Front end weight – VW based TD

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Mark Hendrickson


With all due respect to the “ADD TONS of WEIGHT” method to fix these cars, that’s NOT the correct way to correct the problem. Front mounting of the battery and a storage area are GREAT ideas and well worth the effort.

However, you are asking for trouble adding lead or other ballast to compensate for the front end being too stiffly sprung.I’ve told this hundreds of times to VW based TD and Speedster owners. The people that have done the right fix swear that they have a completely different car, handling and riding so much different that is has become a pleasure to drive…not to mention safer.

The feeling you are getting is from the front suspension being MUCH TOO STIFF for the light nose weight of the car. If the car is sprung correctly, the car will not skid or “push” the nose (understeer) under hard cornering and normal braking.

The thread about removing torsion leaves from the VW beams has been posted to several areas on this website. If your car is based on a ’69 Beetle, you should have the VW repair manual by Robert Bentley commonly called the “Red Book”. It will have picture of how the VW twin beam front suspsension is designed and how it can be adjusted. Cutting and turning one tube is NOT THE CORRECT WAY TO DO IT. It is the quick fix method used by the manufacturers to get the ride height correct, not the correct spring rate. If you remember, these kits were marketed as “build it in a weekend!” 

To do this job right, you’ll have to remove the front beam (if it’s been cut and turned) and install ride height adjusters or better buy and adjustable beam and reinstall your exisiting components minus a bunch of torsion leaves.

We wouldn’t ride a Harley with 1972 Cadillac Sedan Deville springs, so why are we doing it with these VW based kits?