Monday 30 September 2013

Dismantling the front beam

I decided to dismantle the front beam this past weekend in preparation for cleaning, painting and possibly narrowing: 

First up was the removal of the grease caps, which popped out easily enough with some gentle coxing of a flat-headed screwdriver: 

Once the nuts and washers had been taken off of the greasy spindle the outer casing of the drum brake came away without too much fuss: 

After undoing the three inner bolts the drum brake backing plate came free. Both sides came apart without any drama: 

I then removed both shocks, which were simply secured by bolts at the top and bottom:

Another two bolts later I had the steering damper detached:

The tie rods required a bit more persistence and preparation. I found that wire brushing the nut and exposed thread followed by a liberal drenching of WD40 (penetrating fluid) was the best method:

The above approach worked for all but one tie rod end (why is there always one little stubborn bugger?!). Frustratingly the thread started spinning freely before I had got the nut off. I found that no amount of clamping with the vice grips would hold the thread tightly enough to that damn nut to turn again. After some time and perseverance I decided that I would sacrifice the track rod end as I was considering replacing them all anyway. So, out came the angle grinder:

I then cleaned up the treads of the steering box and removed the unit with ease:

After loosening the clamping bolts I was able to tap out the link pins, which allowed for the removal of the spindles:

After removing the outer nuts and cleaning out the accumulated crap inside the allen key cavities, I loosed the threaded pin which holds the torsion leaves in place:

The torsion arms were then free to be removed:

Just for fun I set up an exploded view of the individual components that make up the front beam:   


  1. I am also rebuilding the beam on my 65 Bug and have a couple of questions, mind if I pick your brain?

    1. Hi Ken

      I am happy to help if I possibly can. I am an expert at taking rusty parts off of old vw's, but when it comes to rebuilding things I must confess that I am still a novice.

      What seems to be the problem?

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  3. Hey there, very helpful walkthrough! Quick question, I am mounting spindle mount wheels, and after removing the drum, my wheel does not sit flush against the spindle, any insight?

    1. Hello Harley and thanks for your question. Alas, I do not have any experience of spindle mount wheels so unfortunately I cannot advise. However, I am sure that if you post your query on one of the dedicated VW forums you will get the answer you need in no time. The Samba is a good place to start:

  4. I am rebuilding a '69 bug. Took off front torsion arms for powder coating and was about to install them but the torsion bars stick out way too far. They will not go in OR out, even after I took out the the retaining allen bolt. Is there a trick to getting these things out???