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You will find the figures mentioned in this article in the German issue of ATZ MATERIALS
12/2002 beginning on page 1090.

Dreiwellen-Getriebe – Die kurze Art,

Sechsgang-Getriebe zu bauen

The Way to Build Short Six-Speed Transmissions

The manual transmission plays a dominant role in vehicles sold in Europe.

At the same time, the six-speed transmission is increasingly
replacing the five-speed transmission. For transverse
(“east-west”) installations, length is a major factor for
the vehicle package. A three-shaft design allows the
use of short transmissions with a high torque capaci-
ty. This article describes the different basic gear set
arrangements of three-shaft transmissions and a
design that has been consistently optimised to
achieve a shorter length.

1 Introduction problem, especially for transverse installa-

tions. Even small and compact cars with
In Europe, the classic manual transmission diesel engines nowadays have torques of
is still dominant for most classes of passen- between 200 Nm and 300 Nm, and there-
ger cars. The advantages over automatic fore they need bigger transmissions with a
transmissions are their lower costs and higher torque capacity.
their higher efficiency. Many drivers prefer
manual transmissions because of the more 2 Task and Objectives
“sporty” feel to the driving. The currently
used 5-speed transmissions are being in- For transversely installed transmissions,
creasingly replaced by 6-speed transmis- the axial space available is limited, which
By Angela Würfel and sions, especially in the top-of-the-range means that the length of a 6-speed trans-
versions of today's passenger cars. 6-speed mission must not be longer than that of a 5-
Christian Hoffmann
transmissions allow a greater overall gear speed transmission. In many cases, the axi-
ratio to optimise fuel consumption or al space for the transmission in new vehicle
smaller steps of the gears for sporty cars designs is even shorter. Higher crash re-
with a wide speed range. The additional quirements need bigger front-end body
space for 6-speed transmissions is often a side members, and a bigger engine may re-

ATZ worldwide 12/2002 Volume 104 17

DEVELOPMENT Transmission

quire more space. Together, these require-

ments reduce the package space available. 3 Gear Set Arrangements of Three-Shaft
Especially in applications with diesel en- Transmissions
gines, even with smaller vehicles, torques
Table 1: Comparison of three arrangement possibilities with three-shaft
of up to 300 Nm have to be considered
when selecting a transmission, torque val-
ues which 10 years ago were only available
in top-of-the-range medium-size to large
cars. Higher torques require larger clutch
sizes, and, for comfort reasons, a dual mass
flywheel (DMF) is often specified, which it-
self requires additional axial space. As a re-
sult, less space is available for the transmis-
Future powertrains will probably have a
crankshaft-mounted starter-generator,
which is installed between the engine and
shafts to the differential and therefore in gear, a simple reverse idler gear is suffi-
the transmission and requires additional
an excessively large ring gear. Bigger centre cient. With this concept, 1st gear ratios of ap-
space. The fact that the auxiliary drive will
distances from the input shaft to the out- prox. 13–14 are achievable, which is suffi-
then be obsolete only partially compen-
put shafts result in a high torque capacity, cient for most applications in passenger
sates for this.
which can never be too high, especially cars, although spreads of between 5 and 5.5
The solution is to develop transmissions
when it comes to modern diesel engines. are usually sufficient and mainly limited
with 6 gears and a high torque capacity but
The relatively short and therefore stiff by the maximum 1st gear ratio.
with a shorter length than 5-speed trans-
shafts are convenient for coping with high For three-shaft transmissions, as for
missions, and this requires a three-shaft de-
torques. Stiff shafts have only small deflec- every other transmission, a separate pair of
sign. Using this concept, it is possible to
tions, which creates a good contact pattern gears can generally be used for each gear.
build 6-speed transmissions with the
of the gears at different loads and good con- However, in order to achieve the advantage
length of a 4-speed transmission.
ditions for the roller bearings under high of a short length, the application of at least
load. Due to the division of the load onto one fixed gear for two speed gears makes
3 Gear Set Arrangements of
two output shafts, the time shared by each sense (double usage). In Figure 2, one fixed
Three-Shaft Transmissions
output shaft is smaller, and therefore gear is used for 4th and 5th gears, and in Fig-
smaller safety factors are normally suffi- ure 3 for 4th and 6th gears. Which fixed gear
In contrast to standard designs with two
cient compared too conventional designs. is best suited for double usage depends on
shafts, which use one input shaft and one
The division of the separate gears onto the gear set arrangement, as well as on the
output shaft, the three-shaft transmission
two output shafts allows various possibili- ratios and the spread. If both output shafts
has one input shaft and two output shafts.
ties for distributing them onto the two have the same centre distance from the in-
Figure 1 shows the basic arrangement.
shafts. put shaft, the different ratios of the two
The separate gears are not side by side on
Figure 2 shows an arrangement in gears with the same fixed gear have to be
two shafts with the necessary axial space
which the 1st to 4th speed gears are on one achieved completely with a different final
but are distributed on two output shafts
output shaft (output shaft 1), while the 5th drive of the output shafts. With different
which are parallel to the input shaft. All
and 6th speed gears and reverse are on the centre distances, the ratios of the gears are
fixed gears are placed on the input shaft,
output shaft 2. Output shaft 1 has the final slightly different, which means that the fi-
while all speed gears which mesh with the
drive with the higher ratio to achieve a nal drives do not have to achieve the whole
fixed gears are on the two output shafts.
good launch ratio in 1st gear. Output shaft 2 difference in ratio. The same centre dis-
Both output shafts mesh permanently with
has the final drive with the lower ratio for tances have the advantage that the speed
the ring gear of the differential. The overall
5th and 6th gears. However, in order to gears of the two gears that mesh with the
ratio is composed of the gear ratio (ratio of
achieve a good ratio for reverse, an addi- same fixed gear could be identical, thus re-
the meshing fixed and speed gears) and the
tional ratio step is necessary, for example a ducing the complexity of the parts.
final drive ratio of the output shaft, which
double gear. The gear set arrangement If a transmission is to be optimised to a
is in the power flow as in a two-shaft trans-
shown in Figure 2 is good if a high ratio in minimum length and the spread is not too
mission. Normally, different final drives for
1st gear and a large spread are required. large, a twofold double usage is possible
both output shafts are used, but this is not
Another way of arranging the gears is with minor compromises in the choice of
mandatory. The three shafts and the differ-
shown in Figure 3. The speed gears of 1st, 2nd, the ratios. This means that two fixed gears
ential result in a trapezoid arrangement of
5th and 6th gears are on output shaft 1, while on the input shaft each mesh with two
the 4 axes, which means that the centre dis-
3rd, 4th and reverse gear are on output shaft speed gears.
tances cannot be fixed or changed indepen-
2. The final drive ratio of output shaft 1 is in Figure 4 shows a gear set with twofold
dently from each other. Due to the mini-
this case longer than that of output shaft 2. double usage, one fixed gear is for 3rd and 5th
mum distance of the two output shafts
Firstly, this is a compromise between the gear and the other for 4th and 6th gear. This
from each other, which is for example de-
short ratio of 1st gear and the long ratio of necessary double usage for minimum
termined by the outer diameter of the syn-
6th gear. Secondly, the difference in ratio length is patented by Getrag and incorpo-
chronisers, centre distances of below ap-
between 3rd/4th and 5th/6th is achieved main- rated in the new transmission for the Mini
proximately 80 mm are not easily imple-
ly by the final drive, which means that the Cooper S.
mented. A realistic distance from the input
final drive of output shaft 2 has to be small- In some gear set arrangements, three-
shaft to the axis of the differential results in
er. This has the advantage that, for reverse shaft designs allow an elegant means of
too large a centre distance from the output

18 ATZ worldwide 12/2002 Volume 104