From Citroen SM Wiki

The transmission was also used by Lotus in the Esprit up through 1987, and the Maserati Merak (all types). The gearbox cases differ in these uses.

The transmission is very strong (Jerry Hathaway's land speed car used a stock transmission).

Problems in the Lotus were likely because it acted as a stressed frame member causing leakage.


  • Manual Transmission is similar to 5-Speed DS transaxle. It is a fully synchromesh design with a spiral bevel (not hypoid) ring and pinion. Consequently, the transmission does not need GL5 oil and, in fact, because of the brass synchros, GL5 oil should be avoided in favor of GL4 oil. There have been reported incidences in which the 5th gear became loose on the ouput shaft, resulting in a failed transmission. To check this, remove the DIRAVI governor and the front cover. The spedometer drive gear (which holds the 5th gear in place) should be tightened to 200 ft-lbs and staked in place.
  • Automatic Tranmsission is a Borg Warner Type 35, similar to the DS BVA transmission. On 1972 models, the transfer gear set is geared quite low and for this reason 1972 BVA are the least desirable of all models. On 1973 models the transfer gear set ratio is much better suited to the engine. It is possible to fit a later tranmission to an earlier model car if replaced as an entire set including the later torque convertor and flex plate. In the USA the automatic transmission developed a reputation for being unreliable, due in no small part to the failure of many owners to adjust the brake bands (which must be manually tightened every 10,000 miles - a simple operation, but if left undone will lead to early failure.) It is important to use only Ford Type "F" fluid - never Dexron in the transmission. Use of Dexron AFT in any Borg Warner type 35 will lead to early transmission failure.


  • The vent opens to the top. It's possible to put a small hose on it to prevent water and dirt from falling in.
See Yahoo group files for details

See also

Transmission Oil