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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I have been doing a lot of reading on the alligment of these adaptor plates and it seem like it’s a really big deal. I have a question first off

On the VW transaxle the input shaft seems to have some wiggle to it.. why is this?? I am use to the Ford parts and transmissions and I don’t see this wiggle that I see with the VW transaxle. Why does this input shaft have this wiggle ??

If I had a good and aligned shaft coupler why is it hard to line the motor with the bell housing? I mean the coupler is rigged enough to keep this aligned until to mark the screw holes why is this not good enough?

Thanks for your help..
 

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Is this the problem?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVFgjupf1n4
Read the comments for the answer to your question. Most people don't realize the trans. input shaft centerline needs to be aligned to within ~0.003 -.005"(0.08 -0.13mm) of the engine or motor centerline. This alignment is done with a machined step in the case of the VW and usually with dowel pin by other manufactures. Without this alignment, such as with the slap it on and pray method used by some novice DIYers, gears and /or bearings can be damaged in the trans.. And, in some cases motor shafts broken.
 

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HOn the VW transaxle the input shaft seems to have some wiggle to it.. why is this?? I am use to the Ford parts and transmissions and I don’t see this wiggle that I see with the VW transaxle. Why does this input shaft have this wiggle ??
With many transmission designs, the transmission depends on the pilot bearing in the crankshaft to support and align the engine end of the input shaft. That's why it "wiggles" when not mounted to the engine, and why alignment is critical.

What Ford transmissions are you familiar with?
 

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If I had a good and aligned shaft coupler why is it hard to line the motor with the bell housing? I mean the coupler is rigged enough to keep this aligned until to mark the screw holes why is this not good enough?
It's doubtful if the level of alignment necessary could be achieved by this method. One good thing about the VW is that it's fairly easy to machine an adapter plate to set up the proper alignment. Talk to a machinist.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Is this the problem?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVFgjupf1n4
Read the comments for the answer to your question. Most people don't realize the trans. input shaft centerline needs to be aligned to within ~0.003 -.005"(0.08 -0.13mm) of the engine or motor centerline. This alignment is done with a machined step in the case of the VW and usually with dowel pin by other manufactures. Without this alignment, such as with the slap it on and pray method used by some novice DIYers, gears and /or bearings can be damaged in the trans.. And, in some cases motor shafts broken.
Yes this is exactly it... see how this shaft wobbles?
This is what I’m saying there is a ton of play there... but then people are saying this has to be exact and all.. I can’t figure why??
 

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Yes this is exactly it... see how this shaft wobbles?
This is what I’m saying there is a ton of play there... but then people are saying this has to be exact and all.. I can’t figure why??
Even with this apparent movement, the shaft still needs to be located(dialed in, aligned - usually within 0.003- 0.005"of the motor centerline) and well supported as with the pilot bearing. Otherwise, the bearing and gear problems mentioned before might occur.

Many transmissions have this design feature. It's not a flaw(assuming it's not worn out). It's just a simple, convenient design that requires a pilot bearing to locate and support the outboard end of the transmission input shaft. Also, as noted before, the engine(or electric motor)output shaft needs to be closely aligned (side to side and angle wise) with this input shaft. Typically transmission designers, to simplify the design(and save costs), will incorporate a pilot bearing near or in the end of the ICE crankshaft to provide enough alignment and support for the transmission input shaft. If you want to attach an electric motor to the transmission, you do not get a pass on having to incorporate this alignment and support in your build.

OEMs and custom builders go to great lengths to assure this alignment and support by having pilot bearings and carefully located alignment features. In the case of this VW, there is a machined step. Most other makes have carefully located dowels, dowel pins. If you still don't understand this, talk to someone at a good transmission shop.

Here's another video discussing the alignment issues with an ICE. the issues are the same for an electric motor and its adapter plate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxNn4qk_KlM

If you want to just slap a motor on the transmission without taking care of these alignment and support issues - go ahead. Lots of people have done it. And, many have ruined transmissions and have had other problems
 

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Yes this is exactly it... see how this shaft wobbles?
This is what I’m saying there is a ton of play there... but then people are saying this has to be exact and all.. I can’t figure why??
The transaxle's input shaft is not properly supported at the input side (rear, in a Beetle) of the transaxle - it just goes though an oil seal. You can move it around by hand when it is not turning and not attached to anything. That doesn't mean that it doesn't need support when it is turning and transmitting power, only that the thing which supports it (the pilot bearing, as electro wrks explained) is not there when everything it taken apart. There is no joint on the other end of this shaft to allow operation at any angle than precisely in line while transmitting power.

This is normal for many transmissions, including traditional longitudinal manual transmissions for front-engine rear-drive cars.
 

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Lots of people have done it. And, many have ruined transmissions and have had other problems
How many is "many"?

So far I know of 2. Not saying that's the total amount, surely it's higher, but, I wonder what the actual rate of failure is.

75% fail?
25% fail?
5% fail?
1% fail?

If someone said "I did the research and it seems like the failure rate is X" and that was any of those above numbers, I wouldn't doubt it. Really just don't have much of any context.

Been hearing for years that guys have been doing it and suggesting to other novices that they do it, and until it came up recently here that there's been failures before (the 2 examples that came up from years ago), hadn't heard of one breaking.

Not arguing, just honestly curious what you think the failure rate should/would be, and, what percentage of builds you think you've heard of that failed (actual incidents should be far higher than reported incidents, curious about both those numbers).
 

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I don't normally agree with Matt
But before I decided to go direct drive (and make my own adapter) I had decided to fit a ford gearbox and make my own adapter plate

Yes you would have to be careful in making sure that it was correctly aligned - but that level of precision is not difficult to achieve if you are careful and use simple measurement gear
 

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I don't normally agree with Matt
I suppose I should be clearer.

I'm not even positing an opinion, yet. I had an opinion earlier, based on a great number of builds that built their plates themselves and on the instructions of knowledgeable and experienced people in the community, and my own ease of experience fabricating aluminum with basic woodworking tools commonly available for most home builders. But then a few people pooh poohed it and implied it would be nearly impossible and likely to fail unless one was a machinist in a machine shop. So now I'm absent an opinion and asking questions.

I'm not being passive-aggressive in my questions, I'm actually curious for people to flesh out how they formed their opinion. How often something is known to fail, and suppose how often it fails and we never hear about it, compared to the number of people who tried it. When someone says "many", what's their sample size, and what, to them, is "many" failures? To an automaker, 1% is disastrously "many". To a homebuilder, 10-20% might be okay. To someone who thinks their skills are above average, maybe even 50% failure might be okay if they can reliably put themselves in the upper 50%.

Sometimes you have to scale people's opinions too. Even if everyone can agree on knowledge you'll still have different opinions. Every community has people who seem to make everything seem complicated and impossible. You'll see that in the welding community for example, or the cycling community, or the knife-making community. Heck the knitting community probably has people like that. Sometimes those people are absolutely worth the average person listening to, sometimes they're laughably worth ignoring.

I find that the people who say "can't", 'impossible", and the conversation ends there, are usually not productive, they're generally naysayers or just want to feel superior. The people who are positive in their warnings, and take time to teach how someone can do something, and what to pay attention to, are the ones worth listening to. Though that's not a strict rule, not everyone has the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Wow this is some great feed back! I thank all of you and encourage more of it!

Let me ask you this ... I see some of these adapter plates discussions talk about and alignment ring or rim if you would that matches up to the bell housing of the VW. Like in a discussion somemone mentioned a 282mm ring. But when I go to look at different adapter plates for sale, it appears some have this ring and others don’t.

Has anyone used either and had issues? I would ask, has anyone used a plate without this ring and had issues??
The more modern bell housing are not round and don’t have this ring like the VW engine and transmission, they use dowl pins.

Anyway has anyone used the Wilderness ev Adaptor plate and had any issues??

Thanks for all the response!
 

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Let me ask you this ... I see some of these adapter plates discussions talk about and alignment ring or rim if you would that matches up to the bell housing of the VW. Like in a discussion somemone mentioned a 282mm ring. But when I go to look at different adapter plates for sale, it appears some have this ring and others don’t.

Has anyone used either and had issues? I would ask, has anyone used a plate without this ring and had issues??
The more modern bell housing are not round and don’t have this ring like the VW engine and transmission, they use dowl pins.
Are you talking about just adapter plates for transaxles used with air-cooled VWs, or all transmissions? Because you're right - typical bellhousings (old or new) are not round and are aligned by dowels though precise holes.


Anyway has anyone used the Wilderness ev Adaptor plate and had any issues??
Wilderness EV lists their kit contents as including a "Generic Adaptor Plate". I had no idea what that would be... a random chunk of aluminum plate, from which a machinist can make an adapter? I looked at the "installation instructions", and incredibly that's all they supply. It's a bit like pointing someone at a lumber yard and saying "there, that's a generic house kit... you'll have to cut some of the wood yourself".
 

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Are you talking about just adapter plates for transaxles used with air-cooled VWs, or all transmissions? Because you're right - typical bellhousings (old or new) are not round and are aligned by dowels though precise holes.



Wilderness EV lists their kit contents as including a "Generic Adaptor Plate". I had no idea what that would be... a random chunk of aluminum plate, from which a machinist can make an adapter? I looked at the "installation instructions", and incredibly that's all they supply. It's a bit like pointing someone at a lumber yard and saying "there, that's a generic house kit... you'll have to cut some of the wood yourself".
Wilderness EV is the absolute bottom of the barrel. Their adapters are a chunk of steel plate cut with a torch. Yuck!

Real Nice: https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=477959

Most cars use two precision dowels to center the bell housing to the engine. Air cooled VW's are different and have a large groove about 1 foot diameter machined into the rear of the transaxle to center the engine.

Just purchase an adapter from Canadian EV and be done with it. Don't cheap out with the adapter.

End of discussion.
 

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It's a bit like pointing someone at a lumber yard and saying "there, that's a generic house kit... you'll have to cut some of the wood yourself".
I mean they cut the tree down for you, what more do you want? It's practically cabinetry.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
So is it possible that a number of the failures are just do to the nature that the motor has too much torque??
Or at least more torque than the ICE


It seems easier to just attach the motor straight to the differential..
 

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So is it possible that a number of the failures are just do to the nature that the motor has too much torque??
Or at least more torque than the ICE
Not likely. The types of failures (few as they may be) that I have read about here are not due to high torque.

It seems easier to just attach the motor straight to the differential..
Yes, but speaking of torque... a transmission multiplies torque, so you need an unusually large motor to make do with only the final drive (differential) gear reduction, and no gear reduction (torque multiplication) by a transmission.
 

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I suppose I should be clearer.

I'm not even positing an opinion, yet. I had an opinion earlier, based on a great number of builds that built their plates themselves and on the instructions of knowledgeable and experienced people in the community, and my own ease of experience fabricating aluminum with basic woodworking tools commonly available for most home builders. But then a few people pooh poohed it and implied it would be nearly impossible and likely to fail unless one was a machinist in a machine shop. So now I'm absent an opinion and asking questions.

I'm not being passive-aggressive in my questions, I'm actually curious for people to flesh out how they formed their opinion. How often something is known to fail, and suppose how often it fails and we never hear about it, compared to the number of people who tried it. When someone says "many", what's their sample size, and what, to them, is "many" failures? To an automaker, 1% is disastrously "many". To a homebuilder, 10-20% might be okay. To someone who thinks their skills are above average, maybe even 50% failure might be okay if they can reliably put themselves in the upper 50%.

Sometimes you have to scale people's opinions too. Even if everyone can agree on knowledge you'll still have different opinions. Every community has people who seem to make everything seem complicated and impossible. You'll see that in the welding community for example, or the cycling community, or the knife-making community. Heck the knitting community probably has people like that. Sometimes those people are absolutely worth the average person listening to, sometimes they're laughably worth ignoring.

I find that the people who say "can't", 'impossible", and the conversation ends there, are usually not productive, they're generally naysayers or just want to feel superior. The people who are positive in their warnings, and take time to teach how someone can do something, and what to pay attention to, are the ones worth listening to. Though that's not a strict rule, not everyone has the time.


OK, let's get back to basics here since there seem to be a lot of bad assumptions and misinformation. Can we assume that this information is correct?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxNn4qk_KlM


If you believe this info is correct, then the alignment called out for in this video is about equivalent to the thickness of a piece of paper: https://www.google.com/search?q=thickness+of+paper&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-1-ab


Does anybody seriously think they can line up an electric motor with a transmission to this accuracy by feel and eye alone without the use of precision measuring tools? Or, the use of precision alignment features(like dowel pins) that OEMs or good (not WildernessEV!) aftermarket adapter plates have? I've been doing this kind of work for over 30+ years now, and there is no way I would even attempt it.

Some people make the assumption that since aluminum can be worked with ordinary woodworking tools, that's all you need to make a proper adapter plate. Wood working tools are not nearly accurate enough to do this. The alignment needed is equivalent to thickness of a sheet of paper, 0.003-0.005". Come on, get real!

Matt, years ago I made assumptions a lot like yours on this issue. I thought that all that was needed for an adapter plate was something you could bolt onto the transmission and move around by hand to "feel" the correct alignment. This is because it seemed simple and that's what some people were doing and initially reported it worked for them. Sounds like where you are now, doesn't it.

Then, some people without the precision alignment features, started reporting problems. Grinding, noisy transmissions. Broken transmissions. Worn out couplers. Clutch problems. Even broken motor shafts! I don't know the numbers that had the problems. But, there were many on this and other sites. Some gave up and were never heard from again. If you want some idea of the problem, look it up and do your own research.

Some people's reaction to the problem was to sink into a complete state of denial. Water in the oil, oil level too low, bad metallurgy, bad transmission, the electric motor is defective, mounting bolts must have loosened - were some of the excuses. Some replaced or rebuilt their transmissions 2 or 3 times - still not understanding the basic alignment issues. The sad part is, if they had installed a good aftermarket adapter plate from the beginning, they could have saved themselves a lot of expense and grief.


Major and others first pointed out the now obvious alignment issues as discussed in the first video. As I carefully looked into the issue, I realized they were right. I suspect if you and others carefully look at the issue, you will come to the same conclusion.
 
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