I decided to over haul the main gear stick assembly as selecting gear was becoming a little vague. Particularly from neutral into first, first into second, and finally third back into second. I removed the floor and transmission covers for access and looked at where the end of the gear stick engaged with the selector rods. It was apparent that the stick was having trouble keeping in line with the selectors when shifting from gear to gear although when correctly aligned gear selection was positive.
To remove the assembly it’s just a matter of removing 4 bolts (two big and two small) and then taking it to the work bench. Turn the assembly upside down and remove the main bracket before releasing the circlip which retains a big spring inside. (Cover with a rag to prevent it from flying out.) Remove the spring, two end washers and undo the small grub screw in the side of the housing to release the main gear stick and ‘O’ ring. I chose to replace the complete gear stick , spring, housing, rubber ‘O’ ring and grub screw. The two end washers weren’t available so I cleaned them up and re-used them. Upon inspection it was clear that there was quite a bit of wear in both the large socket and housing and also at the end of the stick where the ‘O’ ring sits. Examination of the old grease showed that it was full of grit and dirt which obviously contributed to the wear on the components
Comparison of new and old gear levers
I laid out everything I required on the bench and set about building up the assembly. First I thoroughly greased the housing with Lithium grease and smeared the main ball as well. I fitted the two together and screwed the grub screw in so that it located into the groove on the side of the ball. Next I located the dished washer
into the bottom of the housing (against the ball) and placed the main spring into position on top of it. Put the flat washer on the end of the spring before sitting the circlip on top of that. Now carefully compress the spring inside the housing and release the circlip so that it engages into a groove a small way down the housing wall. I used a rag to partially cover the circlip whilst doing this in case it decided to let rip and make a bid for freedom. Once located pack the housing with fresh grease.
Bolt the housing back onto the bracket and remove the grub screw before applying some Loctite thread locker to it. Replace it but be careful not to over tighten it thus jamming the gear lever. Refit the assembly back onto the gear box and check you can engage all gears. My own gears were a lot more precise with less slop on the lever as a whole. Seeing as the housing and ball are exposed to the elements including dirt/mud etc, it would make sense to remove the housing, clean out it out and replace the
old contaminated grease with fresh stuff at least once a year. In addition to this if you find that engaging reverse is either to easy or very tight you can adjust the tension of the ‘reverse gate’ to suit whilst the floor and transmission cover are out of the way. Personally I prefer the reverse gate engagement to be a bit stiff, this helps to locate the position of the 1st and 2nd gear gate by acting as a stop without accidentally engaging reverse.
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