Notice that the two selector hubs I'm indicating are both engaged -- this locks the transmission up so nothing can turn.
Here's a pick of "drifting" the roll pin out of a selector fork (which is being supported by a chunk of 2x4).
I'm trying to show pictorially how bad the fit between the selector fork and the groove it rides in is for the 1st/2nd selector. This picture is of me pushing it towards 2nd gear.
In this image I'm applying pressure towards 1st gear. Notice the tremendous (relatively speaking) gap between the selector fork and the groove that it engages. I think I've found the culprit. The fit between fork and groove is supposed to be about .010" and this one (the 1st/2nd fork) has about .080" clearance. There is still a question in my mind however. Is this the reason the car pops out of 1st so easily, or is this a symptom of the "cure" I've been using -- holding the shifter forcibly in place while in 1st gear?
You can see the corresponding gap in the 3rd/4th selector is pretty close to what it ought to be (.010").
Now I'm being stoopid. Having found the cause of the problem I should stop where I am, buy new selector forks from the local Mazda dealer (this doesn't appear to be a part that any of the online places carry), and get the job done. I'm having fun though so I guess I'll just keep going. Besides, if the wear on the 1st/2nd selector fork is a symptom and not the cause, maybe I'll find the real problem deeper inside...
Also, it makes sense to change all the synchronizers while I've got the beast apart.
This picture shows me ruining a screwdriver. Weird photographic issue here: this is not a staged photo, that grinding wheel was spinning! You can see a few sparks shooting out below. But it sure looks like my camera was fast enough to "stop" the wheel.
Okay, so I wasn't just wontonly destroying one of my tools. In fact I was making a prying device. But look what happened when I tried to pry with it!
In the process of breaking my prying device, I got the ring NEARLY undeformed out of the keyway that it was beaten into.
Here's what the prying device looks like now.
Which turns out to be perfect, it exactly fits in the groove, and being already stumpy, is in no danger of breaking.
The ring may not be round, but there's now enough clearance to turn the nut.
Speaking of the nut, here's my new 32mm socket (it says 1 - 1/4 inch on the side, but trust me, it's 32mm.
The breaker bar is also new. I'm finding it incredibly useful -- it's one of those tools where you wonder why you ever tried to get by without it!
Not shown is the struggle where I tried to hold the tran with one hand and use the wrench with the other. After trying several sorts of crowbars to hold the tran in place, I finally drilled some holes in a long 2x4 and bolted the transmission to that.
In the end, the nut came off.
Another nice new tool, a bearing puller, which is here being used to, ummh, pull a bearing.