JBugs Video Series

VW Beetle Lowering Rear Swing Axle Suspension:

Video Overview:

If you've ever thought about lowering the back end of your VW Beetle, this is the video for you. Follow along as we show you step by step how to lower the rear end of a vintage Volkswagen Beetle. There are no parts needed to swap out for this one, just a handy set of tools. This is a great and simple DIY project for you to do at home.

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Lowering the Rear Swing Axle Suspension


One popular modification is lowering the rear suspension to achieve a sleeker, more aggressive stance. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of lowering the rear suspension, emphasizing safety and precision. Remember, this modification is optional and done as part of a restoration project, not out of necessity.


Use extreme caution when removing the spring plate, as it is held under extreme tension. We highly recommend clearing the area below the Spring Plate of any tools, debris and make certain to stay clear of moving parts during removal. When the Spring Plate clears the housing it will release downward with an extreme amount of force and may cause injury if proper precautions are not taken.

Tools Needed:

-Wheel Chocks
-Lug Wrench
-Jack Stands
-10mm Wrench
-17mm Wrench
-19mm Wrench
-1/2" Drive Ratchet
-15mm Socket
-17mm Socket
-19mm Socket
-Flathead Screwdriver
-Center Punch
-Sledge Hammer
-Utility Knife

Step 1: Preparation

To begin, ensure that your front wheels are securely chocked. Loosen the lug bolts on both rear wheels. Jack up the rear end of the car and support it on jack stands under the torsion housing. Remove the rear wheels and unbolt the rear shock from the axle tube and shock tower, then remove the shock from the car.

Step 2: Access the Suspension Components

Unbolt the axle tube from the spring plate and set aside the bump stop plate. Inside the car, remove the emergency brake cables, allowing the axle to be rotated clear of the spring plate. Pull the emergency brake cable out of the chassis, and re-support the axle.

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Step 3: Remove the Spring Plate

Unbolt the spring plate cap from the torsion housing. With the cap removed, carefully pop off the spring plate from the torsion housing. Use extreme caution, as the torsion bars can hold an extreme amount of energy and when unloaded, that energy will force the spring plate down, sometimes quickly and unexpectedly. Do NOT pry the spring plate from the bottom side, as once the plate is clear of the housing, it may shoot down. Keep the area below the spring plate clear of tools and body parts. With the spring plate free of the torsion housing mark the angle of the spring plate on the housing for future reference if you ever want to return to stock height.

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Step 4: Adjust the Suspension

The torsion bars have different splines inside and outside so that the suspension can be adjusted in small increments. For our car we want a significant drop so we will turn the spring plate two teeth on the outer splines, lowering the rear end by approximately five inches. Exercise caution when handling the torsion bars.

Rear Suspension Adjustment Diagram

Step 5: Reinstall the Spring Plate

Remove the old bushings and install a new bushing on the inner portion of the spring plate. Carefully reinstall the spring plate on the torsion housing, aligning it with the marked angle. Adjust the spring plate by turning it up one spline at a time, ensuring it securely fits into the housing. With the new bushings it may be difficult to get the spring plate to set in place. A hammer can be used to gently tap it into position. Set another new bushing on the plate followed by the cap. Secure the spring plate by bolting down the cap, using caution due to the new bushings. Pro tip: a center punch and/or temporary 40mm long bolt can be used to hold the upper cap in place at the bolt holes while the lower bolts are threaded on and tightened down.

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Step 6: Install Shocks

If you are reusing the bump stops, it's recommended to trim the height down to allow for some suspension travel with the lower ride height. In extremely lowered cars the plate is often left out completely. After trimming the bump stop, set it in place on the plate and set the plate in place on the axle tube so that the axle tube can be bolted to the spring plate. Make sure to slide the axle tube all the way forward in the spring plate notches before tightening the bolts. Install shocks and bolt them to the axle tube and shock tower.

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Step 7: Complete the Process

Reinstall wheels and tires back onto the car. Once both sides are done, lower the car, and the rear end should now sit much lower than stock. After the front springs settle, you may need to readjust the front to achieve the desired stance. Reattach the handbrake cables and tighten the lug bolts to complete the job.


Lowering the rear suspension of your vintage Volkswagen is a rewarding customization that adds both style and improved handling to your classic car. Always prioritize safety, follow the step-by-step guide carefully, and enjoy the enhanced aesthetics and performance of your lowered ride.