Lancia Beta Forum

Technical stuff => Transmission => Topic started by: Gerhard on December 25, 2012, 02:51:49 PM

Title: Auto Gearbox
Post by: Gerhard on December 25, 2012, 02:51:49 PM
Hi All,

For the last couple of months, we had relative peace and happiness with the Lancia, but then it struck again. Christiaan complained that the car will not pull away in D. He must first put it into 1st, pull away, then over to D and it will functional okay from there onward. Stopping resulting in the same procedure. Had the car with the local expert, his view is to get a replacement box. This I can do, and in fact already sourced one from Lancia SA for just under R6, 000.00, problem is that no guarantee can be given with it, except for a start-up guarantee.

Question is, am I (or the mechanic) missing something relative simple on the old box, that will be causing this? Or will it be the better route to go for the replacement auto box.

Hope that all had a blessed Christmas.


Title: Re: Re: Auto Gearbox
Post by: rossocorsa on December 25, 2012, 05:41:57 PM
I don't know much about the auto boxes but they don't have a good reputation, they are also not good from the point of view of parts supply or availability of repair expertise. If you are not set on having auto changing to a manual box may give piece of mind. If you search Ebay  you will often find beta auto box repair manuals for sale probably worth getting one

Title: Re: Auto Gearbox
Post by: VXdeMayo on December 25, 2012, 08:37:39 PM
I echo rossocorsa's point of view regarding parts availability etc. Also manual boxes are a lot easier to pick up (and work on), but if you do, check the syncromeshs on 2nd and 3rd. (A known weakness with 2nd hand boxes that have 50,000 or more miles on). If you do have to you won't regret shifting to manual.
So to speak!
Best wishes for Christmas.

Title: Re: Auto Gearbox
Post by: Thotos on December 26, 2012, 01:58:47 AM
Swapping an auto for a manual gearbox involves a bit more than just getting the box. You'll also need the pedal box, centre console etc. Then you need to do a bit of extra wiring to disable the start inhibitor. And the auto-box cars' carburettor is different with vacuum control of the fast idle valve so you should consider changing it (although you could make the carburettor work OK with a manual box). It's all possible and it's all been done before by many people. But I think a well working AP/Lancia auto-box is delightful so if you liked your auto box you might prefer to persevere with it. Obvious thing to check first is the level of the automatic transmission fluid (which should be done with the engine running and after at least a short drive) as low fluid could cause the problem you described. It's also worth giving your auto box a good internal clean by changing the automatic transmission fluid, running the box up to temperature and then draining and refilling with fresh transmission fluid. Do that three or four times and you should get most of the dirt out of the box and may cure your problem.

Title: Re: Auto Gearbox
Post by: Gerhard on December 26, 2012, 02:02:36 PM
Thanks all for the info. We did some research on changing from the auto to the manual. Will not be cost effective + Christiaan is now sort of lazy with the clutch foot. (:-0)

Will investigate all the suggestions and give feedback.

Hope the new year will be good to all of us.


Title: Re: Auto Gearbox
Post by: mtulloch on December 27, 2012, 05:24:04 PM
This may be of interest if you decide to keep it an auto. (

Title: Re: Auto Gearbox
Post by: Neil-yaj396 on December 28, 2012, 10:28:08 AM
Theo's suggestion is definately worth a try. Sounds like the box is failing to drop down to 1st when the car stops as it should. The fact that it can be manually selected suggests that this isn't fatal.

The Beta auto box is a typical bit of British 70's engineering. It won a big award for it's compact design when it was launched but was naturally underdeveloped (the Stag/Dolomite engines come to mind). AE also made the auto box for the Mini which ran in the sump! Back then it was generally thought that automatic gearboxes didn't work with less than 2 litres but AE proved them wrong and spawned several generations of small autos.

Once again we've had a bit of clamour to scrap it an throw in a manual and again I disagree. Automatic and small engined Betas are so rare now that they need to be preserved if at all possible. I'm all for serious mods of the type rolled out by Mr. Weston but otherwise, if the Beta community is to be taken seriously, we need to be preserving the rarer stuff?!

Title: Re: Auto Gearbox
Post by: Gerhard on December 28, 2012, 07:09:46 PM
Hi Neil, I am in absolute agreement with you.(Although I would not classify a 2 liter engine as small) The only reason that a manual was considered was purely that no auto box was available at the time. We have up to now been very fortunate to managed to get original parts for most that went wrong with the car. The local Lancia guy's did advised that although the manual "bullet proof" is, the auto a bit of a more sensitive piece of engineering is. They further recommended that before installing the gear box one should, also replace the oil filter, and ensure that the converter is okay.

Anyway the replacement box was shipped out today from Cape Town to Durban. Should be installed and back on the road mid January 2013.

Title: Re: Auto Gearbox
Post by: Thotos on December 28, 2012, 10:28:56 PM
Anyway the replacement box was shipped out today from Cape Town to Durban. Should be installed and back on the road mid January 2013.

I would try the internal clean method by changing the transmission fluid a few times first. It's not cheap as plenty of fresh fluid needs to be used and if you're paying someone to do it the labour charges can mount up.  But a number of people had good results with this method so I think it's worth doing first before changing the gearbox.

I have an auto-box repair manual if you want me to look something up for you.

Title: Re: Auto Gearbox
Post by: Gerhard on December 31, 2012, 09:16:22 AM
Thanks Theo, will certainly give you a call if info is needed.