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How difficult is it to find a '78 bus transaxle?
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Kcin04
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:06 pm    Post subject: How difficult is it to find a '78 bus transaxle? Reply with quote

Hey guys, I'm going to look at a '78 transporter tomorrow. The seller is asking $750; the interior/glass seems to be in very good shape but it does have a decent amount of rust on the body. I attached a picture that the seller sent me. The motor is also currently pulled from the bus and it is missing the transaxle. Assuming that I buy it, this will be my first VW, but I have a lot of experience working on motorcycles and cars so I'm not too worried about the mechanical challenges involved with getting the bus running.

I am worried however, about finding a transaxle. It's my understanding that only a '78 will work on this bus, is that assumption correct? Also, looking around I see people asking about $500-1000 on eBay for them, is this what I should expect to pay for one?

And finally, is $750 a good deal for a rusty transporter with a title? Thanks in advance!
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Chris-a
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:26 pm    Post subject: Re: How difficult is it to find a '78 bus transaxle? Reply with quote

I'm not certain about that strict model year requirement for the transaxle(pretty sure any 73-79, but I'd get someone to verify), but I would be abit concerned about the motor not being in the van. I really like the type iv engine and the Bosch fuel injection that comes with these, but the parts are, generally, more $$ than other air-cooled vw's. If the fuel injection is missing any major parts, good luck on the hunt.

Rusted out van with no transaxle and questionable engine running condition, I wouldn't go too far out of my way to give someone money.

Good luck
Chris
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:28 pm    Post subject: Re: How difficult is it to find a '78 bus transaxle? Reply with quote

That pic isn't the sharpest, but it sure looks like the bottom few inches has rust all the way around. And that's just the structure you can see. So assume there's 3-4 times more rust under there.

$750 sounds like a good price to me, but only if I wanted it for the parts.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:46 pm    Post subject: Re: How difficult is it to find a '78 bus transaxle? Reply with quote

KentPS wrote:
$750 sounds like a good price to me, but only if I wanted it for the parts.


Basically this. If you want it to fix up it'll be the most expensive $750 you've ever spent.

I'd put the extra transmission and body metal money into a more solid bus personally.

Oh and a 75-79 bus has the same 6 rib trans. A 72-74 could work but is not ideal.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:12 pm    Post subject: Re: How difficult is it to find a '78 bus transaxle? Reply with quote

You bus would have come with an 091 tranny, which was used from '76-'79. Earlier trannies could work as well, but the gearing would be shorter and you would have problem with clearance for the 228mm clutch cover, you would also have to make minor modification to the shift rod.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:30 am    Post subject: Re: How difficult is it to find a '78 bus transaxle? Reply with quote

Get a picture of the motor... make sure it wasnt converted to an earlier motor. That changes what transmission you would need or you will need to source the proper engine
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Kcin04
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:42 am    Post subject: Re: How difficult is it to find a '78 bus transaxle? Reply with quote

Thanks for all the replies. Here's a picture of the motor, it's hard to tell if it's the correct motor from the picture. I was going to check the engine number to make sure it was the correct year. The rust is what will either make or break the deal for me; I want to gain experience with bodywork but obviously I don't want something that's more rust than van. If the floor/frame is solid I think I'm going to go for it.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:44 am    Post subject: Re: How difficult is it to find a '78 bus transaxle? Reply with quote

Jeebus Shocked .... walk away from that one. That's a parts bus. You'll be WAY ahead paying more for a bus in better condition if your intending to make a driver.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:20 am    Post subject: Re: How difficult is it to find a '78 bus transaxle? Reply with quote

Kcin04 wrote:

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Is that a middle seat I see in this picture, sideways behind the drivers seat. If so, that worth just about what the guy is asking for the bus.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:20 am    Post subject: Re: How difficult is it to find a '78 bus transaxle? Reply with quote

091 transaxles are very easy to find. you find them in baja bugs and rail buggies.

my baja has type 3 brake hydraulics, type 3 rear brakes, Ghia calipers, Thing spindles, and I'm looking at an 091 trans. an all VW Frankenstein.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:43 am    Post subject: Re: How difficult is it to find a '78 bus transaxle? Reply with quote

richparker wrote:

Is that a middle seat I see in this picture, sideways behind the drivers seat. If so, that worth just about what the guy is asking for the bus.


Until you have one & are trying to sell it.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:49 am    Post subject: Re: How difficult is it to find a '78 bus transaxle? Reply with quote

richparker wrote:


Is that a middle seat I see in this picture, sideways behind the drivers seat. If so, that worth just about what the guy is asking for the bus.


Yeah the interior is really what drew me to the bus; all of the seats are there and look like they're in perfect shape.

Mal evolent wrote:
091 transaxles are very easy to find. you find them in baja bugs and rail buggies.

my baja has type 3 brake hydraulics, type 3 rear brakes, Ghia calipers, Thing spindles, and I'm looking at an 091 trans. an all VW Frankenstein.


Good to know, thanks!

I'm going to go look at it in a couple of hours; I'll update this thread after I get back. I don't like the idea of parting out something this old with a title; I would really like to fix this bus up. The rust will be the determining factor, though.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:56 am    Post subject: Re: How difficult is it to find a '78 bus transaxle? Reply with quote

There is one thread on The Samba where the bus started off with that much rust.
Unfortunately, the pics were all posted from PhotoPhucket, so they are lost...
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=673081&highlight=rhd

This man in the UK did an amazing transformation of the body of a rusted out heap.
But he had numerous years of experience, and evidently lots of money to throw into it.

Best of luck to you, kcin04, whatever you decide to do! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:08 am    Post subject: Re: How difficult is it to find a '78 bus transaxle? Reply with quote

if you are a welder and body shop guy, painter, mechanic, etc. you could get that bus running for around $10K - $12K +/-. That motor is out for a reason. If it needs a rebuild that is $4500, no way to even know yet if it is a 2L motor or if the core is rebuildable. Then the trans - they sell for about $750 - $1000 today. Then the body work etc. If it needs tires, brakes, any suspension work etc, body panels etc - easily you will be in it $10K. If the rear torsion tube is rotted then it gets really messy really fast. Front beam is easier to replace. Just don't expect to be driving that bus around for another $1500. It isn't going to happen.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:28 am    Post subject: Re: How difficult is it to find a '78 bus transaxle? Reply with quote

Kcin04 wrote:
0... If the floor/frame is solid I think I'm going to go for it.
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... You're missing the last 3-4 inches of floor all together... You couldn't put a sliding door on that bus... Question

Keep the seats a few other bits, and scrap the rest. R.I.P. brown bus. R.I.P.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:41 am    Post subject: Re: How difficult is it to find a '78 bus transaxle? Reply with quote

Kcin04 wrote:
Thanks for all the replies. Here's a picture of the motor, it's hard to tell if it's the correct motor from the picture. I was going to check the engine number to make sure it was the correct year. The rust is what will either make or break the deal for me; I want to gain experience with bodywork but obviously I don't want something that's more rust than van. If the floor/frame is solid I think I'm going to go for it.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


There is no rocker or lower slider track, no front jack point, no floor around the front seat, and it looks like the left side of the door frame is bent pretty bad....

The middle seat is worth something if it is a full width one, if itís a 2 seat middle, itís not worth as much, but it does appear to be in good condition. The head liner looks nice too.

The motor is a correct block for the year, but has the earlier style heat exchangers. Thatís a good thing. Better if all the parts are there. I see a firewall behind it and it looks like the correct alternator bracket, but itís not stock for 78. For cooling tin and exhaust setup you have 72-74, 75-78 and 79 is mostly identical to 72-74, but varies with square port heads and major changes if itís a California model.

You have a non stock center mounted carb on that block, fuel injection was what was originally there. Dual carbs came with the earlier models and can be better adapted over the center mount.

Matching numbers and original engine on VWs are much less important than American cars, if anything these are much more modular and easy to adapt various power trains and inductions. However the farther you get from stock, the more you have to figure out on your own.

There is A LOT of body work needed on that bus, and thatís only from 2 shitty pictures. Iíd expect the window frames to be just as bad, and the batter trays
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:51 am    Post subject: Re: How difficult is it to find a '78 bus transaxle? Reply with quote

Looking through the rest of the pictures he sent me; I believe you guys are right. It is just too rusty for me to save. I was thinking that the rust could be better in person, but there are some glaring issues that are obviously not just because of the picture quality. I'm disappointingly going to save myself the 3 hour round trip and not go take a look at this bus.

Thank you guys for the valuable input, hopefully I can find one to fix up over this summer. I'll keep searching Craigslist and the classifieds on here for now.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:06 am    Post subject: Re: How difficult is it to find a '78 bus transaxle? Reply with quote

Post the rest of the pictures.... at least we can guide you on what else to look for. Or what parts are good if you decide you want a parts bus.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:14 am    Post subject: Re: How difficult is it to find a '78 bus transaxle? Reply with quote

If you have a place to put it, you could offer the guy $250 - $300 if it has a title, and stash it for spare parts. Worst case you could part it and get your money back out.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:21 am    Post subject: Re: How difficult is it to find a '78 bus transaxle? Reply with quote

I can see all the photobomb images, using the plug in for chrome
Samba sites advice to see photobuckets pics https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=677288


KentPS wrote:
There is one thread on The Samba where the bus started off with that much rust.
Unfortunately, the pics were all posted from PhotoPhucket, so they are lost...
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=673081&highlight=rhd

This man in the UK did an amazing transformation of the body of a rusted out heap.
But he had numerous years of experience, and evidently lots of money to throw into it.

Best of luck to you, kcin04, whatever you decide to do! Very Happy

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