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Next step in the journey is the gearbox. Pulling the gearbox out took a lot longer than I anticipated. I reckon about a full eight hours. Nothing was particularly complicated, but it was still a pig of a job. Removing the seat base on a crusty old vehicle is time consuming and frustrating.
First, I removed the floors and transmission tunnel. Even though most of the fixings were in poor order, this was fairly straight forward, as at least you can get to both sides of most fixings.
Second, remove the seat base. This just sucks. There are probably about thirty small bolts and all of them are a pain in the arse to get undone. About half a dozen rely on caged nuts, none of which hold in place on a vehicle this old. Apart from the fact that you can’t get a spanner onto the nut side because there's a piece of mangled sheet metal cage around it, you can’t really get to any of them anyway without contorting your fingers. In the end I ground the heads off about three with an angle grinder, which is difficult, given that the bolt heads are hard steel in difficult to access corners, and the panels all around are soft aluminium. At best every fixing requires access to both sides, and in most cases the fixings can only be turned slightly before shifting the spanner.
Once the seat base nightmare is over, everything is straight forward. There was no way I could get the little pivot pin in the handbrake mechanism undone (as per the manual), so I just unbolted the whole lot from the chassis rail which was fine.
The exhaust is in the way on my vehicle, but I left in in place. I also didn’t unbolt the hand break lever from the chassis. I managed to pull the gearbox out between the two, but it was a bit of a struggle. Definitely remove the hand break lever (not sure why I didn’t), but there is no need to remove the exhaust.
If you have access to a lifting leveller, I recommend it, especially if you’re doing this alone and trying to get the box out around the exhaust pipe.