Sam gets to work tearing down the front end of our 1967 Sunroof Beetle so he can install a drop spindle disc brake kit.


JBugs Video Blog, VW Tech Tips

Watch the video to see Sam prep for the new disc brakes and drop spindles

There is work to be done, and a deadline for this car to be on the road so Sam gets to work tearing down the front end of our 1967 Sunroof Beetle so he can install a drop spindle disc brake kit. The teardown goes easily enough with some typical issues, like a rusted shock bolt and a tie rod end that didn't want to break free. Unfortunately the original ball joints aren't in good shape, and we didn't have our ball joint press kit in the shop. So the front end work halts temporarily and Sam spends some time cleaning up inside the trunk a bit. The show must go on!

Video Transcript

Well, this car is not going to fix itself. So, I better get to work.

Today, drop spindles, disc brakes. That way we can take care of some of this tire gap. Straight up and down, against this grease cap about 28 and a quarter. We can do better than that.

I am going underneath the car today so we're gonna use jack stands.

This isn't by any means necessary when doing drop spindle and disc brakes, but since it's so easy to do because these things are only held on by two bolts and they're only finger tight I'm gonna pull out the fender, give me a little bit more access and then give you guys a better view.

I'm really surprised at how clean this stuff is. Now granted, I did hit it with a pressure washer, but we do have some debris in there. But I mean, look at that upper control arm, the grub screw, all that stuff is just super, super clean. That one's a little bit more greasy, but all in all, this thing's just super clean and super dry. Makes our life a little bit easier now, doesn't it.

All right, so gotta pull up the speedometer cable, loosen this nut and this nut and this nut at which point I can get this spindle up and out of the way. For sheer sake of making this thing a little easier to deal with, probably pull off the shock. Probably leave on the sway bar. We'll see how that goes. This tie rod end has to come out because we'll have to swap this to a larger unit because our drive spindles have a larger shaft. Probably going to just cut this brake line. Let's get to it.

Well that was nice. That makes that easy. Speedometer cable, let’s tuck that up out of the way. Oh that ball joint, we might be replacing that.

I'd say we don't have much shock.

You gotta do what you got to do. That's hot.

Disconnect our brake line. Actually I'm just gonna cut it. There, easy. Let's get that guy busted loose. If you have to beat on the threads, put a nut over the threads and since this thing's castellated we'll put it on backwards.

Putting tension on the stud.

Well looking at our old brake drum I'm not even going to bother tearing a part, but we can see that both of our pins were loose. So that means all the springs and stuff inside are all just free and crazy. Not a problem, no more. These are a problem though. Ball joint, that's really loose. That boot is torn to bits. Now I got a debate on whether or not I'm going to go just put new arms on, which we do offer, or if I want to press these out and press new ones in. We have a press. Decisions, decisions.

Well, I know I'm gonna have to pull this off so.

New 68-77 left hand thread left, left outer. A little anti-seize.

Take note about how much thread is sticking out versus the last one to center line. That should get us in the ballpark. While we're here since we're definitely going to have to adjust it. Might as well make sure this guy's free. Oh that's actually really nice. Must have been a lot less rust on the inside. Ah come on. Beautiful.

All right, I gotta decide what I'm gonna do on these. In kind of keeping with the spirit of let's do this cheap I'm just going to press out these ball joints and press in new ball joints. That's definitely going to be the cheaper option versus buying a new set of control arms with ball joints. We do have a couple of options whether it be the EMPI, new EMPI arms or the air-cooled pro-built arms that both come with new ball joints pressed in. But again, cheapest option is going to be pull these out and just replace these ball joints so I'm gonna pull these arms off. And that begins by prying these guys out.

That doesn't look good. I better adjust that real quick.

Like so.

All right, well I didn't plan on going this far deep into it, but here we are. I've got everything taken off this side so we can put some new ball joints in. I don't have my ball joint cups here. They're at my house. So I'll have to wait till tomorrow for that, but I'm just going to get everything on the other side pulled apart. Just like this and I will film it all and anything special should comes up we'll show that.

All right since I'm kind of dead in the water until I go home get my ball joint tool I've got everything disassembled, got a new tie rod end in both sides. I need to get new ball joints pressed into either control arm, upper, lower, left, right. Once I get all that done I can obviously put on the new spindles and the disc brakes and all that stuff. I'm going to start cleaning out the interior a little bit because it's dirty and yucky and I actually just noticed that we've got a lot of debris under the passenger side rear floor which means that floor pan had been had an insert on the inside that's why it seems kind of solid but it's actually not. So I'm probably gonna have to do a floor pan along the rust repair. If you see that nice little hole on the back of your fender well at the bottom of the A pillar. That's very rusted out and there's no metal there left. Obviously we'll have to repair that. So there's stuff to do. Is it going to kill the car’s roadworthiness with a little rust? No, but it can be taken care of and it's better to do it sooner rather than later. But we'll see how far I get with all the rust repairs before the show.

All right, so we've got everything pulled off the car. Front end's all cleaned up for the most part. Ready to start putting things back together once I get the new ball joints put back in place, uh pressed in place. But in the meantime, let's take a look at what we got in our boxes of disc brake parts.

Heavy boxes. Box one. Paper, don’t need that. Disc break instructions, please read first. I'll read that last. Goodness gracious that's not light. Made in Brazil. Heavy, like a brake rotor. Also, goodness gracious. Another brake rotor. That's our brake rotor, disc brake section. They are conveniently enough double drilled 5x130 pattern and five by 205 pattern, which is what we'll be using. We do need to press in the bearing races here and here.

All right box two. Brake hose is handy because I just cut our originals. The main reason well the second main reason, first reason I don't know. First reason we want to lower the car. Second reason to get some disc brakes. Drop spindles. These, obviously, the stock spindle came out down here in between the two ball joints. Drop spindles do exactly just that. They take the spindle and they move it up to drop the front of the car. So if we mount that and that there, see this spindles way up here, this spindle is way down here so that's where we get our. Ah don't drop the spindle especially on your toe. That might hurt. Other side spindle. Lots of hardware, wheel bearings with races, new thrust washers, axle nuts, wheel seals, and caliper mounting hardware and caliper spacers in varying thicknesses to set the spacing on the caliper to the brackets. A big reason why we're doing all this, disc brakes, calipers so a lot more stopping power than the original wheel cylinders. So here we go. That is our disc brake drop spindle kit unboxed.

Here’s the drop spindle. Here's our old tie rod end and you see it is too small, which is why I've already gone through and pulled these out and swapped them out to the larger shaft, later model tie rod ends. One more thing we've got, just to complete everything, new dust caps that are specific to these brake rotors so buying that one kit and these two caps we get everything that we just took off right here. So we've got new hoses, we've got new spindles, seal, bearings, rotor instead of that, thrust washers, outer bearings, axle nut, and obviously a new cap. So we've got everything to replace this entire unit that we just pulled off the car and we don't even have to bother opening this thing up. But we will save these in case somebody out there needs them.

All right, I'm going to start cleaning up. I don't need that, dash grab handle hardware.

There, that's a little bit better. There's no gas cap on this tank. No fuel in the tank. I wonder how clean it is in there.

That's some real life varnish running around in there, but the tank itself is really quite clean and rust free so I'm gonna rinse this guy out we're gonna reuse it. Because, why not? It's got a beautiful patina on it. I never thought I would say that.

Well the trunk looks much cleaner. Uh, kind of rusty, but it's clean.

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