Saturday, 7 November 2015

Maestro Gearbox Change: It's a 3+E again!

Making a right mess in the shed. For unknown reasons someone had fitted a normal 4 speed gearbox to our Maestro LE. When new the car was fitted with the notorious 3+E box, so there was no question that  the old 3+E should go back into the car! 
This is the original gearbox that a previous owner had removed when the engine was changed after frost damage. Good thing he kept the gearbox safe.

Removing the gearbox was fairly straight forward and turned out to be a one man job. I was suprised to find so many different bolt sizes used. Maybe that's what happens if a manufacturer decides to use a Volkswagen gearbox in a British car. 
Comparing these two boxes confirmed the fact that they were dimensionally the same and that the gear ratios were different, so I could go ahead and fit the correct gearbox.
Lifting the gearbox in place proved more difficult than removing, but with the use of an engine hoist it was fairly easy to manoeuvre the gearbox in position. Then after performing the tedious task of refitting al the nuts and bolts the engine bay looked as if nothing had changed. Slightly cleaner perhaps.

Of course I couldn't wait to test drive and see how the new gear ratio's might change the character of the car. First impressions are that it is a great improvement at motorway speeds and that at lower speeds the new ratios take some getting used to. Only first gear is unchanged and you can use third much as you would previously top gear. It's much like an old three speed with an overdrive added, so top gear however should only be used a motorway speeds to prevent labouring the engine, but at those speeds this is a big improvement over that noisy old box!