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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - 5 speed conversion won't go into 5th

This is mainly aimed at Guy as I've just spotted a comment he made in another thread about assembly of a 5-speed conversion.

I had my Type 9 rebuilt as part of my recent K-series midget build including having the selector housing shortened. Put it all together and had it running, MOT'd and rolling roaded. There's a fair bit on the dark side forum on the extensive work. 187bhp was nice for a while until I think I've busted the clutch (the only thing I re-used from the previous 1.4 K-series conversion). So the engine is coming out anyway...

One thing it wouldn't do is go into 5th for the few hundred miles I had it stonking around. It would go in if you really banged it in, but felt like it was a problem with the selector and not the box (no crunching or anything and ran fine in 5th when you got it in and came out fine).

I didn't get round to having a poke around inside the selector housing from above to see if there was a bit of the fork or housing that needed chamfering before the clutch went.

So, Guy - is this something that I need to bear in mind when I'm re-assembling next time, or could it still be poor workmanship on the selector shortening (was done by a pro who sells them widely on the web).

Cheers chaps
Lloyd
L McInally

I seem to remember reading somewhere that it needs to be in 4th when the selector rod is fitted otherwise it won't go into 5th. Can't remember exactly but I have read about it during my surfing sessions researching gearbox alternatives for Midgets.
Rob aka MG Moneypit

Hi Lloyd,
two possibilities come to mind, though there may be other causes.

I mentioned on that other thread about "Annoyances" about making this mistake with my T9, which resulted in me having to take the engine and gearbox out again, simply to move the gearlever before reassembling it! There is a forward pointing guide pin inside the rear extension that has to locate correctly with a notch on part of the gear shaft selector mechanism as you put the extension on.

I have made mention of this once or twice before as I got caught out, although I have never seen anyone else refer to it.

If you don't first select 4th gear, then it appears to go together properly but the pin can miss its locating notch. You cannot see that it has missed its alignment and the gears appear to work so you carry on with the assembly. Only to find out later that 5th either wont select at all, or if it does it is very notchy and it feels like the gear lever isn't moving far enough forwards to fully select the gear. The annoyance is that it is mentioned in the Haynes manual (Sierra, manual 903 page 189, para 24) but in such an inconsequential way that it is very easy to miss! It just says "remove temporary bolts from housing, then select 4th gear" no other explanation!

To correct it, there is no way other than remove gearbox and dismantle enough to be ably to unbolt and remove the alloy extension casting. Select 4th, and then put it back together.


The other possibility, if you have had the extension shortened, might be that the rear turret piece has been welded on out of alignment. Or in effect rotated slightly in relation to the 'box. Down inside the turret there is a machined surface that the fork on the bottom of the gearlever runs against when you move the gearlever into the 5th gear gate position. If the turret isn't fitted accurately then this machined surface could be out of position and either allow the lever to move too far across, or not far enough. Either would prevent proper alignment of the lever to allow it to smoothly select 5th.
Guy Weller

Lloyd,
I've a shortened box and on mine it's always been difficult to get into 5th but it will go (the trick, with mine at least, is not to think about it but just to do it)

unfortunately I bought the conversion and had it installed by the main Spridget supplier and the quality of their work on the box and installation was very poor

renewing the plastic saddle can firm up changes a little and using Castrol Syntrans Multivehicle 75W-90 Fully Synthetic MTF helps changes particularly when cold but I'm not suggesting either would help very much, if at all, with your 5th gear problem but they might help more with the other gears as improvement, as you've not got a problem with them

btw where's the dark side forum?
Nigel Atkins

Nigel, the darkside forum is the twincam aka K-series forum.
It has been a bit more quiet lately as some have left the bbs in favour of the K-facebook forum.

Ive chosen for the "normal" (read: not shortned) type 9 and bended the gearstick and find it in good position for my hand for fast shifting on track-rally-fast road.

A de Best

cheers Arie, I've been to that forum, by dark side I thought it might be this exclusive Facebook group (to which the likes of I the Gatekeepers would never let in)
Nigel Atkins

This thread was discussed between 17/12/2013 and 18/12/2013

MG Midget and Sprite Technical index

This thread is from the archive. The Live MG Midget and Sprite Technical BBS is active now.