TRANSIT FWD GEARBOXES
One of the most common failures with this type transmission is a “Selector Head” failure. This manifests itself in a couple of ways either by restricting access to gears (difficult to engage/not moving across the neutral gate) or not selecting any gears and feeling really loose like stirring a bowl of soup.
The first of these two faults is the easier to fix and involves removing the selector head in-situ in order to replace the bearings and selector shaft. This repair can be completed in approximately two hours at a cost of £165.00 plus vat.
The second fault can be more of a problem, and it is a problem that can be compounded by a lack of understanding. In order to minimise the expense related to this fault it is important to understand what has gone wrong and the implications for moving the vehicle.
Half way along the selector shaft is a 10mm bolt; this bolt has a tendency to either work itself loose or to snap off at the head. Either way the symptoms are the same; a floppy gear lever that either won’t select anything or is stuck in one gear. The most important thing to do if this happens on your vehicle is to STOP DRIVING IMMEDIATELY!
What happens is either the head of the bolt or the complete bolt will fall into the gearbox, it will lodge itself under the differential. Unfortunately the bolt cannot be retrieved from the top of the gearbox once the selector head is removed and is also too large to fit through the drain plug. The only way to remove the bolt is to first remove the gearbox from the vehicle and then split the gearbox open. Obviously this greatly adds to the labour on the repair, costing £365.00 plus vat including the reconditioned selector head.
If the vehicle is driven (if you have one gear selected) or towed, then the bolt can be caught up by the differential and punched through the gearbox casing, causing the gearbox to lose all its oil and this brings the possibility of the gearbox overheating and the gear train “burning out”. In the worst instances this would require a reconditioned gearbox to be fitted at cost of £925.00 plus vat.
So as you can see what is on the face of it a small fault with the selector head can become a major failure of the transmission.
We are in the process of replacing a transit gearbox in our workshops with exactly this fault, but what makes this one worse is that it has recently had the selector head replaced by another garage, who on seeing that the bolt had snapped and therefore must still be in the gearbox, neglected to advise the customer to have it removed. The customer not being aware of the debris still in his gearbox went about his business. Several miles later and now with a hole in the gearbox, no oil and a lot of noise, the customer rings us. The customer is obviously angry with the garage that undertook the repair, but decided against allowing them to do any further work on his vehicle.
The annoying thing here is that the major failure was avoidable, whether the repairing garage new of the potential damage or not I couldn’t say, but it seems unlikely that they didn’t know that the bolt was still in the gearbox. Once again we see an example of poor practice or a lack of knowledge or understanding that has cost a customer much more than it should have, not to mention the lost time and expense to his business with his van off the road.
Hoping none of you reading this will be caught out in the future.