1935 Rover 14 - gearbox

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ChrisHallard
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2023 4:31 pm

1935 Rover 14 - gearbox

Post by ChrisHallard » Wed Jun 14, 2023 11:59 am

I’m considering the purchase of a 1935 Rover 14. I’m trying to understand the gearbox.
I think it is described as “silent 3rd and 4th”. Does this mean synchromesh with 1st and 2nd being “crash gears”?
It also has an overdrive - fitted a few years ago. Was this an option in 1935 or is it aftermarket?

Regards
Chris

SHyslop
Posts: 51
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2021 4:17 pm

Re: 1935 Rover 14 - gearbox

Post by SHyslop » Wed Jun 14, 2023 5:49 pm

Hello Chris. The silent 3rd/4th refers to the double helical design of the gears used in these two speeds. They were intended to cut out the severe whine that blighted many an early gearbox where the only quiet gear was 4th because it was direct drive. Having a quiet third and fourth meant that some degree of mechanical quietness could be achieved in town work as well as changing down for hills. Austin called it a "twin top" design and had it in 1933. Synchromesh only came to the Rover box in 1939 on 3rd and 4th but never on 2nd and 1st. The way round that for those who never mastered double declutching was to use the freewheel which makes virtually all gear changes a simple and silent affair.
However, if you have an overdrive - never an original option on these cars- you won't have a freewheel, unless there's been some serious surgery. The freewheel is usually swapped for the overdrive unit when this has been done. Have you driven a car with a gearbox like this before ? If not, you can get used to it but be aware of what it involves especially as you won't have recourse to the freewheel. Some people like them, some hate them.

I'm replying to your question partly because I've just acquired a 1934 14 from someone who bought it having had a P5 and thought it would be older but similar. The one drive in it was enough for them and fortunately for them, the mystery Rover buyer (me) got them out of their predicament. Although the Rover you are contemplating is 1935, because of the lack of the freewheel, you could do with finding the owner of a 1933/34 car (any make) with a crash box and it will give you a good idea of what you would be taking on if this is your first venture into this type of vehicle.

ChrisHallard
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2023 4:31 pm

Re: 1935 Rover 14 - gearbox

Post by ChrisHallard » Fri Jun 30, 2023 12:38 pm

Thank you HSylop for your fulsome reply - very useful. I tried to reply earlier by PM but it seems to be stuck in my outbox.

Chris

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