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Baja bugs for Volkswagen virgins: The IRS transmission
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Mal evolent
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 7:18 pm    Post subject: Baja bugs for Volkswagen virgins: The IRS transmission Reply with quote

Baja Bugs for Volkswagen Virgins: Index

Baja bugs for Volkswagen virgins: The IRS transmission

This is not a rehash of Transmissions for Dummies.

This is not lifting and notching and CVs and torsion bars. That will be a different tutorial, and a major effort.

The focus of this tutorial will be IRS transmissions that bolt into '69 and later Beetles. Additional information about older transmissions will be included, because some of what they had looks like what we want.

002s and 091s are not included. Too much fabricating and figuring out. Not appropriate for a series of beginners tutorials. The charts below may tell you if you need to step up to an 002 or 091.

What we don't want:

Split case transaxle: This is a swingaxle only transmission for the '61 and older car crowd. This particular trans is probably from a Sno Cat, with chain drive to the tracks.

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

'62 - 67 Swingaxle: Right case, wrong output.

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

The one to have: 1968 - 1972 DSC IRS Type 1 transmission: DSC for Double Side Cover. 4.125 final drive ratio

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

1973 - 1979 SSC IRS Type 1 transmission: SSC for Single Side cover. 3.875 final drive ratio. These transmissions got the same internal gears as the 5 rib 002 bus trans. These are ATs from Beetles. If you find an AV from a Thing with 4.125 gears and Thing CV flanges, pounce on it. The 002s and 091s have beefier cases and differentials than the AT and AV cases

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

Bruce wrote:
donmurray wrote:
I thought late model transmissions were stronger.

In the context of this question, a 72 double side cover IRS is not much stronger internally than a 66. The ring gear on the later is held on with 8 bolts instead of 6. The 4.12 of the 72 is stronger than the keyed 4.37 in the 66. On the other hand, the 66 will have a steel 1-2 shift fork instead of brass like the 72 has.

Here's some VW trans history.
The tunnel trans first appeared in a Bug in 61. As the years went on, VW constantly made improvements. So therefore, the newer you get, the better. .......usually. There are a very few exceptions, like the fork I noted above. The following only applies to German made Type 1 gearboxes. Brazilian made ones are their own pile of junk.

*61-63 gearboxes used a ball bearing pinion bearing. These gearboxes are junk and should not be used in any car with more than 40hp.

Another big problem with them is the cantilevered 1-2 shift rod. The fork is hanging waaaay out on the end of this rod, so the bore in the gear carrier is subject to a LOT of wear. Once there's lots of wear, the fork can wobble around. This pulls and pushes on the 1-2 slider, causing it to pop out of gear.

On top of all that, the 1-2 slider is 1mm wider on these early gearboxes, so it has ˝mm less engagement than later sliders.

The first gear idler is much narrower than later gears. Weaker.

First gear synchros are not available for these early firsts.

*By about 65 or 66, most of these glaring early problems were fixed. From then on, VW began making the gearboxes stronger. By 67, the ring gear was up to 8 bolts, and the R&P was the stronger 4.12 to better suit the bigger 1500cc engine. The only step backwards was the introduction of the brass 1-2 shift fork. I guess they figured brass would wear better. Problem is, brass is brittle, and they break all the time.

*In 1970, VW changed the pinion bearing again. It has a larger OD so it is better supported in the case. And it is held in by the large ring nut instead of the 4 bolts. The ring nut spreads the clamping load evenly around the bearing, rather than concentrating it in 4 points.

*69 or 70 was also the time when VW changed 3rd and 4th to the fine tooth gears. The individual teeth are weaker than the coarser teeth the early gearboxes have, but there are many more of the fine teeth in contact at any given instant, so the overall strength isn't compromised. Many people will argue the whole gear is way weaker. I disagree. What happens is that when there's a chunk of steel floating around in the oil, when it gets caught between the fine teeth, they chip off. Many times only a corner. This now introduces a second chunk of steel floating around. Then a third......... So if you beat on your gearbox and don't change the oil, you'll likely have trouble with fine tooth gears.

*In 71 VW changed the throw out bearing to a type with integral clips. IMO this is one of the best upgrades they did. If you have a 1970, you can easily upgrade to the later TO bearing.

*73 saw the most changes in one single shot. The obvious is the much stronger single side cover trans case.

Stronger bits in a 73:

First gear : 9 tooth instead of 10
Diff gears : 15 teeth instead of 17
Spiders : 10 instead of 11
IRS side cover : extra reinforcement ring
TO bearing cross shaft : 19mm instead of 16mm
Pinion bearing : 002 type instead of 113 type (both with the ring nut)
Clutch arm : 90mm instead of 73mm (for much less pedal effort)
1-2 shift fork : back to steel, however, some still had brass.
3rd and 4th gears : furnace brazed synchro hubs (no more welding)
3-4 slider: longer dog teeth for deeper engagement
3.88 R&P : Strongest of all

All of these upgrades also happened to swing axle gearboxes (where applicable), so starting with a 73 swing is a very good choice.

*In mid 75, VW again increased the clutch arm for even less pedal effort. The side cover got another upgrade with another reinforcement ring.

*In 76, VW used a bunch of Bus 091 parts in the Bug gearbox.
Pinion bearing
Mainshaft bearing
1-2 shift hub
Reverse idler shaft and reverse idler gear.

The 091 pinion bearing is a big upgrade. Previously, the rollers were the same on each side 11mm wide (for the 002). Some bright engineer then realized that the load is predominantly from the diff side, so they changed the bearing to increase the size of the rollers on the diff side to 13mm to better support the load. The other side was reduced to 10mm, presumably to make it all fit.

Enough rambling for now.....


Bruce wrote:
vwracerdave wrote:
Bruce

How would you compare a late SSC AT trans to a AV Thing trans as far as strength.

Other than the R&P and the flanges, there's no difference. A 73-74 AV is exactly the same as a 73-74 AT trans.

You do get bigger flanges with the AV so you can use Bus or Thing CVs.
The AV is usually an O type 4.12 R&P, which is almost as strong as the common G type 3.88 R&P in the AT. However, don't bet the rent on getting an O type in an AV. Many are G type R&Ps.
The only other difference I can think of is the nose cone. AV used the early one, AT the late one.


vwracerdave wrote:
The teeth count is stamped on the side of the ring gear, along with a letter G, K, or O. The number 8 is 8 teeth on the pinion and then the number of teeth on the ring gear 35, 33, or 31. Most will have the letter G stamped in them. Example are G835 is a 4.375, G833 is a 4.125, and G831 is a 3.875.

The 6 volt 4.375 only had 6 bolts on the ring gear, while the 4.12 & 3.88 had 8 bolts

R&P gears must remain a matched set, and can not be mixed. There should be a hand scribed number on the ring gear and the pinion gear.


vwracerdave wrote:
With 31" rear tires it would be a mistake to run a 4.12 X .82 gearbox. It would be a disaster to use a 3.88 X .82 gearbox. What you need is a 4.37 R&P gear with a .89 4th gear. The best cruising speed for a VW engine is around 3000-3200 RPM so the cooling fan turns fast enough to cool the engine. With those huge 31" tires the engine will overheat cruising at 2500 RPM.


( My car has a 1776 and an AH with 4.125s, and 31-10.50-15s. Can't get into 4th gear in town, with a 35 MPH speed limit. )

Why some R&Ps are stonger than others:
Bruce wrote:
AEH wrote:
MCMSCOTT, I'm not arguing with you but I'd like to understand why it's weak. is it the tooth angle on the pinion?

It's the size of the gear teeth on the pinion.
Here's a pic showing from L to R 3.44, 3.88, 4.12.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.
As the ratio gets higher, the pinion head gets smaller. The smaller the pinion head, the smaller the gear teeth. Small teeth aren't anchored as well as big teeth (smaller contact area at the root), so they're easier to shear off.
Also, as you reduce the pinion head, and raise the gear ratio (number), the load on the teeth gets higher. Higher load means more wear.


Transmission ID codes: right side, below the case part number. this is an AB, from a 1300 CC car

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

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

8/68 to '73 cars came with: The ones in RED are swingaxle or autostick - no first gear, torque converter required, can't slip the clutch you don't have.

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

'73 - 79 cars came with:

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

And there are:

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Internal ratios:

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

A website with more details about internal gear ratios:

Final drive ratios compared:

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

How to use the final drive ratio comparison: Some people do not find the above spreadsheet intuitive. An example of how to use it:

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

  • You have stepped up from 29" tires to 31.10-50 15s.
  • Your car is now an inert slug.
  • You have a 4.125 final drive ratio
  • You want better acceleration and hill climbing ability
  • Draw a diagonal line from the top left corner what you have that doesn't work ( 31" ) to what you had that worked ( 29" ) diagonally through one or more boxes, without crossing any bottom borders
    The bottom chart shows that 31" tires are ~7% bigger than 29" tire

Work the top chart the same way.
One jump up: 4.125 to 4.375 - will get you back to what you had.
Two jumps up gets you a 10% increase in gear ratio which more than compensates for a 6% increase in tire diameter.
Three jumps up gives you an 18% numerically higher gear ratio.

Bruce wrote:
mrblyoung wrote:
so how exactly can i tell which ratio transmission i have?

A way to determine your gearing is to jack up the rear of the car so that both rear tires are off the ground. E-brake off, shifter in 2nd gear. Turn one tire so the valve stem is at the top. Now turn the engine over by hand, counting engine turns needed to get one turn of the tire.
9 turns = 4.37
8˝ turns = 4.12
8 turns = 3.88


Improvements: We do not get inside the case and enhance. That way madness lies.

If your shifter is vague and sloppy tighten this coupler screw under the rear seat:

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

We may be told that we have "welded 3rd and 4th":

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

Thing CV flanges: We have an option that lets us get one of the advantages of a bus trans - the ability to use Type 2 and Type 4 CV joints - without the considerable aggravation of hammering a Type 2 trans into a Beetle.

Things used Type 4 CV joints. Type 1 joints have a maximum angle of 12 degrees, Type 2 can handle 17 degrees and Type 4, 22 degrees.

Thing and Type 1 flange compared:

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

Things used Type 1 transmissions and Type 4 CV joints. Thing CV flanges give us the best of both worlds. You may have visions of putting a vast breaker bar on a vast nut, twisting hard and watching the car roll off its jack stands.

Won't happen. VW used circlips to hold the flanges on:

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

But there's something wrong in that picture.

A trans with the final drive seal removed:

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

The final drive seal in place, waiting for the CV flange: This is the left side of a Single Side Cover transmission. Note the bosses for the bolts that aren't used.

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

If you put Thing CV flanges on a Type 1 case: Take them off before you send the trans out for repair and modification. You will get Type 1 flanges back. You will never get your Thing flanges back.

You will also need Thing stub axles for the trailing arm.

Mathematics rears its ugly head: OK, it's really just arithmetic and algebra.

MPH = RPM X LRTR / GR X 168

Where:

  • MPH = MPH
  • RPM = RPM
  • LRTR = Loaded rear tire RADIUS, center of stub axle to pavement
  • GR = Final drive ratio = internal gear ratio X Ring and Pinion ratio
  • 168 is a fudge factor to take care of converting inches and minutes to miles and hours.


Example:

If we want to know how many miles per hour per 1000 RPM we can expect with a 4.125 R&P, .89 4th gear and 31 - 10.50-15s:

  • MPH = ( 1000 X 15.5 ) / ( ( 4.125 .89) X 168 )
  • MPH = ( 15500 ) / ( 3.67125 X 168 )
  • MPH = ( 15500 ) / ( 616.77 )
  • MPH = 25.13 MPH / 1000 RPM

If the transmission fairy takes a liking to you: First thing: If you are the transmission fairy, just leave it on the back porch. I don't want to meet you.

A 4.375 ring and pinion:

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

with the splines for the IRS 4th gear and 8 bolt holes in the ring gear.

NOT the 4.375 ring and pinion:

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

with a key slot for swingarm cars and 6 bolt holes in the ring gear. These are for swingarms.

with the IRS limited slip differential:

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

in an SSC case with them good bus gears and Thing CV flanges. Yeah, baby...

Baja Bugs for Volkswagen Virgins: Index
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Last edited by Mal evolent on Sun Mar 18, 2012 3:38 pm; edited 36 times in total
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gfw1985
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good stuff! Couple things here that took me a day of searching to find. Especially the individual gear ratio's.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cant find any info on this transmission doesnt have letters before the numbers here are some pics. Its swing axle
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Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your swing axle tranny is some of the last swings to be built. The swing axle did not have letters in the number of the tranny, just IRS trannys had a prefix letter(s).

My guess from looking at your tranny number is either a '67 or '68 swing with a 4.12 ring and pinion.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just found this thread from a link in another thread.

Great information here, Thanks!
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 11:18 am    Post subject: Re: Baja bugs for Volkswagen virgins: The IRS transmission Reply with quote

This post has been edited 4 times so far today. If you haven't read it lately, you are behind the curve.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have 3 T1 trans in my shop:
AT 14063 DSC = 3.875
AH 2254357 DSC = 4.125
AH 4696752 SSC = 4.125

The 74 Baja I am building came with the AT.

It looks like either of the AH's would have better gearing and from what I read it is a toss up between the DSC/SSC as far as strength and reliability.

Is that correct?
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i have a 68 swing axle beetle keeps jumping out of 4th and most of the info i find says that it will be a matter of time before 4th is gone all together ( having to hold it in 4th at moment ) so have decided to get a new one from rancho so that i can get the "freeway flyer gearing and 3rd and 4th welded.

from your post it seems as though i need to end up with a 4.375 gear ratio to turn the 31s i have on the vee dub ?

a little info so you can advise me as to what might be best.....

i drive the car to work ( 30 / 35 miles ) almost daily and it will very rarely see any serious offroading, but i like that i am able to get of the beaten path and explore places in it that two wheel drive trucks wouldn't go....

no time in the dunes....no deep mudd bogging ....

rancho tranny choices

____ Diff ratio____ 4th gear ratio

a_____4.12 __________0.89
b_____4.12 __________0.82
c_____3.88 __________0.89
d_____3.88 __________0.82
e_____3.44 __________0.93


the tranny and engine will spend most of it's time in 4th

choice b and d give me about the same result in 4th at 2500 rpms (69 mph)

so after reading your post it seems that i am stuck.....is the 4.12 gonna give me "lower" 1 and 2 gears compared to the 3.88

thanks in advance for any help
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a 1776 and 4.125s and I run 31-10.50-15s. It's lively enough through the gears, then drop-dead, Fred in fourth

I believe that 4.375 would get me back to standard beetle sedan performance, and 4.56 would get me to beetle with an expresso with a shot of tequila in it performance.

But I can't know until I try.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm running either 1500 or 1600 and 4.12 without the freeway gear and yeah it loses power at the sight of any hill
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i just got some 235 75 15 at the measure 28 and 1/2 i have a ah 4149535 trans it is a 4125 final drive but 4 th has now become a worthless gear no power at all i was wondering if any one knew about my problem
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

forgivemyspelling wrote:
i just got some 235 75 15 at the measure 28 and 1/2 i have a ah 4149535 trans it is a 4125 final drive but 4 th has now become a worthless gear no power at all i was wondering if any one knew about my problem


Very common problem. Is your engine a stock VW AC engine that may be tired?

A few fix's can be made. Change 4th gear to a closer ratio to third gear. (should be done by a good, VW experienced tranny person with proper tools). Change to a bus gear box with a better ring and pinion (involves fabrication of mounts, IRS pivots and cv's). Change to a 4.37 ring and pinion tranny (not as strong, but better geared).

Lastly, build a bigger power engine with more torque to turn the larger tires.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally, I recommend the bigger engine. Worked for me and is a lot more fun.

You don't have to get crazy. I've done ok with a 1915, GEX's rebuilt power flow heads( which have been doing great, for some reason), 110 cam and Kadrons running through a 4.125 final into 30x9.50r15s

It does run out of steam at about 90 mph but I don't usually go that fast. It is fun to pass people on the interstate at 80, though
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bigger engine, same transmission, bigger tires.

big steep hill. bigger tires don't spin. bigger engine does not quit. something breaks.

make sure that what breaks is not expensive and hard to get at.

you can get a 4.86 aftermarket gear for sedan transmissions. looks weak to me. and you have to pay somebody to put it in. this somebody will insist on doing a complete rebuild while the trans is apart. this will not be cheap.

If I regear, it will be via a 5 rib or 6 rib.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bartman wrote:
Personally, I recommend the bigger engine. Worked for me and is a lot more fun.

You don't have to get crazy. I've done ok with a 1915, GEX's rebuilt power flow heads( which have been doing great, for some reason), 110 cam and Kadrons running through a 4.125 final into 30x9.50r15s

It does run out of steam at about 90 mph but I don't usually go that fast. It is fun to pass people on the interstate at 80, though


I have my 66, so I have lower gears (I can't remember what they are) and I regularly pass people on the interstate at close to 75 with my 1641dp, stock trans, and falken rocky mountain 30x9.50s. it is quite fun. My rule of thumb, if I can do what your doing in my bug faster than you can, your going to slow. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i have been thinking of the bus trans but i dont want to over modify cuse im not rich .the idea i like the most is changing the ring and pinion to 1 4.375 but a splined is expensive for me.i work with a guy that was a machanic for vw in mexico he said i might gust be able to take out all the gears from a swing and put it in a irs. but he messes with me a lot so i am not sure if i can trust him then i was looking at a i rs and a swing and it looked like you can gust take of the side walls of the case and slap some irs walls on it dose any one think that will work
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No. the differential for a swingarm car ends in two flat slots. swingarm axle ends look something like canoe paddles. the canoe paddles fit into the slots.

IRS differentials have little stubby splines. the CV flanges attach to the splines with C Clips. No way to attach the flanges to swingarm diff.

You need the proper 4.375 gearset for IRS. I don't think it's worth the expense and aggravation for a 6% change, and I will be going to smaller tires until a 5 rib 002 falls off Santas sleigh.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yeah i went to the junk yard and found both irs and swing and tried to put them togeter .....didnt work suprisingly though if the diff for irs had 6 bolts it would work but i dont think they make them . so your thinking bus hmm ,bus has a 4.56 ? or is it 486
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you find a dual side cover IRS, the swing axle parts will swap over except for the 6-bolt ring gear. Some late swings had a 8 bolt gear and then would swap over, but the only ones I have seen are all 4.12 ring and pinions.

So, to solve that, you can get a super diff that is drilled for both 6 and 8 bolt ring gears for around $ 300. Another way is this: http://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=1290756. Factory stuff and bolt it in to go.

Keep in mind that pinion depth and backlash still need checked.
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JustBuggy
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that you are right.

If I remember correctly, I put a 196X something IRS tranny into a '57 pan in my early VW days. This took me from the old "Crashbox" with no 1st gear synchro into the then modern age. Had a nice 1641 moving it along too!
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