OK, time to get this car out of the garage and back onto the road.  Thankfully it’s been like the rainy season up here for the last few weeks, so I don’t feel like I’ve missed out too much. 

First thing to deal with was the rear oil seal on the gearbox … I found out why it was leaking …






… it was still in the bag on the workbench and not on the gearbox!  Kind of explains why the oil was dripping out the back of the box, eh? 

Quite how I missed putting it in I’ve no idea, so can only presume that my mind thought that taking a photo of it was as good as actually putting it in, so I sub-consciously ticked it off the list. 

Is there a prize for Wazzock of the Week?

Putting it in with the box on the car was a bit of a fiddle, as it needs to go on straight, but is a very tight fit and always wants to go squinty on you. I tried the suggestion of “gently drifting it in with a suitably sized socket”, but got nowhere quickly as there was no room to swing a mallet and hold on to the socket – it seemed to be a case of one or the other, but not both. In the end I opted for using a sacrificial bit of wood and a 4lb lump hammer, moving the wood around the seal casing with each hit. It took a while, but brute force and ignorance won out in the end.  Looks a bit more snug around the shaft, eh? 

Next up was the reverse light switch.

With a bit of lateral thought I ended up not needing to cut the wires. The connector’s further back and on the other side of this gearbox, so I re-routed the cable from its spur off the engine bay loom, which gave me enough length to connect it straight up. 

With the prop back on and bolted up it was time to try firing up again. The starter’s still playing up occasionally – it’s like if you turn the key too quickly the solenoid hasn’t had time to engage the cog with the ring gear and it just spins, but if you go slow and pause for a second before that last five degrees turn of the key – it works perfectly.  With the engine running, slip it into gear and wait for any bad noises.  Nothing, and the leak at the rear of the box seems to have stopped now that there’s a seal in there too. 


Out for a test drive then, and where better than to a nearby pub for a mid-afternoon Sunday roast?  Roast beef, yorkies, roasties and gravy … makes ya proud to be an Englishman don’t it. 

If you’re one of our many international readers and you’ve never sampled this delight, let me know when you’re in the neighbourhood and I’ll take you to the pub. 

Other than the excellent food, the roadtest was pretty uneventful, but it’s noticeable how smooth the gearchange is compared to the old linkage box. The lever’s got a strangely long throw, but that can be sorted with a quick-shift kit apparently. Changing up to fifth is still a very strange sensation in this car, as the motion for it just seems wrong, but when the driver sorts his sub-conscious out and actually finds fifth it seems to work a treat.  Can’t comment on how much quieter everything may or may not be, as there was an awful lot of noise coming up through the big hole in the tunnel – remind me to put the gearstick gaiters back on before I finish. 


Back from the pub, I got the car back up on the ramps for an inspection. First, the good news – there’s no signs of any leakage from the rear oil seal, dry as a bone.

Now the bad news – it seems to be leaking from just about everywhere else.  It would seem that the offending bits are the fifth gear locking plate (? I think that’s what it’s called in the Haynes)…

… and either the gasket for the top cover plate, or the gearbox body to tailhousing gasket (it’s hard to tell exactly where it’s coming out, just that it’s dripping down) …

I’ll hold my hand up if it’s the top cover gasket, as I just put that on dry so maybe it needed a bit of gasket sealant too, but I didn’t go near the other gaskets on purpose, so if it’s them they’re old leaks. Of course, it could just be that the seals in the joints simply perished while the box was sat in someone’s shed for years, who knows? I accept that neither of these things are great gushing torrents and I’m unlikely to lose a whole boxful of oil from it, but there’s unmistakably drips on the garage floor and I can’t see the point of doing the job half-arsed and leaving it dripping. I wouldn’t accept it if I was paying someone else to do the job for me. 

I guess I’m going to have to drop the box again to find the source of these leaks, as I can’t get at either inside the tunnel. 


Ah well, at least the roast beef was nice … 


alladdin: re starter, if i recall correctly  when power is applied the solenoid throws it at the ringgear and it makes a contact to spin it at the forward position. try whipping it 1/2 off and wd40 the front end, it might not be going fully forward.


Nicely done stu  And as for a non leaky ford gearbox  That will just lead to rotton floors in hyears to come 

exboyracer: It’s not a leak, it’s rustproofing  Well done chap