Today was a good Jeep day! She's up and running!!
Sorry no pics -- it was fast and furious all day long so the camera never made it out....
First, thank you John for the quick reply. The pics and advice helped to identify the issue (as did all of your posts that I found while searching my issues). The reverse idler "slider" was on backwards.
I was pretty freaked out that I was going to have to have it professionally redone, since I had never cracked a tranny before.
I had emailed the seller (RetiredSERE) last night and told him what I thought was the problem. All I can say is that not only did I get a call first thing this morning with an apology....he was insistant about driving over and helping to make things right. He even apologized to my wife for the hassle (unnecessary, but GREAT stuff for me!).
Well Dave is a GREAT dude. Even with a busy schedule he drove 45 minutes from his house and helped me pull the tranny and then he commenced to breaking it down and rebuilding it --- like a pro.
The snap ring on the front bearing is no B.S. We used teamwork and some really small screwdrivers to get it off -- I don't have snap ring pliers and it's not even a real snap ring! (I got it back on with some really BIG screwdrivers and patience). We (Dave) beat out the bearings by banging on the shaft with a mallet/wood while we each held a big screwdriver on the bearing. A number of good wacks and both front and rear bearing were off.
Pulled the main shaft (actually 2 shafts made up of 4th gear and the rest on the other shaft) and then pulled the reverse gear set and flipped the reverse gear slider 180 degrees.
Dave re-packed the needle bearings on all shaft and we placed the bottom gear set in (it needs to lay on the bottom of the case so you can get the main gear set on) and then the main gear set. Used our make-shift Arbor Tool (a perfect sized jack-handle from an old Honda I used to own) to reset the shafts and then it was a matter of re-seating the bearings and replacing the snap rings....
Dave had to leave at this point because of an appointment, but he left me good directions.
I used a piece of PVC to re-seat the bearings. Used Permatex 1-min gasket on the front retainer and then re-installed the top plate. After yesterday I am an expert....
Here is how you install a T-176 top plate:
1) Put the transmission in NEUTRAL. Remove the shifter by pushing down on the retainer cap and turning it counter clockwise. Push hard. Use something to help (screwdriver/wrench) if you must. Once it turns 1/4 turn it comes right out.
2) Unbolt the top plate and pull it out. Place the shifter rods in the top plate in 3rd gear. (See graphic in John Strenk's post above). Insure that the 1st/2nd gear fork (short/rear) and reverse fork (the long one) are seated together and overlapping.
3) Manually put your transmission in 3rd gear. The forward race/fork-seat? is pulled all the way rearward and the rear race/fork-seat? is in neutral (between the bronze synchros).
**At this point I recommend dry fitting the top cover and testing you shifter. If you're certain you can get the forks on correctly -- install your gasket or Permatex**
4) REPLACING THE TOPCOVER -- Look into the transmission and insure that the race on the reverse/slider gear (the one that slides on the shaft that is bottom left/driver's rear of the transmission) is aligned with the race on the 1st/2nd gear race on the main (top) shaft. The slider gear will be towards the rear of the transmission with the race towards the front of the transmission.
5) Gently lower the top plate such that the front and rear forks line up over their respective races. STOP. PEAK. MAKE SURE YOUR FRONT FORK IS ON THE FORWARD RACE. It is easiest if you rotate the top cover to the right/passenger side and then slide it down while rotating it left. AGAIN, STOP. PEAK. MAKE SURE YOUR REAR FORK IS ON THE REAR RACE. This will ensure that the reverse fork (long one) fits and can seat properly in the reverse gear race. When done correctly the top just plops down and all the screw holes line right up. (It only took me 20+ tries to master this!)
6) There are 2 self-seating bolts -- one at 10 o'clock and one at 5 o'clock. These go in first. Since you installed the top plate in 3rd...you need to shift the shifter and transmission into neutral in order to reinstall the shifter tab. Look down the shifter hole and use a big screwdriver to slide the center lug forward until all the gates align (it's ONE click -- see diagram in the post above). REFILL THE TRANNY FROM THROUGH THE SHIFTER IF YOU NEED TO and DON'T FORGET THE PLUG (like I did.) Once the transmission is in NEUTRAL, reinstall the shifter and retainer cap by pushing down and turning clockwise.
7) AT THIS POINT YOU'LL WANT TO TEST YOUR SHIFTER/TRANSMISSION BEFORE INSTALLING THE REST OF THE TOP PLATE BOLTS...and perhaps running the engine while going through the gears -- make sure the driveshafts are off or you're otherwise safe.
8) If all is well, button it up, and hope for the best!
Got mine all buttoned up and everything reinstalled (clutch linkage, driveshafts, skidplate, etc)...did it this time with the tranny and transfer case separate...which is SO MUCH EASIER!
IT RUNS DOWN THE ROAD STRAIGHT AND EASY. Not the smoothest transmission on Earth, but LEAPS AND BOUNDS better than the T-5 and certainly better geared for 33's. The OME lift is smooth as silk and there is no drivetrain vibration!!
I learned a TON and feel much more confident about all things JEEP. Big props to RetiredSERE -- anyone who provides their personal warranty and precious time with a used transmission is a CLASS ACT in my book!
I am convinced that with patience ($$) and the right tools, anybody can fix or rebuild anything.
Like I said, today was a good Jeep day. Tomorrow belongs to the wife and kids!