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Well, after considerable time and effort from me and Ian at Beast Motorsport near Bristol, I have a V8 4spd autobox behind a 300Tdi.

The crux of the story - I bought a conversion plate from Hedley, who sold it frankly and openly as fitting a 2.5NAD, TD or 200Tdi. I'm a smartarse, and decided it would also be suitable for a 300Tdi.

In case anyone's tempted to have a go in this direction, don't. After much thinking, worrying and experimenting with it, the whole thing bolted together but the torque converter didn't reach the flex plate. I considered machining the coverter plate but this seemed a bit 'one way' so Ian had a spacer ring made up locally. Then there was kickdown bracketry to be made and the shifter assembly to mount - more labour. Then the difflock lever was tweaked to get it to poke up through the existing hole in the floor, and some panel beating to stop it all joining me in the cab. More labour. Then the gearbox mounts were adjusted to allow for the thickness of the converter plate etc - more labour.

Seven weeks later (and let's not discuss the bill), it works! It gets all the gears, moving into 4th about 35mph, and kicks down when required. With consideration, it can be driven as a manual on the shifter, or just leave it in 'D' and use your foot to change gear. Offroad there's plenty of engine braking when held in '1' and plenty of screaming-and-freefall when left in 'D'. To fit the box in, the catalyst has gone and the exhaust is now knocking slightly on one mount at the rear. Ho hum. Also, it came with a 1.4 t-box so it really rips up to speed and it'll only do 85mph before it revs out - very tiring at 60mph / 3000 rpm and running to London and back gave 22mpg too :o .

My remaining qualms are:

I need to stop the exhaust knocking - some pigeon attention required (AskWarne?) but it should pass next month's MOT with a rattle?

I want to refit the 1.2 t-box I've got in the back but it has some swarf in the selectors, presumably from the centre diff bearings? Bearing in mind that I live in London and have no garage, do I:

  • throw some money at Mr Ashcroft for a rebuild / replacement?
  • rebuild it myself using gaskets, bearings etc from Ashcroft and the back of the car as a workbench?
  • convert the 1.4 box to 1.2 ratio in situ in the car, using bits from the 1.2 box?

Overall, the autobox gets a thumbs up and going to bigger tyres and 1.2 box should give it longer legs on a run - very pleased.

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Well done John, that's quite an acheivement. There are plenty of 1.2 transfer boxes about, for the sake of £50 - £100 I'd be inclined to buy another and fit it and save yourself a heap of work rebuilding the existing transfer box.


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John what do you expect to repair on an LT230 whilst as you say lying in a gutter/gulley?

keep oil inside and they are fairly bombproof.

save yourself a load of hassle and fit one from Ashcrofts

the money you must of spent going auto another few ££ won't seem like a waste when it is in there.

PS didn't you just sell a 1.2 transfer box?

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Nice one John, glad you have it together at last. :)

Now, who will be the first to fit a 5 speed Transit auto into an '07 Defender?


I know Ashcroft have investigated this already and were planning to convert their 90 demonstrator when it arrived. Not sure what box they were planning to use though.


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The 1.4 is on the car and will be for sale one way or another. The 1.2 is full of swarf in the selectors (which is why I haven't sold it, I don't want to offload a pup). I think the bearings have begun to break up, so I'll strip it down and see if it is rebuildable. Otherwise I'll poke my nose around for a 1.2.

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