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Hi All,
I have finally finished the restoration of my 1973 Spider and she went on the road yesterday for the first time in three years! It was wonderful to drive her again. I do however have one issue that it would be nice to have some feedback on. Whilst the car was stripped I had the gearbox refurbished by an Alfa Specialist, prior it had a poor syncro on second and used to jump out of reverse when under load. The gearbox came back looking lovely and sat on a shelf in the workshop dry for 12 months waiting to be refitted. I filled it with Alfaholics recommended gear oil and fitted it to the car. On first start up (still up on stands) in the workshop reverse was very noisy. Drove it yesterday and all gears are a little stiff but that is probably as its all a bit knew, came to reverse the car and BANG! jumped straight out of reverse, checked that it was fully in gear and reversed again, BANG! out it came again. Any ideas what would cause this (perhaps what should have been done during the rebuild). I was meticulous when fitting the metal plate onto the tunnel and the console, rubber gaiters ect, to ensure that nothing was stopping the gearstick moving fully so i'm happy its not that.
Many thanks
Rich
 

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Easiest thing to check first would be to look for anything preventing the gear lever from its full travel. Sometimes the center console, for instance, is in the way.
 

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Indeed.. been there.. The Center console is a total muck up by Alfa Romeo.. They put so many wires and crap in there for all those warning lights etc etc.. PMO .. The reverse thing is a touchy one and can be one or two of the gaiters...(after-market strikes again) as much of a pain as it is you can take out one side of the knee panel and try to scootch one or both gaiter UP the tower a few mm's, it doen's take much, without compromising the clamping and sealing action. It is amazing how a sagging rear support bushing or tired engine mounts and gaiters can all add up to something as onerous as a shifter popping out of gear but they all do I almost have mine where I want it but I haven't changed the motor mounts yet and so I live with it. .Why AR never put an extra pleat in the gaiters is beyond reason. and then there is the outer leather gaiter.. another offender if the CC is not EXACTLY positioned right. I'd put my money on that one first.
 

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I agree with the others, check the alignment of the shifter first.

Did the specialist do anything to your reverse gear since it was having this problem of jumping out when you brought it to him?

Vin
 

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Good question, if it was jumping out of reverse before, and the rebuilder didn't replace the worn reverse idler, gear, or fork which are usually ignored in a rebuild, then that's what it is. You can always hold it in reverse until it overcomes your arm strength.
 

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I semi-agree with the trail but a good mechanic would look at wear and ask if it was a problem keeping it in gear..In the end it is best to open their eyes to one's experience with the tranny .. it's all part of face -to- face with money usually only going in the wrong direction. i don't take anything for granted when a pick -up shows up in my drive-way with a sign on the door or I take ANY stuff to a specialty shop with a shingle hung above the door.
 

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After the usual stuff like mount, shifter boot, console, etc. is eliminated.

Popping out of reverse is usually a bent reverse fork. A lot of times its hard to tell unless you have a new one to compare it to. Also if it has been popping out for a long time. The teeth on the reverse gear will get an angled wear to the sides of the teeth. Which will basically push the idler out of the other 2 gears.

Most of the time the reverse fork gets bent from either backing up steep hills or reversing at high speed or both.
 

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A good mechanic like Scotty Kilmer would have caught that reverse problem, but like the one who did the work, he thinks Fiat Chrysler is crap. There are only handful of old time Alfa techs that are going to catch that problem.
 

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A good mechanic like Scotty Kilmer would have caught that reverse problem, but like the one who did the work, he thinks Fiat Chrysler is crap. There are only handful of old time Alfa techs that are going to catch that problem.
So you know the mechanic in England that did the work?
 

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I didn't see he that he was in UK. I don't know much about the trade there, except for what I see on Wheeler Dealers. Ed China would probably have fixed it right the first time. You should start a show on fixing Alfas.
 

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The popping out of reverse gear is often caused by a worn down fork. The problem is when the driver keep their hand on the gear lever whilst cruising. Eventually it just wears down. No matter what car you drive, keeping once hand on the gear lever for prolonged periods of time can cause a problem.
 

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Remove the console and all the boots (gaiters) and go for a drive. If it still pops out, obviously the problem is internal. Reverse fork controls reverse and 5th gear interchange. There is adjustment on this fork. It could be out out of adjustment, or bent as others here have stated.
 

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I agree with andylarry. I think mine is mostly related to the console position and outer leather shift boot. The leather shrinks and dries out and I can see how taunt it is when I enter reverse... again probably a few millimeter related to worn out original engine mounts from 1973. As an aside, I think I recall when I got the car the rear bridge of the console had worked its way off the stud on the shift tunnel. I put it back and now it is solidly attached but all of the above must be a contribution to the reverse situation and the bridge attachment is an open ended slot. to move the lock down position fore aft before locking down the nut. There must have been a reason it is a slot rather that a hole in the bridge... Adjustment . I live with the reverse issue because i don't want the pop-out situation in 3rd and 5th..Somewhere is a happy medium, ...I think.
 

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Another bit to add here. The chrome shift lever is attached to the gear selector stub(?) with a pinch bolt. There is L to R adjustment available here. This usually causes the shifter to hit the sides of the console opening if it is adjusted incorrectly. I also remember now that I have replaced 5-R forks because of wear at the end of the fork where it engages the reverse idler gear. When worn, it doesn't push the idler gear far enough into the main gear - lay gear. Good Luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Dear all,
Sorry for the slow reply, work getting in the way.
Thanks so much for all the good advice. I have spoken with the gearbox builder who was surprised to hear about the problem. He is going to have the car to see if it is an adjustment problem as he is sure if there was a problem with wear he would have replaced it. He said to 2 main issues are 2nd gear syncro and reverse jumping out so looks closely at those always.
I will keep you posted.
Thanks again.
Rich.
 
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