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Thread: transmission installation in a VW beetle

  1. #1
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    Default transmission installation in a VW beetle

    The transmission presently installed in my 1960 beetle is less than perfect and howls like crazy at highway speeds. The gears crunched between shifting and the throw bearing made moaning sounds when the clutch was depressed. Luckily I found this gent in Michigan US who had been rebuilding transmissions for a living for 40 years before retiring and now works from home. He has a cache of NOS parts to build a transmission from scratch. The best part is that he builds a transmission as per the customers specs..from mild to wild. I don't do any crazy driving but I still opted for a new 3.88 ring and pinion, new pinion bearings, new syncro rings, welded and honed 3rd and 4th gear, new axles and tubes with new axle bearings and a new throw-out bearing. All the parts mentioned above are new old stock genuine VW parts made in Germany as the Good Lord wanted them to be, all fitted in a new later model transmission IRS case converted to swing axle.

    I am including pictures here but caution you to refrain from drooling on the keyboard please.I realize its pure p*rn for those looking for a half decent transmission to install in their VW's.

    I brought the transmission when it was done but the local VW mechanic wants $600 plus tax to install it in the car! Now I have seen it all done and there are tons of videos on Youtube but it still gives me the shivers when I think of the job ahead. However I am not going to pay anyone $600 plus 13% tax (and that too is a ball park figure given the approx. hours it would take..the final figure could well be a lot higher)

    I have the car on stands in the garage and have started with removing the wires. Even though there are not a whole lot of them but I am not taking any chances and have labeled them to remind me of their location when its time to put everything back together. (hopefully in a few weeks time.) I'll take pictures where ever possible and share with you the progress in the days / weeks ahead.

    Please wish me luck. I have a feeling i'll need lots of it.


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    It is a regular thread nut..i.e it opens anti-clockwise. The lock pin came out clean so there is nothing stopping it from breaking open. The real problem is that I need more pressure on the wheel to keep it from spinning. I have tried with someone pressing the brake; I have tried with three people loaded in the back seat. I have even tried letting air out of the tire, blocking it with blocks of wood...
    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com<img src=" /><o:p></o:p>
    I looked up the tool you suggest. There are a couple of them available online. When it comes to tools I always want to buy the best. I hate nothing more (well maybe a few things) than a tool giving up on me in the middle of a task. (Or at the beginning for that matter!) I have e-mailed the suppliers to find out where was it made etc.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Meanwhile I am also trying to look up compressor rentals on the yellow pages. Maybe if I rented a power tool it would make the job easier. <o:p></o:p>

  3. #22
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    Maybe it would have been easier to have the engine in the car before you attempted to loosen up the nut (I'm guessing aloud here) - to block the wheels etc. I've seen plenty of videos and spoke with a tech once in Oklahoma who used it on my car. (Had never seen the tool before) and I think it made the job a lot easier.

    Good luck with this - I'm sure when you drive the car afterwards and remember the trouble you went through to get it running again, u'll enjoy it a lot more!
    -

  4. #23
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    SUCCESS!!!!<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com<img src=" /><o:p></o:p>
    After dousing the nuts in WD40 for a couple of days, then asking my neighbour to sit in the car and press the brake while I attempted to un-screw the axle nut. The first time it moved I thought the wheel had slipped yet again but it was for real!!! The other side was a breeze. It is quite cold today and forecast to dip further tomorrow. I would have liked to replace the tranny and take the car for a spin before the first snowfall but looks like it would have to wait until spring. I am going to take my time cleaning up the caked oil and dirt from the hard-to-reach areas now that the engine is out and the tranny would soon be. The bell housing seal is also shredded and whatever remains is brittle as a biscuit. I have a good new one from WCM along with an engine bay seal that I am going to replace at the same time. I have ordered new gear box cradle mounts as the ones on the car are spongy due to the oil leak. With the engine is out I might as well go all the way and replace anything that might give me trouble later. I may decide to take Billo for a long drive (and I mean LONG!) next year so all the attention at this point might save me some trouble later. Stay tuned for more news.<o:p></o:p>

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    Way to GO!!! (insert claps here)

    MSK
    -

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    I am back! Happy New Year.. The car has been sitting all this while as i cannot work in -20*C with cold wind blowing. However I have not been sitting idle..I have been collecting parts. I now have a NOS set of cradle mounts and a NOS front mount among other things needed for the completion of this project.

    The cradle mounts or the 'engine foundation' as they are commonly known as that were on the car were soft and spongy due to age and the constant exposure to engine oil. Luckily I found a good pair and as you can see from the pictures i am posting here it would make a world of difference when installed. (whenver I get round to doing it...hopefully sometime this month)

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    wish you good luck.
    What did you do to the bell hosing seal?
    https://www.facebook.com/skillgrafik

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    transmission installation in a VW beetle -195195 transmission installation in a VW beetle -195196
    The old and the NOS cradle mounts. Might as well do it right the first time as it would require pulling the engine out to replace these at a later stage.
    The bell housing seal is ready to be installed but it is so cold and the seal rubber is like the proverbial dogs tail which wouldn't straighten up. I guess I'll have to heat it in the house till its flexible again then make a quick rush and try install before it cools off again. The best time for this task is the summers or anytime if you have a heated garage (I don't) but I'd like it done in the next few weeks.

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    I tried to take advantage of the milder temperature today (it was 0*C..for us it is mild. Tomorrow would be -20*C with the wind chill) and install the bell housing seal. I had placed the rubber near the heater overnight so it had softened considerably as I tried to thread it through the channel. I could only go half way before the rubber hardened and it was impossible to push it anymore in the channel. I did not have the heart to pull it out of the length I had achieved after all the hard work so I've left it there half in, half out, for another day. The rubber had cooled but I was all warmed up so I decided to replace the cradle mounts or the engine foundations as most would recognize them. Another mistake. I should have done that before I had replaced the transmission as it was impossible to raise the bell housing high enuff to squeeze the new foundation in. I loosened the bolt that holds the cradle on one side but the other bolt refused to budge... I huffed and puffed but it is an awkward angle to apply force so I gave up. I just changed one foundation on the side that had come loose and called ita day...
    Now I have half a bell housing seal installed and one out of two foundations in place. Should i pat myself on the back for the work done in three hours?
    transmission installation in a VW beetle - 202168
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    15 to 20 cms of snow tonight.....there goes my plan for the long weekend...

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    Today is only -2*C...its almost spring..so I decided to complete the job I started a few days back. I managed to get the rest of the bell housing seal installed and stepped back to appreciate the cleanest, almost virgin channel I have ever seen on a car. I had seen the hard as a burnt toast pieces that came out of this area but didn't realize that this seal was never changed in the 50 years of the cars life! I had received a similar shock last year when I decided to replace the rear shock absorbers and they turned out to be the original BOGE units. They were shot and the ride was a whole lot better after I installed the new Mexican units but I was amazed that the original units had lasted almost half a century and were doing reasonably alright even then.
    Riding the wave I decided to replace the engine surround seal as well. It took me almost 30 minutes to do it as unlike the bell housing channel this one has been opened up and pressed back when the last engine seal was installed in Rawalpindi, the same time a new 1.6l engine was installed. I have the complete seals done now.

    This is where the good part ends. I managed to get the transmission cradle un bolted and out and after cleaning it with solvent and realizing it was a little bent in the middle from maybe someone trying to lift the car with a jack at that point decided to straighten it with a few quick blows of a hammer. It straightened out alright but now the cradle is out of shape and the transmission won't settle in the cradle on top of the new mounts (foundations) I guess the curve was for a reason. I can go ahead and hammer a curve in there again but I have chosen the easy way out..ordered a new (used but in good condition) cradle mount online. it should be arriving by Monday and I promise to only clean it with some gunk cleaner if needed. Otherwise it is going straight in the car. After that the only thing left would be the engine re-installation.

    I could have finished replacing the foundations today had it not been the cradle fiasco but I guess it is yet another lesson learnt...If it ain't broken ..DON'T FIX IT!

    Pic. 1: The bell housing seal in place..note the clean unmolested channel, original L 380 Turkis paint.
    Pic. 2: The engine surround seal in place
    Pic. 3: The pieces of the old and original bell housing seal
    transmission installation in a VW beetle - 205682
    transmission installation in a VW beetle - 205683 transmission installation in a VW beetle - 205684
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    more than 15 cms of snow expected today...its already started... Hopefully the weekend would be nice.

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    some good wrenching going on there
    ZRS - Zulfiqar Racing Systems ..... - professionals at work - at crackwheels.com

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    ................ NOT FAIR ....... Your having all the FUN yourself!

    P.S: CLEAN though!
    -

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    The transmisson cradle arrived by mail. I'll let the pictures tell the story as I put it next to the one that was previously on the car. Getting the VW's repaired is so much easier in Pakistan (and cheaper) but nothing beats the availability of spares in this part of the world. I found a good used part for $10 in California and for another $22 it arrived in time for me to take full advantage of another mild day at only -3*C. Everything fell into place just the way it should and there were no surprises or disappointments today.



    transmission installation in a VW beetle - 207641
    transmission installation in a VW beetle - 207642 transmission installation in a VW beetle - 207643
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    ..and this is what the transmission looks like sitting comfortably in the cradle, all secure and snug.
    transmission installation in a VW beetle -207644

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    I did it!

    I am too tired right now to write in detail but I can tell you its not a job for the faint hearted. If you must do it yourself you better have at least one other person to help you. However I am proud to tell you that I have re-installed the engine in the beetle. It took me 6 hours and I have yet to start the engine after connecting the wires but the engine is in the car.

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    oh comon ......... putting an engine in a bug is not THAT hard

    YouTube - VW Beetle Engine change Guiness world record

    u've gone soft !

    -

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    Ah! but they were four guys and I have a feeling all of them had done this before as opposed to just watching from the sidelines. Nice cheeta colour scheme btw.

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    It was a nice -2*c day and I decided to finish off the engine re-installation. I pulled the car out in the driveway so I have more room around it when I raise it from both sides and secure it on the stands. The engine slid under the raised backside without any issues. The next and more serious task was to raise the engine to the point where it lined up with the transmission input shaft. This too was achieved in a record time of 10 minutes but things started to go wrong from here on. The two bottom mounting studs that are supposed to line up with the corresponding holes in the bottom of the bell housing just refused to line up. Please bear in mind the temperature is still below freezing and I have replaced the engine surround seal recently so it was not as flexible as I wanted it to be and hence the sideways movement of the engine to achieve the required alignment was almost impossible. The heater boxes tried to play tough as well but I managed to tilt the engine towards the front and they passed under the firewall with very little persuasion. From here on I huffed and I puffed to align the two studs for the next 5 hours. I used three jacks, an assortment of wood blocks, crow bars, screw drivers, muscle power, profanity and prayers but the best I got was one stud sliding in the right hole but when I checked the other side the stud was in the bell housing...so had to start once again. Finally I placed a jack under each of the frame horns that support the transmission and raised it just a tad. Lo and behold the studs were lined up! Just a gentle push and a little turning of the main pulley to align the splines of the drive shaft and the engine was off the jack, its weight supported by the bell housing. For a moment I was not even sure if it was for real. A quick inspection from both sides reconfirmed that the bell housing and the engine were sitting flush I wasted no time to crawl under the car and tighten the two 17 mm nuts that hold the engine at the bottom of the bell housing. the top two 17 mm D- bolts were left to be tightened later as the engine was secure and I could simply push the car back in the garage for now.
    transmission installation in a VW beetle - 212309 transmission installation in a VW beetle - 212310 transmission installation in a VW beetle - 212311 transmission installation in a VW beetle - 212312
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    nice

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