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Porsche 915 Rebuild - One Piece Bearing Retainer Plate

This thread is intended to help people who are rebuilding a Porsche 915 transmission understand why people recommend replacing the original 2 piece bearing retainer plates, and consolidate installation procedures and tips associated with installation of a one piece bearing retainer plate as offered by Pelican Parts.

----------------------------------------------

Why Replace With a One Piece Bearing Retainer?

When rebuilding a Porsche 915 transmission, many people find that the bearing races that are press-fit into the differential section of the transmission case - have become loose.

Loose pinion shaft bearing - able to be removed from case, or spun in the case with finger tips:



The pinion and main shaft bearing races are press fit (driven into / very tight fit) into the differential section of the transmission case - if the races are loose this whole part needs to be shipped to a machine shop: to restore the case's race fittings:



Here's a video showing one of the original 2 piece bearing retainers and fitment with the bearing that the retainer is intended to support:


This pinion shaft bearing retainer is out of a 915/73 that had ~ 200k miles. The race may have fit tight to the bearing originally - but it's clearly a loose fit now...

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One Piece Bearing Retainer Plates

Pelican Parts offers aftermarket 1 piece bearing retainer plates that provide a better fit for the bearing (pressed into the retainer) and better structural support to secure the bearing to the case.

These 1 piece bearing retainer plates can be bought at Pelican; search for CMS-915-BRT, or WVO-XT-032

Here's a link to the both manufacturer's products / websites:

CMS 1 Piece Bearing Retainer Plate
https://californiamotorsports.net/products/cms-915-bearing-retaining-plate


Wevo 1 Piece Bearing Retainer Plate
https://www.wevo.com/Products/TransmissionProducts/WevoTransmissionProducts-Internal_XT032BearingRetainer.htm


These plates won't fix or repair a loose bearing race, but they will provide additional support to preferably preclude bearing movement that could result in a bearing race becoming loose.

----------------------------------------------

That's it for now - will continue this thread with what I've learned while installing my one piece bearing retainer plate.

Gordo
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Last edited by Gordo2; 04-20-2017 at 03:48 PM..
Old 02-12-2017, 02:58 AM
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CMS Bearing Retainer Plate Assembly Steps

I used the CMS bearing retainer plate - primarily based on price (it's less expensive than the Wevo bearing retainer).

I'm going to describe the method and steps I used - I'm sure there are other / probably better ways to go about it...

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Install Bearings in the Retainer Plate

I began assembly by fitting the two center bearings (I think these are also referred to a "four point bearings") into the bearing retainer plate.

The bearing fit tightly within the plate and need a little coaxing to get them in and seated correctly. I heated the bearing retainer plate to 250°F (toaster oven works great), and put the bearings in the freezer for ~ 1hr.

Even with the heating and cooling, the bearings still required a light tapping (small rubber mallet) around the bearing race edges to get them fully seated in the plate:





---------------------------------------


Need to add some notes to a few photo's - will continue...

Gordo
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Old 02-12-2017, 03:24 AM
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Any update to this??? I have just gotten the Wevo plate in for our 915.
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Old 02-17-2017, 07:16 AM
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Update - Single Piece Bearing Retainer

A few more pointers based on my fumbling through the installation, but first a few general observations:

General Observations Regarding the Single Piece Bearing Retainer

- The single piece bearing retainer is a nice design, but it definitely makes assembly or future disassembly more challenging.

- Due to the installation sequence, I'm not sure how you would be able to remove some of the bearings (that sit directly next to / behind the bearing retainer) without destroying them. They are a tight fit against the retainer - but can be individually pressed off with the stock 2 piece bearing retainer (allows you to separate the input and output shafts to put them on a press).

- The single piece bearing retainer makes installation and torque to spec of the pinion shaft retainer nut a bit challenging. You need to prop the entire gear assembly (both main and pinion shafts & gears) up as you torque the main shaft nut to spec. Like the below photo, only with the pinion shaft installed:



- The single piece bearing retainer also makes installation of the gear assembly into the transmission case a bit more challenging. Instead of installing one shaft at a time - you need to install both (since they are attached via the bearing retainer plate).



In hindsight, knowing what kind of an additional challenge the retainer added to assembly, I probably wouldn't have opted to install it. Meanwhile, my bearings races were not loose; had they been loose, I probably would have decided to use it for additional reinforcement.

----------------------------------------------------

Installation Tips

Following up from the above info - I installed the main / input shaft first. Ensure that you have the main shaft assembled correctly as removal of components after it's installed on the retainer can be difficult...




The main shaft installs easily enough. I recommend holding off on installing the main shaft bearing (on the back of the bearing retainer) until you have installed the pinion and can confirm everything is assembled correctly.





Installation of the pinion shaft and gears is a bit of a jigsaw puzzle.

You need to insert the pinion shaft part way through the bearing retainer as you hold 4th gear in place. If you insert the shaft fully, 4th gear cannot be installed since it can't clear the 3-4 shift sleeve on the main shaft:





Once you get to this point, the remaining pinion shaft gears can be slid into place and the pinion shaft nut can be torqued to spec.

----------------------------------------------------


I welcome any additional tips or recommendations as I'm sure there's more than one way to go about it.

Hope this helps others...

Gordo
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Last edited by Gordo2; 04-19-2017 at 07:49 PM..
Old 04-19-2017, 07:42 PM
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How do you press in the inner races of the bearing if you are holding 4th in place while sliding the pinion shaft through the retainer?
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Old 04-20-2017, 04:06 AM
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Very nice documentation Gordo - TY.
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Old 04-20-2017, 06:49 AM
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Yea

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottrx7tt View Post
How do you press in the inner races of the bearing if you are holding 4th in place while sliding the pinion shaft through the retainer?
Great question / reminder... That was another squirrelly one.

I had to heat the race and start it onto the pinion shaft, then push the shaft through 4th gear all the way until the race was seated and the gear was in place...

Difficult to describe and rather difficult to execute (hot race - that needed installed quickly so that it didn't cool and compress in the wrong location).

Gordo
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Old 04-20-2017, 03:57 PM
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hmmm, interesting i am about to do this. How hot did you get it? so then you slid in the 4th gear race in, then the needle bearing all while 4th was already placed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordo2 View Post
Great question / reminder... That was another squirrelly one.

I had to heat the race and start it onto the pinion shaft, then push the shaft through 4th gear all the way until the race was seated and the gear was in place...

Difficult to describe and rather difficult to execute (hot race - that needed installed quickly so that it didn't cool and compress in the wrong location).

Gordo
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Old 04-20-2017, 04:11 PM
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Temperature to Press Fit Parts

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottrx7tt View Post
hmmm, interesting i am about to do this. How hot did you get it? so then you slid in the 4th gear race in, then the needle bearing all while 4th was already placed?
I heated the parts that need to be press fitted to 250° F (used a toaster oven).

This temp worked well and expanded the races (and end bearings) just enough to allow them to slide right onto the shafts.

I'm not sure what you mean with the rest of your question. The 4th and 3rd gears are splined / fixed, and slide directly onto the splined pinion shaft - they don't have a race or needle bearing.





Gordo
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Old 04-20-2017, 06:30 PM
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Just to add to Gordo's already excellent info, the "press fit" of the parts on the shafts is not an extremely tight fit. That means the parts can be carefully tapped into place on alternating sides to seat them.

For example, you can disassemble the shafts by using gravity + the weight of the stack. Take the shaft and strike it on a plate of aluminum or some other "soft" sacrificial material. Doing so self slide-hammers the parts off of the shaft. John Walker here on the forums taught a lot of us DIY'ers this trick.

That said, i'm not crapping on the use of heat to assemble & install things. Works great. Get a good set of clean gloves to make life easier. Leather work gloves or welding gloves work perfect
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Old 04-21-2017, 07:21 AM
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Great thread Gordo! This was a massive help in understanding the challenges of puzzling together all this when using the one-piece retainer. I have a few comments and suggestions to add.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordo2 View Post
- The single piece bearing retainer makes installation and torque to spec of the pinion shaft retainer nut a bit challenging. You need to prop the entire gear assembly (both main and pinion shafts & gears) up as you torque the main shaft nut to spec. Like the below photo, only with the pinion shaft installed:

In this photo you wrote pinion nut when you have the main shaft in the vice getting the collared nut torqued. Most people will figure this out but worth mentioning.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordo2 View Post
Following up from the above info - I installed the main / input shaft first. Ensure that you have the main shaft assembled correctly as removal of components after it's installed on the retainer can be difficult...

Installation of the pinion shaft and gears is a bit of a jigsaw puzzle.

You need to insert the pinion shaft part way through the bearing retainer as you hold 4th gear in place. If you insert the shaft fully, 4th gear cannot be installed since it can't clear the 3-4 shift sleeve on the main shaft

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottrx7tt View Post
How do you press in the inner races of the bearing if you are holding 4th in place while sliding the pinion shaft through the retainer?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordo2 View Post
Great question / reminder... That was another squirrelly one.

I had to heat the race and start it onto the pinion shaft, then push the shaft through 4th gear all the way until the race was seated and the gear was in place...

Difficult to describe and rather difficult to execute (hot race - that needed installed quickly so that it didn't cool and compress in the wrong location).

Gordo

I found an easy way to do this. Unfortunately I didn't take pictures as I was unsure how it would work, but it turned out great. Basically, with my mainshaft holding tool in the vice, I set this up so the mainshaft was pointing straight up (rear/clutch end towards the ceiling.) I let the pinion shaft hang from the one-piece retainer. Probably not great for the 4 point bearing on the mainshaft, but oh well. This meant that the front end of the pinion shaft was pointing towards the floor, with enough clearance from my vice that I could slip parts upward onto the shaft.

I then set the fixed 4th gear on my bench facing upwards, as it would go on the pinion shaft. I then placed the outer race for the 4 point bearing on top of the gear, in the upwards position it would have on the shaft. I hit both the race and the gear center with my propane torch for about 15 seconds to get them hot, picked them up together with welding gloves, and slid them upwards on the pinion shaft, wiggling past the 3-4 slider. They dropped right into place together, and bam! Done. Then the rest of the pinion shaft install was textbook.

Here is a pic I took tonight of how I setup the shafts in the vice. You'll have to imagine that the pinion shaft in hanging from the bearing retainer with no gears on it. You heat up the fixed 4th gear with the 4 point inner race on top of it, then slide them upwards on the pinion shaft into place. Piece of cake!

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Last edited by evan9eleven; 12-14-2017 at 12:32 PM..
Old 12-14-2017, 12:24 PM
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Nice Update

Thanks for posting Evan - was hoping others would chime in to make this easier & clearer for future reference & installations.

Great catch on my photo and excellent photo and description of the installation process / steps.

I've been watching your build - you're doing great work. You will enjoy the results.

Gordo
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Old 12-14-2017, 06:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evan9eleven View Post
Great thread Gordo! ".......................

Gordon,

Very nice and informative write up. When I am ready to do my transmission, I will surely use your threads for references. What do you call this special tool that is wedge on the vise? Where to source it? Thanks.

Tony
Old 12-15-2017, 08:05 AM
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While I think the one piece retainer plate is great, the other is to use loctite 648 which is actually specifically designed to hold bearing races and other round fittings in place. It is insanely strong stuff. I had a production of water pumps manufactured where the impeller was aluminum press fit to a small steel driveshaft, so round to round surfaces, but with 648 retaining the two. These pumps were under constant high rpm stress and never saw a single failure.
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Old 12-15-2017, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lvporschepilot View Post
While I think the one piece retainer plate is great, the other is to use loctite 648 which is actually specifically designed to hold bearing races and other round fittings in place. It is insanely strong stuff. I had a production of water pumps manufactured where the impeller was aluminum press fit to a small steel driveshaft, so round to round surfaces, but with 648 retaining the two. These pumps were under constant high rpm stress and never saw a single failure.
The one piece plate is not designed to fix bearing races that are spinning in the case. They are designed to stop if from happening in the first place. It wasn't a new idea, and was something they did on the 930 and 931 gearboxes from day one. Once someone spends the money properly machining and fixing the case, it's a nice finishing touch.

Don't know how many loctite'd races I've seen spin over the years. Maybe it's an acceptable fix on a street car driven once in a while, but if you flog your car or track it, you'll be back in there sooner rather than later.
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Old 12-15-2017, 03:07 PM
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Agree

Quote:
Originally Posted by lvporschepilot View Post
...loctite 648 which is actually specifically designed to hold bearing races and other round fittings in place. It is insanely strong stuff.
Agree - the Loctite 648 is great stuff. I've used it with great success in some high stress applications - ex. reseated a loose valve stem (with 648) on my Kawasaki / Exmark mower engine. That was 4 or 5 years ago and it's still holding up.

If I had found that my 915 bearing race(s) were loose - I would have considered reseating them with it (if the case wasn't completely wallowed out).

Also agree with Matt - the retainer's made to reduce likelihood of a seat coming loose (vice repair), but I think if you repaired / reset a loose bearing seat with the 648, and then retained it with the Wevo or GT bearing retainer - you might not need to have the case machined. No experience - just my thoughts.

Gordo
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Old 12-15-2017, 08:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordo2 View Post
Agree - the Loctite 648 is great stuff. I've used it with great success in some high stress applications - ex. reseated a loose valve stem (with 648) on my Kawasaki / Exmark mower engine. That was 4 or 5 years ago and it's still holding up.

If I had found that my 915 bearing race(s) were loose - I would have considered reseating them with it (if the case wasn't completely wallowed out).

Also agree with Matt - the retainer's made to reduce likelihood of a seat coming loose (vice repair), but I think if you repaired / reset a loose bearing seat with the 648, and then retained it with the Wevo or GT bearing retainer - you might not need to have the case machined. No experience - just my thoughts.

Gordo
This is what I did several years ago. Gearbox is working fine, however I wouldn’t know if the race has spun unless I took it apart.
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Old 12-16-2017, 05:50 AM
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Here is a visual representation of what happens to the stock bearing retainer, bearing, and shims when the race spins in the housing. A groove gets worn in the retainer, the play allows the bearing to “chatter” and it chews up the inner race and shims. Any opportunity to replace stock bearing retainer with a one piece should be taken.




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Old 12-16-2017, 06:02 AM
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Not sure if this should go in this thread or not, but I'm presently putting my 915 back together with a CMS retainer. All seemed well until I put on 5th and reverse and tightened the pinion shaft nut. Now the pinion shaft is a little too hard to turn IMO, the input shaft turns nicely, but if I put it in gear or try to turn it from the output hubs it seems to have too much drag.
Any thoughts on what to look for before I take the nuts back off?

Thanks.
Old 05-16-2018, 12:11 PM
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Did you use a jig prior to torqueing down the pinion?
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Old 05-16-2018, 02:00 PM
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