This LRO reader emailed LRO.email@example.com seeking a help for gearbox issues with their Series I.
I’ve inherited a late 1950s Series I that hasn’t been used for years. The engine runs well, but the gearbox is noisy and I have to force the lever into reverse. Is this normal, or will it improve with driving?
Reverse gear selection isn’t normally stiff, but it can happen if the vehicle was used for heavy towing. Driving won’t improve it, though an oil change might. When you drain the oil, look for a yellow sheen indicating wear on bushes. Examine metal particles with a magnifying glass - they might be broken gear teeth. Water in the oil suggests internal rusting, which will cause the box to wear quite fast.
A sprung hinge at the base of the gearlever (giving bias against reverse engagement) might be rusted up, preventing full lever movement. The reverse selector shaft travel is adjusted by a bolt and locknut in the upper vertical face of the transfer box (though that shouldn’t need alteration).
Otherwise, the reverse gear bush is probably loose or breaking up. Your symptoms are typical of a box that’s been run with insufficient oil.
This workshop advice appeared in the March 2006 issue of LRO. Back issues are available to download on digital devices here.