Every Sprite gearbox has some wear, and they do just fine if you are nice to them, even when they are worn. In fact, “Gumby’s” gearbox has been whining more than normal in first gear since 1978, but with no additional grinding, it has lasted just fine for 36 years, and hasn’t gotten any worse. But a lot them get abused due to operator error, and this is a sore spot for me, because it’s a lot of work for us to build inventory of rebuilt gearboxes, and to get good gearbox parts. If we could all learn to love these wonderful little gears, they would last just fine, but due to operator error, many boxes are failing before their time.
(Rib)Case in point, the car featured in this video is a recent acquisition, and the gearbox has a bad noise on deceleration in all gears. It sound like a loose gear tooth is rattling around inside– a remove and rebuild is required. Take a listen, and please join the army of educated British car drivers who are most kind to their gears.
There is absolutely nothing to be afraid of or intimated about with a non-synchro first gear. Just be at a standstill before engaging first and/or reverse, and all else will be fine!