Okay, so it's picture time!!
(Sorry it took so long this morning, but I got a call that the carb for my Plymouth was finally done (after 2 months), so I went to go pick that up and made a few other stops along the way... Amazing how much time you can waste just driving around!!)
I uncovered the Bolens 850 yesterday and took a look at what I was dealing with. It may have been hard to tell from the video I took last week, so I took some close-up pics to show some of the damage. First, here are some overall shots of the inside of the transaxle that also give you a good look at how watery the old gear oil was:
So here's some close-ups of the old broken shift fork that engages the Reverse and 1st gears. Notice anything odd about the welds on it?
Yeah, it sure looks re-welded to me. Those don't look like factory welds on that. Compare it with the other shift fork as well for 2nd and 3rd gears:
The weld on the shift fork for 2nd and 3rd gears still looks original. Plus, looking at all the damage to the teeth on the 1st gear, I'd say that someone was having a tough time shifting and was slaming the transmission around into 1st gear especially. Let's take a closer look at 1st gear as well...
The front of all the teeth are ground right down on the 1st gear. Especially compared with the other gears in the transmission which seem hardly worn at all by comparison!
The next step was to remove the shifter connectors from the shift rods. Surprisingly enough, the roll pins came out rather easily and the connectors themselves came right off of the shift rods as well. I cleaned all of the crud and grease and dirt off of them in hopes to aid in shifting when it is back together again.
The next step was to remove the drain plug and drain all of the gear oil out of the transaxle housing:
Looks pretty nasty, right? So, I took one of the shift forks Farmerall sent me that looked like it was cut off of the shifter rod and had a piece of the rod still attached to it. I hammered out the roll pin and it came right off. So, now I even had a spare piece of rod to put through the housing that the detent ball is in to keep the ball from falling out. Here is a look at the shift fork that I'm going to install into my transmission. The welds look a lot different on it and it looks like it is a good original part:
Then, I had to hammer out the roll pin on the broken shift fork, which also came out easily enough. Now I could take the shift rod out. After chasing the shift rod through the housing with the cut-off piece of rod in order to hold the detent ball in place, I slowly removed the shift rod and slid off the broken shift fork.
(You can also see that the gear oil level is much lower now that the transaxle housing has been drained...) I tried to clean out all of the old watery oil with some PB Blaster as well to flush out the housing. I also pulled off the lower cover and cleaned it off. Surprisingly though, unless all of the debris came out when I drained the gear oil, I didn't see much in the way of metal filings in the tranaxle housing after I drained the oil out.
So, this is where I am at with it right now...
I COULD just throw the shift fork in it and it would probably be okay to run for a while. I'm wondering though if it is not that much extra work to just replace that chewed up 1st gear or at least try to clean it up somehow before I put it back together. I'm also trying to find a gasket set to put the transaxle back together so it won't leak. If I take it apart to replace or clean the 1st gear though, I may have to replace the oil seals and/or bearings in it too, at more time and cost as well. But I'm already this far into it and I'd hate to not fix it the right way and have something else break in it later on because I cut corners on it now, you know?
Does anyone have any thoughts on this? I know a lot of people have weighed in on this already and I'm not trying to sound like a pain in the ass or like I'm not listening to what has already been said, but I'm just kind of conflicted over which way to proceed right now. On the one hand, I'd like to fix it right, but on the other hand, I've never gotten into a transmission like this before and especially on something this old where the parts aren't readily available for it. If something goes wrong or I end up needing more parts because I started taking it all apart, then I'm down for another week or two (possibly more) while waiting to get or find parts. Plus, what if I screw something up or put it back together wrong somehow? (Of course I'd like to think I'm not THAT inept and I've taken so many photos already, so I should have a good idea of how it all goes back together! lol...)