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Re: MGB Transmission buying questions.

Subject: Re: MGB Transmission buying questions.
From: (Will Zehring)
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 1996 08:10:24 -0500
Jeremy asks some tranny questions.  My experience is with the early boxes, 
but what the heck... I'll offer my free opinions...

>all I need is the new transmission, the overdrive unit,
>and a new driveshaft. Right? (And of course, the wiring and switch)

That sounds correct to me--except that there is also a vacuum switch gizmo 
that links into the manifold so that the OD only kicks in at proper RPM.  
This is true in the early cars at least, and the switch is worth its weight 
in platinum.  Later cars may be different; you should hope so.

>       How do I tell if a transmission is any good, if it's detached from
>the car?  

It is possible to remove inspection pannels from the tranny housing and get 
a good peek inside.  This will permit you to get a good visual inspection of 
the synchros, gears and shafts---but not a complete one.  There are a few 
gear surfaces that simply aren't visible from the inspection openings.  
Also, you will be unable to tell the condition of needle bearings.  The only 
way to be sure is to do a complete tear down.  OTOH, an experienced gearbox 
inspector can give you a sense of the general condition of the box and the 
likelyhood of lurking problems.  A box that looks basically clean and proper 
probably isn't hiding much.  

The OD unit itself has a reputation for indestructability.  Most problems 
are with the electrics.

>       When people sell overdrive transmissions, do they usually sell the
>overdrive unit along with it, or am I likely to have to find one of those
>seperately?  What about the driveshaft?

The OD will come with the box.  The driveshaft will not.

>       What's a reasonable price to pay for an o/d trans?  There's one
>listed in the current MGB Driver newsletter for $450...  Also, how much can
>I expect to get if I sell my non-overdrive unit, which was in good enough
>shape to get the car home last summer, but is definately needing rebuild.

I can't offer advice on prices of later OD boxes.  If it were an early OD 
box and it was in "ready to use" condition, I would say $450 was a good 
deal--a very good deal.  I suspect the later boxes are cheeper (sic) as they 
are more plentiful.  Regarding your 4-speed: if it needs a rebuild now then 
it isn't worth very much at all.  Gear boxes are an odd market item IMHO.  
Assembled they can be very cheep (most boxes have some age in them and could 
use some attention).  OTOH, if you find that one of the parts (made of 
unobtanium) is in good condition you might be able to sell it for 3 times 
what the intact box could be sold for--to some unfortunate fellow in the 
middle of a rebuild.  As the current phrase goes: "been there, done that, 
got the t-shirt."  Sort of a pearl in the oyster (or is it clam?) logic.  In 
the final analysis, treat the OD box as a luxury item; it costs way more 
than it should but it makes driving the B even nicer (and what is that worth?).

End of philosophy lesson.

God, I love these cars.

Will "god, he loves these cars" Zehring

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