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Here's a late $0.02. I just did a transmission swap in the '88 Spider. Despite wisdom from Ed (Alfaparticle), I opted to remove the engine/transmission as a unit. This was ok since I am familiar with the process and I had to remove the radiator anyway to replace a front seal. But, I spent a good four or five hours getting the "top" of the car back together. The Bosch connectors, hoses, radiator, reservoirs, hood, and the lovely console required a lot of time, most of which could be eliminated if just re-installing the gearbox. In the future, I will only pull a gearbox for gearbox related issues.

If you had a fire in the engine compartment you may well want to remove as a unit to address damage as suggested above.
 
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