Re-building the Beetle’s chassis

VW Beetle Restoration Project, Mar-2015

The chassis was re-assembled using new parts where necessary. Firstly the pedals were re-fitted all cleaned and greased. A new link for the throttle pedal was made up as the old linkage was very sloppy:

The transmission was re-fitted with new rubber mounts:

New polyurethane outer bearings were fitted to the trailing arm pivots as the old rubber ones were deformed beyond use:

New wheel bearings were fitted as the old ones were grumbling along with new seals and brake shoes. The adjusters were cleaned and greased. The wheel cylinders were retained as the pistons moved freely and there was no sign of leakage:

At the front, the wheel bearings were also a bit grumbly and there was a mix of ball and roller types – so these had to be replaced too:

Apart from the bearings, the front hubs were in good condition, so it was a case of cleaning, de-rusting, painting and reassembly:

The front suspension seemed in good order with no play or clunking apparent, so it was given a good wire-brushing, painted and re-fitted. A new steering damper was needed as the old one was completely useless with no damping action whatsoever:

The front beam has castor adjust shims fitted and the old bolts were standard length, so there was only about 4 turns before the standard bolts bottomed out. The old bolts were pretty rusty too so we decided to change these for new longer bolts:

All of the major components now in place:

 A new master cylinder was fitted and new pre-made brake pipes throughout:

New poly boots were fitted to the axle tubes then the gearbox oil could be replaced. Rigged up a funnel so that I could leave it to drain into the gearbox unattended since it takes ages to transfer 2.5 litres of oil by gravity alone:

Finally, we have a complete chassis (sans shocks!) ready to fit back to the body:

At this stage, the rear hub nuts were not torqued down because it needs some weight on the rear wheels to get the required torque on the nuts, so will leave this until the car is fully reassembled.