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jimconline

Floppy Gearshift, Getting Into Gear Hit and Miss

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I purchased from Ashcroft a R380 gearbox, LT 230 Transfer Case, and 130TDi Clutch Kit in 2015, had them sent to Canada, and then installed by Rovalution in Vancouver. I considered doing this myself but decided against it.

All has been running superbly until two days ago. I was driving the Defender on the highway when it began to get more difficult to change gears. No noise, just a bit more finesse needed to get into gear. I stopped for a coffee, got back into the Defender, and couldn’t get it into reverse: kept slipping into 4th. Eventually, after several trys it went but after backing out, I couldn’t get it into first: the gear shift just seemed to float all over the place. And then the weirdest thing happened. I shifted from high to low and it went smoothly except that low acted as high, yet same gearshift problem. I eventually limped a kilometer to my daughter’s place and there it sits. 

In summary, there is no untoward noise, no grinding, no fluid leakage. I did check both fluid levels and they are fine. Essentially I have a gear shift that goes all over the place, occassionally into gear. Linkage? Clutch? 

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Something in the shift mechanism has come loose.  Open it up and look.

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could be a broken or poorly adjust bias spring at bottom of lever turret.

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The plate that holds the bias springs at the base of the gear lever could have come loose / not been tightly fully originally. That could certainly make it difficult to "find" the gears.

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Could be worth removing the lever turret as underneath this is a selector which fits on the end of the selector shaft (running forward in to the main box). This is locked to the selector shaft by a grub screw. I have had this come loose and give similar symptoms. Requires a bit of fiddling with an Allen Key to tighten.

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With the time I had today I was able to remove the tunnel cover and have a look. There was nothing wrong that I could see with the bias spring (was adjusted pretty close to where it should be) and the linkage at this level (please see photos). The next step is to remove the lever turret assembly,  as suggested, and see what I find.

I did discover during my work the following: I can shift into gears 1, 3, 5 fairly easily; I cannot shift into 2 and 4. On the transfer case I can shift into low but I cannot shift into high. In other words, on both the gearbox and the transfer case I can shift forward but not backward, if that makes sense.

Bias_Spring.jpg

Linkage01.jpg

Linkage02.jpg

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9 hours ago, DaveSIIA said:

Could be worth removing the lever turret as underneath this is a selector which fits on the end of the selector shaft (running forward in to the main box). This is locked to the selector shaft by a grub screw. I have had this come loose and give similar symptoms. Requires a bit of fiddling with an Allen Key to tighten.

From your symptoms it sounds like this is the problem , pop the gearlever housing off and check the grub screw

cheers

Steve b

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Today I removed the turret assembly in search of loose parts; none was found. As you can see from the attached photo, all looks in excellent shape including the grub screw which is tight. The linkage looks to be in good shape, nothing loose or worn.

After putting the turret assembly back together I shot a video to show what is happening. As you can see, the gear selector is all over the place. I am able—with difficulty—to move it into 1st and 3rd and occasionally 5th. I am unable to shift into 2nd or 4th. As for the transfer case you will see that I am able to shift into Low without issue. I am unable to shift into High. The strangest part to me is that both the gearbox and transfer case exhibit similar behaviour at the same time. What's in common that may be doing this?

I have written to the folks at Ashcroft to see if they have any thoughts.

grubscrew01.jpg

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That'll do it! Nice find :)

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Good news that you have found the root cause and can fix it. Perhaps not clear from my post, but that is the part I was referring to. Unfortunately, I didn't have any photo's to hand and it's probably 10 years since last experiencing this failure.

This wouldn't impact on the transfer box selecting high range, but the problem may be solved once you have truly selected neutral on the main box.

 

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I don't feel I should take much credit as the advice I've received from here and Ashcroft has been key to getting this far. Most appreciated.

It was easy to put the quadrant back on complete, this time, with Loctite on the grub screw. That's about as far as I got, however. I am unable to move the selector shaft forward or backward; nor does it rotate; clutch/no clutch. As you'll see from the photo the quadrant is positioned off-centre and toward the back. In order for me to slip the roller and pins into it, I need to move it forward and rotate it to the middle. In the second photo, you may be able to see my problem. Not being able to move the selector shaft has me wondering if there is more going on here.

Finally, I do have to wonder if there is enough room to slide the cover between the housing and the console between the seats. I would most certainly prefer not to have to take the gearbox/transfer case off.

Quadrant_On.jpg

Almost.jpg

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Usually you need to rotate the shaft a bit to engage the gears.

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Are Ashcroft now supplying discovery r380s with their shift rail adaptor rather than proper defender r380 boxes?

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That I don't know. I ordered this one in 2015. I did keep the original one mostly in case I had trouble with the new one, and also, since shipping it back from Canada to the UK would have cost me the refund.

The original one was functioning well after 230,000km but I am planning a long journey and decided to take preventative measures and replace it. Ha. That's been a questionable decision. May end up putting the old one back in.

Edited by jimconline

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I decided to take the cover off the old gearbox and look at the selector/quadrant and see if I could move it. No problem, slides easily into and out of gears and rotates smoothly in neutral. Now that I have a better sense for the extent of travel for the selector, I shall try once more with the new gearbox. Interestingly, the old one (see photo) does not have a stop on the shaft like the new.

Old_Selector_Quadrant.jpg

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Jim, it’s not a stop on the shaft, it’s the adaptor I mentioned earlier which has been used to convert a disco short shift rail into a defender long shift rail. Not really a problem but one more part to potentially come loose! (My puma suffered the same problem, completely different gearbox but shift yoke came undone like yours)

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When I have days like today I am ever thankful to my grandfather (a fisherman/carpenter from Labrador on Canada's east coast) who instilled into me when I was a teenager the joy of working with my hands. So satisfying.

And while I was able to get the selector moving, quadrant screwed into place, and all the pieces back together (despite the minimal clearance—taking the floor out from under the box between the seats sure helped), there is more damage than simply a quadrant falling off. A test run showed the following: 1st, 2nd, 5th, and reverse are smooth; 3rd and 4th take some fiddling to engage; the transfer case is stuck in hi despite being in the position of lo.

And so, after less than 10,000 miles on these two rebuilt boxes I now have a poorly functioning gearbox and locked transfer case. Decision time.

Edited by jimconline

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How have Ashcroft responded to your reports of gearbox failure? They are a reputable company and l would say you have a warranty claim after such a low mileage.

Have you sent them the pictures?

l realise that shipping is going to be an issue though.

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The transfer box will most probably be an easy fix you can do yourself, they are basic and easy to work on.

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Lightning, I have been in touch with Ashcroft and they are being most helpful. I had some back and forth emails this morning with Dave who sent me info from their website's FAQs about 3rd and 4th gear issues and how to adjust (I've just fitted a rebuilt gearbox to my Defender, the third and fourth shifts are not very good. Why?) Was happy to read this and shall give it a try. If the gearbox survived unscathed through this all it will be a relief: it has been running smoothly since being put in.

I agree, oneandtwo, about the transfer box. I still have the old one which was running okay if the new one is toast, though I can't help but think some linkage is stuck. I am having a hard time explaining to Dave at Ashcroft the problem. It is rather weird, well, at least to me. The lever is stuck in lo (i.e., forward) but is engaging as hi. I can't move it from lo where it's hi to hi where it should also be hi. See what I mean, confusing huh? I sent him a clip from the video included earlier in this link. I assume he's gone for the day so shall look forward to hearing from him tomorrow.

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Yesterday I was able to fix the two issues—challenge shifting into 3rd and 4th and odd behaviour of hi/lo—with help from Dave at Ashcroft. The 3rd/4th gear issue was a matter of adjusting the bias spring as per the FAQ on Ashcroft's website. The odd behaviour of the transfer box was not so odd actually: just needed to adjust the spline (see photo Dave sent to me). I must have put it back together incorrectly even though I was careful to mark the spline position on the connector before removing.

Anyway, all is back together and the Defender is back to running smoothly.

IMG_0527.jpg

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