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Build Thread: Subaru 5 speed Transmission into Vanagon
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D Clymer
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 7:02 pm    Post subject: Build Thread: Subaru 5 speed Transmission into Vanagon Reply with quote

I am starting a build thread to share the work Iím doing to adapt a Subaru 5 speed manual transmission into a 1989 Vanagon. As some of you probably know, Todd Triebler at www.subarugears.com has discovered that it is possible to flip the differential in the Subaru transmission with some minor case clearancing. He is now offering the required reverse cut ring and pinion set for sale at a very reasonable $1500.

I think all of us who have done a conversion or have significantly increased the power of the Wasserboxer have all wished for more gearing choices for our Vanagons. The super short gearing doesnít really allow our vans to effortlessly move away from stop lights with traffic, and there is no reason to cruise the highway at 4000+ rpms with a more powerful motor. I have done several Subaru coversions, and have never completely been satisfied with the results because of the big engine, short gearing combination.

I had always thought that at some point I would import one of the 29:7 (4.14:1) final drives available in Germany for the stock 4 speed and call it good. However, with the exchange rates being what they are I never got around to it. When I learned that Todd had come up with a way to reverse the direction of the Subaru gearbox I was excited enough to put my winter project (1.8T into Corrado) on hold. I did some research on the Subaru 5 speed transmission and came away impressed Ė and eager to see one bolted up under a Vanagon.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

The Subaru 5 speed used in all manual transmission Legacys, Imprezas, and Foresters wears a type code of TY, and was first used in the 1990 Legacy. Subaru obviously got it right with this transmission because they have continued to develop it over the last two decades and as recently as 2008 they developed a 6 speed version of it that was first used in the Subaru turbodiesel. That transmission is now the standard transmission for the 2010 Legacys and Outbacks.

Subaru uses the TY transmission in turbocharged WRXs and Legacy GTs, so it is definitely a very stout unit. What really sold me on this transmission is the wide assortment of ratios and final drives available. Generally speaking, all turbocharged and early model N/A cars use a wide ratio gear set. The later model normally aspirated cars use a performance oriented close ratio gear set. For anyone that remembers the awesome close ratio Volkswagen transmissions, used in the 1983 GTI for instance, the Subaru close ratio gearboxes have ratios that are almost identical to the VW close ratio gearboxes:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

With his initial product announcement, Todd listed 3.90:1 as the sole final drive ratio choice. This is the stock WRX ratio, but it would be too tall for an engine of lesser power in a Vanagon. I contacted Todd about the possibility of shorter final drive ratios, and I was delighted to hear from him that he could have any of the stock Subaru final drive ratios made. Shorter ratios from Subaru are 4.11:1 and 4.44:1. For reference, an air cooled Vanagon, which surprisingly has the tallest final drive of all Vanagons, is 4.57:1.

The Subaru TY gearbox is surprisingly close to the VW 091/1 transmission in configuration. Since this conversion needs be based off of a 4wd Subaru gearbox (converted to run just 2wd), it is longer due to the center differential housing. However, in terms of bellhousing length it is similar, and the starter is in exactly the same location. The differential output shafts are 2Ē lower than the VW 091/1, and the differential portion of the case definitely sits lower, but in the end doesnít cause any ground clearance issues since the lowest point of the Wasserboxer is the front exhaust header.

As of last Sunday, I now have a 2002 Subaru gearbox installed in a 1989 Vanagon. I have modified it for length, mated it to an EJ22 engine, and bolted it under the van using a modified Smallcar rear mount, and a front transmission mount of my own design. I didnít want to start this build thread until I had made significant headway. I see this conversion being a three part project:

I. Physical Installation
II. Shift linkage and drive axles
III. Installing the ring and pinion set

With Part 1 complete, Iím excited to share what Iíve been up to. I think this transmission conversion is an important missing link in the Vanagon improvement process. Naturally, it is the perfect answer for Subaru engine conversions, but with a custom adaptor plate and flywheel, this transmission could be joined to any Vanagon engine.

Over the next week I will be posting photos and details of Part 1. Feel free to ask questions or share thoughts.

David
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Vanagon Nut
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bravo. Applause

Good on ya for posting your build thread!

Sure looks promising.

Will you use a cable shifter or modify a Vanagon shifter?

Neil.
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Orbitald
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Since this conversion needs be based off of a 4wd Subaru gearbox (converted to run just 2wd)


Do you think this could possibly work for a Syncro?

David R.
Oakland, CA
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psych-illogical
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OMG!! Shocked Very Happy Shocked

Methinks this is going to generate some serious excitement. Cool

Hey. Wait a freakin' minute. Is this some kinda April Fools thing? Confused
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Last edited by psych-illogical on Thu Apr 01, 2010 7:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Christopher Schimke
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right on, David!!! Can I come over to your house?
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wbx
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very cool! I'll definitely be watching these threads. I am always impressed with you pioneer types...
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tclark
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK can some do the math for me & tell me the rpm that a 1.9 TDI gonna run at with 15" inch wheel at 65-70mph ??

I guess we want around 2K maybe a bit less ?
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D Clymer
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vanagon Nut wrote:

Sure looks promising.
Will you use a cable shifter or modify a Vanagon shifter?
Neil.


Thanks, Neil! The original plan was to modify the Vanagon shifter, but I'm now considering using a two cable arrangement.

Orbitald wrote:

Do you think this could possibly work for a Syncro?


Yes, but there are some clearance issues. Also, there is no way to outfit this transmission with a locking rear differential and there would be no granny gear. It would make a great "Allroad" style Vanagon but not one suited for heavy offroading. Incidentally, the Subaru AWD system is a true full time system with a center differential and 50/50 front to rear torque distribution. It's a good system.


psych-illogical wrote:
Hey. Wait a freakin' minute. Is this some kinda April Fools thing?


No, it's for real. I just checked my garage to make sure Smile

loogy wrote:
Right on, David!!! Can I come over to your house?


Yes, of course. Maybe next week sometime?

wbx wrote:
Very cool! I'll definitely be watching these threads. I am always impressed with you pioneer types...


Thanks, Damian. I'll definitely value your feedback and ideas on this one.


Last edited by D Clymer on Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Vanagon Nut
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

D Clymer wrote:
Vanagon Nut wrote:


Will you use a cable shifter or modify a Vanagon shifter?
Neil.


Thanks, Neil! The original plan was to modify the Vanagon shifter, but I'm now considering using a two cable arrangement.



I can see that. I bet using the Vanagon shifter (5 speed I assume) would involve a hybrid between the Suby and Vanagon bits. Does the stock Suby use cables? If so, would you incorporate those into the Vanagon somehow?

Or modify one like in pic below?

I know. That's stage 2. Wait for it..... Wink

Neil.



Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.
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Vanagon VAG GAS engine swap Google Group:
https://sites.google.com/site/t2t3vaggasengineswaps/home

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mattography
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw this on shoptalk, I really want to see his awd beetle.

I like this as an option over a g50 930 and cant wait to see your project.
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vwlovr
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mattography wrote:
I saw this on shoptalk, I really want to see his awd beetle.

I like this as an option over a g50 930 and cant wait to see your project.



oh, lets see a link for the awd bug!
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klucz
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome.
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240Gordy
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the cali guys should be really psyched on this, full late model subie drive train in a Vanagon.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

240Gordy wrote:
the cali guys should be really psyched on this, full late model subie drive train in a Vanagon.

Why?
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

vwlovr wrote:

oh, lets see a link for the awd bug!


The build is on his website, subarugears, that D Clymer posted

http://www.shoptalkforums.net/viewtopic.php?f=19&a...8abca2d975

I love watching your work D Clymer, Thanks for getting a lot of the mystery out of the way.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

r39o wrote:
240Gordy wrote:
the cali guys should be really psyched on this, full late model subie drive train in a Vanagon.

Why?


well don't the California regulations require the full drivetrain (transmision) for an OBD2 swap? this allows you to meet that requirement.
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"So, now that you know what you're doing, go to town."
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

r39o wrote:
240Gordy wrote:
the cali guys should be really psyched on this, full late model subie drive train in a Vanagon.

Why?

It may help clear the ODBII hurdle?

It may also help clear a recent 3.3 hurdle in NorCal, ("matching transmission")

This is great!
Will be following this thread with interest.
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Orbitald
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh! 3.3 subi in CA!

Now that's exciting!
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

D Clymer wrote:
Orbitald wrote:

Do you think this could possibly work for a Syncro?


Yes, but there are some clearance issues. Also, there is no way to outfit this transmission with a locking rear differential and there would be no granny gear. It would make a great "Allroad" style Vanagon but not one suited for heavy offroading. Incidentally, the Subaru AWD system is a true full time system with a center differential and 50/50 front to rear torque distribution. It's a good system.


That would be fine with me, just give me a LSD rear and a selectable locking front - thats my ideal combo anyways.

The real problem for a syncro now is that you would need matching front ring and pinion, 3.90 gears sound perfect for a diesel, SVX etc, but for us syncro owners we would need a solution for the front diff.

At this point, I wonder if we might be able to switch out the front diff for something else with matched gears - would probably loose the front locker, but make a much more drivable vehicle overall.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

240Gordy wrote:
r39o wrote:
240Gordy wrote:
the cali guys should be really psyched on this, full late model subie drive train in a Vanagon.

Why?


well don't the California regulations require the full drivetrain (transmision) for an OBD2 swap? this allows you to meet that requirement.


I think they want the exhaust too.
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