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E23 Automatic Trans

Discussion in 'E23 (1978-1987)' started by rossbob, Nov 6, 2009.

    rossbob guest

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    Our '86 735 presently has about 53,000 miles. The gear selector has 3 options on the top of the transmission tunnel: S (sport); E (economy) 1/2/3 for manual.

    The S mode has 4 gears, while the E has 5, the fifth being an overdrive....problem: will not shift into fifth gear when selector is in E.......the S mode works fine (13 mpg).

    Dealer in Virginia Beach, Va. checked out car and advised that it appears to need a new selector switch.....estimated cost: $70 for the switch and 6 hours to install..They claim it is a difficult procedure requiring removal of the transmission tunnel to get at the switch.

    Has anyone done this procedure? Or have a similar experience? Have totally restored Lotus Elan, Seven and TVR....

    Could it be something other than the selector switch?

    Any info would be appreciated...thanks...Bob Ross
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    John in VA

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    • Member


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    I don't believe there is a 5th overdrive on that transmission. It's simply a 4 speed automatic that functions like John stated with 4th being overdrive in E mode.

    rossbob guest

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    I stand corrected: It is a 4 speed automatic transmisssion with S (Sport) and E (Economy). The manual transmission has a fifth gear.

    Dealer diagnosis is faulty selector switch. It remains in the S mode, will not change to E which would drop engine speed/ revs. significantly....

    Estimated cost $70 for switch, 6 hours labor to complete the fix. Question is has anyone done this? What is the level of difficulty?
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    With no direct experience, I'd say you can probably do it yourself. This is the diagram from RealOEM.com:


    Part 5 is apparently the switch (list @ $65.09 on what may be an outdated list). The switch knob (Part 6) is attached to it but I don't know where it mounts. If you think you can get there in under six hours, then I'd say you can do it.

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