Project Cars

Project 1971 Volkswagen Super Beetle – Super Project ’71: Part Four

May 6, 2016
3 minutes read
Project 1971 Volkswagen Super Beetle – Super Project ’71: Part Four

Once everything has been removed from the front end of your Super, it’ll look pretty barren, as there’s nothing under there but the frame head and the body. Be sure that you can keep your Super up on blocks while you secure the correct parts you’ll need.

The main feature of the front suspension is the MacPhearson strut towers, of course. Since springs are easy to replace (and should be replaced in pairs), we decided to go with Top Line’s Sport Spring suspension because it will allow for a stiffer ride while giving the Super’s front end a much-needed lowering (by about an inch). Certain things need to be replaced, such as the tie rod ends, all of the bushings, the steering damper and the steering box, as it was determined to be faulty.

Once things are all completely apart, now is the time to check all of the components for wear and damage. Start with the steering knuckle, either with the drum backing still attached or not, it doesn’t matter. If you’ve got a micrometer or vernier calipers, measure the diameter of the outer tapered-roller bearing seat (the smooth area behind the threaded portion of the axle stub). It should be between 17.45 and 17.46mm. Measure the diameter of the inner tapered-roller bearing seat. It should be 28.99 to 29.00mm. The diameter of the grease seat seal should be 40.00 to 40.25mm. There should be no distortion of the axle stub, and if there is, you might want to replace it.

It’s important to make sure the control arms and center tie rod are straight and free of cracks and unusual wear. Since they are designed in such a way that the replaceable bushings take the brunt of the wear, it is pretty difficult to damage a control arm, unless the car was involved in an accident of sorts. If that is the case, you would have trouble realigning the arms with the ball joints and tie rods and the damage would be obvious.

The tie rod ends will be replaced, but the actual rods needs to be cleaned and inspected for wear and cracks. remove the ends and roll the rods across a flat surface to check for warping. If they’re not straight, replace them. Note: Do not confuse the tie rod ends that are used for front axles with those that are used with strut suspensions. The strut suspension’s tie rod end has either a protrusion or an indentation to mark the difference.

The stabilizer bar should be straight and free of any damage. Since it usually gets hit first, sometimes there are small dents on the bar itself. Don’t worry too much about these dents unless they affect the integrity of the bar itself. Clean it with a wire brush and repaint.

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