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Old May 10th 2004, 06:26
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paulgrey paulgrey is offline
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Narrowed beam teething problems

Hello guys,

Just thought I would post this thead as I am having some teething problems with a 4" narrowed ball joint beam in my 1970 beetle. I have a few question about it below problem.


I am now enjoing having the narrowed beam fitted and it drives well under about 50 MPH but once I get over that speed the car gets harder to control. The steering doesn't feel quite as stiff as what it used to be (before the narrowed beam) and therefore it is less responsive and the tryes seem to take off and grip on any bump or dip in the road. I seem to bee fighting the car all the time.

The beam is adjustable and is wound down as far as it will go.

My questions are will running dropped spindels help me in this situation?.

I was thinking that if I use dropped spindels I will be able to get a little more travel out of the shocks which will absorb a few more of the bumbs.

Could this all just be the result of using directional tryes and heavy wheels on the beetle?.

Do you have any suggestions on how to stiffen the steering?.

I am looking forward to any suggestions.

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Old May 10th 2004, 07:37
bugsoup bugsoup is offline
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It sounds like you need castor shims. Most of the advertisers in the VW mags offer them pretty cheaply. Be sure to get a pair of the long beam bolts too. That's one cheap option to help with you're squirly steering. The dropped spindles will help and also add the shock extension back into the suspension. Its more expensive, but from the advise that has been told to me in the past, its also a better solution because of the shock problem you eluded to. You may also be suffering from bump steer. I'm not positive on how to solve this as I have the adjustable beam with dropped spindles already. That combo has worked pretty well for me, though.

Hope that helps.
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Old May 11th 2004, 04:13
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paulgrey paulgrey is offline
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hello Bugsoup,

Thanks for the info,

I am not sure what you mean by the long beam bolts and how that will make a differance.


I am using 18"/ 7.5" chrome wheels they are quite heavy so I am also wondering if I have to upgrade my shocks, what are you using for your frount shocks.

Best regards,
Paul.
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Old May 11th 2004, 09:52
bugsoup bugsoup is offline
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The castor shims are inserted between the bottom tube of the beam and the frame head. The longer bolts are so you have enough threads to hold the beam in place. You should only need them on the bottom.

I have Koni adjustables all around (from the TireRack), but I'm not sure how the weight of the wheels affects the suspension. I would guess that different shocks would help your situation, but I don't know what you should try. I'm sure someone else here can give you better advice on shock choice.
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Last edited by bugsoup; May 14th 2004 at 19:52. Reason: spelling (i before e, etc...)
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Old May 14th 2004, 16:21
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Steering Box maybe...

I have managed to track down some dropped CB performance spindles so I think I will try those and see if that brings the travel back. I have also been told that it could be a result of taking out the steering box and putting it back in, Does any one know how to recondition a steering box?.
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Old May 16th 2004, 18:54
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volkdent volkdent is offline
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I don't know the specs, but make sure you've had a good alignment too. Some of the Aussie racers might be able to counsel you on tweaked alignment.

The steering box may be a gonner, but make sure its been adjusted properly before you toss it.

I had 195/50/15s on a 4.5" narrowed beam w/ castor shims, dropped spindles, and a rebuilt steering box. It was very stable at high speed. I didn't even have sway bars.

Also check out how much of a rake you have(front height VS rear height). If it is quite extreme, you may have to add 2 shims. My suggestion would be to lower the back to keep your CG(center of gravity) low. Not too low on either though, because road obstacles can be a real hazard and hard on your frame head (I've cleared off a few of those zirconium bumps on the freeway before!)

Jason
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