Tobra
Got a little sag on the passenger side, just noticed in the last few days. I realize the torsion bars are possible culprit, but it seems to me if this was the case, I would note a bit of negative camber. The tire still appears perpendicular to the ground. The shocks in the back are 20 year old KYB Gas-a-justs. The Passenger side is about two inches lower than driver's side. It would be much easier to replace a shock than do the torsion bars. It is not a job I would take on myself, and am a bit strapped for cash anyway right now. The shocks are getting replaced in any event, anyone have eperience with Koni or Bilstein? I hope to replace the shocks and see if that solves the problem, what are the odds it will help?
'79 Super Beetle Convertible, Topline Sport+ springs and disc brake conversion. SS brake lines, KYB GR-2struts and Gas-a-just shocks
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Precise1
Hey Tobra. DrewEdge (thread is a bit below this) described a similiar issue, maybe you should PM him or something. I never dealt with this so have no advice. 'negative camber', what direction is that ? I put new KYB HD shocks on my rear (bug) which it needed (shocks are fine but nothing special) and the tires look slightly /\ from the rear. Is that neg or pos ? Hmm, worn torsion bars ?? I have no idea, but will definitely follow this thread. I'll post anything I learn. Good luck.

Bernard
Measure twice; Cut once....
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Negative camber is, as Muir put it, when the wheels do not rest perpendicular to the ground, they tilt away from the transmission at the bottom, and tilt in towards the transmission at the top. It can be especially visible from behind during acceleration, and I’ve seen the condition on older BMW’s and Mercedes as well.

Anyway, Tobra, I would not think that the shocks would make a difference, as shocks do not take the weight of the car on them, they merely reduce or dampen the movement of the suspension – the torsion bars and spring plates together change the height of the car. That being said, before I adjusted my spring plates/torsion bars back to original specs, I did switch my relatively new shocks as the left side was worse than the right, to no avail. Even after I adjusted the spring plates/torsion bar, I still have a left wheel with a little tilt to it, and my only hope now is a professional alignment that I’ll get done later this week when Frances moves on.

If you do make the adjustment to the spring plates/torsion bar yourself (I did it, and I am no mechanic), they say you should change the bushings on either side of the spring plates. Worn bushing apparently can also add to the sag. I changed mine, but they weren’t in bad shape.

Drew
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Tobra
What sort of special tools would be needed to do this job? I know the rear of the car needs to be on jack stands, but are any special tools needed? In Bentley, it says the brake drums have to be removed, which would mean paying to have it done because I don't have a torque wrench that goes up to 200 and whatever ft/lbs the spec is on the axle nut. I looked around and have not seen a tech article on torsion bars, but will continue to look, and just not drive it for a while. Will I need to get the rear aligned after replacing the bushings, or torsion bar if need be?
'79 Super Beetle Convertible, Topline Sport+ springs and disc brake conversion. SS brake lines, KYB GR-2struts and Gas-a-just shocks
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I did not have to take off the brakes or axel or anything like that. After taking off the wheels and getting the car up on the jack stands, I

1.         Took off the shocks,
2.         Undid the 17mm allen/hex nut at the frame end of the swing arm (if you can, get a 17 mm hex socket wrench, but a normal 17 mm wrench will do – it’s time consuming with space for only a quarter turn at a time, but it’s what I used),
3.         Cold-chiseled a line across the top of both the spring plate and swing arm – so you know how they line up and hopefully you won’t need an alignment after you’ve put them back together,
4.         Took off the bolts that hold the swing arm & spring late together (this was tricky, and probably why they say to take off the brake & axel from the swing arm – but with a little gentle finagling, it worked for me)
5.         Then took out the bolts that hold the spring plate to the frame and eased it off the stop with the help of my jack (again, a little finagling here, and be very careful as the spring plate is under tremendous torque)
6.         Undid the first five front bolts holding on the fender (so that you can move it out of the way when removing the spring plate & torsion bar),
7.         Took out the spring plate & torsion bar, replaced the bushings, put grease on the ends of the bars, and tried to get the un-torqued angle of the swing plate to about a hair over 22 degrees (using my $5 Home Depot angle finder) taking into account that the jack stands raised the car 2 degrees and the net angle should be a hair over 20 degrees. Originally the angles of my plates were net 18 on the right side & 17 of the left.
8.         Put it all back together in reverse order, but should have used the shop manual’s suggestion of temporarily using longer bolts to reattach the spring plate back on the frame, as that was a real pain to get the short bolts to line up again.

It sounds like a lot, but I did both sides in about 5 hours or so.

The end result was that the rear end rides about an inch higher; with the left side an eighth of an inch higher than the right, but the left wheel still has a little negative camber to it. As the car needs to be aligned anyway, I am going to take it to a VW old-timer that said the alignment should help - I’ll let you know if it does.
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aircooled299
I actually raised my '69 3" because when i bought it it was sooooo low it scraped bottom with the pans. The only thing I can add is that I didn't take the drums off of mine to adjust them. Also pick up a tortion tool. It is about $20 and takes the pressure off of the springplate so it doesn't fly when you pry it off. I also can't recommend enough the torque meister tool for the rear drums and flywheel, I've found it for about $55 and I smile every time I take that 270' lbs of torque loose with a 3/8" ratchet and an 11mm socket. Also you might want to pick up a protractor, they are cheap and I know you can get one at Sears. I use them at work to find conduit angles. When you get your car level and up off the ground, take the pressure off of the arms with the tortion tool pry the torsion arms off of the bars, release the tool, take it off to let the arms hang where they want to and then put the protractor on each one, the needle inside will move around and show you the angle of each arm so you can make them match. I used to know the numbers and have them somewhere (when I find them I will post them) but the inner and outer splines make different adjustments so you can raise or lower each side to within a fraction of an inch. Also as mentioned this would be a REALLY good time to change those bushings even if they look good it's kind of like changing your clutch when you pull your engine. I put the urethane bushings in mine. Hope this helps it's not that bad of a job, it took me about half a day and I had never done it before.

Patrick

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Great points, Patrick.

From your Sears protractor, were you able to get down to the minutes within degrees? My Home Depot angle finder provided little detail, and from what I remember Haynes’ manual said the angles should be 21 degrees, 50 minutes, or whatever it was. I was just able to figure out that the angle was somewhere between 21 & 22 degrees.

After-the-fact, I was in Auto Zone and they had a coil compressor for rent that looked like it would work compressing the spring plate. Their “rental” system allows you to pay the purchase price of the rental tool, which is then fully refunded upon return of the tool – a good deal IMHO.

Drew
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aircooled299
Actually I should have read your post closer first Drew. The angle finder you mentioned and the protractor I mentioned are one and the sameI realised that right after I posted but was tired and didn't want to edit. A coil spring compressor would probably work I just like the other tool because it makes a positive lock so no chance of slipping off. Everybody I know except me just uses a jack. I've always believed however that they call them accidents for a reason and make triple sure that if the apocolypse were to hit when I'm working on anything that I'll walk away intact. I'm kind of a safety freak but that comes from seeing way too many injuries that could have been easily prevented with a little patience. Every one of those guys probably looked and said "oh that'll probably be fine" right before. OK enough of my rant, I'm starting to bore myself.

Patrick

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73SpeedBuggy

Sorry to drag up an old thread, but I looked through my Muir Manual and there's nothing in there about adjusting the torsion bars (front or rear).  My rear is sagging on the right pretty bad, where can I find the procedure you guys mentioned in this thread?

-Adam
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Tobra

http://www.acvw.com/article.asp?DetailID=32

 

Try this

 

http://www.vw-resource.com/rearaxle.html

 

or this

'79 Super Beetle Convertible, Topline Sport+ springs and disc brake conversion. SS brake lines, KYB GR-2struts and Gas-a-just shocks
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73SpeedBuggy

Thanks, that's pretty much what I was looking for.. one question though, is this procedure per side?  Or does it lift the entire rear end?  I just need to raise the passenger side a couple inches.

-Adam
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73SpeedBuggy

Ok answered my own question... and found a GREAT write up on doing the procedure..

http://www.vw-resource.com/rearaxle.html

-Adam
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73SpeedBuggy
Along these same lines. My left rear tire has a good amount of negative camber, but I have IRS and from what I've read your ride hieght doesn't affect camber on IRS vehicles.  Is the camber adjustable or is something bent?
-Adam
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74SuperB
I had the same problem and it also bottomed out when I had the kids in the back seat. I just put on a set of coil over shocks which solved both problems.
74SuperB
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