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Getrag in a 240 (Start to Finish)


Dec 6, 2006
Crawling around under the car
*Rough Draft*

This article will cover the basics of what parts are required to install a Getrag into your 240 model Volvo. While it will not cover every possible scenario, it should provide the basics of what’s required and what parts you’ll need. The example shown in this article is a BMW 265 installed into my 245 that was previously equipped with an M46 manual transmission.

So why would you want to install a Getrag? For my swap, and most others, it’s strength. The stock M46 does not have a good reputation of longevity at 250+ HP, while the Getrag has been shown to hold much more power reliably. Now let’s talk about the main points of interest and what parts you’ll need.

Getrag 262/265 with removable bellhousing [need guide of what came on what years in a BMW here]
Obviously, you’ll want to find the best condition transmission you can. Wrecking yards are always the best budget option. Rich Man option is to buy an “ultimate” 265 from Metric Mechanic - http://www.metricmechanic.com/. Once you have your transmission, remove the BMW bellhousing.

Modified M46 bellhousing
This conversion requires you use the Volvo bellhousing and attach it to the Getrag transmission. Technically any M46 bellhousing will work. That said, there are 2 different M46 bellhousings used on 240 models. I do not have the exact year break that these changed from Volvo, but they are easy to identify.

This picture shows the 2 different M46 bellhousings. The one on the left is the early one and the one on the right is the later one. Notice the difference in the casting where the input shaft goes through. The early one has a lot more material there that will get in the way of the full sweep required of the clutch fork. The later one has much more room and will work better in this application

You’ll also have to drill a [60mm? Double check size of hole and insert here] hole through the bellhousing where the input shaft from the BMW goes through. This is to allow enough room for the BMW input shaft and housing area to fit through.

If you are running LH2.4 you’ll also need to notch the top of the bellhousing to allow clearance for the crank speed sensor if your bellhousing does not already have this.

Adapter plate/centering ring/hardware
To attach the Volvo bellhousing to the Getrag transmission you’ll need an adapter plate. This converts the bolt pattern and also spaces the bellhousing out enough off the Getrag to put the input shaft at the correct depth into the crank/pilot bearing.

There are a few vendors making these plates. For my conversion I used the RSI (www.r-sport.org) kit. Their kit includes the adapter plate, centering ring to center the input shaft through the Volvo bellhousing and the correct pilot bearing.

Here’s their kit.

To attach the plate you’ll need the correct bolts. For the RSI kit I used M12 x 1.25 x 40mm [double check that size] bolts and locking washers.

Here’s how it will look attached to the trans:



With the bellhousing attached over it it’ll look like this:

Pilot bearing
If you get the RSI kit, this won’t concern you as they have sourced the correct SKF bearing for this application. Another option is to use the BMW pilot bearing and make a bushing to size up the outside diameter to fit into the Volvo crank ala 740ATL [find pic from 740ATL old build thread and insert here].

There are several options here. Which clutch you need will first depend on if you’re using the flat or dished Volvo flywheel. Choose clutch accordingly. The Getrag uses a differently splined input shaft than the Volvo M46 input shaft. This means a Volvo splined clutch disc will not work in this application. You’ll be using the Volvo style pressure plate either way, but you’ll want a BMW style clutch disc. If using a flat Volvo flywheel you’ll need a 9” diameter disc and if using the dished Volvo flywheel you’ll need a 8.5” diameter disc.

For my application I called Spec Clutch (http://www.specclutch.com/) and had a custom disc made. Spec is able to use different inserts in the disc for differently splined transmissions. The clutch they made for me was a Volvo kit, with a Getrag splined insert in the disc.

Here’s the Spec kit:

Spec pressure plate on Volvo flywheel:

Spec custom disc on Volvo flywheel:

The stock M46 transmission mount is at an angle and will not directly bolt on to the Getrag. You’ll need to modify your Volvo M46 crossmember and make a bracket to connect the mount off the back of the Getrag. In the name of simplicity I used a stock Volvo M46 mount. To fit it to the transmission I simply used a piece of angle iron and drilled two holes through it to match the pattern of the female threaded holes that are already present on the rear of the Getrag. Then I drilled one hole through the bottom side of the angle iron to allow the M46 mount stud to go through it.

Here’s how it looks put together:
[Insert picture here of angle iron mount + M46 rubber mount]

For the crossmember I cut out the angled center section in the center and welded on a steel plate to have a horizontal plane for the now vertical M46 mount. Then I just drilled a hole for the lower M46 mount stud to go through.

Here’s the modified crossmember:

The output flange of the Getrag 265 is different than the output flange of the M46 so your M46 driveline will no longer be a direct bolt on. It just so happens though that the M47 output flange is the same bolt pattern as the Getrag. That means that you can easily modify an M47 driveline off a 240 for your new Getrag. You can even use the stock Volvo M47 guibo (flexdisc) in this application if you choose.

There are a few options for guibos and the guibo off an M5 model BMW is said to be the strongest. Different guibos are different thicknesses so be sure to keep this in mind when measuring for driveline modification.

In my application I used the Volvo guibo and based my measurements off that. In my case, I had the front half of the M47 driveline lengthened by 1.5”. Remember, your results will vary so measure first and don’t forget to account for guibo thickness!

There are a couple options here as well. You can use the shifter, shifter cage and selector from the Getrag if you wish but it’s not the best shifter in the world and you’ll have to drill a hole behind your shifter tunnel and fabricate a bushing mount.

The easier bolt on way to do it is to use a modified M46 shifter cage. This will allow you to use your M46 shifter. I got a kit from RSI that does just this.

Here’s the RSI kit:



Clutch fork/release bearing
Since the Getrag uses a different input shaft than the M46 you’ll need a different throw out bearing than the Volvo one. The easiest way to do this is to modify the Volvo clutch fork to allow the BMW throw out bearing to fit into it. [insert part number of BMW throw out bearing here]

Here’s a comparison of the BMW vs. Volvo throw out bearing:

The easiest route for the clutch fork is to modify an M47 one. The M46 and M47 clutch forks are different in a couple ways. The important distinction between the 2 of them in this application is the angle the arm of the fork comes off the “body” of it.

In this picture you can see the difference in the clutch fork arms between the M46 and M47 clutch forks. This is important because the M47 arm allows the clutch fork to back all the way off the pressure plate fingers and allows the clutch to fully engage. The back of the M46 clutch arm will hit the back of the clutch fork window on the bellhousing and will not work unless you modify your bellhousing.

The M47 fork is the much easier route.

You’ll just have to grind out the opening of the M47 fork a little to allow the BMW throw out bearing to fit into it.

If converting from automatic:
All of the items discussed in this article still apply with the addition of needing a few extra parts. You’ll also need the manual pedal assembly, clutch cable, shifter assembly and flywheel. If you want to run hydraulic clutch you’ll need those parts as well. Also of note is that you’ll need to remove the bushing piece in the back of the crank to fit a pilot bearing.

Costs (will vary of course):
Trans: $200.00 (in my case)
Clutch: $350.00
Adapter plate kit: $250.00
Driveline Modification/balancing: $200.00
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nice writeup!

just wanted to add that the brass bushing that's available to convert the Volvo pilot bushing to be usable with the getrag output shaft isn't the best solution for this. A lot of people have problems with this brass bushing, as it tends to crack. skf does offer a bearing that's suitable for the conversion.

Also when I used the non-rsi adapter plate I had to drill out and enlarge the holes on the bellhousing in order to be able to get the bolt holes to line up with the adapter plate to bellhousing. In addition, all modifications to the bell housing can be done in your garage. For the earlier bellhousing you can use a whole saw to clear room for the getrags larger input shaft.

pretty much got everything else spot on.
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nice writeup!

Thanks :)

just wanted to add that the brass bushing that's available to convert the Volvo pilot bushing to be usable with the getrag output shaft isn't the best solution for this. A lot of people have problems with this brass bushing, as it tends to crack. skf does offer a bearing that's suitable for the conversion.

Good to know -- I didn't try using the bushing to adapt the pilot bearing. I just used the SKF bearing that came in the RSI kit that just works. I don't have the part number of the bearing on it's own or know the original application... I think RSI does sell it on it's own though for folks that only need that.

In addition, all modifications to the bell housing can be done in your garage. For the earlier bellhousing you can use a whole saw to clear room for the getrags larger input shaft.

Yup, just a hole saw on a drill press works fine. The main issue with the early vs. late bellhousing still exists, even after you hole saw out the center to let the larger input shaft and housing to come through from the Getrag. Those lumps in the early bellhousing interfere with the full sweep of the clutch fork and the fork bottoms out on them before it fully releases from the pressure plate fingers. At least it did in mine. I'm using a dished flywheel and associated clutch though so that might have something to do with it.

Does anyone have measurements of the full stack height of a flat flywheel with the clutch bolted down onto it vs. the full stack height of a dished flywheel with the clutch bolted down on to it? Would be good information for this article!
My old setup was an m46 bellhousing with the m46 fork with the two metal studs/prongs sticking towards the middle. I got a new clutch fork setup from RSI which was the m47 fork and shaved down BMW bearing. The m46 bellhousing barely let the fork move at all so I used an m47 bellhousing which helped a little but it still doesn't seem to move back and forth all that far. Now that I think about it I hope its not an issue because the engine and tranny are in my replacement 242 already now.
Very nice!

Yeah the brass bushing wasn't ideal but I didn't have the time and money to sink into the pilot bearing for 10 plates, I am assuming that the RSI plate was essentially a rework on the plates I had made?

Looking forward to putting my dogleg in the shed into my new 245 ;)
So can you use an m47 bellhousing and m47 clutch fork setup? That's what mine is now and the fork doesn't seem to move all that much.
Nice writeup, not too long and didnt get lost in a ton of words. Haha don't forget to rienforce the stock 240 pedal box when upgrading to a stiffer clutch. I ruined like 3 pedal boxes because the thin metal kept collapsing after I did my getrag swap.
I've got a Getrag 265, waiting in the wings for my 245 drivetrain upgrades (2011/12, I hope :roll:)

Purchased my 5 speed box from another TB'er, who supplied me with a pilot bearing which he claimed after scouring the interweb, is proven to be the correct dims to satisfy both BMW and Volvo.

While I have not tried it yet, I'll record it here for posterity:

INA part # LR201-2RSR.

If any who've used the RSI kit can confirm their supplied bearing, we can cross ref. and see if they are the same.
I just clicked on the link because I was thinking "wtf is a getrag?".

The only improvement I could see is labeling each photo with "volvo bearing, bmw bearing" or "early bell-housing, late bell-housing". Makes it easier to just look at the photo instead of matching a description to the photos.

Nice writeup. Very concise and useful.
Here is my version of Getrag 265 in redblock.

Special alloy bellhousing.


That one is more typical and looks like same that Cameron's RSI kit. Gearbox is 262 (4 gear)
Bellhousing is welded from M45 and B20 bellhousing's. This kit fits to B20.

cameron I can confirm that the 1.5" lengthening measurement was pretty spot on. I too got my m47 driveshaft lengthened 1.5" for use with the stock m47 guibo.

I also wanted to add a little about running a hydraulic clutch setup in a 240 w/ a getrag since no one talked about it. parts needed:

-260 clutch pedal (or mod your cable type unit)
-260 clutch master (can be sourced for relatively cheap off the internet)
-260 clutch to slave cylinder line, although a new braided line would be a good idea.
-740 slave cylinder
-740 fork

thats all I can think of right now. I'd like to add that I believe you could use a 740 clutch master, or a universal wilwood unit in place of the 260 clutch master. You need to also modify your hydraulic clutch fork from the 740 to suit the the larger bmw throwout bearing. A little grinding and voila!

here's my price breakdown for all the parts for the swap:

transmission: $85
adapter: $140
centering ring w/ skf bearing: $45
driveshaft lengthening: $85
OEM 740 turbo pressure plate : free
6 puck clutch: $140
hydraulic clutch fork: free
hydraulic slave: free
hydraulic clutch pedal, master line ect: $25
new guibo: $30
new center support bushing: $10
trans cross member: $10
6 grade 10.9 bolts, with nylon nuts and washers: $10
bellhousing: free
throwout bearing: $40
oem bmw trans mounts: $35
rsi bronze shifter busings:$35

grand total: $680

that was with me doing all of the modifications to the shifter, and bellhousing myself. I got cheap junkyard parts that helped keep the cost down as well. mind you this is for a hydraulic setup in a 240. if you were doing cable I think you can do this swap for really cheap. I think you may be even able to use a stock bmw m20 9" clutch in conjunction with a 740 flywheel and oem pp
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Nice work Cameron, a good d-base brewing here for Getrag'ers.

Can you post your price for the custom RSI shifter cage? I checked their site, not listed....that I could find anyway. So that's a stock M46 shifter in your mock-up? I'm looking at an M45 shifter that a TB'er has FS, claims it is i-damn-dentical to the M46 other than the OD button (and knob).

Also, if anyone has modified the M46 shifter support cage "system" to fit a Getrag, that would be a nice addition to this article. I'll be trying to rework one just as soon as I run the power for my Millermatic 175 in the shop :oogle:
From bimmerforums
Getrag 265 w/removable bellhousing is well known as the strongest transmission of that era. It came on the '82 528e, '85 535/635, and e30 m3. The 260/5 (528e other than '82, 533/633) is the weakest of the transmissions (tho still good for 200k miles) and the 260/6 is supposedly much improved over the 260/5.
I'm not sure how much I'd worry about getting one used... those transmissions last FOREVER. I have a 260 on my e30 with 300k miles on it and shifts great.