Deconstructed gearbox

Following on from the work on the transfer case, this evening’s task was to get the main gearbox to bits. I was pleased to find that it’s a newer fully synchromeshed version, which means it’ll be a drop-in replacement for my current box where double clutching is an option rather than a necessity.

Taking the bolt out of the layshaft. This was held in with about a pint of loctite. Had to use the 18″ breaker bar on the socket and hold the main shaft still with vice grips wedged against the bench. Much grunting later I got it free.
Splitting off the bell housing was pretty simple.
Removed the circlip, washer and retaining plates for the main shaft front bearing. The bearing feels smooth in the hand but there was a distinct rumble when the shaft was rotated in the gearbox itself. Might have to invest in a new bearing.
Cover taken off the selectors. Managed to catch and bag all the springs and detents which interlock the levers. The selectors came out easily, but getting them back in could be a pain!

Gears have some mild surface rust but no other signs of wear and tear.

More cog porn.

The only nasty looking bit is the reverse gear. This can only be replaced by heating the gearbox casing and drifting out the shaft. Not in any way an easy job.

The guy who sold me the gearbox at Sodbury claimed to have refurbished it not long before his Land Rover was killed off by a rusty chassis. I suspect that the reverse gear was just too much of a pain to replace when he did the job.

Back once again… with a gearbox

Well, I haven’t posted for quite a while, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been busy. Since my last post quite a bit has changed. Not least among the changes being the fact that I am now a married man. Also, in a week’s time we’re moving to a new house.

The Duke has been less busy than me. Sadly he didn’t make it to the wedding, simply because there was nobody to drive him back home as we headed straight off on honeymoon. He did make it to Sodbury though. It was nice to be there in a Land Rover again. Myself and Dr Johnson headed all the way down to Beaulieu for the day and lugged back a pair of axles for him and a gearbox for myself.

As a result, three things have changed on the blog: 1) soon I’ll have a garage with workbench, lights, power and shelving for my ever growing spares collection 2) I’m working on the spare gearbox more than The Duke himself and 3) there’s a mucky wedding ring in some of the pictures.

Here’s my Advanced Servicing Bench Outdoors, or “ASBO“. An appropriate name for something which makes the drive look like a load of pikeys have moved in!

The transfer case – all cleaned up and emptied out

I started reconditioning the gearbox some time ago but the camera and laptop conspired to loose all of the pictures from two days of transfer case disassembly. Other than some mud falling into the bearings everything in the transfer case was very tidy – there really didn’t seem much point taking it to bits! Still, you don’t know ’til you’ve looked.

Some tidy looking teeth on the main transfer gear

Everything looks good as new really.

Some transfer case bits packed away. Sadly, the detailed pictures showing how it all goes back together are lost forever.

Inside the case itself everything looks good. No chipped teeth and hardly any signs of wear.

Cog porn


The only real shocker was this. An eight inch cold chisel which I found in the transfer box oil sump! Somebody obviously dropped it in there when removing or fitting an overdrive (no OD fitted when I got the gearbox, but I did only pay £30 for it). Not sure it could ever have done any real harm – but it was a brave or foolish man who drove away after dropping this into the gearbox of his Land Rover!

Britpart Oil Seal Fail

More work on fixing the clutch today, but it all came to nothing. It was a learning experience and a useful test fitting of the flywheel housing, but otherwise a hugely frustrating day!

Here’s the flywheel housing as it came off.

All cleaned up with about a pint of “Gunk”. Looks much smarter and a much better environment for a clutch to live.

Punched the old oil seal out and cleaned up the hole.

The old seal looks totally different to (and much better than) the replacement!

The replacement seal drifted in with a lump of wood. Went in very easily actually.

By this point everything was going well, so I bunged a load of liquid gasket on the block and pressed on fitting the flywheel housing.

Here it all is bolted together. What the pictures don’t show is that the plastic fitting “tool” for the seal didn’t allow it to properly slip over the crank. It ended up creased and needed easing with a screwdriver. Bad news indeed!

While slapping gunk all over the place I also cleaned out the bell housing. Looks very swish now!

Put the flywheel on and ran the engine for a while, only to find oil flying out all over the shop.

Obviously the problem was with the low quality of the rubber in the seal, which seemed very stiff compared to the original. The stiffness of the rubber and poor quality of the press-out plastic shaper which allows it to slide over the crank (or not!) is hopefully what sets the cheap Britpart replacement apart from the original part.

I’m going to have to order a new original replacement now – for £30 – and wait for it to arrive. Since I’m away on a cake delivery mission next weekend The Duke is going to be off the road for at least another three weeks. Very depressing!

Fun with the Clutch: Chapter One

It was raining a little today, so I slobbed on the sofa for a couple of hours before I decided I really should still attempt to get The Duke’s clutch fixed. It’s better to regret something you have done, after all.

So, this post is a guide to how I dropped the gearbox, clutch, flywheel and flywheel housing off, ready to to fix the clutch and a suspect crankshaft oil seal. Note that because The Duke is a newer model he has a removable gearbox crossmember, so I didn’t need to take the seat box off.

First job: Get the floor up. Transmission tunnel, gear knobs, floors, and seat bottoms (didn’t want to get them mucky) all got stripped out.

Here’s the gear selector at the bottom of the gear stick. I’m sure there’s supposed to be a little ball on the bottom to stop it flapping around. Other than that, eveything looks fine.

Removing the nuts which hold the bell housing onto the flywheel housing. There are quite a few of them, but they all came off nicely in the end.


Before the gearbox can be removed you also need to disconnect the clutch slave cylinder, the handbrake linkage, the front and rear driveshafts and the speedo cable. None of these is easy to remove! I found that the only way to get the rear propshaft off was to unbolt the back first so I could change the angle and get access to the nuts at the gearbox end. The handbrake linkage is made of pure evil.

Since I don’t have an angine hoist I slung a rope or two under the gearbox, then used a mixture of jacking, hammering, pulling on ropes, levering and swearing to drop the gearbox and crossmember down in one go. I would not recommend that anyone try it this way. There’s no chance I’m getting it back on without a hoist of some kind!

Clutch pressure plate. Lots of dust in there and a nasty oily clag at the bottom which shows that the chaps on the forums were right – the crankshaft oil seal is leaking.

Old and new clutches. The pressure plate side of the clutch is almost totally bald – probably explains my shocking MPG figures! New part is “AP Driveline” who are apparently very good.

The last little bit of friction material clings to the old clutch plate.

Next I had to get the flywheel off. The Haynes manual says “undo the bolts and pull off the flywheel”. IIt doesn’t mention that the bolts are tightened hard into something that freely rotates, or that the friction fitting of the flywheel is very hard to overcome! Note the spanner in the picture, which I used to stop the engine turning over while I unscrewed the bolts. I then put the old pressure plate back on and used it to help lever off the flywheel.

Flywheel off. Next thing to come off was the flywheel housing. Very simple really: six bolts inside the housing and two above. You also need to disconnect the starter motor before the plate will come away.

Flywheel housing detached. Full of a nasty sludge of clutch dust and leaked engine oil.


Just getting all that to bits took five hours of constant work. I have cut my hands to ribbons, got rust and oil in my eyes and not a single new part has been attached yet! Watch this space for chapter two…

Even Colder!

Got up early again today to do a bit more on The Duke before Lorna crawled out of bed. Along with some work yesterday, I’ve managed to make some good progress.

Firstly, thanks to the Lovely Lorna for some more excellent pedal pumping. Bled the brakes through reasonably successfully, though there was a touch of foaminess to the fluid, so they may need doing again before The Duke goes back on the road. Instead of buying a replacement pipe for the back I actually made one. Got all the tools and fittings I need to replace just about every pipe on the Land Rover for £90. Christmas money well spent and brakes more or less done!

I also spent some time yesterday taking off the front suspension. I worked out that it would be easier to patch the front dumbiron without the spring on, so decided to take the lot off and refurbish both springs as I did at the back.

Front springs gone!

Today, after sweeping away a layer of ice crystals from the drive, I dropped the fuel tanks off so I can get access to the outriggers that need replacing. While they were off I replaced the cracked cork seals with the new rubber ones I ordered a few weeks back.

Fuel tank back on the floor!

While I was lying on the frozen tarmac I happened to find the other end of the speedo cable (haven’t looked that hard in the past!) so I decided to swap that out while I was at it. What an annoying job!

In the end I lost one of the screws while trying to attach the new cable. Not sure how terrible this is really. Might just forget about it!

Speedo cable where it meets the gearbox next to the handbrake drum.

In a terrible breech of health and safety regulations, I tested the speedo by jacking up a rear wheel, starting the engine and bunging it in gear. It works!

Speed demon

So, that’s a couple of niggles sorted and some prep done for the big welding jobs. Other than the welding, all I need to do now is get some new spark plugs to get it firing on all four cylinders again, split and grease the springs and refit the front suspension. Just hope the weather warms up a bit!

Drive Shaft

Ran out of welding wire today. After a weekend of hardcore grinding and welding I got the last chassis plate fabricated and tacked on. Almost finished the last of the welding – thank God – but there’s a bit to do underneath so I’ll need to splash out on more wire ASAP.

Some welding left to do. Boo!

Since I was unable to do any more welding, I decided to swap the bent driveshaft out. As I’ve already said, it fell foul of some careless forklifting at some point in The Duke’s history and has a nasty bend. Since the back axle is up on blocks and the wheels are off, I started the engine and bunged it in gear… there was much wobbling!

Thanks to a thick layer of oil the bolts holding the shaft onto the axle assembly were as good as new. I removed and reused them.

Perfect condition!

Not so easy at the handbrake side. Has to hammer a socket on and use the breaker bar. Could only undo the nuts with the handbrake on hard, then had to spin it with the starter motor to get the next nut into position.

Nuts from the handbrake side don’t look so good. Three are OK to re-use, but one is dead!

The old and new drive shafts.

All bolted up again!

Spin spin spin! Got the engine running and worked through the gears. Even in 4th with some throttle it was totally free of wobble. Well worth the £20 I paid some bloke at Sodbury!

Still some welding to do, plus the suspension needs putting back together, the wiring loom needs to be constructed and attached, the chassis needs undersealing on the outside and waxoyling on the inside and then… only then… I can bung the tub back on!

And finally: charging the batteries sorted the starting problem right out! They took 12 hours each to charge – I guess I should do it more often!