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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Bugeye Gearbox Replacement

Hi everyone,

Sorry to crash the Sprite message board (from the MGA side) but I need some advice. I have been asked to help replace a gearbox in a friend's Bugeye this weekend. It is a ways away and I'd like to be mentally prepped before I go and not get held up over something that we could have planned for.

For my MGA, I find it faster and easier to just pull/replace the engine and gearbox as a unit. I have done it several time so I have become quite proficient. I don't have any experience with the Sprite or midget however. At 6'2" and over 200# you can see why!

Any tips of things to look out for?

Thank you all!

Tom Baker

Same as with the A you need to pull engine and trans together.

If you have done it in an A then the spridget is mostly the same.
Exept for the hinging direction of the bonet but that only makes it easier.
Remove the radiator and your good to go
Onno K

When you remove the power unit, the propshaft will pull out of the gearbox and it will appear that 300 gallons of oil are everywhere! Either drain the trans or be ready for a mess.
It s possible to remove the shaft and wrap the tailhousing tightly with plastic, but hardly worth the effort.
Don't forget the two bolts from the bottom in the rear mount, and the two from inside the car.

FR Millmore

And the earth strap.
G Lazarus

After 42 years of Frogeye ownership I can still make new discoveries.
I usually remove the four bolts from each hinge which requires the bonnet to be re-aligned on the hinges on refitting. It really need 3 people to remove / replace a bonnet - one each side holding and one up / under on the bolts but on sunday whilst trial fitting a restored bonnet and having to remove the fitted bonnet the bonnet swivel bolts up under the bulkhead were released and the bonnet pulled away with hinges attached which gives correct re-alignment on replacing. There were still three of us doing it.
If removing the bonnet at the hinge bolts it can help realignment if a hole is drilled thru hinge into mount and a self tap screw used. Do this before disassembly and the screw will give exact alignment on reassembly.
The bonnet resto can be seen at Amicale Spridget at
I tend to remove the engine and then the gearbox. As the gearbox comes away from the prop have a plastic bag ready to seal over the open gearbox end to retain the oil if you havent drained the gearbox first. Make sure the bag is without childproof holes.
A Anstead

I prefer to remove engine and gearbox separately.

I also keep a spare propshaft nose which I use top stop oil coming out of the gearbox. Once the 'box has been pulled forward enough to disengage the prop, it is easy to insert the 'plug' through the gearlever aperture.
Dave O'Neill2

Thanks everyone.

Pulling both as a unit sounds like the best plan. Great tips on the propshaft. I seem to remember hearing that many years ago but forgot.

I just found 8 there will be 8 of us (no, of course nobody is trying to escape home life) and I have already been tasked as a the primary mechanic as I seem to have the most experience. Most of these guys just pay to have this stuff done around here. I'm taking the train so maybe a few pints are in order!
Tom Baker

Hi everyone,

Just an update and some questions.

We pulled the engine/gearbox as a unit, were careful about the gear oil, and it was generally simple as you would expect.

When it came to put everything back together is when we ran into a couple of problems. The car is a MKI and the gearbox is from a MKII (this should have been confirmed ahead of time but...). The new gearbox did not come with a fork so when we tried to use the old one it did not work. Of course the front covers have different mounting holes so swapping out was not easily possible.

So I need some advice. I suggested the owner pony up for a new fork from a MKII. He should also get a gearshift lever as those seem to be different as well. While we were there, we also noticed the mounts were OK but questionable so those are on the list, too. Am I missing anything??

I confirmed all these things were OK before I trekked out there but I guess they weren't. Oh well, we had a good meeting anyway.
Tommy Baker

This thread was discussed between 10/04/2012 and 15/04/2012

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