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I'm at a brick wall on my poor '83 Spider. The tranny went out over a year ago. I have little time to work on it, over that time I've intermittently tinkered with it, started it occasionally, until I got it pulled apart to the point where I can't run it anymore. I have the tranny *almost* ready to come out (pulled the intake plenum and some other stuff to access some of the tranny bolts and allow the engine room to tilt back, removed exhaust, disconnected drive shaft, etc), but I CANNOT get to the one or two stubborn bolts at the top of the tranny for anything! I have the car on ramps (all 4 wheels, in fact).

I *think* the tranny is hitting the steering tie rod. I've removed both nuts from the tie rod and beat the living daylights out of the thing, but it does not budge. I'm hoping that if I do manage to get it off, I'll be able to pull the tranny/engine assembly down enough to get to the last one or two bolts. I can even put my fingers on one bolt, but there's no way I could get any sort of wrench up in there.

Is there any possibility that removing the black metal "cup"-like object around the stick shifter hole would allow me the access to get to the bolts through the shifter hole? I've done a ton of googling, and researching here, and no one has mentioned that method, which leads me to believe it's a no-go.

I've done a ton of other work on this car, but nothing has stumped me like this. Pleeeeaaaaaase help....I really miss my Alfa. :'(

Matt
 

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I have always removed the engine & transmission as a unit, so I can't tell you:

1) how to access those block-bellhousing bolts with the engine installed
2) if the bellhousing interferes with the tie rod as you try to drop the tailshaft

but:

If the bellhousing IS interfering with the tie rod, you can lower the rod by unbolting the steering idler - the thing inside the RH wheelwell, attached with three large nuts & bolts.

When you say "..the one or two stubborn bolts at the top of the tranny.." do you mean at the top of the transmission, or at the top of the bellhousing? I assume the latter. Are you sure they can't be accessed by jacking the rear of the trans UP , and attacking the bolts from the engine bay, rather than from underneath?

If you have mangled the threads on your tie rod ends by beating the living daylights out of them, you are going to have to replace them, since the nuts probably won't go back on. As you have learned, hammering usually doesn't break the them loose. You need a tool that applies an even force. A popular tool looks like:

 

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There are a couple of hammer techniques that I have seen work to remove a ball joint.
A well known Belgian loosenes the nut and then drops a front torsion bar from a GTV6 from the top side and rests the end on the ball joint nut. One big blow from a BFH and it poped loose.
My way is to loosen the nut and place a very big hammer against one side of the arm and then strike the other side of the arm with an equally large hammer. This seems to break the joint loose without actually hitting the ball joint.
 

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If the trans is being dropped on its own, there's no need at all to remove the steering centerlink.
You do need to get the metal tower off the trans tunnel though, otherwise the shifter stub (you did remove the shift lever didn't you?) and shift tower protrusion is going to fight you all day long for lack of that little bit more room to move. To get at the metal cover, the center console has to come out.

As Jay said: the top two bellhousing to block fixtures are gotten at with the engine in its normal position from the top side.

Don't forget to unhook the speedo drive and reverse light wires or you'll end up hating life when the thing finally does drop.
 

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Matt,

I'm one of the people that always split the engine & transmission for removal. I don't know if there is really a "best" way, but my method has been satisfactory for me as I worked alone for many years.

To access the top bell housing bolts, place a block of wood under the front of the oil pan, and use a hydraulic jack to tilt the engine backwards until the back of the cam cover contacts the vacuum hose running along the firewall. This allows the transmission to be slid back for removal while clearing the tunnel. A 13mm socket and long extensions should reach those pesky nuts along the top of the bell housing, but you will need to wrestle a wrench into position on the driver's side of the engine to keep that nut/bolt under the exhaust manifold from spinning as you loosen. You will also need to remove the starter (which has a brace to the engine mount if you have a SPICA car).

I never remove the transmission tunnel cover. If you remove the console and rubber bellows (slide off of the shift rod after removing the knob), reach down into the opening with two 11mm wrenches to remove the shift lever bolt. You need to do this before tilting the engine.

I split the driveshaft at the front U-joint, and leave the rear transmission mount in place. This makes everything pretty heavy, but a cheap transmission jack ($75.00 from Harbor freight) makes it easy to manage.

Once you get everything loose and begin sliding the tranny backwards, be sure to support the weight of the transmission and don't let it hang on the pilot shaft still sticking in the end of the crankshaft.

There are other small details: remove the ground strap, remove the speedometer cable, etc. PM me if you need to discuss further.

If the trans is being dropped on its own, there's no need at all to remove the steering centerlink.
You do need to get the metal tower off the trans tunnel though, otherwise the shifter stub (you did remove the shift lever didn't you?) and shift tower protrusion is going to fight you all day long for lack of that little bit more room to move. To get at the metal cover, the center console has to come out.

As Jay said: the top two bellhousing to block fixtures are gotten at with the engine in its normal position from the top side.

Don't forget to unhook the speedo drive and reverse light wires or you'll end up hating life when the thing finally does drop.
 

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Tools for the job

Hi
Flex head 13mm socket and long extensions also help get at those bolts from below. I'm guessing that you've already removed the starter bolts.
KG
 

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Here is a page from the Alfa Gear box manual .
Sounds like you have done most of the steps already .
I would drain the oil from the box before removal . The last time I pulled the gear box I ended up dumping most of the oil on shop coat .
A lot of washing and it still smells a bit . Good thing is the wife knows what I have been up to . "You smell like car " "Yes dear" .

By the way when you think it will never come out :mad: it will .


Top-6.jpg
 

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If you have mangled the threads on your tie rod ends by beating the living daylights out of them, you are going to have to replace them, since the nuts probably won't go back on. As you have learned, hammering usually doesn't break the them loose. You need a tool that applies an even force. A popular tool looks like:

Yes you need a spreading force but you also need to hit with a hammer on the right place, and that is not the tie rod but what it bolts to. This shock breaks the taper and is very easy to do once you know how.

I've always broken tie rod ends away from the/its taper by using a long screw driver to lever a separating force and then belt with a heavy hammer on the steering arm where the taper is (inside). One hit usually does the trick. I leave the nut on but very loose for 2 reasons, so the parts dont fly apart and damage themselves, and to protect the tie rod end threads if I miss with the hammer.

Oh and good luck Matt with your gearbox :).
Pete
 

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Matt has the right idea. The Engine/trans has to be rocked both forward and rearward to access the bolts.

If the motor mounts need changing, do it now before you pull the trans. While there out you'll have better range of movement. Just make sure everything is supported on two jacks. After you get the trans back in you can finish installing the motor mounts and then reinstall the intake manifold.
 

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I pulled the transmission in my '80 last night. It took about three hours, much of which was figuring out how to get at things. I could easily cut that time in half now that I have done it once. After much struggling and contorting, I found it very easy to get the top bolts out of the bell housing once I went through the hole for the shifter. To do it, I pulled the black housing off of the transmission tunnel and used used extensions to get a socket on the bolts. The transmission had to be dropped until the oil pan was resting on the cross member and I also removed the fan shroud mounts so that the fan did not break. Having another person to help would be nice, but I did it myself. I have a feeling that getting it back in myself will be another matter altogether...

Good luck!
 

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It's been a while, (and yet not long enough!) since my last trans pull. I use 13 mm wrenches with vice grips stuck on them to make them long enough, and come in from the top. I also use masking tape to hold the nut in the wrench when it's time to reassemble.
Good luck!
Mike
 

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It's been a while, (and yet not long enough!) since my last trans pull. I use 13 mm wrenches with vice grips stuck on them to make them long enough, and come in from the top. I also use masking tape to hold the nut in the wrench when it's time to reassemble.
Good luck!
Mike
Funny, I couldn't even get a wrench to work on the more difficult ones so I taped the nut onto the tip of my index finger. Worked like a charm for getting the threads started.
 

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Steering cross tie can also be removed by loosening the two locknuts and simply unscrewing the rod; it has right and left threads to make this easy. Mark the lock nuts and count the turns to loosen them, then tape in place; then unscrew the tie rod. Lots easier than pulling the ball joints.

Reinstalling only affects the toe-in, and missing one turn doesn't affect much, so if you're careful marking and counting, it's easy.

Robert
 

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I cut a combination wrench in half and used a piece of pipe to get sufficient leverage on the top bellhousing bolts. It is now in my special tools box. I once had a heck of a time getting the bolts back in and I pulled them through with fishing line.
 

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When I did my tranny I also had a difficult time getting to these top bolts. Sagging motor monts and tranny mount made the top rear of the engine very close to the fiewall. I was able to get to them from the top with a lot of effort and thinking I'd never get them back on. Sounds like you have created the same situation by dropping the rear of the tranny first. In fact as you drop the rear of the tranny you end up hitting the steering tie rod as the engine pivots. As Alfa Jay states, jack the back of the tranny back up creating room between the firewall and top of the engine and attack those from the top. You will not need to do anything to the tie rod to pull the tranny out once you have it free. I was pleasently surprised how easy it was to get those bolts back on with new motor monts and transmission mounts putting the engine back in a correct orientation
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Wow, thanks so much for the awesome responses! Definitely some good thoughts here. FWIW, I actually replaced the motor mounts very recently (well, it's been over 2 years now, but I haven't put many miles on the car since then). I will do the tranny mount now since I'm doing all this work anyway.

What else....let's see, yep, I DID remove the shifter stick and bellows etc, but the metal cup on the tranny tunnel is still there. I think I will shoot for the through-the-tunnel idea for getting at those two bolts on top of the tranny (and to clarify, yes, I was referring to the bolts on top of the bell housing, sorry about that....I'm trying to shake the habit of referring to the bell housing and tranny collectively as the tranny, incorrect I know). I had looked into going through the shifter hole before, but I didn't at the time think of removing that metal cup. I also have more room to jack the trans/engine assembly up/forward now, since I've loosened the motor mounts and removed the fan shroud, disconnected radiator hoses, etc.

I actually have not yet removed the starter. I didn't really see that this particular step would help me much for the point I'm at right now, but I might as well go ahead and remove it.

It sounds like some of you guys have used methods I've ruled out or otherwise dismissed on my car. I think I need to take a closer look at some of the ideas (like possibly getting at the top bolts through the engine bay) since you say you've gotten them to work.

Oh and I did manage to preserve the ball joints, I kept the nuts loose on the threaded ends of the ball joints while executing my attack. Not that I'm bothered at the thought of having to replace them anyway. But if I can get this trans off without touching the tie connecting rod....that would be great.

You guys have given me renewed inspiration for attacking this thing.......it shall come out yet! :)

Matt
 

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I am convinced that going through the shifter hole is the way to get at the upper bell housing bolts. I struggled trying to get at them from the top, but couldn't find a way to do it. My motor mounts are in good shape, so that may have helped.

You will get it. Tomorrow mine goes back in. Wish me luck!
 

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Starter is attached to the bell housing, and for some at least is also bolted to a brace at the intake side engine mount. I don't think you can take the bell housing (and TX) off without removing it!

Robert
 

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You guys have given me renewed inspiration for attacking this thing.......it shall come out yet! :)
Matt:

You know, it isn't that hard to just pull the whole engine-transmission assembly.

With all the struggling you're going through to separate the bellhousing from the block - and then you still have to pull the bellhousing-trans out from the engine and lower it without killing yourself - AND that's the easy job - getting it back in is the hard part.

Now that you have everything disconnected, why not hitch the hoist to that lifting strap, and just pull out the whole mess?
 
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