February 25, 2008 at 10:14 am #232366
Morning Pink MG,
I should receive my new adjustable front beam axle today or tomorrow.
I have gone back and read some older messages about using the adjustable front beam axle and removing the small torsion bars.
My question is do I need to reinsert short sections into the control arms? I know there is a dedicated slot for the bars to key into. My thoughts are to reinsert small sections of just the four small torsion bars that surround the wide torsion bars. I don’t have access to a welder and I was thinking of using J.B. Weld and tie wire to secure these short pieces.
What is your thoughts?
Thanks for your time.
BillFebruary 29, 2008 at 1:56 pm #237303
The way Ferdinand Porsche designed these, there is no need to do what you describe.
Just use the four wide, flat torsion leaves. There is enought threads on the snub nuts in the adjuster and the trailing arms to tighten it all back up.
Remember this design was well thought out to be for many applications that required different spring rates. The rates were changed buy the number of leaves used.
NEVER heat torsion bars, torsion leaves, torsion bars, coil springs or leaf springs by welding them!!!! Not only will the rate change, the area becomes brittle and will evantually snap.
Just a suggestion, sand, clean and paint the new adjustable beam with some decent paint. The cheap paint on it comes right off and they rust up quickly. This is aftermarket stuff made in Brazil or Mexico, not OEM German stuff.
You are going to be very happy with what you’ve done. Your car will handle and ride much better now…not to mention be safer.February 29, 2008 at 10:45 pm #237304
Thank you for your information.
I could not believe the “so called” paint that was on the new axle. I have sanded and applied primer and two coats of paint.
BillMarch 3, 2008 at 11:17 am #237305
I was not real happy with the finish either, but thanks to N.A.F.T.A., that’s all we get in the aftermarket now.
On the VW based MGTD replica, these parts show. So they look nicer with a good finish.March 5, 2008 at 11:27 pm #237306
Well I have the adjustable front axle beam in and it does look good.
On question/comment: It appears the locater spots for the steering box has turned it slightly, now the large adjusting screw in the top of the steering box comes in contact with the filler panel just below the grille. Tomorrow I will go and pick up a couple of SS washers and use them as spacers between the finders and the filler panel.
Does this sound acceptable to you?
BillMarch 6, 2008 at 2:28 pm #237307
Sure it does…or even a hole in the fiberglass would suffice. You could even get “exotic” and cut a hole in the fiberglass and then mold a “bump” over it with some resin and glass cloth.
Have you driven it with the suspension softened?
Are both ride height adjusters center snub bolts parallel to each other?
What shocks do you have up front? Did you know the best ride comes from the “cheapo” non-gas shock like JC Whitney sells?
I also used caster shims to increase the stock caster settings. It made the car more stable at highway speeds. The shims can be used on the bottom or top beam to get the desired caster.March 6, 2008 at 5:24 pm #237308
I have also condsiered waiting and if it does rub a hole, glue and “acorn” nut on top for decoration.
No I have not driven the car yet. One thing I the original shocks are about 1 1/2″ shorter than what I am finding at the local supply parts supplier. They have kept my measurments and are trying to locate a workable shock. I sent J.C. Whitney an e-mail asking the length of thier shock but never received a reply.
The caster shims have me puzzled, where would those be installed? I thought the off set insert in the top control arm ball joint was for that purpose.
Yes both adjusters are in the same position which is actually at the bottom of the slot. That returns me to the ride height measured at the fenders that I had before.
BillMarch 6, 2008 at 9:13 pm #237309Keith TrueParticipant
The caster shims go between the beam and the frame head.They will tilt the beam ahead or back,depending on where you put them,top or bottom.The ball joint eccentric is for camber,or top of tire tipout as looked at from the front of the car.I never really thought of it,but that will affect caster,but it must not be enough to bother the handling.The germans would NOT have built them that way if the handling was going to be affected.March 7, 2008 at 11:19 am #237310
JC Whitney probably just drop ships and really has no “techs” that would measure a shock for you. Check out http://www.rockauto.com Search for Monroe p/n 31538 and click on More Info. It gives the specs of the shock. I order from Rock Auto all the time. They are repuatable and quick.
These VW front suspension (beams with trailing arms) are pretty simple, but very well designed for the application they were used for. The only improvement over the years that I recall was addition of ball joints versus the older style king pins.
Keith is absolutely correct, the ball joint eccentric adjusts the camber. The caster is minimally affected by this. The mounting of the beam actually sets the “real” caster.
I never liked the tie rod set up (one real long/one real short) on these front ends, but the trail arm design of the front suspension minimizes the severe bump steer on one front wheel that is usually caused by this design.
In the late 70’s I cut the front end out of a Pinto, crossmember and all. I mounted it in a ’72 Super Beetle. I had to fabricate a simple plate to mount the upper “A” Arm and weld it to the Pinto crossmember. I also had to fabricate a shaft to go from the VW steering column to the Pinto steering rack. I put 13″ x 7″ aluminum wheels on the car all around, 4 bolt Ford in front and 4 bolt VW in the rear. The car handled like a sports car, but was slower than snot! The Pinto/Mustang II front end is still very popular today with the Street Rod fraternity.
The Super Beetle had a completely different front end design based on a MacPherson Strut. The Super Beetle used the same rear suspension as a “regular” Beetle.
My first “Pink MG” (now Angelica) was a Super Beetle based CMC kit. It came with a “bulkhead” that welded into the Super Beetle floor pan’s front “spine”. I suppose this could have been welded in to set more caster without using shims, but my floor pan already had this done when I got the car. For that matter, another Pinto/Mustang II front end would have been the ticket! My 1940 Ford Tudor Sedan has a “tubular” Pinto/Mustang II front end.
Let us know what you think of the ride when you get on road.March 7, 2008 at 8:32 pm #237311
Thanks to both of you for the information.
The Monroe p/n 31538 appears to be the correct length (I left the measurements with the parts supplier so I will need to remeasure) but it is a “gas” and not an “oil” filled shock.
How much of a difference in the ride will this make?
BillMarch 10, 2008 at 4:13 pm #237312
It will make a difference in stiffness, a little firmer dampening. A good radial tire with a higher aspect ratio will make it ride less harsh too. Say a 75 or 80 series versus a 70 or 60 series sidewall height. Correct tire pressure for the new weight distribution will also help the ride. You’ll have to experiment with that. I started with 18 lbs up front on a P165x80-15 radial tire on my VW based TD.
The slightly stiffer dampening will be slightly more noticeable in the front (lighter weight) than the rear.
The JC Whitney shocks I bought were not gas charged and cost me about $8.00 each back when I bought them.
I think there are only two major shock manufacturers (Monroe & Gabriel) in the US and they make all the “store brand” and “off'” brands sold here. Premium performance shocks like Bilstein and Koni are made overseas.
Maybe they don’t make “non-gas” shocks for this application anymore. Go with the Monroe’s if you can’t find an “off” or “store brand” non-gas charged shock locally. The change you made to the spring rate will make such a difference, you’ll be too happy to notice the dampening! LOL!!!March 10, 2008 at 7:49 pm #237313
Thank you for the information. I will go ahead and order the Monroe shocks.
I finally buttoned everything up this afternoon and did take it around the block without and front shocks. Yes I can feel the difference in the ride and the braking with the front disc brakes.
After I have my new wheels mounted and bumpers installed I will post pictures.
When I purchased the car the front bumper had been made from a stadium seat.March 11, 2008 at 9:18 am #237314
Great news…can’t wait to see the pics!
Were the stadium seats “front row”? For rear bumpers, you have to use back row stadium seats!
OK…no more humor.March 11, 2008 at 5:51 pm #237315
That is just what the person I purchased the car from said. I think the front was from the bottom of the stadium. The rear bumper is a stock V.W. bumper. What I am modifying to use as the bumpers is a 4′ set of pickup bed rails.
I now have the shocks installed and have taken the car out for a drive. Yes the ride is softer but it darts around a lot. I have double checked and everything is tight. I will take it next week for an alignment and hopefully that will stop the darting around. It may have done that before but everything was so worn out that the steering moved slow enough that it was not noticable.March 12, 2008 at 3:55 pm #237316
Now you have enough weight on the front end to make the car steer
When the front end is too stiff, you get understeer (Push) and with the front end too soft you get oversteer (Loose).
Neat thing is that you can replace one or some of the secondary torsion leaves as required to stiffen it back up, but you probably only need the toe set properly. Also, more caster will cure the “darting” if the toe setting doesn’t. More caster makes it more stable at higher speeds too.
I was lucky and had access to a set of scales that each of the four tires sat on. They told you the weight on each wheel. From these numbers, you find out where you stand as far as weight distribution.
On our stock cars we had “jack” bolts on the springs to change weight bias. My Mustang road racer has jack bolts on the rear springs.
Steve Smith used to have a good book on basic suspension set up. I’m not sure if it’s still available or not.March 12, 2008 at 10:39 pm #237317
Okay, thank you for the information.
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