The Price of Transaxles - Why are Transaxles Expensive?

Ron Earp

Admin
To get back on track, the reason transaxles are so expensive is
because they "CAN" be.
No kidding.

People don't bat an eyelash at paying $2100 for a Tremec TKO500 transmission and then another $1850 for a built Ford 9" rear. Transmission and differential, sort of a requirement for a car.

The transaxle is both transmission and differential all in one and is produced in quantities of probably 1/10000th of that the TKO500 and Ford 9" rears are. Along those lines I think $5000 is a relative bargain for a transaxle. And, rebuilt G50s with LSD are available for about that, $5400.

Doesn't seem like they are really all that high to me.
 
Re: Mendeola Transaxles

This has always puzzle me too. Companies have been making gears and the other associated parts that are in a transaxle for years so there is no need for any sort of special equipment to manufacture these things and putting the transmission and differential in the same case shouldn't have anything to do with making them more difficult to manufacture. The only thing different here is the volume of them that is manufactured. A few dozen verses many hundreds or even thousands seems to be the only reason for the high prices.
Apparently you have not priced out gear making equipment recently. A CNC gear shaper/grinder can easily cost $200,000-$300,000 dollars.

Quite often you need several very expensive machines to produce a gear...

Lathe to machine the blanks
Gear hobber to machine the gear teeth
cnc mill to machine any other gear features.
Gear shaper, or broach to make the internal splines
Heat treatment and hardening equipment
Gear honer/grinder to put the finished profile on the gear teeth

It's no wonder custom 1 off gear sets are 1,200 per set.
 
Has anyone checked into using the Subaru WRX transaxle. Now it is a 4 AWD transaxle. There is a company in Austrailia that produces a kit that converts it to 2WD. From what I read it may hold a mild 302. It maybe a lower cost option
 
No kidding.

People don't bat an eyelash at paying $2100 for a Tremec TKO500 transmission and then another $1850 for a built Ford 9" rear. Transmission and differential, sort of a requirement for a car.

The transaxle is both transmission and differential all in one and is produced in quantities of probably 1/10000th of that the TKO500 and Ford 9" rears are. Along those lines I think $5000 is a relative bargain for a transaxle. And, rebuilt G50s with LSD are available for about that, $5400.

Doesn't seem like they are really all that high to me.
You could get a TKO600 for $2100, or a t56 magnum for $2700 (rated @ 700lb/ft) Those torque ratings are also based on a 3500lb car, so in a kit car that weighs 2000-2500 you could easily run 700-800lb/ft or more, not that you would need to but if you where running 500lb/ft motor you would have a bullet proof drive train that you would never have to baby like most of the “affordable” transaxle options. So the problem is to get a transaxle that could take that kind of power is going to run probably over $20,000.

If you could pick up a 6 speed transaxle that could easily handle 700lb/ft for around $5000 (aprox cost of t56 mag ,and 9” rear end) there wouldn’t be any problem. But that isn’t the case, you have to pay 4 times the cost! The cost difference seems a bit of a problem and not even in the same ballpark.
 
Soooo, after reading this whole thread since it's 1.30am and I'm bored (and getting lost several times :laugh: ) I have to ask - is Wanni/Gearfox even in business anymore? All URLs are dead, and I can't find anything new on google.
 
i dont why they are exspensive, but i can tell you this. i have lost out on alot of wrok and sales over the years due to them being so exspensive, if i could i would come up with my own simular desgn to that of a quaife or an rbt. and make damn sure that the cost was only half of what they would sell at. it is very very agervating, speacilly in the economy that we are in. maybe these companies could come up with an econo model. same box just a different grade of materials being used. then if the costomer wants to upgrade parts down the road they can. i mean really these things cost in some cases a third of what the vehicle is worth.
imo
cliff
 
Listen it all comes down to greed as Moller hinted towards. The ROI has been made several times over by now and the fact that these companies specialize in the production of said pieces just means that there cost per item is even lower than anyone here has guestamated. It is just sheer greed and a outdated way of doing business (owners whould really take a modern day business course). Listen in this economy it only makes sense to lower your price so that you could sell more units thus making up any per unit PROFIT lost due the decrease in price. This would actually turn around and give what ever company that decided to do this a stranglehold on the market place but since most owners have their heads up their [email protected] (great designers but horrible business men) this will never happen.

Don't worry guys when I win the lotto I will make things right again!!!!!
 

Keith

Moderator
So, suddenly profit is a dirty word in the USA and those engineering companies making highly specialised precision products for an extremely small and volatile market are just plain "greedy?"

Disengenuous statements at best and plain insulting at worst.

See post #18 this thread for an eloquent explanation of the risks involved in manufacturing for a niche market. Wanni needed to sell 500 units before turning a profit whilst investing considerable money.

Better still, all disatisfied potential transaxle owners send Jac Mac $100 to assist in the development of a suitable transaxle using off the shelf parts already available - that should get the eventual price down.

If you can't (won't) afford whats available in the meantime, perhaps your cash might be better invested in a model train set.
 

Dave Wood

Lifetime Supporter
I have to fall into the baffled category. If I'm not mistaken the original T44s were based around the top loader gears. That would cut costs signicantly, I would think. A case is needed and a shaft or 2 to "unify" the components in the case...but DAMN. It would seem that the longer it takes to make your "goal" to break even, the more they will cost.
Why is it, as mentioned with the Tranzilla analogy, that internals can't be an existing, proven set. That would cut costs enormously and have a proven record. I guess I'm a tightwad, I think anything over 10K to 12K is at the top end of reasonable. The advantage I see over using existing gearsets is the readily availability of replacement parts.
I recall when working as Benelli wrench in the early 70s that they built a 4 and 6 cylinder bike that was based on the use of Honda 500 4 cylinder parts. That made parts access, which was always an issue with small manufacturers in the US, a non issue. So I have a little trouble understanding why a similar approach can't be done with a transaxle.
 

Dave Wood

Lifetime Supporter
So, suddenly profit is a dirty word in the USA and those engineering companies making highly specialised precision products for an extremely small and volatile market are just plain "greedy?"

If you can't (won't) afford whats available in the meantime, perhaps your cash might be better invested in a model train set.
I have no issue with profit, however, as pointed out it is not an unchartered territory. Using existing components could increase profits, I would think.
I already have a train set for my grandkids.:)
 

Keith

Moderator
I have to fall into the baffled category. If I'm not mistaken the original T44s were based around the top loader gears. That would cut costs signicantly, I would think. A case is needed and a shaft or 2 to "unify" the components in the case...but DAMN. It would seem that the longer it takes to make your "goal" to break even, the more they will cost.
Why is it, as mentioned with the Tranzilla analogy, that internals can't be an existing, proven set. That would cut costs enormously and have a proven record. I guess I'm a tightwad, I think anything over 10K to 12K is at the top end of reasonable. The advantage I see over using existing gearsets is the readily availability of replacement parts.
I recall when working as Benelli wrench in the early 70s that they built a 4 and 6 cylinder bike that was based on the use of Honda 500 4 cylinder parts. That made parts access, which was always an issue with small manufacturers in the US, a non issue. So I have a little trouble understanding why a similar approach can't be done with a transaxle.
But if you spend the "right" money and get a unit "fit for the purpose" i.e. not manufactured in a 'shade tree' manner, then why would cost of parts be an issue?

The market will pay what the market will stand, wherever you source your components. As Woodz says, a 'homespun' piece using proprietary parts would indeed facilitate a boost in profits.

Sorry, but I am flummoxed too. Not because you can't buy one for $50, but because everybody expects to, and yet seem to be happy, enthusiastic almost, to part with untold thousands $$$ to dubious EBay engine builders and wait 2 years or possibly forever. Sorry, don't get it.

Pay the "right" money and get a piece with professional manufacturers warranty and back up and enjoy your hobby. As I see it, many people are unecessarily generating enough acid to give themselves ulcers over this issue.

I know I haven't got a horse, but sometimes the guy at the back sees more of the game.
 
Sometimes the guy in the back can't see the whole picture because his view is blocked!!!!! Listen I am not about to give a lesson in economics 101 here but I will put a few things in layman's terms and address Wanni's contribution in short.

Wanni didn't produce anything. Lets be clear about that. Wanni designed and SOMEONE ELSE produced the units. In that case (and in layman's terms) HE PAYED someone to build the units and than sold them. In short His price was influenced not by his ultimate goal but by what he could squeeze out. For a company that ACTUALLY PRODUCES the units NONE of those costs exist. They have recouped all (unless it is a start up) of initial cost of the machines long long long ago (still think that getrag has the same costs that WANNI had?) so the whole upfront costs argument is a joke. Yes there are man hours that must be recouped but that's about it (an nominal at best). There has not been any ground breaking units for years so what exotically are we paying for? The base is there so the bulk of the cost has already been addressed (PAID FOR).

Look instead of going on and on about this I will dummy it up (no offense to anyone I just don't want to spend all day on this).
If I make widgets and my profit is $10 per (industry standard. and don't think that companies do not cross check prices) widget why would I keep pounding me head against the wall and spend money all the while doing what every other guy is doing. That would bad on my part. Now it makes sense that I would drop my profit to $5 and accomplish a few things that my competitors are either to pig headed or foolish to realise.....

1-I would almost instantly gain market share form the increase of units sold (and lets face it that is the name of the game.. Case in point notice how all of the cell companies have lowered their prices to combat all of the one lower price for everything deals from companies like virgin mobile and metro PCS but what do I know :thumbsup:)

2-The shear amount of FREE PUBLICITY (which is priceless) that I would receive from all of the end users would if nothing else put my company in the mind of would be buyers.

3-Due to the increase in sales I would be able to recoup any PAPER LOSS due to the decrease in profit (equal out) which would lower my price point per widget as my material costs would go down since I am buying more raw materials and we all know that the more you buy the less you pay.

Listen I could go on and on but those that like to sit in the back will never get it and I am done with economics 101. Molleur said it best "To get back on track, the reason trans axles are so expensive is because they "CAN" be. and I will add NOT BECAUSE THEY SHOULD BE!!!!!
 
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Keith

Moderator
You are not talking widgets at $10 - you are talking maybe 50 - 75 specialised units per year tops in a volatile shifting market.

And I sit high up - at the back.

Thanks for the lesson in economics. I have had three successful companies - one in manufacturing and I charged top dollar for everything I made (bespoke products) regardless of competition. You want it? Either do it yourself or pay the price. Job done.

Perhaps you would qualify for a grant for 'Vehicular Improvements' under the Obama Adminstration maybe?

Enough already.
 
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LOL that was good :lol:. Regardless of the amount produced the principle still holds true and even more so if that is the case.
 

Russ Noble

GT40s Supporter
Lifetime Supporter
Hmmm.....Maybe the major, or any, transaxle manufacturers do not employ anyone who has a grasp of Economics 101! Think of the money they'd be able to make if they would just employ someone who had studied that and implemented his recommendations. Mind you they would probably have to spread his salary over somewhere between 100 to 1000 units per year, which would add to costs.

I guess there is a good case for this forum to do a group buy of a transaxle manufacturer not as an altruistic measure but as a hard nose business venture and install a person well versed in Economics 101 to run it.

I'll be the first in with $100
 
Russ why the attitude? Have I said ANYTHING THAT WAS INCORRECT? Did I misrepresent anything? Did I call out anyone member or anyone in general for that matter. I voiced no opinion and only stated facts as they are. If I am wrong about anything that I have stated I will apologize ahead of time and I ask that YOU PLEASE CORRECT MY MISSTATEMENTS. I am only human and ask that you help this forum noob out.

I deal with over confident CEO's and Presidents all day long and it is those types that usually need the most help. Let me help you out here. Outside of the sarcasm you alluded to the fact that companies employ people that have taken business 101 and to that I have to ask where? Listen the economy has changed heck the world has changed and if you do not CHANGE WITH IT you are doomed to make the mistakes of those that are failing at present. Professor William Barrett put it best "It is the familiar that USUALLY ELUDES US in life. What is before out nose is what we see last".
Either way I proved my point with Facts and lets face it nothing is going to come of this so why all the attitude from some of you. How about this IF IT DOESN"T PERTAIN TO YOU THAN DON'T PAY ATTENTION!!
 

Russ Noble

GT40s Supporter
Lifetime Supporter
Heck Damian, don't take it personally!

I was just trying to make the point, that if it was so easy, one of the existing companies would have done it already. You can bet your bottom dollar they have done their research and come to the conclusion that the figures don't stack up.

They can't all be great monoliths with their head stuck in the sand. There must be at least one who has studied it in depth in order to try and gain a competitive advantage and increased market share.

But of course that is all supposition and I guess I could be wrong.....

But quite frankly Damian, you can't prove that my supposition is wrong. Equally I can't prove that it is right.
 
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