The transaxle and engine are mounted as one unit at the rear of the car. The transaxle case is rubbermounted and is supported at three points. The transaxle case contains the transmission, the differential and ring gear.
Recent transaxle cases are of one-piece, die-cast construction. Transaxles of 1960 and earlier models (36 hp with a nonsynchromesh first gear) are of a split-type construction. With the 40 hp engine introduced on the 1961 models, all transaxles have been of the one-piece type. In the case of the split-type cases, both halves must be replaced at the same time, since they are cast and machined in pairs.
The transaxle has four speeds forward and one reverse, with various ratios.
Selection of gears in the Volkswagen is by a floor-mounted lever working through a shift rod contained in the frame tunnel. The gears are helical, and are in constant mesh. In every speed, engine power is transmitted through a pair of gears. There is no direct drive in the Volkswagen transaxles.
The drive pinion and ring gear are helically-cut. These gears must be perfectly adjusted in order that long life and silent operation will be ensured.
Transaxles work of any kind requires removal of the engine.