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Transmission removal


As I understand things, the transmission cannot be removed from a '79 Midget without pulling the motor too. Why is this? Is it because of the frame cross-member below the transmission? If so, would it be possible to cut this cross-member and re-engineer it to be removeable?


I think it would greatly reduce the strength of the unibody. Even with the crossmember out, the tunnel is so tight it might prove difficult to get enough rearward drop.


Jedi Trainee
"cannot be removed from a '79 Midget "...cannot be removed from any year Midget!

Yes, it is becasue of the cross member.

There was a thread here a while ago where someone had photos of cutting the cross member and bolting it back in place, so it can be done, but you lose the originality.


Great Pumpkin
Country flag
Oh shoot, as I remember 17 bolts to remove the engine along with the transmisiom, and it certinly the easy fast way. About 4 hours labor.


You're opening up a big can of worms by cutting the crossmember. Yanking the engine and tranny is no big deal at all.
I've done a clutch change at the track in an hour and a half.
For a street car, I figure about that much time to remove the engine and trans.
Look on the bright side... you can pull just the motor. But i would not want to put it back in that way.


Matthew E. Herd

Jedi Warrior
Mark, do you mean put it back in two pieces (engine after transmission)? I've never managed to get the transmission in, then install the engine. I can't get the splines to line up properly unless I'm manhandling the transmission out in the open air. Even then, its a real test of patience (and requires two people in my experience) to get the engine/trans back in without damaging anything (paint, most importantly).


Matt, it can be done, but is not the best choice. If, for some reason you have to do it this way, a tilt adjuster for the cherry picker, such as an "Oberg", sold by Moss, is a must. This allows you to alter the angle of the engine in relation to the tranny as you lower it into the car.
Personally, I wouldn't attempt an engine/tranny swap without one of the things. It makes life so much easier, to be able to drop the tail of the tranny down, and then gradually change the angle of attack, as you lower everything into place.
Definitely worth the price of admission.


Great Pumpkin
I used an "Oberg" on a rolling engine hoist last night, putting the 1275 engine/trans back in the Mk 2 Sprite we're using in the 4-enduro next Saturday.
It works pretty nice.
We used it about a week ago to pull the engine trans too, but it seems more useful for installation. In our case, this job is extra-complicated by the belt and pully arrangment on the front of the driveshaft used to run the alternator (which sits where the passenger seat is normally located).

In my home shop, I have a come-a-long mounted to the ceiling beams to pull the 1500 out of my racer. I just jack the engine/trans up a bit, roll the car back, jack up the engine/trans a bit more.....then one more roll and it's out. But the "Oberg" is a lot nicer.
For some reason the 1500 seems easier to pull without the trans (but you can also pull engine/trans as a unit)....the 1275 seems better to pull the engine/trans as a unit, in my opinion.

I would never saw out the crossmember just to allow the trans to be removed...sounds like a bad idea from the get-go.


Jedi Knight
Country flag
I'll agree that installing the engine separately is a pain. I did that, but the trick I had to do was to take the front motor mounts out temporarily to get enough clearance for getting the engine in the right position. With the mounts in there I had to raise the front of the engine to clear them, but the transmission couldn't go high enough to match. Once I got them bolted together there was room to get each mount back in. I will have to agree that cutting the crossmember sounds like a bad idea, but would there even be enough room to slide the pilot shaft out if you did? Seems to me things are tight enough you would not be able to move the transmission back enough anyway.
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