Which numpty suggested I should change this gearbox? 


Oh, it was erm … me.  I’ve lost count of how long I’ve spent doing the changeover, but about 80% of the time has been taken up with sorting out a revised crossmember.

I started out with making a couple of arms from one inch angle iron to connect up to the chassis mounts. These things were works of art I tells ya.  Cleaned ’em all up, notched them to effectively lower the crossmember by about 20mm and welded ’em onto the spare crossmember.

I then spent countless hours trying to get everything to line up and make four holes through the new arms to tie in with the chassis points. The ‘hole lining-up gods’ were obviously busy elsewhere with more important matters, as they sure as shit weren’t in my garage that day. 

Next plan, then, was to use some box section for the arms – on the basis that bolted joints would be easier to “finesse” into alignment a little easier whilst struggling in the confined space underneath the car. Measure, template, chop, drill, bolt … produces something to rival the best output of the Blakes 7 special effects department. 

Never mind though, it all lines up and when I bolted it up and removed the support from underneath the box nothing fell off.  That wasn’t a simple job either – the original mount used a kind of tapered set screw with a non-standard pitch, so when I needed longer bolts to run through the adapter arms I had to re-tap the chassis mounts for standard M8 fixtures. Having only bought a cheap (rubbish) tap and die set, I paid for my cost-cutting with yet more time. 

As a side note, if you’re contamplating doing this change on an Escort, do yourself a favour and just buy the ready-made adapters – life’s too short. Unfortunately, this ain’t no Escort, so I had to struggle on. 

Once I’d got the mounts for the gearbox sorted, I checked the alignment of the propshaft … and guess what, the centre bearing is in a sligthly different position on the new propshaft. One of the boltholes is a few mills out, but I can deal with that by elongating the hole with a file. The propshaft also needs to sit a little bit lower, but I’m not exactly sure by how much at the moment – I’m guessing a 10mm spacer will be enough, but I’ll just have to suck it and see when everything’s running and it’s either fine or shakes itself to death. 

With all the mounts aligned and made up, I could take the box back off. Then off came the old clutch …

Don’t know if it’s the original fit, but I’ve got nothing in the history file relating to a replacement, so it might just be.  Doesn’t look too bad to my untrained eye and there’s no signs of oil contamination or anything else the Haynes warns to look for. Ah well, off to the recycling it goes…

With the clutch off, the flywheel is exposed and similarly shows no signs of cracks, scores, burns, etc. Looking right into the middle you can see the spigot bearing and that looks absolutley fine – twenty or so needle rollers sit inside the bearing with no cracked or dislodged ones.