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Old April 30th 2010, 14:36
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Whiteline Sway Bar Installation

by Sandeep Syan
Aug 5, 2003


As an aircooled performance vw enthusiast, I am more happy to drive my Bug on a racetrack and in an autocross than to enter into a car show. In my quest for more performance I have replaced my Type 1 engine with a 2.0 Type 4 with 911 cooling, lowered my Bug, and put together a custom 4 wheel disc brake system consisting of Porsche 993 Biturbo front brakes and Porsche 930 rear brakes. 18 inch Cup 2 wheels bring the whole package together.

I've been looking for a decent set of adjustable swaybars for some time now. I wanted a set that was a bolt-on affair and mounted like a conventional setup - One that connected to the lower shock absorber mounting position. I've had the opportunity to try one of the aftermarket 3/4 inch bars that mount to the front trailing arms using clamps to secure the bar to the lower trailing arms. I noticed some better handling but had to tighten the clamps on a weekly basis as they always seemed to work themselves loose.

I had heard from some of the VW circuit racers down under from the Land of Oz that Whiteline makes some great swaybars for the aircooled beetle, and that they were extremely happy with their tunability. I asked for some information and some pictures of the product and decided that these were the bars I had been holding out for. In my search for a supplier, I ran across John Connolly from After some discussion we determined that a 20mm front adjustable ball joint bar and 24mm rear adjustable irs bar was what I needed. I placed an order and received them in a week.

First Impressions

The bars are painted a light blue and come with 4 adjustment holes in each arm. They come with cadmium-plated hardware, yellow urethane bushings and a small packet of grease. The instructions are minimal and I thought that they could have been better produced but overall, it looks like a well thought out system.


The bars install with basic handtools and nothing special is required. I put the car up on jackstands to make installation easier. Whiteline recommends that all bolts be loosely tightened during installation, with final tightening taking place with the car's suspension loaded. I prepared the hardware by putting together all of the droplinks and mounts and greasing up the bushings. Remember not to crush the bushings during installation.

Front (Installation time 1 hr)

Remove the stock swaybar (if equipped), procedure is covered in any VW shop manual and will not be covered here.

With the front end on jackstands and the wheels removed, start by installing the droplinks to the lower trailing arm shock mounts. Pay attention to the direction of the lower 'L' bracket. You'll notice that when I was putting the hardware together, I installed the bracket upside down and was wondering why the swaybar didn't line up with the droplink.

Next, connect the ends of the swaybar to the droplinks with the hardware provided. Make sure that the droplinks are vertical.

Install the u-bolts with the thick metal plates and bushings and snug up the hardware to the lower beam.

You'll notice that the bar clears the adjusters on a dropped beam.

Make sure the bar is close to being centered on the beam and then tighten the hardware. I installed the front bar on the third stiffest setting of four.

You'll notice that the bar is not perfectly centered due to the location of the drop links. The bar is offset to the left by about 3/4 inch.

Install the wheels and lower the front end down off the jackstands.

Rear (Installation time 1 hr)

The installation is very similar to the procedure for the front.

Start by placing the rear end up on jackstands and remove the rear wheels. Notice that I have compressed the rear suspension with the placement of the jackstands.

Next, install the droplinks to the trailing arm shock mounts. Now connect the ends of the swaybar to the droplinks with the hardware provided. Make sure the droplinks are vertical. You'll notice that I've placed 5-10mm washers between the bushing and the swaybar. I did this because I didn't like the angle of the droplink when it was connected to the swaybar without these washers. Even with the washers I still don't like the angle of the droplinks to swaybar. It seems that the trailing arm mount is a little wide. A simple solution would be to get a peice of 3/4" x 3/4" square box stock to replace the 1 1/4" x 1 1/4" square box stock that came in the kit ... mod shouldn't cost more than a couple of bucks and should bring the droplink back into vertical alignment.

Install the u-bolts with the thick metal plates and bushings and snug up the hardware to the torsion housing. The ducting you see in the pictures is to force air through the 96 plate Mesa cooler with fan while you're driving.

Make sure the bar is centered on the torsion housing and then tighten the hardware. I installed the rear bar on the fourth stiffest setting of four, so there are three more stiffer settings than the current one.

Install the wheels and lower the rear end down off the jackstands.

Driving Impressions

The car sure does handle like a champ now ! The ride is not stiff like it was with the previous bar I had .. pleasant suprise considereing that this bar is stiffer. The handling is predictable and body sway has been greatly reduced. There are no squeaks from the bushings but I will check the bolts for tightness in the next week. I found an empty parking lot and tried a simulated slalom and found out that I could swing the car back and forth in a controlled fashion at 40 mph.

Overall I'm very happy with this setup and making an adjustment to the bars takes about 5 mins with simple handtools and a floor jack. Just jack up a corner of the car and undo the bolts at the swaybar arms and move the droplink to another hole, and tighten up the hardware.
'73 2316 TIV GL Standard Bug (quasi)

Company Branding, Graphic Design, and Web Services at DigiVinci Design
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suspension, swaybar, whiteline

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