With the engine assembled, it was time to add the clutch and gearbox so  I could trial fit the engine/gearbox in the car.

I originally separated the engine from the gearbox to check the state of the clutch linings. After all, there is no sense in putting an engine in a car with toasted clutch linings, only to have to pull it out again! Realizing that you should change the clutch pilot bearing and its oil seal anytime you pull the gearbox off the engine, I purchased a new seal and needle pilot bearing from Michel Larouche (God rest him).  I purchased a needle bearing because that is what I assumed fell out on the floor amidst all the crud and corruption that fell off the engine/gearbox when I pulled them apart. That was violation of rule 1… never ASSUME  because assuming makes an ASS  out of U and ME.

So, I slipped the new needle bearing over the crank just to make sure it fit properly.  It did. Then I thought I’d just poke the bearing in a tiny bit with my finger to see if it was the right OD.  That was violation of rule 2… never stick things in holes you haven’t inspected first (Oh dear, that really doesn’t sound good does it?).

Well, it was stuck partway in and I couldn’t get it out.  So, by this point, I thought, what the heck, I will just turn a pilot tool on the lathe then use it to whack the bearing in the rest of the way.  That was a violation of rule 3….if something is not right, stop now and don’t continue, especially if it involves anything to do with a hammer.

Anyway, I took my shiny new brass pilot tool, shoved it into the bearing then drove it into place.  Eeek,  it did not go in all the way!  The bearing would not go in far enough for the oil seal.

So, now I was stuck with bearing partway in and it was really in there because I had driven it in with a pilot tool and a hammer.  Now I HAD TO GET IT OUT no matter what.  It was REALLY in there and it wouldn’t budge. I knew I couldn’t drill it out because it is made of hardened steel.  Visions of trying to grind it out with a Dremel were dancing through my head but with the spectre of irrecoverable damage to the hole. Panic was setting in.

For once, I did something right.  I stopped what I was doing and passed to think for a while. I consulted Dr Google and typed in the hopeful phrase “Removing a stuck pilot bearing”.  And I got a few hits. Some were along the useful lines of “weep for all is hopelessly lost”, or “insert a small thermonuclear device and stand back”, or  “send $10,000 bucks to this address and we will provide you with exclusive access to a method for removing a stuck pilot bearing along with the eternal secrets of the pyramids “.  But one stood out.  It was to pack the hole with thick grease, insert the pilot bearing tool, and whack it with a hammer to force the bearing out by means of hydraulic force. Yeah, like that was going to work!?

Faced with no good alternative, I packed the hole with Lithium grease, shoved in the pilot tool and whacked, and whacked.  Nada.  Lithium grease is a bit runny so I thought about something thicker.  Then I remembered my old grease gun that had last been filled about the time pyramids were constructed. I scooped out some of the old thick grease, packed it in, whacked and checked for movement. It looked like the bearing moved a tad but I thought it might be just an illusion. So, I repacked and whacked again.  This time the bearing definitely moved.  I could scarcely believe it.  I packed and whacked again, and this time the bearing came out with a pop. Things were looking up.  But I knew that the bearing would not go in far enough to allow for the oil seal so I still had a problem. I decided to clean some grease  out of the hole and peek in.  This time, I saw what looked like some kind of sleeve inside.  I packed again, whacked, and lo and behold, out popped a phosphor bronze bushing.  The needle bearing would not go in all the way because there was already a phosphor bronze bushing in the hole. Doh!

Now things were starting to make sense.  I know two different bearings had been used on the engine: a needle bearing and a phosphor bronze bearing.  I bought the new needle bearing because I figured it was the latest fancy-dancy bearing.  Once again, I was wrong. If I had done more checking I would have found out that Citroen had switched from a needle bearing to the phosphor bronze bearing because of frequent pilot bearing failure.

I slipped the extracted phosphor bronze bearing onto the pilot shaft and checked its clearance.  It was still like new.  So what had fallen out on the floor were, in fact, pieces of the old hardened oil seal, not bits of a needle bearing.

I cleaned the hole in the crank properly this time, drove the phosphor bronze bearing back in using the pilot tool, and this time it went in far enough to allow for the oil seal.  Tada!

So never violate the 3 rules of tinkering, or you will regret it.

Oh yeah.  Also on the subject of stupidity.  I set the engine on the front of its fan shroud to slip the gearbox on.  Don’t do that.  There is no oil seal at the entry to the gearbox.  Instead, a series of oil slingers keep the oil in the gearbox.  If you upend the gearbox, the oil runs down the shaft and all over the clutch plates.  Erk! Always mate the gearbox to the engine while the engine is sitting horizontally,

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