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Glen Poolen
Experienced User
Username: wgipps

Post Number: 179
Registered: 03-2018
Posted on Friday, 26 July, 2019 - 19:44:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Hi
I beleive the transmissions in the SS1 are a Turbo 400 - is that correct?
If so, there are lots of modifications people do to these on other cars.
Is there an upgrade or anything people do on the transmissions on the RR? Can they be improved?
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Robert J. Sprauer
Frequent User
Username: wraithman

Post Number: 478
Registered: 11-2017
Posted on Friday, 26 July, 2019 - 20:30:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

TH400 are reliable and robust transmissions. When rebuilding "wavy clutch discs" are recommended for smoother shifts. Fatsco USA is the go to site. Highly recommended by RROC.
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David Hughes
Experienced User
Username: wedcar

Post Number: 95
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Saturday, 27 July, 2019 - 10:26:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Glen
The very early Shadows had the 4 speed GM Hydramatic transmission.
Regards
David
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Patrick Ryan
Grand Master
Username: patrick_r

Post Number: 2126
Registered: 04-2016
Posted on Saturday, 27 July, 2019 - 10:42:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Glen,
There is a chap on the Mercedes Benz forum I participate on.
He is extremely knowledgeable regarding TH400.

Does your transmission actually have any issues?
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Glen Poolen
Experienced User
Username: wgipps

Post Number: 180
Registered: 03-2018
Posted on Saturday, 27 July, 2019 - 14:16:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Thanks
I dont beleive it has any issues, but i also know they are now very old and over the years many people will haven engineered different parts for differnet purposes. There will be a plethora of things that you can do to the T400 for almost any purpose. My question was more a general one - is there an upgrade for the RR T400 that is recommended or that people generally do?
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David Gore
Moderator
Username: david_gore

Post Number: 3406
Registered: 04-2003
Posted on Saturday, 27 July, 2019 - 18:11:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Glen,

I did a modification on the T400 transmission in DRH14434 when I rebuilt it after a transmission fluid cooler hose burst and consequently caused terminal disintegration of the clutch packs when I drove the car up my drive and parked it in my workshop to be able to repair the transmission.

I have a good friend in the USA who is a skilled millwright and mechanic with long experience with T400 transmissions and he advised I use a B&W T400 overhaul kit and perform their "street and strip" modification to reduce clutch slip during gear changes as this was a known cause of reduced clutch life. I accepted this advice and did the modification with acceptable outcomes as far as I was concerned - the gear changes were firmer and slightly more perceptible in normal driving and only became more noticeable under full acceleration from a standing start. My discussions at the time with the York Motors service personnel indicated they had experienced T400 transmissions requiring clutch plate replacement around the 100,000 mile mark when used predominantly in stop/start city driving. When RRMC released the Shadow with the T400 transmission, they deliberately set the transmission up for the US market to give smooth imperceptible gear changes accepting this would reduce the service life of the clutch packs due to the inbuilt "slip" required to smooth out the gear change.

IMHO, the "go to" book for the T400 transmission is by Ron Sessions as detailed in the thread below - it is long out of print and very tightly held however you might find one for sale at auto swap meets or on the internet.

http://au.rrforums.net/forum/messages/17001/13068.html?1362133611

The B&M overhaul kit instructions below contain the details on undertaking the "street and strip" modification - this information has been deleted from later versions of these instructions:

application/pdfB&M T400
B&M T400 Overhaul Instructions.pdf (13620.8 k)


Attention: Mike Thompson - you should find this information useful as well.

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gordon le feuvre
Frequent User
Username: triumph

Post Number: 309
Registered: 07-2012
Posted on Saturday, 27 July, 2019 - 18:51:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

David,
Only right hand drive early cars has 4 speed. All lhd to my knowledge had 3 sp GM400. The early lhd had variable stators within torque convertor to act, as I recall as effectively part throttle gear shift. This was activated by switch on throttle linkage. ( Hythe Rd GM 400 course 1969)
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David Gore
Moderator
Username: david_gore

Post Number: 3407
Registered: 04-2003
Posted on Saturday, 27 July, 2019 - 19:17:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Gordon,

Yes - I have always been aware of this.

I suspect RRMC had surplus Hydramatics left after the Cloud series was discontinued and the RHD markets were a very opportune choice to eliminate this, by then, obsolete transmission stock.

Given the importance of the US market to the successful launch of the Shadow and the decision to offer a "boulevarde ride" in the US market, RRMC had no alternative to using the more advanced T400 torque convertor transmission from the beginning of production.

The later release of the Harvey Bailey suspension package for the Shadow was a welcome improvement IMHO to make the handling more acceptable in the world other than the USA [especially relevant to Australian roads and driving practice].

.
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Patrick Ryan
Grand Master
Username: patrick_r

Post Number: 2128
Registered: 04-2016
Posted on Saturday, 27 July, 2019 - 20:06:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Sorry chaps.
My opinion is, if it is not broken, donít fix it.

David ďhadĒ to fix his transmission thus applying the modification while doing so.
He mentions that the shift quality was quite different after doing so.

Thatís why I asked the question, is there anything wrong with your transmission.

Iíve seen far to many people remove perfectly good engines, transmissions final drives, even suspension for that matter, only to be disappointed, or to have continued issues after said mods were done.
Thus never happy or satisfied with the results or the money spent.

I do like stock standard cars the way the original engineering teams developed them.

They did it particularly that way for very precise reasons and target market.
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Mike Thompson
Frequent User
Username: vroomrr

Post Number: 792
Registered: 04-2019
Posted on Sunday, 28 July, 2019 - 02:04:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

David, you said:

"especially relevant to Australian roads and driving practice"

Should we be thinking Mad Max as part of that "driving practice"?

I drove my Cadillac STS on a 4 hour drive, this is the first time I had driven it that far. I feared that I might have issues with the transmission, because it lacks fluid. As I feared it probably had frothing issues, and due to there being an accident on the highway, I had to come to a stop, when I tried to go the trans. slipped for a second then went.

I'm wondering if that damaged the trans.?

The reason I don't fill it is because there is no way to fill it other than lifting the car in the air, starting the car, taking out the plug and somehow getting fluid into it. Then as procedure, you stick your finger in the hole to see if it just below the lip of the hole. All this instead of a $5 dipstick and tube. I know it is to get you to take the car to a dealer.
The reason it lacks fluid is it is cooled by the radiator. When I got the car it had a Boo Boo in the front end, which I had to replace the bumper and grill (and the reason I got it for only $1,400). The accident pushed the radiator back just enough to break off the nub that holds it in at the bottom. So I had to replace the radiator, thus the fluid loss.
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Patrick Ryan
Grand Master
Username: patrick_r

Post Number: 2129
Registered: 04-2016
Posted on Sunday, 28 July, 2019 - 08:04:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Mike,
Along with slipping will come burning of the oil due to the excessive slipping.
The oil being pumped around at a certain pressure, keeps everything working at the required pressures and tensions, less oil means these items are not working, or keeping the correct pressure or tension on things to keep them locked together.
The pump inside the transmission producing the pressure, may become damaged itself due to lack or lower amount of oil.

Auto transmissions are designed to slip slightly for a smooth shift and uptake of torque during each gear change.
This slippage isnít noticeable but a tiny bit of slip does happen. This is why we need to service our transmissions and change the oil regularly.

If there is noticeable slip, the oil will burn.
The oil will go dark and have a burnt smell to it.

Your accident, and subsequent replacement of the radiator will have lost up to and maybe over 1 litre (2 pints) of fluid.
Depending on how much oil your transmission takes during service (excluding the torque converter) this may be up to 1/4 of the capacity missing.

I would recommend at least taking the car to a normal garage and just ask for a basic transmission service , oil, filter (if there is one) and pan gasket.
Keep your fingers crossed when they do it.

What David is referring to is a very positive thus noticeable shift after his modifications.
The less slip, the harsher the change.
This is a result of a super quick change generally required by performance drivers, as any degree of slip means a slower time on the drag strip or anywhere else they want faster acceleration.
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David Gore
Moderator
Username: david_gore

Post Number: 3408
Registered: 04-2003
Posted on Sunday, 28 July, 2019 - 08:09:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Mike,

You have identified the most likely cause - aeration from a low fluid level. I doubt if this would damage the transmission if it only was of short duration; continual presence is another thing entirely.

Car manufacturers are doing everything they can to deter DIY owners to force them to take their cars to dealers for servicing. Profits on new car sales are minimal whereas servicing is a high profit opportunity allowing the dealer to remain motivated and viable.

Perhaps you can devise an add-on filler tube and dipstick for your car which can either be a temporary item for checking or a permanent fixture.

Yes, we do have a "Mad Max" element but they usually attract constant Police attention. What I was referring to is our annual driving mileage is significantly higher than elsewhere in the world due to our large land area and distances between major population centres.

An average drive for me would be well in excess of 100 km [60 miles] with a few shorter trips of around 50km in Sydney to go shopping or to the beach at Cronulla for a coast walk.

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Glen Poolen
Experienced User
Username: wgipps

Post Number: 181
Registered: 03-2018
Posted on Sunday, 28 July, 2019 - 11:16:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

For my 2 cents.
I agree - if it isnt broken dont fix it.
But at present, I have an amount of savings that I can play with. If the auto is ok at nearly 50 years old, given that everything else on this car costs a small fortune, my preference is to get it looked at, improved or modernised a bit, and then not have to worry about it for another 50 years.
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Patrick Ryan
Grand Master
Username: patrick_r

Post Number: 2130
Registered: 04-2016
Posted on Sunday, 28 July, 2019 - 12:10:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Glen,
Get them to pull the pan off for sure.

At that point after 50 years, they will know if the box needs to come out.
If all good give it a basic service.

Does the car need money spent on cosmetics rather than mechanicals?
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Harry Heuchan
Experienced User
Username: harry_heuchan

Post Number: 96
Registered: 04-2010
Posted on Sunday, 28 July, 2019 - 13:45:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Yes David Gore it reminds me of the time when we took you (and your ex -in a previous life) down South of Perth in SRH31051. We stopped somewhere and you suggested we check the Auto Transmission level. It was very low. I think from memory below the minimum mark. We (you primarily) filled it up there and then. If we hadnít checked it we wouldnít have known. The GM400 is very robust really. There is another story I think, about there being different dip sticks for different countries. Or maybe that is urban legend!
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Mike Thompson
Frequent User
Username: vroomrr

Post Number: 793
Registered: 04-2019
Posted on Sunday, 28 July, 2019 - 14:05:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

David, there is two tubes that go to a sort of quick connect on the radiator, I have thought about pulling the top one off and trying to put some fluid in there, but with all the oil that was spewing out I don't know how much trans fluid came out nor how much to put in. (On thinking about it I may have tried that though and it did not work, it just kept overflowing it seems.) It is bad both ways if I remember correctly, over fill or under fill. And I have though about putting in a filler tube and dipstick, but how to know what is the full level?

Driving locally I have never had any problems.
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Mike Thompson
Frequent User
Username: vroomrr

Post Number: 794
Registered: 04-2019
Posted on Sunday, 28 July, 2019 - 14:32:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Before and after fixing the little Boo Boo on the front. Costs maybe $200. So the car cost all together $1600. For at least a $5000 car.

boo boo

fixed
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Patrick Ryan
Grand Master
Username: patrick_r

Post Number: 2131
Registered: 04-2016
Posted on Sunday, 28 July, 2019 - 15:12:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Awesome result for not a lot of cash Mike, got to be happy with that.
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Glen Poolen
Experienced User
Username: wgipps

Post Number: 182
Registered: 03-2018
Posted on Sunday, 28 July, 2019 - 17:10:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Patrick - "Does the car need money spent on cosmetics rather than mechanicals?"
Its going in tomorrow for a check up, service, some minor repairs.
I think it might need a head gasket but other than that i think it runs fantastic. It needs a little bit of electrical tidy up after lots of electrical re-work and upgrades.
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Patrick Ryan
Grand Master
Username: patrick_r

Post Number: 2132
Registered: 04-2016
Posted on Sunday, 28 July, 2019 - 17:34:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

For sure you will find out if she needs more once the transmission pan is dropped mate.

Always something on a car to spend money on
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Jeff McCarthy
Frequent User
Username: jefmac2003

Post Number: 638
Registered: 05-2007
Posted on Saturday, 21 December, 2019 - 18:05:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

I'm having work done on the TH400 transmission which started to slip slightly after the new engine was installed. SRH20280 is a series I Shadow.

I'd like to add a deeper transmission pan. There are various sorts available but I don't know if the bolt holes would line up. Anybody know?

Alternatively there were deeper transmission pans on a later car. Can it be retrofitted?

The object of course is just to keep the transmission a bit cooler with a higher fluid capacity.

It was completely stripped and rebuilt about 6 years ago and I'm not too worried about the current slippage as I caught it early and it's probably just something coming loose when it was removed from the car to insert the new engine.
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David Gore
Moderator
Username: david_gore

Post Number: 3538
Registered: 04-2003
Posted on Saturday, 21 December, 2019 - 18:28:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Jeff,

The RR version of the GM Turbo 400 transmission is notorious for accelerated clutch plate wear as RRMC set up the transmission to allow extra slip during gear changes to eliminate a noticeable gear change especially between 1st and 2nd [intermediate] gear.

Whilst this was achieved, it was at the expense of reduced clutch plate life with the outcome the clutch plates usually required replacement at 90,000/100,000 miles or even less if the car experienced a lot of stop/start city driving.

If you car has done this level of mileage, I suggest you get an experienced GM auto transmission mechanic to check your transmission for clutch slippage. Be aware, the RR version of the transmission also includes a non-standard "wave" clutch plate in the 1st stage clutch pack to further achieve a smooth start from stationary and the subsequent 1-2 gear change. This plate is not included in the typical T400 overhaul kit and has to be purchased separately if smooth gear changes are important and reduced life between overhauls is not a concern.

.
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Jeff McCarthy
Frequent User
Username: jefmac2003

Post Number: 639
Registered: 05-2007
Posted on Saturday, 21 December, 2019 - 18:46:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Thanks David, I was just last week reading through the forum on transmissions and came across this information again. The man who's working on it did the rebuild six years ago and I supplied him with the wavy bits. As a rural mechanic he's no stranger to the TM400.

Unfortunately the car hasn't done anything like the mileage necessary for these to be worn.

I'm hoping to get to use it more now that I scored the bargain of the century when Bob Chapman retired, in the form of a completely new engine built on a first class original block - complete with ultra modern seal materials, teflon coated pistons and Bob's lifetime of skills generously applied.

Didn't get the chrome-plated grease nipples of Novocastrian fame though ;-)
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Patrick Lockyer.
Grand Master
Username: pat_lockyer

Post Number: 2239
Registered: 09-2004
Posted on Saturday, 21 December, 2019 - 19:42:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

My way, first is to do a line pressure test to cover pump wear of any other causes of slip failings there are many.

The box should do 100000 + miles over time if used on a yearly basis with just the filter and ATF changes .

A larger pan IMO waste of money with the cars cooling system running correctly, the autobox ATF is heated and cooled from the cars radiator cooling system.

Spry oil on corrosive points Ie cooler pipes to rad ETC under car once a year if used in UK winters!
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Jeff McCarthy
Frequent User
Username: jefmac2003

Post Number: 640
Registered: 05-2007
Posted on Saturday, 21 December, 2019 - 19:59:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Patrick, when the new engine was installed I had every pump rebuilt with new seals and all lines cleaned out; at least those were my instructions. I'll give the mechanic who did the job a call on Monday and double check though.

The deeper pan idea seems a no go. On further investigation, they don't make them with a port for our dipstick anyway.

I had a completely new radiator core installed so I doubt it's a problem at that end at least.
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Patrick Lockyer.
Grand Master
Username: pat_lockyer

Post Number: 2240
Registered: 09-2004
Posted on Sunday, 22 December, 2019 - 02:17:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

A new rad core is just one of the many items that can fail causing overheating of the auto box.
IMO any slip within the clutch assemblies will show up by the smell or colour of the ATF.

Line pressures check first.
If ok a quick removal of the filter and inspect will show other possible causes.
Has been known to have a torque converter to give slip!
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ross kowalski
Prolific User
Username: cdfpw

Post Number: 1296
Registered: 11-2015
Posted on Sunday, 22 December, 2019 - 23:59:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Jeff, is the gearbox in the car or out of the car right now?
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Jeff McCarthy
Frequent User
Username: jefmac2003

Post Number: 642
Registered: 05-2007
Posted on Monday, 23 December, 2019 - 12:28:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Ross, the gearbox is in the car - I had it out in Melbourne a couple of weeks ago to install the new engine. I just got it back from the transmission shop this morning and they could find nothing wrong.

They took it out for a couple of 2 hour test drives on the highway and it performed flawlessly. They tested the pressure and it was fine.

With any luck it was something minor and it has fixed itself (that'll be the day) but I'll be monitoring closely to see what happens.

The manual gives a fairly encyclopaedic checklist of faults and diagnostics.

I'm reading through the whole section of it again just to re-familiarise myself with everything transmission.
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Geoff Wootton
Grand Master
Username: dounraey

Post Number: 2170
Registered: 05-2012
Posted on Monday, 23 December, 2019 - 14:40:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Hi Jeff

Did you drop the subframe to change the engine or did you lift it out from above with an engine hoist?

Geoff
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Mike Thompson
Prolific User
Username: vroomrr

Post Number: 1151
Registered: 04-2019
Posted on Monday, 23 December, 2019 - 15:03:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Well above at: Sunday, 28 July, 2019 - 14:32: I did sell that Cadillac for $5250 USD a profit of $3650. I thought this was a new thread. I sold it in hopes of getting utility taps for my land. This site is already becoming like memory lane.
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Jeff McCarthy
Frequent User
Username: jefmac2003

Post Number: 643
Registered: 05-2007
Posted on Monday, 23 December, 2019 - 15:46:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

I actually had someone in Melbourne do it for me. Matt at Matt's Automotive in Kilsyth - I don't have the equipment (or body) to do it myself. Bob Chapman supervised everything, which was very kind of him.

We took the entire sub-frame off and replaced everything that needed it and some that didn't for preventative reasons.

Replaced wheel bearings, compliance mounts, boots - the lot! Rebuilt the calipers and serviced the spheres, valves and anything else that's easier when the frame is off the car.

Replaced all the vacuum hoses with the new wonder stuff, installed Bob Chapman's Bosch Electronic distributor, rebuilt the points distributor with all new parts for storage. Rebuilt the carbs and installed the thicker gasket underneath where it sits on the inlet manifold. Painted and powdercoated as much as we could - I ran out of money so I couldn't get the engine bay painted but I want to do that with POR15 semi gloss, the Shadow bay is remarkable accessable compared to many other cars I've seen - at least the visible bits.

I installed the stronger anti-roll bar but have decided to reverse it - I was used to the body roll and it sacrifices a bit too much of the soft suspension for my taste. The handling is superb though.

The only remaining job in the bay is repainting the windscreen wiper motor and getting the Brake reservoir electroless nickelplated.

We also plugged up the engine weep holes because Bob had re-machined the seal grooves in the liners to take the new space-age seals & those holes were a pain anyway.

All in all the transmission is just something I'm going to have to monitor as I run the new engine in.

Looks and goes so good I'm motivated to keep going in the detailing and upgrade department.

I've got a spare engine compartment relay board I've cleaned up and am soldering all those troublesome copper rivet connections underneath it (and the fuse board while I'm at it) to avoid any intermittent faults coming from there.

I've finally sourced some non-adhesive loom tape so I'll re-do the engine bay looms and put electric grease on all the connections as well.

Big summer project and lots of driving the thing - finally!
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Graham Phillips
Experienced User
Username: playtime

Post Number: 186
Registered: 03-2019
Posted on Monday, 23 December, 2019 - 19:07:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

G'day everyone,.....


"Big summer project and lots of driving the thing - finally!"

This translates to me as:

Time for a Forum member get together,....

Name a date and place for everyone to drive to meet up for coffee and to show off our rides,...

Or at least the Melbourne members,...

You make me a little jealous talking about the new engine,... I feel like I have missed out on something special.


Graham.
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Jeff McCarthy
Frequent User
Username: jefmac2003

Post Number: 644
Registered: 05-2007
Posted on Monday, 23 December, 2019 - 20:25:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

I'm in Albury Graham but Melbourne is my go to place for maintenance I can't do myself. After 12 years of annoyances ranging to horrors I was due a bit of luck. Can't count the 1000s of hours I'd've put into the thing.

Strangely enough I found the engine advertised on ebay at a bargain price.I think Bob just wanted it out of his storage. I was due to have sludge cleaned out of my original one but that of course could've opened many a can of worms and open-ended costs...

If there's a summer get together I'd come on down - bushfires permitting. I'm looking forward to making some technical group sessions too.
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Geoff Wootton
Grand Master
Username: dounraey

Post Number: 2171
Registered: 05-2012
Posted on Tuesday, 24 December, 2019 - 09:30:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Hi Jeff

Sounds like your car will be one of the few in the world that will drive like it did when new.

Also looks like the engine was removed as recommended in the workshop manual, with a 2 or 4 post lift used to raise the body off the entire subframe/engine/gearbox unit.

Since I do not have a lift I have always wondered if it would be possible to pull the engine out through the bonnet aperture. I reckon with the bonnet and radiator and fan removed there would probably be enough room to pull the engine forward and then upwards to remove it.

This is just a curiosity thing - thankfully I have no need to carry out such work at the moment.

Geoff
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Robert J. Sprauer
Frequent User
Username: wraithman

Post Number: 570
Registered: 11-2017
Posted on Tuesday, 24 December, 2019 - 10:17:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

I always drop the subframe. A bit more work, but worth it especially if you want to detail the engine bay. I recently acquired another RR Silver Shadow LWB and the subframe will be dropped tomorrow, rolled outside and steam cleaned. subframe will be painted, all hardware replated, powder coating of springs, perches, spring plates etc. Same protocol as my 1980 SW II.
If you follow the workshop manual by the word, you will have no problems.
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Trevor Hodgekinson
Experienced User
Username: wm20

Post Number: 128
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Tuesday, 24 December, 2019 - 13:29:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Dead easy
Make up some wheel stands for the rear wheels
I used a pair of those wheel dollies that you use to push cars around sideways.
When pulling an engine, you remove the wheels and bolt it to a frame
You can then use an engine crane to lift the body clear of the engine & transmission.

It is the same methid as we use to do engine swaps on our rear wheel forward control vans ( L300;s & HiAces )
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Graham Phillips
Experienced User
Username: playtime

Post Number: 188
Registered: 03-2019
Posted on Tuesday, 24 December, 2019 - 13:46:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

G'day everyone,.....


Jeff said: " I'm looking forward to making some technical group sessions too."

Me: I'll second that!

Would love to have this sort of get together, it breaks up the drooling on others toys,....

I could learn something,....


Graham.

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