I think this is a slightly funny subject. What on earth is a gearbox anyway?
Yes, you drive your T3, you hear the engine, it can leak, it can use oil, and it hopefully works perfectly.
But the gearbox, ever seen it? Know where it is and what is really does?
I mean this with a smile, almost no one knows anything about a gearbox, until it doesn’t work anymore.
Yes, with that loving ‘pook’ as the Dutch mostly call it, this is the transmission, a lovely old fashioned word that means what it says: it transmits power from the engine to the road.
Simple, but very important indeed. It sits under your T3 roughly under the rear seat area.
A bit more details then.
The Gearbox comes in three formats, 4 speed, 5 speed and Syncro. (no H in the name!)
No one cares about it, no one services it, no one loves it, until the day it says….. NO!
Even VW themselves discounted it as unimportant, built it, filled it with oil and told the mechanics to forget it, which they did.
‘Life time service' they called it
But hey VW, you only gave a T3 an average of 12 years. The youngest is by now already 27 years!!!!
2012; I went to Berlin to pick up my lovely Snowy, a 2.1wbx Westfalia. I flew to TXL to pick her up.
What the guy had forgotten to tell me, was that the gearbox was emitting horrible noises.
It started on the way to the airport he told me! Ja, Right.
So, there I am 800 kilometers from Amsterdam, with a lovely T3 and a gearbox that sounded like it was about to explode. The noises were horrible. Immediately I got him to take the T3 back to his garage and take a look. They had supplied a reconditioned box a year earlier, but had actually not done anything accept paint the underside of it.
So it looked good, until you were actually under it!
Red faces, must exchange in German, they drained the oil (which was silver in colour) and refilled it with fresh oil. That was it.
Frantic telephone calls to various ‘bods’ in Holland, everyone drew a blank face. Questions were asked about types, was it an 3H or an AAP or AGT or what????
I had NO idea.
What I can tell you is that I drove the T3 all the way back to Amsterdam thinking something was going to blow up and leave me on that endless road from hell. The good part of the story is, it actually did make it back to Amsterdam, but the drive was horrible. 10 hours of it.
Next day, I got on the phone, internet and everything else to try and sort out my new problem, I needed a new gearbox.
Eventually I came across a bloke from Venlo who sold me a reconditioned gearbox for over €1000. I was none the wiser and once it was fitted, it wasn’t a lot better than the gearbox I had exchanged it with.
In a word, it was horrible. What to do hey?
Now you might have read about my WBX experience, now it was the gearbox.
I have been building and rebuilding gearboxes for years, but normal ones, like Jaguar or Lotus, all very easy and sensible.
So, I decided there was only one way to do this, kill or cure. So, this gearbox came out again, this time in my workshop. And I bought a great big workshop manual about how to do this. Talk about Double Dutch, it just didn’t make any sense. Drama, truly drama. This wasn’t any ordinary gearbox, this was a transaxle unit, so a sort of three in one design.
And to cut a very long story short, it did (yes Mr Venlo, you were right) take me a full two years to master the tasks. Two courses with the Guru of T3 gearboxes, Adan Talbot in Wales, & a load of blood, sweet and tears.
Oh and lets not forget how many special tools you need to complete the task. Loads of them.
Many Gearboxes later, we’ve got that sorted out, properly. And, what is also really interesting, is that gearboxes are in themselves very interesting indeed.
Like the Engines, they come in all sorts of variants. Some are short, others are long and of course let’s not forget the Syncro’s. See the Syncro page
Oh Oh Oh. I never realised so much could be going on under the rear seat of the T3.
What we do
Basically, by accident, we have become a leader in T3 gearbox restoration and modernisation.
We have experience to repair, to restore and upgrade any T3 gearbox.
So if you are suffering the ‘crunch’ or your lovely T3 is making a lot of engine revs & you are only driving at 90 kmh, we have all the solutions you can dream about.
We have them all!
The Royal Box.
No Englishman would be complete without his Royal Box. They are Royal Blue of course.
They look great and they are as wonderful inside as outside.
We build the ultimate T3 gearbox to go with your chosen Engine, all be it Petrol or Diesel.
So, if your engine is strong enough, you can cruise all day at 120 with the engine almost in silence, this is how good they are.
To be technical, here we go: 4.14 Final Drive, 0.74 or 0.69 top gear, lubrication plates and strengthened bearing carriers.
This all adds up to a super drive, better economy and less fuss in your ears.
And the others
Of course it’s not only the Royal box, we do 24 other variants, but they are all basically the same.
If you’ve got gearbox problems, you are talking to exactly the right people.
We can solve it all, but you will need a bit of money, because like engines, the gearbox is expensive too.
Once fixed or modified, you can almost forget about them, well at least for the first three years, cause that is how long we guarantee the full job.
You might not realise it, but your gearbox is as important as your engine. Best give it a bit of love or otherwise you will be meeting me sooner than later.
Mark, Amsterdam 2017