May 31, 2013 at 9:46 am #236257
Thanks for the ongoing feedback and dialogue, Ed.
I agree that removing leaves to soften the front suspension is very desirable due to lower front end weight of the fiberglass body and the new seating position — and combining that with beam adjusters would be the best solution. I also agree that my car’s lowering technique (cutting and rewelding) is not the best way to do it.
My limitation right now is simply $$. I’ve checked with the local VW suspension guru about a new, adjustable beam. Bottom line is that he wants over $600 for a new beam, new bushings/bearings, and new ball joints — he won’t build one without those components, and insists on Brazilian or OEM German quality parts. That quote was for me to remove my beam and take it to him, and he assembles a new one for me with as many leaves as I want in either tube, reusing as much as possible from my beam, pressing in new ball joints, etc. Cost could increase should he find any broken leaves, damaged knuckles, etc.
I think our “disagreement” may be terminology and semantics. When I say downward travel, I’m talking about travel of the suspension component (in this case the front wheel hub) and not the travel of the car’s body. If you lower the car’s body, you decrease the potential upward travel of the wheel hub, wheel and tire, due to the tire hitting the fender, etc., but increase the potential downward travel as the the tire drops down out of that fender…
Similarly, to clarify, sway-bars work by using the weight of the opposite axle, wheel and tire to discourage movement of the wheel in question. As long as both wheels are moving in the same direction at the same time, such as a speed bump or expansion strip, they have little if any impact. But when one wheel is trying to move up (such as the outside wheel in a curve), the weight of opposite, inside wheel tries to pull it back down. Sway bars do NOT function like a torsion bar, because the center is not locked in place by a grub screw. (The center of a sway bar is in almost constant movement.) Instead, they function more like a see-saw, where the weight (or force) on one end offsets the weight on the other. The thickness of the sway-bar only determines the amount of “give” or “flex” in this relationship – picture a see-saw using a 1″x10″ board compared to a 2″x 10″ board. Axle straps or shock lengths (when compressed or extended) serve as stops that are a hard limit on that travel.
Meanwhile, on a somewhat related note, I resurrected an old thread on shoptalkforum that discusses the unusual old shock/spring combination that I’ve referenced here a couple times. The product’s name was 4-Way Adjustable Shocks. (I couldn’t remember the name before – danged CRS syndrome.) They were made by an Australian company, now out of business, and someone dug this out of the “way-back” machine:
As you can see, the spring on the shock is fixed on both ends – resisting both upward (compression) and downward (extension) of the shock. They were uniquely designed to push or pull the car back flat regardless of the direction of travel. The advantage they had was that they did not tie two wheels of an otherwise fully independent suspension together, like sway-bars do… the impact of a pothole or bump was dealt with simply by the wheel in question, and the other wheels continued to function as intended. They reduced body lean in curves, nose-dive in braking, and nose-lifting in acceleration. IMO,these would be great for these kit cars, if they were still available…
Early FF TDr on 69 VW pan
Slowly coming back from the ashes...