Originated by Ray Vallero and updated by Gene Berg in 1980.
For those of you that have read our (GB 801-TRANS) article about proper building of the VW gear box for high performance applications and have been one of the flood of people that has called trying to find the needle bearings to perform the hand pack operation, we have finally found them.
For those of you that have not read the article, a little background may bring you into focus. One of the things that provide much longer first and second gear life (also 3rd/4th) under high HP loads is to hand pack the needle bearings, providing more bearing surface area. In other words, install individual (single) needle bearings rather than a caged unit. This provides many more needles to keep the gear from pushing away or tipping (cocking) in relationship to the mainshaft gear, which can prematurely cause breakage. For complete details you MUST read GB 801-TRANS and I can assure you all of my technical articles are extremely valuable for every VW owner and mechanic.
In the past it was necessary to remove extra needle bearings from the 1961 through 1963 transaxles to use for this operation. Because more than twice as many needles are needed, it requires disassembly of three gear boxes to get enough needle bearings for building one high performance gear box. So, why not just buy the replacement caged needle bearings from VW or an aftermarket supplier? The reason is the caged needle bearings required have been superseded by VW with a shorter one that comes in a plastic cage and it cannot be used. For years we have looked for a supplier of just the single needle bearings that were the correct length without the cage so we would not need to find core gear boxes to acquire the needed parts nor would we have to make spacers. These are made to the proper length to fit the gears. Well, at long last we have succeeded in finding a supplier that can get them for me.