JBugs Video Series

VW Beetle Transmission Removal:

Video Overview:

If your transmission mounts have separated or you are clearancing your 6 volt transmission for a 12 volt flywheel then we've got a video for you. Our tech covers removing a swing axle transmission and then shows you how to grind down the bell housing of the transmission so it will accept a 1300 or larger engine with a 12 volt flywheel. Disclaimer: VW transmission cases are made of magnesium, the same metal used in those survival fire starting kits that comes with a flint stone. Magnesium fires are nearly impossible to extinguish so use extreme caution when grinding it. Any errant sparks could ignite the magnesium so make sure to stay away from any steel material when grinding.

Video Tips:

Tools you will need:

Wheel Chocks
Jack Stands
8mm Wrench
10mm Wrench
13mm Wrench
17mm Wrench
19mm Wrench
Brass Hammer
3/8" Drive Ratchet
1/2" Drive Ratchet
13mm Socket
15mm Socket
17mm Socket
19mm Socket
Side Cutters
Pocket Knife
Adjustable Needle Nose Pliers
Flat Head Screwdriver
Phillips Screwdriver
Air Powered Angle Grinder

Video Transcript:

Hi I'm Sam with JBugs.com. With the disc brake conversion complete and our suspension lowered, we will address some other issues on our 1963 Resto Custom Beetle.


The transmission mounts in the car are separated and will have to be replaced. We'll pull the transmission out and while it's out were going to clearance it for a larger 12 volt flywheel. This would have been a lot easier to do when the pedal assembly was out or while we were lowering the rear end of the car. We realize you all at home may not be able to completely tear apart the rear end of your car, just to remove the transmission.


Keeping that in mind we get started with the front wheels chocked and loosen the lug bolts on both rear wheels. The rear end of the car is jacked up and set on jack stands underneath the torsion housing. The rear wheels are removed so that we can access the brake and suspension components. The axle nut cotter pin is removed and an axle nut removal tool is bolted to the rotor so the axle nuts can be removed.


Inside the car, the parking brake cables are loosened and back at the rear of the car the cable cir-clips are pulled and the cables are removed from the brake calipers. Next, the caliper is unbolted from the bracket and the brake hose clip is pulled from the axle tube so the caliper and line can be removed clear of the axle without disconnecting a brake hose or line.


With the caliper removed, the brake rotor can be pulled off the axle. This process will be similar for drum brakes, with the drum coming off first followed by the brake cable. The backing plate can be removed from the axle allowing the wheel cylinder [to] remain attached to the brake line so it doesn't have to be bled later. The lower shock nut is un-threaded and the shock is pulled off the mount on the transmission axle. The axle is unbolted from the spring plate, the bump stop and plate are set to the side.


The same steps are taken on both sides of the car. Inside the bell housing the rear mounts are unbolted from the transmission and rear cross member. The clutch cable is loosened from the clutch arm while making sure to keep tension on the clutch cable. If the cable gets too lose, there's a chance it could fall off the pedal hook and then the pedal assembly would have to come out.


Next, the front transmission mount is unbolted from the chassis. Underneath the rear seat inside car the shift coupler access plate is unscrewed, to access the shift coupler which needs to be disconnected from the transmission. After the safety wire has been cut, the two coupler screws are un-threaded and the shift rod is pulled from the coupler, then the coupler is pulled off from the transmission. The transmission can now be removed from the chassis by sliding the transmission back so the nose cone and gear selector are clear of the chassis.


A jack is used to raise the transmission up so it can be slid back further until the axles are clear of the rear mount. Now the jack can be re-positioned and used to lower the transmission back down to the ground. With the transmission out and on the floor the nose cone boot, mount, and ground strap are all removed.


The bell housing will be ground down so that we can fit a later model 12 volt flywheel. The transmission case is made of magnesium and magnesium fires are nearly impossible to extinguish. Extreme caution must be used. Make sure there is no steel in the area being ground as a spark could ignite the shavings. We use a small air powered angle grinder to remove material from the four engine bolt bosses so that we can mock up the new flywheel.


We use a flywheel mounted to a crankshaft along with the clutch disc and pressure plate to show why the transmission must be ground. [We] use the assembly to indicate where the transmission needs to be ground down. The flywheel is installed into the transmission input shaft and spun a few times then pulled out. We can see where the flywheel is touching and grind the areas down. The process is repeated until the flywheel installs and spins without contacting the transmission.


To finish, the original six volt starter bushing is removed using a chisel and a hammer. The transmission will be cleaned up, in our next video we'll cover installing new swing ale boots then we'll reinstall the transmission using new stock replacement mounts and we'll be adding a new transmission strap kit to help hold things in place. Stay tuned and in the meantime head over to JBugs.com for all your Volkswagen transmission parts and accessories.