December 27, 2006 at 7:45 pm #232253
A while back someone asked about removing leaves in the front end after the tube has been cut and turned.Has anyone removed the leaves after?If so,what is the result?I have three of these and while I would like a better ride in the front,I am not about to go out and buy three new front ends.If nobody has done it or if nobody knows then I guess I will be the guniea pig and find out.I have lifts in the garage so it is not a big problem,I was just hoping it has already been done.January 9, 2007 at 1:19 pm #236931
I posted a long one about how to do this job properly. If you have a garage and want the best results, do it properly.
If your front beam/s have already been cut the way the lame kit directions tell you…IT’S WRONG. All that does is correct the ride height/fender to tire clearance. IT DOES NOT MAKE THE SUSPENSION SOFTER OR CORRECT THE TORSION LEAVES RATE. THE CAR WILL RIDE LIKE A BRICK AND THE HANDLING IS ACTUALLY DANGEROUS.
Buy a new bare beam with the ride height adjusters installed. Paint it and then swap in all of the parts from your “old” beam. However, leave out all of the “secondary” leaves (half width) in both beams. Leave in only the 4 Main (wide) leaves.
Then set the ride height adusters for proper ground (chassis level) and tire/fender clearance. Your car will now be suspended properly and be fun and safe to drive. The whole job took me a Saturday on a level concrete slab next to my garage. You will not believe the difference. It’s the difference between a rigid frame Harley-Davidson and a Honda Goldwing…really!
Another tip…use the cheapest oil filled (not gas charged) shocks you can get from JC Whitney. It will ride like a dream.
I also removed the torsion bars from the IRS rear suspension and turned .100″ off them, making them softer too. Just the front end work will make 85% of the difference though.January 11, 2007 at 4:44 pm #236932
I have three of these that were cut.Handling has never been an issue.Just the ride.These cars go around corners like slot cars.There is a REAL front end shop here that I have used for years.He shims things around to work right.I am going to try some leaf removal and see what happens.I was hoping to find someone who has done it on a car that has been cut.Three new axle beams for my toys that have been handling well for 20+years is going to be hard to justify.I do like that idea of cutting down the torsion bar in the rear,I am going to do that to at least two of them.The third still has the old swing axle and I am not sure of what to do with that.January 19, 2007 at 11:30 am #236933
Handing is more than just going around corners. Sure, on a smooth road these things handle like go-karts, but in a panic stop or panic steering manuever and on bumpy roads, the handling is dangerous and usually uncontrolable.
I’ve seen guys that adapt large motorcycle rear coil over shocks and remove the beam center snub bolts. Then they fine tune the spring rates. I think Eibach is now making motorcycle coils. This method has it’s drawbacks too. The torsion leaves act like an anti-sway bar that is way too stiff. So, you are right back to having to remove leaves and unfortunately, with this set up, you can’t remove enough of them. Even just the 4 main leaves, it’s too stiff.
By removing leaves from a pre-cut beam, you may correct the torsion rate, but the car will lose ride height. A stock, un-cut beam may work though. I just sprung for the adjustable bare beam and figured I’d do the job once. You are headed the right way to correct the car’s front suspension problem by removing leaves though.
In the rear, removing the torsion bars and turning them down makes them softer. As I said, on mine, I removed .100″ from each in my IRS rear suspension.
I used to race mini-modifieds at a local asphalt oval. Although my car was not a VW based car, I learned a lot of what I used on my VW based TD from guys back who raced VW based cars. I also have a close friend that has been in the VW (now all cars) repair business since the 1960’s. They started out as an air cooled VW shop, but now do most all cars. His main clientel are BMW, Audi and Mercedes owners.January 19, 2007 at 8:07 pm #236934
I just removed the leaves from a cut front beam in one of my cars.Then the ice set in and I won”t get to try it till spring.I was going to cut the beam and put back to original but the ride height has not changed.That really surprised me.I thought there would be a substantial drop.It did not surprise the front end guy I use.I will find out in the spring.I will try it,add if I need to,or cut and reweld if I have to.When I get it where I want it I will do the same to the other cars.The roads around here that I run with these cars are pretty rough.I can”t honestly say how this car handled at high speed,even though I have had it for 20+years.I have had it above 50,but only when I had to get on one of the big roads.99% of the driving with these cars are 40-45 mph.That is probably why handling has never been an issue.If I did get going too fast the front end always stayed in place,the rear would swing out on a washboard road.I am going to turn .100 off the rear bars as you suggest,and try the cheapo J.C.Whitney shocks.I always knew better than to use gas shocks.I have made a good living replacing shock mounts in Chevy and Ford trucks that the owners just had to have those super-duper zillion dollar multi-stage exotic gas filled things installed in.I have always used old shocks taken off old Volkswagens.If they had some return resistance I would use them.I bought a TD-VW that the owner had nearly completed and gave up.He had huge off-road gas shocks and you cannot even push it DOWN,never mind the rebound.I just bought an unbuilt FiberFab kit,the first one I have ever found.No holes drilled,no cut front end,I will get to do it myself.It is quite a feeling unwrapping the grille shell,bumpers,dash,etc for the first time since they were packed when new.I am going to keep that one,one other for my wife,and sell the other two.We do not need more than one each.Plus,I have 4 Model A Fords,(3 on the road)old Harleys,old british bikes,antique backhoes,tractors and bulldozers,so you can see why I will explore every option before buying 3 new axle beams.I would post pictures but I seem to have trouble doing it.I am also a technological dinosaur.January 24, 2007 at 11:26 pm #236935
This is the front end I am installing on my 1940 Ford Tudor Sedan. It’s a Pinto/Mustang II style. I…like you… have too many projects. It is very similar to what we used on the Northeast Asphalt Modifieds I used to race.
This car also has a Chevy “truck arm” rear suspension. So, it is all very similar to today’s NASCAR suspensions.
My projects?….I need to retire to finish them up!February 2, 2007 at 8:08 pm #236936
That design front end is probably the most bulletproof there is.The front end guy that I use for my shop said you would have to put it in upside down for it to not work.He is changing the camber on my Model A Fords for me.They were designed for balloon tires and tend to run on the edges.He said with the new tires and no ruts in the roads the axle can run much flatter.What a difference after he bends the axle.When I told him I took all the leaves out of my axle beam in the TD and the level stayed the same he was not surprised.When I had time to talk with him I asked him why.In the late 60″s and early 70″s he and his boys built a bunch of dune buggies.They were only used on the street and they liked the front ends low with a soft ride.He feels that the TD body is light enough that it will be OK even with the turned tubes.The TD I have had for about 20 years holds the road good,it just rode rough.My 2 biggest problems have been the rear swinging out on a washboard road,and the front end trying to rise up in the wind if I try to go fast with it.Those fenders are like airplane wings.The steering gets very light,and a good gust of wind has picked it off the road before.That is not a big deal as I use these cars for back road pleasure riding.On one I am just starting to redo there is concrete poured just behind the axle beam,where the master cyl.should be,and the same on the pass.side.Was this another commom band-aid fix as cutting and turning the tubes?February 7, 2007 at 1:14 pm #236937
When the spring rates are corrected, usually no ballast is required. That keeps the performance (power to weight) a little peppier.
It’s true that these TD kits are about the same curb weight and weight distribution as a dune buggy. We actually sit in the back seat area of the Beetle donor. However, we have the longer wheel base that places more weight on the front axle. Those Meyers Manx dune buggies were shortened like the Speedster are.
Several NJRC members had this modification performed on their Speedster replicas and could not believe the difference.
The cold has hit here at the NJ Shore. Commuter water ferry service to NYC has been halted due the rivers icing up. It’s not been above freezing for over a week and very windy.September 5, 2007 at 10:35 pm #236938keith true wrote on <SPAN wrote:I just removed the leaves from a cut front beam in one of my cars.Then the ice set in and I won”t get to try it till spring.I was going to cut the beam and put back to original but the ride height has not changed.That really surprised me.I thought there would be a substantial drop.It did not surprise the front end guy I use.I will find out in the spring.I will try it,add if I need to,or cut and reweld if I have to.When I get it where I want it I will do the same to the other cars..September 5, 2007 at 11:54 pm #236939keith true on <SPAN wrote:I just removed the leaves from a cut front beam in one of my cars.Then the ice set in and I won”t get to try it till spring.I was going to cut the beam and put back to original but the ride height has not changed.That really surprised me.I thought there would be a substantial drop.It did not surprise the front end guy I use.I will find out in the spring.I will try it,add if I need to,or cut and reweld if I have to.When I get it where I want it I will do the same to the other cars.
I am interested to learn what results you found this spring. I am a newbie here so please excuse my goof on the previous post. I think I know how this works now. I am working on a 1970 VW pan and a fiberfab MG kit. I am rebuilding the front end, and would like to solve the torsion bar issue now. I accept the expertise of Pink MG on this subject, but like you I am working with a upper tube, that has already been cut and turned. I want to try to deal with the problem by removing small torsion bars as needed. I currently have the lower right torsion arm removed and the torsion bars loose and shifted to remove and proceed. What got me to this point is that I am replacing the lower right torsion arm, as a means of replacing the ball joint. I found it cheaper to put a new torsion arm on with the ball joint already in, as opposed to replacing the ball joint only. I was surprised to find two of the large lower torsion bars broken on the right hand side. I had presumed that the torsion bars were unbreakable. In any case, I will be replacing the torsion bar bundle also. I think I plan to leave some of the small torsion bars out, but not sure how many. One thing that bothers me about leaving out some of the torsion bars is that the inside end of the torsion bar arm seems to be recess cut in the pattern to capture all 10 torsion bars. I relize that the locking set screws are there to prevent the torsion bars from slipping, but it also seems that the recess cut in the torsion bar arms also aid in that effort. It almost looks as though the precut tosion arm slots provide the main means of preventing twist, and the lock set screws main function is to prevent the torsion arms from moving out away from the torsion bars. Is it wise to sacrifice that twist locking factor by removing torsion bars? Also I am looking for advice for the need to remove the same number of small torsion bars from both the bottom and top torsion tubes. I am not looking forward to taking the top tube apart again to remove torsion bars if it is not necessary. Any input from you folks would be appreciated. I think I have read every posting on this site, and the knowledge gained is invaluable. This is a great site and much appreciated.September 7, 2007 at 6:58 pm #236940
What you need to do with the torsion leafs is to cut short pieces and tack them on to the long leaves you are going to use.I made them about four inches long.They will act as a dummy leaf and take up the space so the grub screw will work properly.You will have to cut some short peices for the outboard ends also.I figured out what had to be done,and was thinking about epoxying them on,as they only have to stay put until the grub screw is tightened.I was checking around on the Samba website and found these guys do this all the time.They actually tack weld the short peice on.I was thinking it would affect the strength of the leaf,and it probably does,but in reality they say it does not seem to affect it.I have welded a lot of truck frames for a living,and when I asked the man that taught me a lot about it, he said,well you got this frame with about 200,000 lb tensile strength.When you get done you are going to have 190.000 lbs of strength.You might get 40,000 put on it in use.Are you gonna worry?I am trying to finish up a redo of a car right now that the fellow bought new HEAVY DUTY everything.I took out the leaves and when I jump up on the front end it is like jumping on a concrete floor.Turns out he bought an off-road front end with extra-strong leaves.That has an adjustable front end,but being for off-road it is set to adjust the spindles DOWN,for more clearance.At its lowest level it is higher than a stock front end.I have to cut and turn the adjuster in it now.September 7, 2007 at 9:56 pm #236941
Kieth, I really do appreciate your response. I never would have guessed the idea of cutting short sections of the small leafs to accomplish the proper fit into the torsion bar arms and grub screw attachment points. Did you do that to all 12 of the short leaves in both the upper and lower tubes? You had said earlier that you had removed leaves from the cut front beam before the ice set in, but it was unclear how many you removed and how well it worked out once you were able to test it this spring. I like your approach, and would like to do mine based on your findings. Also can you tell me your feelings on any importance to removing the same amount of leaves from both tubes? I am guessing that it is not that important to have the torsion bars in both tubes equal, but if I am wrong I would like to be corrected before I put it all back together. I am still in the early phase of this build, so unable to do a road test yet. Thanks again.September 8, 2007 at 6:52 pm #236942
I took out all of the half leafs.I have been busy this summer with rebuilding a house to sell,and have hardly driven the car.I did drive it to our camp,about 35 miles away and truthfully could not tell the difference.But,that is only because I drive so many different things and just would not remember after the winter.I bet if I drove it this week,then changed the suspension and drove it a couple of days later I would know.The way I got the short peices to line up right so they would slide into the grooves was to buy a $10.weld in adjustable torsion spring anchor,slide all the leafs in,and tack-weld them in place.Then when I slid them into the beam already in the car they went right into place.The one that told me how to do this was Pink MG.I think it is a sound idea.The only thing that he thought would happen was that with my already cut and turned beam it would change my ride height.On mine,it did not change it a bit.Both of my tubes have been cut and turned.The car I have on the lift right now being finished has a new beam under it.I think on that I am going to take out the leafs as Pink suggests,and cut and turn the beam centers.I could put in adjustable centers,but,once it is set to height it will never have to be changed again.
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