Archive for January, 2015

housing outThe bell house is now removed from the Phaeton.  The bell house (or “bell housing”)covers where the engine meets the transmission.  (I’ll eventually post a few images of it in the blog, but want to take them in the daylight).  For lack of a better description, it is a dark and hidden place filled with grease and grit and shaped a little like a large bell.  It is a place that (at least in my car) has likely not seen light of day in at least 50 years.  Let’s talk about its removal.

I removed the engine the other month and was told by the rebuilder to remove the bell housing and bring it up along with the engine so that the rebuilder could clean it up, repaint it, fix any cracks (there shouldn’t be any), and change pedal shafts and bushings if needed.  One would imagine that its removal would be a 20-30 minute exercise.  It has taken me months… mostly because I have no clue about what I am doing.

  • First, I removed the four bolts inside the bell housing and tried to pull off the housing. These took some effort to loosen.  With them loose, the housing moved a little, but not so much. I put the bolts back to snug and figured that I must be missing something.
  • Second, I removed the clevis pins for the brakes and clutch. These pins connect the pedals to the actual brakes and elsewhere in the car. I also disconnected the emergency brake pins.
  • Third, I posted on that I was having trouble and was told to secure the transmission, remove the spring to the cutout baring and disconnect the wishbone — I had no idea what any of this meant. Let me define some of this so non-car folks can follow.  What Is a Throwout Bearing? thumbnailThe throw out bearing is pushed forward when you step on the clutch pedal.  It is basically a ring that sits on a shaft with a gear on it.  It is what disengages the engine from the transmission when you are taking the car out of gear (manually shifting it).  When you take your foot off of the clutch pedal, the throw-out bearing is pulled back by the spring.  The wishbone is what connects the front wheels/steering to the bottom of the transmission. It think this part of the suspension is designed to be flexible and move so that the front wheels can turn without the engine moving away from the transmission.  It looks a lot like a wishbone from a chicken and this is where it received its name.
  • Forth, I looked up the throw out bearing spring disconnected first try (easy enough). When I tried to pull the throw out bearing off the transmission input shaft, it wouldn’t budge.  I move the clutch pedal and saw that the bearing did travel like it should …. It just didn’t “slip off” like I was told it would.  I PULLED LIKE YOU WOULDN’T BELIEVE.    I pushed.  I repeated several times with little to show.  I then decided to walk away.  I tried again.  No real motion.  I then decided to douse the whole thing with penetrating oil that would eat away at the old grease and grime.  20 minutes later I came back and the throw out bearing slid off with a little persuasion.  That ring around the gear that you see below is the throwout bearing.  The shaft with the gearing at the end is the transmission input shaft.throwout bearing
  • Fifth, I got some coffee, fielded a few calls, and walked the dog (who is feeling much better after having the vet address her two broken toenails (she broke them right off)).


  • Sixth, I decided to prop up the transmission with some of the tie downs I purchased as well as a 2×4. This is a neat trick.  Instead of having to place a jack under the car, I have a piece of wood (33” cut) sitting across the frame in front of the driver’s seat.  I then used the tie downs to hang the transmission.  I also placed a jack under the transmission to give it a little lift.  My concern here is to not allow the transmission to fall.  I also used some wood to prop up the wishbones (to avoid placing pressure on their perches on the front axle).  This wasn’t done with the hanging trick, but I will likely rig up a top support for this as well. The idea of the top supports is to enable me to move the car while these parts are “loose”.  transmission holder
  • Seventh, I climbed under the car and started fighting with the stubborn castle nuts that kept the wishbone in place. The car was moving while I did this so I checked the wedges I have under the wheels and the ropes around the transmission.  I didn’t need a few hundred pounds falling on me or a car rolling over me.  All was good.  I decided to hit these nuts with the penetrating oil.  It made a huge difference.   They came off.
  • I lifted and pulled the housing and with a little wiggle…. TADA!!!!!!!

tranny remains

So there you go.  The bell housing is out.  In retrospect, I probably should have removed the whole transmission in one piece and then the bell housing.  I say this because I am being strongly encouraged to do work on the transmission while the engine is out of the car.

Here is a video I shot during the process

………………………as well as a photo of some of the parts I found inside the bell housing.found parts