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Gents !!! I am stitting in a little cafe in Visalia ca enjoying all the recent posts. 10 minutes east of me is CB performance Home office of Mr Pat Downs.. He will enjoy my sharing these post with him.. It will fuel his desire to build my super secret engine that much more lol either that or throw me out of the shop lol When I get home I will be more than happy to share how I achieved the transmission I have and what I'm currently working on.. My pleasure I've always been one to push the boundaries of mechanics and formulate a solution that suits my driving needs. The great thing that's napping here is all of the awesome feedback that may help someone who trying to improve their experience with these cars.. To me no one is wrong we all just have different experiences and ideas, and with technology the way it is, it's easy to work things out on paper or software before you actually build it ..

I just dropped off the CB 2054 at the shop for a top end refresh. I'm hoping everything checks out with the internals. The motor won't go into the car until the Berg 5 is done.  The shafts are 4 to 6 weeks out. Then I'd venture another 6 to 8 on the 5er.  I still need to figure out the 3rd&4th gears.



Why do some of us so resist the whole Subie thing?

Me, I just couldn't do it. Part of me says, Hey, that makes a lot of sense. Modern power and torque curves. Modern engine control. Modern reliability and maintenance schedules. Easy parts and service. Real heat whenever you want.

Maybe it's the poketa thing. You know, VW's and Porsches gotta go poketa-poketa or they're not VW's and Porsches. I can overlook the plastic body, the Chinese gauges, the crappy chrome on all the trim. But when I turn the key, it can't sound like a Corolla or a Civic or a Forester.

I gotta have my poketa-poketa.


Last edited by Sacto Mitch


Now, there you go again, Marty, rationalizing away the important stuff.

Now that you mention it, I think I gotta have my fan whine, too. And my teeth have gotta chatter a little if it's cold out. If the road is rough, I want to be fighting the wheel a bit.

I've gotta suffer a little. The suffering is all part of it for me. It reminds me of how my motoring ancestors suffered in their day. I don't want to be too comfy in this car.

It's too easy to be seduced, a little bit at a time, by modern comforts, but you don't realize what you're giving up along the way. I knew those driving gloves would prove to be a dangerous thing.


ALB:  AL Correct?  

Well,  as promised I said I would share my  current set up and my thoughts on my next  super secret engine / trans  set up.  

So currently I am running a:

1903 cc  aluminum block  77hp 105 ft lb torque , Weber 44 idf's,  engle w-100 mid range cam. Trans is a 3:88 ring / Pin....... 3.81 1st, 2.06 2nd, 1.22 3rd, .82 4th. 

Currently I can cruise in 4th  3500 rpm @ 88mph with ease,   I'm not messing with you either.   LOL   Pat said I've been lucky my engine is strong..

Here is how it all started with the transmission.  I was tired of doing high rpm low speeds on the freeway soooooo.. I had .70 4th installed but it was too tall, even though it never lugged the engine it was too tall and I had to have high rpm's shifting from 3rd to 4th, but it made for awesome cruising down the freeway with plenty of room, low rpm, high lol    

So I was introduced to Scott Sebastian (Metal Craft) he is our local transmission wizard. This guy is really a mad man.  Any visit to his shop will verify his credentials as he receives transmissions from all over the US for rebuilds..  He is in demand!!   We sat down, told him what I wanted to achieve and there ya have it.  (SEE ABOVE)

Currently my car is close to my preference 1st and 2nd are not stump pullers but I can keep in them longer than most but not long enough. 

The way I see it air cooled engines like ours need to be kept cool, especially if you put a big power plant in them.. The bigger the engine the hotter it will get.  Its my understanding that type 1 engines need to keep a constant 3 k or higher rpm to help with this process..  I did experience hotter engine temps with my .70 4th so, I don't see how adding a 5th gear to lower the rpm will help, but maybe I'm not accurate in my thinking.... I will entertain feedback though

  Again I stress its all driver preference.. I'm not looking to have my car do well in a quarter mile..   So I will go consult both Pat Downs and Scott  Sebastian in my super secret build (aka: PROJECT SLEEPER) and we will come up with a combo I'm sure will match what I want, which is a reliable car that will get me to the coast a half hour faster...  LOL!!!.... and go to   11 1/16 !!!!!!!  TED!!!!!


PS...   Terry   please send drafts of your book to my agent   SACTO MITCH..

Tebs, in my experience, not that I have that much, is most times the OD 4th or 5th if you have one is set so that your favourite cruising speed say 70mph is 3000-3100 rpm.  If it was me, I would shoot for a very long 2nd and 3rd gears like the original 356  that was what I really enjoyed on my old 356A

I really enjoyed the long gearing.  Ray 



I can do all that too, and I used to sound just like you. I drove mine 5k mi in three weeks in 2014. I live in the flat-lands, and I've got the freeway thing pretty well dialed in as well. I can do everything I need to do in this one horse town pretty darned well with my lunar module dune buggy, what with it's big 'ol 200 hp 2276. Except, these days econoboxes make 200 hp. My car is an order of magnitude more cool, but it's not like the frame of reference is just floaty old powerglide Pontiacs any more.

And the thing is... well... the car says "Speedster" right there on the side. So, it kind've seems like false advertising if the only thing I can do is fry the tires all the way through the quarter, or cruise 90 MPH for days at a time on the interstate.  Heck, a 6-cylinder Camaro can do that. A 4-speed can do one or the other really well, but probably not both. It puts a man with sporting pretenses at a bit of a disadvantage. 

What is really, really hard to do with only 4 speeds is to go fast in the mountains. To do that you need to have a nice, close "passing gear" about a half step down from the final drive and a power gear about a half step down from that.

All the new cars come with about 14 gears now, for just this reason. My wife's minivan has 8 or 9 of em, it's hard to tell since I can't really hear the engine. I'm really close to that "passing gear" thing now, but it's been at the expense of essentially giving up a "light 'em up" first. I've essentially got 5 speed gearing, with no first. I kind've miss the "white-trash" first. 

Most VW guys want drag-race gears, and then a workable 5th to drive home. I have zero interest.  If I want to drag race-- I'll buy something built for it, thanks.

I once went for a ride with Terry Nuckels through the Sierra Nevada foothills in his pan-based JPS with it's cute little 2110, and nearly tore the tiny little pretend handle off the passenger side dash looking for something (anything) to hold on to. Don't let the wear-your-sunglasses paint-job fool you-- it's no art-car: it's as serious as the heart attack I nearly suffered riding along. The thing is, he never seemed to be in the wrong gear. I drove the same roads in my car, with an engine that was about 50 hp up on his, and seemed about 3/4 as fast. Maybe I was moving as fast as he was, but I had to really work for it: looking for the right gear (fourth was lugging the engine just below the real powerband, third was almost right... until it wasn't), and relying on the power to pull it out. Terry spent a lot of time in 3rd, but shifted into 4th quite often. He was light, easy, and his engine was just trotting along. I was flogging my car for the same speed. If I spent the same time in third, I shifted later and fourth was often just wrong,

I'm OK with what I've got, and I'll happily run with the biggest dogs I can find. I just know that I'd have spent less money along the way, and been happier if I'd have just put the Berg or 915 or even 901 in the silly thing to start with. These engines lust like to spin at between 3000 and 5500 RPM. Keeping them there ALL THE TIME just makes them happy. I can do it in Illinois with a 4-speed. If I lived in a mountainous state, it would's even be a question.

If more engine is better, then more gears are too. It's just physics. Keeping the engine in the powerband ALL the time is just good business, and means you don't need to build a $15K Type 1 to do it (not that anyone would EVER do such an idiotic thing).

Last edited by Stan Galat

Stan, have you shifted a 901 much, I never seem to get used to that pattern but I hear there are new adapters to have a spring tension the shifter so it stays in the 4th to 5th area when you shift and next to impossible to get it into R... I think they call it Automatic shift... just kidding.      Actually the 915 pattern is more to my liking. 


Yes Precisely my point.. GEARING IS EVERYTHING!!    I want to drive my car not race it.. There is a group of us that do Sunday drives here in Fresno Ca.  Robert McEwen (our guide) takes us on foothill roads with elevation climes much like you experienced with Terry.  My car does well in 3rd and 4th during these hill climbs, just need a little more torque... We also do a lot of flat land roads as well ( at above average speeds mind you lol).  During these drives I am able to evaluate the cars performance and drive-ability this allows me to narrow down my preferences.  I'd love to drive Terry's car and compare.. 

The cool thing we all have is this forum and the experience you and everyone brings to the table.  Along with that, having Pat Downs and Scott Sebastian right next door (not literally) but you know what I mean.. All of this input helps me reach my goal I have set for my car.. I'm sure it can be done both Pat and Scott have told me my goals are not far fetched and can be achievable and then some..



 ps   Mitch...    Nope still on the drafts.........  GUINNESS that is..  Buy ya one in june?


Last edited by Teby S

The first trans has stock VW gearspacing, Ted, and (although the r&p changed over the years) is what's in most gearboxes. The 2nd example, with the 3.88 r&p, 1.48 3rd, 1.12 4th, and 0.89 for 5th, would probably suit you quite nicely. Note the recovery rpm when shifted at 3500 keeps on going up for each gear (just like the VW spacing does), and would equally be at home in traffic, carving through the mountains, or on the freeway. The only down side to using the longer (3.88) vs the 4.125 r&p is the car will be just a little slower or "lazier" off the line. It does give 4mph more in top gear, though.

Or, if you decide you really want to maintain the car's "explosiveness" off the line but still want to the higher cruising speed, check out the 1st example in chart 2 below. Using the 4.125 r&p, I put the 1.48 3rd with a 1.09 4th and a .82 in 5th. The 3-4 shift isn't quite as tight as with the 1.12 4th, but it keeps the shift into the .82 5th close. 

And if you want to get really silly with top speed  (and the possibility of tickets), the 2nd gearstack is the same with the 3.88 r&p. You might be getting up into the speeds where the torque of more than a 2 liter is needed, though...

PS- Teby- You really need to drive a car with close gears (4 or 5 speed) to find out what the stink is all about....

Last edited by ALB
Stan Galat, '05 IM, 2276, Tremont, IL posted:

Ray, a 915 with a WEVO shifter coupled to a Porsche flat 6 is what I plan to drive in heaven.

Stan:  Hopefully you and I will meet up someday before you head up there, and you can weave that WEVO as much as you want.  It really is a great shifter, and attached to the other items you mention, is heaven on earth.


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Caretech-IM posted:

Ed do you have the specs and output of such a beast?

About 185 hp @ 5500 rpm & 190 ft lbs circa 4500, if the Suby guys are not lying too hard on their dyno sheets.* Revs with power past 6000. Torque is flat: comes up fast above 2000 and then stays above 180 or so from 3000 until after the horsepower peak.

(Very few in Subyland mess around with these, of course, since it's so much easier to run 12-lbs boost & have 400hp or more. But our man in the garage, David Stroud, is well on his way to making one of these.)

*Sheet shown is AWD at the wheels; I'm guessing crank HP based on a 25 percent friction loss through the drive train. 

Just got back from Geno Boyd's  today with the new tranny. 3.78 first...all the rest stock gearing and the 3.44:1 r & p. Welded 3 and 4, hardened keys, new synchros, shift forks, HD side cover, super diff and a few other bits.

Got my package from CIP1 today too with (very) HD tranny mounts and other stuff. Should have all bolted in by the first weekend in Feb. I'll still have to make a new rear engine mount then and maybe do a new custom rad if the locals can play the price is right.

When I yanked the axle tubes off the tranny I noticed that my right axle bearing was badly screwed. Good time to check everything. Not looking fwd to hooking up the shift coupler either because of a frame member in the way but the kid next door owes me a favour so this will get him off the hook.

My number two Son Jesse likes to come over and help with the mechanical stuff and he's pretty good at it. We work well together giving instructions and passing wrenches and him under the car getting stuff done and asking for a set of keys..... 

All back together. Waiting in the synclink, the new fuel lines, and a clutch disc. I can install the fuel pump in the meantime. 

I'm kind of torn. Do I install the motor or wait for the 5 Speed? Ken Porter is about 8 weeks out. Rancho said the can build it in 4 weeks. There is another guy in San Pablo who can do it in 4 weeks. Anthony has been very generous with his information/help, so I feel obligated to use his guy.  But... 8 weeks.


Last edited by TRP

"It's like choosing a doctor or financial adviser - whom do you feel most comfortable with and who will not Bullshit you.  THAT's the one to choose."

I don't think its reserved to only a few groups or professions.  Unfortunately, you can find patronizing, and other self serving attitudes pretty much in all walks of life and in all jobs and service areas.  

It's an easy answer, Ted. In fact, Pat Downs summed it up nicely not too long ago. 

You should go with the one who has helped you with the process and given you solid advice as well as directing you to solid resources. If you go another route, don't be ringing the guy's doorbell anymore.

Eight weeks, twelve weeks...what difference does it make when, in the end, you'll get what you want. Your car is running fine right now, isn't it?

I know, Ted, I know.

Patience, Grasshopper...

Last edited by Terry Nuckels


    After reading the mega selling book by Terry Nuckles;  "TRANSVESTMENT, Confusion down below"  (circa 1984)..   look at it this way.  I know what you're thinking. Do I want the 5 speed or only 4?  Well to tell you the truth in all this excitement you might have  lost track. But being this is a 2054 CC , the most powerful VW Engine in the world and would blow the doors clean off any Yugo,  you've gotta ask yourself one question: do I feel lucky?   

Patients and planning are key...  The extra time you have waiting for the 5 speed allows you to work on all the little things that may need buttoning up on the car.

Terry is right If you stick with the person who is solid in performance and reliability time means nothing..   I can say having Pat and Scott Sebastian in my hood is a plus and trust me they are weeks out, but I know when my project is complete, all the pieces will fit and things will run smoothly..   and yes Patience, the reward for it is satisfaction.....  


by the way   Are we going to race for pinks  in June?   if so I need to find a bigger garage   lol lol 



Ted, you've had a good surgeon in Dr. Jansen.

Your rings and your rods and your valves have been well looked after and just need some time to mend. My motor ran smooth from the start, but after about 1000 miles ran noticeably better and stronger.

Three to four thousand rpm is sweet, but the joyful noise is from four to five. Just don't be in too much of a hurry to find that out. As you're discovering, good things come to those who wait.



Sacto Mitch posted:

 Three to four thousand rpm is sweet, but the joyful noise is from four to five. Just don't be in too much of a hurry to find that out. As you're discovering, good things come to those who wait. 

Even better the 6-7+ , but takes away from 3 it does, hard on parts it is so spend more time in the garage you do  and even go boom it does sometimes...

(wise words from Yoda, remember them yes!)

"TRP posted:

I'm kind of torn. Do I install the motor or wait for the 5 Speed? Ken Porter is about 8 weeks out. Rancho said the can build it in 4 weeks. There is another guy in San Pablo who can do it in 4 weeks. Anthony has been very generous with his information/help, so I feel obligated to use his guy.  But... 8 weeks.

Throw the engine in the car and drive it, Ted; the month will fly by like nothing. It's not worth messing up the relationship with Anthony (and his "supply line") you've created. I know you've told me before and forgive me for asking again, but what did you finally decide on for gears/r&p?

With the 3.78/2.06 mainshaft, 1.48 3rd and 1.12 4th works really well; I ran the combo in my Cal Look bug and they were a real treat to drive. The shift into 5 will be just right as well.

If you replace the .89 in the 5 speed set with .82 that works as well, giving a little more top speed and the rpm drop (or recovery rpm) is still significantly higher than the stock 3-4 spacing and certainly doable. If you forsee a lot of highway miles, the .82 would be the better choice, but for running around locally, canyon carving and the occasional long trip you might ultimately be happier with the .89.

Either way you're gonna love it! Al

Last edited by ALB


Wait for the guy. Leave the "little feller" mill in the back with its friend the 4-speed in the meantime. It was good enough until now, it'll be fine for another month and a half.

Once the guy gets to your 5-speed, put the whole shootin' match in as a unit.

Regarding the gearing: go nuts (don't cheap out here). I'd never leave the stock 1-2 main-shaft, unless you plan to be racing Teby for pinks as he suggests-- otherwise, first is utterly useless. I'd go with a longer 1-2 set and keep the rest nice and tight. Stick with the .89/3.88 final drive. Al's right about the highway, but getting a "perfect" highway gear is really, really hard. I had a .82/3.88 with a 2110-- you won't like it. The .89/3.44 is not perfect, but it's close enough for rock-n-roll.

FWIW, 2 months from now it'll be April 9. Most of the rest of us are still bracing for the final snowstorm of the season on April 9.

Just sayin'

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