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Lotus 5 speed transmission  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: 06-05-2017 06:13 pm
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Esprit2
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Just for the record, Lotus used three different 5-speed transmissions with the 907 & 912 engines. Any of which, when taken with it's dedicated Lotus bell housing, would be a direct bolt-on fit with the JH 907 engine.

If you also use the Lotus flywheel and clutch, there should be no fabrication required just to mate the transmission to the engine. All the Lotus transmission's bell housings are set up for a cable actuated clutch with the release lever on the right side.

All the Elite-Eclat-Excel gear levers poke through the consol at about the same point. Since the Excel's W58 gear lever must be re-located to fit the JH, it's reasonable to presume the other two gearboxes would also require gear lever mods.

The first Elite-Eclat 5-spd was a Lotus-built unit. It used the Austin Maxi gearset plus a Ford shifter mechanism, all stirred together into a Lotus-specific housing. There was a short tailshaft version for the Elan & Elan +2, and a long tailshaft version for the Elite-Eclat. Owner/ users usually refer to it as the Lotus-Maxi 5-spd. The Maxi gears were okay with the 1558cc Twin Cam in the lightweight Elan, but it was beyond it's comfort zone behind the more powerful 2.0 907 in the heavier 4-seater Elite-Eclat, and it's clearly in over its head behind a hotrod 2.2 liter 907/ 912.

The Lotus-Maxi's intermediate ratios were probably the best ever offered for the 907, and the shift action was a delight. The O/D 5th was 0.800:1. That's not as tall as the Toyota w58, but still a comfortable cruiser.

However, if any of these three gearboxes was going to be problematic with the 907's power, then I'd bet on it being the Lotus-Maxi. I wouldn't recommend going out of your way to pursue one, but if one followed you home it would be a relatively easy installation. Emphasis on 'relatively'.

The 1981-82 S2.2 version of the Elite-Eclat got the 912LC engine and a Getrag 265 5-spd. It's not the same Getrag 235 used in the JH5 and GT. The JH Getrag 235 has a dog-leg 1st gear and a 1:1 5th gear ratio. The Lotus Getrag 265 has a 'normal' 4-spd shift pattern with 5th to the right and forward. The 265 is also used in some BMW applications, it's considerably more robust than the Lotus-Maxi, and it is very durable behind any of the 907/ 912 engines.

The Getrag 265's O/D 5th gear ratio is 0.813:1. That's the least 'over-driven' of the three (verses Maxi & W58), but it's not much different compared to the Lotus-Maxi. If you wish to bring in a 4th option, the Toyota W57, then the 265 is considerably more 'over-driven' than the W57 (Conversion Components refers to the W57 as the "Close Ratio" Toyota 5-spd).

Lotus never used the Toyota W57, but since it was mentioned above, I'll add the following. The W57 is basically a W58 without the strength enhancements and with the lower 0.861:1 O/D 5th for smaller, less torquey engines that can't pull a tall O/D. That lower 5th might make it a better option for replacing the stock JH Getrag 5-spd with the 3.45:1 rear axle ratio.

The Excel and Excel SE got the Toyota Supra's W58 5-spd transmission that gets all the attention from JH owners. And deservedly so. Lotus used the later, beefed-up version with the steel sandwich plate. Overall, It's probably the best transmission ever mated to the 907/ 912, it can handle the most power, and it has the best conversion parts support and knowledge base. The last two points make the W58 the best contender for a JH swap... IMHO

Regards,
Tim Engel

Last edited on 07-12-2017 07:26 pm by Esprit2

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 Posted: 07-02-2017 04:13 am
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dbeliveau74
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The JH Standard (JHPS newsletter) had an article about this swap done by a member. In it he described much of the work involved, really interesting, he even describes in detail how to extend the shifter to line up with the original shifter location on tbe JH.
Regarding final drive ratios; the 3.45/1 vs 3.73/1, you would gain top end cruising speed with a W58 and 3.45, but would lose acceleration in the lower speeds.
This info was gained by reading everything I can get my hands on.
Cheers,
Dan 74 JH 2.2 Dyno reading 217BHP

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 Posted: 07-03-2017 12:25 am
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Esprit2
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Dan,
Is that the article written by Ernie West of Dead Lake Motors? If so, I'd like to get my hands on a copy of it. I know Ernie, and was familiar with his car before it got T-boned. I 'consulted' with him about the W58 conversion, but never saw his write-up.

Regards,
Tim Engel

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 Posted: 07-05-2017 10:19 pm
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John Finch
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Hello Tim, I have the August and Sept 2011 articles by Ernie. You are welcome to them. You can PM or call to connect. John

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 Posted: 07-06-2017 05:48 am
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Esprit2
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Hi John,

It'd be great if you would burn a copy for me. You're the one doing all the travelling, so when you're home sometime, ping me and I'll pick them up. Or maybe I can talk you into attending an InterMarque Breakfast some Saturday morning.

Thanks,
Tim

Last edited on 07-06-2017 05:49 am by Esprit2

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 Posted: 07-23-2017 07:09 pm
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DonBurns
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Just an update. I found a god W58 and grabbed it, so next step is to get a kit of some sort. I have info from Conversion Components but I a little leery based on the reports that the cross member doesn't fit, and I'm a little fuzzy on what the kit does and doesn't include, so have an enquiry into LotusBits to see if they have kits available.

For the shift extension, has anybody used these guys? This looks easier than shipping to and from NZ for me at least.

https://xcessivemanufacturing.com/toyota/transmission/toyota-w58-shifter-housing-series-1.html

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 Posted: 07-24-2017 09:19 pm
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Esprit2
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Interesting. How much does the W58's shifter need to be modified to fit properly in the JH? Is the excessive mfg part right for the job, or just 'closer'.

Regards,
Tim Engel

Last edited on 10-25-2017 03:19 pm by Esprit2

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 Posted: 07-24-2017 10:27 pm
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DonBurns
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I asked for more measurements and xcessive says with their extension the measurement from front of transmission to center of shifter would be 21.75" or 552 mm. The Conversion Components puts it at 530 mm, but I believe I read that this was shorter than ideal. Can anybody who has done this comment on 552mm possibly working? That is 0.9" longer than the CC setup.

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 Posted: 07-25-2017 03:48 pm
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DonBurns
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Well - my plan now on the extension housing is to buy the kit from xcessive and pick it up in Portland this week, but to not have them cut and weld the linkage. I will wait until I can test fit in the car. Now that I've actually looked at the parts, it seems to me that it would be possible to shorten a shift housing that is too long (cutting and welding required).

I spoke to LotusBits and will be placing an order for the kit as soon as I get the invoice. Then it will probably sit in my garage for a year or so. Just kidding, I hope.

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 Posted: 07-25-2017 10:14 pm
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Jim Ketcham
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I have completed 3 W58 JH conversions. One using a Conversion Components kit, one using just the Conversion Components supplied bell housing and one using a Lotus Excel bell housing supplied by Lotus Bits.
The first one using the CC kit (less shifter extension - not available at that time) was the most straight forward. You are correct that the rear transmission bracket was not satisfactory. I simply modified the existing JH bracket with the Supra W58 mount and repositioned it. That was no big deal and I did the same for the subsequent conversions. The most difficult part was the shifter extension housing. I could not find a source for the long one specified by CC. I ended up modifying the ones that came with my Supra w58s. I had a jig (expensive) made that simplified the cutting and holding of the existing housing and linkage bar for welding. It ended up having to be a nominal 25mm longer than the one specified by CC to provide good placement for the JH so I don,t understand how the CC one would work. I do have sketches with all these dimensions and pictures of the before and after extension housing that I can send you when I return home this weekend.
The second conversion with just the CC bellhousing was okay only because I could copy the other parts from the kit I had purchased earlier.
The third conversion with the Lotus Excel bell housing was a PIA. I had to get a spacer made for between the bell housing and transmission. I had to enlarge the hole for the clutch linkage in the bell housing as the Lotus used a hydraulic clutch. Had to machine a mount for the clutch pivot arm for the housing also.
All required new driveshafts to be made, but that was fairly straight forward from a local driveshaft outfit.
Also I found using a short shifter kit( can't remember name just now) made a very nice throw in the JH.
If I can find the jig for modifying the shift extension housing and shaft you are welcome to it.
Remember that I did these several years ago. I understand that Lotus Bits now has a kit that maybe addresses some of these issues.
I must add that the W58 with the 4 speed rear end is awesome in the JH.

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 Posted: 09-15-2017 06:28 am
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StevenD57
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Jim:
Was the short shifter made by Cube Speed out of Australia? I have one in my JH with the W58 and I have mixed feelings about it.

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 Posted: 09-15-2017 12:26 pm
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Jim Ketcham
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I don't recall. I know one of them I used was a Mookeeh.

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