- Sep 18, 2009
So here I go. If you have never dropped a manual transmission alone in your driveway without the benefit of a shop and a lift follow along as I show you a few handy tips that make it go easier. The speedo cable melted against the exhaust and jammed up the speedo gears. Nothing coming from the transmission so I am hoping the little steel clip that holds the drive gear in place popped off. Worse, the speedo gear seal is now leaking too, so several reasons for this crummy operation. I have been putting this off 10 years but now that I am giving my Grandson driving lessons I need a working speedometer. The first thing is to get it up high enough to work under it safely. By building up cement blocks you keep the suspension loaded normally and don't risk something slipping or tilting over. Chock the wheels and use the hand brake. Go slowly from wheel to wheel a little at a time until it is up enough for your safety and comfort.Now that the Bonnewagon is up high on blocks the first item is to remove the shifter. The Firebird console came out easily and the shifter arm unbolted with no drama. But I have the transmission situated fairly high up in the trans tunnel so the shifter needs to come off to get the trans out easily. That also makes it a lot easier to clean and lube the shifter while it is off. But getting at the upper shifter mount bolt is impossible without an access panel. I cut a hole directly next to the bolt and screwed a cover on to keep water from getting in the car. Removing the cover gets you perfect access to the bolt and it came right out. Then I unbolted the linkage and dropped the shifter to be cleaned later.The driveshaft needs to come out and when I pulled it off the trans I plugged an old yoke in it's place to keep oil from draining out. The cross member also comes off but look at what I did. I hated the stock trans mounting pad with that idiotic offset mount that breaks so easily. What I did years ago was cut the trans mount off of a big Buick and welded that in the right place so I can use a normal GM style polyurethane mount. Nice, right?When removing or installing a manual trans it is a lot easier if you take a couple of 1/2" bolts and cut the heads off. Then grind flats on the ends and screw them into the lower bolt holes. That gives you a few inches to slide the trans in or out without tilting it and bending/breaking the disk. Ruining the disk will also ruin your whole day so keep that in mind. A simple solution to a potentially huge problem. Block the bell housing so it can't drop down too far. Otherwise the distributor cap can hit the firewall and break, and the fan will crunch the shroud. In this case the exhaust pipe held it up but you don't want too much stress on that either.At 65 years of age I can still bench press a Saginaw but I decided this time to try a tranny holder that you mount on your big 3 ton jack. I have to admit it went much easier and no risk of smashing a rib. Now the trans is out, de-funked- and will get taken apart as the weather allows. Normally I like to have a rebuilt unit ready to just swap in but this is my only 3:50 first gear model and it has the flat sided tail housing needed for our cars. So since I have to open the bugger just for the gear I will probably throw new bearings in and seal it up even better. Snow showers tonight so stay tuned.
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