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Terry Haines

The BOLT

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.......it seems 'that time of year' for many owners to be 'breaking the bolt' and loosing gears.A few basic pointers on how to prevent this.

*DON'T WAIT FOR IT TO FAIL!!!---Now guys you ALL know this is an issue and can happen at any time so why wait?Best to do is to remove the tower/turret and ship it off to us for the 'Keyed Tower' mod and never worry again about lost gears or fishing for a bolt head in the trans.Note: another 'global' aftermarket transmission supplier offers an up grade to the Focus towers,this will run you over $600 just for the parts alone,ours is a lot cheaper than that and can be done on both the early ally towers,the later style 'Focus' towers and the even later Jaguar 'X' type towers.*Dispite the 'bunk' you read the chances of getting a tower out off the trans with it still in gear are very slim.You have a remote chance if the bolt breaks in 5th/Reverse gear as this is the selector fork at the top of the 3 fork 'stack' in the trans.In either of these gears you 'may' have enough room to lift the tower and push the fork back to the neutral position and unlock the tower and lift it out.*Once out (IF you get lucky!) you MUST retrieve the broken bolt head.The clearences within the trans case are tight between some gears and the case...leave it in and you run a MAJOR risk of a gear punching it out thru the trans case...big $$$$ that one!*Assume you do get it out and get the broken head and the shaft out of the tower why would you use a stock bolt?...This is a shortfall on the tower and even a new genuine bolt will go again .....sometime!*I could go into a long discription on why this bolt breaks etc but right now isn't the time...But I will add that if your trans has spent its life running in ATF fluid,chances are you are putting more load on the bolt anyway.Rembember my post about shift fork bushes ,with the video and the effect ATF has on making those bushes/forks tight to shift?All of this adds more loads to that bolt.....So do yourselft a favor and invest a few bucks now on getting that tower modded BEFORE it fails... ;) ;)

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.......it seems 'that time of year' for many owners to be 'breaking the bolt' and loosing gears.A few basic pointers on how to prevent this.

*DON'T WAIT FOR IT TO FAIL!!!---Now guys you ALL know this is an issue and can happen at any time so why wait?Best to do is to remove the tower/turret and ship it off to us for the 'Keyed Tower' mod and never worry again about lost gears or fishing for a bolt head in the trans.Note: another 'global' aftermarket transmission supplier offers an up grade to the Focus towers,this will run you over $600 just for the parts alone,ours is a lot cheaper than that and can be done on both the early ally towers,the later style 'Focus' towers and the even later Jaguar 'X' type towers.*Dispite the 'bunk' you read the chances of getting a tower out off the trans with it still in gear are very slim.You have a remote chance if the bolt breaks in 5th/Reverse gear as this is the selector fork at the top of the 3 fork 'stack' in the trans.In either of these gears you 'may' have enough room to lift the tower and push the fork back to the neutral position and unlock the tower and lift it out.*Once out (IF you get lucky!) you MUST retrieve the broken bolt head.The clearences within the trans case are tight between some gears and the case...leave it in and you run a MAJOR risk of a gear punching it out thru the trans case...big $$$$ that one!*Assume you do get it out and get the broken head and the shaft out of the tower why would you use a stock bolt?...This is a shortfall on the tower and even a new genuine bolt will go again .....sometime!*I could go into a long discription on why this bolt breaks etc but right now isn't the time...But I will add that if your trans has spent its life running in ATF fluid,chances are you are putting more load on the bolt anyway.Rembember my post about shift fork bushes ,with the video and the effect ATF has on making those bushes/forks tight to shift?All of this adds more loads to that bolt.....So do yourselft a favor and invest a few bucks now on getting that tower modded BEFORE it fails... ;) ;)

Terry, where/what exactly is this bolt you are talking about. Do you have any kind of pic or diagram so I can see what you are referring to ? Check that, I found some pics after a more thorough search...but how do you gain access to the bolt ?

Edited by Stuukaatz

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post-1268-1166548741_thumb.jpg

The bolt is on the shfter tower assy(unbolt the tower from the top of trans) BUT you have a 96 rod shift,this only applies to cable shift MTX's 98>.......

Oh...didn't catch that part, so this is something that doesn't concern me. Well thanks for the reply and excellent info as usual Terry. I see you won't be on the site for a bit so you and your family have a Merry Christmas !

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post-1268-1166548741_thumb.jpg

The bolt is on the shfter tower assy(unbolt the tower from the top of trans) BUT you have a 96 rod shift,this only applies to cable shift MTX's 98>.......

would this apply to a 96 GL?

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I had the bolt that Terry is talking about shear off a while back and replaced it with a Ford bolt. I also had a diffrent bolt shear off just before Xmas here is a pic. I had to get the pin/bolt from Ford which took about a week. Is it common for the second bolt/pin to shear?

 

DSC02745.jpg

 

DSC02731.jpg

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...not common at all but if you think about it,if the lower bolt is 'on its way out' the upper bolt is taking more load....This again leads us to why the bolts go and the primary cause is stiff shift forks that cause the driver to 'abuse' the stick and shift...This in itself puts extra large loads on the bolts which goes towards the premature failure...what causes the stiff forks, BLOODY ATF FLUID!/....but if I just change the fluid...????? IT WONT HELP YOU...once the bushings have swollen thats it,another fluid will NOT shrink them back!..I've been collecting data and testing this,and other MTX75 issues for YEARS!...In fact I doubt anyone has as much inside backround,data & study of the MTX75 as I/HMS Inc does.... ;)

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...not common at all but if you think about it,if the lower bolt is 'on its way out' the upper bolt is taking more load....This again leads us to why the bolts go and the primary cause is stiff shift forks that cause the driver to 'abuse' the stick and shift...This in itself puts extra large loads on the bolts which goes towards the premature failure...what causes the stiff forks, BLOODY ATF FLUID!/....but if I just change the fluid...????? IT WONT HELP YOU...once the bushings have swollen thats it,another fluid will NOT shrink them back!..I've been collecting data and testing this,and other MTX75 issues for YEARS!...In fact I doubt anyone has as much inside backround,data & study of the MTX75 as I/HMS Inc does.... ;)

 

Terry,

 

Any tricks to fishing 'THE BOLT' out of the bottom of the trans without removing the trans itself?

 

I have my car in pieces, with the mechanism still out, bolt replaced (replaced it prior to reading your permanent fix, go figure). I need my car back together for work, ASAP, and need to get this bolt out of the bottom of the trans.

 

Any help is appreciated.

 

SQ

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...drain trans and try to find a small magnet that is on a flex type pick up tool and fish for the bolt head.IF you don't find it I advise you DON'T DRIVE THE CAR as we have seen many ho have damaged the whole trans with the broken bolt head...next would be trans out and try to see if can be shaken out of the trans..next would be..if stuck in case...trans opened up etc..

To all MTX owners..consider our 'Keyed Tower' mod...Don't wait for the bolt to go.

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...drain trans and try to find a small magnet that is on a flex type pick up tool and fish for the bolt head.IF you don't find it I advise you DON'T DRIVE THE CAR as we have seen many ho have damaged the whole trans with the broken bolt head...next would be trans out and try to see if can be shaken out of the trans..next would be..if stuck in case...trans opened up etc..

To all MTX owners..consider our 'Keyed Tower' mod...Don't wait for the bolt to go.

 

I'll see if I can get to it through the drain.

 

Is the drain on the front of the transmission, towards the front bumper? Or is that the fill?

 

Thanks,

Shawn

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...front of trans is fill.Drain is low on trans below where passenger side shaft enters trans. Neither is a good place to fish.Tower off and thru the top is best...

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...drain trans and try to find a small magnet that is on a flex type pick up tool and fish for the bolt head.IF you don't find it I advise you DON'T DRIVE THE CAR as we have seen many ho have damaged the whole trans with the broken bolt head...next would be trans out and try to see if can be shaken out of the trans..next would be..if stuck in case...trans opened up etc..

To all MTX owners..consider our 'Keyed Tower' mod...Don't wait for the bolt to go.

 

Terry, If I am going to take the trans out - but I don't need the bellhousing and all of the other stuff - what type of 'special' tools will I need other than a simple socket set with 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2" drive?

 

My concern with removing the trans is getting halfway into it and not having the tools needed.

 

Also, will I need to pull both axles if I am not removing the entire assembly, just the gearbox?

 

Thanks,

Shawn

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Bellhousing is part of the trans..It all comes with it. All metric on a Contour. Slide hammer with CV 'fork' to pull drivers side shaft out, clutch tools if you change clutch etc...fuel line disconnect tool...

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i recently ran into this bolt failure on a 99 and ended up removing the complete trans and dumped the old fluid/bolt out through the tower hole.

 

 

I would still open it up to make sure you got everything out ....

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Just to restate my original point.Don't wait..as the MTX's get older they become more prone to bolt failure etc...and,when the bolt goes with it 'in gear' you will either damage components on the tower when you force/lever it out in gear or will have to pull the trans,open the cases etc...Either way our 'Keyed Mod' is sound insurance to all that have any MTX75.

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my bolt spun itself out a few years ago. it was in third or fourth gear when it happened. the two short bolts on the top of the tower (the ones you don't have to take out to actually remove the tower from the transmission) hold on the top "cap", if you will. it has a bearing in it and it prevents lateral movement of the rod, that actually spins the shift tower. now this is the rod that has the threads in it, if you look closely. you can grab the top of that rod, with a channel locks or something (and a rag around it, you don't wanna burr the shaft, because it rides on that bearing in the cap) and you can turn it into neutral. it should only turn one way, if the car was in gear. it should easily snap out of gear.

 

When i did this, i knew nothing of the transmission, i hadn't as much as looked at anything under the hood. it happened about a week after i bought the car.

 

nobody i have ever talked to has noticed that you can do this. they must think that since the bolt is out it won't shift it out of gear, but with that top off you can. i can get pics tonight if anyone disagrees.

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Incorrect info.When 'the bolt' breaks it is on the lower section of the tower,not the bolt that operates the reverse light switch.Your action of removing the top cover and turning the vert shift shaft will not dis engage from gear..When 'the bolt' goes you have no drive from the shaft to the selector arm. Sorry but you are out of wack here.

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I know this is a bit of a necro post, but i finally have the money saved up to fix this problem for the second time. Yes you read that right, this is the second time, I managed to get by with the tranny fishing for the first one.

 

Obviously with what I have learned between the first time and this one I will be getting my shifter tower modded. However I do have a few questions first.

 

Primarily to Terry, but anyone else feel free to chime in:

 

I did drive the car around a few blocks worth the first time (repositioning, moving so not to get ticketed, pulling into the garage to have it fixed, etc.) and considerably more the second time (all the way across town, probably about 15 miles maybe a bit more). With that information is there any serious damage that I have or could have done to the transmission given that it seemed to run fine until I parked it the final time. If I get this mod done and spend the time and energy (not to mention money) I would really rather not be in a situation where my Trans is ready to bite the big one.

 

Secondly, for the "Keyed Tower" mod do you offer any prebuilts with a "core" charge type of deal or is it straight modding a tower that I send you.

 

Thanks for all the great info you have posted here Terry you are by far and away one of the most dedicated people I know.

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The biggest risk driving with a broken bolt,apart from the fact you are stuck in one gear and usually have to slip the clutch a lot to move off,is the broken head .This could be punched thru the gear case by one of the gears..It seems you got lucky with yours which is good.

I used to have a lot of cores of the tower but so many 'forgot' to send in the old unit ,even with a core charge,I gave that up.Now the customer has to supply the tower and we mod it.Turnround in a week usually.Drop me an e mail etc..

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Well thats good news. For the sake of the others I'm going to post this here and get out an email right afterward.

 

Two more questions:

First, with that bolt in the transmission what is the best way to ensure that I get all of it out of the transmission. I know Im going to have to drop the tranny anyway, so that is assumed.

 

Secondly, is there any upgrades/swaps that would be a good idea to do while I already have the transmission pulled, such as replacing parts like the flywheel, clutch pressure plate, etc at the current milage (around 130k).

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If anything was damaged, it would have been obvious. Getting a hardened bolt head caught in moving gears results in a pretty distinct and unforgettable sound. I got to hear it in July 2008. The head rolled up between the diff ring gear and trans. case.

 

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