TD/TF DVD Video on the rebuilding of the TD/TF Gearbox

For those who have this DVD Video, Keith Meyer offers some advice on using Barrie Jones’ written guide in conjunction with the video itself.

This article references the Barrie Jones gearbox rebuild video, although it is also equally pertinent for a general gearbox rebuild.

I have just completed the second rebuild of my MGTF gearbox, all within a month and a half. To that end, I wish to share this experience, pointing out on how to prevent this unnecessary twofold activity.

It happened because on the first go round, all I did is watch Barrie Jones’s excellent MG Car Club T-Register DVD video on the rebuilding of the TD/TF Gearbox.

Regrettably, I didn’t follow his in video verbal instructions to use his written guide in conjunction with the video itself.

On the second go-round I watched his video and followed his written guide at the same time. Please note that the two are not completely in step with one another. Therefore, I would strongly recommend to read and watch, and watch and read, until you understand the proper progression of parts entering the gearbox and only then perform the testing tasks.

Why did I rebuild the gearbox twice?

In the video, Barrie gets ahead of himself by about two minutes and if you are following the video, while reading the guide, you will notice that the presentation becomes out of synch.

If you are solely following the video, which I did on the initial pass of the rebuild, you will miss a critical step in the assembly process, a step that ultimately culminated into a second rebuild!

Now the problem.

In the video, at approximately 2:00:39 into the presentation, Barrie goes to test the operation of the gearbox by moving the selector shafts and spinning the main shaft to see if each gear is engaging correctly.

This testing process takes about two minutes.

At 2:02:18, after he completes the testing, he then notices that he has forgotten to install the circlip on the end of the 3rd/4th selector shaft.

As he installs the circlip he says something like “that could have been disastrous”.


During the testing phase of the 3rd/4th selector shaft, I managed to slide the shaft back too far, simply because there was no circlip on the shaft to stop its travel.

I, too, had missed the installation of the circlip as presented in the video. Had I been reading along, while watching, I would have become aware of this video error because Barrie installs the circlip 5 steps prior to the testing phase, in his written guide.

But I didn’t do that, obviously.

As a result of the unrestricted over travel of the 3rd/4th shaft, the sliding hub violently released all the balls and springs located between the striking dog and 3rd/4th sliding hub, littering the inside of the gearbox, the work table and shop floor!

Prior to this catastrophe, the gearbox had tested out very well and I was effectively finished, save for the application of the safety wire and closing the gearbox up.

I spent somewhere between four to five hours attempting to get all the balls and springs back into place – a most counterproductive effort. This is an impossible task to achieve with all the parts in place in the gearbox housing.

Accordingly, I commenced with yet another teardown to remove the sliding hub/striking dog assembly from the first motion shaft, and the following:

  • Dug out all the silicone sealant in all the locations.
  • Zip tied the rear flange to the rear casing so it wouldn’t fall out and damage the new felt washer.
  • Removed the rear casing, destroying the gasket which required replacement.
  • Dropped the laygear to the bottom of the casing. Then pushing out the first motion shaft bearing I damaged it, and the guard behind it. These, too, had to be replaced.
  • Pushed out the main shaft.
  • Disassembled the first motion shaft, and spent almost a day reinserting the balls and springs between the sliding hub and striking dog.
  • Rebuilt the first motion shaft.
  • Reinstalled the first motion shaft and main shaft. The laygear tabbed washers would not align with the casing slots.
  • Removed the first motion shaft and main shaft a second time.
  • Realigned the tabbed washers on the laygear.
  • Reinstalled the first motion shaft and main shaft. This time the laygear dropped in correctly.
  • Reassembled everything and when I got to the 3rd/4th selector shaft I installed the circlip AND ONLY THEN I tested the gearbox operation.


After a lot of cussing and breaks for mental sanity, I now have a rebuilt and operational gearbox and gained a pretty good idea on how to rebuild one!

Now, wasn’t that easy?

Ed’s note: I have a rather ancient copy of the video which I can send for a ‘couple of quid’ plus postage, so total cost including UK postage would be a ‘fiver.’

The written guide is included in the very useful little book ‘Barrie’s Notes’, available from the T-Shop.