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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - 1500 first gear rattle

Hi Folks,

As you know, picked up my MOT last week and trying to get plenty of driving done to iron out any niggles in the car. (Wow, it doesn't half corner well when you do the rear shock absorber bolts up properly! :-D I digress...)

One of the unusual noises I hear is a sort of rattling or chattering noise from the gear box when in first. I can't hear it in any other gear or when in neutral.

Box generally shifts OK up and down the gears, occasionally is slightly reluctant to go fully into first.

Is this common on the 1500 boxes? Or something I need to investigate in the future?

M Le Chevalier

Malcolm, wasn't there a thread related to this recently? I can't spot it in the archive, but I have a dim memory it was to do with anti-rattle fittings where the lever fits into the extension housing. Also something about the car being balky selecting 1st gear, which is what made me think of it.
My 1500 is also occasionally tricky to get into 1st when cold but I haven't noticed a rattle. Not yet anyway :-)

Maybe someone with a better memory than mine (or better search skills) can help.

Good catch on the shock bolts!

My gearbox does what your explaining. My gearbox was rebuild about 5 years ago and now does this, usually changing down when moving slowly such as half a cars length from a junction. Doesn't do it from stationary, ie from start up or waiting at traffic lights & then putting into first.
I'd also be keen to know any comments on this one. It didn't do pre rebuild
Nigel Axtell

Niigee! Are you back from the dead! Where have you been! Hades?
Steven Devine

Mine makes many graunchy noises from time to time when moving off in first. Just depends how the box settles when I stop methinks. Generally if I pull away hard it goes OK.

I asked about it some time ago and the general reply was its the poor bearing (or even no bearing?) construction on 1st.

Guy knows.

Any ways I short shift when its doing it and still do well in the traffic as a daily drive. Generally when driving hard it does not happen.
Dave Squire

OK, drive it hard, will do! Have been already :-D

M Le Chevalier

Malcolm have you changed the gearbox oil? Maybe someone used the wrong grade in it i.e. too thin. I'm running 80-90 with a teflon additive designed for gearboxes and it makes only the usual worn bearing noise in 1st, silence in all others (well I can't hear anything over the usual wind and exhaust noise) changes up and down nicely.
R W Bowers

It is a newly rebuilt (by me) box with correct oil. New bearings etc. I might try to check the oil level, although can't think why it would have dropped significantly.

I dunno... it doesn't seem right, but I just can't seem to think what it might be and if I should worry.

M Le Chevalier

Due to the history of the box design, reverse gets partially engaged in 1st gear, this is usually the source of the rattle and or noises in 1st. Reverse idler brass bushing tends to wear and rattle on the small shaft it runs on. Common fault with the boxes and leads to the box being full of filings from the selection teeth when you slam into 1st while going any more than super slow. Treat it like a non-synch 1st for extended box life.
Could be the selector/stick bushings too.

This thread was discussed between 02/12/2015 and 08/12/2015

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