February 27, 2013 at 10:45 am #253396RickParticipant
Wow. I’m having flashbacks. Progress! Nice work.February 27, 2013 at 3:37 pm #253397
Heat in the barn is fantastic… But com’on spring!!!Front suspension complete! Have youever spent 3 hours replaceing the front torsion springs??? I did! New seals, ball joints, camber bolts….. Everything is quite dusty from the power “wire brushing”… But when it is warmer (outside) a fresh coat of paint is in order…On to the brakes next!!!
STG-inc.2013-02-27 15:42:02February 27, 2013 at 3:54 pm #253398
Making good progress. Did you cut the torsion springs to compensate for the lighter TD body while doing that? I don’t see an adjuster installed. Just curious…
Early FF TDr on 69 VW pan
Slowly coming back from the ashes...February 27, 2013 at 4:02 pm #253399
Kent, Why do you need to cut the torsion leaves unless you have a narrowed front beam? I just took a whole bunch of leaves out of mine and the ride height as well as the ride quality were vastly improved.February 27, 2013 at 4:07 pm #253400
The upper torsion was cut and relieved about 17 degrees. Did’nt want to remove any of the torsion plates. I would have done the more modern adjustable front end if is had not already been done.February 27, 2013 at 4:22 pm #253401Royal wrote:Kent, Why do you need to cut the torsion leaves unless you have a narrowed front beam? I just took a whole bunch of leaves out of mine and the ride height as well as the ride quality were vastly improved.
We’re both saying the same thing, I think, just using different terms. When you remove leaves, you have to cut off the ends, so you use only the ends in the spring stack…
Early FF TDr on 69 VW pan
Slowly coming back from the ashes...February 27, 2013 at 4:27 pm #253402STG-inc. wrote:The upper torsion was cut and relieved about 17 degrees. Did’nt want to remove any of the torsion plates. I would have done the more modern adjustable front end if is had not already been done.Thanks for clarifying. Looking closer now, I can see that…Just curiousity… as I try to learn more about how to set up this suspension to handle the much lighter front end and changed weight distribution. It will be interesting to see how my added frame handles. I’d definitely like to avoid using a weight box or ballast, but I am considering adding a real spare tire mount on the rear — which exacerbates the current weight balance issues.
Early FF TDr on 69 VW pan
Slowly coming back from the ashes...February 27, 2013 at 4:28 pm #253403
Maybe I did something wrong but, I didn’t cut anything. I just slid the extra leaves out.February 27, 2013 at 4:46 pm #253404Royal wrote:Maybe I did something wrong but, I didn’t cut anything. I just slid the extra leaves out.It’s one alternative method that will give full travel, softer suspension, and still allow some adjustment of the front height — without cutting and rotating things or using height adjusters.See this thread on Samba:By just using cut pieces of the spring, you haven’t changed the way the swing arms mount, nor the set screw (cinch pin or whatever it’s called) clamps to the center section…I’m not sure what the weakness of totally removing leaves might be…
Early FF TDr on 69 VW pan
Slowly coming back from the ashes...February 27, 2013 at 4:55 pm #253405
Kent, thanks. I did not do it that way. I simply removed all the small leaves and reassembled. There is no way that anything can move. The grub screws tightened up and I’ve been good for over a year and about 3000 miles. I wanted to drop the front end as well as soften the ride. It worked (so far).February 27, 2013 at 7:13 pm #253406edward ericsonParticipant
Kent: Roy did it right. We have a couple threads on this forum explaining this. The Samba guys on that thread don’t know.
The way to do it right is by removing some or all of the small “half” leaves from the spring pack. Both the center mount for the leaves and the arms are shaped such that, even with those leaves missing, they lock on tight to the four remaining full-width leaves in each tube.
Removal of the small leaves decreases the spring rate to something more appropriate for our cars, which typically are about 400-500 pounds lighter over the front wheels than the Beetle was.
Adding adjusters allows you to set the ride height up or down, which can matter a lot if you guess a little wrong about how many of the small springs to delete. But in the end you don’t need the adjusters if you’re willing to go by trial and error–removing or replacing torsion leaves as needed in order to get the height right.
The important thing–and STG I’m addressing you–is to soften the spring rate to something appropriate for the weight of the front end.
Why am I adamant about this?
Because when I bought Bridget in 2009 she had the cut-and-turned front beam and all the springs in her. Not only did she ride too rough, the handling was muy dangerous. She plowed into turns like a cement truck.
Contrary to what you may have read in Car Craft in 1983, stiffer springs do not make a car handle “better.”
In my case, I bought a new adjustable beam, removed all of the small leaves and set the adjusters about 3/4 full up. The difference in ride quality and handling was immense. The car went from white-knuckle to a pleasure to drive, feeling sure-footed in cross winds, on off camber turns, over wavy hills and pot holes.
Bottom line: DON’T assemble your car “by the book.” Do it right instead, by softening the spring rate. If you need to cut and turn the top tube again, spend the $35 and weld in an adjuster while you’re at it. One is better than none.
Or if doing that is beyond your ability, either bring the beam to a VW shop and have them do it, or bite the bullet and buy a new beam. They’re like $300. I think the adjustable ones are only a few bucks more.
There is no investment in your build that will pay more dividends.February 27, 2013 at 7:57 pm #253407
Great response, Ed. I’ve never done it but once. I used the approach described in that Samba thread to cut and “remove” sections of one leaf on the front of a 1970 Karmann Ghia convertible that I had. I left the short stack in place to help handle the weight of the car.Then, I adjusted the rear torsion bar up two splines (I think — not sure — since it was 30 years ago) to essentially level the car, giving it maybe a 1/4″ nose down attitude. Then I went with a heavier sway bar on the front, and added one to the rear. Combining that with a mild 1776 with dual Kadrons (I needed chokes, though manual), I created a fun daily driver. I called it my “poor man’s Porsche” – I could hang pretty well with them, on roads where the changes from 3rd to the tall 4th gear didn’t impact it.Selling that car is one of the two biggest “sellers remorse” stories of my life. The other big regret was needing to sell my ’62 Vette 327-340HP. My daughter came along, and I went the “minivan” route with a ’64 Deluxe Kombi (no sunroof)…
Early FF TDr on 69 VW pan
Slowly coming back from the ashes...February 27, 2013 at 8:44 pm #253408
I guess since this is my thread, I can step up on my soap box here and address a few things. Please do not take this the wrong way…I try to never reverse engineer something that someone WAY smarter than me spent many months or years researching, testing, revising and implementing. If it works… leave it alone.Below are a few photos of the front suspension of the project I am working on. In the first photos you will see that the lower torsion arm has separated from the front end… The P.O. said “OH, the grub screw fell out” and I believed him…Here is the reason the torsion arm was separated. The small leaves were removed to relieve the lower torsion arms since the P.O. didn’t think the front was “soft” enough.The grub screw was tightened and in the stress of being towed back to the P.O.’s home, it broke all of the leaves beyond the grub location making the torsion arm separate. Imagine if this would have happened while driving at 50 mph…I think that in the locating area of the torsion arms, All of the plates are needed to support the stress of the grub screws in their locating surfaces.I did not mention the removal of these plates in my earlier post because I did not want to support the practice one way or another. But I have seen “first hand” what can happen if something that is supposed to be there is removed.Yes, I may not think that the ride is soft enough when I get this project on the road… and may in fact opt for a completely new (engineered) front end, but for now, I thing those Krauts did a pretty good job so far.Stepping down off my soap box… “hopefully not on any toes”Doug
STG-inc.2013-02-28 11:21:14February 27, 2013 at 9:14 pm #253409STG-inc. wrote:I try to never reverse engineer something that someone WAY smarter than me spent many months or years researching, testing, revising and implementing. If it works… leave it alone.Oh no! I’m the “newb” and I’ve opened a can of worms…Well, the Bug was the most-tested car to have ever been put into production at that time and the torsion-bar design lasted to the end of the production in Mexico over 60 years later. So, there’s definitely something to be said for that…VW used to have a program that if you put 1,000,000 documented miles on a Bug then they’d trade you a brand new one for it, at no cost to you. A surprising number of people actually accomplished that feat, so VW eventually discontinued it…
Early FF TDr on 69 VW pan
Slowly coming back from the ashes...February 27, 2013 at 9:46 pm #253410
Doug,I am/was a Nuclear Engineer and therefore have no toes left. I also think that the “Krauts” were pretty smart but they did not anticipate using the front end for a featherweight TD replica. I have no front end ballast of sand or lead or iron and my MiGi was exceptionally light and stiff in the front. Stiffer even than my Willys CJ2A. Really it was not driveable as I experienced virtually all of the dangerously poor characteristics that Ed mentions.About the first thing that I did after buying MiGi was remove all the little leaves from both the upper and the lower beam assys. As I recall (and I am no spring chicken, – my memory isn’t as good as it once was) the locating grub screw did not contact the small leaves at all. There was a “dimple” in the middle of large leaves that held the center locating grub captive and that is what held the assy from sliding sideways out of the beam. Assuming my memory is correct, then I wonder about your photos. You say that the small leaves were removed from the lower arm only. This would seem to cause an imbalance in the stresses between upper and lower which could possibly have lead or at least contributed to the failure?? (This was actually a poorly worded question.)I recall that I read somewhere that different numbers of leaves were used and in different combinations of small and large depending on the vehicle since the beam assembly was used in their trucks and some of the military vehicles. I would have to really search for this info again.I am not new to small light cars and have had at least one for the last 50 years but am not excited about tearing into the front end again. I fail to see how the addition of the small leaves would strengthen the locating grubs grab on the leaves (which is what I think you are suggesting).I don’t knowingly cut corners on safety issues, and toes be damned, you have made me uncomfortable. Do you know of a link that I could read more about the subject of shattered leaves and/or torsion arm separation?Thanks,RoyFebruary 27, 2013 at 11:43 pm #253411edward ericsonParticipant
Right again, Roy. The “Krauts” engineered the beams to be able to have the small springs removed for different applications. The bad engineering came when the kit car designers either didn’t know this or didn’t care, so they instructed kit buyers to cut the beam, have two family members stand on the nose of the car, and mark where it turns to, and then weld to the marks.
It was a lazy way to design the kits so the average schmuck could get them on the road speedily. And it was done during the era when a lot of people (myself included) thought “stiffer springs mean flatter cornering.” In the mid 1980s I cut the coils on my first generation Nova to drop the nose a little, on advice of Car Craft. It may not have hurt handling that much (there wasn’t much handling to hurt) but I’ve since learned the error of my ways.
I don’t know what happened to Doug’s springs but I can see a whole lot of rust on them. And spring steel does not like rust. If the PO jammed one or more of the trailing arms on a few degrees wrong–which can be done; ask me how I know–and then ground the grub screw into it that might have created the kind of angular stress that could break a big leaf like that under a tow-type situation.
Can’t say for sure from the info provided, but I would bet that the failure had zero to do with the mods I’m suggesting here.
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