Crossley Regis 10/4 and 12/6 Preselector gearbox information.
NOTE: Please see Gallery - ENV Gearbox for the full ENV Instruction Manual pages.
The majority of Regis cars were fitted with preselector gearboxes allied to a centrifugal clutch connecting the gearbox to the engine. It was appreciated at the time that the gearbox was a heavy unit and reduced the performance of the 10hp cars so that the six cylinder, 12hp version was introduced to achieve a better performance and top speed.
The epicyclic gearbox with sun wheels, planet wheels and annulus gears has been in existence from almost the beginning of motoring history. This type of gearbox had all the gears in mesh and the operation enabled gear changes to be made without any crashing of gears. The ordinary, “crash” gearbox was the norm and yet, since it required the adroit changes of gear with the correct revs of the engine allied to the road speed, few drivers of the time were able to change gear without a noisy exchange. In due course, the synchromesh manual gearbox was introduced from America and this enabled manual changes without the noise associated with the “crash” box. The synchromesh gearbox is much lighter than the preselector box and enabled better power to weight ratios for improved performance, especially on the smaller engined cars. The last cars using the preselector gearbox system were the Armstrong Siddeley Sapphires built until 1958 – and 1959 in limousine form. By this time, the modern automatic gearbox, based on the epicyclic principle, had become a popular replacement.
With the preselector box, changes were smoothly made with the press of the left-hand gearchange pedal. This pedal was not a clutch pedal since it changed gear only. The clutch was usually an automatic, centrifugal unit where the increase of revs brought the clutch together so that it did not slip once the car had moved from rest. On some cars, Daimlers and a few Armstrong Siddeley cars of the mid-thirties, the fluid flywheel was fitted. However, on some cars, including some of the earlier Crossley Tens, no clutch was fitted at all and starting from rest required the gearchange pedal to be used like a normal clutch since starting used the slipping of the first gear band as a starting medium.
Many drivers of preserved cars with preselector gearboxes find it difficult to get used to the gearbox. In order to use the box when fitted with a clutch, first gear is selected and the pedal pressed and released. First gear is now engaged but the car is stationary since the clutch is disengaged at idling speed. When the accelerator is pressed, the clutch begins to take up and the car starts to move forward and second gear can be selected and engaged with the pedal as the car moves faster. Each gear can be selected once the previous gear is engaged so that when ready, the selected gear can be engaged. Once driving in top gear, third gear can be selected ready for when the car has to be slowed and third gear engaged. The next gear needed can be selected at any time ready to be engaged. This is preselection.
The following notes are taken from ENV Engineering notes on their preselector gearboxes, including the driving notes from the first Section of the ENV Gearbox Instruction Manual.
Notes from ENV Engineering Co Ltd, Makers of the Regis gearbox to Wilson Patents. (Gearbox Type 75.):
NOTE: All adjustments should be made with the engine stationary.
CHECKING THE SELECTION (of a gear):
Should any gear persistently fail to engage, it will probably be caused through a derangement of the selector control mechanism. To check this, detach the adjustable rod connected to the selector lever on the gearbox. Set the lever on the gearbox to first gear position, taking care to see that the lever is properly located by the ball detent. Set the hand lever into the first gear position and adjust the length of the connecting rod to suit. Provided that the gear detents have not been changed, the selector lever should now move through each gear with the gearbox lever locating in each gear detent. All joints in the linkage should be checked for looseness or backlash.
CHECK OVER PEDAL CLEARANCE:
It is essential that there should be a definite clearance between the pedal and the floorboards when the pedal is fully depressed and that the lever on the box is moved to its extreme position, coming up as it should do against the stop situated inside the gearbox. Should the pedal touch the floorboards on depression, it is then necessary to shorten the connecting rod between the pedal and the lever on the gearbox. The pedal must also have at least one quarter of an inch clearance on the upward stroke in every gear and it will be found that the pedal returns further both in first and reverse gears, allowance should be made for the full stroke of the pedal in both these gears.
ADJUSTMENT TO OVERCOME FIERCENESS:
Remove top cover
ADJUSTMENT TO OVERCOME SLIPPING:
Slipping could occur for three reasons:-
That the automatic adjustment is failing to take up.
This can be determined by:- Removing the top inspection cover of the gearbox and selecting and engaging the speed required. If the wedge-shaped plate on top of the control mechanism strikes the “v” shaped set screw on the band and is moved an appreciable amount, then the automatic adjuster should work by actuation of the pedal.
To test this, make a pencil mark on the thimble nut, actuate the pedal briskly two dozen times and note if it has moved at all. If the adjuster ring is being moved a reasonable amount with each stroke of the pedal and the mark on the nut does not turn, change the adjuster nut spring and repeat the “pumping action.”
The automatic adjuster should only work if the wedge-shaped plate is turned an appreciable amount on striking the set screw.
Next unhoop the top loop of the automatic adjuster spring, unscrew the thimble nut by means of a (7/16”) BSF bolt and lock nut about a quarter turn, replace the automatic adjuster spring exactly as before, select the speed required and, after marking the thimble nut, actuate the pedal briskly until the nut comes to rest. (Editor’s Note: The 7/16” BSF bolt size applies to both the Type 75 gearboxes in Crossley Ten and Regis models and also to the Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire gearbox.)
NOTE: It is dangerous to screw in the “V” shaped set screw too far as when the busbar exceeds 45 degrees, the busbar reaches a stop and no power will be applied to the brake.
STICKING IN TOP GEAR:
Should top gear fail to disengage immediately the pedal is depressed, this is probably caused by high spots in the fabric lining and the cone should be re-bedded.
This is effected by selecting top speed with the car stationary and the handbrake on and running the engine to 1500 rpm. The gearchange pedal should be let back sufficient to reduce the engine speed to about 500rpm but not enough to stall the engine. This treatment must not be carried out too long but should be repeated several times (if required) with short intervals to prevent overheating. Drawing the oil and refilling the gearbox may be tried.
IMPORTANT INSTRUCTION WHEN TOWING:
In the event of the car breaking down and having to be towed more than two or three miles, the propeller shaft flange should be first disconnected from the rear axle end when no clutch is fitted between the gearbox and engine. The reason for this is that the oil pump is driven from the input shaft of the gearbox, consequently if the car is towed for some distance, the proper supply of oil will not be available to the gears which might cause consequential damage.
These instructions end with the requirement to return a damaged gearbox to the manufacturers for expert repair.
The following notes are taken from the:
“INSTRUCTION BOOK of the E.N.V. PRE SELECTIVE GEAR BOX (WILSON PATENTS) Section 1.
HOW TO OPERATE THE GEARS:
Before starting the engine make certain that neutral is engaged which is effected by selecting neutral and pushing the operating pedal out fully to the end of its travel so as to make sure that nobody has pre-selected a gear and simply put the gear lever back to its neutral position. Do not race the engine in neutral.
To obtain first gear, the gear lever should be put into the notch on the quadrant or gate, whichever is employed. The gear operating pedal should be fully pressed down then let back gently and the accelerator pedal should be operated in the normal way. While the car is moving on first gear, the lever should be put into the second speed notch and the pedal operated as before and each and every successive gear should be selected and engaged until top speed notch is reached. It is advisable if one is driving in traffic, immediately to pre-select third gear so that in the event of having to slow down, it is possible simply by the action of the pedal to engage the lower gear without delay.
The reverse, first, second and third speeds are operated by contracting bands; on top gear, however, a cone clutch is employed.
ACTION OF THE OPERATING PEDAL:
The gear operating pedal has two movements, viz., a slight amount of pressure on the pedal will be sufficient to slacken off the brake bands but is not sufficient to disengage the selected struts of the gearbox. The first movement will give free engine position. However, when the pedal is fully depressed, the selected strut is caused to come out of action and whichever gear is pre-selected will then come into operation.
It will be immediately obvious to anyone using a Wilson Box for the first time, that as soon as the gear engaging pedal is pressed down and is allowed to return, there is a spring action inside the gearbox. The only function of the gear operating pedal is actually to compress this spring and on letting the pedal up, spring pressure is again applied: It stands to reason that the pedal should be let back with care in exactly the same manner as an ordinary clutch.
The combined action of the pedal and spring causes a part known as the “busbar” to move up and down and the action is very similar to the operation of an ordinary external contracting brake, the busbar being similar to the brake operating lever which moves to and fro. The busbar causes the brakes to contract on the drum through the action of the operating struts.
The only difference in the simile is, that with a brake it is necessary to take up the wear that takes place in the linings, by tightening the adjustment by hand; in this type of box, it is taken care of automatically. The movement of the operating pedal causes a certain part of the gearbox known as the “adjuster nut” to rotate. Thereby adjusting the brake bands and taking care of wear.
Care should be exercised not to “slip” the brakes or clutch unnecessarily. The pedal should be definitely pushed out sufficiently far to disengage the gear and instead of slipping it, a lower gear should be engaged, so that the engine will drive the car at whatever speed is necessary. Any undue slipping that takes place will cause excessive wear on the brake linings.
HOW TO OVERCOME INITIAL WEAR:
When the car is new, it stands to reason that the automatic adjustment of the brake bands will need to operate more than when the bands have thoroughly bedded in. It may be found that the amount of initial wear of compression of the liners will not be taken care of by normal rotation of the automatic adjustment. It is possible to cure temporary slipping by pushing the operating pedal fully in and out with a pumping action of the pedal. It is necessary for the engine to be stationary and to select the slipping gears before “pumping” – ten to fifteen strokes being usually sufficient.
When changing into a higher gear, it is always necessary to allow the operating pedal to return to the fullest extent of its travel before accelerating. There should be a momentary pause after the engaging pedal has been released, before the accelerator pedal is pressed down hard.
The bands or clutch have to obtain a firm grip, as well as to expel the oil between the friction surfaces.
When changing down normally from a high to a lower gear, there is no necessity to take the foot off the accelerator pedal. It would not, however, be wise to preselect and engage first or second gear while the car is running at a speed higher than could normally be obtained on either of these gears.
Should the pedal return without engaging a gear make certain the gear is selected properly and depress and release the pedal again.
Finally, we come to the question of lubrication. Examination of the gearbox will show it is provided with a brass cap through which the lubricating oil can be inserted, considerably above the level of the shaft. There is a definite level in the gearbox above which it should not be filled. This is controlled by a level plug on the side of the box so that before attempting to replenish the box, it is necessary to remove the level plug in order to obtain the correct quantity of oil in the box and allow sufficient time for the oil to find its level. Apart from this attention the driver does not have to worry.
A pump is provided in the box and is situated in the front end of it, which automatically supplies the gears, shafts and the whole of the internals of the box with a constant stream of oil, assisted by centrifugal action.
SUGGESTED MODERN OILS:
The following information is not a part of the ENV document since out of date oil recommendations would appear to be useless for the modern owner. Castrol PGSE oil (“preselector gearbox oil”) is a modern oil specifically made for these gearboxes. It is available in bulk in 20 litre or 240 litre drums since most users are bus operators nowadays, using preselector or pneumocyclic boxes, both based on the epicyclic principle. Note: A user of PSGE in France who used these pages to assist in work on a preselector gearbox was informed by Castrol Oils, UK that modern Castrol TQD has the same specification as PSGE oil. Check with your Castrol dealer on this matter.
Note added on 20th April 2016: PSGE oil is no longer made by Castrol so that "straight" oils mentioned below should be used and these are made by various oil manufacturers..
If unable to obtain this oil, a straight oil ( that is, not a multigrade oil) of SAE 30 or 40 would be acceptable. Modern multigrade oils are not used in these boxes since their “slippery” attributes are not compatible with the linings gripping the drums in the preselector boxes.
The Following notes are from ENV in connection with rebuilding a Type 75 gearbox. (They were sent to the Author in 1962 from an enquiry to ENV Ltd.)
1 Remove the top cover and undo each automatic adjuster nut three or four turns. To do this, remove the large eye of the automatic adjuster spring from its pin, place a 7/16" BSF setscrew with locknut and unscrew the required number of turns.
2 Remove the front cover, undo the eleven 1/4" nuts on the outer diameter and five smaller nuts on the inner diameter; also the two cheese-headed screws, tap off the front cover preferably with two sharp wedges, while doing this tap gently on the five studs to keep them from coming away with the cover. Now remove the pump plunger and oscillating cylinder, next the pump housing. Note the position of the three coil springs for assembly. Now remove the two countersunk screws seen at "one o'clock" on the actuating ring; now remove this ring. If tight it can be extracted by using a plate and the two holes used by the two cheese-headed screws of the front cover; but first remove the input shaft; take care of the steel balls which will come away when this ring is removed.
3 Remove gearing: The running gear can be removed piece by piece noting carefully the location of the various planetary trains; bushes, shims, etc. To remove the reverse and last annulus, this should be driven out from the rear and after having first removed the output shaft from the rear end.
4 To remove the gear case from the bottom cover. Remove all the nuts fixing the bottom cover to the case, also extract all the long studs, numbering eight. Now remove the plug immediately below the busbar actuating lever bracket and insert here a 7/16" x 1.1/2" Whit. stud, screwed right up to the head and screw this until solid. This depresses the busbar and enables the case to be removed.
Note re 7/16" Whitworth stud: When using this stud, before inserting it, grind the end to a taper. This will ensure that the end does not burr when used since the busbar spring is very strong and can damage the end of the stud if used several times. Withdrawing the damaged stud will damage the screw thread within the aluminium base requiring the thread to be tapped to a larger size for future use and a larger plug made for the new thread to block the hole. (This information is not part of the ENV instructions.)
All the bands and busbar can be removed from the bottom cover. Before removing the spring tension nut from the busbar, note carefully the number of washers between the end of the nut and the split pin hole. The correct quantity should be replaced when renewing the busbar.
5 TO RE-ASSEMBLE: The case is placed in position over the finished bottom cover and as no paper joints are fitted a good jointing compound should be used. See that the two dowels locate then tap the case into position with a hide mallett, refit the eight long studs, replace all the eighteen nuts and tighten up.
NOTE: When installing the gear train, ensure that the input (Front) and output (Rear) shafts can be turned independantly of each other during initial assembly and check again once the oil pump and front cover have been fitted. Failure to do this may mean that the gearbox will be stuck in top gear!
6 To replace running gear: This is best assembled complete on the bench after first having removed the output shaft rear end ball race. The whole mass can now be pushed through the case, steadying the rear and with the output shaft and a steady pressure put on the input shaft to ensure that the ball race fitted to the rear annulus goes well home into its housing. It is now best to tip up the back of the box so that the front cover can be put on working from the top, taking care that the output shaft does not slip out of place. Should there be any difficulty in replacing the running gear, remove the speedo pinion as this might not mesh with the wheel on the output shaft. The outer actuating ring can now be replaced, locating the two dowels on the 4th speed actuating support, the two countersunk scres replaced and tightened up. Make the hook of the top speed pull rod; now drop in the steel balls into their respective slots, replace the pump housing and see the three springs are hooked on correctly; now return the pump plunger and cylinder.
7 The front cover can then be replaced using jointing compound tighten up the eleven outer nuts, the five nuts of the pump housing studs, the two cheese-headed setscrews. All that is now required is to re-adjust the automatic adjuster nuts to within one turn of the correct adjustment, the remainder should be pedalled up to ensure the correct working of the automatic adjuster springs.
NB Do not forget to remove the 7/16" Whit. stud after assembly and replace plug.
To refit new bands: Great care should be taken in the fitting of the new bands to ensure that the centralisers take up their correct position.
Reverse Band: See that the centraliser is fitted to band lug correctly, i.e: that the small tit on centraliser is to the top. Next fit band to bottom cover and contract the band on to one of the annuli, using the strut gear and dbusbar. When band is fully engaged force the centraliser round so that it comes into contact with the facing on the bottom cover, this gives the correct position when the band is off.
Forward Band: See that the correct off and near centralisers are fitted then proceed to contract the band as in reverse. When this is done, force the near side centraliser up to the busbar support and the offside down to the facing on battom cover. Do this with all three forward bands and they will then be centralised properlu in their off position.
INSPECTION OF PARTS AND GEARBOX WHEN DISMANTLED:
Busbar: If it is found that the operating pad on the busbar is worn, replace it with spare busbar supplied.
Brake Drums: If grooves on brake drums are seriously damaged, we would recommend you clean up the grooves with a pointed tool
NOTE: These grooves are not screwed but are parallel annular grooves.
Lubrication: See notes elsewhere in this section about oil and ensure that Castrol PSGE oil is used and changed regularly.:
PRESELECTOR GEARBOX: ON ROAD PROBLEMS: (Not part of the Officla instructions but from experiance on the road!)
The preselector gearbox is an extremely reliable unit which will continue to operate reliably for many thousands of miles. Depending on its usage, over 300,000 miles (or 480,000 kilometres) can be obtained provided only that the oil is changed at the specified intervals and the gearbox is correctly used. This latter really only requires that the gearchange pedal is allowed to return smartly so that the required gear engages and does not slip. If no clutch is fitted, then first gear band has to be slipped – the pedal is released slowly as with a normal clutch – so that first gear band will wear quicker than normal. Even so, very high mileages are possible with care. The oil must be changed every 3,000 miles and checked for level as required. Initially, new gearboxes should have the oil changed after 1,000 miles and every 3,000 thereafter. The original recommended oils were basically engine oils of 30 or 40 SAE rating but modern oils are much improved so that modern preselector gearboxes have recommendations to change every 5,000 miles. However, many cars will be used for relatively low mileages so that a change of oil annually might be best when a car has not reached 3,000 miles in the year. The owner is in the best position to decide, based on the change intervals mentioned. It is suggested that enquiries be made to Castrol Oils who make the PDGE oil in connection with intervals of oil changes with modern oil.
Owners of cars with these gearboxes may not be aware of the adjustments that can be made to the gearbox and will rely on a local mechanic who may not be totally au fait with the gearbox. If adjustment of the bands is not maintained then the pull rod on the adjuster may become slack on the band. Sometimes, before this is noted and rectified, engaging the next gear may well give an apparent “neutral”. This is because each strut has an interlock pad on its outer face. This is designed to prevent two gears being engaged at the same time when very excessive damage could be done. This pad stops in the interlock bracket on the side of the gearbox and will give the impression of neutral. Whilst one gear will answer to the selector, the “slack” gear will remain in the interlock bracket and prevent any gear being engaged. It will depend on the owner as to whether or not he will attend to the problem himself at the roadside or call assistance. Towing should not be carried out for more than two to three miles for the reasons mentioned in the ENV notes above.
However, if the owner is in a remote place or is able to sort out the problem, the temporary repair can be made as follows:
Remove whatever covering is necessary to allow access to the top of the gearbox. Remove the eight screws holding the cover plate on and remove it and the gasket. Two bands will have their adjuster nuts nearer to the centre of the gearbox. Reverse is the band towards the rear of the box, then 1,2,3 and 4, nearest the engine. If in doubt as to which is the slack band, operate the gearchange pedal for the gear you were tying to engage and if one nut then moves away from the bands, the other one is the stuck strut. Check by trying the pedal when this band is selected and nothing should happen! Remove the adjuster spring from the adjuster nut. The adjuster nut is 7/16” BSF. If you have a bolt of this size and a nut, use this to lock nut the bolt into the adjuster and unscrew the nut. When this is clear of the box, remove the “bad” strut from the gearbox. It will need to be pressed down to clear the interlock bracket. When the cover has been replaced, the car can be driven home on the three remaining forward gears and reverse so that a full repair can be done in the comfort of your own garage – or at your local mechanic’s garage. What is now required is to reassemble the strut and adjust it to its correct position so that it is no longer slack. This can be done, of course, by the roadside but may take some time to achieve so may be better done at home.
I have had to do this with my Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire on one occasion and was fortunate to have read of such a problem beforehand so that the problem was easily identified. The source of my knowledge was even luckier. He was an American who owned and ran a Sapphire in
America. When the problem occurred, he had as a passenger Donald Eastwood of Eastwood Brothers, the Armstrong Siddeley Service Centre at Leeds, UK who was able to affect the temporary repair described. Who else in America would have had that knowledge, I wonder?
Slight slipping in one or more bands may well be overcome by “pumping” the pedal with the engine stationary as detailed in the ENV notes above. However, on cars of high mileages and particularly where all gears appear to have some slippage, do not forget that the clutch can slip, even though it is a centrifugal unit. The only answer here is to remove the gearbox and inspect the clutch lining for a permanent repair. To check that the clutch is at fault, before dismantling, the clutch can be screwed up tight, three nuts will need to be tightened, using washers that will go over the pegs, so that it is permanently engaged and the gearchange pedal must be operated as a clutch when moving from rest. However, if there is no more slippage, then the clutch probably needs attention. If, of course, the clutch linings seem to have life left in them, check that the three bob weights that govern the engagement of the clutch are free to move as the revs increase. The clutch is taken to one and a half times the torque when fully engaged so that slippage does not occur. The clutch is a two plate - Newton Centrifugal automatic type.
Difficult engagement of gears can be caused by wear in the linkage as described in the ENV notes but sometimes dismantling the linkages and cleaning and lubricating them can improve their operation. Use a molybdenum disulphide grease initially since this will leave a slippery coating on the brass swivels which should last longer than oil.