JBUGS VIDEO SERIES

JBugs Video Series

VW Beetle Narrowed Front Beam Installation:

Video Overview:

Whenever you're making modifications to your front end, be it after market wheels, drop spindles or even lowering your vehicle, installing a narrowed beam is a crucial step for proper installation. Follow along as we walk you through how to properly install a narrowed link pin front beam into a VW Beetle.


Video Tips:

Tools you will need:

Hammer
Chisel
Flathead Screwdriver
13mm Wrench
17mm Wrench
19mm Wrench
Crescent Wrench
3/8" or 1/2" Ratchet
13mm Socket
17mm Socket
19mm Socket
8mm Allen Key
Grease Gun
Zip Ties
Linesman Pliers

Video Transcript:

Hello I'm Sam with JBugs.com With our 1963 resto custom Beetle's trailing arms and steering box cleaned up and painted, and all of our hardware cleaned, we'll start setting up and installing a two inch narrowed adjustable link pin beam. Installing new leaves and trailing arms in a new beam can be a difficult process; however, I've picked up a few tricks over the years that will make the job much easier.

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We start on our work bench and first we will mount the steering box. Our steering box mounting bracket does not have the notches for the alignment tabs so the tabs on the beam are knocked off with a hammer and a chisel and the paint on the beam is touched up. The set screws for the center adjusters are un-threaded far enough to clear the leaves but still left in place to keep the blocks aligned in the beam. The new narrow leaf spring packs are prepped in order to be installed into the new beam. I use a zip tie to keep the leaf packs together, making it easier to slide through the center adjusting block.

 

The leaf springs on link pin suspensions all have the grub screw dimples drilled on the same side. After making sure they are aligned with the center set screw, the leaves are set in place into the beam. The leaf pack is slid all the way through the beam so that the leaves are sticking out of the opposite side and another zip tie is used to keep the leaf pack tight for the right trailing arm. The leaves are pushed back to the opposite side and pulled out about 10 inches. Another zip tie is used to hold the leaf pack together for the left trailing arm.

 

The upper trailing arm is greased slightly and a new trailing arm seal is installed onto the arm with the more beveled edge sitting against the trailing arm. The orientation of the set screw is checked to make sure that the arm is aligned with the leaves and the control arm is slid onto the leaf pack and tapped into place over the set screw dimple with a hammer. The control arm grub set screw is threaded into the arm and tightened firmly. The set nut can be tightened once all the arms are in place. The control arm is then slid into place into the beam, and the tapped gently through the outer bearing and all the way into the beam.

 

The center set screw on the beam is removed to make sure that the set screw dimple is aligned with the center block. Then the center set screw is threaded into the block and tightened firmly. The right trailing arm is greased, the seal is slid in place, and then it is slid into the beam and onto the leaf pack. Again, we gently tap the arm into place then check that it is in place over the set screw dimple. The control arm grub screw is threaded into the arm and tightened firmly.

 

The same process is followed for the bottom trailing arms and with the lower arms in place, the beam is laid flat and new zerk fittings are installed into the beam. Next, we will set up the height of the car. Notice how the adjuster screws are pointed in different directions here and how the trailing arms are sitting at different angles. The height of the car can be adjusted through this range. With the upper control arm being lowered all the way, and the lower control arm being raised all the way. As we will be installing drop spindles in this car, the trailing arms are pushed all the way down, moving the center adjuster screws all the way up in their slots.

 

The clam shell lock plates are installed and the lock nuts are tightened down to secure the plate to the beam. Now the set nuts on the control arms are all tightened down and we can get the beam in place under the car. With the help of some assistants the beam is lifted into place on the chassis and don't forget the shock pad bushings for the top mounting plated, like we almost did. The original beam bolts and lock plates are pushed though the beam into the chassis. All 4 bolts are firmly tightened. The lock plates are then bent over the bolt heads.

 

Up in the trunk, the beam to body bolts and washers are installed and tightened after setting new body to beam shock pad bushings in place. We had already reinstalled the steering coupler end to the steering shaft. So now we line up the steering box with the steering shaft. A new urethane steering coupler is bolted to the steering box, making sure that the grounding tab for the horn wire button is in place on one of the steering box bolts. The steering column is bolted to the steering coupler and because there's a bit more gap than I'd like, we loosen the steering column bracket inside the car underneath the dash.

 

The column is pushed through the firewall grommet so that the gap at the steering box is eliminated. The steering shaft to coupler bolts are tightened, the steering column bracket under the dash is re-installed. With the steering column connected to the steering box, the steering box alignment can be checked. The clamp bolts are tightened and the lock plates are bent over. Under the car a grease gun is used to grease the trailing arms at all four zerk fittings. Keep pumping the grease until it starts to seep out of the trailing arm seals. This is a new beam in our case so it's going to take some time at each tube for the grease to come out but it will eventually. Wipe away the access grease and you're ready for our next video, where we will assemble and install the drop spindles. In the meantime stop by JBugs.com for all your vintage VW front suspension parts and accessories.