Hi .... so thinking of swapping the old 4 speed side change box for a 5 speed . The articles I've read all seem to be Toyota W59 boxes Is that current thinking ? Anyone do a kit for theMX5 box Or other currently common manual boxes ? Kits for W58 box seem quite expensive for what u get . Would like to just get bell housing spigot bush and then fabricate the rest of gearbox supports clutch pivot etc anyone done one recently ?
There are quite a few MX5 (and Ford Type 9) kits available for some of the 4cyl. A and B series engine MG's that I know off. However I am not sure if the Mazda box will take the power / torque from a "big" Healey. The MGB remodelled conversion by Frontline developments uses a larger / heavier Mazda gearbox.
Any-how back to some thoughts re Healey from some of the options I looked at ......
Classic Components. (New Zealand) contact Colin Dray.
Have developed and can supply a full conversion kit (see Rawles below) and reworked Toyota Supra W58 gearbox.
Rawles Motorsport (UK) contact Andrew Cluett
Essentially supply the Classic Components kit and gearbox, if required. At the time I looked the cost was about the same, but depends on current exchange rates. Kit includes: Aluminium Bellhousing, Pilot bearing & Sleeve, Clutch Fork, Slave cylinder, Thrust bearing & carrier, Conversion clutch plate, Clutch pressure plate, Crossmember. Depending on gearbox supplied you may need an electronic speedo. I didn't and kept with mechanical but did have to get a Toyota angle drive - available from main dealer. Propshaft link supplied but need to get a new prop shaft made once fitted and measured.
Cape International (UK) contact Steve Norton
Early kits from Cape were based upon the Gertrag gearbox. I think that SC parts also support this conversion. However Cape have moved away from using Getrag's due, I believe, in getting hold of good quality second hand 'boxes. The current Cape kit is based around a Ford gearbox and includes a replacement propshaft and speedo cable, which the CC / Rawles kit don't.
Pete Delaney (US), contact Pete Delaney
This is based upon the old Smitty Toyota W58/59 conversion, probably one of the first, if not most popular 5 speed conversions available. Pete acquired the business and has continued supplying either full kits (minus gearbox) or individual parts. Probably a more complete kit than the CC / Rawles but you need to find a Toyota 'box. Getting in touch with Pete isn't the easiest!
Elite Racing Transmissions (UK), contact Rob Swift
Elite were developing a kit based on the Tremec T5 gearbox. They purchase / import new T5's from the US. These are common on Jaguar conversions and at the time I spoke with them they were developing the Healey conversion but hadn't sold any. The conversion uses the original Healey Bellhousing with a supplied adaptor box / input shaft. The gearstick is in the same position as a centre change Healey 'box. The final ratios can be adapted - decide at time of order.
having looked at lots of options, I finally decided to use the Toyota (Supra) W58 gearbox for a couple of reasons,
a. They have been widely tested in Healeys and are reliable. b. The ratio's work well. I have also installed a 3.55 rear differential, and in early gears this has limited impact, but in top should really drop the revs, if I need to coast at speed.
In in the end I went for the Rawles offering - effectively the Classic conversions kit, since price wise both worked out the same but buying from Rawles took out the potential import tax issues, and if there were any problems, I had a UK contact. I also wanted a 'box which had been fully refurbished and the CC boxes sourced out of Japan, I think, was in really good condition when it arrived. I was tempted to go for the Pete Delaney kit, as it is probably more complete, but getting hold of Pete isn't the easiest - or do I found. At the time Pete's kit was also the cheapest, but that was before the exchange rate changed. If you have or can get a box and only want a few bits of the kit, then persevering in getting hold of Pete may be the way to go.
p.s. I have also crated up my original side shift Healey box and overdrive, should sing owner in the future want to change back.
Most of us vinatge racing in the USA use the Smitty kit that Pete now sells. You can pick-up a good used Toyota W58 transmission from a breaker for $250-$300. I have two, but most racers never have a problem with them even when abused while racing. The additional 50lbs weight savings doesn't hurt either, plus the center shift position matches the BJ8 pretty well.
Apparently I did my conversion 17 years ago ! I wrote it up for Revcounter in Dec 2000. A pal and I imported 2 sets from Colin Dray in NZ. I sold my BT7 a few years ago now, but gearbox was fine. Pals still going strong. I never regretted the change, tho I did occasionally miss switching down from o/d third for overtaking moves. I fully expect to do the conversion on the Jamaican when the time comes