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  • Writer's pictureFrederick Jewson

The Ox #3 No More Gearbox

Back to it... The Ox, the mascot of the Oxford House Video Agency!

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A bit of the gearbox...

Why The Ox? Well, what inspired the name of Oxford? Fording Oxens, of course! So our MG Midget is our raging bull.

You now know all about our simple, humble engine goals - if you read the previous blogs... But that's only a bit of what needs to be done to create a decent racer.

On delivery of The Ox, it was evident that the gearbox was scuppered. The thrust bearing was dried out and worn. Each time the clutch was depressed, it would scream! Which is extremely embarrassing, as changing gears is a frequent necessity. However, as our friends said, it should get better with more driving (something the car had not done for some time). I guess it'll get back to being nice and oily and stop the screaming… which it did do in fairness, but on occasion, it would still howl.

It wasn’t just the thrust bearing. With any classic car, the first gear is usually redundant unless doing a hill start or a cold start. This means there’s no synchromesh going into first, so if you're rolling, get ready for a crunch crunch. But, it’s not first which is the problem. It's second. Oh second, a very important gear, but one The Ox simply seemed to hate.

Feed it into second, and The Ox would spit the stick back out with any sudden change in acceleration, leaving you in a danger zone between neutral and second, crunch crunch.

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This is where the gearstick connects to the box.

Along with the screaming, I decided the car was simply not good enough to compete, not even against itself. So the box is out.

That's not all, the suspension. Oh, the suspension. I can't help but feel it’s wrong. I’ve never piloted a boat. But the only word I can use to describe the car is boaty. This is not an ideal adjective for a club racer. It bounces at every chance it gets, wallowing and swelling on any rough surface. It only worsens with speed.

I believe the car can be pushed to 90mph in stock form. It's scary but possible. After the engine and gearbox improvements, I hope to hit 100+, and I need to in order to be competitive. But when you hit 70+, usually a comfortable cruising speed for many older cars, things become somewhat unhinged.

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Top down shot of the cylinders.

The steering wheel goes from a fun and quirky go-kart to a vague and noncommunicative hull skipping across a lake. With the slightest rotation of the wheel, anything could happen. It's so bouncy maybe it could flip!? Maybe it won’t turn at all? Maybe we are indeed skipping over water... I don't know, but for a racer, it is utterly, utterly, utterly diabolical. So it needs to be lowered, as it sits very high, and also stiffened tremendously.

Nothing too major; again, just playing with common parts, but I'm expecting an important and most brilliant transformation. Sure, the engine needs to be fast, but if the car can't take a corner, or manouver at speed, then power doesn’t matter.

So that's where we’re at, the car is in bits, and over the coming months it will be put back together. Hopefully it'll take to not just the streets, but also the track!


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