Custom transaxle

Hey Keith, To put a bit more reality back in this thing about New Plymouth your mate is right. New Plymouth is the Energy Capital of NZ and all the Oil and Gas Company's are based there as well as having a huge farming community so this means MONEY and lots of transiant people working in the province. The other thing is its Petrol Head Heaven. There seem to be More Hot Rodders, Boy Racers and and car nuts than anywhere I have been (and I have Been around) as for the loose woman, I'm happily Married with 2 Gorgious daughters (10 & 12yrs) so you would have to ask Russ about them.

Ego, The original application was a Jap 4x4 Nissan Patrol (same as the Green thing in my side bar on my threads) that paticular one is running 390 ci SBC, 500hp ATRWs and is running a Tricked TH400 but the trans I'm using came out of it and the diff was a spare front one I had. I have since sold that truck and now Have another one but a little less modified and it runs a Turbo 4.2 diesel at 15psi boost and never fails to amaze my mates with there V8 Nissans. This model is not avalible in the US but in Australia and NZ they reign supreme in the Extreme Winch Challenge Comps because they are so strong.

Cheers Leonmac.
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Leon, I used to live in Titirangi, back when restrictive import duties fueled the DIY Kiwi attitude. One of my best mates (Terry Fitzgibbon) was from New Plymouth, one of the only towns where you could easily surf and ski/snowboard in the same day.

I spent a couple days with Bob Denson (Denco) in the south, checking out his 2-litre boxster engine (in-house creation), as well as many other innovative mods at various automotive and machine shops around the country during the few years I was there.

I didn't have much luck with NZ-made automotive gears back then, but I understand there's a pretty good gear manufacturer now. NZ has always been known for high quality restoration of old collectible vehicles and high quality kit cars. Sorry to take this so off-topic ... but needless to say, I eagerly follow your impressive project updates.
Hi Pablo.....Yes we are blessed with that ability to have nature at our door step, I live 20mins from the Ski field and 15mins from the Beach, in winter I quite often pick my girls from shcool and shoot up for a quick play in the snow and then walk our dog on the beach at weekends.

Back to the thread, "sought of" I have had some stuff from Denco Engineering, years ago they made some pistons for our rally car and I believe that they are still in that engine that my mate has in his Chevette 15yrs on. The other thing that drives us to so much DIY is that even now our dollor is not great against the Pound or the US$ so stuff is too expensive and we will tend to have ago at making it ourselves just out of nessesity, And we like the challenge and satisfaction when it works.

Thanks for the comments and interest. Cheers Leonmac
Hi Guys .......thought I would up date this project a bit more, Last time home I started to do the bell housing and line it all up by setting a tube in the engine jig to give me the line of drive to keep it all straight, I then started to fab up the bell housing with the now familia MDF. Once I had the frame work which is in the photos below (if they come through OK) I then had to get the curved surface's of the main body, to do this I liminated 3 piece's of 2mm MDF and then put them on the floor with some 2x4 at each end and Lay my Accetalene bottle on the top for 24hrs when the glue had set WALLA curved MDF which was then cut and sanded and glued into the frame work, once this is finished the I will need to get a starter and make the nessasary mods to accommodate that. As you will notice, the bell housing is very long 11'' to be precise, this how McLaren moved the eingine and driver forward for better weight disstribution. Not much more done as I'm back at work but will press on in Dec when I'm next Home Cheers Leonmac


I have a question?? the lay shaft and main shaft in this box are huge. The lay shaft is a good 60mm + which makes it very heavy. Would it be fessable to bore the centre to say 25-30mm and the same sought of thing with the main shaft, or am I just being a dick, be honest, I've got broad shoulders.
Cheers Leonmac.
Might be a good idea to make the effective wall thickness greater in the middle to deter shaft bend....bit like a taper wall wrist/piston pin,,,,,, and make sure the surface you bore/machine is smooth.
Hey thanks guys, its nice to know some of the ideas that I have aren't that silly. Any recomendation's as to what % of material it would be safe to remove ??
Cheers Leonmac.


Lifetime Supporter
Have you ever seen the McKee Trans axle. That was a M22 Muncie Box mated to Sprint Car style quick change. I know the muncie will take almost anything in power and that is certainly unique. I have seen a number of pictures on the web, look for in in Can Am type race cars.

Just looking at that belt drive trans reminded me of something a Kiwi did before trans axles were thought of i think, i know Jac, Russ and leon will recognise the car, an ingenious solution to an impossible at the time problem, and for the record its still competing.

cheers John
When I was about 14 years old I rode my pushbike about 18 miles to watch that car in its early single seater form take part & win in a gravel hillclimb that was part of a national series of hillclimbs... even in doing so I dont think it beat the record held by the 'CropDuster' which used a similar transmission setup, I have never ever seen a car toss so much gravel from a standing start since, stones were still hitting people and parked cars some 70 meters away with enough force to hurt & break w/screens..chip paint etc
Must be copy because both cars are still in one piece as far as I know.
Few years since I have seen the cropduster, but saw Russell G patching up some issues on that one @ Timaru about 4 years ago.

Randy V

Lifetime Supporter
McKee Transaxle ::

I went on a search to find out what I could about this trans axle and it appears that it was a T10 mated to the QC Rear.

Here's some info and pictures;

The easiest way to describe it is imagine separating the gears from the back of a quick change rear end and stuffing a Borg-Warner T-10 in the middle.

The input shaft from the clutch goes past the ring and pinion (below) and into the T-10s input shaft with a coupler. The T-10's tail shaft is removed, shortened and splined to accept one of the quick change gears. (Note the T-10s reverse gear is housed in the tailshaft so these transaxles had no traditional reverse gear) The other quick change gear was splined onto a new shaft which passes through the T-10 case, to allow this the T-10 is turned at an angle slightly short of upside down. The other end of this shaft splines into the pinion gear of the diff.

I remember a pic of Casey Putsch? ( Sorry Casey if I have mis-spelt that ) with the bottom pic yellow T70 bodied McKee and a sticker at top of W/Screen proclaiming no reverse gear, .....probably a good reason NOT to be a grid marshall when those cars were around!:)
Jac you are correct as always, i just reread the old history book , and Maurie and co indeed built a new chassis to take the V8 and copied the crop duster rear that they had built and new would work,
the man himself and the orig crop duster

and this was when, early fifties,
sorry to divert the thread slightly , now back to buisiness
cheers John
All jokes aside, I had thought of doing that as the easiest and cheapest way to build a trans axle that would take what ever you could throw at it and changing ratio's at the track would be as easy as doing moto X bikes. The thing that steered me away is purely the look is not what I'm after. You could hide it with the body work to a degree. But I will say that the rear of that car is a long way from being Ugly
I had seen the McKee set up befor and I think that is the way Egoman is going with his Transaxle, it's very good and could be done quite economicaly.
As I said right at the start of my thread the main reaso for this track was I had all the internals and the CVs and Haft shafts, so all I'm really doing is the case and a few shafts and in the future these no reason I couldn't mount a Muncie or T10 gear stack in the casing especially the Muncie with the side mounted selecter. I believe that the most Important part is geting the diff to operate after that you can really attach what ever you want to the rear, you just have to line it up with the spigot shaft and make gears to conect to the Third (Pinion) Shaft. We will see, if it all turns to custart I may go the way of the "Stanton Corvette" I really like that setup.
Cheers leonmac. And thanks for the phtos and input, it is appreciated.
Thanks Russ, just looking at a comparison, I should be about 550 not including the oil pump.

Pablo, I'm in New Plymouth, Its in the Nth Island. All the really clever ones tend to come from the "Mainland" the deep south, My claim is that my family roots are in Southland.

Cheers Leonmac
Dear Leon,
Not sure if my message comes too late, but re. your transaxle search...
The RBT-6, 6-speed transaxle, has handled up to 1,000 HP in the Saleen S7. It did a hundred 1/4-mile runs without any difficulty.
Of course, I know that vehicle weight, tire diameter and traction are issues that must be taken into consideration.
Best, BLT
Hello guys, I just looked at the date I last posted on this thread and it was 3yrs since I started this endevour. So I thought it was time for an up date. First thing is we have changed the plan many times and the original gear stack and wood pattern has gone by the way side, 3 reasons 1) too big and heavy 2) ratios were too wide 3) too long. So I changed to another Nissan box, its a 4 speed with a higher 1st gear and closer ratio's. I have retained the gear stack in the original iron case, I am still running a 3rd shaft for the pinion and a quick change arangement in the rear. The diff housing is still the same as in the earlier pictures. The complete unit is Now 25.5 inch's long which is about an inch longer than a LG Hewland. I will get some pics up soon and I hope to be making alloy castings in the next month or so. Cheers leon