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Thread: problems installing 1275/rivergate/datsun in BE

Discuss the Austin Healey Sprite and the MG Midget. Two different but similar cars sometimes referred to collectively as the Spridget.

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    Jedi Knight
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    problems installing 1275/rivergate/datsun in BE

    We're trying to fit a 1275 engine c/w Rivergate 5 Speed Datsun into our BE, and not doing well. To get it in, we've had to hammer the bottom of the heater assembly framework to provide more clearance (in addition to removing the aluminum rib on the transmission plus a bit more) plus pulled the crankshaft pulley to get the combination down into the engine compartment. Is having to remove the pulley normal?
    Tomorrow we'll be trying to figure out how to get the pulley back on and over the woodruff key - probably have to pull the steering rack (again!) so as to be able to see better.
    We have a 948 cc BE with the Rivergate/Datsun, and did not have these problems. The Rivergate manual mentions that the frame rails might be bent up, which will cause a loss of clearance.
    The crankshaft pulley on the 1275 is thicker than on the 948 but the bolt is encased within it. Is the 1275 engine a bit longer (due to the pulley)?
    Any advice would sure as heck be appreciated!
    Thanks,
    Doug
    1959 pristine 948 cc Bug-Eye; DCOE, 5 speed; bought 1971
    1960 BE bought 1971 & stored since; body tub restored and reassembling (1275; etc.)
    1962 AH 3000 BJ7; 3rd owner (1982?); in shop Oct. 2015 for paint job - home soon!
    1962 VW Meyers Manx clone dune buggy; stripped last winter and being reassembled
    1969 Kawasaki 500 H1 Triple, orig. owner; stored since 1973, but runs again! 1999 Buell S3

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    Great Pumpkin JPSmit's Avatar
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    Re: problems installing 1275/rivergate/datsun in BE

    Doug, I have super limited knowledge of this in that I helped Mark (Abarth69) put a 5 speed in his Innocenti last spring and it was really really tight! We cut the rib off the transmission but, IIRC Mark had a "V" cut out of the bell housing and a fillet welded in to make it fit. Did I mention it was Really tight!
    John-Peter Smit
    1976 MG Midget
    1969 Vauxhall Viva GT
    1958 Fiat Multipla (Barn art)

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    Yoda
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    Re: problems installing 1275/rivergate/datsun in BE

    On one Bugeye that I put a Datsun trans in I really had to grind the top of the trans down pretty far (didn't go thru but down to about 1/8" thick) and STILL had to remove the front pulley but it finally fit (did someone mention that it is TIGHT)
    BillM
    '69 Sprite Mk IV
    '60 MGA
    '65 Midget

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    Jedi Knight bugedd's Avatar
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    Re: problems installing 1275/rivergate/datsun in BE

    On my previous car I had similar issues, especially at the heater box. But that car was bent in every direction which is why I gave up on that car.
    1960 Bugeye AN5L43788, 1275, Datsun 5 speed, bunches of fun goodies.

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    Jedi Knight
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    Re: problems installing 1275/rivergate/datsun in BE

    Engine and tranny are back out; removed timing cover and chain & gears to remove beat-up woodruff key; salvaged better tab washers and key from another engine. Will try refitting Tuesday. One of the guys helping until recently had a welder; I was thinking I should've asked him to cut the front edge off the oil pan and welded a patch piece in at an angle to free up some room there, but it still wouldn't have helped with the crankshaft pulley. If we can't make it work by putting the pulley on after installing the engine, then look at cutting a piece out of the top of the transmission and recessing it the thickness of the housing and welding it in. Good grief! The concept was so simple, and the other installation (other than me screwing up the pilot bushing) was so straightforward! Further wisdom appreciated. And - in case anyone has doubts, it's really pretty tight..... Doug

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    Jedi Knight Pythias's Avatar
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    Re: problems installing 1275/rivergate/datsun in BE

    When Paul A put the tranny in my '66, we had to take a hammer and smack the bottom of the heater tray a few times with a single jack , plus grind the rib off the tranny. It's expected. also had to smack the front frame rail to clear the bleeder on the slave cylinder. again, it's expected. You'll also be hitting the front U-joint on the tranny tunnel. with the car up on jackstands, get a broom handle and as you let out the clutch, throw the handle, up the tranny tunnel. catch it just right and it will spin around and deform the tunnel enough to get clearance. try, try again. No other way to access the problem area that Paul ever found. Gerard has a spacer for the drive shaft that you put on at the pumpkin end that slides has the result of sliding the tranny yoke further up the output shaft to help this clearance issue.
    Bill L.

    1966 Sprite MK III - "the red thing"
    HAN8L49403

    President, Pacific Northwest Chapter,
    Sprite Midget Club, USA
    (Excepting Greater Seattle)

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    Jedi Warrior 58Custom's Avatar
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    Re: problems installing 1275/rivergate/datsun in BE

    This is one possible solution.
    Bellhousing.jpg
    ____________________
    1969 MG Midget, A15, 5 speed

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    Jedi Knight smaceng's Avatar
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    Re: problems installing 1275/rivergate/datsun in BE

    I'm surprised that Gerard has not chimed in yet. He has that modification as an option for his 5-speed conversion. I too had trouble installing my Datsun 5-speed into my old BE. If I had it to do again, I would use Gerard's modification....looks like what 58Custom showed above, but more elegant. Scott in CA
    1973 TR6

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    Jedi Knight
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    Re: problems installing 1275/rivergate/datsun in BE

    Tom - thanks for the photo. We were discussing this as a last resort. Do you have dimensional information? Smaceng - thanks for the suggestion. Gerard! kindly spread wisdom and knowledge!
    If we can't get it in with the crankshaft pulley off, then I'll be looking the bell housing modifications as I don't want to add any further dints and dents to the bodytub. I'm planning on taking it into a frame shop when it's together to check for any issues - I'm wishing I'd taken it while it was still just a tub. Doug

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    Yoda
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    Re: problems installing 1275/rivergate/datsun in BE

    I found the simplest option to be heating up the bottom of the heater plenum with a acetylene torch and hammering it in. Plenty of room for that to cave in after grinding the rib off and only installing whats necessary of the trans mount. Evan then.....its tight!

    Kurt.
    65,66 Midget
    57 Berkeley, MGA
    Working on quality rather than quantity

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    Jedi Warrior 58Custom's Avatar
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    Re: problems installing 1275/rivergate/datsun in BE

    Here is the source of the picture. Regretfully, I don't have any dimensional data.

    https://www.lainefamily.com/Woody.htm
    ____________________
    1969 MG Midget, A15, 5 speed

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    Jedi Knight
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    Re: problems installing 1275/rivergate/datsun in BE

    Heck - it was just a delight to read the entire web-page! Hopefully we won't have to get into that, but - if so - there'll be a bunch of marking of the bell housing and a trial fit before cutting and then again before welding. Figure mark it up with the engine/trans assembled, then separate and check by just holding the transmission in place in the body tub, then cut and do the trial fit again, then reassemble looking for clearance surprises, then get the welding done. Hopefully pulling/replacing the crankshaft pulley will work, but if not, it's good to know that there's options that have been tried. Thanks, Doug

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    Senior Member 1974MGMidget's Avatar
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    Re: problems installing 1275/rivergate/datsun in BE

    I may have missed it in the discussion, but I'm surprised no one has mentioned cutting a small notch, or "V", in the front crossmember to allow the damper to clear. I've seen this mentioned before and seems a great time saver when R & R engine/trans. Haven't done it myself, but next time I have to pull it, will seriously consider it.

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    Jedi Warrior BlueMax's Avatar
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    Re: problems installing 1275/rivergate/datsun in BE

    Knowing that the 1275 balancer is thicker I section out the center of the steering rack mount. I also cut the casting spin/ridge off the center of transmission. It was a very close fit, but letting the engine move forward sure helped in getting it to bolt in. I also removed the breather pipe and filled the hole with coarse stainless steel wool for breathing, I did this so the pipe doesn't catch on the dip switch wire.

    P1040028.jpg P1030760.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by BlueMax; 03-28-2016 at 07:29 PM.

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    Jedi Knight
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    Re: problems installing 1275/rivergate/datsun in BE

    Thanks for the description and the photos. And Dang! she looks good! Doug

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    Jedi Knight
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    Re: problems installing 1275/rivergate/datsun in BE

    I'm very much identifying with Alice - as in Wonderland.
    We (meaning Leonard the young lad doing the bulk of the work) pulled the timing chain cover and lower sprocket to replace the rather beatup woodruff key and reassembled everything and got the engine/trans installed (YAY!) and the crankshaft pulley back (Double Yay!). But: pulled the steering rack to get a straight shot at the crankshaft nut so we could torque it, but the clutch appears to be slipping as the engine turns and the driveshaft (secured with a pipe wrench) doesn't. Darn!
    Anyone have thoughts on how much torque a standard Sprite clutch should handle? It was still turning at 100 ft lb. I figure we can work up something to hold the engine, but now I'm nervous about the clutch actually working. Dang again. Doug
    1959 pristine 948 cc Bug-Eye; DCOE, 5 speed; bought 1971
    1960 BE bought 1971 & stored since; body tub restored and reassembling (1275; etc.)
    1962 AH 3000 BJ7; 3rd owner (1982?); in shop Oct. 2015 for paint job - home soon!
    1962 VW Meyers Manx clone dune buggy; stripped last winter and being reassembled
    1969 Kawasaki 500 H1 Triple, orig. owner; stored since 1973, but runs again! 1999 Buell S3

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    Yoda
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    Re: problems installing 1275/rivergate/datsun in BE

    Haven't a clue on how much torque the clutch should hold but I wouldn't be concerned. I imagine you could do some math on the RPM's and horsepower that will be transmitted. I always use a bar slid in the starter hole and engaging the ring gear to do that tightening.

    Kurt
    65,66 Midget
    57 Berkeley, MGA
    Working on quality rather than quantity

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    Jedi Knight
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    Re: problems installing 1275/rivergate/datsun in BE

    Thanks for the reminder - the starter's installed and I'd forgotten about that trick. The cylinder head is off and I was thinking of shoving a chunk of 2x4 down one of the cylinder bores and putting a strap or a chain around the block to hold it. We've got a screwdriver we call 'The Bismark' because it's the right size for adjusting a battleship turret - it'll probably be suitable for the starter hole. Doug
    1959 pristine 948 cc Bug-Eye; DCOE, 5 speed; bought 1971
    1960 BE bought 1971 & stored since; body tub restored and reassembling (1275; etc.)
    1962 AH 3000 BJ7; 3rd owner (1982?); in shop Oct. 2015 for paint job - home soon!
    1962 VW Meyers Manx clone dune buggy; stripped last winter and being reassembled
    1969 Kawasaki 500 H1 Triple, orig. owner; stored since 1973, but runs again! 1999 Buell S3

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    Yoda
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    Re: problems installing 1275/rivergate/datsun in BE

    Is there a torque spec on that bolt? I would think that 100# is probably enough.

    Kurt.
    65,66 Midget
    57 Berkeley, MGA
    Working on quality rather than quantity

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    Jedi Knight
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    Re: problems installing 1275/rivergate/datsun in BE

    The gosh dang rabbit hole is still trying to swallow this whole project up. Had another learning experience: the original shop manual for the BE does not have a torque spec for the crankshaft bolt for the 948 cc engine it originally came with. The Haynes Spridget manual calls for 150 ft. pounds for the 1275. The tab lockwasher we`ve got doesn`t have much of a tab and bending it back didn`t look promising due to the pulley-damper shielding it; I`m betting on the loctite.
    We used the Bismark in the ring gear per Kurt`s suggestion but couldn`t reach the 150 ft. lb number (t`other guy weights 290 lb and not much fat, but we still couldn`t hold everything together). I got curious and checked another manual (blue cover, aftermarket, Autobooks I think), and it called for a torque of 70 ft. pounds, so we just left whatever we`d accomplished.
    Anyone know what the correct factory figure is for the torque for a 1275. Thanks, Doug
    1959 pristine 948 cc Bug-Eye; DCOE, 5 speed; bought 1971
    1960 BE bought 1971 & stored since; body tub restored and reassembling (1275; etc.)
    1962 AH 3000 BJ7; 3rd owner (1982?); in shop Oct. 2015 for paint job - home soon!
    1962 VW Meyers Manx clone dune buggy; stripped last winter and being reassembled
    1969 Kawasaki 500 H1 Triple, orig. owner; stored since 1973, but runs again! 1999 Buell S3

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