Panic Overdrive!

Had a nasty fright on the way to work on Thursday.  Popping out of overdrive on the A33 there was a nasty graunching sound and it popped back in to neutral.  After that it wouldn’t stay engaged at all.  I managed to limp through the rest of the day in overdrive – hill starts were far from fun as I had to be very gentle with the clutch.
I assumed it was my DIY linkage, so popped the tunnel cover off and pulled the selector out with vice grips.  With the back wheels off the ground I started the engine, only to find that it still wouldn’t stay engaged.  There was much swearing at this point.  I have a spare gearbox, but am using The Duke daily these days and the idea of him being laid up for a couple of weeks was not appealing.  The £340 I spend on the overdrive and possibility that it might be worthless was also a minor bugbear.
In desperation I started to think of ways I could get the overdrive off without having to drop the gearbox or take the seat box out.  The battery tray between the seats seemed like a possibility, so I drilled out the bolts holding it on (only two of the six were actually there) and popped it off to find that it gives great access.
The overdrive has a cover on top – so it couldn’t hurt to have a look inside…  and it didn’t.  Turns out the selector fork is attached to the shaft in a very accessible place – so a quick fiddle was in order.  I guess somebody must have tinkered with it in the past because once slid 4mm forwards the overdrive selects and deselects perfectly.
Inside the depths of the overdrive

Once that was done (and I had finished some rejoicing) I spruced up the battery box with angle grinder and red oxide primer then refitted it with all six bolts.  Needs some green paint at some point but since it’s covered up, full of batteries and I’d fun out of paint brushes, I decided to delay that job.

Now for the shameful bit:  When I replaced the battery box I found that the main earth strap was pretty useless.  I needed to fit a proper fat cable to the starter and all I had was the old positive cable I got free with the 200Tdi engine.  So now I have a red negative and a black positive.  Not great – maybe I need to swap them over at some point!

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