Featured Post


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Gearbox Done...Moving On

All done! Pretty proud of myself, actually.
Finished up putting the entire gearbox back together. It went smoothly as it was just brute assembly with no critical measurements. I did find two semi-stripped bolts (holes were good) and replaced them.

Replacement bolt (bet you can't guess which one!). A bit longer so I used it in the holes that were open-ended.
I also forgot about the bottom bolt in the clutch housing needs a copper washer. I found a brass one and hopefully that will be sufficient.

Brass replacement versus copper original (left). Even though it was bigger around, it still fit.
I was proud of myself and was even checking the proper torque on everything. I'll go back and cut away the extra gasket material and Permatex (I used Permatex Blue, by the way). Technically, I probably should have used a sealant, but there you go. The manual called for using grease on them all but the only one I did this for was the gearshift extension to the top cover as I didn't think I had too much of a chance for leakage from this union.

You can see the grease.
I also put a new release bearing and reinstalled the release lever.

Pressing in the new release bearing.
For attaching the release bearing to the release lever, I installed one of the plugs fully and drifted in a new dowel pin. I then set the release bearing in place and drove the other plug in from the top and drifted in a new dowel pin.

In hindsight, I should have gotten a new release level fulcrum pivot pins and bushings, but they weren't too bad for me to stop and wait for new parts.

Once this was done, I moved on to removing the radiator, water pump housing and associated hoses and hardware. The PO, when he installed the Mk1 motor, decided to stick with the Mk2 intake and exhaust manifolds. Since a Mk2's intake manifold has coolant piped to it and the Mk1 does not, this resulted in not having an extra splitter that is required to pipe coolant to the heater. The Mk1 heater return pipe has only one outlet while the Mk2 has two, allowing water to flow from the intake manifold to the heater AND back to the block.

The PO's solution. Here, water comes out of the heater return pipe, into the manifold, and back to the block.
All associated items came out without issue. However, the water pump seems to be in pretty sad shape and it looks like the only option is replacement, though they aren't that expensive. The radiator, however, was in pretty bad shape as well. I wasn't really expecting this. Looks like the cooling fins have just wasted away over the years. While I didn't find any evidence of a leak, I'm sure the lack of surface area impacts the cooling capability. I'll be on the lookout for a used on of those, I guess.

Pretty nasty. Kind of neat looking...but nasty.

That was about it for the day. Oh, I also cleaned up and de-rusted the gearbox mounting brackets, but I have yet to paint and then install them. I spent pretty much all of my time in the garage today so it definitely wasn't family time except when the boys came over to take a look. So, we'll see what I can get away with tomorrow, but I'm not to hopeful of significant work.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Gearbox Re-Assembly

Prior to assembly...most of the new parts are not shown here.
This is a rather lengthy post...probably my longest, so if you are not interested in some of the more mundane aspects of Triumph Spitfire gearbox assembly, it will be rather dry. You can look at the pictures, though!

Started on the gearbox re-assembly last night. I actually was able to put the entire gearbox itself (i.e., not the rear extension or bell housing) back together in only a few hours. I'm not sure if I was lucky or if it just isn't that hard, but I expected more issues. All of the measurements that I was able to take were good. Unfortunately, a lot of the parts that I ordered either didn't fit or I chose not to use. Well, to be clear, they were more "minor" parts like thrust washers and such. The lion's share (all new bearings, new synchro rings and, of course, the 3rd/Top gear hub that was damaged) I used.

I tried to follow the workshop manual including all measurements and assembly order. I deviated at some points, but not significantly enough that I had a "lesson learned" from how I did it. However, I should have deviated at one point where I didn't and I discuss that at the very end.

While I was in the Navy, and some of my fellow squids will remember, we referred to a little tidbit of knowledge or something that was obscure, but good to know, as an "oolee" or "ooly". There are some Urban Dictionary entries for this, none of which match my definition, of course.
Anyway, I'd like to share some of the oolies (yes, that's the plural spelling...according to me) I discovered putting the gearbox back together. I've included a parts diagram below (separated so I could try and make it bigger and more readable) and will reference it a few times (e.g., 22).

Left side of gearbox from parts manual.

Right side of gearbox from parts manual.
First, I inspected and compared old and replacement parts (I won't say "new" because some of these were definitely NOS). Most everything was exactly the same with the exception of two things: the 3rd gear washer (22) and the rear countershaft gear thrust washer (45).

3rd gear washer (22). New part on left. Notice the shoulder. This was an updated part and acceptable for use...just not mine.

Rear countershaft gear thrust washer (45). New part on left.
So, while both of these parts were brand-spanking new, I didn't use them. The old ones were in fine shape but, more importantly, the new ones just didn't fit. The 3rd gear washer would not fit fully snug down the mainshaft and resulted in way too much end float. The rear countershaft thrust washer was just a bit too thick (I could sight the thickness difference) to install and would have also resulted in too little end float for the countershaft gear. So, after several tries with the new stuff to make sure I wasn't being an idiot, I used the old stuff.  I did use a new forward countershaft thrust washer (43), however.

New forward thrust washer (43), "greased" in to prevent movement. This part was identical to the old.
All of the circlips throughout (6, 23 and 39) were replaced with new. This is a no-brainer, I think, and I recommend you use new circlips. I ordered a few extras of each of these items because they were cheap and I had some if I messed one up.

The countershaft gear (41) (I'm used to calling it a cluster gear) and countershaft (40) went in with no issues (once I used the old rear thrust washer). I used a lot of heavy grease here to hold everything in place, as specified in the manual. In short, you install the countershaft gear and countershaft, measure the end float and then pull (only) the countershaft back out. This causes the countershaft gear to fall into the gearbox a bit to allow installation of the mainshaft and all of its gears. I was convinced at this point that I was going to loose control of either the rear or forward thrust washers (or both) and have to pull everything back apart, but I soldiered on.

View of the rear countershaft thrust washer and the reverse gear and spindle. Notice the fulcrum (part 54) for the reverse gear operating lever...I'll refer to it in a second. 
I then installed the reverse gear spindle (50), operating lever (53) and fulcrum (54). When I was installing it, I did not fully screw down the operating lever fulcrum (you can see in the picture above where the knurled portion of the fulcrum is not fully engaged into the gearbox). This prevented me from mating the operating lever knob (at the bottom) with the groove in the reverse gear. It took me a few minutes and some mild cursing to figure out that I was doing it wrong by not fully tightening the nut (followed by slightly less mild cursing).

Next up was assembly of the mainshaft (1). This was where all the action was and it made me the most nervous. With the exception of the previously mentioned washers, synchro cups (or rings, as I am used to calling them) and the 3rd/Top hub assembly, I used all old parts here because the replacement stuff that I ordered just didn't fit (5, 20, 38). I did, however, replace all of the springs (11) and balls (13) in the 1st gear hub assembly. The new 3rd/Top hub assembly came with them already installed. This was probably my biggest deviation (or, more correctly, omission) from the manual as I did not take the tension test that is called out for the hub assemblies. I took the liberty of assuming that the 3rd/Top was correct as-built and the 1st gear felt about the same after replacing only the springs and leaving the existing shims in there...so I went with it. I guess we'll see if I'll be sorry for this or not.

One other thing I did measure, though probably not too well, was the 2nd and 3rd mainshaft gear end floats on bushes (10, 19). I followed the manual within my capabilities and the measurements came out good. Thankfully, the spec was rather large (0.002" to 0.006") in my opinion.

My end float on bush measuring rig. That's a socket holding it all up and a punch as my parallel piece (not the best choice).
I then assembled the mainshaft with all of the bushes and washers but no gears to check the overall float and this came out fine as well. I sacrificed one of my mainshaft retaining circlips (23) here so, like I said, order some extras.

That being good, I went on to assemble the mainshaft. I pushed on the mainshaft bearing (4) and speedometer drive gear (3) using the bearing puller I got from Harbor Freight. This took some creative arrangement, but nothing too extreme.

Pressing (or pulling, in this case) the new mainshaft bearing on.
Of note, I had to use the bearing cup part upside down for the speedometer drive gear because the taper of the bearing cup caused the plastic gear to start to separate from the metal collar of the drive gear.

Hard to see, but the plastic gear and metal collar are slightly separated. Once the metal collar seated, it all flattened out.
Then it was on to stacking all of the parts onto the mainshaft. You have to do this with the mainshaft sitting in the gearbox, of course. This all went smooth and the mainshaft circlip went on much easier than it came off and it didn't appear to get stretched out at all.

Mainshaft circlip installation. I used small screwdrivers from this point on to push it down the shaft until it clicked in.
One thing I messed up here was that after the circlip goes one, the 3rd/Top hub assembly goes on and it just sorta sits there. It isn't "locked in" until the input shaft is installed. After I got the mainshaft all assembled, including the 3rd/Top hub assembly, I started to knock the mainshaft bearing into the gearbox case. Unfortunately, the 3rd/Top hub assembly had made its way down the mainshaft as I moved the gearbox around and fell down onto the smaller diameter end. As I knocked in the mainshaft bearing, the hub assembly got trapped between the mainshaft end and the countershaft gear. I had to knock the mainshaft bearing back out a bit to provide some room, re-install the hub assembly, and then pay attention as I knocked the mainshaft bearing back home. Thankfully, there wasn't any damage.

The new 3rd/Top hub assembly after "fixing" it.
It was then onto the constant pinion (input) shaft (33). The first thing I did (which, in hindsight, was a mistake) was install the needle roller bearing (34). It is pressed into the gearbox side of the constant pinion shaft where I had earlier found remains of the old one and had to grind it out of there. Thanks to a recommendation from my favorite forum, I knew I shouldn't press the needle roller bearing in so far as to block the oil passages (there are three). I found the holes with no problem, but they were filled pretty solidly with what was probably old needle roller bearing material and I used small finishing nails and light tapping from a small hammer to clear out the passages.

Oil passage cleaning apparatus (a.k.a, finishing nail).
I envision that, as the needle roller bearing started to eat itself, it was a self-fulfilling prophecy once the oil passages filled up with material. I kept the nails in there to prevent driving the needle roller bearing too deep into the constant pinion shaft and I used a small hammer and a socket to drive it home.

Nails through oil passages to prevent driving bearing in too far.
Next up was the constant pinion shaft bearing (36). Like I said earlier, this would have been better done first, but the manual had you install the needle roller bearing first and that's the way I went. The reason I would have done the constant pinion shaft bearing first was that, because of the bearing puller (er, installer) that I was using, I needed to push against where the needle bearing goes (see picture below). I didn't want to put that pressure on the needle bearing, of course, so I came up with another solution.

Using a large wrench as my pushing pressure point. My first attempt was with those two metal straps you see on the right. How'd that work out for me? And, beer...
Once that was done, I installed the constant pinion shaft and knocked the bearing in the same way as the mainshaft (with a small hammer, working my way around 360-degrees). Holding my breath and using that punch from before as a guide/pry bar, I successfully installed the countershaft. Close inspection revealed that all of the thrust washers had remained intact. I rotated everything and engaged the gears by sliding them with my hands. Everything worked, including reverse, and it felt smooth. I was even able to teach my youngest (remember the kid on the pogo stick?) how it all works by showing the rotational speed differences through the forward gears between the constant pinion shaft and mainshaft and then reverse (he was especially amazed by this). So much basic mechanical theory. That, my friends, was what made (and makes) it all worth it.

Once full assembly is complete, I intend to run it through the gears using the gearshift and see how it feels. I'm considering trying to come up with some way to rotate it using a drill. Not sure if this is worth it or feasible, but we'll see. All told, it took me about 3.5 to 4 hours of work to get from the first picture to the last (below; took me half that time just to write this blog entry!). Like I said, this was less time than I thought. So, either it will come apart in a spectacular and catastrophic way once I test drive it or I got lucky and it's put together correctly. Hey, at least I didn't have any extra parts!

Though I've had the car for a while now (two of them, actually), this is really the first time I've done some major work that required disassembling and reassembling (well, outside of the carbs, I guess, but I didn't use the workshop manual for that...probably why I didn't do a great job). My point is that the workshop manual is very well written with good photographs and pretty clear instructions. While it is a factory manual and therefore refers to a lot of special tools (the Churchill stuff), I found that it works just fine as long as you are familiar with the way manuals are generally laid out and have some grasp of vehicular vernacular (I like that phrase...a Fisher original!). Take this from a guy who operated a nuclear power plant in the Navy for 24+ years...verbatim compliance to procedures was my life and I know the difference between a well written procedure and one that sucks. The ones in the workshop manual don't suck. I don't want to link directly to someone's website without permission but if you do a Google search, you will find several sites where you can review or download a copy for the Mk1/Mk2 (and Vitesse/Herald) for free. I do like my hard copy, however, and would recommend you try to secure one of these (what fun is it getting the computer/tablet all greasy!).

Another resource, especially if you have a full-synchro gearbox, is here. I've linked to the start of his tear down. There are several posts following this that fully document (better than I did) his rebuild. Hopefully between his and mine, all of your questions and concerns are taken care of and you dive into your gearbox rebuild without fear!

Nice and pretty.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Book Review (Yes, really)

Yes, I know I should be making glorious posts, with full photographic evidence, about my transmission rebuild. Actually, I have made some slight progress in that I found and sucessfully removed some additional needle bearing housing that had welded itself to the inside of the input shaft bore.

What is left of the needle bearing casing.
Upon recommendation from someone on my favorite forum (which some did not agree with) I used my Dremel tool with a grinding stone tip to begin to slowly remove what was left. I had offers from at least two other guys in the post for an input shaft if I wanted a replacement so I wasn't too concerned about screwing this one up. As luck would have it, I had barely started when the remaining housing litterally popped right out, fully intact. My thought is that the friction from the grinding heated it while the rest of the input shaft remained cool. The expansion of the bearing housing caused it to pop. Yea for me!

I did get the rest of the parts that I ordered from SpitBits today. I gave them all a once over and it looks like one of the parts that I ordered is most definitely not like the part that I pulled out of the gearbox to replace. More investigation to follow.

The real reason for my post, however, is that early last week I ordered and received Triumph Spitfire and GT6 - A Guide to Originality by John Thomason. It runs about $19 on Amazon and has a $24.95 cover price.

First, what I don't like: There are a lot of pictures in the book that are fully captioned but some point out colors (the vast majority of the pictures are black and white) or objects that are not easily identifed. The book seems to explain each model variation more from a "difference" stand point vice the model standing on its own. While I understand that some variations are slight and lend themself to this type of explanation, while also reducing the size of the publication, I would have liked to have seen a detailed explanation of the Mk1, followed by detailed differences until those differences (like from the Mk3 to the MkIV) became so great as to necessitate another, new detailed explanation.

What I do like: Like I said, there are LOTS of pictures, most of which are well captioned. There is also a lot of good information on available options and such, though the latter is available on at least one other website that I know of. As a photographic history, the book is awesome. There are items explained that I doubt anyone that didn't own a particular year or model would know. It was also interesting to see how Triumph matured the design as the years went on. The discussion of the re-engineering of the rear transverse leaf spring is especially well done in the book.

All in all, however, I was looking for more of a photographical textbook of sorts. I wanted to see pictures of some of the less obvious items on the cars as they rolled off the factory floor. Things like brake line routing, fuel filter mounting, battery grouding strap attachement, etc. While I'm sure this would have been a large undertaking, made more difficult by the passing years, the sub-title "A Guide to Originality" led me to believe that it was what I would find.

If you are interested in the technical history of these cars and the more pictures the better, then this book is definitely for you. However, if you are looking for clear, highly detailed and fully explained photographs so you can see how every nut, bolt, pipe, line, wire and what-not was arranged and routed from the factory, I think you will be disappointed.

All that being said, I would recommend the book because, for the price, I believe it is worth it to see the technical history of the Triumph Spitfire and GT6.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Quick Update

Again, soccer, baseball and other random family life makes things slow going with the car. To quote John Lennon, "Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans." Not a big fan of John Lennon, but I've always liked that line and it stuck with me after hearing it in Mr. Holland's Opus. But, hey, at least he's British, right?

As I mentioned in my last post, I ordered all the gearbox stuff from SpitBits. I guess the order was too large to ship via a "if it fits, it ships" box from USPS, so I'll have to wait for UPS to deliver it on Monday. In the meantime, I'm going to do what I can in preparation for getting the gearbox back together. For instance, today I painted the gearbox case.
...and after. Should have taken this outside. Looks better than it did.
I didn't want to get too crazy with it. Just some gloss-black Rustoleum with the appropriate bits taped off. You can see, especially in the top picture, the white stuff. Those are torn up pieces of paper towel that I pushed, using a scribe, into the bolt holes. I used this method previously when I was painting my brake and clutch brackets and it works really well, preventing gumming up the threads with paint. It's especially useful when you can't get the masking tape to stick due to a rough surface.

I have the top cover soaking in some Purple Power to get that ready for cleaning and the rear mount soaking in some white vinegar in preparation for cleaning and painting. I have the bell housing to clean and paint and that should be the end of the prep work. After that, give me my parts and I'll put it back together!

For some PitA news, I did learn on Monday that, because the car has never been registered in CT, I have to transport it to a state inspection station outside of Hartford (about an hour or so away) to have a VIN number assigned. And, yes, that inspection station is the only one in the state that will do it.
As you all probably know (though I didn't until I got this car), VIN numbers weren't federally mandated until around 1980 or so. Before that, you had whatever the manufacturer wanted, I suppose. Triumph used commission numbers.
I don't think the DMV will really do anything except give it a once over (four tires, two doors, engine, transmission, etc.) and then assign it a VIN for state (and insurance?) records. But, with no truck and no trailer, and the car obviously not being legal, that's another U-Haul trip for her...and another $150 or so. Oh, well. After that, I can register it but I shouldn't need the car to be physically present to do that.

TRF is supposed to start a big sale specifically for Spitfires tomorrow. I need to get new seat cushions and covers, but I'm not sure I'm ready to drop the $500 it will cost to do that yet. I'm going to skip the carpet for now, I think. Other than that, I want to pull the water pump housing and convert that to the Mk 2 style so I can get a heater. That will most likely result in me pulling the head (because I can) unless a compression check that I will do in the near future comes out fine. I want to convert the head over to unleaded valves/guides/seats and have a local shop that will do it, but I don't know how much and I may wait.

So, still lots of stuff to do to the car to get her safely on the road. I've started a list and it's only May 14th, so wish me luck that I don't run out of season first!

Random picture of future cancer repair. This is the interior passenger footwell.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Little Progress...But Big Plans!

With various sporting events and Mother's Day this weekend, there wasn't much progress. I also had some routine maintenance to do around the house (toilet repair, fence repair, bicycle maintenance, etc.). So, while the weekend wasn't wasted, it wasn't totally devoted to the car, either...far from it.

I did take advantage of a Harbor Freight coupon and got their bearing puller kit. With the 25% coupon and the "normal" sale price of $44.99, I got it for $33.74, which wasn't too bad, I thought. I bought it mainly to remove the inner bearings from the vertical links of the '64's suspension as they just wouldn't come off (unlike Dot's) without the correct tools.

Speaks for itself.

The setup for the bearing pull.
I noticed damage to the bottom of the wheel bearings when I pulled them off. I did, before I purchased the bearing puller, pry and pull on the bearings quite aggressively trying to get them off which may have caused damage. However, the bearing puller, because of the hub seal, did not fit that great and it may have caused damage to the bearing when I was pulling it. So, as always, buyer beware!

You can see the gearbox main shaft and countershaft cluster in the pic above. That main shaft bearing at the lower left, along with the input shaft bearing, were removed with the bearing puller as well. There were enough extensions in the kit (the above picture only show one of the three that I used) to make it work.
I used a spark plug socket, because it was wide enough to match the inner bearing collar, along with a 6" ratchet extension, to knock out the bearing from the gearbox rear extension, approaching it from the gearbox end. All of that, along with the speedometer gear, all came off (I did this at the last minute tonight and did not take any pictures) tonight.
I intend to use the same kit, but in the reverse order, to put everything back on. As I do not have a shop press, this is my only option right now...wish me luck!
The rear extension...all nice and clean and with new rubber mounts!
So, with the exception of the upper part of the gearbox (the shifter forks and such), she is now truly apart. I just dropped a large order to SpitBits to get the rest of the stuff that I should have ordered in the first place to rebuild the gearbox fully along with some other stuff. My order included:

  • Various thrust washers (front, rear, 3rd gear, etc)
  • All three synchro rings (this was ~$80)
  • Extra circlips
  • Main and Input shaft bearings (~$78, I went for the OEM ones vice the cheap(er) ones)
  • Rear main shaft bearing (~$30)
  • Release bearing (~$70...this hurt and hopefully it was worth it, but the old one doesn't feel "right").
Like I said, there were other things I ordered (new cooling hoses, hose clips, clutch alignment tool) but gearbox parts were the lion's share.

I mentioned in my last post that I was going to finish the gearbox up and try and get her on the road. I emailed the CT DMV yesterday to make sure of the process (I don't think it will be too bad) since she's never been registered in this state. I also need to contact my insurance company to figure out how much that will cost (minimal, I expect, since I won't be getting comprehensive). 

Based on the appreciated input from my favorite forum, I will fix what is obviously needed (headlights, dashboard, electrical, seats (should have never pulled that old foam out...that's going to be a $500 restoration as the boys will kill me if they cannot ride in it with me). I also need to figure out why the batter isn't charging.
My not necessarily planned-for fix is the outriggers. Both of mine are pretty well gone. Turns out these tend to be "structural" and, while I have two good replacements for each side, this is not easily done with the tub on the frame. So, I intend to patch what I have and spent about $14 in new steel today to do just that. I'm sure I've mentioned that I do not know how to weld, so that will enter in there at some point, of course.

There you go. For not a whole lot actually done this weekend, this is a rather lengthy post. My goals are as follows:
  • Clean up (a.k.a., de-grease as much of the front of the car as I can using my pressure washer),
  • Finish gearbox rebuild and install,
  • Finish interior (dash back in and electrical all restored),
  • Install new water pump housing and route new cooling lines, including heater,
  • Finish rest of items to get her "legal", and 
  • Drive her for whatever is left of the season.
And, that's it! No sweat, right? I'm sure it will all go exactly as planned with no hiccups (said no LBSC owner, ever!)

Saturday, May 9, 2015

I Want to Drive!

Reality has a way of messing up your grand plans. I have in my head this picture:
(C) GrubScrew...funny, found this on another forum from my favorite one where I "know" him from
But what I have is:
My baby, Dorothy. Named after my Grandmother, wife to my Grandfather (obviously) who taught me what I know about cars.
Granted, this isn't horrible. But, at the end of the day, all I really want to do is this:
Umm, drive it!
So, I need to finish the transmission. I'm pretty sure, pending unexpected difficulties (aren't they all?) that delay re-assembly, I can get this done in a reasonable amount of time. Other outstanding items:

  • Parking brake cable replacement,
  • Dashboard re-installation,
  • Windshield rubber replacement (one failed attempt already),
  • Interior replacement (seats, mainly), and
  • About three dozen things I'm forgetting.

After that, I think she's mechanically sound as I did brake and clutch work last summer/fall. My problem is the condition of the body itself. Both of my outriggers are about shot:
Passenger's side outrigger...driver's side is not as bad, but close.
Other problem areas:
Passenger floor cross-member.

Passenger upper / lower A-pillar interface...not much interfacing here.
So, here's my conundrum: what to do? Do I finish the car mechanically enough to make her relatively trust-worthy so that I can drive her to work on a good day and take the kids to get ice cream, trusting that the body is structurally sound <enough> that it won't drop me through the floor boards at 45 MPH? Or, do I consign myself that she won't be on the road this year, either, and get the repairs done (which may or may not happen, anyway...life has a way of getting in the way).

I thought I was going to get much more done over the winter than I did. Granted, there was a new job and it was an particularly bad winter and my experience level wasn't great (and I didn't have a clear path ahead with the donated black car). But, I was rather disappointed with myself by my lack of progress and I'm afraid I'll have a repeat and not get anything done next winter, either.

Another option is to try the "rolling" restoration option. I'm not totally sure what that means outside of the obvious, but maybe that's best. I fix the stuff that needs to be fixed to put it on the road and enjoy it for a bit. Then, I tackle something that may take her down for a while. Down, up, down, up. Maybe that's the happy medium between a 40 year-old car and a 40+ year-old guy.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

For Your Other Car #1...Headlight Lens Polishing

My wife's 2007 Honda Odyssey's headlight lens were starting to show their age and were pretty foggy. For those of you that have any car manufactured in probably the last decade or so (maybe more?), you may experience this problem.
Foggy lens...not as bad as some I've seen.
Once my wife mentioned it, I acted...like a good husband! I found a kit by 3M on Amazon that got good reviews and, finding it cheaper than I thought it would be, decided to go for it. Note that the link on Amazon as of this moment (9:30pm, EST on 5/2/15) shows a single kit for $10 that is not sold by Amazon, so you'll pay shipping if you have Amazon Prime. I was able to get mine from Amazon for $13.75 with Prime shipping, so watch what you are ordering if you go this route as the single kit IS available directly from Amazon, but at a higher price.

It is essentially a 3-step process. Using a drill (I used my cordless Milwaukee), you start with 500-grit sanding disks, then move to 800. Then, a foam disk that I think is equivalent to about 3000-grit. You finish up with a sponge wheel and some polishing compound. All of this stuff is included in the kit...sandpaper, wheels, polishing compound, etc. Given what it cost, I thought this was a pretty good deal and figure it would have cost at least twice that to have someone do it for me.
After the 500-grit paper...this made me nervous.
The kit claims to have enough to do one car unless it has very large lenses. Maybe I should have changed out the sandpaper more often, but I easily have enough stuff left over to do another car.

I did the driver's side first and it came out great. The passenger's side was next and the battery on my drill was running low so my drill speed wasn't as fast. This is probably my biggest lesson learned. If you are using a cordless drill, make sure the battery is fresh before you start each lens as the speed of rotation makes a difference. Don't be afraid to go back to a coarser grit if an area doesn't come out well after hitting it initially with the finer grit (or polishing compound). I did this a few times.  Also, tape up the area around the lens really good. I should have used another "row" of tape other than what you see above as I caught the car's paint a few times and it takes it up pretty good.
Pretty drastic improvement...quite happy.
All in all, it took me only about an hour. After you convince yourself that you have to destroy it to make it better, it goes pretty smooth. Tape off the area extra good and go to town. The instructions were well written and easy to follow with recommendations throughout for a successful job.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Gearbox Dismantle Complete

A flurry of activity after getting home from work today. I was able to completely remove all of the gearbox internals AND the clutch. Turns out the only damage that I could find with the gearbox was the 3rd/Top gear hub that I had already found. This time, I was able to locate the rest of the gear teeth in the bottom of the gearbox housing.
Maybe I could make dentures...
Well, I guess I take that back. The detent balls (or, more properly, their springs and that are about the size of a pencil eraser) that are in the synchro hubs were pretty much either busted or otherwise compromised, so they will be replaced across the board (love the cheap fixes!). However, those little bastards are quite the pain to get out and I've yet to get them all.
Some of the detent balls. That extra peice in the center is part of a broken spring...yeah, not right.
Everything else looked good...better than I expected, actually. As you can see in the picture above, that ring of metal sitting between the main shaft and the hub is (or was) the main shaft circlip. You are not supposed to re-use them so I took this (and with advice from the forum) as to mean that it was expendable and tore it up to get it out. The main shaft gears slid right off after that (as expected).
1st/2nd gear hub assembly, with synchro (which is brass, but dirty, obviously)
Once I was done sliding all of the pieces-parts off the main shaft (and after taking lots of pictures, which I won't bore you with, so I know how everything goes back together) it was on to removing the input shaft. I had been trying to knock the bearing out by directly knocking on the bearing casing. This time, since the main shaft was removed and I had a bunch of room, I decided to put the fat end of the punch inside the recess in the input shaft (where my absentee needle bearing should go) and knock it out that way. A few sharp, but not really hard, raps and it was on its way (i.e., it didn't take much once I figured out the better way to do it).
Note that I used the "fat" end of the punch (turned around from this picture) so to minimize damage to the input shaft recess.
The cluster gear (a.k.a., laygear cluster) lifted right out after removal of the input shaft. My inspection didn't find any damage or excessive wear. In fact, I was pretty happy with the condition of the gears, original or not, who knows. There are a few parts in here, as you can see on the lay shaft in the picture below, that need to be oriented properly for re-assembly (thrust washers and such).
Looks good to me! That's the cluster (lay) shaft above it, spiral cuts for oil flow (I assume).
After the tear down and inspection, it was on to the clutch. Crappy research on my part led me to believe that the crank pulley nut was 1 13/16". This is correct for later models but not for my Mk1 engine. So, I wasted several days for Amazon to send me a too-large socket when I could have just used my adjustable wrench set to around 1 1/2" or so to prevent the engine from rotating to enable me to remove the clutch...~$20 lesson learned (sometimes I force myself to keep and display my mistakes to remind me to, in essence, measure twice and cut once...seems like I need to continually re-learn this lesson).

The clutch came off with no problems and the inspection turned out pretty well. No damage and, from what I can tell, minimal wear. The gouge in the release lever was definitely caused by the clutch pressure plate bolts, but they were much tougher and didn't suffer any direct damage.
Release lever plate. But, those bolts in the picture are what rubbed into the release lever, I believe.
The pressure plate (the British terms are different from what I am used to, though it may be the totally different design of this older clutch) looks good and, outside of needing a cleanup, I am pretty sure can continue service.

The pressure plate...dirty, but surface looks good with adequate friction grooves.
The same goes for the driven plate (again, Brits).
Looks good...I decided to clean up one brass rivet...just because.
So, all in all a good day and it only took a few hours. I'm going to go back through the gearbox tomorrow and make sure I understand what I need and maybe partially re-assemble it if necessary to measure clearances as required. But, again, based on what I found, I think the gearbox is pretty solid and I don't expect to require much work outside of the expendable wear parts and the one synchro hub!