Warren Stean’s gearbox required fresh internals, but there was a solution. Stoke-on-Trent isn’t renowned as an F1 hotbed…
My Jordan-Peugeot 195 was sold to me with its original gearbox casing and some internals. I didn’t have the chance to pull the ’box apart before buying it, which made it the largest area of potential concern I faced in restoring the vehicle. Transmissions are complex items on any racing car, and that is very much the case on Formula 1 machinery.
When restoring an F1 car to use, rather than simply as a static display, the gearbox generally provides the same, if not a greater, challenge than the engine. During my research, I was surprised to discover that the Jordan had the only seven-speed gearbox on the grid in 1995, and it was clearly important that it remained in this configuration.
Because we wanted to be able to run the Jordan in anger, it was important that we had a reliable supply of gearbox internals. Several components within the gearbox were missing and we had no history of the use of the parts that were there. That meant it made sense to design new internals that would allow us rapidly to produce spares as required and accurately gauge the life of components.
The redesign and manufacture of the internals has been undertaken by Elite Racing Transmissions in Stoke. The original magnesium gearbox casing, differential and driveshafts have all been retained, but Elite has designed a new crown wheel and pinion, barrel, shift forks, main shafts, dogrings and ratios from new. These have then been manufactured using the latest high-performance materials.
The original gear-selector mechanism has also been retained, including the shuttle and detent assembly. A new pneumatic actuator, which fits to the selector as per the original hydraulic example, has been designed to provide gearchange actuation. The performance and operation of the gearbox will be as per original with seven speeds and a paddleshift, but the consumable components within the ’box are now part numbered and can be ordered as and when required. This is going to greatly improves the serviceability and speed of repreparation.
The use of modern materials and CAD in the design of the replacement components means it has been possible to help negate some common issues with this period of gearbox, which wouldn’t have been possible using original components. It should perform better than it ever did in 1995.
Now that the gearbox is complete — and the fuel tank and pumps installed, the suspension components re-engineered and manufactured — the engine is being stripped, inspected and serviced. It is starting to feel as if, finally, there will be a beautifully restored, very loud V10 F1 car ready to take to the track very soon.
My thoughts are now turning to decisions such as where best to give the car its first shakedown test, what do I want to do with the car once it is finished and what is it going to feel like driving an F1 car? Not long now. I just hope there aren’t any surprises inside the engine…
Next month: Will there be any nasty surprises in the engine bay? And potential uses for a rebuilt mid-1990s F1 car
Thanks to: Tour-de-Force Power Engineering, Bedford; Engine Developments, Rugby; Elite Transmissions, Stoke
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