Gearbox Removal - without removing engine

Everything I have read about the MK2, workshop manual, various posts, indicates that the engine and gearbox are removed as a unit.

When looking at some old receipts from a previous owner I found one with regard to changing the clutch plate. The invoice mentions removing seats, console, gear lever, battery, tray and bracket. Removing rear engine mount top, then removing gearbox and clutch…etc etc. So it appears only the gearbox was removed. However 14 hours, as shown on the invoice, for the job (if gearbox only) seems a bit excessive.

Recently I had the engine out for an overhaul, and did not notice any modifications in either the floor panel, or tunnel, so maybe it is possible.

The car has always been fitted with a manual gearbox + overdrive. matching numbers with the compliance plate.

Attached is a copy of the invoice

Clutch Invoice.pdf (327.8 KB)

It “may” be possible to remove the gearbox without the engine, but I imagine it would take much of that 14 hours. For one thing, it would be challenging to reach the top bolts on the transmission bell housing.

Far easier to remove both together. Using an engine hoist, I installed mine in 2 hours start to finish.


When my shop did a comprehensive engine overhaul a few years ago they
removed the front subframe with wheels attached, rolled it out from under the car, removed carbs, pulled exhaust manifolds back away from the engine and dropped the engine down the bottom, lifting the car up. One would not have to go quite this far if it was only needed to access the many bell housing bolts and remove the gearbox. I was surprised how quickly they did all this putting the engine/gearbox on a rolling platform.

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This is how I did it.

Once the front suspension is off you can literally stand in the engine bay.

As did I, on the small sedans.

The invoice says that they “removed rear engine mount” ie the engine steady attached to the flywheel.

I wonder if this allows you to tilt the gearbox down enough to get at those top bolts.

When I removed the engine & gearbox earlier this year took it out over the top…that was after speaking with a neighbour who did his apprenticeship with a Jaguar workshop back in the late 60’s. However I had only millimeters of height clearance to spare. Replacement was after removal of front suspension and then lifted up into the car…far less stressful and probably not much difference in time.

After discovering the invoice for the clutch replacement from 20 years ago, it got me thinking it might just be possible to remove the gearbox by tilting the engine after removing the “engine stabilizer”. One issue would be the weight of the gearbox, which at a guess must be around 70kg…so would require some substantial support.

The garage did charge for 14 hours labour, which included machining the fly wheel. This seems a bit much, possibly the same amount of time required to remove both engine & gearbox.


D*mn, that.s amazingly fast. Come on over and help me install a T-5 here in Colorado.

It is possible and also faster than removing the gearbox together with the engine. I did it two times last year at home and the engine bay can be left pretty much untouched without draining coolant and so on. You would need quite a lot of tilt of the unit to clear the bellhousing from the body tunnel. I had to release the anti sway bar and front engine mounts to achieve enough tilt but this was on a Mk1 with even smaller gearbox tunnel than the mk2. I guess it took something like 6-8H in total to change the gearbox with O/D and clutch unit. A simple hoist for the gearbox was made up between the seats with a piece of wood and a ratchet strap.
Br svante

not much fun to be had getting a gearbox installed on a tilted back engine

(have done on another make of vehicle)

made some long studs, screwed into bellhousing, partially drew box back on via nuts

(guess it was fun after devising that solution)

Hard to understand how that could be done without draining coolant and removing top radiator hose as (at least with my 3.8S) there is not enough slack in the hose to permit tilting the engine enough to gain access to bellhousing bolts.

In addition to the radiator top hose, perhaps the fan as well. I noticed with the recent engine rebuild that one fan blade was cracked, near the base. Wonder if this was a result of tilting the engine, and the fan blade resting on the radiator matrix…then sometime over the next 20 years and 10,000 miles (before my purchase) a stress fracture developed. Just wondering!


Yes, upper hose as well as front throttle linkage. Also the exhaust connection under the car was split. The radiator and fan can stay, they are also a bit time consuming to remove if the fiber glass shroud is being used. Nothing was damaged doing this way. If it is only clutch or gearbox you need work on I wouldn’t do any other way. I have removed the engine with gearbox both from the top and from underneath my cars which is a mk1 and a mk2. From underneath works good but still many parts needs to be removed to clear the engine from the body.