Not having fifth gear was livable. Sure, it wound up the motor a bit on the highway, but 4500 rpm at 60 mph isn’t quite awful.
The pumping gear oil out the rear output seal isn’t ideal, but also livable. I have however topped up the trans oil often enough so far this year that I’ve added more than double the total oil capacity. I suppose the undercarriage rust proofing is nice, but the constant running low (and/or completely empty) is definitely doing damage. The gears are getting louder, both more meshing and bearing noise.
I’ve also pretty well stopped using 2nd. The synchros were bad when I got it, and after 7,000 miles they’re to the point where I may as well not even bother to use the clutch to shift into 2nd gear for the good it does. Honestly rev-matching seems easier without it. And even if I manage to get the gears engaged, hit a bump or lift of the the throttle a bit, and it pops out. Winding the engine right up in 1st and then lugging it in 3rd is getting old, fast.
I thought it would be hilarious to do the LeMons Rally with only 3/5 gears, but I’m not convinced it’ll even make it there. So I bought a new transmission.
$1064.32 is what hit my credit card. With exchange rates being what they are right now (terrible) plus factoring in shipping across the Atlantic, I’d say that’s not bad at all. It is still a little more than the $1000 I paid for the Niva, but I’m still right around $4000 total invested, including purchase price, new tires, new brakes, regular maintenance items, and of course that new transmission. So really not all that bad for a very unique 4x4.
Hopefully it ships out early next week, so I’ll get it the last week of the month or so. For whatever reason it was cheaper to express-mail it than for standard shipping. And I don’t technically have a mailing address (no delivery and I don’t get enough mail to justify paying for a PO Box) so the mail room lady at work is going to hate me...