A crappy task

Bonnewagon

Bonnewagon

Geezer
Sep 18, 2009
5,948
2,072
113
Queens, NY
#1
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.
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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.
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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?
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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.
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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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Last edited:
MrSony

MrSony

Comic Book Super Hero
Nov 15, 2014
4,429
2,766
113
Des Moines, Iowa
#2
Following. :D
 
O

oldsmobile joe

G-Body Guru
Nov 12, 2015
925
1,004
93
mpls
#3
I'm concerned for your safety.
fwiw. i have a tip and warning for you or anyone else using cement blocks. a friend of mine used similar cement blocks oriented in same fashion as yours, only to have them crack and collapse while he was underneath. he luckily escaped without injury. if using cement block, please orient them so the spaces or holes are faced vertically, so there is continuous support from bottom to top. when they are placed with the holes horizontally, they could crack and collapse like my friend experienced.

your bottom row is set properly. its the second row that makes me worried. please be careful.
 
DRIVEN

DRIVEN

Geezer
Apr 25, 2009
5,361
4,587
113
Owyhee County
#4
How come the kid isn't the one bench pressing Saginaws?
 
motorheadmike

motorheadmike

Comic Book Super Hero
Nov 18, 2009
3,362
6,284
113
Ottawa, Ontario Canada
#5
Distributor cap? LOL! That's cute.
 
pontiacgp

pontiacgp

Canadian Prime Minister
Mar 31, 2006
24,191
9,405
113
Kitchener, Ontario
#6
Mark, nice work, I know what it is like doing it on your own. I think my T5 WC is lighter than your transmission but I like using a transmision jack if I am working on my back. If the car is on a lift I find it easier to manhandle the transmission in place. I hope those snow showers don't warp into something more.
 
xylorex

xylorex

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Aug 2, 2018
45
29
8
New Orleans, LA
#7
Judging by the topic, I was expecting this to be plumbing related....
 
airboatgreg

airboatgreg

Royal Smart Person
Oct 2, 2016
1,421
1,313
113
#8
I don't miss those days one bit. Worst one I ever pulled on the ground was a F250 4 speed with a transfer case. That was the day I elected to go into drivability. I had to put a clutch in, do a 4 wheel brake job, tune and a carb rebuild. I made more money on the tune and carb rebuild and didn't get dirty or bust my a**
Good choice
 
Bonnewagon

Bonnewagon

Geezer
Sep 18, 2009
5,948
2,072
113
Queens, NY
#9
Oldsmobile Joe thank you for the concern. You are correct, they are not meant for that loading. I have been lucky so far I guess but why tempt fate. Even BOATUS advises against that but for different reasons. Over the winter snow and water can accumulate and freezing temps will break the blocks dumping the boat on the ground. If snow comes I would drop the car down to prevent that. I planned to orient them vertically but my jack was at the end of it's travel. I can try again today to get it up higher or at least insert a plank to spread the load. Another thing I thought of was to replace the clutch disc while I had the trans out but like everything else about these old cars they are not that easy to find. I used to get new Borg-Warner stock discs at mom-n-pop parts stores but that is over. Now stores only carry mega buck racing kits which I don't need or want. I could just leave it alone because it works fine but after many trips to the boat ramp the incidents of "burnt ass" smell I'm sure have taken their toll. Not changing it out now is just stupid. Also note how well the clutch fork clears the floor pan. I used a Pontiac OHC 6 bell housing that I bought by accident at Englishtown. The common straight fork fits perfect and clears the floor like it was meant to be there.
 
airboatgreg

airboatgreg

Royal Smart Person
Oct 2, 2016
1,421
1,313
113
#10
I'm concerned for your safety.
fwiw. i have a tip and warning for you or anyone else using cement blocks. a friend of mine used similar cement blocks oriented in same fashion as yours, only to have them crack and collapse while he was underneath. he luckily escaped without injury. if using cement block, please orient them so the spaces or holes are faced vertically, so there is continuous support from bottom to top. when they are placed with the holes horizontally, they could crack and collapse like my friend experienced.

your bottom row is set properly. its the second row that makes me worried. please be careful.
Good eye and great advice
 

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