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MG TD TF 1500 - Skyhook Owners - Help?

Skyhook conversion owners, I need your input please.

Although I've read that the Datsun 210 FL, FA, FX, FS prefix boxes were "impossible" to find anymore, 7 have showed up on ebay is the last 3 weeks. Most went high for between $550 and $750, and one went for an absolutely rediculous price. Made of gold maybe :-) Two more showed up a few miles from my house yesterday, and I will be checking them out tomorrow.

Steve Neal of Skyhook said to be sure to check for any broken gears, so I need to know if the unmodified Datsun box can be opened as easily as the TD box for inspection? Otherwise, how can I check

Although I've seen some brief pictures of a converted Skyhook TD box installation, I can't be sure if the floor boards needed to come out or not. Not looking forward to that, if getting the screws out were to be as impossible as getting the ones out of my rear deck panel after they've rusted in after 55 years :-(

Hopefully the box will be good and I can add it to my existing 4.3 converted rear end. Most seem to like the combination, and some do not, but I think here in the flatlands of Texas I'll be happy with it.

So, any advice from those with the Skyhook conversion, on what to look for, I'd really appreciate it.

Thanks in advance,

Larry
Larry Karpman

Larry, I can't help you with the exam on the box as I never saw it until it came from Steve. You might be able to get the box in without taking out the floor boards but it's going to be a lot easier with them out.
LED DOWNEY

Larry --
Those two that showed up near you, you probably should bid on both then take the best one for yourself and put the other one on this BBS.

I've never looked inside mine so I can't help you there. I do think they are lighter than the MG box, all aluminum case.

Goood luck!

Cheers,

Bob
R. K. (Bob) Jeffers

Larry,
It helps a lot to have the floor boards out,, it give you much, much better access to get at all ot the bolts and misc "stuff" that has to be hooked up, rather than having to do some of the work from the inside of the car, then crawl out to do some thing underneath it, then crawl back in to do something from inside etc. It is easiest if the old trannie comes out through the cockpit and the new one goes back in through the cockpit. with the boards out it is sooo much easier.

Worrying about just getting the screws out is a relativly MINOR job compared to the complete installation,, the screws can be just drilled out if necessary. There is one very small cut out that must be made for the speedo drive as it exits the trannie,. but I guess that could be done with a jig saw with the boards in.

From the pictures at http://ctmgclub.homestead.com/files/photoh/photo84.htm
there doesn't seem to be any why to check the gears short of separating the box in half at the flange,, but that would be done by Steve Neal during process of building the kit.. new gears are available.

I'm really pleased with my conversion to the Skyhook Box,, wish I did it sooner!

SPW

Steve Wincze

Thanks Bob and Steve. The second one appears to be spoken for, and they were advertised on this BBS.

The seller came by today with the one I requested and, oops, he forgot the shift lever. He'll be back tomorrow with the lever and a drill to spin up the box.

Steve Neal said to check for the following:

Water damage (How to check?)
Broken Gears (How to check, as you can't open the box easily?)
Shift lever (it's accounted for)
Throwout bearing carrier (It's there)
Clutch Fork (It's there)

Seems to be visually OK, but I've got a call in to Steve Neal to ask some questions about the above issues.

As for the floor boards Steve, thanks for the advice, but I will hope that I have no issues with the old fasteners (somehow I'm sure I will :-)

Cheers

Larry
Larry Karpman

Start spraying them now with PB Blaster !!!!!

SPW
Steve Wincze

I haven't use PB blaster, but I have always had good success with Aero Kroil (except for my TD rear deck screws :-) I'm willing to try anything that "might" work if needed.

Cheers

Larry
Larry Karpman

Larry, short of taking the tranny apart.
I'd check the oil and see what it looks like. This one uses gear oil. If the owner will let you, drain the oil into a clean container. Do it thru a paint strainer if you have some laying around. Your looking for large metalic particles. A little "we bit" is expected but not large quanities. Water damage would manifest it's self in the form of rust or frozen (not likely in your area) breaks in the case. Put the oil back in the tranny and if he plans to spin the main shaft with a drill, make sure he doesn't scobb it up. Have him spin it in all gears including reverse and observe that the rear shaft is spining. I'd put on a pair of gloves and apply some resistence to tail shaft if possible. Listen for any funky noises. Gear shift lever should have a nylon cup on the bottom that sets in a recepticle in the tranny. Make sure he has the purpose made bolt to hold it in place.

Good luck and happy motoring.

LaVerne
LaVerne

Thanks LaVerne, great info!

Cheers

Larry
Larry Karpman

Well, I bought it. Picture below. I'm going to try to crate it this weekend and send off the Steve at Skyhook. Checked it spinning through all gears with some pressure on the tail shaft, and all seems smooth and OK. No funny sounds or vibs, so we'll see...

Thanks to all that offered advice.

Larry

Larry Karpman

Way to go Larry. Buy the rest you looked at and then you can make a killing.

LaVerne
LaVerne

LaVerne: The second one he had is spoken for. Just got back from the Nissan dealer and picked up the 2 nylon bushes for the shift lever bolt. Amazing that they still stock some parts for these :-) Now on to the crate building.

Cheers

Larry
Larry Karpman

LaVerne: I was reading a post of yours from last summer re: the Datsun box conversion and you said, " Everything you will need is included in the kit with the exception of tranny oil and a correction gear box for the speedometer which I just finnally ordered today. Cost $60.00."

I recently had my speedometer recalibrated to 1375 TPM to compensate for the 4.3 rear end. I believe you are running the same. I thought the 210 gearbox was very close to the ratios of the stock TD gearbox. Am I going to need a correction gearbox? if so, why?

Thanks

Larry
Larry Karpman

Yes Larry. I believe you will need the adapter. It has nothing to do with the rear ratio. It's working off the the tranny speedo gear. I have a stock 4.875 TF rear end in mine. It's a PIA to put it in but it will get you accurate readings. I got it from the recomended source from Steve Neal. You won't be able to order it until you get the tranny in and get some mile marker readings.

LaVerne
LED DOWNEY

Now that we are discussing the subject of Datusn gearboxes again, I wonder if it is possible to install a more plentiful 4 speed box into a TD? I already have 4.3s in the rear end so I'm not truly interested in a 5 speed for lower RPMs and higher top speed. A fully synchromesh gearbox really is my goal. Anyone of you regulars know about this possibllity? Where would I check the gear ratios of such a gearbox? Which specific Datsuns wioud be a suitable donor car? Thanks
Jim Merz

Jim: try this site:

http://www.datsuns.com/Tech/datsun_transmissions.htm

Cheers

Larry
Larry Karpman

Thanks Larry. Now I have to figure out how to correlate the info you provided with the Datsun codes such as: FL, FA, FX and FS.
Jim Merz

Jim: All the Datsun 210 5 speeds in the codes you listed are the same. Go here for ratios:

http://www.rivergate5speed.com/competition_use.html

Say, any of you that have crated up a gearbox care to comment on mine and add your input before I close her up and ship? One Item missing from the photo, other than the front side and top, is a 2x2" brace that will sit laterally across the crate on the top of gearbox. The front is secured as shown, and the rear is secured by securing the gearbox to the 2x2s at the bottom of the crate using the gearbox mounting holes. Appreciate any suggestions to help ensure it arrives at Skyhook undamaged.

Picture below.

Cheers

Larry



Larry Karpman

Thanks Larry, keep us posted after you receive the kit and start installing it.
Jim
Jim Merz

Larry, Steve shipped it to me with a bolt locking the tranny into one spot. When y6ou get it back you will remove it and relace it with another bolt in the kit. I'm not sure if you need to send it to him that way. You certainly need to drain all the oil if you haven't done that yet. I'd probably plastic bag it also so that if seeps a little it won't scare those that ship it.

LaVerne
LED DOWNEY

Larry, I would also put a tag on the trans itself with your name and address.
P.W. Lester

Good ideas guys, I'll do it.

Cheers

Larry
Larry Karpman

Larry --- In the photo above there appear to be two wires coming out of the tranny on the left side (in the picture). That is where the speedo cable come out isn't it? What am I seeing?

Cheers,

Bob
R. K. (Bob) Jeffers

Bob, that's for the reversing light I believe.

Cheers

Larry

Larry Karpman

Do any of you that did the Skyhook conversion have the Datsun cluch centering tool? Steve no longer includes it with the kit, but suggests a "universal" tool. Not sure if it wouldn't be better if I had the Datsun tool. I won't have the conversion finished until mid-summer, so there's no hurry.

Thanks in advance

Larry
Larry Karpman

larry,
Yes, the centering tool is handy, but a universal type will work. You just need to get it close. The trannie is light enough so it can be moved around to "force fit" onto the splines. (with he floor boards removed) To say "Force Fit" is a bit strong, but it's the only phrase I can think of right now..
Steve Wincze

Remember that the centering tool does not need splines. Therefore a wooden or plastic tool can be made up that will do the job very nicely. All you need are the dimensions of the input shaft to the tranny. Could be done in a drill press if you don't have a lathe.

Cheers,

Bob
R. K. (Bob) Jeffers

I MADE MINE FROM A BROOMSTICK HANDLE.
SANDY
Sandy Sanders

Larry,

Which pressure plate/clutch do you use with the Datsun? The TD set or a new Datsun set? With the Merkur 5-speed (Moss kit) you use your old (or new) T-series pressure plate/clutch. Moss sells a plastic alignment tool for those (or I can send you mine).

Gene
Gene Gillam

Thanks all. Frankly I don't know what clutch is used in the kit. All I know is that Steve says you get everything you need in the kit (except the alignment tool, and he says to use the Datsun tool or Universal tool). Perhpas those that have done it will chime in as to which clutch, etc. Gene: Thanks for the offer - we'll see.

Cheers

Larry
Larry Karpman

The clutch disc is a Nissan 1987 4WD station wagon, 1.6 liter. If you have an 8" clutch your cover will be 73 and up MGB. If you have a 7 1/4" clutch it will be 67-72 Dodge Cricket. Pilot tool is shown as Champ 159502 . Your welcome to use mine when the time comes providing you get it back to me.

LaVerne
LED DOWNEY

Larry, my Moss conversion came with a new clutch plate but no centering tool. I used a wooden dowel that happened to be the right circumference. Paul.
P.W. Lester

Thanks LaVerne. Might take you up on that offer when the time comes.

Cheers

Larry
Larry Karpman

Why does everyone want to change their TD/TF with extra gears? Sure driving across the open plains can be a bit of a sh*t when at 70 mph it is pulling 5000rpm but then the cars were not designed for that. We cruise across Europe at 60/65 mph in the TF with a standard 4 speed box and a raised rear end.

If the performance of the car is insufficient why not buy a car that does perform? Perhaps a Mustang with a small block V8 or a Chevy with a big block putting out 400 bhp?

All these mods are a bit like shoving a V8 and modifying the suspension in a Model T because it ain't got that top end performance. Then you ain't got a Model T. Or, as I once saw, fitting a Ford 2 litre engine into a Jaguar E Type becausae the 3.8 was a bit too powerful!
Part of the fun of these old cars is that THEY ARE OLD and not just another modern box.

PS Why not fit an automatic transmission to the V8 - a small block will fit into a TD/TF with some body mods.
Bob Marshall

bob... having a bad day?

Re Jags... there were a couple of years production that you had to do something with the engine as it didn't last from the factory!

gblawson (gordon)- TD#27667

The way I look at Bob, I did what the rear end changers did. Just in a different way. I still have the stock 4.875 rear gears. The 5 speed basicaly gives me the lower rear end. My goal wasn't to be able to travel our interstate highway system at 80 mph but was to keep the engine rpm's at a lower level to add some longevity to these long stroking 4 bangers. You can't tell the 5 speed is in there unless you take a peek under the car and unlike the rear gear changers my 4 speed box is still in the shop and when I die if you want to buy the car from wife you are welcome to put it back the way it was. I've got two 100 mile back to back legs of interstate highway west of me with "no service" that aren't that much fun at 75 mph much less 55 mph. By the way, I'm in the middle of adding a blower to the stock XPAG which I'm guessing you also find blasphamous. Just about any direction out of the valley I live in is a climb over more than one 10000 ft mountain pass. I'm thinking it might be nice to go over them at 45 or 50 instead of 25 or 30.

LaVerne
LED DOWNEY

Hi Bob: As you are from bath, perhaps we could meet some day at an auto show and autojumble at Shepton Mallet. One of my favorite activities when I'm over your way and the timimg is right :-)

Basically, I've changed nothing that is not completely reversable. I have the original rear end in a nice crate, and that's where the original gearbox will live too, in case the next owner or myself decide to swap back. No harm done.

Like LaVerne I have reason to want the extra gear available due to the highway system I have to contend with, and the desire to retain some of my hearing during long drives to club activities. I'd like to keep up with the B's, etc. an still be able to hear myself think. I'd like to have a period radio in the car, and actually be able to hear it :-) Also, even if the old gal will hold up fine at 5000 RPM, like LaVerne, I think I'll get more longevity out of her at lower RPMs.

In any case, the first 4 gear ratios of the Datsun box, are just about the same as the TD box. So, unless you take advantage of the 5th gear, the driving experience should be the same. I don't plan on being in 5th gear unless needed. I think of it more like an overdrive.

Cheers

Larry
Larry Karpman

Bob -
To me the gear ratio change is a safety issue. While I do not travel the Interstate highways if they can be avoided, sometimes they must be used. I was once pushed to 75 mph for 14 miles by a truck 10 feet off my rear bumper when I had the standard TD gearing. I had no speed capability left to get away to change lanes. If the engine had blown, my wife and I would not have survived. The ability to travel at sustained high speeds is not an issue to me as I feel that the steering and brakes as well as the wind buffeting limit the sustained speed to 60-65 mph. Changing the axle ratio to the MGA 4.3 or the 5 speed with the 5.1 gives about the same overall ratio. The 5 speed is easier to install and to revert to standard as the effort is about the same as changing the clutch. While I do not have the mountains LaVerne is facing, 4th gear with the 5.1 gearing is still useful here in the Eastern US. I agree with his comment on the longevity of the engine. They are expensive to fix.

Jan
Janson Hurd

I am on the trail of a suitable gearbox for my TD but the people I am in contact with want to know the model and year of the potential Datsun donor cars. They don't seem to readily recognize the simple two letter designation I am familiar with. Am I the only one out if left field?
Jim Merz

Jim:

'79-'82 Datsun 210 (not B210) prefix FL, FA, FS, or FX

Cheers

Larry
Larry Karpman

I believe that the FL, FA, FS, or FX was cast into the bell housing on the top. And gets machined off when the bellhousing is adapted to the XPAG/XPEG.

Cheers,

Bob
R. K. (Bob) Jeffers

Larry Karpman, please contact me via email at your earliest convenience.
Thanks
Jim Merz

Just got word that my friend Gil Langswager #902 has his Skyhook conversion in and driving. Found that he had a different shift pattern than I did. Mine is the same as the original MG with the 5th gear above reverse. His is like an old floor shift with reverse where 1st in the MG box is. Fifth is then under fourth. That must be what those different 'F' numbers are telling us.

Just thought you guys might like to know this bit of arcane trivia.
Cheers,

Bob
R. K. (Bob) Jeffers

LED Downey, do you have any photos of your car during/after the installation of your 5 speed gearbox? I just am wondering how the gearbox cover and driveshaft tunnel look next to the seats. Any camera shots would be greatly appreciated.
You could send them via email if you wish. Thanks.
Jim Merz

Not sure if I've got what your looking for Jim.

LED DOWNEY

and

LED DOWNEY

I don't think I have any of the cover without the carpet over it.

LED DOWNEY

Thanks for the photos Lavern. They answer some of my questions but I was wondering what it looks like before the caprets are installed with the gearbox cover and driveshaft tunnel installed. Was there much woodcutting of the floorboards? I just finished making new ones! :0(
Anyone else have photos of their 5 speed? All are appreciated.
Jim Merz

I believe I had to do some very minor surgery on the passenger (LHD) front inside edge. But not very much.

LaVerne
LED DOWNEY

It's a very small cut on the passenger side floor board ti fit the spoed drive... VERY SMALL!!!

SPW
Steve Wincze

Thanks LaVerne and Steve.
Jim Merz

I finally realized that I made a terrific goof!!!! It appears that the Datsun gearbox is not adaptable to my RHD TD. Crapolla!
Jim Merz

Whats in the way or different?
gblawson (gordon)- TD#27667

Gordon, there is no provision to mount the throwout bearing lever on the right side. The gearbox has a hydraulic actuator on the left side only. I guess for RHD models, Datusn just added a longer hydraulic hose. I have to check the possiblilities of a modification to make it fit a RHD.
Jim Merz

Jim,
Think about working something out using a cable. I would think that one could be mounted to the rear of the fork and to the front of the peddle box.
David Werblow

For those of you looking for a Datsun 210 gearbox, here's another on eBay. That's about 8 in a month or so.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ih=019&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWA%3AIT&viewitem=&item=290231360696&rd=1

Cheers

Larry
L Karpman

Jim,,,
A "hydraulic actuator" for the clutch ?????????? Are you sure that you have the correct trannie????? Mine is mechanical,,,

SPW
Steve Wincze

I've not seen the tranny before the Skyhook modifications, but I suspect that the mechanical fork is part of the conversion process. I would think that a resourceful (ie Rube Goldberg) person could come up with a method, most likely hydraulic, to operate the clutch. It would involve a clutch cylinder off the pedal assembly and a slave at the tranny. The mechanical linkage running up and back is marginal at best and adding any more from the opposite side would most likely make matters worse. Just my thoughts.

LaVerne
LaVerne

Yes Steve, apparently all the Datsun 5 speed gearboxes were hydraulically acuated according to my service manual. I think Skyhook converts them to a mechanical actuation. I have no interest in trying to convert my TD to any kind of hydraulic actuation. Too complicated and is probably not easy to reinstall an original gearbox if that should be desired at some future time.
Jim Merz

Thanks for the clarification Jim !
Steve Wincze

Reactivating. This was probably the most comprehensive of the archives on the topic. Bud
Bud Krueger

Jim,
---------
Quote"
I finally realized that I made a terrific goof!!!! It appears that the Datsun gearbox is not adaptable to my RHD TD. Crapolla! "
--------

I have a RHD TD and have fitted a Sky Hook Tranny with no problem.

I did remove the floor boards first.

There possibly is a little bit of machining on the block that you "Might have to do" Which is explained clearly in the instructions -
Template #1 attached.

My block was OK but I took a file and gave it a stroke or two just to make sure.

The Datsun Tranny I have has a blanking plate on the left hand side - so I believe you can tell Neil which side you drive and he will supply the correct clutch set up.

This was a few years ago now and the instructions may have changed - but this is what I was sent.

All the bit required were in the kit.

Works great.

Only bitch I have [if you can call it that] is changing the gearbox Oil :)

The fill plug is on the side of the box and you can get to it form underneath to fill with a squeeze bottle and a short hose - Or take out the floor board on the passengers side. When the level gets to the hole - your full. There is no dip stick.


Rod






R D Jones

From the pix posted by LaVerne, it appears that the Skyhook bellhousing is not a specially-cast one, as I had believed, but rather the Datsun one, with the engine interface replaced with a new adapter welded in place to match the XPAG bolt holes.

Is this a correct assumption?

Gord Clark
Rockburn, Qué.
Gordon A Clark

Gord,
You are correct,,,, I have a comparison picture of the orig, and the Skyhook at home,,
STEVE WINCZE

As a clarification and follow-up to my postings of some years ago, I have been running a Datsun gearbox in my RHD TD and would never look back. Skyhook makes the modified welded bellhousing to fit an XPAG engine with no problems whatsoever. I will post two pictures for those interested.
The first one is a side by side comparison of the original gearbox next to the Datsun before I sent it to Skyhook.
The second picture will show the completed installation.

Jim Merz

Here is the finished installation. The biggest difference I have found between the two gearboxes other than the obvious advantages of a fully synchronized set of five forward gears is the throw distance of the lever. The Datsun selector travels farther back and forth from first gear to second for example. It's a bit more than the TD box. Once you get used to it, not a problem.

Jim Merz

This is the Datsun gearbox before shipping it to Steve at Skyhook.

Jim Merz

This thread was discussed between 24/04/2008 and 22/07/2013

MG TD TF 1500 index

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