[Healeys] Toyota five-speed problem

Michael Oritt michael.oritt at gmail.com
Tue Dec 25 11:13:21 MST 2018

Sixteen years and about 50,000 miles ago I purchased a conversion kit and a
rebuilt Toyota five-speed transmission from Smith (Smitty) Brodie after
second gear in my original three-speed box broke while I was travelling in
CA following Conclave 2002 in Tahoe.  Smitty gave me the use of his shop,
lift, tools and lots of help and along with a couple of local Healey guys
whose names have escaped me we installed the new transmission and I was
able to drive back home to Maryland with no issues.

Last week I took the car for a long ride (see "Every Ride is a Test Ride"
string) and on the way home I began to experience some difficulty getting
the car into fourth gear, especially on upshifts, and though I was able to
get into gear there was a "crunch" on engagement and often the stick would
pop out of gear.   During another long ride yesterday things went further
south and I was totally unable to get into fourth, plus there seemed to be
some resistance when upshifting into third.

I did a bit of googling and found several posts where people had similar
issues and merely by changing their gearbox oil the problems went away.
Hoping against hope this morning I drained the Redline MT90 which has been
in the car for about a year (no metal bits, etc) and refilled with fresh.
Unfortunately nothing changed and I was still unable to get into fourth,
either going up or down through the gears and despite my rev-matching or

I've gotten a lot of good use of the gearbox and clutch and I'm certainly
not complaining.  Plus I am fortunate to have a local mechanic who has
worked on many manual boxes of all kinds, so I'm not afraid to remove the
transmission and give it to him for a rebuild.  However before I simply
pull the unit out I wonder if there are any detent balls/springs or the
like under the top cover or whatever that might have come loose, etc. and
are causing the problem.  I know there are a lot of us with Smitty's
conversions and if anyone has any thoughts I would appreciate input.

Best--Michael Oritt
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