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Old March 12th 2024, 16:51
H2OSB H2OSB is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Modesto, CA
Posts: 198
Torsion bar question

Hope you guys see this. I know this forum isn't as active as it once was.

In another thread, I believe it was the "killer suspension set up......", Steve C made the statement " one of the best upgrades you can do is install 23.5mm Type 3 Squareback or 944 torsion bars" I absolutely agree with this. With 125 lbs/in front coil springs and 23.5mm torsion bars (plus the Topline 22.225mm (7/8th inch) front swaybar and 19mm rear swaybar) my previous '73 1303 had superb street handling. Very neutral, and was difficult to break the rear end loose. If I were building my current car ('74 1303) as a sporty road car, I would recreate that exact suspension set up, without question.

That all said, I discovered, when autocrossing, upon hard launches or hard r->l or l->R transitions the car would slam down on the bump stops. I've brought this up on both the Samba (complete waste of time) and STFs. I only ask again to reflect on the latest thought on this. To combat this, I installed 26mm torsion bars. The car is not on the road yet, so this is just theoretical for now, but as I've thought about it, I'm curious if it would be wiser to keep the 23.5 torsion bars, and get better quality shocks. I tend to like Koni, however, after a couple of discussions with a Koni rep, they really don't like the idea of my using either of their shocks meant for the Beetle rear end with the substantially higher spring rate of either the 23.5s (approx 50% stiffer than stock 22s) nor the 26s (approx 95% stiffer than stock 22s). I've looked at GAZ shocks and inserts, Koni Yellows, Koni Reds, Bilstein, and Spax. To begin with, Spax are far too expensive for my budget. Konis would have the same issue whether Red or Yellow. I've never used Bilstein, including in my Autocross VW GTI I had for many years (I had Koni Reds, F/R).

GAZ looks good, really. Every shock or strut insert they sell can have one-time custom valving for no additional cost, and they're externally adjustable. Their price is about the same as Koni Yellows, so neither crazy expensive nor bargin price. People I've talked to about them say they BELIEVE they could adjust enough to handle my stiff rear springs.

What I currently have, and, at least, will try before making any changes is 125# springs on the front on coilovers made from Porsche 944 strut housings with Boge/Sachs "performance" inserts. Initially I had inserts made for a VW Mk1 Golf, sitting on a spacer (because Golf inserts are 1.25 inches shorter than 944 inserts), but never felt comfortable about the spacer, and was told the Boge insert would have no issue living at a shorter spring height. For the rear, I have the before mentioned 26mm torsion bars and KYB HD shocks meant for heavy loads. This set up was recommended by Jak Rizzo from Australia and is used on his WRX powered track Beetle. He has nearly the same suspension as I have but with 150# front springs.

For Swaybars, I REALLY wanted to use the same set up as Judgie on his race car, with the stock 19mm front bar and 14mm Porsche 944 rear bar. But I simply could not figure out how to mount the rear bar with proper geometry (where the endlinks are as close to vertical as possible). TBH, I didn't try too hard to fit the 14mm swaybar. When it wasn't immediately apparent what I would need to do to make it work, I simply purchased the Topline front and rear set because I know they will do the job, having used them before.

Anyway, I've been itching for Super Beetle content.
johnL (aka H2OSB)
'74 1303, Outlaw sedan (with a GL flavor)
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