Fixing a Design Quirk
Updated: Sep 29, 2021
It is inevitable old cars have some design quirks. One that Land Rovers carried for many years is the non removable gearbox cross member. It means that if you want to remove the gearbox for repairs or maintenance the you have to lift it out through the floor. I have heard different stories about why this is the case. One that seems feasible is that, because the cars were designed primarily for farmers and remembering this was in the era pre-hydraulic lifts, it was a design feature to be able to work on the gearbox from above. I guess that makes sense.
The military version of the Series Land Rovers were the exception and had a removable cross member. While my plan is to keep the car relatively true to the original, where it makes sense, I think practical improvements like being able to remove the gearbox easily are justified. I bought a new crossmember from the UK, then it was a pretty simple job fabricating up some brackets from angle steel and welding some pinch tubes inside the cross member. A few hours work which could save days down the track. Overall I am pretty happy with the results. Recently, Mil-Spec Restorations in Victoria started selling removable crossmembers that they fabricate in house. Next time I would probably just buy one from them.