Ah well, it had to happen sooner or later.  After 61 000 miles the trike gearbox decided to call it a day.  Now considering the gearbox was second hand when I fitted it, I can't really complain.  Whilst the gearbox was out I decided to give the rest of the trike a bit of a rebuild.  Oh dear - ever started something you wished you hadn't ?

    Knowing just how stubborn ancient nuts and bolts can be, I spent a few days squirting all the fixings with penetrating oil - this little trick can save hours of frustration later on.  Any fixing that was going to be replaced with a stainless steel one was just sheared off - this is a damn sight quicker and easier than trying to undo 'em.

Excuse me while I whip this out.

The bodywork and fuel tank were soon whipped off.  The engine is only held in by four bolts, and within less than fifteen minutes the engine was swinging in the breeze.  Seeing as the engine is "well sorted" I don't intend to do anything to it, so it was laid to rest in the garage.  All being well, the thing should fire up without any problems when the time comes ( watch this space ).
    The removal of the mudguards was a tad more tricky - those bolts just didn't want to come undone.  Good job I'd soaked 'em in penetrating oil earlier.  None of the fittings on the brake pipes would undo - so I just cut the brake lines.  I'll be fitting new ones, so I can now get the fittings off at my leisure, besides, it's so much easier when you can hold 'em in the vice.

oooer - look at the length of that shaft

  Now came another difficult bit - getting the axle tubes and drive shafts out.  Now before you can get at those, you have to remove the wheels, brake plates, shocks and generally shift anything else that gets in the way.  Despite being soaked in penetrating oil those mudguard stay mounting bolts were a bugger to shift.  No chance of shearing these off, they're at least 12 mm and very fine thread.  Much straining later and all but one of 'em were off.  The remaining one can be drilled out later.
    Now in order for the axle tube to be removed, you have to pull the bearing off the end of the drive shaft.  Not possessing the specialist puller I had to resort to the good old fashioned method - Hit it with a hammer until there's enough clearance to get a conventional three legged puller behind it.

A nice oily shaft - and a large circlip hiding behind it

Having got the bearing off, the next bit was removing the large circlip that holds the drive shaft in place.  Arghhh - I need a larger pair of circlip pliers.  One larger pair of pliers later and the circlip was out.  What a bleedin' struggle, and just to make things even more interesting, I had to do exactly the same on the other side - sadly there was less room on the others side.  Eventually, with much cussing, both drive shafts were out and the gearbox itself could be removed.  A grand total of six bolts later, and the offending gearbox was out.

What time did the bomb go off ?

The garage looked like a bomb had gone off in there.  Bits of trike all over the place.  Time for a tidy up.
    The chassis was hung from the roof beams on three 6 mm steel wire ropes - good job I never throw anything away - I just * knew * those old suspension ropes would come in handy one day.
    The gearbox was hauled away to Cradley Heath and a certain gearbox rebuilder - don't know when it'll be finished though.

 Not all that much rust considering its age 

Now comes the time consuming bit.  Cleaning, preparing and painting the various bits and pieces.  The chassis hadn't got all that much rust on it considering its age and the amount of use it's had.
    One of the most useful inventions of recent years is the shopping trolley.  A nice basket to hold all your junk, and a set of wheels to move it all around.  Just sit your trike chassis on top of the shopping trolley and you can happily move it around. . . . Why is it that whenever you need a shopping trolley there just ain't one lying around ?

Dangerous driller killer at large    

Having "found" a shopping trolley, the next useful thing I obtained was an extra pair of hands.  These hands just happened to be attached to Bucka, so without further ado, they were given a drilling machine and a wire brush and pointed at the chassis.  A few hours later and the chassis was all nice and shiny, which is more than could be said for me and Bucka.  It's amazing just how much crap can get lodged in your beard.
Still - it all washed out without too much hassle.

All covered in zinc rich paint    A sort of before and after shot   All covered in shiny black paint

A smooth body The trike's eyeballs Nice shiny brakeplates Super dooper starter motor

      Loads of other little odds and sods have been done - tow bar painted - fuel tank painted - various new bits purchased - mudguards - headlight - indicators - 7 pin trailer socket - mirrors.       Loads of other little odds and sods have still to be done - but that's another story.

October 18th - and counting.

As shiny as a chimp's testicle

Yep - I've finally got the gearbox back - all rebuilt and ready to fit . . . . it's just a pity that the chassis and body ain't ready yet.  Ah well - carry on painting.

One wheel on my wagon It sort of looks yellow - now where's my stripes ?

Slowly but surely - the yellow peril advances.

Right - that brings us up to November 3rd.

Get out of that then, you smug bastard. 

Looks like the gearbox is now sitting where it should be.

If it can go wrong - it will go wrong.

All very nice, but I seem to have put the brake plates on the wrong sides. The hole for the handbrake cable should be facing the front. Ah well - I'll take 'em off and turn 'em around. . . . . . tomorrow.

8th November - or thereabouts.

More tubes than an intensive care unit.

The brake master cylinder and the brake pipes are all plumbed in - 'fraid I need the engine running to bleed the servo correctly, but that can wait.

At last, it sits on its own three wheels.

It took two of us bouncing on the thing to pre-load the torsion bars - would have been easier to put the engine back in for the extra weight.

Now you see 'em - now you don't

The things they now supply instead of "Jubiliee" clips are rubbish - so I went out and obtained the proper things. Made life far easier.

Cheap, cheerful and plastic.

This time, I'll try mudguards that are static - don't know how long the mountings will last though . . . . dare say I'll find out soon enough.

'Ere - he's got his eye on I

Front running lights, mirror mountings, front brake master cylinder, switchgear and twistgrip finally make their grand entrance - pity they ain't wired or plumbed in yet.

That brings us up to November 18th

Here we are again. Thanks to Ebay, I now have the rev counter and the fuel gauge. The plan was to fit them "up front" along with the speedometer, but after looking at the amount of work involved, I decided they could live in the front half of the body - after all, it only means running two extra wires.

No revs and no fuel - not the best of situations.

Just to make sure everything lines up, I dropped the bodywork back on. The "tiger stripes" will have to be done by hand later on - not a job I'm looking forward to. At least it's looking more trike-like now.

At long last, it once again resembles a trike

Putting the engine back in was one of those jobs that went exactly according to plan. When I say the engine just slid into place, I mean just that. No problems lining the clutch up - just offered the engine up, and the gearbox ate it. The fuel tank was the next object to find its way back home, along with the throttle cable and associated linkages. The regulator box was then fitted, and wired up to the dynamo. Yes, I know the engine looks tatty, but it runs well, and I ain't going to make even more work for myself.

One happy engine.

That brings us to November 23rd

The bit I ain't looking forward to - painting the stripes. Having tried various methods, none of which worked, it seems the only way is to draw the outline, then go around the line with a small brush before filling the rest in with a larger brush. I bloody hate painting.

There must be an easier way

A fine set of stripes.

And that brings us to November 29th

At last - the final stripe is painted on.

Am I glad that's finished.

Now we add a few lights - along with a total re-wire.

It's ol' four eyes - well, six really but who's counting.

Bloody Hell - they even work

After the best part of four months - the trike is back up and running.

And about time too !

29th December

Apart from a bit of "fine tuning" the trike is all ready for next year.


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