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Transaxle choices and opinions for V8 conversions...

I am interested in honest and impartial opinions on different transaxles for a Mid-engined V8 car...

For the purists, I am NOT converting a Porsche car, just wanting to use the transaxle from one...

I have spoken to Renegade (via email), and checked out the internet. But recently I contacted PowerHaus about gearing, and the gentleman told me that the 901 and 915 would NOT hold up to a V8, and I should go to the G50 ($$$). Powerhaus also mentioned that TORQUE is what kills the transaxles, not horsepower. This got me thinking, because I know this is correct, yet Renegade rates theirs for different HPs, and doesn't indicate a torque rating... I don't really plan on racing competatively, but I might want to try autocross, etc. Probably jump on it a bit.

My plan is for a mild 350 or stroker 383 engine. I'd love to have something that will accelarate quickly (1/4-mile in under 13 seconds)...

So whats the deal?

Leaning toward the 915 (later model- 1977 and up?) with flipped ring gear and cable shifter...

Anybody know another source for a cable shifter for the 915 box?

Anybody in the Nor Cal area that I should talk to? I'm in the Sacramento area...

Sorry, the car will be a 1965-1969 Chevrolet Corvair. The traditional Corvair mid-engine V8 swap is NOT an option due to lack of strength, lack of leg room and lack of ratios. Approximate weight will be about 2500-3000 pounds, loaded...

Thanks,

Tony
Old 09-10-2003, 12:22 PM
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A 901 is good up to 300 lb. ft. of torque from a V8, as long as you don't bang it too hard. I ran mine for almost two years without any problems behind about 350 ft lbs. I didn't bang 1st but I spun em pretty good in second more than a few times.
A 915 should be good for well over 350 lb ft, a 930 box is even stronger.
A lot of it depends on how you want to drive it. If you take it easy and not use 1st gear for anything other than pulling into the driveway (on the 901) it will last for at least a couple of years. If you want something bulletproof that you can abuse without braking, get a G50 or a 930.
BTW, the 914 CV joints are also a weak link if you plan it beat on it.
Old 09-10-2003, 01:37 PM
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930 box is the way to go if you are going to beat on it. In NorCal Brad Roberts is the guy to talk to. He is on the 914club.com BBS. Bring money as its not cheap to do this conversion. They are recent posts about this on the BBS.

Geoff
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Old 09-10-2003, 03:59 PM
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Good information, but I agree it is very conservative.

The weakest link in the 901 is first gear because it is cantalevered (sp) out the end and not supported between bearings.
Not using 1st will increase the load handling capability of the 901 a great deal.
Now, I'm realistic enough to admit that I probably would not have gotten 150,000 miles out of that transaxle, I expected it to last closer to 25,000 based on the torque and the way I used it.
I sold the car before I could test that theory.

If you want the tranny to last forever behind a V8, go with a 930.
Anything else will last less than forever, I'm absolutely sure of that
Old 09-11-2003, 09:33 AM
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Thanks Kevin,

Wow, I never thought the ratings were that low... Of course, I understand the underrating, as most Chevy V8s (even stock motors) will easily produce more torque than the 901 or 915 is rated at...

Really curious, because it seems like alot of V8 swaps in Porsches use these two without hearing of much problems...

So maybe the 930 is the one I will look at. Supposedly the gear ratios are better suited for V8s, which saves some money for custom R&P.

Does anybody know about flipping the ring gear? Is it fairly straight-forward? Just clearance the case for the gear and flip the carrier and setup R&P like that? Or is it alot more involved?

Just curious, as there are some local Porsche wrecking yards, and I figured I could pick up a core trans pretty reasonably (was quoted $600 for a late 915 box last year).
Old 09-11-2003, 09:37 AM
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How much is involved changing the shifter over to a 930 from a 901 side-shift? Isn't the 930 a tail-shifter?
Old 09-11-2003, 10:11 AM
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The 930 box is a tail shifter in that the shift rod would come in from the back in a mid engine set up.
Scott Mann from renegade hybrids has a 930 box in his V8 914, he should be able to answer any questions, Brad Roberts can too.
The advantage to using a 901 is cost. They are easy to set up and are relatively cheap. Most guys are willing to roll the dice and risk blowing them up every few years because replacements are easy to come by and don't cost that much.
It all boils down to your bank account. If you can afford to go all the way, do it. If you are on a budget you will have to make concessions.
Figure about $4000 above the purchase cost of the 930 gearbox to get it set up for mid engine. That includes the internal modifications and shifter linkage. That's why most guys don't use them.
BTW, a nice 4 speed 930 tranny will usually cost 3 or 4 times what a 915 would cost to buy because there just aren't as many out there.
Old 09-11-2003, 11:12 AM
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Figure closer to $6500 for a complete 930 unit.
The problem with the 915 units is so many of them have to be repaired (the main pinion bearing race support pounds out) which costs alot to fix.

You say you want to drag race and that is what costs money! If you just drive around and not smoke the tires at every chance a 901 will last awhile.
If you do want that blistering drag racing takeoff then a 930 with LSD is the only way the box will last.

Geoff
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Old 09-11-2003, 11:30 AM
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Has anybody researched the existence of non-Porsche transaxles for V8 conversions? Has GM made anything similar? I can probably guess there aren't - that most are transverse-mounted front-wheel drive arrangements.
Old 09-11-2003, 11:41 AM
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I've seen Oldsmobile Toronado transaxles mounted in a mid-engine orientation, plenty strong but heavy and not simple to convert. Unfortunately they are automatic (yuck).
Pantera's had a mid engine layout using a ZF transaxle. Strong enough, but I'd guess expensive and still fairly complicated to engineer as far as axles and linkage etc. I've never really looked into them that much.

I also at one time considered an audi transaxle from a front wheel drive 5000 turbo. I checked out a few in the junk yards and the lightbulb kind of flickered above my haid. Never got much past the wondering stage tho.
Old 09-11-2003, 12:15 PM
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Here's something real interesting:
i just did a search on the Audi 5000 transaxle and it turns out that the internals are basically the same as the 944 and 944 turbo transaxle and are reportedly good up to 400 to 450 hp.
Here's a link to one of ther pages I checked out, the guy is building a Lamborghini kit car with a BMW V8 mounted to the Audi trans. Looks more and more promising.
http://www.lambolounge.com/Chassis/Transmission/5000/5000.asp

BTW here's picture of a ZF. Pretty but cubic dollars
Old 09-11-2003, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by sammyg2
Here's something real interesting:
i just did a search on the Audi 5000 transaxle and it turns out that the internals are basically the same as the 944 and 944 turbo transaxle and are reportedly good up to 400 to 450 hp.
Here's a link to one of ther pages I checked out, the guy is building a Lamborghini kit car with a BMW V8 mounted to the Audi trans. Looks more and more promising.
http://www.lambolounge.com/Chassis/Transmission/5000/5000.asp

BTW here's picture of a ZF. Pretty but cubic dollars
SammyG2,

Only problem is that the 016 Audi (5000) transaxles have lousey ratio's for a V8 application. 1st. is even lower than the stock 901, and unless you find the rare 016-3U (used only in Europe) 5th is lower as well. The 944 variant of the 016(R or S) does not have provision for a clutch/TO bearing/starter, so you're out of luck there. Too bad, because the 944 turbo has much taller (good for V8) ratios, as well as strengthened input shaft and upgraded differential bearings. Also, since 1st and 2nd gears are part of the input shaft, swapping is not possible. Basically, the kitcar/replica builders use the 016 for the low cost/availability....the ratio's still suck however.

Andy
Old 09-12-2003, 08:09 AM
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Bummer. I knew there had to be a catch.
On the 016 are the ring/pinion gear ratios able to be changed or are they cast in stone like the 901?
Old 09-12-2003, 12:32 PM
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Option X: 901 with a 904 mainshaft, and a billet I-plate, about the same money as a built 930 box, but you get to keep the shift pattern, change any gear...

Oh yeah.


M
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Old 09-12-2003, 12:42 PM
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Too bad the 904 mainshafts are made of unobtanium. I bet if we could get someone to make em for us we could get rich.

Plus with this option you still can't hammer 1st gear. Other than that it's all good
Old 09-12-2003, 02:03 PM
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Well, since you are in there, you could go with a different r&p set too.. maybe make 1st a little more benign.

Once you are in the $7-14k range, hey, what's another buck.



M
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Old 09-12-2003, 02:41 PM
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Contact Jeff He will provide you with a gearbox for your car.

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Old 09-12-2003, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by sammyg2
Too bad the 904 mainshafts are made of unobtanium. I bet if we could get someone to make em for us we could get rich.
Isn't Paul Guard from Guard Transmission making those? He's making a lot of other stuff for 901/915/930 gearboxes...

But it's money--cubic money...

--DD
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Old 09-14-2003, 09:58 AM
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if you raise 1st far enough, you could make it mild enough on that gear to not twist off the ring?




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Old 09-14-2003, 10:04 AM
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Repro 904 mainshafts ARE available. I have one, with a NOS 904 GA 2nd gear, and a Guard 80% LSD in my new short-track 901.
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Old 09-14-2003, 10:38 AM
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