One Down

Well, here it is July already and something that has been eating at me finally caused me to get off my dead ass and start in on it.

That motherfucking Sprite.

Not the car its self, yet, the fucking transmission issue.

It’s been parked for over a year now after the transmission shit the bed one day 50 feet from the driveway from work.

I was coming down a hill in 3rd gear, just getting ready to hit the brakes when all of a sudden the transmission acted like it kicked into neutral. No noises, just no 2nd or 3rd gear anymore.

I am not exaggerating one iota when I say that I have had the engine and transmission out of that little sonofabitch AT LEAST, six times over the years.

So I limped the bastard home by winding it all the way out in first gear and then slamming it into fourth and lugging the shit out of the engine and there it sits ever since.

This is after I dumped $3500 into it at a British specialty shop getting the new engine dialed in and running, new brakes all the way around, new turn signal switch installed, a new top installed and a bunch of other shit. That being after I spent untold hours detailing and painting the engine compartment and throwing at least another $1000 in parts at the little fucker over an entire Winter.

To say I was mad would be the understatement of the last thirty years.

I had another transmission laying around and a good friend had given me almost an entire other car, minus the engine, interior and front suspension. That one had another transmission stuffed in the trunk. I got rid of the car bit by bit but kept the transmission even though I had no idea if it was any good or not.

Today I found out that transmission had hand grenaded and that’s why it was in the trunk.

After tearing it apart it looks to me like someone had been in it and had put some new parts in it but unfortunately forgot one critical piece. At least I never did see it when I took it apart.

This was the result,

That’s what left of 2nd gear on what looks like an almost new and very expensive Cluster gear.

For many years those Cluster gears were Unobtanium. I couldn’t find one after searching and searching.

Someone finally started reproducing them but they were quite rightfully wicked expensive.

Since then they have become more and more available and after checking one of my favorite parts suppliers, I see they are not only available but are just under two hundred dollars now.

Unfortunately, that part someone forgot to put in was a caged needle bearing set that was supposed to go in one end of that Cluster Gear so not only did it take the gear out, someone must have actually driven it without the bearing long enough for it to eat the shaft also.

So that one is pretty much done.

There are still some usable parts and the case had all the mounts and things on it so as it was a Freebie, I am actually ahead on that deal.

Now for round two.

I swear I had this one in the car at one time and reverse was messed up in it. It would go into gear but the second you let the clutch out it would jump out of gear and I couldn’t hold it in with all of my weight and pushing with my feet on the floor board.

I could be mistaken as it has been many, many years ago and as many transmissions as I have had in this miserable fucker it might not be the problem with it. I aim to find out.

My plan is to try and put together one transmission out of the parts between the two.

As with everything else I do, reality and my plans could very well be as far apart as Pluto is from the Sun.

I aim to find out though.

I certainly don’t have the $1600 laying around that they want for a rebuilt unit.

19 thoughts on “One Down

  1. I could swear I saw someplace that sold an adapter to bolt a Toyota 5-speed to the Spridget bellhousing. Or maybe it was an adapter plate to mount the Toyota trans and Toyota bellhousing to the engine.

    That way you get a bulletproof, full synchro FIVE speed to replace that joke of a BLMC trans….

    Liked by 1 person

    • A thousand bucks for the kit and that’s if you already have a good 5 speed transmission.
      They even make a Ford 5 speed conversion kit now. You don’t even want to know what they want for that.
      I almost fell out of my chair.


      • Do not despair Phil. I never fucked with a transmission but I know
        enough that clearances and tolerances are the keys to rebuilding
        to rebuilding one. Watch all the Youtube videos you can. I knew
        less than jack shit about adjusting the dual cable throttle linkage
        on a Harley Davidson until I found a video from a Texas-based
        HD dealer. The best customer support came from a business that
        stood to lose money by telling them how to do the job themselves.

        PS Limey cars are notorious for weak transmissions. The classic
        Lotus Europa came with a piss-weak transmission. They had to
        change to a transmission made in the land of the cheese-eating
        surrender monkeys.

        Liked by 1 person

      • OUCH! I didn’t know they cost that much. This guy I used to work with always joked he wanted the transmission out of my Supra for his TR-6, and was looking for a Z-car to swipe the differential from!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I have seen all kinds of engine, transmission, rear end combinations stuffed into these things. Up to and including a fully blown Chrysler Hemi drag racing engine.
          Absolute insanity.


          • I had a girlfriend once with an older brother who had a 327/350HP small block Chevy in an MGA!

            I was amazed he could get it to go straight when he nailed it…


  2. I have found that British scrap yards will send parts to the US, as long as you can be specific about what you need. You might need to contact several of them before you find the one willing to work with you that also has the parts on hand.
    Last year I was able to obtain some obscure British transmission parts this way for about 10% of US retail cost, not that the US parts places had them in stock anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That would be an option of last resort for me but I thank you very much for bringing that to my attention because I wouldn’t have thought of it. Several years ago I found a British Only wrecking yard down in California that had all kinds of parts for these things. I did wind up ordering a flywheel from them. I couldn’t remember the name of the outfit now to save my life but I’m sure I could find it again eventually. It is surprising just how many reproduction parts are available. I about fell over four or five years ago when I saw the the British Car Heritage Society had actually gave their blessings to an outfit in England that was stamping out and welding together brand spanking new body shells for the Square rear wheel arched Sprite/ Midget bodies.
      They were only approximately twenty thousand dollars each at the time. For a completely bare body shell… before shipping costs.


    • Oh and the outfit building the new body shells was in Jolly Olde.
      That twenty grand didn’t even buy the hood and front fenders. Just the main body.


  3. Neither one of those but thanks for the links!
    The one I am thinking of was huge. Acres of parts. Dumpster bins lined up in rows, each bin was full of one kind of part like hydraulic shocks, wiring harnesses, engines, that kind of thing.
    I had it bookmarked in a computer at one time but I’m not sure if it was two or three laptops ago. II probably still have it .


  4. Those layshaft bearings were not caged , they were loose , a hardened washer on each e nd and the needle bearings glued in with grease .


  5. have the manifold and mallory duel point centrifigal distributor for a triumph 1600. has 2 dual dcoe webber carbs with foam covers, or stacks. don’t know if they would fit a sprite. but if you get the tranny going, add some speed.


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