My restoration (to date !)
As I had come to expect, nothing was to go smoothly on this car - and that included the gear box. The lever was stuck solid and only had about 2 cm movement in any direction - which I felt was a bit of a problem if I wanted to do anything more than just rev up the engine and annoy the neighbours. At some point, I actually wanted to drive this machine. I was totally unenthusiastic about removing the gearbox/engine as a) this would be hard work and b) it may prove to be very expensive, so I 'phoned up a Lotus dealer. He kindly explained that Lotus gearboxes are very fragile and, when subjected to lots of abuse, tend to fling out springs and circlips which snag the synchromesh and don't enhance the smoothness of the gearbox. I began to count my credit cards as I remembered that the gearbox had come with no oil in it and wondered what the last owner/s had done to the Lotus. I started to read the manuals on how to remove the engine and then, before I started, decided to remove the gear lever. It was really just a last act of hope - maybe there was a small gnome under the gear stick that was preventing the lever from moving - maybe it wasn't the main gearing after all. I didn't hold out much hope. Anyway, I removed it and saw...nothing. Oh well, worth a try - but as I screwed the lower part back I felt a very slight movement to one side, as I accidentally knocked the lever. At first I thought it was my imagination, but I gently pushed the gear stick again and it went a bit further. Had I dislodged something ? Surely not - all I had done was re-screw the gear stick. I envisioned all those circlips pinging around as a manipulated the lever into first, then second and finally third. Fourth was a little more difficult, but that could wait. Was it possible that over a year of sitting doing nothing without any oil covering had just caused the box to stiffen. Was it really true that I didn't have to take it out ? I could hardly believe my luck, but it seemed to be true - and as the clutch grated as I attempted to change gear, I was mightily relieved !
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