”Fancy a sausage sandwich?” was the innocent question posed by a good friend of mine towards the end of the other week.
”Yes of course” was my eager reply, as I know that his chest freezer is full of home reared pork from a local farmer. A hearty lunch is not however the only reason for the cheery call and is in fact the bait (excuse the pun) for my contribution in a separate task. Like changing his Land Rover gearbox. I know this because I also adopt this technique when I ring him, dangling the carrot in the hope that I can exchange it for some much needed assistance.
My chum rebuilt his series land rover himself, and has taken some time off work to give it some in depth maintenance, including swapping the gearbox for a refurbished and more original item. Definitely more easily executed with two people.
It’s one of the first lovely summery days of the year so we decide to make it an outing. After a quick check over we fire up my series and trundle over, vent flaps fully open to allow the warm breeze into the cabin and the promise of a snorker in a bun on the mind.
On arrival we are greeted by an oily, smiley face and an extremely over exited spaniel. The old gearbox is ready come out with the seatbox and floor already removed and the hoist in place so it’s lunch first.
With sandwiches consumed the task ahead looks a doddle and we attack it with eagerness and confidence.
The first hurdle is that the hoist needs more fluid in, as is demonstrated by its inability to lift the gearbox high enough to clear the door sill. ”That’s fine it doesn’t need to go up much more, I’ll lift and you manoeuvre the hoist”. Silly idea, even when I pulled the appropriate purple straining face it was heavy. Should have brought my bigger pair of arms.
We push/carry the old box to the back of the garage, swap it for the refurbished one and with that now on the hoist we go for a trail fit.
With a bit of foresight we shorten the strop tying the gearbox to the hoist to give it a bit more height and this time It clears the sill nicely.
”You put the gearbox in”!
Engineers like to modify and invent and from the mind of the engineer the bizarre and wondrous have been constructed, however…… The bell housing and clutch release mechanism on any gearbox traditionally face toward the engine.
Yes, so bothered were we about getting enough height to clear the sill we’ve pushed the hoist in with the gearbox the wrong way around and there’s not enough room to spin it end to end.
”You take the gearbox out”!
So out it comes only to be turned around on the hoist for another go.
In the correct orientation this time. Looking good. Only as we lower it between the chassis rails it appears one of the mountings wont go past the handbrake mechanism which lives close by.
Out it comes so we can get at the mechanism and take it off to save damaging it. The handbrake linkage is best accessed by lying on the floor and removal is relatively simple provided an ecstatic spaniel doesn’t bring you his ball, enthusiastically lick your face or stand on your gentleman’s area.
He is a spaniel and so performed all of the above tasks with great enthusiasm.
In it goes again and this time it looks promising as it is lowered to the correct height in the chassis and seems quite at home. On inspection it needs to move sideways a touch to line up a bit better. This, we decide will be achieved by pushing the hoist in a bit further.
I will now inform you that we are doing this on a gravelled drive which is in no way the best surface to push a heavy, small wheeled object across. The wheels of the hoist are therefore rolling on two carefully placed planks of wood, and that has worked fine for the whole exercise. Now however, on the last push to line everything up, the hoist wheels roll off the ends of the planks of wood and stop sharply in the gravel. The precious new gearbox now swings on its strop like an oversized pendulum intent on throwing itself against the chassis rails.
Thankfully it is prevented from doing this by yours truly’s fingers!
”Shake it all about”!
Thankfully everything now lines up and with a bit of a wiggle the gearbox slides home against the back of the engine and is bolted up nice and tight. Phew!
The rest happens in record time, handbrake linkage, gear stick and propshafts all reconnected until finally we can recognise the car again and step back to congratulate each other.
”How are your fingers”?
”They feel like the sausages we had for lunch but they’ll live”.
”If I was to give you a nice cold glass of cider to hold would that help them”?
”Just to hold”?