Frequently Asked questions

What is a Towpack™ & who designed it?

A TowPack® is an exclusively designed solution by Brian McLellan, Director of 360 Gearboxes & Diffs Pty Ltd, to upgrade gearboxes specifically for towing, load or torque.  The upgrades are all about preventing endfloat which is caused from components flexing or wearing under load due to either inferior material or design.  Once they are fractured or flexing, then that introduces micro movement (endfloat) which causes shifting issues and component failure.  Symptoms can be noise, shifting issues or complete failure of the gearbox.

Our first TowPack® started with the Hilux KZN/KUN gearboxes where Brian would see consistent failure in tradie vehicles as early as 80,000kms which were carrying heavy toolboxes and/or towing.   He started to design modifications to strengthen the geartrain for load but after being falsely accused of using inferior bearings (thanks Michael!) and seeing “reconditioned “gearboxes being sold online only with a 30-60 day warranty, Brian was determined to shake up the industry which lead to further designs and upgrades.  Through R&D he applied the TowPack® methodology across multiple gearboxes and we now have over 50 gearboxes in our TowPack® range!

We also found the TowPack® mods were successful in lengthening the life span of gearboxes in vehicles with increased engine power, which brought about the design of a 30% stronger gearset in our TowPack® Xtreme range!

There are multiple “COPY CATS” painting their gearboxes the same claiming to have “custom” modifications but they haven’t designed anything!  360 has NOT licenced its designs nor modifications to any rebuilder so be confident that 360 is the one & only Towpack® designer and builder in the world!

Monday to Thursday: 8:00am to 5:00pm
Friday: 8:00am to 3:00pm
Closed Weekends & Public Holidays 

(We may be open occasional Saturdays by appointment for drop off & pickup only)

YES if you need us to diagnose your problem.  Due to Covid-19 we no longer can perform unannounced test drives, so you need to book in for a HOIST inspection and leave your car here for at least 1 hour, but ideally for the day. Our minimum charge is $175 plus oils or parts which includes sterilisation, 2 mechanics for a test drive, driveline inspection and diagnosis.

NO! We don’t touch nor sell automatics. We are a pure MANUAL Gearbox shop!

Absolutely!  We have most of the common truck gearboxes on the shelf such as Hino Ranger Pros, FD, FG; Isuzu NPR, NPS, FRR, MLD7, MSA, MXA, MYY5T, MZX6P, MZW6P; Fuso Fighters, Rosa, MO35 & 36 Canters; and of course Eaton & ZF Gearboxes.  We don’t service the larger trucks such as Mack & Kenworth.

Yes, we freight gearboxes all across Australia as cheaply as $100 into Brisbane & $125 into Perth!

It all depends on which vehicle you have, tyre size, engine boost and the design of that gearbox.  Firstly you must know which gear is DIRECT DRIVE and which gears are overdrive.  Eg, A Holden Commodore T56 has 4th gear as direct drive and 5th & 6th gears are overdrive, which is why you shouldn’t tow or lug in 5th & 6th gears.   However most 5 speed gearboxes have 4th gear direct drive (inputshaft) and 5th gear is an overdrive (coasting) gear.  MT82 Ford Ranger/Mazda BT50 6 speed gearboxes are 5th gear direct drive and 6th gear is overdrive).

When towing, the load on the gearbox is also from take-off in 1st, 2nd & 3rd which causes wear and ultimately will result in gear selection issues or complete failure.

The overdrive gear is mostly small and pairs with a larger gear on the clustershaft.  Towing or carrying heavy loads put a massive strain (load) on the overdrive gear which can cause problems such as going through the case hardening, fracturing the gear, breaking teeth; or ripping the spline where it sits on the mainshaft.

Some 4×4 gearboxes are smaller than others so the position of 5th gear plays a big part in the likelihood of failure. For example the R151 HZJ105 5th gear is located right at the back of the gearbox behind the sandwich plate which means its far away from 4th so the “load” is greater than in say a factory turbo Landcruiser gearbox where 5th gear is closer to 4th gear.

Larger tyres adds drag to both diff & gearbox and extra torque or boost can shock-load gears if not driven sympathetically.

As a gearbox rebuilder we never recommend to tow in an overdrive gear so you just need to remember not to put your foot down and let the turbo kick in which will put too much load on the overdrive gear.  Our TowPack™ mods are more around minimizing the effects of load on your geartrain caused by towing rather than a free license to tow in 5th Gear but we will provide instructions for you upon collection of your gearbox.

Video on 5th gear towing

Our business is based on reconditioning your old gearbox so its important when we send out your new gearbox, that we get your old one back so we can rebuild that one for the next person.  If we don’t get the gearboxes back then we run out stock and we’d go out of business!  So we send the gearbox out and charge an exchange fee which acts like a bond, which is refunded when we get your gearbox back.  Most gearboxes carry a $660 bond, but for rare or more expensive gearboxes it can be more.

Video on 5th gear towing

There’s only one way to build a gearbox, and that is one which is worthy of a minimal 12 month warranty!    The term “recondition” means bring that item to OEM (“Original Equipment Manufacturer”) specification.  So no, we won’t replace just one bearing, we will only replace all bearings & seals.

We operated throughout the COVID-19 crisis but now we are busier than before!  Unfortunately, due to the sheer volume of enquiries we get each day, we are no longer able to answer “how do I” or “does this gearbox fit this vehicle” type questions.  We are receiving up to 100 calls per day so we need to address the break/fix enquiries rather than take technicians off the tools to answer DIY questions.

When we recondition your item, we will stipulate and provide the required oil to use to maintain your warranty.   For those performing their own oil changes on gearboxes or diffs which we have not touched, then we recommend using the manufacturer’s oil recommendations for that vehicle.  Oil specifications can be found at each oil manufacturer’s website such as Penrite, Hi-Tec and Castrol.  You can put your REG in on the Penrite site to make sure you are getting the correct info.

Penrite Hi-tec castrol

There a multitude of mechanical parts in your drivetrain which can cause noise, clunking, gearshifting issues and even to lose drive.  Because it takes time and most often a hoist inspection to diagnose a fault, there are some things you can do yourself if you are mechanically minded.

Check the oil:

To rule a diff or gearbox problem in or out, we always recommend to change the oil AND KEEP THE OIL in a tub so you can see if there are metal chunks or a metallic tinge to the oil.  Metal or water in oil IS NOT GOOD and tells you there is a problem inside your gearbox or diff.  Also the amount of metal on the magnet is also a good sign as to the health of your gearbox.  At 360, we ALWAYS check the condition of the oil as part of a problem diagnosis.

Crunching Synchros:

If you are experiencing gearshift issues, for example crunching into gear, then park on a dead flat space, make sure your vehicle is neutral without the park brake on so there is no load on your gearbox, then turn your engine off and see if you can go through the gears smoothly.  If its still hard to select then there is a good chance your problem is inside the gearbox but if it is smooth, then its more than likely you have a clutch or hydraulic problem.

Jumping out of gear: 

Jumping out of gear is mostly caused by an internal issue such as a sleeve or hub, but we would always recommend to check the shifter mechanism as well as shifter bushes and the gearstick is actually causing the shifter to go into gear properly.

Gearstick or gearbox is vibrating:

As a rule a gearbox always has perfectly meshed gears.  If something was misaligned enough to cause shaking or vibration then we would expect your gears to be smashed or broken.  Vibrations can be caused by torn gearbox or engine mounts as well as clutch shudder or tailshafts.  Always check your oil and if its free of metal or metal chunks, then start looking outside of the gearbox!

Difficult to select gears, grinding or baulking:

If your gearbox is grinding going into gear, difficult to select gear OR baulking you from going into gear, please do these checks:

  1. Park on flat ground, handbrake off, foot off brake with MOTOR OFF – there cannot be any load on the gearbox. Go through all the gears without your foot on the clutch – still with the MOTOR OFF.  Now its pure gearbox without clutch or clutch hydraulics in play.   If it is smooth and your shifting problem has gone then that normally tells us your gearbox is good.If you are experiencing the same gear selection problems as you were with the motor on, then its most likely a gearbox internal problem like worn synchros, OR you may have an issue with shifter linkages but that is far less likely though.
  2. OK still on flat ground, with handbrake off & foot off brake – start your car in neutral, lift revs up then foot on clutch pedal, and without releasing the clutch, put into 1st gear but DON’T RELEASE THE CLUTCH and see if the vehicle moves forward slightly?  Do the same for reverse. If it starts to drive whilst your clutch pedal is flat to the floor that means your clutch is not disengaging but instead continuing to drive the synchro – this is known as CLUTCH DRAG.   This is absolutely NOT a gearbox problem but rather a clutch problem.  A clutch should be 100% disengaged when foot is flat to the floor – do not let anyone tell you this is okay because its the biggest synchro killer.  You will need to check your clutch pedal adjustment, and most likely need a new clutch & hydraulics.  CLUTCH DRAG destroys synchros so address your clutch problem immediately – we have seen synchros burn out under 1,000kms from clutch drag!  If you have fitted a new clutch, then replace hydraulics and adjust the pedal so take off is approx 2″ from floor.  If take off is at the top of pedal then your clutch is no good.

My gearbox has a whirring or knocking sound in neutral but goes away when I put my foot on the clutch:

If you have a diesel then this is most commonly coming from either engine roll over noise or noise inside the bellhousing which travels through the geartrain and you’d swear it was the gearbox.  The gearbox is effectively positioned where the console is, so if the noise is coming from the engine or clutch area then its most likely either a loose pivot ball or clutch fork, or even the throw-out/thrust bearing.  Another cause can be heavy duty springs on your heavy duty clutch or an aftermarket flywheel.  The easiest way to rule out the gearbox is:

  1. Drain the oil in the gearbox.  Does it have metal shavings or is the oil clear of metal contamination?  If clear, then its most likely not the gearbox because noise comes from either metal degradation OR metal upon metal (ie. Something loose or mis-aligned).  Because gearboxes work in perfect mesh, if something was misaligned it would have broken by now and you would find lots of metal fragments in your oil or it would get noisier over time and again, there would be metal in your oil.
  2. Another test is, if the vehicle is a 4WD and you can put your transfer into neutral, then park on flat ground with the engine & handbrake on, then put your transfer into neutral and drive your car like you would down the road, shifting into gears at the correct rev range.    That rules out any other noise other than the engine and gearbox.  Does the noise go away after approx 1650rpm?  If so then it is highly unlikely to be your gearbox because any degrading or misaligned part normally would get louder and louder as the gearbox spins faster – and your oil would full of metal chunks or fragments.

My gearstick or gearbox is getting way hotter than it used to:

This is a real easy problem to resolve.  Check out what engine and front end modifications you have done.  The addition of bullbar, winch, under body armour, intercoolers etc. all change the airflow of your vehicle.  You must not redirect the airflow UNDER or AROUND your engine or gearbox – ie. do not obstruct the airflow.  We had one customer who fitted a heavy duty bug guard to his bullbar and literally “cooked” the oil in his gearbox which caused it’s failure.