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Homepage. This page: Instructions for the use and maintenance of the Wilson pre-selector gearbox.
Vintage & classic car reference section

The Wilson pre-selector gearbox.

Wilson pre-selector gearbox
The following information regarding the Wilson pre-selector gearbox was published in the pre-war era, by the company behind Castrol motor oils - hence the references to their range of lubricants throughout the publication. The pre-selector gearbox was fitted to a number of quality cars built either side of WW2, and also saw use in various competition cars. Daimler, Lanchester and Riley were perhaps the best known installers of the Wilson transmission. The contemporary operation and maintenance notes featured below, will aid the care of any car that happens to be fitted with this system, although modern advances in oils, tools and methods may well have overtaken certain aspects discussed below.
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Lubrication and care of the Wilson Pre-Selective Self-Changing Gearbox.

  • Sub-title: Care and Lubrication, Driving and Maintenance Hints, How the Wilson-type Gearbox works.
  • Published by C.C. Wakefield & Co. Ltd.
  • Date: 1930s/1940s.

(Pages 2 & 3. Introduction, choosing a grade of oil, how much oil to use.)
Pre-selector gearbox instructions page 2 and 3
(Pages 4 & 5. How frequently is it recommended to change the oil? Plus a sectional drawing of the gearbox's internal parts)
Page 4 and 5
(Pages 6 & 7. How to drive using a car fitted with a pre-selector gearbox, plus running hints)
Page 6 and 7
(Pages 8 & 9. Adjusting the toggle action, to prevent excessive slip)
Page 8 and 9
(Pages 10 & 11. Cutaway drawing, viewed from the side, showing the gearbox internals)
Page 10 and 11 cutaway drawing
(Pages 12 & 13. How the Wilson Self-Changing gear works)
Page 12 and 13 how it works
(Pages 14 & 15. How it works, continued)
Page 14 and 15 how it works
(Pages 16 & 17. The brakes, and the column-mounted control lever)
Page 16 and 17 controls
(Pages 18 & 19. Further explanations of the linkages)
Page 18 and 19
(Pages 20. Recommended Castrol lubricants for AC, Alvis, Armstrong-Siddeley, BSA, Crossley, Daimler, Invicta, Lagonda, Lanchester, MG, Riley (Imp), Squire, Standard, Sunbeam & Talbot)
Page 20 recommendations

Please note.

Information presented in this section is provided as an aid to classic and vintage car owners only. It shouldn't necessarily be taken as gospel, more of a useful series of pointers. It may be that since these period instructions were created, better ways have since evolved to tackle work on the components being considered. Tips and advice may be given in these period articles, but inclusion doesn't necessarily suggest that anyone involved with OCC endorses the methods portrayed. A certain level of mechanical know-how will be required in undertaking work as described in these pages, and anyone unsure of their own abilities is advised to seek further assistance. Delve into your car's inner workings only if you feel confident in your own abilities, after all - a little knowledge can be dangerous, as the old saying goes.
No-one at OCC can be held responsible for breakages and injuries that might occur, while working on a vehicle following a read of pages hosted on the site. Dabble at your own risk. Where possible, the source(s) for the data shown will be given. If the accreditations are incorrect, or contravene your copyright, please let me know.
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