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Triumph Repair/1972 triumph spitfire bellhousing


Hi Howard, I have a 72 triumph spitfire and just replaced clutch and bearings on imput and rear shafts. When i bolt the gear case to the bell housing the shaft will get very stiff to turn, and the tighter i torque the bolts, the more the shaft will get stift to the ;point i cannot turn it. The trans. is in neutral. Any Ideas,  Wayne.....

Hi Wayne,

The input shaft bearing has a groove in it with a large snap ring to prevent it from moving too far toward the rear so it seats against the gearbox case. The input shaft has a oil slinger on first and then the bearing and then a thin washer and finally a snap ring in a groove in the shaft. This prevents the shaft from moving toward the gearbox.

Even if there were something in the back of the crankshaft that were up against the input shaft thus putting it in a bind, that can not put the mainshaft (output shaft)in a bind no matter how hard the input shaft were forced toward the rear. Unless the snap ring on the input shaft were missing or slipped out of it's groove in the shaft.

The more likely problem is that the main shaft (out put shaft) is dislocated toward the front making the input shaft unable to be seated against the gearbox case.

Either a needle bearing has slipped out of it's cage and is lodged in between the input shaft and the main shaft or the main shaft spacers are not in place correctly. The main shaft is located much like the input shaft with a large snap ring on the bearing and then a thich washer and a snap ring in the mainshaft preventing the main shaft from moving forward.

If a thin washer is just under the input shaft snap ring and a thick washer is under the snap ring on the mainshaft and both have their large snap rings on the OD of each bearing then the two shafts can not put a bind on the other. Unless there is a foriegn "Somthng" in the back of the input shaft like a loose needle bearing. Keep in mind that there are half moon clips in some of the gears that are locaters and if one of them is out of place it can force the gear train forward and cause a bind.

My advice is to put the gearbox on the bench and take the cover off and check for free play in all the gears and check the front and rear snap rings for their correct washers and spacing.

Also, check your new bearing against the old bearings to see that the outside groove in the outer race is in the same place on the outer race. I once received an aftermarket bearing that was the correct size but had the snap ring groove in the worong location.


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Howard M. Fitzcharles III


Triumph TR-4 up & Spitfire, and Engine theory


Dealership line mechanic on MG, Triumph, Jaguar for 15 years, Instructor in commercial mechanics school 2 yr. Product information manager for piston and valve manufacture, Instructor & hotline answer man for import car parts importer 15 yrs.

Associate member SAE EAA member

Import Car magazine

ASE Master Auto with L-1 certification up to 2000

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