anytime you touch the car!

I have title for a book: "Hundred and one corrections to my Lotus Esprit "

Well, it probably needs more than 101+ and it would sell pretty well.
 

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Premium Member
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149 Posts
It is a sloppy design but the needle roller bearing was never meant to take any thrust load. That is carried by the circlip and the nylon washer. It is a crazy place to save what would amount to pennies for a longer lived solution. You have to keep in mind Lotus was not into trying to build cars that would last a long time. They followed a minimalist philosophy basically saying less = more and every part should serve at least 2 functions. Back when they were designing and building these cars they never expected them to last this long! If you drove it as intended ie, racing, you would have replaced the clutch long ago and done something with the circlip before it wore out. In the case of the circlip they adapted the transmission for use with their motor. Could have done a better job. In other applications (non-Lotus) they probably took better precautions against this.
David Teitelbaum

Hi, the same construction is in the Citroen DS and SM and Maserati Merak. These cars do not have the problems the Lotus Esprit has. Sometimes worn splines on inputshat and even circlip failure.
Mistake from Lotus was the needle bearing and nylon thrust washer ( thanks Lotus! I have to make a living aswell:bow:)
The others have a ball bearing in flywheel and that can take the spring load.

cheers,

Harry Martens
VERSNELLINGSBAKREVISIE
 

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Premium Member
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149 Posts
no, you've heard wrong. I build half automatic 5 speed gearbox for DS and use some parts from the C-35.

I also build automatic trannies Borg Warner 35 for Citroen DS and SM.

There could be the mistake,:clap:

cheers,

Harry Martens
VERSNELLINGSBAKREVISIE
 
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