I Desperately Need Help

We spent the better part of 3 hours trying to get my ZF back into the car without success. Short of removing the engine (which I won't do,) what else can I do? I've raised the engine up as far as possible but because of the way the chassis is designed, I can't clear the starter pocket on the bellhousing to clear the chassis. Hence, the input shaft on the transaxle won't go in straight.

Dimi Terleckyj

Lifetime Supporter
Hi Bill

Sometimes it can help if you support the engine and remove the engine mounts as this will give you some more room to move the engine enough to allow alignment with the gearbox.
I have been reluctant to drill the holes, but will give it a try tonight. About what size should I cut?

Bill, If you want to try it one more time before you seperate the bell and trans, I would remove the 4 motor mount bolts and jack the engine up a little then tilt it forward to raise the ass end.

My engine is out of my car now too. I remember someone saying earlier that the engine should come out when you are working on the trans. It just seems easier. Mine is going back in tonight. It took 3hrs and 15 min to remove, we'll see how long it takes to put back.

Good luck
It is a lot easier to remove the engine, but you should be able to take the mounts loose and raise up the back of the engine enough to clear.
Sometimes it is simpler to do what seems like a lot more work than to try and half ass the thing.

Ron McCall

Two holes in the top of the bellhousing turn a 3 1/2 hr job into a 1hr job!!!
If you do it now it will save you hours of work in the future also!

Yes, that is the correct general area. My bell housing is a little different but, you can still see the cutouts/holes to gain access to the top two bolts/studs.

Hope this helps.


Randy V

Staff member
Lifetime Supporter
OKay - I see what the issue is...

I can also see why you don't really want to punch holes there...

So at this juncture it appears that you will need to pull the motor mount bolts and lift the engine up just enough to get the bellhousing to clear the chassis.

One thing that strikes me as really curious - How did you get it out of the car without taking the engine loose?

Ross Nicol

GT40s Supporter
Yes, like Randy I'd like to know what the holes are for. I have removed and refitted the ZF in my car many times without removing the motor and only occasionally had any trouble. I do take care in lining up the clutch well, if I've had that out too, but it's only ever been spigot alignment that's cost me any time and frustration, apart from once after a lot of swearing I found the clutch plate splines were never going to slide on the input shaft. When using the clutch alignment tool I find it helps to raise it a little as you tighten the pressure plate. This is because the tool is able to droop a little through tolerances in the spigot bearing and clutch plate etc. I remember the first time I took the ZF out I removed all the header pipes and this took a long time.Since then I've found it unnecessary thank goodness for that. Hope you master it without taking the motor out Bill.

The chassis was not originally designed to use a ZF. I small pocket had to be cut into the chassis to fit the starter. So when I try to push it in, it hits the chassis. I have to go at an angle which causes the input shaft to not make a straight shot into the clutch and pilot bushing.
Here is an old picture that shows the problem. The bellhousing has an integral pocket for the starter. as you can see, it won't clear the rounded bottom portion of the chassis. Putting the engine and transaxle in as a unit is easy as it drops in. But with the engine in, the bellhousing won't clear the chassis. The input shaft isn't a straight shot. Once the bellhousing clears the chassis, the input shaft is already past the disk. So that's the problem


Randy V

Staff member
Lifetime Supporter
Okay - I see it now...

What if you pull the motor mount bolt out of the right side (starter side) of the engine and jack that side of the engine up. This would tilt the engine counterclockwise as we are looking at your picture above.. If I'm right, that would rotate the starter bump of the bellhousing up and out of the RCR "Pocket" that's in the sidewall of the tub.