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Defender clutch fork.

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After replacing a very leaky clutch master cylinder on a rather splendid 300TDi 110 CSW, the pedal was rock solid, and what small amount of movement there was produced a worrying creaking noise from the bell housing. The recently replaced slave was checked and worked ok, so after advice from this forum - the gearbox has to come off.

The gearbox only really needs to be detached from the engine to be able to replace the clutch fork, so with care it can be left balancing on the crossmember and a jack/axle stand.

Method I used is as follows:-

Picture of the vehicle concerned, at home out in the coutryside. Very nice truck used on and off the road, farm work, family outings etc.


The surface is level and in good condition, so transfer in neutral and handbrake off.

Floor out, and usual problem with rusty screws. I managed to get all undone with the exception of one bolt that snapped.


The three yellow relays had to be removed as the transmission tunnel cover will damage them.


Gear/transfer lever knobs have to be unscrewd, gaiter popped off, then the single 17mm nyloc nut/washer removed. Gearstick will then lift off it's splined shaft.


The transfer lever will be in the way - it'll come up against the seat box and cause damage/prevent removal of the gearbox. There are 4xM8 bolts holding the lever and housing to the gearbox - mark the linkage position, disconnect them both, then remove the 4-bolts with a 10mm socket, and it'll lift off.



With floor out, access to the front prop is good. Remove the bolts and it'll rest down out of the way. It would be wise to tie it to the chassis rail however - if it gets moved inwards, it'll clear the crossmember and drop - possibly onto you.


The rear prop the same, I completely removed it as it hangs down in the way.


At this point I removed all the bell housing bolts except for two. The exhaust mounting to the rear of the gearbox has to be removed and the pipe disconnected too as these are in the way .

Place a jack under the gearbox - I put it here so that it's out of the way and will prevent the transfer case from dropping once it's cleared the crossmember.


Both gearbox mounts need to be removed in order for it to sit down far enough to rest on the crossmember and also be moved rearwards. Passenger side is 2x15mm nuts for the rubber, and then 4x10mm bolts for the bracket.

Drivers side is smaller and quite fiddly to get off, but 1x15mm nut and 4x10mm bolts for the bracket.

The gearbox will have to be jacked higher in order to remove the brackets.

The two gearbox mounts.


Carefully lower the jack until the gearbox is just touching (but not resting on) the crossmember, remove the two remaning bell housing bolts, the clutch slave that I just noticed! :blink: , and the gearbox is now ready to be detached from the engine. Get in a comfortable position and very carefully lever/kick/pull/swear at the gearbox and slide it back. Always keep an eye on the jack or whatever you have used to support the transfer case. If it falls over or the transfer case slides of it - then the back will drop and rotate round. These are very heavy units, and getting it back into position would be very difficult. Fortunately the owner of the vehicle was on hand to help, which made the job easier.

Anyway, once the engine and box are seperated - the problem is plain to see.


I've never seen one fail as neatly as this, they have always been split where the ball has punched through. The metal looks pretty good, and not thin enough to have failed - very odd.


Once replaced the gearbox can be manipulated back onto the engine, and the whole thing put back together.

The job took 6-hours, that was with 3 coffee breaks and taking things easy.

The clutch fork and clip for the slave were £12, so not a great deal of money, just a pain of a job to have to do it.

Things to be aware of:-

The gearbox is really heavy, there's no useable point of balance, and if it starts to go, it's unlikely you'll be able to stop it. Don't put yourself in a position where it will fall you on. Injuries could possibly be severe.

Front prop - tie it up or at least keep a wary eye on it. If it clears the crossmember it'll drop - possibly onto you.

Don't forget that slave cylinder, it can be left connected to the pipe work and will rest up on the chassis rail out of the way.

The transmission cover is some strange type of fibrous plastic, it's very flexible, but still a right swine to get off.

Thanks to the owner for the help in lifting the gearbox back into position , and for allowing a forum sticker to be placed on the rear door.


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As per usual, that is a cracking detailed post... I've wondered how long that would take and wouldn't have believed enough room would be provided by sliding the box back alone if you had not provided the piccies. :)

Spot on.


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Good post - nice piccies!

I had to do this twice on my 110 - the fork only lasted 30k or so.

On the replacement, I welded a piece of 1/4" plate to the fork to stop it punching through ever again!

If you have the facilities and are doing this - I would suggest you do the same. At least then you (or anyone else) will never have to worry about it again!


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good post. when mine went last summer (220 miles from home with a big trailer behind) i did as simon said and welded a plate onto the new fork... its a crappy design and shouldn't fail the way its does, but its a realy common fault.

if i was prepping a vehicle for a long trip i'd definately change it, and its interesting to see it can be changed without taking the engine or gearbox completely out...

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Nicely detailed post Les, good to know the time involved too

One [well maybe 2] question/s, what would you advise for people who've got an engine hoist, so theoretically possible to lift the boxes from above, saving crushed parts; + what is the best order to tackle the bellhousing bolts, or doesn't it matter?


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On the replacement, I welded a piece of 1/4" plate to the fork to stop it punching through ever again!

If you have the facilities and are doing this - I would suggest you do the same. At least then you (or anyone else) will never have to worry about it again!

Good point Simon, I remember a mate telling me he would always weld a flat washer to the new fork every time he did one.

Good thread Les.

This is yet another example of the accountants winning out over the engineers - what was wrong with the cast clutch forks that previous models had???

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