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Removed the wrong bolt on the gearbox

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Hi. I have made the dreaded mistake of removing the star-headed bolt on the front on the gearbox (1991 polo 1L, 4 speed), thinking that it was the oil filler plug.

Now 1st and 2nd gears are very stiff to select. 

This is a well-known mistake (as I have recently discovered through google), apparently that bolt holds a selector plate in place.

The general advise is that the gearbox will have to be removed and opened up to fix it.

Does anyone have any other , less difficult/expensive suggestions to fix it? I'm sure someone here must have experienced this.  

Could I remove the gearbox end-plate with the gearbox in the car, and fix it through that opening?

Any advise or sympathy appreciated. 


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Thanks for the sympathy, but I no longer need it!
Through a combination of persistance, desperation and luck, I have fixed the gearbox in situ. 

For any future unfortunates who find themselves in this particular trouble, here is what I did. It may not work for everyone:

1. Understand the problem. The end of the bolt protrudes into the inside of the gearbox, and passes through a hole in the middle of a pivot plate that is used to select reverse gear.
The bolt acts as the shaft that the plate pivots around.
When the bolt is removed, the pivot plate drops out of place a bit due to gravity.
Therfore, when the bolt is inserted again, it does not pass through the hole on the pivot plate. Instead, it presses against the side of the plate, pushing teh plate to one side. 
The plate then fouls the selector mechanism for 1st and 2nd.
At this point, 1st, 2nd and reverse were very difficult to select.  

2. See the problem. Using a mirror and a torch, I could see though the bolt hole. I could clearly see the pivot plate, with the hole that the bolt was supposed to go through. 
The plate was displaced from where is should be in 2 dimensions :
(i). It had dropped about 2mm, so the hole in the plate no longer aligned with the bolt-hole in the gearbox casing. 
(ii). It had been pushed away from the side of the gearbox casing by me previously inserting the bolt. 

3. Make a custom tool for this particular problem. I found the shaft from an old broken screwdriver, which was a very stiff steel rod 7mm in diameter and about 20cm long.
The diameter is fairly critical, the length is not 
About 5mm from one end, I filed a deep notch in one side of it, perpendicular on the side near the end of the shaft, very tapered on the other side.
The idea was to create a kind of "hook" that I could use to pull the plate back to the side of the gearbox casing.
I also filed a small notch near the other end of the shaft, on the same side as the first notch, so that I knew which way the first notch was facing, even when I could not see in inside the gearbox.
I carefully removed all filings from if before taking it near the gearbox.   

4. Fix the problem. I was able to insert the tool through the bolthole and the hole in the pivot plate, and with notch turned upwards I could pull the plate against the inside of the casing, where is should be.
That bit was easy. 
Next, I turned the tool so that the notch was at the bottom, and used the tool to lever the pivot plate upwards, back to where it should be.
That bit was not so easy, but I managed it by getting my young son to change gears while I levered. The pattern Reverse, then 2nd then 3rd seemed to produce the best results.
Then, the really tricky bit. I had to remove the tool to get the bolt back in, but as soon as I removed it the pivot plate would drop out of position again. But not always by the same amount. 
So I just kept getting it back into position, and carefully removing the tool, until after about 30 attempts the plate did not drop. I don't know why, but I put the bolt in *very gently* and the problem was fixed. 


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Good news. Could you upload a picture of the tool you fashioned for the next poor soul?


And you know it's a 19mm inner hex for the filler now.

I have used a wheel bolt with a two nuts locking each other and a ratchet spanner to save on buying a 19mm hex bit. 


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