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The History of the Gearbox (2)

At the latest, towards the end of the 1920s, the gearbox would have to be slightly changed, because either it must now drive the front axle or mounted together with the engine, sits at the rear of the car. For quite some time however, it remains straight mounted. The change-over to transverse mounting was actually introduced through the Issigonis Mini in 1959 and still took some time until it asserted itself globally. During the change- over, not much was altered in the non-coaxial gearbox, but at the latest now, not all the free-wheel cogs or shifting-sleeves are any longer mounted on only one shaft.

In the meantime, the DAF company surprised us by entering the motor car sector, which was linked to the introduction of the Variomatic. As always, with new gearbox technology, the principle of an infinitely variable gearbox has been around for quite a while, but not its implementation in a larger, generally commercially available vehicle series. The disadvantage of the, only low torque transferability, was overcome through the push-link chain, and the multitronic (Audi company) gave it the breakthrough into the area of stronger V-6 engines.

In the meantime however, the competition was high and the customer did not seem to want to get used to the same engine sound with steadily increasing driving speed. Other car manufacturers had chosen automation, which is also possible with the common manual gearbox, because the efficiency of such a gearbox is still unequalled. Thus we find in Honda, a hydraulically controllable multi-disc clutch for each individual gear. The semi-automatic, which started out with a centrifugal clutch and later a torque converter to be able to pull off, combined with a small clutch had been known about for a long time. Let's not forget those clutches which are operated purely by electricity.

Then there is the sequential gearbox. In its purely mechanical form it's been around for a very long time. In motorcycle construction there are special construction methods anyhow, like the pulling-wedge gearbox. Surprisingly enough, the purely mechanical gearbox was considerably further developed at the end of the last century and the beginning of the current one. Perhaps it all started with the shift-drum. In any event, it hasn't stayed with the automation (incl. The clutch) with pneumatics, hydraulics or purely electric. Divided and supplied with a double-clutch, a gearbox is provided which is free of traction force interruption.

If one no longer has to manually change gears, the amount of gearspeeds can explode. At the moment there is a maximum of nine and in the most economical cars, should the top speed be required, then the gearbox has to shift down two gears. In this field of course, the converter automatic has also been stiff competition. In the meantime, the hydraulic part of the converter is only used for pulling off. Naturally the electronics have long since replaced the hydraulic control.

Particularly in the case of transverse engines up front and a lot of gear-speeds, the so called short-build gearbox plays a big role. Instead of arranging all the gears one after the other, they are in addition, distributed on a further shaft. This is also a big advantage, when one plans not only one clutch between engine and gearbox but two, plus the possible electric components, like e.g., a starter motor, an additional drive or a momentum clutch. 03/11

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