JBugs Video Series

VW Beetle Link Pin Spindle Rebuild:

Video Overview:

Rebuilding link pin spindles is a difficult and time consuming job. Follow along as we walk you through how to properly break apart and put back together a link pin spindle system.

Video Tips:

*Tools you will need:

Bench Vise
6" 1/2" Drive Extension
12" 1/2" Drive Extension
6" 3/8" Drive Extension
Various 1/2" Drive Sockets**
Various 3/8" Drive Sockets**
Closed End Wrench
Flat Metal File
VW 224 King Pin Reamer Tool
Angle Grinder

*The Tools we used were not the ideal tools used for this job, but did get the job done. Short of the specialized reamer, all the other tools used are common hand tools that you most likely have in your garage.

**Sockets used for the outer diameter size not nut size

Video Transcript:

Hello Sam here with JBugs.com. Disassembling and reassembling king and link pin spindles can be a difficult task. Removing bushings out and installing new bushings requires an extreme amount of force. The use of the correct tools will make things much easier but with some stand-ins, the job can be done in your garage at home.


The only tool that we consider to be a necessity for installing new kingpins is a VW king pin reamer. A .710 inch reamer could be used but will not guarantee that the two bushings are aligned vertically. A press and proper sized dies are ideal for removing and installing new bushings. The next alternative would be a proper set of punches, a brass hammer and a bench vise. In keeping with the theme of "Common tools found in your garage at home", we use a framing hammer, some extensions and sockets as opposed to punches and a proper hammer. Our method was not the best we'll admit but it was effective and it got the job done.


With our original spindles cleaned and degreased, the first spindle is securely clamped into its vise. So the horizontal link pin bushings can be knocked out of the spindle carrier. Extensions [and] a socket are used along with a hammer to tap the upper and lower bushings through the spindle carrier. The link pin bushings are usually simple to remove with a few forceful strikes of the hammer. With the link pin bushings removed, the grease in the carrier is cleaned out of both ends.


Then the spindle is clamped upside down in the vise so the king pin can be driven out the top. A six inch extension, a closed end wrench to act as a guide and a hammer are used to deliver numerous powerful strikes to the king pin. Note: our extension has started to mushroom out as a reminder of how much force will be needed. Eventually the pin is driven through, and with the pin almost out, a 12" extension is used to drive the pin out completely.


The spindle can be slid or tapped out of the carrier in the direction of the grooves on the carrier. The dust cap, nylon bushing, alignment washer and spindle all come out together. Save the washer and the spindle, if you're reusing it. The cap and the bushing are not reused.


With the spindle carrier still in the vice, a small extension and socket are used to tap out the upper and lower king pin bushings. The other spindle assembly is disassembled using the same method and both spindle carriers are cleaned up a bit more and readied for reassembly.


The cleaned up spindle carrier is clamped back in the bench vise vertically with the bottom side up. A new king pin bushing is dropped into place. The bushing is tapped into place using the same extension and socket that we used to remove the old bushings. The bushing is tapped through the carrier and just slightly past the bottom edge. The spindle carrier is flipped over and a flat file is used to file the bushing flat with the carrier. Do not file down the steel carrier. Once you see marks into the carrier stop. The top bushing is dropped in and installed in the same manner.


Then the spindle is flipped over again and the flat file is used to file the bushing flat with the carrier. Then the narrow end of the flat file is used to notch the bushing to match the carrier. Now our one specialty tool, the VW 224 king pin reamer tool, is slid through the upper bushing and aligned with the lower bushing. We spin the reamer with a crescent wrench and light pressure through the upper and lower bushings. The shavings are all thoroughly cleaned from the spindle carrier and then it is clamped upright in the vise.


We use a socket below it to keep it from sliding through the vise. The original alignment washer is tapped into place over the pin, on the new disc brake drop spindle followed by a new greased nylon bushing and a new dust cap. The angle on the brace for the carrier has a flat side and an angled side. The flat side sits toward the chassis. Then angled side sits toward the spindle.


With the steering arm for the spindle at the opposite side of the carrier brace. Grease is applied to the upper and lower bushings. Then the spindle is slid into the carrier following the notches in the carrier. A new greased king pin is dropped through the top hole of the carrier. With the spindle straight in the carrier, the grease ports are aligned with the holes pointing forward. The pin is tapped with a good amount of force into place through the upper carrier, into the spindle and the lower carrier. It is tapped down until it is roughly flushed with the upper king pin bushing.


The assembly is removed from the vise and clamped back in on its side. So the link pin bushings can be tapped into place. With drop spindles, installing the lower bushing is simple as there is plenty of clearance for an extension and socket. Make sure the grease hole in the bushing is pointing towards the king pin to ensure that the grease can enter the bushing. We start with a similar sized socket and tap the new greased bushing almost flushed with the carrier. We switch to a slightly larger socket to ensure the bushing is installed flush with the carrier and tapped all the way in.


There is less clearance for the top bushing as the drop spindle sits higher to lower the car. So the spindle is braced by hand against the bench vise. While carefully tapping the greased bushing into place as squarely as possible, again make sure the grease hole points toward the king pin. We use the same small socket first, then a large socket is again used to make sure the bushing is flat with the carrier. The reamer can be used to make sure the bushings are not deformed and will accept the link pins smoothly. Both the king pins and the link pins are reamed to the same size. The opposite spindle is assembled in the same manner and because we installed aftermarket spindles, we double check that both spindles rotate in the spindle and stop against the steering stop at the front of the carrier.


Our right spindle was clear but the left side spindle needed some clearance which we did with an angle grinder before it hit the steering stop. This can be caused by manufacturer variances in the casting or milling so double check the operation before installing the spindles on the car. With the spindles completely assembled they will be painted and once dry, they will be ready to install on the trailing arms. That will be covered in our next video so stay tuned. In the meantime stop by JBugs.com for all your vintage Volkswagen parts and accessories.