In 1986 I resided in México City & some of my customers (friends)
owned Restaurants. My favorite was LA BAiTA (the Hut)
with the very best italian food you could taste in México City, one block from la Fuente de Petróleos. They invited me for dinner with Rossana -my napolitan sweethart- so I could diagnose the problem in their new Renault 11 Turbo. Mexican Renault Service was notably ineficient on those days and the Renault 11 Turbo was new... before they went to Valle de Bravo (two hour drive from México city)
and HiT the underside with a rock. They returned in stuck 3rd. gear, by sliping the clutch until it smelled burned to start moving.
We had a friend that asked the Renault Service: "What's that nasty grinding sound in the gear box?"
just to find out that "somebody"
at the Factory had forgoten to fill the whole trans axle with gear oil, and transaxles were not built in México but imported from Françe completely assembled. They would change it but first he had to wait for importing from Françe, since new cars do not have a full repair stock of parts. That could take from 3 to 6 months & maybe this time it will be filled with oil!! That's the main reason owners of La Baita didn't want to deal with the warranty. After all (they reasoned)
the gear box was not making any grinding noise, it came back cripled but functional, just a matter of unstucking something. I told them it was my first sight of a Reanult 11 Turbo with a 5 speed manual. But they were not listening & I needed that income for my shop.
First thing I noticed when looking underneath was the linkage potruding unprotected & slightly bent. After a deeper inspection I noticed the whole front unit (motor, transaxle, suspensión, steering & radiator)
was mounted on a subchasis: I had to raise the whole automobile AFTER disconecting the whole subchasis (four bolts ONLY)
and then I could separate the transaxle to access that "simple"
linkage. But my mobile shop on wheels was not equiped for such an operation, VW were notoriously simple in comparison: raise the automobile, take the air cooled contraption down with a simple jack & same thing for the transaxle. No need to roll the auto without front wheels nor steering, or to pull the whole front unit from under the car... with no suport for the suspensión nor any steering."What do you need?"
they asked me, "I need a clean flat floor and heavy lifters or a ramp for the car"
I answered. Undaunted they went back into La Baita to talk to a customer. He owned a Truck Shop!! Automobile mechanics are nothing compared to truck mechanics: when a truck enters service iT IS LOOSiNG MONEY plus NO iNCOME from no transpotation, so they have to team up from start to finish day & night (at least 3 shifts)
be it regular maintenance or a whole overhaul, like pit stops in F1. This man happily agreed to let me use his equipment (heavy equipment I must say, nothing better for my needs)
and put his mechanics at my disposal if I needed any assistance (like four hands, I did not know since I was in uncharted territory)
To shorten this tale, the more I disasembled the whole car the more I noticed they should NEVER had left paved roads. Everything was designed for a full shop with full special Renault equipment. After a whole day I had the trans axle separated from the subchasis, the rest of the car lifted over my head & over my working space. Then I started to separate both transaxle shells for accesing the bronze linkage: it had bent iNSiDE. The more I moved and pried nothing permited opening, and I remembered many transaxles had to be in Neutral to allow disassembly, but this was stuck iNSiDE with 3rd. gear engaged (welded it seemed!!)
There was nothing else being repaired around me, so the mechanics started geting interest in my problem. We pried, twisted, pulled, made shure there was not the tipical forgoten (or hiden)
screw or bolt anywhere, until after TWO HOURS the thing poped open... sending all kind of litle balls, springs and what not all over the place!! Like if instead of opening it had exploded!! But the secret of a good shop & mechanical team is CLENLiNESS: all were trained to find even the smallest parts and we finally had all parts in a big tray. But I did not know at what location every piece went. I mean, a VW transaxle I could do with eyes covered, but this was my first 5 gear manual, with no manuals on the market yet for consultation (I have ALLWAYS learned something new from good manuals)
After taking a Deep breath I started studying all parts for fit, size, direction, order... and I must take my hat off to Renault Design: NOTHiNG WOULD FiT anywhere but in the right spot!! Either by length, or thickness, or head types or thread type. Actually it was impresive. Meanwhile the mechanics had put the slightly bent selector under a press and it was straight again!! Good bronze material, it was not even marked nor cracked. After two days work I charged an excellent amount for my shop on wheels, my fiends were happy to have the car back at such short notice and gave me a Premium: since that day they never let me pay any bill, no mater if I was alone or with Rossana.