Skip to main content

When I was ordering my build from Greg at Vintage he warned me that the trans was loud. He is a master of understatement. Third gear sounds just like the power takeoff on my grandfathers Massey Ferguson tractor. I actually called Rancho, who I believe is the supplier, and asked if they might have forgotten the oil. I’ve owned various Porsches and VW and none had such loud trannies. Why? Is there some magic fluid to quiet it down? Though third gear takes me nostalgically back to those halcyon days on the farm in Spokane, maybe I should leave it alone.  Cheers.



Richard

Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

It's becoming a problem.

Most of the gear-sets in rebuilt VW boxes are not new. Indeed, a new gear-set is about $300+ for a single gear and idler. A box full of 'em would be north of $1500 just for 1st through 4th gears. That's before you buy a case, syncro rings, a ring and pinion, a differential, and all the bearings, forks, clips, etc.

There were millions of Beetles made, and places like Rancho use a lot of used gears to keep the cost down. Bearings are also inspected and reused, because a slightly worn original German bearing is likely of better quality than a new Chinese part. The upside is that a 4-speed, geared the way you'd like ot to be is not going to cost $10,000. The downside is sometimes they're loud. It doesn't necessarily mean there's something wrong with the box, but it sure does sound that way when you're driving it.

What can you do? I think at this point you have 4 options:

  1. You can try a different oil. I tried several last year when I had a new box that was noisier than I'd hoped. The transaxle itself is great, but certain gears at certain points are loud. Some transaxle oils are definitely quieter than others. One of the members here put me onto an oil by Motul (a French company). It was probably the best stuff I've had in there, and quieted the gearbox a great deal.
  2. You can take the transaxle out and send it back to Rancho, and hope that what you get back is better than what you sent. There's no guarantee it will be.
  3. You can see what you have for a front mount. In order of loudness, the stock mount is quietest, the CB Rhino-Mounts are significantly louder, and the Urethane mounts are louder yet. There's no free lunch here-- the Rhino-Mounts are markedly better and more rugged than stock. Depending on what you have for an engine, you may need them. If your engine is stock, or nearly stock (1776-most 1914s), stock is fine.
  4. You can put some dynamat under the carpet in the "bathtub" area, under the rear seat-pad, across the tunnel at the rear, and in the area behind the seat. I can guarantee you that this is effective. It also requires ripping all of the carpet up. If you do it, you'll be amazed how much more civilized the car sounds. Of course, if you do it, you may as well do the entire interior and inside the doors. You've now completely disassembled the entire interior.

I think that eventually this issue is going to drive a lot of people to start adapting and installing something else (a Subaru 5-speed, modified for a rear-engine car). Right now, I'd recommend the oil and the front mount (assuming you have a Rhino-Mount). Anything is possible, but the dynamat is best done during the build (if you want it), and sending the box back to Rancho is no guarantee you'll get a box that is quieter.

I wish I had better news. It is what it is.

Last edited by Stan Galat

Thanks Stan,

I will probably try the oil route first and then consider it part of the charm, third is very loud under certain conditions. When I talked to Rancho he talked about a $4500.00 7 week “Speedster” tranny. My lack of oil comment just pissed them off. If I were to change I would like completely different gears, with my type of driving I find that I’m always between 2nd and 3 rd, 2nd rpm to high and third lugging. Stuff for the future maybe. Thanks again Stan, big like.



Richard

.

@R Thorpe

Some of the front mounts meant for higher performance engines have no rubber (or urethane, etc.) at all - they're metal bolted to metal.

This transmits A LOT more noise to the pan (or frame) than in any modern car, and can sound more like a track car than a street car.

If you don't want to rip out the carpeting as Stan suggests and put in dynamat (and I didn't), sometimes the best solution is to buy some Nomex underwear and just live with it. And a good racing helmet will block some of the noise, too.

Vroom, vroom.

As for finding yourself always between gears, either revving too high or lugging, just do some searching here for 'best gearing' and you'll find enough animated discussion to last through several bags of microwave popcorn.

I found a really cool solution, but it involved negotiating a second mortgage on my house and the wait was a lot longer than going through escrow.

Have you discovered why we call this 'madness' yet?

.

@Sacto Mitch posted:

.

@R Thorpe

Some of the front mounts meant for higher performance engines have no rubber (or urethane, etc.) at all - they're metal bolted to metal.

This transmits A LOT more noise to the pan (or frame) than in any modern car, and can sound more like a track car than a street car.

If you don't want to rip out the carpeting as Stan suggests and put in dynamat (and I didn't), sometimes the best solution is to buy some Nomex underwear and just live with it. And a good racing helmet will block some of the noise, too.

Vroom, vroom.

As for finding yourself always between gears, either revving too high or lugging, just do some searching here for 'best gearing' and you'll find enough animated discussion to last through several bags of microwave popcorn.

I found a really cool solution, but it involved negotiating a second mortgage on my house and the wait was a lot longer than going through escrow.

Have you discovered why we call this 'madness' yet?

.

Stock trans mounts will work with the biggest engines on the street if a proper mid-mount and kafer bar are used, along with a fabricated engine brace.  There's absolutely no need to solid mount the transaxle (and engine) on the street- you'll constantly be tightening things down that are getting ready to fall off and it will just beat the crap out of the car (as well as the increased noise drive you nuts!).

And that's quite the exaggeration, Mitch- the solution isn't nearly as big as a 2nd mortgage. A simple line of credit loan will more than cover it   The wait- yeah, you're right there!

As I am… (quite) knowledgeable regarding Hewland ‘boxes and a disciple of the legendary Pepe Estrada, I beg to differ…all of the replacement gear sets come from china…if they happen to be straight-cut vs. hypoid…yes perhaps a trifle noisy, BUT much more likely is unacceptable gear mesh…or main /cluster shaft bearing misalignment !

ReV

Add Reply

Post Content
×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×
×