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MG MGA - Engine & gearbox - best way to fit in car

Having had the engine & gearbox out for some repairs, I am now ready to fit them back in the car. I know that many of you have had this experience before. Before I decide which way to go, I need to know which is the best & easiest method, fit the box first followed by the engine, or bolt them both together and put in as one complete unit. Naturally, I have to avoid, as much as I can, scratching any paintwork or doing any damage. I will appreciate your opinions on this so I can decide how best to do the job.

F Camilleri

Separately.....I fitted a 5 speed box earlier this year and they went in quite easily ....just some fiddling with the top connecting bolts.
Neil Ferguson

Frank I have done this both ways and my vote goes for the box first Sean
S Sherry

I never removed the engine separate from the gearbox before. I did this a few weeks ago for the first time. We did this to replace a clutch/pressure plate. The trans was left in the chassis. Actually, the replacement went rather smoothly. We did it that way to eliminate separating the clutch slave hydraulics, the shift extension housing, the driveshaft, rear trans mount bolt, etc. With these things already disconnected on your car, I'm not sure there is much of an advantage either way you choose.

With replacing them as an assembly, I vaguely remember (sorry it was some 15 years or more ago) having some issue with getting the tail of the trans up and over the mount. Maybe assembling them separately is the way to go.

Chuck Schaefer

I also vote for doing them separately. Over the years I have done it more than a few times on different MGAs with no problems. Just install the gearbox and then jack up the front of the gearbox as high as it will go. Hang the engine at approximately the same angle as the gearbox and they should go together easily.

I have never done them together, but have to believe that the added weight and length would make it much more likely that you would scratch the paint while installing them.
Jeff Schultz

I have always done mine separately and since the motor was going to be taken apart anyway,I pull the head. I put it back the same way too and leave off the front pulley,other wise it gets hung up on the steering rack. Did my B much the same way,lifted the motor and pulled it foward just enough to get a new clutch in it.
gary starr

I have had my engine in and out about 8 to 10 times over the last 10 years. I have always split it from the gearbox. One man job, 2 hours (ish) work each way if I am in a hurry, otherwise a leisurely morning's task with coffee break. Leaving the hood/bonnet in situ saves a bit of time. I just tie it back to the luggage rack.

Dominic can do it faster!

Steve Gyles

I'd say separately as well. The only time I have ever taken a power unit out and put it back in one piece, was with a MKII midget, and what a pain that was! I would never do it that way again. It is an awfull lot of weight to have hanging from a crane, you also have to be able to lift quite high to get the angle of entry right. Separate unite are a bit lighter and easier to handle, the only hassle is getting the engine to slide back onto the first motion shaft, but once you hear the 'clunk' as engine back plate meets bellhousing, you can break-open a beer to celebrate, the rest is going to be plain sailing.
Lindsay Sampford

Thank you guys. Well there seems to be an anonimous vote on fitting the units separately. The last time I removed an engine & box out of a car was when I was about 25. I'm 68 now. I seem to recall that the box goes in first followed by the engine. That's the way I'll do it. Happy new year to everyone.

F Camilleri

Sean, I've done the gearbox. the only apparent damage was the 2nd gear synchro and the laygear shaft. I've replaced the 3 synchro rings and the layshaft with its 3 needle roller bearings, and also replaced the 2nd/3rd gear thrust washer (brass). The box is now fully assembled and bolted shut. Changing gears on the bench seems to be working fine, each gear engages as it should, considering there is no oil inside yet. Thanks for you help.

F Camilleri

Swapped motors both ways and found seperate can be accomplished by one person

S Sherry

Sorry guys, used the wrong word in my post above. Can't be anonimous, should read unanimous.

F Camilleri

I pull the engine and gearbox separately. I have done it with gearbox and engine attached and it is a real pain. If you have the gearbox out of the car, fit it to the engine to check your clutch alignment before putting the gearbox into the car. Also it helps to put the gearbox into 4th gear so that you can rotate the input shaft by turning the output shaft if needed while installing the engine.
Ed Bell

Thanks ED, your method sounds very logical. Hoping that early next week both units will go back in, when I shall follow your advice.

F Camilleri

I have done it a few times - always complete unit.

Remove/replace crank pulley inside the car.
Remove/replace gearbox dipstick in the car.

Use a rope to lift tailshaft over cross


Ian Fraser

This thread was discussed between 29/12/2010 and 05/01/2011

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