Automatic gearboxes

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Automatic gearboxes

Postby Chris da Silva » Mon Sep 07, 2020 12:51

From a "spy who came in from the cold" .... :D :lol:

The "Mk 2" Cappuccino (those with VINs commencing with EA21R .....) have a choice of having either the tried and tested 5-speed gearbox or a 3-speed automatic option; which is very useful to know!

I'm asking this because I like to find out whether a Honda Beat or an Autozam AZ-1 can be (retro) fitted with a 3-speed auto box as an "acceptable upgrade" seeing that quite a few classic- and collectible cars have this option! For example, the early Jaguar E-type (with the 3.8-litre engine) were originally fitted with drum brakes all round. The acceptable upgrade means that the drum brakes can be replaced with [direct-replacement] discs for a better stopping power and increased safety; and which makes a lot of sense with today's motoring!

Although the AZ-1 or Beats' 5-speed manual box does not constitute a safety factor as such like the Mk 1 E-Type, having a 3-speed auto box like the Mk 2 Cappuccino would make driving these cars a lot more user-friendly for the 21st century! :confused:

Can anyone out there shed some light on this, please?
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Re: Automatic gearboxes

Postby Ian Linden » Mon Sep 07, 2020 22:19

Can't comment on the Beat, but the AZ1' engine is behind the seats, so the gearbox is in a totally different configuration to the EA21R. You might be able to fit an engine and transmission from a front wheel drive car turned around, and with the steering arrangements locked. There was a mini-based kit car which did just that, but I forget the name.
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Re: Automatic gearboxes

Postby Chris da Silva » Tue Sep 08, 2020 01:32

The engine layout of the Beat is practically identical to the AZ-1 in that it's also rear mounted and transverse. This in turn means that the noise and heat will be behind the driver and the passenger not too unlike the AZ-1. The other Mini-based kit car with that layout you mentioned is the Unipower GT, and that car was introduced back in the mid-60's. The engine on that was a BLMC 998 cc unit (as fitted to the Mini 1000) - but the gearbox is reversed; and to add to the confusion, the gear lever was fitted to the driver's door sill instead of between the seats! Imagine a gearbox turned 180 degrees around and placed in an unconventional position .... that'll take some getting used to, I can imagine! And climbing over the gearshift in a low-slung car is quite a challenge especially if you're not quite up to it!! :roll:

Ironically, I was also interested in buying one, would you believe; but it went out of production only after a short run! Many of them ended up in Japan where there is a big following, so I am told. But I also understand that the tooling, presses etc. of the Unipower are locked away somewhere in the UK! So if someone intended to start up production again, they can use the Cappuccino K6A engine which is still in production. (The Cappuccino engine is also used in the current Caterham 160, aka a Lotus Super 7 with a new name. I checked out a road test on that car - and does it move or what!!)

That's how good the K6A unit is. :D 8)
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Re: Automatic gearboxes

Postby Ian Linden » Tue Sep 08, 2020 21:58

I think the K6 was used in some JDM versions of the WagonR - not sure if there was an automatic option, but that could be another candidate for a donor.
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Re: Automatic gearboxes

Postby Chris da Silva » Wed Sep 09, 2020 02:49

I haven't seen the engine and gearbox layout of the Beat or AZ-1 yet; but if it's just a matter of having a separate gearbox bolted directly on to the engine block, then a 1 to 1 straight swap should be quite easy. The next question is whether there is a third party manufacturer out there who can provide that replacement.

Did Suzuki manufacture the automatic box as fitted to the EA21R; or was that from another supplier like ZF or Borg-Warner?
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Re: Automatic gearboxes

Postby Ian Linden » Wed Sep 09, 2020 07:28

I believe the AZ1 transmission is transverse, as was the WagonR. Suzuki usually get their auto gearboxes from Aisin, and the internals are a Borg-Warner design. It may be that the WagonR gearbox would bolt up to the AZ1 engine.

If you haven't experienced the AZ1, you may be disappointed. Apparently it is very noisy, poorly ventilated and the back of the cabin gets very hot from the engine.
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