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Hotspur.us » The Toy – Surgery

The Toy – Surgery

(from the weekend of April 26, 2008)

Well, it had to happen. We tried everything in the book, and despite his earlier belief that Bob was mistaken and we would not have to pull the transmission…we did it.

Typing that makes it sound so easy of course. And it wasn’t. Never is with this little beasty. It seemed simple enough since we’d already pulled the entire inside apart and the transmission was just sitting there, exposed for all the world to see. We put the car up on jack stands and the rest would be easy, right?

All along, we weren’t sure why the shop book kept insisting that the engine be pulled out. First off, you should be able to tell from the photos that we were working with a serious space crunch (one book recommended at least 3 times the size of the car as your work space….oh boy). Second off, while we could have gotten our hands on something to pull the engine [and by we I mean Keith] it would have had to been returned the same day and rather quietly at that.

I think you see where this is going. Despite the manual’s insistence that we remove the engine, it was still in the Toy as we positioned the jack under the transmission and loosened bolts. Ahem…

So there I sat IN the car and there was Keith UNDER the car and we were getting ready to start jacking the transmission up to pull it free [and more about that shortly] when he thought it best to re-check the shop manual. Sure enough….that part about pulling the transmission reared its ugly head. And so, being curious he takes a look under the hood and guess what? There is a REASON that the book wants you to pull the engine. Seriously, an honest to goodness, legitimate reason that has nothing to do with torture or British humor. Nope. The engine is rather dependent on the transmission to stay in place…..read that again….transmission helps keep engine in place. Do you see where I’m going with this?

Uh, huh. We were a few seconds away from dropping the engine to the floor. Boom. Gone. That’s it. So much for the clutch being the big worry. Mere seconds…but fortunately for me, my car-guy noticed this. There was some mad scrambling and something about “Put the bolts back! Put them back, now!” Followed by the 8:38 p.m. run to Sears to purchase another jack to jack up the engine, the other mighty jack being somewhat preoccupied with holding up and yanking out the transmission.

Run home, put new jack under engine. Check. Now let the good times roll. And by this I mean, please begin the next major hurdle in the removal of the stupid, flippin’ transmission. I think the short version will suffice.

  • You the can’t jack it up too far because it goes behind the firewall
  • You can’t yank it toward you because part of the clutch shaft gets in the way
  • You don’t have a lot of room because the car is in a cramped garage
  • The starter nearly falls on your head.

Fortunately, we beat the transmission into compliance and it grudgingly gave up.

Upon inspection, the clutch was stuck to the pressure plate. We had to pry it off with a screwdriver. Sigh…Bob was right. No amount of bullying was going to get that thing free. At this point the good news was we assumed we knew that the clutch was the problem. The bad news was that I’d have to order parts and then, well then who the heck knew.

I’m loathe to discuss the next tragedy that occurred because it is still quite painful and fresh. So suffice to say that you would think taking the clutch shaft and the clutch fork off would be easy. It would not be due to a wonderful design flaw where in the taper bolt holding the fork to the shaft has a tendency to shear off. Uhuh, shear off. I can tell you it happened before, because a previous owner had drilled a hole in the clutch shaft to get a bad bolt out. My adventure included breaking a nail punch, two brand new drill bits and wailing on the thing with a hammer. Finally I won.

So I leave you with this (old) update knowing that

  1. Transmission is out
  2. Taper pin has been beaten out of the clutch fork
  3. New parts are on the way!

chris on May 4th 2008 in Vehicles

to “The Toy – Surgery”

  1. MJ Klein responded on 04 May 2008 at 9:49 pm #

    Chris, i’m in pain just reading about this! oh my goodness…. in those days the designs were a bit risky, and that’s putting it mildly! i think the designers assumed that anyone who owned a car like that would have to be a gearhead, and therefore used to slight inconveniences such has having to remove the engine in order to get the transmission out!

    i bet by this time you’re wondering if the body will fit on a Volkswagen bug platform! remember those kit car days? hehe

    our readers are keeping up with your progress. thanks for the updates and we hope things go more smoothly as you get closer to the end!

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