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Need info on how to lower my 66

 
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bajaaaron66
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Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 27
Location: tampa florida

PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 7:49 am    Post subject: Need info on how to lower my 66 Reply with quote

Hello everyone, i have alot of time on my hands right know, freak accident and broke my ankle. I want to know what is the best way to lower my car like the ones they call slammed, real low rider.i am not sure if i can do it myself once i am back on my feet.My 66 is setup right know as a baja and i think i am going to go back to original with low profile tires and some new rims from mid america, any help would be great, thanks Aaron
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fatalifeaten
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Joined: 03 Feb 2008
Posts: 565
Location: The 480

PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How low you wanna go?

I could write a book on this subject. I'm not insanely low according to the lowered crowd, but I'm low enough to hear it from the purists. Smile You can do an air ride kit for a bug, there are some really good ones out there, or you can do it the "set it and forget it" way and go with a static drop. Depends on what you want to spend. Air's 2x as spendy at least...

The good news is that the rear's very easy to lower. All you have to do is re-index the torsions. There's some math involved and you're going to get negative camber after a couple of inches of lowering, but as long as you're not too extreme you'll be ok.

Here's a link to the Chirco Forums with a spline chart in it.
http://www.chircoestore.com/catalog/smf/index.php?topic=3307.0

I'm down 2 outers, for 11cm of rear drop on my '66 (shows as +2 on the chart, second from bottom)

Now, up front, there are a lot of variables to consider.

I'll preface this by saying I don't know how much of your front end got lopped off when you did your baja conversion, so I'm referencing an uncut, full-fendered '66 body as a baseline. Your mileage may vary.

First thing you'll need to decide is what wheel and tire you want to run. More the wheels than the tires, because you're going to end up changing the tires once you get the car lowered. The wheel size, width, and backspacing are going to have a significant impact on how low you can go and drive with any sort of normality. The wider the wheel sticks out after you figure out the track, the more you'll have to pull it in to keep it tucked and not rubbing.

If you just want a little bit of drop and not a lot of fuss, get yourself a set of front drop spindles. You'll need ball joint spindles, They'll give you an instant 2.5" drop up front, but they'll add about 3/4" inch of track, so you're going to have to use a narrower tire if this is all you do. Most guys will drop to a 145 or a 135 if this is all the lowering they want. You can swap spindles in about 4 hours start to finish. Replace the balljoints and tie rod ends while you're down there. Most BJ drop spindles are for '68 and later, so you'll need a '68 innner wheel bearing and a '66 outer to run a stock '66 drum. Works like a charm. This kind of drop will close up most of that air gap between the tires and the fenders, and usually looks nice with about 1 outer in the rear. (Cal-look style)

If that's not low enough, keep reading, it gets fun from here. Smile

When you lower the front suspension, the entire front end geometry changes because of the way the torsion beam suspension works. With only a lowered front end and no other modifications you end up changing the wheel position in the fender as the car comes down, and that leads to fun things like fender rub, ball joint binding, steering and control issues as the caster changes, etc. Almost all of these things can be corrected and you can make a lowered car handle as well, or better than a stock one.

if you want to run low on stockers or any sort of aftermarket wheel, odds are you're going to have to narrow the front beam to pull the (almost always) wider wheels in towards the center of the car to clear pesky things like the fenders and headlight buckets. You can buy 2" narrowed beams off the shelf from a number of suppliers (CB, CIP1, MAM for example). The thing here is, 2" isn't always enough. Say you want to run 5 spokes and drop spindles. With a 2" narrowed beam you're sticking out by almost a half inch. Not only are you not going to get low like that, you're going to be burning your paint and grooving your tires when you hit bumps and they push up into the fenders. So again, unless you're just wanting to close that fender to tire gap, a 2" beam isn't going to get you there. Smile Now, at the other end of the narrowing equation, anything narrower than 4" on a '66 and you're either running without shocks or you're cutting the body up to clear the shock towers. Running shockless isn't necessarily bad, I know tons of people who swear by it, but I like the dampening of those shocks personally.

Ok, so you've decided what wheels and beam you want to run, now it's time to get to the fun parts! There are a couple different types of ride adjusters out there, the Avis style which uses a series of grooved teeth that interlock and hold your ride height, and the Sway-Away style, which uses a couple of stop blocks and grub screws to dot eh same thing. My opinion, is that the Avis style adjusters are crap. They don't properly fit the curvature of the torsion tube and the teeth have an annoying habit of slipping, and that's not good. The SAW style seem to work better. Cost wise they're about the same, and everyone carries both typically. Weld a set in relocate your steering box, and you're ready to rock and roll. Depending on how narrow you go, you'll need to get narrowed tierods too. Remember to split the total amount you narrowed in half and take half the total off EACH tie rod or bad things can happen. You'll also need narrowed torsion leaves. Be aware, the more you narrow, the stiffer they get. Super narrow beams can ride like a buckboard running the rubicon trail.

Back to drop spindles. They're really nifty things on a lowered car, because they are a very effective way to reset the steering geometry after you lower. They also allow you to run a stock length shock, which means you can take your pick, Finally, you can run a stock balljoint (unless you're looking to be a half inch off the ground, then you still need the lowered ones). and worry less about them binding while the suspension's active.I'm a huge fan of the drop spindle, and I always suggest people run them. Yes, it's another hundred and eighty bucks, but worth every penny when you consider the safety and longevity they help restore to your ride. if you lower it more than about 4" you're probably going to want to install a set of caster shims too. As the car drops, the beam becomes more vertical, and the shims will reset it to it's natural rear lean.

I think that covers the basics, now what you do with it is up to you.

Here's a cool thread from the samba that has a lot of photos of lowered cars and the owner's specifications for what they used. Makes it really nice as you can brows and pick the look you like best.

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=247735

And lastly, allow me to show mine off. It's in that thread somewhere, but this is easier. I'm just going to post a link as the image is pretty big.

http://gallery.sixdaemonbag.com:50666/photos/CD_12_10_21_07/20080224/DSC_0015.JPG


As I mentioned earlier, 2 down in the rear., on 225/60x15 tires. Up front, 4" narrowed beam with SAW adjusters, & narrowed tie rods. One set of caster shims, stock '66 drums. Tires are 195/50x15 and I'm running American Eagle polished 5 spokes which are 5.5" wide (at all 4 corners) I Was looking to fill the fenders with rubber rather than have a super skinny tire "tucked" in. This combination worked out perfectly and while I do get a little bit of rub on the inner finders, it's only when I've got the steering wheel cranked all the way tot eh steering stops. I've easily got 90% stock turning radius, and very rarely do I have to make a multipoint turn. Oh, yeah, I"m 2" off the ground to the bottom of the torsion tube, and 1.5" off the ground to the lowest point of the front suspension.

Ok, overwhelmed yet? Smile
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crazydaze
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Joined: 21 Jun 2007
Posts: 136
Location: Woking, Surrey, UK

PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

^ That there is all you need to know! Cool Cool Cool

Just a small point, Ball Joint cars won't run as smooth as a king and link pin pre '65 lowered by the same amount. Ball joint cars suffer more clearance issues on the front end with the beam than king & link cars that tend to hit the front valance before the beam, so if you are looking at pictures on the net of cars and stances you like, consider the age/beam in the car. I had the bottom of the shock towers clearanced so they are flat with the lower torsion tube to give a little more clearance.

Here's my '66, personally I would say it's just about drivable on the roads in the UK, it's alot happier on the Freeway etc than on the crappy bumpy roads round town we have here, and by that I mean scraping tarmac, not the ride - the ride is pretty smooth, uneven surfaces/holes and truck ruts are the uncomfortable bit:





The spec is:

Front: 4" narrowed original beam with stock shock towers, custom backs, sway-away's, CB Dropped Spindles, Standard Length Koni Adjustable Oil shocks, Late beetle discs drilled to Porsche pcd, Dal circuit brake master cylinder conversion, Flat 4 4.5"Polished Fuchs Firestone 135/80/15 tyres

Rear: Stock shocks, rear torsion bars turned one outer spline, Stock wide 5 drums, Bugpack wide 5 to Porsche pcd adaptors, Flat 4 5.5" Polished Fuchs and Firestone 205/65/15 tyres.

Hope that may be of some help.

Oh and the beam sits this high off the ground:



Alex.

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fatalifeaten
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Joined: 03 Feb 2008
Posts: 565
Location: The 480

PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

By the way Alex, I LOVE your ride Smile
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crazydaze
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Joined: 21 Jun 2007
Posts: 136
Location: Woking, Surrey, UK

PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fatalifeaten wrote:
By the way Alex, I LOVE your ride Smile


Cheers Embarassed Cool Cool Cool

Alex.

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bajaaaron66
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Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 27
Location: tampa florida

PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thankyou everyone for the advice and all the awesome pictures, i have alot to think about, i didnt know it was that involved, but as soon as i heel up i think i am gonna try the drop spindles first and then go from there. thanks again, bajaaaron Twisted Evil
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crazydaze
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Joined: 21 Jun 2007
Posts: 136
Location: Woking, Surrey, UK

PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bajaaaron66 wrote:
thankyou everyone for the advice and all the awesome pictures, i have alot to think about, i didnt know it was that involved, but as soon as i heel up i think i am gonna try the drop spindles first and then go from there. thanks again, bajaaaron Twisted Evil


Using the Drop spindles on their own are likely to cause clearance issues between tyres and fenders, if you are using wheels like Empi5's they will definately need different tyres at the least, running stock wheels and a narrowish tyre would be ok for clearance. The dropped spindles will give you a very mild drop when used on their own, certainly nothing like 'slammed'. If you are lowering the rear as well as just usng the spindles dont be temped togo too low at the back, beetles always look better slightly nose down Cool

Best of luck, keep us updated!


Alex

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66Vdubbin
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Joined: 05 Mar 2009
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had sat around for months wishing I could lower my bug, just didnt have any funds, and I wanted to do it the right way no cheap-o stuff. a few months later and still a stock height bug I decided to cut and turn my beam and get some shorter shocks and clearanced ball joints. I have the stock wheels and tire size and they tuck into the fender wells about a inch. i have no tire rubbing problems and I am very happy with the new handling charecteristics. turns like its on rails and likes to go nice and straight. there is a company in the u.k. that makes a pretty sweet coil over set up with 4" of adjustment. runs $350.00 u.s. they also make 2" drop spring plates for the rear I'll have to find the website and post it for you.
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66vwbeetlefan
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Joined: 02 Sep 2013
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2014 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hello,
im fairly new...how do i tell if i have k&l pin or ball joint?
My bug is a 66 model...
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Blue Baron
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Joined: 18 Jan 2009
Posts: 786
Location: Tampa, Florida

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All '66s have balljoints, but the simple way is to get under there and look. If there are rubber, squished looking things between the trailing arms and the front spindle, you have ball joints. If there are pins and locknuts holding the spindle to the trailing arms, you have a kingpin front end.
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66vwbeetlefan
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Joined: 02 Sep 2013
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great. Thanks 4 ur help.
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