JBugs Video Series

1971 VW Super Beetle - Rear Suspension & Axle Tear Down:

Video Overview:

We’re back to work in our own shop on our 1971 Euro Look Super Beetle. The chassis has been cleaned up and painted after we did the rust repairs and installed new floor pans. Now we’re going to cover the last bit of tear down on it before reassembly. Follow along as we pull apart the rear suspension and axles so they can be cleaned up before we start reassembling our pan!

Vehicle prep: 0:53
Rear disc brake removal: 1:20
Stub axle removal: 1:52
Trailing arm removal: 2:58
Trailing arm modification: 3:32
Spring plate removal: 4:17

Video Tips:

Tools used in this video:

1/2" Impact Driver
1/2" Drive 15mm Socket
1/2" Drive 19mm Socket
1/2" Drive 36mm Socket
Needle Nose Pliers
Flat Blade Screwdrivers
Axle Removal Tool
Torque Multiplier Tool
19mm Wrench
3/8" Drive Ratchet
3/8" Impact Driver
3/8" Drive 11mm Socket
3/8" Drive 14mm Socket
3/8" Drive 17mm Allen Driver
Hydraulic Press
1/8" Drill Bit
5/16" Drill Bit

Video Transcript:

Hi! Sam here with JBugs.com
We're back to work on our 1971 Euro look Super Beetle and we're back in our own shop. 
After leaving my friend's shop, I took the pan and body home, to my house, and got to work on the chassis first. 
It was cleaned, inside and out, top and bottom, 
all the surface rust was treated with rust converter, and then the bottom side was undercoated and the rest of the chassis was painted.
In this video, we're going to cover the last bit of chassis that we haven't completely disassembled, 
the rear trailing arms and axles. 
Most of the teardown was covered between our rear disc brake and our lowering videos, 
so we'll gloss over those portions.
We'll get started with the back of the chassis up on jack stands and remove the rear wheels. 
The axle nut cotter pin is removed. 
Then, we bolt on an axle nut removal tool 
and a torque multiplier tool so we can loosen and remove the rear axle nut. 
The tools and the rear brake rotor are removed 
so we can remove the axle bearing cap, the brake caliper bracket, and the axle spacer.
Then, we try to remove the stub axle. 
It should be able to be pushed out by hand like we were able to do on the left side. 
It doesn't, so we thread on an axle nut to protect the threads of the axle 
then repeatedly beat on the nut. The outer wheel bearing frees up so we remove the nut and pull out the bearing and inner race. The axle nut is threaded back on and we continue hitting the axle nut until eventually, the axle comes free from the trailing arm. With the axle free, we can see the inner spacer, and reaching into the trailing arm, we can remove the center spacer.
At the backside of the trailing arm, we use a hammer and a custom flathead screwdriver to remove the inner axle seal, 
so we can access the bearing snap ring. We couldn't find our snap ring pliers so a few flathead screwdrivers were used to pry the ring out. A hammer and punch are used on the opposite side to tap out the inner bearing. Then, most of the grease is cleaned out of the trailing arm.
Next, we'll get the trailing arm removed from the spring plate, loosening and removing the bolts there. 
Then, we loosen and unthread the trailing arm pivot bolt from the chassis. It is removed and we'll note the two large washers. Both washers are installed on the outer edge of the trailing arm. 
The trailing arm is lifted up and out of the chassis, 
and we head over to our press so we can remove the rubber pivot bushings.
A hammer and chisel, or punch, could be used to remove the bushing if a press isn't available. 
We're going to do a modification to our bump stops while we're here. 
When a VW rear end is lowered, 
the stock bump stops are often times compressed too far and will pop off. So, whenever the suspension is bottomed out, the metal nipple for the bump stop will end up hitting the shock tower. This doesn't really hurt anything but the sound is pretty annoying.
So, I like to install low profile bump stops to prevent the metal to metal contact. 
The metal nipple is removed with a few strikes from a hammer. 
Then, we drill out a hole in the center of the cup 
so we can install the bolt in bump stop. This will help to quiet up the rear suspension quite a bit.
The last portion of the rear suspension we'll remove, is the spring plates. 
Staring with, the spring plate cover. 
Then, since we're already lowered the rear suspension, 
we can pull off the spring plate relatively easily. 
If you haven't lowered your car already, be cautious as the spring plates are normally under a load 
and can spring down with a lot of force once they are past the torsion housing. We cover this in-depth in our rear suspension lowering video.
We've already set the ride height at the rear of our car 
and we want to make sure that we remove the spring plate from the torsion bar and not the torsion bar from the chassis. So, we pull the plate out slowly and we want to make sure the torsion bar stays in place. 
Once we know the torsion bar is staying in place in the chassis, 
we slide the plate back in and scribe the torsion housing so we know where to reinstall it later.
The plate is slid out completely, 
and we tap the torsion bar to make sure it's fully seated, and we remove the outer spring plate bushing from the plate. 
The inner bushing is removed from the torsion housing. 
Once the process is finished on both sides, 
we can clean up the areas on the chassis and the other parts that we just removed. All the parts will be painted and then we'll cover the re-installation soon.
Thank for watching!
Let us know if you have any question in the comments below, 
make sure to click like and subscribe if you haven't already and of course when you need parts for your vintage VW, head over to JBugs.com