Monday, 12 July 2010

changing the gearbox

So what do you do when your gearbox starts making horrible noises in third gear? -well, after seeking advice over on the Morris Minor forum, and draining the gearbox oil and finding a tooth in the mix, I kept on running the car carefully, avoiding third gear. Which can be a bit of a bore on long uphills.

I also started looking around for a replacement gearbox, as overhauling the gearbox myself would have been quite time consuming and fiddly. It proved a bit difficult to find one, as the usual suppliers didn't have anything available- there seems to have been a bit of a run on Moggie gearboxes lately. I finally found one on Hayling Island, where John E Evans specialises in rebuilding gearboxes and happened to have a reconditioned one available.

I also needed help with the changeover, as I don't have the lifting gear available, and it is a bit of a daunting job anyway when you're busy with other stuff too. So, after reading some recommendations on the MM forum, I got in touch with Russell, who trades as RTG Services. And he came and did the job on the road outside. I helped a bit (most of the dirt under the fingernails has finally gone now....). We started on Monday, and finished on Tuesday morning- Russell had to combine his mechanicking with childcare on Monday. A good combination, in my unbiased opinion.

It was good weather for working outside. The neighbours stopped and chatted as they passed. Several of the more elderly ones got a bit nostalgic for their own long-departed Morris Minors. Russell described how some of the locals where he lives are a bit less friendly- "A young lad pulled a knife on me outside the house. So I took it off him. I said "Look, if you're going to pull a knife you've got to know how to use it, don't just wave it around"." Russell is quite big and strong, you know.

And now the car is up and running again. I took it down to London and back, just to make sure.

Thank you, John and Russell. They were both really helpful, and cheerful and friendly too.


  1. How nice to have a mechanic-type-person who isn't condescending. I know a little bit more than "yer average" woman about engines (not as much as you do - I didn't even realise gearboxes HAD teeth although I guess the clue is in the name really.....) but mechanics still treat me like they want to pat me on the head and tell me not to overheat my little brain if I dare to ask for an explanation of what they've done to my car.
    Glad Moggy is running smoothly again.

  2. Thought you would have had a trick to stop that grime getting under the nails or did you just want a nostalgic moment?

    I scrape my nails over a bar of soap If I remember and if I don't a lot of dishes get washed by hand. making pastry is also good but I should not really mention that!

    What confidence to test it by heading to London.

    So yours is held together by rust just like mine was. Glad you are back up to speed again.

    Caroline xxx

  3. There are still some decent mechanics out there then :)

    Glad it's up an running again.


  4. Thanks for the quick lesson in How a Minor Goes Together, having cut my teeth on Marinas and Escorts I wasn't expecting the gearbox cover to be removable and was imagining you grovelling under the car rather than sitting all civilised inside it.

    Fortunate weather, outdoor automotive engineering in the rain is grim.

  5. wow...serious work...and yes, he does look quite big and strong.

  6. Ouch! .... These are far more scary than any of those photos on Anne Lawrence's site ...

  7. You are a brave girl! A faulty engine, or transmission would have sent me straight to the nearest dealer for a trade-in. But then I don't own a classic old car like that. How fortunate to not only find the parts, but someone to install them for you!

    Melissa XX

  8. They found a sister in the Morris Minor family. How could they not be helpful, cheerful and friendly?

  9. I've met (and worked with) some people like that, Anne. Usually they're rotten mechanics too...

    I'd run out of disposable latex gloves, Caroline. And I figured that I'd inevitably end up filthy anyway, on a big job like this. The scraping fingernails on soap is an interesting idea though. I'll try that out!

    There are decent mechanics, Stace. I'm fortunate to have found a couple...

    I utterly hate working out of doors in foul weather, Jenny. And what's more, it seems like my cars are always due their MOTs in the depths of winter. As it was, we were extremely fortunate with the weather.

    The hydraulic crane was pretty strong too, CFG :-)

    I haven't seen the pics on the Anne Lawrence site, Sarah... probably a good thing too...

    At least it is relatively straightforward, Melissa. I was looking at a friend's engine yesterday. Her car is almost new. It looked scarily complicated.

    There is a lot of that friendliness and cheerfulness among Moggie people, now that you mention it, Anji!

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