With the goal of running taller rear tires, Sam and Nate swap in a Bus transmission, with it's bigger ring and pinion being better suited for that tire.


JBugs Video Blog, VW Lifestyle, VW Tech Tips

Watch Sam and Nate install a Bus transmission into this 1972 Baja Bug.

With the goal of running a 32" or taller rear tire, a Bus transmission, with it's bigger ring and pinion being better suited for that tire, is swapped in. Typically there are a couple of ways of doing the install, a standard "bolt-in" kit that mounts the transmission to the stock mounts on the chassis, but requires cutting the body, removing the parking brake handle on the tunnel and running a shift rod and shift box on top of the tunnel. Or there is a "10 degree kit" which requires cutting the chassis, but not the body. Most importantly to Sam, it keeps the shift rod in place in the tunnel. This means less cutting of the body, a stock rear seat can be used and the car remains more sealed up.

Video Transcript

Hi guys, I'm Sam, and I'm Nate. We're going to get to work on the back of this car.

But we're starting on the inside so we can get rid of these old parking brake cables which we're not going to be able to use anymore. Nathan, you want to get those taken care of while I get the rest of the stuff ready at the back of the car?

It's kind of hard to loosen this. Yeah, we should have thought about that before we put those seats in. There you go. So take off both of them, both nuts? Yeah. Okay.

We've got a whole table full of parts: 3x3 axles, stub axles, bearings and spacers, clips and seals, bearing caps, spring plate bushings, calipers, brake rotors, axles, CVs, and torsion bars. All need to go in the back of this bad puppy. We've got all the backing plates and everything else pulled off, all the drums. We've got some rotors set on here temporarily just so I could pull out a stub axle to test fit some products at work. These are just on temporarily so we could put on those big old tires from Kyle for temporary purposes. Now, we did pull those tires off those wheels because, like we mentioned before, we are getting some new wheels. I also robbed the starter out of this to put in the sand rail when we did the start on that engine's kind of hanging precariously back here. Whatever.

But today, the mission is to get all this stuff out of the way so we can get a 002 bus box. I want to get this guy mocked up in there, and I want that going in the stock location. So I'm going to use the EMPI bus to bug kit, put this transmission in there, but I'm going to do some modifications to the mount to get that front to drop down. At which point, I'll probably have to cut the frame horns here and possibly here. We are switching to larger 930 CVs, so I'll probably have to cut this out. We have to make my own mounts or adapt the current EMPI mount for here. Essentially what we're doing is kind of a 10° kit, but we're using the EMPI kit instead of the some of the pre-sold kit out there.

Nathan, did you get them both? No, they're stuck, so I need vice grips probably—okay, all right. Have at it. Alright. So give me a few moments while I get the rest of this stuff kind of wrapped up, and then we'll be back.

You got the brake labels loosened? Mhm. Be able to just uh then you disconnect them from that lever, that lever bar. You got both nuts off? Yeah, on both sides. Oh, you pushing on the passenger side? Okay. Okay. I'll pull, you push. Trash. Yep. Okay, cables are out.

We got to disconnect our clutch cable. You want to grab a pair of vice grips, and then just sit here and loosen it all up? Yep. Loosen that cable up. Uh, meantime, I'll grab a 13, disconnect our ground cable. I'm going to go inside the car and disconnect our shift coupler.

There we go. Got it. Awesome.

That got that disconnected. Got a 13 mm, that nut right there, ground it up right, and then I've got to pull our nose cone mount off. It's going to be a 17. 17 right there. Just disconnected the ground. What is that ground for anyways? The ground is the chest here. Oh, yeah. So that's why we hook it up to the starter bolt. So these look like some giant—you got to pull those out too. Those are 13s. Uh oh, 13 here. Yeah, but we can just pull off this entire thing by pulling off the—these frame horn bolts, which I think are 27s. Grab a big socket, the big dog. Oh, alright.

The big dog impact. Pull those out, put all the hard on that box, for that bucket over there. Mind your Croc-covered toes. One transmission out. Alright. Transmission is out. Yeah, just a whole ton of other stuff got to pull that boot out of there. Alright, uh, maybe this mount's going to have to be cut out. Alright, the sawzall out for that. It's probably going to be the easiest.

So with that, um, guess we can come in with a wire brush on the bottom of that. You can come in here and start cleaning all that up. I am going to this—all this. Oh wow. Wash there. Yep. I need to get that guy out of the way now. I think we need to move that clutch cable tube and the accelerated cable tube over, use that. Probably use a—uh, ow, that was my head. I didn't need that anyway. Ow, that hurt.

Alright, I'm not going to bore you with all this clean up. We'll be back.

Cut some brake hoses. Actually keep a hold of them for mockup. Oh yeah, I just want to see what we can do as far as different locations on the shock mounts. You want to pull brake rears off? Uh, sure, on this side, I got it. Now it's really starting to not look like anything, huh? Y, save that, keep that. Nope, leave that one in there. Uh, grab me a 19 mm wrench and the 19 mm inch drive and the 19 mm or the uh, the big dog impact wrench. Save all this hardware, same thing down there. I'm going to get to work on the other side, pulling those off I think.

Trying to get a hold of an IRS pivot bolt socket. I could have sworn I had one here, but apparently, I don't. Um, I'm not going to let that hold me up though, so if I have to make one, I will make one. Just up, uh, Kyle's going to try and bring one by, but he has to go to Tempe first, so before that, I'm going to try and get these spring plate covers off. Pull those off on the other side, you might need that to get them both those and then just break them off somehow. Pry them off. What's that, the thing, the cover, get 'R loose. We're not going to be able to pull it off until we pull the spring plate out.

Alright, so I'm going to make a tool. I'm going to weld these nuts, or going to weld the end of this, grind it down flush, stack these together and weld those in, then hopefully we'll be able to put a nut or a socket on this and loosen that.

We've got this guy welded up, two nuts welded to a bolt with a nut on it. I'll be able to put a 15 mm on here. This will go into our IRS pivot bolts and we'll be able to back it out, at least that's the plan. Apparently, this isn't working that well; it just broke free.

That didn't work. I'm going to fill that area with weld and see if that works. Let's give this a shot. Apparently, not either. Ah, son of a gun, it broke off and inside there. That might be a booger now. Let's see if I can't clean this up a little bit, see if I can get that nut out of there.

Round three on this bolt—I got it to work. Did you have to weld it again or—yeah, oh wow. Did you just—how did you get it? No, both sides out before temp got it. You might like I, and then boom, wow, that did the job.

Iris pivot bolt, two washers, going to put that on our bucket. And with that, and this time I want to wear gloves again 'cause I hate spending like 20 minutes washing my hands, and I can on some gloves and not have to.

One trailing arm off, yay! Let's get some more leverage. Good Lord Almighty, that might squeeze in there. Yeah, and now the nut is spinning free from the end there. Good Lord, there's a lot of torque on that nut, isn't there?

It's now spinning the nut free from the bolt; there's that much torque in there. I cannot believe it's pulling that much torque through that thing. So, you going to try to weld it back together or—yeah, I'm going to try to weld it one more time. We'll see how it goes.

Attempt four, we'll see how this one goes. Got it.

Kyle, up! What's up, dude? Of bolts, ten four. And then I saw, and then I socket. I got the buffer. So we got the seats in, got the front end bolted up, disc brake's in place; this thing's about to go in, yeah. Well, it's about to have mounts made. Hey Nate, how are you? Looks good, you guys have been busy. So uh, what do I do here? Here we go. This is—I, this is the fourth, nice. Yeah, after breaking bolts off the bolt or nuts off the bolt, and this is the fourth, the fourth attempt, and it's working, um, hopefully somewhat working, somewhat working. Actually, I was going to call you as soon as I had this one done. Yeah, I think I'm good. Yeah, now I get this thing out, there we go. Yeah, nice. This is what I did. Oh man, actually pretty good. This is a nut weld to a bolt that worked pretty good. This was the second nut; I actually had another nut that one broke off, so perfect, but yeah, does the job. That was a good idea. Yeah, you did that pretty quick. Yeah, that's awesome, it looks good. That's what good friends are for.

Let's get that out the rest of the way, two washers on the outside. I'll get that here. Don't have a tool, make a tool, sometimes that's what you got to do. Nate, ready? We're going to knock off the spring plates. Whenever doing this, this is the spring that holds up the car, so whenever you're like taking apart spring coil, spring compressors, control arms with springs in them. Anyway, this is the spring; once this lip right here gets clear of this, this is going to shoot down. Ready? Boom. So that's all under spring load. It's a bit loud, and it's loud too.

For stock ride height, I am just going two or when I set this up with the new torsion springs, I'm going to use this stock mark as an indicator of our ride height. So, this, it's still a tread, this is what we're taking out because this is smaller than our new ones that we're putting in, and they're weaker, they are weaker because they're smaller diameter, correct. We got to pry that guy out, and I'm guessing that we have new these too; we got urethane ones, yep. Yeah, we don't need that; we don't need that; we don't need that; we do need this. Wait, so we don't need this though. Oh, we do need that. You're right, good thing, good thing one of us is paying attention.

Alright, toss those; actually, I'm going to engrave an 'L' in this because you don't want to enter, you don't want to mix up left versus right because this has been constantly twisting this way its entire life. If you're to go that way and twist it opposite, these are very prone to breaking, yeah. From here, we have the EMPI bus to bug. I want to throw that in there, and then I might bolt on the front mount, just slide that transmission forward to see about where we come in, and then we'll go from there to see what I have to do to the front.

And this is the stock nose coming mount. Now, what would normally happen with this kit is this would bolt in over those stock mounts with some work, apparently, and then that would push that nose way, way up. What we're looking at on a bus, this mount mounts here. Oh yeah, from there up to there, so that actually you end up cutting into the bottom of the bug and running that shift rod right here on top of the tunnel. I don't want to do that. I get why you want to move that down now, huh? I want to go into the stock position on the tunnel, which means I want to cut this mount off. I might as well just start by cutting that mount off 'cause I know that mount's got to come off, so I'm going to start with that.

There we go. All right, let's throw that transmission up in place so we can get it all the way forward and see where we need notch here and here. So far, it seems pretty darn simple, so most of the time it's kind of just almost bolt-on, nope, bolt it with some cutting and some welding and fabricating. All right, let's go bring it down to touch from there that'll kind of give us a good idea where we need to notch these frame horns out.

Mark on the bottom sides, I guess 'cause it's easier to see on the bottom sides, although I guess I can just sit in the top and hit it with the sawzall, then come in with the angle grinder. Are 002s and 094 like the same kind of shape, same mount? Yeah, oh, so if later we got an 094 or 092, we could just put that in and take out the other one? Yep. Pull this guy back, So going to come through and cut from there to there, cut these guys open.

Hello under there! Hi, I can see you through the car. Empty under here now, huh? There's like nothing. It's like the other car that we have, huh. There we go, and that is right where that rear mount needs to be. See that rear mount now. I mean, that is in, huh? If I'm not mistaken, those lower studs should go through there, which means that transmission should be going moving farther forward, which it can, kind of, yeah, yeah. Goes way further. All right, well, let's see if we can get some bolts, yeah, to line up those holes, and then see what we can do. I mean, this one's almost lined it up.

We do have some angle on it. Is it a 10° angle? I don't know. We could obviously drop it down as it sits. We kind of don't really want it to go any lower 'cause of that. Well, that's the thing; we need to put the other drive flanges on, oh yeah, and see how much bigger they are, oh yeah. Oh, I would honestly like to drop it down a little bit, but yeah, the only way to do that is to loosen this and then see how far we can drop the back. Yeah, which at that point, if we cut the cups out, yeah, which isn't a big deal, we can cut it, get some more clearance for our CVs, and we can get the transmission to sit level, more level anyway, yeah, but we'd also have to drill new holes in the back of this or, I mean, cut this bracket. Is that angle good enough? I don't know. Let's find out. I mean, it's not bad; it really isn't bad, yeah. It's not that insane of an angle, huh?

Okay, so the car is actually at zero. What is the transmission at? What, 10.6 degrees? And that's without the nose cone actually, or the mount actually being held on, that's resting right there, that's 9.9. We might be good then, huh, buddy? I think we're just going to rock that, that, yeah, that's plenty, that's perfect, yeah. That is custom made, 10° kit, using the EMPI bug to bus kit, just have to cut off the front mount and drop the front mount, and on an IRS pan, after you notch the frame horns there, you can still clear a 930 CV joint. Swing axle car obviously, that's not going to be the same thing, but this is an IRS car, so we're lucky there.

Yeah, you know what? Let's just throw some bolts in here to line up the back of this mount, and let's check our clearances at the front. Oh, there we go, that's lined up now. So how do you replace those? How do you replace what—the um, thingy things? Pull out the cups to give us a little bit more ground clearance underneath the bottom of the car. I've got two new holes drilled; this is the outline of the bottom of the transmission, and I can still clear this smaller diameter 15 mm head nut to hold that to our plate underneath the bottom. So, I am going to bolt this to the transmission, bolt this to the plate, and it's going to be solid mounted, and then I'm going to come up with some metal tabs. I've got some flat stock, so I can go make some templates that I can weld this to the chassis in place of our stock mount.

There's our stock mount; that's a solid mount that would have bolted to a transmission and then bolt it in place. So this is just a type one solid mount, and then, of course, I could take that, so between this one or this one, I'm going to see which is going to be easier to fabricate and mount up to the car, mounting onto this plate. So let me do that here.

Alright, let me bring you guys in, see what we're going to have to fab up. I'm going to have to work on the angle of this piece here, whether I have to put a spacer behind here to move that out, and then cut this angle, this plate, so that it matches the transmission, and then weld it along that crack and regusset it back up so it has a good angle on here. We've got plenty of clearance for our CV joints, even going over to the 930s, and underneath, I've got our nose cone mount, this guy bolted to the transmission. I've got the new holes mounted up higher so that we're not sticking down so far. I've got to come up with some plates to weld to here and to the chassis to hold this plate in place. Once I do that, I can do the back; that's temporary, this is in its final position now, I just got to weld it into its final position, that's it. We've got our 10° kit, so to speak. We'll be back after I fabricate some mounting plates.

Yeah, bye Nathan, bye.

I have this template that I cut here to go from the chassis here to the mount here. I took that and a piece of flat stock and cut out two brackets; now I can come through and weld these brackets in place, and I'm going to weld it to the tunnel first, get everything tacked, and then we'll come back and visit you.

Not my prettiest welds ever, but I've got that welded in place on both sides, got it tacked here and here. Now, I'm going to get to work on here. I'm going to loosen these up, tighten these up to bring this mount straight in line with the back of the transmission, and then I'm going to loosen these up and see if I can't drop this transmission a little bit.

Let me see what we can dig up while I let the garage air out a little bit from all the welding smoke and debris, and probably all the stuff that's burning out in the inside of the tunnel. And we got a lot more light back here with the garage door open, but we do get a lot more road noise, so I hope you don't mind.

We've got a couple less degrees now; we've got the nose cone held in place, we've got the back of the transmission just resting kind of on that little nub right there, so we'll probably need to clearance that a little bit. Do you have that frame or the CV cup? 930 CV we still have room, so what I'm going to do is I'm going to cut this mount right above this line here, basically above the frame horn bolt, same thing on both sides. We're going to bolt this in place and then cut down the bottom of these ears to allow the transmission to drop and sit at the angle. Now that it's bolted fully to the transmission, everything here will line up with the stud, and this will line up with the frame horn. As you can see, it's a little bit low right now.

Could have gone a little bit better, but it is what it is. We've got our cross mount cut. I cut about an eighth of an inch out of this side, turned out to be about the perfect amount. I originally started on doing about an eighth of an inch, but I was like, "H, you know what, a quarter should be fine." A quarter is too much. E8 inch works much better. With that, I'm going to go through and weld this guy in, and then I'll go back around to the front, and we'll get the nose cone all finish welded in. With that, this transmission will be in, and then we can worry about relocating the clutch cable and the accelerator cable, and what else we got to do? We got to shorten the shift rod, the shift rod, yeah. I think that's about it, but yeah. Alright, I'm going to get to welding that stuff, you guys, uh, we'll see you in a few minutes.

Alright, with that, Nate, you want to throw those bolts in? Sure. Is that not going through? Uh-oh, uh-oh. Oh, just need to be pushed up a bit. There we go. Yeah, there we go, thank you. I mean, shoot, we might get this entire rear end eliminated in one day. Everything else is relatively just bolt on, huh? Relatively bolt on, this is the biggest deal, of course, we still have to shorten the shift rod, we'll get there.

From here, now that that's set, I need to weld this nose cone up. Oh yeah, and then we can pull the transmission out. We can move the shift cables over and get those bridged over that way. Right now, I need to finish welding this nose cone mount, and then we can pull the transmission out.

Alright, that was easy, peasy, and lemon squeezy. Keep these on our bucket of parts. Let me grab a 15 so I can get this nose cone bolts off, then we can pull this transmission out because, it is all ready, mounted in solid. We need to relocate the accelerator, oh yeah, cable tube and the tube or the clutch tube. So, are we just going to cut a notch off to the side and then just like weld the tubes to the actual chassis? Yep.

Alright. Um, probably get the jack, and we can jack it up and out of here. Here, alright, up and out, there we go. Down, boom, there you go. When it's time to actually build this thing properly, we can brace this mount to here, up to the tunnel. This is going to be much stronger than just bracing it to the tunnel sheet metal, but we're not going off-roading yet. Oh, you know what else I need to do? What? I need to weld up the seams on the tunnel that I cut out. Oh, so we can do that real quick. And you can watch, that'll be a little bit easier for you to watch. Get your mask.

Now that that's done, the fun part now: moving these tubes over without a body. I've got to relocate these two tubes over here, so I'm going to drill a hole, and I'll come with an air grinder and open up that hole so that these tubes can move over here. Wonder if I can't get in here with another one. Yeah, kind of worked. If I can get one more up here, that would be really helpful. No, I don't think that one's going to happen. Nope, probably not going to happen. Alright, air grinder time.

There we go. I got to come in here, in there, free that one up. That's for our accelerator cable tube. What, come see if the clutch pedal still moves. Okay, hit it. Alright, awesome. See if I can get this stupid cable through here. Good luck. Thank you, that will do. Alright, going to take the sawzall right there and right there. Move that accelerator cable tube over, or at least try.

That worked. I think that's enough to do that. There, accelerator cable tubes over. Put a little buzz of weld on here and on there to hold that in place. It ain’t pretty now, but I'll take a piece of metal, tack it on there, seam seal it up, and we'll be good to go like Volkswagen did with all that seam sealer there.

Alright, let's stab this transmission back in. I, this just to get it up out of the way. Apparently, my angle, if my angle is wrong. Alright, drop it down. Oh, look at that, huh? Alright, let's throw some bolts on the front. Uh, then the nuts. Which nuts? I have the nuts, oh, and I have the bolts, all of them. Uh, want me to start on the front, or what? Uh, it's a 17 and a 15 and a 15, but on what? On the transmission? Oh yeah. And should be able to put these rear bolts in place. Start that guy. Yeah, there we go. Huh, are hopefully good enough, hopefully good enough to get us on the trailer. On yeah, and hopefully shiftable, which do we make sure that it work? Yes, I think so.

And we're going to wrap it up here for the transmission video. Obviously, at this point, we've made it to the show and back. Last week's video, we did the kind of the show to the show, at the show, hanging out at the show, and now we're just going to show you all the work that we did to actually get this car running and driving and darn near street legal. Yeah, yeah, almost but not quite yet. I mean, we do have a license plate and we do have registration, so it's street legal-ish. Yeah, it was a lot of work getting the transmission in place, but we got it in successfully. It shifts, it drives, it operates with the Empi bus transmission to Beetle chassis kit. We were able to get the transmission in the stock location as far as the hockey stick goes, so we didn't have to cut into the body, uh, and we are able to run the stock shift rod.

And with that, life's full of good people; if you can't find one, be one. Later guys.

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