Short Version and important questions:
I am trying to look this stuff up, but my time and internet is limited here so I am hoping you guys could help me a bit.
I am stuck in Panama right now with a blown transmission. I would like to know if there are any companies that make a new/rebuilt transmission that I could have shipped and install. I ám nervous about rebuilding mine. I am also open to buying a good, used transmission from a reputable seller and ship it in. Anyone know of one for sale?
What types of tools does it take to drop the tranny? Can I do it in a driveway with basic hand tools?
I've heard that an R380 is a better match for the 200tdi. Is this true, and is it an easy bolt-in job? I have an LT77 now. I have an R380 out of a discovery back home but I heard the linkage is different? What does it take to use the disco box?
Some people here already know my story, but for those who don't:
I am traveling from USA to Argentina in a 1985 Land Rover Defender 110. The transmission is an LT77. In Nicaragua, I was traveling up a fairly steep hill near the top of 3rd gear. All of a sudden, it felt like the driveline was binding up, causing the truck to lurch forward, then unbind and release. This happened quickly and bound/unbound maybe 3 or four times as we stopped as fast as we could. We inspected things on the side of the road and eventually found that the transmission was low on fluid. We added one quart (all we had with us) and you still couldn't feel it through the fill hole. We took off again and things were fine for maybe 200-300 meters. We got back up to speed. I don't remember exactly what gear we were in, but it was most likely 3rd again. We felt the driveline bind situation again and pulled over. In the process of moving the truck off the road, the truck slowly lost the ability to move under it's own power. 1st gear worked ok to start, but very noisy. Clanging and rattling mostly, but no real gear grinding or breaking type noises. Eventually, it felt like the clutch was slipping more and more and after wiggling back and forth to get as far off the road as possible, reverse and forward failed to move the truck at all.
We took the truck to a mechanic is Nicaragua that was supposed to be a good Land Rover guy. He knew about the truck and knew what transmission was in it. He told us a story of a couple months ago when he replaced an R380 in a German couples Defender. We felt pretty confident leaving it with him. A couple of bearings were completely toasted and I had him replace every bearing and all the seals. The cause of failure was almost certainly a lack of fluid.
We hit the road and everything felt fine. We decided to drive non-stop until we got to our destination in Panama. About 20 hours after leaving Nicaragua we were just over the border in Panama. We were on fairly level ground, 5th gear...about 90km/h if I had to guess. There was no real load on the truck and we were just cruising along. All of a sudden the truck made a terrible rattling screeching sound and forward power stopped. It felt like the shifter jumped out of 5th gear. I tried to put it back into 5th but the same thing happened. I dropped into 4th and it worked fine. 4th feels like it should. No noise or other issues. We continued on until a police checkpoint a few miles down the road. I tried to start off in 1st and there was nothing there at all. No noise, so grab, nothing. It feels and sounds like nuetral. 2nd, 3rd, and reverse do the same. I haven't tried 5th again to see if it is quiet now or still rattly.
We made it the rest of the way to our destination in a combination of hi and low range 4th gear. We are now trying to locate a used or new transmission to put in it, since I am nervous about rebuilding this one again.
Photos and pictures are on my site www.time2getlost.com
but you may have to scroll down a bit for the Nicaragua broken transmission photos.