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system employs a cam plate which was added to the reverse shift holder. When shifting into reverse, the 5th/reverse shift piece, connected to the shift lever, rotates the cam plate. This causes the 5th synchro set to stop the rotating mainshaft. A reverse gear implemented this way makes a loud whining sound, which is not normally heard in the forward gears. The teeth on the forward gears of most consumer automobiles are helically cut. When helical gears rotate, their teeth slide together, which results in quiet operation. In spite of all forward gears being always meshed, they do not make a sound that can be easily heard above the engine noise. By contrast, most reverse gears are spur gears, meaning that they have straight teeth, in order to allow for the sliding engagement of the idler, which is difficult with helical gears. The teeth of spur gears clatter together when the gears spin, generating a characteristic whine. It is clear that the spur gear design of reverse gear represents some compromises—less robust, unsynchronized engagement and loud noise—which are acceptable due to the relatively small amount of driving that takes place in reverse. The gearbox of the classic SAAB 900 is a notable example of a gearbox with a helical reverse gear engaged in the same unsynchronized manner as the spur gears described above. Its strange design allows reverse to share cogs with first gear, and is exceptionally quiet, but results in difficult engagement and unreliable operation. However, many modern transmissions now include a reverse gear synchronizer and helical gearing Design variations Gear variety Manual transmissions in passenger vehicles are often equipped with 4, 5, or more recently 6 forward gears in conventional manual transmissions with a gear stick, and up to 7 forward gears in semiautomatic transmissions. Nearly all have one reverse gear. In three or four speed transmissions, in most cases, the topmost gear is "direct", i.e., a 1:1 ratio. For five speed or higher transmissions, the highest gear is usually an overdrive gear, with a ratio of less than 1:1. Older cars were generally equipped with 3-speed transmissions, or 4-speed transmissions for high performance models and 5-speeds for the most sophisticated of automobiles; in the 1970s, 5-speed transmissions

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