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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Guys, I love everything about my Lotus 211 over my Cayman R, with the exception of the gear box. This unit is just so vague, crude, and apparently fragile.

This is not news to you guys and I know it has been covered to death. I just want to know if there is any new information on the subject. I'm only looking for advice for track only cars as my car is not street legal.

1. What can be done to strengthen the existing box? Who sells the best replacement etc?

2. Better clutches etc? Replacement gears? LSD really any better (I hear both opinions)?

3. MWR sell a dog box option. It appears to be reasonable, but has a standard H pattern. Anyone run that?

4. The Quaife unit is obviously the most affordable sequential, but i hear it is both awesome and a little fragile. Anyone run one long enough and hard enough to have an informed opinion? Service intervals?

5. There are the options from Elise Parts, and Sadev, very good? Very pricey? Anyone have real life experience.

I know this has been covered, but time in use can really change people's opinions, so let's hear where this is at right now.

Thanks
 

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The simple answer is YES :) …. but too much typing would be required to answer all your questions completely.

So, if you want my experience and my take on the transmission options, PM me your contact info. :shift:
 

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Lets talk about the Vague shifting first:
As the shifter is linked via cables, it will never have a rock solid snick-snick shift. It can be made better with upgraded cables from sector111, Stan's shift mod and the LETSLA shift kit. But, it will never be as solid as a pedestal mounted shifter on a transmission.
Reliability:
A built E-153 five speed transmission is darn near bullet-proof. All other choices have been known to break with "enhanced" engines. Common C64 failures are 3rd/4th gear; Jubu makes a replacement set, but even those have been known to fail. Final drive has been known to fail too; tougher versions are available, but they have been known to fail as well.
Risk Factors: Installing an Limited Slip Differential (LSD) and/or adding wide slicks seem to increase the transmission failure rate. Doing both seems to Really enhance the risk. Pounding the gears seem to enhance the failure rate (no surprise there).
Due to known transmission limitations, I stopped upgrading the engine at 265 crank HP. I fall back to the old racing maxim "you have to complete the race, to win the race".
Final note: There are some 400 crank HP cars out there with a stock C64; they seem to get away with it. Luck of the draw, and gentler shifting/clutch seem to be the key for those owners.
 

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Lets talk about the Vague shifting first:
As the shifter is linked via cables, it will never have a rock solid snick-snick shift. It can be made better with upgraded cables from sector111, Stan's shift mod and the LETSLA shift kit. But, it will never be as solid as a pedestal mounted shifter on a transmission.
Reliability:
A built E-153 five speed transmission is darn near bullet-proof. All other choices have been known to break with "enhanced" engines. Common C64 failures are 3rd/4th gear; Jubu makes a replacement set, but even those have been known to fail. Final drive has been known to fail too; tougher versions are available, but they have been known to fail as well.
Risk Factors: Installing an Limited Slip Differential (LSD) and/or adding wide slicks seem to increase the transmission failure rate. Doing both seems to Really enhance the risk. Pounding the gears seem to enhance the failure rate (no surprise there).
Due to known transmission limitations, I stopped upgrading the engine at 265 crank HP. I fall back to the old racing maxim "you have to complete the race, to win the race".
Final note: There are some 400 crank HP cars out there with a stock C64; they seem to get away with it. Luck of the draw, and gentler shifting/clutch seem to be the key for those owners.
Some decent info here but also some mis-information.

My abbreviated take:

1) No on any short-shift kit, including Letsla -- Lotus Cup guys who have tried the Letsla short shift kit have found it to compromise syncro longevity.

2) Tracking (especially racing) any Lotus will have its negative effects on the transmission (engine as well). Having said that, what's the fun of driving a track-only car, if you can't run on really sticky tires. So slicks are a given. :) We've seen good results on the stock tranny with strengthened 3rd and 4th gears and the OS Giken LSD -- even on cars putting out ~ 270 WHP. Frequent tranny fluid changes are recommended and a tranny cooler wouldn't be a bad idea. ;)
 

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I have he BOE Rev 400 and a stock transmission. I have upgraded the 3/4 and final drive to Jubu and have seem very good results...The stock box lasted three years before I had to swap out the 3/4 to Jubu. The final drive 6 years. Treated with respect he transmission will hold up but you cannot slam it around like many racing boxes.
 

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Jack,
I actually agree with you on all fronts; this is why Vague shifter feel, and transmission reliability were two separate paragraphs. To combat one, you lose in the other.
I also agree with you on the Slicks statement, why go to the track on less effective tires. You note in my signature I have both Hoosier A6 and R6 tires. For the street I use R1R and some "slippy-long lasting" Kumho tires. But it is fair to mention that grippy slicks do affect the life-span of the transmission. The better you hook up, the more stress the transmission experiences.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Jack PM sent.

Thanks for all the input guys. It's great to get the benefit of so much real time experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Simon. I have read that thread, good reading. Some of the posts are older, I was wondering if people had a more up to date opinion on the options now that they have more experience with them.

I know you Elise Parts guys seem very happy, and the Sadev appears to be amazing (A cheaper one on the horizon?).

The Quaife is the one that I have heard different views on. IT's in budget, so I'm all ears.

I would love to upgrade and fix the standard tranny as well. Very cheap and if it could be sorted, I would be happy.
 

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to be fair, not much has changed since then there are no new options (that I know of).

at the end of the day, you need to define what your needs are, the std box is only so big, and yes you can fit it with stronger gears, but it's still hamstrung by it's basic design and **** change.

the Quaife option addresses some of this, but your still stuck with the limits of the std layout (ie, long close shafts, and small differential).

Sadev made some great boxes, but as with all sequentials (that fit) they are designed for FWD cars with all the optimisations that needs (ie, the wrong ones for mid-engined), and they are still (relatively) lightweight in torque ratings.

Hewland are in the same camp as are Xtrac, etc etc.

EP one is the only one made for the mid-engined layout and proven to take 450+ lbft.
 

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It's funny about transmissions in race cars... they tend to need service or rebuilding every so often... I know the Jerico in my '65 Mustang race car does. Even though it's a full on race piece - it still manages to show up with cracks in shifting forks - or teeth that are abused...
I just get 'er rebuilt - put it back in and it's good until it's not.

I've thought about how much fun it would be to run the Quaife in the Lotus... but for the half a dozen track days I do per year -- I really would rather piss away money on stuff that makes the car handle better. It seems to be plenty fast enough... and it already handles better than I can drive it. LOL
 

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What about the clutch?
It is the "fuse" in the driveline.
I have used a metallic shoe type of clutch disk and the connection was secure after engagement, but it had a soft hookup when engaging.
I used discs from a dozer transmission.
I would think there are similar products available now.
(Of course, this WAS 40 years ago) Oops, 50 years ago....
The word "velvet touch, comes to mind.

But I do think some present day clutches grab with an iron fist.
I sure wouldn't dump the upgraded clutch in my present elise, but I don't drive it competitively.
Sam
 
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