Hi guys - its been a while since I posted an update on this saga/debacle, and some of you were kind enough to ask how the oil leak situation was at Chatsworth, so here's where we are...
...But first, a bit of history. My donor car was a S2 1978 Alfasud 1.5 Ti. When I finally got the engine running it overheated and cracked the block (stuck thermostat). So the engine was replaced with a service replacement (i.e. zero mileage) 1982 1.5 Ti, which is still in the car.
The driver's side gearbox halfshaft oil seal leaked from the word go, so after 10k miles I took out the 1978 Ti gearbox and gave it to Alex Jupe to rebuild for me. Alex noted that the driver's side halfshaft bearing carrier flange was broken and bought a replacement from Justsuds. Then he tried to remove the speedo drive gear from the driver's side gearbox housing.
Oh dear - the drive gear was rusted in solid and would not come out. The drive gear locks the driver's side halfshaft carrier in place and you can't dismantle the diff without removing it. After attempting to drill out the drive gear, the whole gearbox had to be scrapped
So - off to Justsuds again, who had a 1982 Alfasud Gold Cloverleaf gearbox. This was purchased and duly delivered to Alex who rebuilt it for me. When I took delivery of the refurbished gearbox Alex gave me all of the parts recovered from my old gearbox, plus the drivers halfshaft bearing carrier.
The replacement gearbox started leaking oil almost straight away, from the drivers side
So, about a month ago I looked out the spare halfshaft carrier and commenced the stripdown of the gearbox in situ.
This was going to be complicated by several factors, the most significant being that I did not design the Nova chassis to allow for removal or replacement of these parts with the gearbox in place. So I began the strip-down not knowing whether I would have to give up partway through...
So. First to come off was the suspension upright.
Yeugh! Look at all that oil. Its coming from the knackered grease seals which don't seal too good. This may explain why the wheel bearings have become so noisy after only 3 years of use
They're Noble Motorsport cast alloy uprights, with universal fittings for outboard brakes (that's what the undrilled "ears" are for), with Alfasud front wheel bearings pressed in. Now I am going to have to get another pair of wheel bearings
OK. Moving on...
With the driveshaft removed, I could get to the brake disc. I have to loosen the offside caliper mounting nuts to get enough clearance for the disc. One clear of the chassis I could appreciate just how yucky it was - the congealed mess on the disc face is a combination of brake dust and geabox oil...
Also visible are the two offside brake pads, the retaining clip and the speedo drive gear, which I managed to tap out of the housing (phew!).
And here is the halfshaft bearing carrier, together with its outer bearing, oil seal and differential inner bearing race. I carefully released the old housing from the gearbox and withdrew it straight out as far as it would go before tilting it slightly to clear the chassis upright - and it was out!
I checked over the old bearing carrier and there was some play in the outer halfshaft bearing, which may have been responsible for the leak. There was no way of testing the replacement carrier so I just installed it, after taking advice on the mis-matching of differential bearings. I made sure the spacer shims were installed correctly, torqued the mounting bolts and tapped in the speedo drive gear back into the housing. It has an adapter for the electronic speedo drive I am using. Cleaned the brake disc, slid it into place and re-torqued the caliper nuts. refit the brake pads, locate the disc bolts and re-torque. Refit the halfshaft, threadlock and torque the 6 Allen screws. Refit the upright and re-torque the suspension bolts.
I degreased the whole gearbox, halfshafts and brake discs before going out for a test run. Success... kinda. After the car has stood for a while a drip of oil works its way down the halfshaft flange. Most of it ends up on the garage floor, but if I don't clean it up, it migrates onto the brake disc... Its a lot better than it was, but it still isn't right
The gearbox is still too far down at the front, so I have to overfill it to ensure the gears at the back of the casing get enough splash lubrication. This in turn means the differential is centrifuging too much oil, and the oil level is at or above the level of the halfshaft seals, which are probably not designed to work submerged in oil.
On top of all that, it has come to light that although I get slightly
better acceleration in 1st, 2nd and 3rd gear, the Gold Cloverleaf box gives me higher gearing in 4th and 5th than I had with the old gearbox, in spite of the replacement final drive being 4.11:1. So I will be hunting around for a suitable replacement to get rebuilt (probably by BLS) with a better set of ratios.
Now you're all up to date.