1971 VW Super Beetle - Front Steering & Suspension Installation:
Now that the body is back on the pan of our 1971 Super Beetle, we can work on getting it back on its own wheels. Follow along as we install the various steering, suspension and brake components needed to get our Euro Look Beetles front wheels and tires back on.
Idler arm installation: 1:10
Steering box prep: 1:29
Steering box installation: 2:28
Steering damper installation: 2:30
Tie rod assembly prep: 2:46
Tie rod assembly installation: 3:07
Control arm prep: 3:46
Control arm installation: 4:09
Sway bar installation: 4:32
Strut assembly prep: 5:25
Strut assembly installation: 5:45
Strut cross brace assembly installation: 6:28
Front disc brake conversion kit installation: 7:15
In our last video, we took a major step in our 1971 Euro Look Super Beetle restoration
and we got the body bolted back to the chassis.
As our car is a Super Beetle, it has a MacPherson front suspension
so we couldn't install the front suspension pieces until the body was in place. Now that it is in place of course, we can get to work installing it.
We start with the idler arm which we cleaned up and painted after checking for play in the shaft.
Our unit was in great shape so we didn't need to press out the old bushing and press a new one in. The idler arm is set in place, under the body, and bolted to the inner fender well.
Then at our workbench,
we install a new steering shaft to our cleaned, painted, and repacked steering box which was inspected prior to being restored. The steering shaft is slid onto the input shaft noting that the bolt is key to hold the shaft to the box at one spline position only.
Note, we didn't install the steering shaft boot disc as the boots were an over-design feature by Volkswagen.
We don't know of any modern vehicles that run a steering shaft boot so we leave them off.
Once the shaft is installed, we thread an 8x45 bolt with a ground point into the end
into the pitman arm in alignment to the locking point on the steering box. This ensures the steering box is centered when we install the tie rods and strut assemblies later. At the car, the box and shaft are slid under the body.
The shaft is guided underneath the trunk
and the box is bolted in place to the left fender mount.
A new steering damper is set into the chassis, through the wheel well,
and bolted in place through the access hole in the bottom of the trunk.
A new steering damper bushing is installed into the pitman arm
and the other end of the damper is bolted in place there.
Next, we'll prep the tie rod assembly
which consists of the center tie rod and the left and right tie rod assemblies, which bolt to it. We make sure to put the double lock nut ends, of the left and right tie rods, at the outside edges. Then, we bolt the opposite ends to the center tie rods and tighten the nuts. At the left side of the car, the tie rod assembly is fed between the body and chassis.
The left end of the center tie rod is bolted to the pitman arm
and a cotter pin is inserted into the castle nut and bent over.
Before we move to the opposite side, we check that the tie rod ends have an equal amount of thread exposed.
We'll adjust the alignment later and want to make sure we have a full range of adjustment.
On the right side of the car, we bolt in the center tie rod to the idler arm.
Install a cotter pin and bend it over and check the tie rod adjustment there as well.
Back on our workbench, we'll prep our cleaned and painted control arms with new urethane bushings.
The inner control arm bushings at the chassis, are easily distinguished from the sway bar bushings, but the inner sleeves might be confusing. Make sure to install the bushings with the smaller inside diameter, at the inner bushing. The other sleeves are for the outer sway bar bushings.
Once both control arms are prepped, we'll move back to the car and grease the inner bushings,
and set the control arm into the chassis noting the correct orientation. The eccentric bolts for the control arms are installed, rotated to the innermost position, and then tightened down. Once both arms are in place, we grease the sway bar bushings and install a new 3/4 inch sway bar with the washers in place on either side of the bushings.
Once the sway bar is inserted through both of the control arms,
and the washers are over the bushings on the opposite side, the sway bar end nuts are tightened down to hold the bar to the control arms.
The larger diameter sway bar comes with new chassis bushings
as the standard bushings, and those that come with our control arm bushing kit,
are for the stock diameter bar.
Once the bushing is greased, it is installed over the sway bar,
the stock clamp is set over the bushing and bolted in place over the chassis.
The opposite bushing is installed in the same way
while using a punch to help align the clamp before bolting it in place.
At our bench again, we assemble the lower strut housings
which have been painted along with the springs and the caps. New strut mounts top off the strut assemblies, and new ball joints complete the reassembly of the struts. We cover the assembly of the struts in greater detail in our adjustable strut installation video.
The right strut is set into place into the lower control arm
and then pushed down clear of the body
and inserted into the holes in the trunk. In the trunk, a new strut tower brace bracket, which has been trimmed down, is set into the studs and the nuts are threaded on and tightened down.
The right tie rod end is bolted to the spindle
and the ball joint and tie rod nuts are tightened down.
The three ball joint bolts, which hold the ball joint to the strut housing, are tightened down.
The lock plates are tapped up to hold the bolts in place.
The same process is followed on the left-hand side strut assembly.
Then in the trunk, we thread in the end links for the strut brace, into the crossbar, an equal amount.
A bolt is inserted through the right bracket and link, and while holding the opposite link, the cross brace is shortened until the opposite link lines up with the bracket on the left side. The bolt is inserted there. Then, while rotating the bar, we can see the body actually move by shortening or lengthening the crossbar. We will note that this crossbar we installed is a chrome-plated hex bar, which came in as a fluke. The crossbars that normally come with the brace are a round tube steel bar.
With the crossbar set in a neutral position,
we tighten the bracket bolts at both sides which locks the adjustments of the cross brace.
Next, we bolt on the disc brake caliper brackets,
install the brake rotors, and the brake calipers which we painted red. We cover the installation of the front disc brake conversion kit in much more depth in that specific video.
One difference from that video to now
is that we did weld on brake line tabs to our adjustable strut assemblies. Our complete stainless-steel brake line hard kit includes new brake lines for the front.
So, we bend up new lines to thread into the calipers
and line up with the brake line tab.
The stainless steel braided brake hose is attached to both steel lines
and brake line clips hold the hose to the tabs.
Once the line is installed on the opposite sides,
we use a measuring tape to give our car a garage alignment with about a quarter-inch of tow-in.
We install a new frame head seal in the chassis underneath the car
and bolt the crumple guard in place to the chassis. Finally, we remove the set screw from the pitman arm so we can get our steering column reassembled and installed in our next video.
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