General DiscussionMaintenance Log

1st gear woes and a transmission rebuild

1st has never really worked well in my 68 Beetle and has been getting worse to the point it wont go into 1st gear most of the time now. I tried pulling the shift rod to sand/lube as well as replacing the shifter coupler and grommet. Sadly these did not resolve the issue like I hoped it would. At this point I was pretty sure it was the transmission as all other gears have a satisfying feel as they go into gear while first never seems to lock in. My theory is the shift fork at this point.

I was going to bring the car to a local air cooled shop. While the shop agreed with me that its probably the trans shift fork they convinced me to do the trans removal myself and bring just the trans in. I’m no mechanic but mechanically inclined and have not done anything quite this involved before. So I started my research on what is needed to be done and compiled a guide after going through countless YouTube videos and forums. We will see how accurate it is once I get into pulling everything.

Part of the reason I am attempting this is because I have a few things to fix up while the engine is out. Another shop mentioned the flywheel had some wobble and want to replace that, as well as the shims and rear main seal to try and resolve it. I am missing a few engine tin’s and want to get those installed to help with cooling. I also want to clean up some rusted pieces and repaint them. These things are kind of silly to waste labor time asking a shop to do. These can also be worked on while the trans is being rebuilt at the shop. The other part of the reason is to get a better understanding for the car.

I think with helping hands from my buddy we should be able to do it over a couple of days to get it all out and to the shop. I think most of the delays will be due to ordering things that break or need to be replaced as we dissemble. So likely will be a month end to end where everything is back in and running. We will see how accurate this prediction is. I have already started ordering the missing tins, flywheel equipment and tools that I was missing for the job. My garage isn’t the biggest so I cleaned that to make room for working and storing the engine while the trans is getting rebuilt.