Transmission fluid leak

Driveshaft sealI noticed a small patch of gearbox oil on the drive the other day. You’ll know if it gearbox oil by the horrendous smell!  It looks like the offside driveshaft seal is leaking. This is a circular seal that sits in the end of gearbox differential casing. The driveshaft goes through this seal. It’s possible I disturbed the seal when refitting the gearbox and driveshafts after changing the clutch. I despise dealing with transmission oil at the best of times, so I’m going to book it into the garage to sort this one out easily on the ramps.

For those of the DIY persuasion I’ve described the process of fixing it yourself .

Clutch change

In preparation for the next trackday at Oulton Park I wanted to change the clutch as the last one was slipping at the last trackday at Anglesey.

So I got the car up in the air on axle stands and set about clearing the decks of wiring looms, the battery, and airbox etc. The hub nuts were a pain to remove, but once off, I drained the gearbox of oil and removed the driveshafts to give me more space.

Gearbox metal shavingsBox off Snapped linkage mount

I took out the wishbones, purely because I always find it quicker than trying to get the balljoingt out of the hub any other way. Once the gearbox was easily accessible I removed all the allen key bolts that hold it to the block as well as the starter motor 13mm bolts and supported the gearbox on a jack. I removed the offside gearbox mount and gently lowered the ‘box down. After a lot of wiggling and pulling the ‘box eventually came off exposing the clutch. It didn’t looks in too bad a condition for 136,000 miles with just some signs of overheating on the cover plate. The friction plate was worn but would have kept going in road use for another 20-30,000 miles im sure.

Old clutchI grabbed the 2nd hand clutch id bought months earlier only to discover the cover plates were different and the mounting holes don’t match! Typical!  Turns out I have been sent the clutch for a  year 2000+ model and my car uses the older style clutch. So I placed and order at Peugeot for a new clutch which came to £100 + VAT which wasn’t too bad. I always prefer to use genuine Valeo clutches as they have a good reputation and last well. However this meant I had to leave the car unfinished on what was a good day, weatherwise, leaving me only 3 and a half nights of available work in bad weather.

I was happy to see Peugeot had got the right clutch, and so I removed the old one in no time and carefully torqued up the new one using the included alignment tool to keep the plate centred.

Now the real pain! With the days running out until the Oulton Park trackday I spent 4 evenings in the rain and cold, getting the gearbox and all the ancilliaries back on the car. The gearbox was a real pain to get lined back up and over the chassis  at the back of the engine bay. Eventually we got it back into place. Be sure if you do this, that the release bearing on the clutch fork stays in place, as it can fall off easily if you turn the fork while manhandling the ‘box.

Clutch comparisonClutch comparison

With the gearbox back on and bolted in place, I reattached the clutch cable and linkages  and tested it in the car. I could select gears which was good!

I reinstalled the driveshafts and wishbones leaving two problems:

1) I had damaged the near side driveshaft thread when removing the hub nut

2) The ball on the gearbox that the lowest gear linkage attaches to had snapped on when removing it.

Problem one took about 15 minutes to sort with a file, carefully filing down the threads until the new nut went back on.

Broken mountProblem two was more of a pain; Peugeot had initially told me they could get me a new bracket no problem. Turnsout two days later there was no stock available for 5 days. So I took the bracket to be welded, only to bolt it to the ‘box and find out the gear linkage wouldn’t stay on no matter what I did. The weld wasnt 100% in the exact place, and the linkage kept popping off, even when cable tied to the hilt. After a 2 minute test drive down the road, the linkage came off, leaving the gearstick flopping around and I lost patience…

So I gave up  at 7.30 pm on the day before the trackday – in a bad mood, and decided to load up the Evo with tools and tyres and set off for the hotel I’d booked. All that hard work in freezing and raining temperatures and I still didn’t make it.

Bad times…

Wishing Well

With the rush on to get the car ready for the Anglesey trackday , I ordered two new wishbones from a retailer on ebay for the reasonable sum of £71 delivered. These came complete with all bushes and balljoints. I don’t usually buy non OEM wishbones and balljoint as the Peugeot ones seem to be made of sterner stuff, but they were asking ridulous money. I was hoping this would cure the knock I was getting coming on and off the throttle, as well as some tramlining on the motorway.

I knew I needed another balljoint on the car when I replaced the driveshaft a few months ago. I had to get the old one out of the hub before which took some persuasion, and even though I was careful removing it, it was clear the joint was old and tired and needed replacing. Since the balljoints are pressed in, I decided to replace the entire wishbone as it makes for a much easier job as well as renewing the wishbone bushes which wear frequently and would save me a job later on.

So I whipped off the wheel, and undid the pinch bolt (16mm). I levered the balljoint free of the hub, undid the wishbone bolts (16mm rear, 18mm front) and withdrew the complete wishbone. The rear bush was very worn and fell off the wishbone when I removed it! It had clearly never been replaced before as the foam covering the wishbone bolts in the cabin was intact. The near side wasn’t as bad and had clearly been replaced before.

The best technique I found for getting the new wishbone back in was to put the rear bush bolts back in first – ideally have a friend inside the cabin to put the nuts on the first few threads. Then line up the balljoint and fit that into the hub. Finally jack up the front bush and place the bolt through and tighten all the bolts.

Be careful not to pull the hub outward and toward you with the wishbone removed, or you may pull the driveshaft out of the diff (on the passenger side anyway). and pour transmission oil everywhere and that my friends is one of the foulest smelling oils there is!

With the car lowered back down on its wheels, I took the car for a drive, the difference is quite astounding. Everything feels tighter, no more clunking over bumps and no more wandering on the motorway for instance. The shunt coming on and off the throttle has disappeared and the handling is now sublime, roundabouts are so much fun!

The balljoints and bushes tend to suffer with abuse from trackday kerbs and potholes, so I’ll have to see how long these ones last and report back.

For £71 and some elbow grease this is definitely one of the best and cheapest ways to freshen up the car’s handling and performance.

Shake baby shake…

I noticed at , how much the engine moved on it’s mounts when the operator came on and off the throttle. This is usually a sign of worn engine mounts, so I placed an order at for 2 new mounts. Other symptoms of worn mounts include a ‘shunt’ when coming off and on the throttle, often accompanied by a clunk from the engine bay. You can also often feel shaking inside the cabin when the engine is idling.

I decided against choosing group N harder rubber mounts as I’m not a fan of the increased vibrations they transmit into the cabin. It was also slight overkill for a road and occasional track car. So armed with the new mounts to fit I set about swapping them over. This job is very often overlooked as part of maintenance, as garages don’t often recommend to owners to change the mounts and, if you’re not au fait with cars, are hard to identify as a problem. This is not as daunting job as it sounds and with a few simple tools is very easy to do yourself.

I’ve written a guide to changing the mounts .

The gearbox mount was visibly worn, having ovalled the rubber, however the lower mount looked in good condition when compared with the new one.

Having successfully swapped over the gearbox and lower mounts, I took the GTi for a spirited drive down one of my favourite roads, throwing it into corners coming on and off the throttle abruptly and braking hard. The difference was noticable but there was still some driveline shunt present as you came on and off the throttle. So next on the list is a wishbone and top engine mount change, hopefully one of which will cure the problem. I’m pleased to report however the in-car shaking seems much reduced, so at least there was some benefit from the change!