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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - Datsun 5 speed

Hello, Today seems to be a good day:

Someone sold me this morning those parts, thinking it was a Toyota conversion.
It came from a 1275 Bugeyes from USA.
I exchanged it against a proshaft and a rear 948cc engine backplate for his smoothcase gearbox.
This box was a nightmare for him cause the Toyota mechanics didn't sort out the problem. So he was happy to separate.

After some research I found it is a Datsun FA5 (with 60 on the cast iron) gearbox with some parts of the rivergate conversion kit.
This conversion is not wellknown here in France.

BAS, if you are on line, you probably could help me.
Which part is missing?
slave cylinder
blanking plate for starter motor hole

The gearbox is completely dismantled (but complete said the vendor). There were noises (GRRRHHHH.....) on each gear except 4th.
Is someone has an idea from where the problem could come?
Where I can find a worshop manual for this box?

thanks a lot

ld derancourt

I see you are missing the hardware (bolts, screws, etc), speedo cable, and slave cylinder. The kit doesn't actually include a cover for the starter hole, although many people choose to fabricate them. If you switched to a modern starter, you could just plug that hole that is cut.

The rivergate instructions include steps to adapt the original MG slave cylinder so you may be able to re-use your current slave. (although, I opted for the Rivergate cylinder for ease of installation). You can probably get the rest of the bits you need from Rivergate, they are extremely helpful people.

I have a PDF copy of the rivergate installation instructions if you want them, just give me an e-mail address.
Chris Edwards

I seem to remember that their website also has a pdf file of the workshop manual for the Datsun box.
Their aftersales service is as excellent as it always was. I had a new front yoke delivered from them only last week.. Speak to will on the phone or email them
G Lazarus

I have sen the photo to Rivergate, for them checking what is missing.
I have a box with a lot of screws and hardware, I have to do the inventory to be sure what I have.
I have downloaded the Datsun workshop manuel too.
I have now a lot to do cause it is completely dismantled.
Thanks for your advices.
ld derancourt

Use LandRover MTF90 in the box when built - its the newer version of sawdust ;) Infact I would go as far as saying its magical for eliminating noise from toyota and honda gearboxes.

one important point

the aftermaarket syncros are trash and will make alot of noise, reuse the ones you have that are factory.

get the part # for the factory syncros and contact a nissian dealership they can get factory orginals...but its uber expeensive Ive been told, if you dont have a nissian dealership that can get them for you, let me know and Ill check with my local nissian do have to have the exact paer numbers or they cant look them up, I never could figure out why that was.

Also that cup on the end of the tail shaft is just a dust cover and can be pulled straight off...its tight but can be pulled off, It tends to interfer with loose it and throw in a drawer.

the starter hole is dust cap unless you make one

as to the hardware...its listed on the shipping contents page, it is SAE spec in grade 8...and I think in 3 differant length sizes I want to say its (5/16 x 24)

Id highly recommend a DIY stainless steel hose with AN fittings for the slave to master clutch hose..instead of rigid brake line on flare fittings...just my personal opinion.

Make sure you dont use a gasket between the rear plate and the block

If you are going to use a fredensia aluminum flywheel, a High torque starter and the rivergate datsun conversion...let me know, Ill walk you thur it, to much aftermarket parts and it wont work well will need some massage work.

As to missing parts

pilot bushings (and get both sizes), stick shift white nylon bushings and the rubber boots that the fork is fitted into thur the case.

Good luck



I have inspected the parts.
Teeth seem to be good on gear and synchro. No sign of severe wear.
The teethof the 4th are little bit sharp, compared to the other gears.
Roller bearing have no play, but one is a little bit noisy and stop rapidely when I turn it and let it free to turn.
I think it will be better to change all the bearings.
Needle bearings seem to be OK.

My question concern the synchro hub of the 5th and reverse. It is not like the others and have a circular mark on each side.
Is it normal??????

I ask my Nissan dealer. He cannot helpme cause he has never seen this type of car and as the car is older than 10 years old, he has no documentation and no parts list.

Please find enclosed the photo.


ld derancourt

Looks like an oil feed channel, much like in the laygear thrustwashers found in a ribcase.
Alex G Matla

BTW, I'm coming to france next sunday and will be there for three weeks. If you want to get rid of it, I'll take it of your hands ;^)
Alex G Matla

Where are you going in France?
I live near Saint Etienne (Lyon's area)
ld derancourt

Laurent, first stop is in Saint-Cybranet in Dordogne, for 1 1/2 week and then another 1 1/2 week on another camping not very far away from there (can't exactly remember ,my wife takes care of that :)

Unfortunately we will be traveling by mondeo, the midget isn't big enough for five + camping equipment

(but I'm willing to detour for pick up LOL)
Alex G Matla

Hey Id,

The 10 year issue is what I ran into as well, But with factory part numbers they can find and special order in...kind of screwy to be honest. Im 85% sure that the datsun pdf manual on the rivergate website has the factory part numbers.

Like I said, if you cant get the factory parts over there let me know and Ill check with my local nissian dealer here for you...they havent failed me yet

I just remembered rivergate sells a datsun rebuild kit, around $150 If I remember correctly I cant remember what it includes...just remember to NOT use the syncros in the kit

anyway If I can help, let me know.


Prop, what do you mean by noisy.
The owner said the box made a lot of noise like gggrrrrr on each gear except the 4th.
As the parts and the synchro look goods, perhaps they are still aftermarket one?

Rivergat didn't contact me after my mail. I will try again to contact them for the rebuilt kit.

Alex, You are going in Dordogne? Just one question? Did France sold the Dordogne to Queen Beatrix? LOL.....
If you want to visit us, you are welcome. I have 2 children (6 and 9 years old).


ld derancourt

Yes, the dordogne is very popular here, I've been there quite a few times.
Just like the "baking plate" l'Ardeche.
And the south of france.
And the west coast.

Alex "Mais, je ne suis pas un Francophile..."Matla
Alex G Matla


I wish i knew, But i had it on good athority for good sorces to never use the aftermarket syncros

appearntly they "look similar" to the orginals.


Two more questions:

Concerning the clutch.
I have assembled the 948 crank (without bush) + 948 flywheel + Rivergate clutch plate + borg & beck pressure plate.
The mainshaft and the release bearing mechanisme go right inside the clutch assembly.
But the overall distance between the crank flange and the clutch plate thrust is bigger than the one on the 1275 system.
So I think I have to find a 1098 flywheel wich accepts the 948cc crank flange and the rivergate pressure plate.
In that case, the overall distance will be OK (I hope).
Is that right?

Concerning the rear crank seal.
I have bought earlier this year a kit for 948cc.
The 1275 seal is 100mm extrenal and 78 mm internal.
The 948 seal is 100mm external and 83mm internal.
I think it would be possible to fit the 948 seal in the adaptator plate.
DO you think the same?

Or it will easier to fit a 1275 engine.

ld derancourt

or just buy this
Nick Sayle

Laurent, here are two very informative links for Datsun gearboxes.

On the "distance between the crank flange and the clutch plate thrust", do you mean Inside between the clutch and flywheel? That's not very important, as long as the release bearing can go back far enough to release the pressure plate and travels far enough forward to disengage the clutch. IMHO.

On the seal, seems to me when the outside diameter is the same and the depth available for the thickness of the seal is the same, it should be ok.

But I have no experience (yet) on these.
Alex G Matla

the distance between the relase bearing and the engine adaptator plate is 80mm in the bellhousing.
The overall dimension of the B&B clutch assembly is 85mm
Too long....
The overall dimention with the 1275 clutch assembly is 68mm: enough room.

ld derancourt


Try to contact Rivergate. They were very helpfull to me. If you want I can send the fitting instruction witch includes a partlist IIRC. After you are ready just send it back to me. The measurement between release bearing and adaptorplate is the only delicate part in the fitting.

Send me your adress at basdottimmermansathetnetdotnl replace dot and at for . and @ I'll send you the fitting instruction right away.

Great find this Datsun tranny!!

Bas Timmermans

This thread was discussed between 20/07/2010 and 23/07/2010

MG Midget and Sprite Technical index

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