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Thread: Started adapting the datsun gearbox today

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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    Darth Vader Bayless's Avatar
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    Started adapting the datsun gearbox today

    This is not gonna be a one day project. The Rivergate instructions are pretty clear when you have the bits in front of you. We got most of the modifications to the box and adapter done today (we only work half a day at a time). The next step is install the plate to the motor so that is tomorrow's job. Not sure but it looks like we might be able to get it in the car next week. Also working on some minor rust in at least 1 of the front wings.
    Was Man nicht im Kopf hat muss Man in den Beinen haben
    '48 Ford Prefect
    '67 Sprite (project)
    '74 Super Beetle
    http://enfoprefect.org

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    Jedi Warrior
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    Re: Started adapting the datsun gearbox today

    Good to hear good news!

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    Moderator drooartz's Avatar
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    Re: Started adapting the datsun gearbox today

    Excellent!

    I've got he Datsun box in my Morris Minor. That 5th gear is a really nice thing.
    Drew Frink
    '59 RHD Frogeye Sprite - "Penny" sleeping for now
    '66 RHD Morris Minor - "Maggie" alive and driving
    '70 RHD MGB - work in progress
    '19 Triumph Bonneville T120

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    Yoda Jim_Gruber's Avatar
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    Re: Started adapting the datsun gearbox today

    And depending on your BE and the 210 adapter rear tranny mount you may run into a clearance issue with DS yoke hitting although slightly, just behind the shifter opening. I’ve run into that w Bugsy and my next project job will be some minor surgery w angle grinder and a cutting blade to the top of the tunnel. Plan is to cut a 2” x3” Opening so yoke can turn freely and fabricate an access panel that sits a smidgeon higher And either weld in place or secure with bolts. Carpet goes over the top and this mod will be unseen. I can attest that one rear mount I tried had the tranny/adapter plate sitting 1” lower than the other and over those long traffic calming humps that a BE straddles that the adapter plate dragged over that top. Now rear of tranny sits 1”+ taller and that translates into More ground clearance.

    Now in the past, Frank C’s method for fixing this was to have car on jackstands and shove a broom handle into the top of the tunnel while the car was in gear and running to create more clearance. After reading about his fix and how tranny yoke chewing up a broomstick like a pencil sharpener seemed extremely dangerous to me. Taking a small piece of the tranny tunnel off and reshaping the top of the tunnel seems far far easier to do.
    Jim Gruber - Apollo Beach, FL
    Bugsy I - '68 Sprite w BE Bonnet - Gone but not forgotten
    Bugsy IV - '60 Bugeye - 1,275+.040 and a 5-Speed - CA Car - 2nd Owner from new - 10/12 Painting done, reassembly, cutting, and buffing in progress.

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    Darth Vader Bayless's Avatar
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    Re: Started adapting the datsun gearbox today

    Thanks for the advice Jim. Mine is not a BE but a MkIV. That may or may not make a difference. Will at Rivergate swears there won't be any issues. We will see over the next week or two, I hope. I got some more advice from our local guru to drop the steering rack, also a reminder to install the speedo cable before installing.
    Was Man nicht im Kopf hat muss Man in den Beinen haben
    '48 Ford Prefect
    '67 Sprite (project)
    '74 Super Beetle
    http://enfoprefect.org

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    Yoda Jim_Gruber's Avatar
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    Re: Started adapting the datsun gearbox today

    Should not make a difference but rear mount definitely does. And if it does interfere it is possible to fix it.

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    Jedi Knight Pythias's Avatar
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    Re: Started adapting the datsun gearbox today

    I watched/helped Paul A do the broomstick trick on my conversion. He spear tossed the handle into the tunnel. It took a few tries as it's a timing thing, getting the U-joint to catch the stick at just the right time so that the stick was "trapped" as it went round and round beating the tunnel the out. Interesting thing to see, but seems easier to me than cutting and fabbing, especially if your carpet is already glued in. The most time consuming thing is putting the car on the 4 jackstands, but since you're already in the middle doing the conversion, that part is done already.

    Another fix that may need done is because the shift stick doesn't come up in the center of the hole any longer. One method is to get the gaiter ring from a later car and use the leather gaiter instead of the (remove able) shifter can. I was lucky to know a guy who could weld. I had him cut 1" off the height of the can and fill in the hole. He then redrilled the hole effectively moving it forward. Got a rubber gaiter for an MGB and away I go.

    YMMV
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    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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    Yoda Jim_Gruber's Avatar
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    Re: Started adapting the datsun gearbox today

    Agreed on the MGB Gaiter. That's what I did. just leave the first 2 rings underneath the opening in the turret. And Bill since main wire harness is not installed yet, starting the engine and tossing in a broomstick is not an option. Carpet is not yet installed. And I'm assuming you did this on your MkIII Sprite.
    Jim Gruber - Apollo Beach, FL
    Bugsy I - '68 Sprite w BE Bonnet - Gone but not forgotten
    Bugsy IV - '60 Bugeye - 1,275+.040 and a 5-Speed - CA Car - 2nd Owner from new - 10/12 Painting done, reassembly, cutting, and buffing in progress.

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    Re: Started adapting the datsun gearbox today

    There is some mention of the "later Midget"gaiter I think in the 11 pages of instructions. I'm a little confused on this issue. Are you saying to keep the can, maybe modified a little, and add the gaiter to it or ditch the can completely and put the gaiter directly on the tunnel? Also, the idea of tossing a broomstick in the tunnel is kinda scary. I will check the rear mount very carefully. It sounds like we may be fitting this thing twice.
    Was Man nicht im Kopf hat muss Man in den Beinen haben
    '48 Ford Prefect
    '67 Sprite (project)
    '74 Super Beetle
    http://enfoprefect.org

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    Re: Started adapting the datsun gearbox today

    Using the later gaiter ditches the can. Have a look at the moss catalogue pictures and you'll see. It's probably the easiest solution. And, YES throwing the broomstick up the tunnel at the same time the clutch gets engaged, the resulting noise and pounding IS scary. The broomstick gets destroyed in the process. You may need two of them.. BOOM BOOM rumble rumble BOOM BANG BANG.
    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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    Re: Started adapting the datsun gearbox today

    If I have to clearance the u-joint area when I get around to doing mine I think I'll make a removable access panel. I would think that would make greasing the joint a dream. I am also contemplating a small access panel on the right side of the tunnel so I can use the Datsun factory switch for the back-up lights. Any thoughts?

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    Darth Vader Rut's Avatar
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    Re: Started adapting the datsun gearbox today

    I like the original top hat and rubber...I also added a thin sheet of rubber below the top hat to prevent fumes from coming in.
    Rut
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    Rut, '60 Bugeye, '70 MGB, '62 TR4, '66 TR4a IRS, '67 TR4a IRS, '68 TR4a IRS, '72 TR6

    When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy'. They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life. John Lennon


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    Re: Started adapting the datsun gearbox today

    I like the original top hat too, but found the shift a little stiff with the OEM boot. I enlarged the hole and used a MGB shifter boot.

    P1040315.jpg

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    Darth Vader Bayless's Avatar
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    Re: Started adapting the datsun gearbox today

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueMax View Post
    I like the original top hat too, but found the shift a little stiff with the OEM boot. I enlarged the hole and used a MGB shifter boot.

    P1040315.jpg
    I really like that solution.

    Meanwhile, we got the plate installed but had a setback yesterday. It seems my flywheel alignment pins are missing. Our local pro gave me an old crank to try removing them from. We'll see how that works out today.
    Was Man nicht im Kopf hat muss Man in den Beinen haben
    '48 Ford Prefect
    '67 Sprite (project)
    '74 Super Beetle
    http://enfoprefect.org

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    Darth Vader Rut's Avatar
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    Re: Started adapting the datsun gearbox today

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueMax View Post
    I like the original top hat too, but found the shift a little stiff with the OEM boot. I enlarged the hole and used a MGB shifter boot.

    P1040315.jpg
    I built my own short throw shifter and put the gear lever dead center so its not stiff. They are very easy and cheap to build and you can put the shift lever where you want it.
    Rut
    Rut, '60 Bugeye, '70 MGB, '62 TR4, '66 TR4a IRS, '67 TR4a IRS, '68 TR4a IRS, '72 TR6

    When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy'. They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life. John Lennon


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    Yoda Boink's Avatar
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    Re: Started adapting the datsun gearbox today

    Gerard has some nice mods to make all this work (though the old Paul Asgiersson kit). He also had a way to pound out the tunnel in a bit of a more controlled way.
    You might check the lengthy read on this ("5 speed vs 3.9 differential or both") I started a few years ago... though the conversion wasn't Rivergate. There are a number of photos there too that address fitment issues. http://www.britishcarforum.com/bcf/showthread.php?107334-5-speed-vs-3-9-diff-either-or-both&highlight=speed+3.9+diff
    - Mark

    Former 1956 Austin Healey 100-4 (BN2)
    Former 1962 Mk1 Austin Mini (850)
    Former 1973 Austin Mini (really a 1980s Cooperized Mini)
    Present 1959 Austin Healey "Bugeye" Sprite (with 1275, 5 speed, discs, etc)

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    Yoda Jim_Gruber's Avatar
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    Re: Started adapting the datsun gearbox today

    His truck with a palm nailer and nail in backwards is a great trick as long as you know up from that you need additional clearance. Unfortunately with engine and tranny installed there is no room to work in there.
    Jim Gruber - Apollo Beach, FL
    Bugsy I - '68 Sprite w BE Bonnet - Gone but not forgotten
    Bugsy IV - '60 Bugeye - 1,275+.040 and a 5-Speed - CA Car - 2nd Owner from new - 10/12 Painting done, reassembly, cutting, and buffing in progress.

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    Re: Started adapting the datsun gearbox today

    I'd probably pre-emptively do it... as it's likely needed.
    - Mark

    Former 1956 Austin Healey 100-4 (BN2)
    Former 1962 Mk1 Austin Mini (850)
    Former 1973 Austin Mini (really a 1980s Cooperized Mini)
    Present 1959 Austin Healey "Bugeye" Sprite (with 1275, 5 speed, discs, etc)

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    Darth Vader Bayless's Avatar
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    Re: Started adapting the datsun gearbox today

    Well I managed to get the pins out of the old crank with a little, no a lot of, help from the oxy-acetelyne wrench and installed in mine. We reinstalled the flywheel and verified all the clutch to throwout bearing measurements. I believe it is now ready to mount the gearbox so maybe tomorrow. It looks like Thursday will be dedicated to getting some paint on the Model A.
    Was Man nicht im Kopf hat muss Man in den Beinen haben
    '48 Ford Prefect
    '67 Sprite (project)
    '74 Super Beetle
    http://enfoprefect.org

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    Darth Vader Bayless's Avatar
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    Re: Started adapting the datsun gearbox today

    I did paint yesterday. Today we made the first attempt at fitting the 5-speed into the Sprite. My partner insisted in adding everything as he "didn't want to have to take it back out to add that stuff". I prevailed. We left off everything possible for the "test fit". Sure enough, it didn't fit. With it tight against the rear cross member and the heater box with less than 1/8 inch clearance at the front cross member, it still needed to go back about 3/8 inch before it would clear. I pulled it out and took the grinder to the offending area of the bell housing for another 1/8 inch or so and we will try again Monday. I feel pretty confident it will go this time.

    My rear mount is 2 pieces and it looks like I can modify it to sit a little lower if necessary for the u-joint to miss the tunnel. Also, I think I can modify the gear stick to center in the hole all right. Instructions claim I can add the speedo cable through the gear stick hole. We'll see.
    Was Man nicht im Kopf hat muss Man in den Beinen haben
    '48 Ford Prefect
    '67 Sprite (project)
    '74 Super Beetle
    http://enfoprefect.org

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