The Lotus Cars Community banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,649 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have a 74 Europa Twin Cam with the 5 speed transmission, aka the 365 transmission.

The speedo crapped out on me, so I did some testing to find out if it's the unit itself, the cable, or the gear drive in the trans.

I pulled the cable back at the trans, stuck the end in my drill, looked through the window at the speedo and discovered my Ryobi cordless drill is capable of 12 mph.

Ok, not the speedo, not the cable. It's the gear drive down in the trans. Turns out that part is virtually unobtainable, and if you DO find someone with one sitting on their bench, the price reflects its rarity...prohibitive.

AND if you find one and put it in, it's a temp fix, as sooner or later these parts will fail anyway. It's just a plastic gear extremely sensitive to constant lubrication.

Looked into GPS speedos, picked one up from Speedhut. They have a lot of different styles and sizes.

Found one the right size, and you can customize them on the site. Bezel finish, color of gauge face, color of indicator needle, lighting and color of same, font and number style, color of numbers/letters etc.

'Built' one that looks as close to the OEM Smith's gauge as possible. Finally got around to installing it, and it really looks good in the car. Nearly OEM. Purists or concours restorers will frown, but for a car that is being used and shown in informal shows, it's a great solution. Non-Lotus afficionados are unlikely to notice it's not OEM.

It's accurate too. If you start the car within 4 hours of last shut down, the GPS comes on instantly. More than four hours and it takes just under a minute to pick up the satellites.

The only hint that it's a modern gauge is the digital readout for the odometer. But it's relatively unobtrusive. The odo also toggles to doing 0 to 60 elapsed times.

I'm delighted with this solution for its aesthetics and utility. AND I don't have to worry about the cable/speedo/gear drive going out. And removing the cable saves a pound or two!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,250 Posts
But you are missing the big picture!

Now if you get pulled over and they ask you if you know how fast you were going, you have to say yes:)

Great improvement!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,649 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
But you are missing the big picture!

Now if you get pulled over and they ask you if you know how fast you were going, you have to say yes:)

Great improvement!
Good point! But it's an old Lotus. I'm more likely to be asked by an officer if I need a tow.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,245 Posts
I have never had any idea of our speed in the Black Beauty. Rebuilt speedo professionally. Looks great. Lasted a little while. The odo still works. On occasional we are pleasantly surprised to see it spring up to abot 40, and we know we're really gettin it on!

Show us a pic please.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,649 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I have never had any idea of our speed in the Black Beauty. Rebuilt speedo professionally. Looks great. Lasted a little while. The odo still works. On occasional we are pleasantly surprised to see it spring up to abot 40, and we know we're really gettin it on!

Show us a pic please.
Will snap a few pics this weekend.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
83 Posts
The SpeedHut is a good unit. My Europa speedo similarly crapped out a couple of years ago - replaced cable but no help. The tach was also about to give up the ghost so I replaced both with matching SpeedHut units. Other than the digital odo readout you have to look closely to tell them from the originals. The added bonus is that they actually work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
83 Posts
I forgot to mention the one drawback of the GPS speedo. It is pretty obvious, but if you lose satellite contact the speedo stops working. It's not a big deal in undreground parking, but you will also lose the readout when going through a deep enough tunnel.

Mountainous terrain can affect the unit as well as I found when going through the Cascades in northern Washington. The speedo didn't quit entirely but it became a bit erratic when we were going through some fairly narrow and steep-walled valleys. I presume that the unit was searching when contact with a satellite was briefly interrupted but it gave some strange readings for a while, including one point when it suddenly jumped up to 97 mph.

Once we got out of the mountains, all was good again. Except the unit I bought stores the overall highest speed reading so whenever I toggle through the digital readout functions, it jumps up to 97 mph (Honest, officer, I might have done that in the Europa when I was younger and stupider but the lyin' speedo's out to get me).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,649 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Apologies for poor quality phone pic, but here is my Speedhut GPS speedo. Not perfect but not bad. If I were doing it over I believe I could have gotten a better match in font and size/thickness of numerals.

For trademark reasons they wouldn't print SMITHS in Times New Roman as original, but the block letters look fine.
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,040 Posts
Could you email your exact order so I can dupe it. I need a speedo for the Europa I just bought. And website too?

tvacc at website below.

Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,245 Posts
Not bad at all. Nice effort. And yeah, please share your specifics with us.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,649 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Not bad at all. Nice effort. And yeah, please share your specifics with us.
ofg may also chime in, but here is what I told Tony:

The site is Gauges, Custom Gauges, Tachometers, Speedometers, Shift Light, Pod

The speedo I started with is GR338-GPS-03. It's a 3-3/8" 160 mph.

There is also a 140 mph unit: GR338-GPS-02 if you'd rather go that route.

You are walked through options to 'build' it.

Mine:

Colors: Day-Black Dial//White Font

Night- Numbers White Glow (you can select other color)

Font Style: Eurostile.

Tick Style: Standard

No Graphic

No Logo

Custom Text: SMITHS

Pointer: Chrome Blade White (glows white). This means the center is chrome, the blade is white and glows white at night. You can set another night color.

Bezel: Chrome Smoothie

When you submit, they send a digital 'proof.'

I had them take out the 5 mph tick marks.

The Chrome Bezel just screws off. To duplicate the OEM look, I used a black thick sharpie to paint the inner part black, then screwed it back on. You'll know what I mean when you see it.

When I saw the proof they put SMITHS at the bottom, I had them put it at the top and in a smaller font. Had to pay about $40 extra for the customizations other than what you can set during the normal ordering process. If I were to do it over I'd send a photo of my OEM speedo to better duplicate the font/thickness of the numerals.

I'd also might consider them NOT putting the block letter SMITHS on there at all, but use dry transfer white letters and put SMITHS on there myself using proper Times New Roman font.

Installation isn't hard. Worst part was getting the old speedometer out. One of the burled nuts had been screwed on in a way that stripped threads, so I could not take it off by hand and couldn't get pliers in there to do it.

Have to trim the opening for the speedo just a little, I used a razor. The speedo is simply a force fit, there is no room on the back side for the screw-on clamp that comes with the speedo. So if you trim just a little, it's a snug fit yet easy removal when necessary. And for me it will be necessary as I will be putting in a new dash this coming winter. Wiring is relatively easy. My antenna, which is a small 'home plate' shaped thing about an inch wide, an inche deep, and a quarter inch high is black and sits in the middle on top of my dash, almost invisible. It comes with 15' of cable so you can put it literally anywhere you wish on the car.

The only somewhat disconcerting thing is at night, the light for that gauge is modern and bright, the OEM gauge lights look tired and weary by comparison.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top