Info On 020 Transaxle Work


Quick pricing estimates for those not wanting to read... ;)

Labor: $600
Wearable Parts: $600+
Hard Parts: Varies
Avg. min. rebuild cost: $750
Avg. full rebuild cost: $1100-up
Blasting: included
Advice: $0(and worth every dime!)


Trans work is $600 labor plus parts. $50 to split the case open and get a better picture of what is going on, then $550 to repair it and close it back up. There is no way to know exactly which parts need replaced until the trans is completely stripped and cleaned, and then carefully inspected.

For $50, I'll split the case, exposing the gear stacks, and can get an idea of what is going on, like if any gears are stripped, shavings on the magnet, and the like....but it won't show if the needle bearing for 1st gear is pitted or if the synchronizer hub for 3rd/4th is starting to split/crack in the corners of the key slots. For finding stuff like that, the gear stacks need pulled apart, cleaned, and then you can find damage like that.

If I open it, and it looks OK, then I strip the gear stacks and find the shaft where the 3rd gear needle bearing rides is completely shot or something, and it requires a several hundred dollar shaft, and you decide to bail on on the repair, then it is still $50 (I'll close it back up first), but if you decide you want to get a shaft or want me to try and find a used shaft to stick in it, then it'll be the $550 to carry on and repair and close it. I'm not out to rob anyone, but at the same time, I'm not out to run around sourcing parts and working on trans for nothing.

Blasting work on the case is now included. The case is sand blasted and then glass bead blasted to give it the finish you see on the Rebuild Pages, and powder coating can be done by a shop local to me if you are interested or it can be sent back if you want to finish it yourself.

If I do work on your trans, I take pics of it when it arrives, and then a web page is made for your trans. There are no links to it, it is emailed to you, you can choose to share it if you wish. As the work continues, I take more pics and upload them to the page along with info on what was done and what is left and info on anything I find during inspection. An example of one of the pages can be seen HERE but it is quite large because that particular rebuild was very involved. The pages stay up and aren't removed.

Warranty, or lack thereof

No warranty... if you're scared, don't have me build it. I'll build it right, beyond that, I can't promise anything, especially when repairing a trans using used parts from other boxes to save money over buying new. If you pay and buy all new shafts or gear sets, you spend more than you would on one of those Asian/South American new 020 units with "over sized rivets" and those funky ratios. So, when I have to replace "hard parts" like shafts, gears, a case half or something, you can't really ensure that mixed used gears won't whine, and unless you like throwing money away on all new parts, you just about have to find used parts to make the box whole if there is hard parts damage beyond a standard rebuild of bearings, syncs and seals.

What's covered and not covered

If I build the trans, and then something like a bearing burns up, I'll fix it. If you contact me with a broken gear set, that's not covered. If I build a box and the diff explodes, and it is because of a failed bolt kit, I'll cover it; if it is because of the spider gears in the diff decided to explode, then, well, that's a VW trans, and I can't cover it. I'll treat you right; I think I've built a pretty decent reputation on the Vortex for not being a crook or telling lies, so I'll treat you right, but at the same time, we all know people SUCK and will try to get one over on you. I'm Brian the trans guy, and I'll do good work with good parts and do it the proper way....but I'm not out to get screwed over by someone because they beat the shit out of an early-70s designed gearbox and want me to cover it. Thus, no warranty. None. Not even a little one. If I build it, and something I did is the cause of the failure, I'll cover it. If it's not my fault, tough chit :) Autotech or TT or someone big might be able to absorb that kind of damage, but not me. I eat Ramen noodles (until the bastards stopped making Chili flavor), and drive a beat up 88 16V Rocco (and even that I need to get running again!) doing some trans work on the side out of my garage in a normal residence. I just happen to have the proper VW tools and have sourced the VW parts and info and manuals and so on for working on the 020.

Parts Info

Parts aren't cheap... it sucks, but that's how it is. You can find cheap parts, but I don't use them*. I use Laso German sync rings, I use US/Euro OEM Timken bearings and OEM seals, OE circlips, thrust washers, sync lock keys, key springs, and ARP bolt kits.

A note on the bolt kits... Gary has stopped making them, so prices have been increased everywhere. When the Peloquin kits are gone (they're gone as of 01/09), it'll be VAG kits, and those are not cheap. People are working on getting kits made, but it won't be for some time until anything is available if at all.(05/10 - ARP kits now in stock)

*I've also placed an order for cheap sync rings made by an aftermarket source. I never thought I'd see the day I bought them, but I have, and it is simply because the Laso are expensive now. I'll still have German Laso in stock as long as I can find them, but they cost so much now, people can really lower their parts costs by using them, so I've ordered some to keep in stock if needed.

It is your trans, and if it is an 020, you're already likely on a budget, so I don't expect people to knock the doors down after $1200+ rebuilt 020s, but I figure $600 plus parts isn't too bad for repairs or partial rebuilds. I'm sitting on several dozen 020 trans that can be used to source "hard parts" from, but they sure won't cover every code of trans from VW, so if you want some work done, contact me with the trans code and mfg. date code from the bottom of the unit, and I'll see if I can find stuff on hand to work with your box.


All that info above is for repair work, and on top of that, I am hoping to find a couple boxes that can be rebuilt (no hard parts needed for them), stuff all new parts into, and then get them built and on hand ready for sale so there is no customer waiting. When I repair them, I'll do it as fast as I can, but it takes time to do it right...people make mistakes when they rush, so I'll build them as fast as I can, but deadlines have a way of coming back to bite you in the ass. If you don't give a time when it will be done, it'll be done early.... if you tell them a certain date it will be done, then just as sure as God made little green apples, you'll miss that deadline.

So, after all that, if you still want me to work on your 020, send an Instant Message on Vortex, or email me at brokegti@sbcglobalDOTnet (obviously change the DOT to an actual dot to send the mail).

Waiting List

Update 05/10 - I've been working off a list now for over a year, and it doesn't seem to get any shorter, even after raising my labor charge a bit... so I won't be able to start on a trans right away, but I can add you to the bottom of the list for future work. When added, it isn't anything obligating, just a list so I can let others who ask know what my schedule looks like for work on their trans. The list can change (get shorter) because of changes in the plans of people... they may trade the car off, swap to a different trans, need to save money, etc., so it is possible that your time slot might move up and occur sooner than expected, but it is almost a sure thing that you will have to be added to the list if you want work done.

Update 06/11 - I've invested in a new vibratory cleaning tub and it is helping to cut my cleaning times quite a bit, so I hope to start getting the list knocked out faster, and ideally will be able to get rid of the waiting list entirely! I'm still working out the details with the cleaning process but so far it seems to be helping tremendously.


For payment, I'll take a check, but it has to clear before I let the trans leave. Money Order or a bank cashiers check are fine. I have PayPay, and cash always works, as does silver and gold coinage:) I don't need paid for the work until you pick the trans up, or until I go to ship it out. You can pay in advance, or at the time it is dropped off, but it isn't needed.

Don't have me start the work if you don't have the money for it, because if I end up sitting on a completed trans that isn't paid for, I'll sell it to get my parts money back out of it. This is for those people who might leave it sitting 4 or 5 months while they are building the car, and 'just can't pay for the trans right now'... when the work is done, I want paid, or pretty damn soon after it is done. I can understand a little time to work around schedules to pick them up and so on, but don't leave it with me for months and month after it is done. I'll email you to let you know if it is sitting too long, and to come get it, I won't just sell the trans out from under you**, but if you get 3 or 4 emails from me telling you I need paid and I need the space and parts money and to come get this trans... start finding the time to come get it ASAP!

** I received an email from a guy who related his story to me of sending his trans to Hillsboro, Oregon to be worked on by a guy who has infamously been in VW scene for quite some time - long story short, 2 trans were shipped to him, the owner was told after 30 days it would be about 2 more weeks until done. On the 3rd week, the owner emails back to ask how it is going and is told that there was no contact for 30 days and the trans were stripped and sold for parts, that the guy wasn't in the business of storing trans for people. That's theft as far as I am concerned.
You'll have LOADS of notification letting you know it is time to come get the trans from me... I don't think my reputation would last long if I started stealing used trans from people!


Oh, here is a pic showing the "hard parts" that will be re-used in a repair or rebuild (providing they are in good shape)...

... and here is a pic of the stuff that usually gets replaced in a full rebuild...

...and this (or less than this) is what you'll find in a cheaper rebuild from someone else...


Parts Pricing Info

Here is a recent (June 2011) listing of rebuild parts, and what they'll cost if used. As can be seen, you can find cheaper parts by shopping around, but this is what I'll charge for the parts listed, roughly.

Basically, I check the current pricing to get an idea of what it would cost me to replace the part used in a rebuild, and that's what you'll be charged... the amount needed to replace the part used from my stock.

Prices, as always, are subject to change, because one day a VW bolt will be $30, and the next day it might be $7. They're goofy like that.

Parts costs if all are replaced will be $600+, so not cheap. Doing just the taper bearings and a TO bearing it is over $130; $100 or so for new seals; $55 per sync ring for German Laso ($12 for aftermarket), $25 for circlips/misc. parts that VW says to use once, and $75 for a bolt kit... nearly $400 for the "basics".

Parts marked with a (*) have been cryogenically treated.

There is no refund on parts unless they are faulty or I shipped the wrong parts. Ask questions to make sure you have what you need. I can't ship new parts out, get them back, then ship them to someone else as new. I can't control what was done with/to them once they leave here.

*diff carrier taper $80/pr.
*output large taper $32.50
*output small taper $22.50

*input ball bearing $75
*input roller 16V $20
*input roller 8V $10
*output roller $18
1st needle $9
2nd needle $29
3-5 needle $9 x3
TO bearing $14
flange seal kits $15 ea. x2
input shaft seal 16V $10
input shaft seal 8V $9

pushrod seal $6
pushrod bushing $4
selector seal $10
release arm seal $8
green end cap $19
green seal sleeve $15
case paper set $25
German Laso synchronizer ring $90 x5
*aftermarket sync rings $12 x5
*sync keys $2 x9
*sync springs $2.50 x6
8V 5th clip $4
16v 5th lock plate $6
8V 4th clip $4
16V 4th clip $4 x2
8V 3rd clip $4
16V 3rd clip $7
input clip $4
diff clip $1 x2
Bolts, Misc.
*output thrust $8
diff bronze thrust rings $30 x 2
output shim $8 ea
diff shim $6 ea.
5th fork plate $6
5th bolt $10
*actuation finger $45
VAG bolt kit $125
ARP bolt kit $75

plastic diff thrust $8
*pushrod $65
magnetic drain plug $10
selector shaft boot $25
starter bushing $5

Rough Weights in Pounds
5th Housing - 3
Gearbox - 9
Bellhousing - 13

Input Shaft and 1st/2nd Gears - 6
Sync Hubs/Sleeves, All - 3.5
3rd-5th Gear Sets - 5
Diff Carrier - 5
LSD - 12
Ring Gear and Output Shaft - 9
Diff Gears - 2
Reverse Idler - 0.5
Axle Flanges, Pair - 3
Shift Forks - 2