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Triumph TR3 - Removing the Gearbox

Greetings all,

So...I was driving back to Indiana from Virginia this past weekend after touching base at VTR and seeing my family. At a gas station four hours from home, my starter went dysfunctional and made a hell of a racket. I managed to roll-start the car down an incline (in reverse) and make the rest of the trip home nonstop, albeit with a bit of noise from the starter.

An inspection has revealed that the end nut unscrewed from my starter shaft, releasing the nut and the large spring into the clutch housing. It's not clear if there was a cotter pin on the end of the starter shaft, but there will be the next time. I now have two quarter-sized holes broken through the top end of the bell housing, the result of fast-moving debris. Those should be tolerable, but I've yet to inspect the inside of the housing.

It's time to remove the tranny to clean out the damage. It will also give me a chance to better install the new rear oil seal on the end of the engine block.


1. Is it necessary or advantageous to completely remove the drive shaft before pulling the gearbox?

2. How many Hoosiers does it take to safely pull the gearbox?

3. Is there an elegant way to install my new (original type) rear oil seal such that it provides the proper clearance around the end of the crank?

4. How far back will the gearbox have to be withdrawn before the input shaft is free of the engine?

5. Any recommended inspections or maintenance to be done "while I'm in there"? Clutch stuff?

Many thanks, all.

Bill Stagg
1960 TR3A
Bill Stagg

Bill, OUCH! Hopefully Don Elliot will jump on this one. I see he just pulled his tranny last week. Not a really hard job. You might have more trouble removing the trans. cover than the tranny itself. 1 You can unbotl the driveshaft at the ouput shaft and it should slide back towards the dif.(might have to loosen compression collar on driveshaft) 2. Eight but at least 6 will be drinking BEER. And if BUBBA lives next door, stand back and hold his coat.# the oil seal might be a problem. You will of course have to remove the clutch and flyweel and I don't think there is room to remove the seal bolts as they hit on the flyweel flange on the crank. Somebody help me on this one guys! I don't think you can remove the seal without dropping the crank. Hopefully I'm wrong. 4. Not far. You have to clear the clutch so about 4?? inches.5. You are going to pull your clutch so check all and replace the throwout bearing. Also check the pilot bearing in the end of the crank and clutch shaft bushings. (mine are real bad, forgot to check them when my tranny was out.) Good Luck! Brian
B. Towne

Hi Bill - 1. After you remove the floor pans, carpets etc, plus the tunnel, remove the 4 nyloc nuts on the 4 bolts at the rear flange of the gearbox. Slide the driveshaft back about 1 to 2" on its splines. Cock the front flange a bit to extract the bolts if you want to.

2. Put a wood block on your rolling jack and lift the rear end of the engine with the block on the sump - about an inch. This will let you remove the rear tranny mount. After you have all the bell-housing bolts out, the half-moon cover and clutch slave cylinder off (from below), let the slave cyl. hang on its hose. With the help of a (strong) Hoosier standing with one foot on each side of the rear of the gearbox and lifting on it, and you under, slide it all back about an inch till it comes out the pilot and the clutch splines. Then rotate it all downwards so the the clutch actuation arm moves from 9 AM to 6 AM. Then slide it back more and lift at the rar and you push up till it is cocked with the rear end under the steereing wheel. I like this side because it really has more space than the hand-brake side. Jimmy it around, up and out.

3. ?

4. About an inch or a bit more.
5. Bushes for the cross-shaft, the cross shaft itself, the tapered bolt (wired) and put in another bolt with a nyloc nut as a backup. New clutch lining, pressure plate and throw out beating.

Read the manuals and refer to the Buckeye Triumphs Tech Topics on this. Check the archives - from TR2 to TR6 are all the same.

Don Elliott.
Don Elliott

Bill - Don't bump, roll or push start your TR in reverse. I did it once and I suspect that's what caused the spacer ring to break a second time. Read the thread carefully below. 2 or 3 below.

Don Elliott

Bill-If you are going to replace the rear oil seal the block will have to be supported by something-block of wood between the engine& bat. box, hoist, or whatever under the engine. There is a mandrel mentioned in the factory manual and available from Moss to center the oil seal. A friend with a lathe can easily make one. I don't know if it is necessary, the seal will probably leak anyway. An alignment tool will be necessary to center the clutch disc on reassembly. The transmission is pretty light especially if you don't have OD. Some people cut a piece of plywood to fit the passenger floor area to protect it. Refitting the trans. can be challenging the first time. A couple of headless bolts fitted in the top of the block can be used as line up pins to help in alignment. Also, keep an eye on the gap between the eng. and trans as you try to slide the trans forward, the gap should be equal on all sides. It maybe necessary to put the trans. in gear and rotate the flange to help the input shaft slide into the clutch disc. The trans. mount is also a good candidate for replacement as exposure to oil and heat usually turns them to jello. And as long as the sump is off-new bearings and thrust washers? Maybe front&rear trans seals? The possibilities are endless once the moneypit has been uncovered.
BTP Price


The gearbox is out, clutch has been removed and all is well. Thanks so much for all the pointers.

At is happens, I have a TR4 tranny in the car. Given that there are no grease fittings on the ends of the clutch fork cross shaft, what type of grease is recommended to put on the shaft ends, throw out bearing and fork? I've seen the instructions for tapping grease fittings into the cross shaft, but I think I'll pass on that for now.

Tomorrow I'll get into what's left of the starter. But that's another thread...

Thanks, all!

Bill Stagg

Maybe the P.O. didn't have the grease fittings so maybe he left them off. Check the exploded views in the parts catalogs and with suppliers if the cross shaft comes with grease fittings. I think they should. Why would S-T change this ? Look carefully at both ends of it. If you see threads, put in fittings and use the same grease you use for the front steering points. If you have wear on the shaft, change the bushes and the cross shaft. One bush has an elongated slot and the one on the LHS is not the same as the one on the RHS. Press them in from the inside. Some report it is easier. I just broke one of the slotted ones pressing it in from ther outside with a socket and hammer. Lucky we had another new spare one handy.

Don Elliott


As it happens, the gearbox I have does not have access to the bush/cross shaft on the right (passenger) side, and there are no drillings in the ends of the cross shaft. I note from the Buckeye site the instructions for drilling grease fittings into the cross shaft ends, but I would also have to drill an opening into the bell housing on the right side as it is currently sealed off.

Is the same grease appropriate for the throw out bearing surfaces (inner and outer)? It would seem that, with this gearbox, there is no other way to grease the throw out bearing, fork and cross shaft than to pull the transmission.

Thanks for all your help,

Bill Stagg

Check that the 2 ears or pins at the upper ends of each finger of the forks are round. They usually wear flat where they rub on the throw out bearing inner piece. If you haven't spare pins, rotate them so that the flat is out the way and the round area is where you need it.

A light smear of grease is all you need in this area. The new throw out bearing should be sealed with grease inside it.

I don't know all that much about TR4 gearboxes. Except that 1st gear is also a syncronised gear.

Ask on the TR4 site about the greasing for the cross shaft etc.

Don Elliott

I'm about to reinstall the gearbox on the TR3A. Should grease be applied to the splines of the gearbox input shaft before mating it to the engine through the clutch housing? Or is this best left clean and dry?

Can't wait to see if the rebuilt starter will do its thing.


Bill Stagg
1960 TR3A
Bill Stagg

I was told to use white grease on the splines.

Bill - When I did my starter last week I conected it on the bench to my spare battery with jumper cables to see it rotate. I saw that the starter pinion on the end did what it was supposed to do. I have the old "bullet nose" starter and mine is supposed to spin as it turns, the pinion was supposed to spin out and after I did-connected one of the jumper wires, my pinion was supposed to retract without any delay or friction.

It did all that just fine.

When you are re-installing the starter after the bell housing for the gearbox is bolted back into place and before you close up the floor tunnel over the gearbox, install the bolts for the starter from the inside. That is, push them forward with the heads of the bolts facing rearward under the glove box. Then with a short socket on a long extension and the help of Mary-Beth holding the socket and extension on the bolt heads, you put the starter into position and put on one of the nuts. Then do the other one. Louise helped me do mine this way. For doing this, you may lose a quarter of one point at TRA because the bolts should be in the other way, but if you ever have to pull your starter again, it'll be a million times easier with the bolts the way I suggested above.

To get my starter out, then back in, I had to remove carb #2 and it's linkages. At this point, test your starter in placehe car. Put in your seat pan and bolt ot with 2 bolts to the holes in the floor for the sliding tracks to hold it from moving. Then the seat cushion.

Take the car our for a test drive with no tunnel. careful you don't get "caught" by the rotation drive shaft flange. And if you are satisfied with it all, then you remove that seat pan and re-install the tunnel and all the interior.

Don Elliott


Thanks for all your guidance on this. As it happens, I replaced the gearbox without difficulty (ok, it was a little recalcitrant at first). I added the extra bolt through the clutch release fork on the cross-shaft. That should hold things for a bit.

I didn't have a proper clutch alignment tool, but I did have a drill bit that was the perfect diameter to enter the bellhousing hole. I then drilled a hole for it down the center of a 2-inch section of old wooden broom handle. I wrapped the broomhandle with masking tape until it equaled the outside diameter of the gearbox input shaft. This rig held the clutch friction plate in position perfectly for me to bolt up the clutch housing. Very slick and cost effective.

My starter is another issue. I'll post that on a new thread.

Again, thanks for the help, Don. Hope you're getting good weather up there!


Bill Stagg

This thread was discussed between 22/07/2004 and 31/07/2004

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