I've put hundreds of those covers on. Hundreds.
First off,affix the gasket to the case so it stays in it's proper place.Then go find the two special bolts with the long line-up shoulders.Then find the matching deep holes in the case. You have to have these two bolts.And you have to know where to put them, and the gasket has to stay put.
Then roll the trans over into it's proper orientation and put a block under the rear mount so it can't roll around on you.Stabilize that puppy.
Then put the 3-4 fork into the cover,all the way home into the combs; both of them.Make sure it is in the center slot of the three possible. This is neutral.
Let the 1-2 fork plop down.From the pic it looks to be in neutral.
Make sure the reverse lever is all the way forward.This is neutral.
Pick up the cover with your left hand. Orient the fork ready to slide in. Place your right hand palm side towards your chest and straddling the pin of the properly installed 1-2 fork, between your two longest fingers. Pull the pin up into what you think is the proper height to engage the cover, and hold it there.Bring the cover over, engage the front fork onto the front slider and simultaneously put the rear pin into it's lever, and remove your hand.Push the cover over towards home, but leave a lil room to look inside. Rotate the cover downwards slightly and observe that the front fork is properly engaged on the slider. Rotate the cover as high as it will go, and push it mostly home. When it stops, gently lower it while pushing it home......
What you are doing is dropping the reverse-interlock that is part of the 1-2 lever, down behind the reverse lever that is mounted inside the case.Well not behind but up out of the way, and then down onto.Once the cover is installed there are only a few thousands of an inch separating these interlock parts.
Once it's down, hold it there and verify the gasket is still in place,then install those two long-shouldered bolts into their proper holes.
Roll the trans back onto her side, and snug those two bolts about finger tight. Verify the forks are all installed correctly by shifting the trans thru all gears. You may have to be spinning the input gear to achieve this. Finally install the rest of the bolts and torque them down.
This is not how I do it, but rather is how I learned to do it.
You can do this with the trans laying on it's side, once you know the procedure and become confident that the 3-4 is engaging properly. With the 4 hours experience you have accumulated, I expect you already know how to do this,lol.The only sticking point is getting the reverse interlock lined up. Sometimes you have to jiggle the cover a bit before it drops on.
If you cannot engage reverse once the two long-shouldered bolts are snugged, STOP! Loosen the bolts and push the cover "up" as high as it will go, keep it there, and tighten the 2 bolts again,more than finger tight. Try shifting reverse again. If it goes now, then finish up. But if it only goes part way, not at all, or feels like it's dragging or grinding, then you have a problem.Come back and we'll get into that.
Extra special, I love you tip ;
As to the external shift levers, the ones you're about to bolt on;These have a tendency to work loose over time.And then the mounting shoulders down below the threads get rounded off. I see yours are still pretty sharp-cornered. You really want to ensure they stay that way. I see you have a Nyloc nut screwed down on one of them.This is not the right nut and is sure to work loose. If this happens on the 1-2 lever, late on a rainy night, you are gonna be one very unhappy guy.To prevent this calamity from befalling you, you should get the original-type integral-serrated-washer hardened nuts.
But if you cannot or do not get those nuts, here is what has worked for me;
Lay the trans on its side. Put a a couple of drops of sewing machine oil or very light oil between the cover casting and the sortof protruding shiny part of the studs well below the shoulders. Make sure it wicks in there,and then thoroughly wipe the excess off. Clean the shoulders and studs with "brakleener" or whatever equivalent product you have down there, but don't flush out the oil you just applied. Let it flash off. Install the external levers,in their correct orientation. Be sure they're correct. Put a few drops of red loc-tite threadlocker down in the cavities where the shoulders engage the levers, be generous. Lay on the hardened washers that you purchased especially for this application, one per stud.Then a couple of drops on the threads, then the nuts, any nuts, grade8 preferred but whatever. Run the nuts down and torque to 96 INCH pounds. Wipe the loc-tite off, and roll the trans over cover side down. Wait 5 minutes. Roll the trans over to it's normal orientation, and shift the trans thru all gears whose levers you loc-tited. Go in the house and kiss your wife, on the cheek Da: women don't know what to make of that.. Come back in ten minutes and repeat. If it still shifts, you're done, let it dry for 10 more minutes, then she's ready to install.
Using this procedure, I have never had a lever come loose, not in 100,000 miles of savage street abuse.lol.
The loc-tite will harden to cement in the cavity, preventing the lever from developing play. The loc-tite on the nut just prevents it from losing torque. The 96 inch pounds is sufficient for the job and ensures that you don't strip the threads off, I hate that.
The oil you applied around the levers is supposed to prevent the loc-tite from wicking into there and seizing up the works. The shift tests prove it's working. If at any time the levers get sticky, try not to hate me, but it's gonna have to come apart. For this reason I always install the external levers this way, BEFORE installing the cover, for the final time....I hope you read this far,lol