Transmissions – Lotus/Toyota C60 and C-series

The transmissions discussed here include C60, C64, C56, C59 and came in the following models:
2005-12 Lotus Elise and Exige with 2ZZ and 1ZZ engines
2000-05 Celica and MR2 Spyder ALL
2003-08 Corolla/Matrix/Vibe ALL
2009-13 Corolla/Matrix/Vibe 1.8

The Toyota C-series transmission is known to be a solid performer and is available in many different variations. It does have its weak points but we have the solutions.


Want to swap a 6-speed into your car that originally came with a 5-speed? Just take a look for transmissions is your vehicle’s category on our website. As long as the transmission is specified for your vehicle it will bolt in with NO OTHER CHANGES. Shifter, cables, mounts, axles etc all will work. Additionally, if the transmission you’re upgrading to has LSD it’ll install and work fine with no other changes as well, axles are not specific to the differential type.

See MR2-S 2ZZ SWAP PAGE for info on adapting a Celica or Lotus or Corolla/Matrix 6-speed trans purchased elsewhere to fit your Spyder.

A Celica or Lotus 6-speed can be adapted to fit a Corolla/Matrix with THIS

A Corolla/Matrix transmission cannot be installed in a Celica or Lotus, the center housing is not machined to accept a Celica type shifter shaft.


There was a design change to the 3rd and 4th gear synchros in 2003/2004. Your 3rd and 4th gears, synchro rings and 3rd-4th hub ring must all be either early or late.

On Corolla/Matrix/Vibe models you can identify by the case:


If you have an early transmission then during a rebuild you can upgrade to the late style synchros which are a bit better in durability and performance. In fact, if either of your gears are damaged then you MUST upgrade since the early type gears are discontinued. To upgrade to late type synchros you MUST upgrade to the late 3rd and 4th gears as well as the later hub ring. For a C60/C64 (C series transmissions that come with the 4.5 final drive, found in Celica GTS, Corolla/Matrix/Vibe 2ZZ and Elise/Exige 2ZZ) you’d need:

3rd Synchro
4th Synchro
3rd Gear
4th Gear

6th gear upgrade C64

The C64 6-speed in the Lotus cars (and some European Corollas) came with a 0.815 ratio 6th gear, which means very high RPM on the highway. Upgrade to the Celica 0.725 6th gear to reduce your highway RPM by 11%. This is the longest 6th gear available for this transmission family.
you need:
6th Driven Gear
6th Drive Gear
Transmission must be removed and disassembled for gear installation

5th gear upgrade C56

The C56 5-speed in the Celica GT and MR2 Spyder (USA) came with a 0.815 ratio 5th gear, which means very high RPM on the highway. Upgrade to the Corolla 0.725 5th gear to reduce your highway RPM by 11%. This is the longest 5th gear available for this transmission family.
you need only:
5th gear kit
Transmission must be removed and disassembled for gear installation


At stock power levels the C transmissions are pretty durable, even used in drag racing or road racing applications. With some added power though the gears become a weak point. In road race applications, exceeding 250whp pushes the stock 3rd and 4th gear to and past their limit. UPGRADE both to solve this issue. The final drive gears can also be a weak point, but more commonly in FWD applications where wheel hop shock loads the gearbox. Upgrade to urethane engine/transmission mounts to minimize wheel hop. There is no stock-ratio upgrade for the final drive, though we do carry stronger 4.8 and 5.0 final drives which are well suited to road course racing.

Street style clutches transmit the least shock load and vibration. They are the best choice for gear durability regardless of whether you’re driving on the street, drag, or road racing. You only need a puck style clutch if you’re melting street discs.

For turbo street applications the C transmissions tend to hold up fairly well at 300whp, but fail very frequently at 400+ whp. The MWR E153 transmission upgrade is the right solution for high horsepower applications, especially in street driven cars.

Bearing problems

The 6-speed (C60, C63, C66) transmissions have 3 support bearings per shaft so they have very few bearing problems. The 5-speed variants have only 2 support bearings on the input shaft and 2 on the output shaft; it’s not uncommon to get some noise (most noticeable cruising in 5th gear) and even a failure of the #2 output shaft bearing. Relatively rare in the MR2-S, but much more common in the Corolla/Matrix/Vibe. If caught early you can simply replace the bearing. Let it fail and the gearbox self destructs and can even lock up. Many people choose to simply upgrade to a 6-speed transmission as a solution for a noisy 5-speed. More gears, better durability. MWR carries a full line of 6-speed transmissions to bolt in to most of the cars we specialize in.

Popping out of gear

Not a common problem but it does happen, especially in 6th gear. The problem is related to the synchros but is rarely just a bad synchro; usually the repair will require replacement of (example for C60 4.5 6-spd):

6th GEAR