2 Trans Installation
There comes a time in the pursuit of speed when one
“crosses the line.” That
imaginary line between reliability and all out performance. We can be
happily racing one day with a nice, reliable combo, then after a few
“improvements” we find ourselves doing more repairing than actual
racing. It then becomes apparent that some changes demand more changes,
then some more.
While chasing supremacy in Der Renn Kafer Cup, more horsepower was added
for the 2003 season. A new motor built by CB Performance featuring the
Ultra-Comp Electronic Fuel Injection system and the all-new CNC ported
Competition Eliminator heads.(See below) The new power immediately made
its presence known on the dyno when the stage 1 Kennedy clutch
wouldn’t hold it. A switch to a stage 2, install the motor and off to
the track to test out the combo. The very first run sheared the teeth
off the ring and pinion while attempting to launch. A repaired tranny
and eight runs later the type 1 case was completely shattered on the
second run of the March 23rd Drag Day at Irwindale, as shown
in the accompanying photos. We were faced with only a few choices. Back
the power level down, (not gonna happen), try some sort of slipper
clutch and fully gusseted tranny case, or switch to the almost bullet
proof type 2 trans. We chose the latter and this is the documentary of
The parts list will include a custom built Type 2 drag transmission by
Rancho Transmissions, a Folts swingaxle conversion, a Kennedy stage 2
clutch and a CB Super Disc from CB Performance and Berg transmission
mount and mid plate.
The axle kit comes mostly complete with everything needed. Modified
stock axle tubes, custom axles, u-joints and yokes, bearings and a
hardware kit. The axle assembly differs from the stock swing axle set-up
in the way it attaches to the transmission, while the wheel end of the
assembly is virtually the same as stock. The stock axle tube is modified
by Folts to have an inboard bearing housing, into which a sealed roller
bearing fits that the tranny side of the axle rides in. That end of the
axle is splined to fit a special U-Joint yoke. Once the axle is slid
into the axle tube and both bearings are in, a snap ring holds the
bearing in place in the axle tube and the yoke is slid onto the traany
end of the axle and fastened with a large bolt. No instructions were
included with the axle kit, so the nut was torqued using industrial
standards for a grade 8, 9/16” bolt, 140 ft/lbs.
Next the U-Joint was installed with the bolts and clips supplied. The
bolts come “pre-gooped” with a thread locking compound. The U-Joints
are pre lubed and require no additional lubrication. That wraps up the
axle assembly other than installing the brake backing plates, bearing
retainer and drums just as you would on a stocker except the outboard
bearings are also sealed and now require no gaskets, wheel seals or
Installation of the tranny, which was assembled with the Berg
intermediate housing, allowing the use of a type 1 shift housing, began
with a trial fit into the chassis with the Berg rear mount installed to
check for clearance at the frame horns as well as the package tray
floor. The Berg rear mount installed over the lower four external studs
that attach the bell housing to the tranny. One note here is that we
were using the TG Fab Chassis Brace, which has brackets that normally
sandwich between the trans mount and the end of the frame horns. Since
the type 1 uses slots in the mount to allow for a little adjustment of
the mount front to back, the type 2 Berg mount does not. We either
needed to weld brackets onto the Berg mount or, since the Berg mount
attaches to the rear facing side of the tranny, we determined we could
make a set of spacers the thickness of the TG brackets, to go between
the trans and the mount, so the TG Chassis Brace brackets could be
installed like they were designed.
In our case, no clearancing was necessary at either floor or frame horns
to fit the tranny in. Perhaps a Ghia package tray floor is higher than a
beetle since we were told the floor would need clearancing.
Our type 1 style welded in mid mount needed to be removed so the type 2
mid mount could be installed in its place. This was accomplished by
using a disc grinder and carefully removing enough weld material to
knock it out without removing material from the frame horns themselves.
Once out, the area was cleaned of any remaining weld material and
providing a clean bare metal area to weld in the new mid mount.
Once the old mid mount was removed and the area was
clean, the tranny was fitted into the chassis once again and the studs
for the mid mount were removed allowing a trial fit of the mid mount so
we could see where the new mount would need to have metal removed in
order to fit over the studs and have a nice tight fit to the frame
horns. The rear mount locates the tranny side to side as well as fore
and aft, and since it used a type 1 nose cone, all that was necessary
was to determine a position up and down at the front. In our case we
centered the shift-housing nose into the hole in the pan thru which it
passes. The mid mount bracket was fitted by using a disc grinder to
remove a little metal at a time at the points of interference by first
trial fitting, marking then removing material and repeating this process
until it fit. Somewhat time consuming but we achieved a nice snug fit
around the frame horns. Patience is the keyword here.
Once we were happy with the fit, we tack welded it
into the chassis, then removed the tranny once again so we could do the
finish welding. The upsetting thing about this was disrupting the finish
on our powder coated pan. After welding and cleaning, I shot some gloss
enamel on it temporarily until I can find a more elegant solution.
We were now ready to bolt all the external stuff
onto the tranny for its final installation into the car. The starter
just bolted on as it is a Hi Tork aftermarket style with no shaft
support to deal with. The U-joint yokes that go onto the axle stubs
presented a bit of a problem. No means to attach them onto the axles
were provided by either Folts or Rancho. They slid onto the splines, but
needed either a snap ring or a bolted retainer to hold them on. Unlike a
CV joint these will position the axle side to side and may encounter
thrust forces and need to be solidly attached. The axle stub was drilled
and tapped for a 3/8” NC American thread curiously enough, so we
decided a thick retainer and a grade 8 bolt would do the job. The axle
stub protrudes through the U-joint yokes splines, so a retainer would
have to be made with a counter bored relief so that when tightened down,
it would tighten against the yoke surface and not the end of the axle,
which would allow the yoke to slide on the axle stubs splines. That
would be bad.
After some measuring, it was determined that a
1.75” O.D. by 1/2” thick retainer with a .300” deep counter bore
and a 3/8 center hole would resolve the problem. A nice piece of 2”
steel bar stock was chucked up in the lathe and turned to the proper
specs. The first trial fit of this part proved successful so a duplicate
was made for the other side. The U-joint yokes were bolted on using new
grade 8, 3/8” bolts with a little locktite and a little silicone
sealer around the end of the axle stub to prevent oil leaks.
The tranny was filled with almost three quarts of
Redline synthetic gear oil and finally slid into place along with the TG
Chassis Brace and bolted down for the last time. The axle installation
is straight-forward at this point. They are put into position and the
u-joint is bolted down with the u-bolts provided for attachment to the
inner u-joint yoke.
Some preliminary measurements for the axle
centerline relative to the type 1 trans revealed that the centerline had
been raised (like installing a tranny raise kit) as well as moving
forward a little. Hanging a plumb bob off the axle tube at each end and
measuring the distance to the torsion housing showed we had some work to
do to bring the back wheels into alignment. With the axles straight as
they would be with weight on them, we found we would need to elongate
the mounting slots in the spring plate by 1/4” forward to arrive at
close to the proper toe measurement for the back wheels. Once this was
done, we needed to reset the ride height. Since the axle centerline was
higher in the type 2 trans this meant we had to lower the car to give
the back wheels the proper camber. This was done trial and error style
and done before the cables and brake lines were attached to make this
step a little easier. Once complete, we would have a “ballpark” rear
wheel alignment setting, which would have to be finalized with the
proper equipment at a shop specializing in this type of work.
The brake lines and E-Brake cables were attached,
brakes bled, and all the bolts were double-checked for tightness. Now
it’s time to stab the motor.
The first trial fit (no clutch) revealed the motor
position had shifted to the right by 3/8”. Not much, unless things are
close. And the cylinder tin on the right was indeed too tight and needed
trimming. Breaking out a die grinder with an abrasive cut-off wheel,
1/4” was trimmed off the outer edge and the cylinder tin was checked
for fit. With a little more trimming around the rear corner and some
deburring, the edge was touched up with paint and that part was done.
The truly painful part was the clearance around the
intake manifolds for the CB Competition Eliminator heads. It was already
close to the edge of the engine bay floor. Now it was interfering badly.
Biting the bullet we made two small incisions on either side of the
manifold then one between these cuts, we were able to bend down the edge
at about a 45 degree angle which gave us plenty of room and would clean
up nicely with just a minor bit of finish work.
That was it. The Kennedy Stage 2 pressure plate and
CB Super disc was installed onto the motor and the motor was installed
for the final time. Shifter coupler installed just like it had before,
although the shifter position needed to be adjusted a little. Looking at
the motor at first glance does not reveal anything out of the ordinary
and a test drive confirmed everything was functioning properly. With no
time to make any test runs before attending the 2003 Phoenix Bug-O-Rama
in April, we loaded up, made the 600 mile tow, and were rewarded with
three trouble free runs finally breaking into the 11 second zone with
our 2005 lb Ghia without hurting anything. The altered suspension
geometry will need to be worked out, but we now have a solid reliable
trans that should give us many trouble free runs.
On a final note about weight, we weighed the type
one trans with no axles and it was 67 pounds. The type 2 was 77 pounds.
The u-joint kit adds about another 10 pounds to the total package,
making the total weight gain 20 pounds. Not bad!
A very special thank you to Rick Tomlinson of CB
Performance for arranging the transmission build with Rancho and thanks
to Rancho for the quick delivery. Without their help we would not have
made the Phoenix event. And thanks to Pat Downs and my wife Cindy for
CB Performance, Gene Berg, Rancho Transmissions,
Getting pushed off the starting line at the March
2003 Drag Day after a catastrophic trans failure. Hey! Who is that camera
The photo below shows how the case broke. It actually
separated into two pieces. Word of advice...when your tranny builder
recommends that you gusset the case, DO IT!
2 trans as delivered from Rancho Performance Transaxles, with the Berg
trans mount bolted on
Folts SwingAxle conversion kit showing one side assembled and one side
Below, the tranny side of the axle being assembled
Left, the trans, showing the Berg intermediate mount.
Right, the Berg trans mount showing the spacers which were made to allow
the use of the TG Fab chassis brace
Below left, the mid mount after welding and spot
painted with engine enamel. Below right, the trans bolted in with axles
The axle u-joint retainers being machined on the left
and the finished product installed on the right.
Our motor on the stand prior to reinstallation
showing the stage 2 Kennedy clutch