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Old March 12th 2024, 16:51
H2OSB H2OSB is offline
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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.
H2OSB
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Old March 15th 2024, 14:47
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51 views and no one has an opinion or experience with this?

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Old March 16th 2024, 19:23
ian godfrey ian godfrey is offline
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My car's all had torsion rear and ball joint front's, but I'll add some thoughts on the rear. I used 23.5's on the rear of a beetle (with stock front leaves) with Bilstein shocks. It was very balanced but it would get down to the bump stops when I worked it hard. It was interesting to me that the gas Billy's felt very stiff and uncompliant, my feeling is the gas pressure added to the spring rate, but as I say, the car did balance.
On my KG I went to 28mm rears with Koni reds, dialed up full hard. this was a good balance to the swayaway 15% uprated leaves in the front, but I think what I was doing was just making the car very stiff, I also had a 22mm front roll bar and 27mm rear, but again it balanced well. I thought the Koni's were terrific at controlling the 28mm bars, smooth and predictable. I did not hit the bump stops with this set up ;-)
Fast forward, now I have a Mendeola front end which is closer to your Super bug ie. the camber changes with compression, so I have gone to 26 mm rear torsions and a 22 rear sway bar to try to soften all the suspension and make it more compliant now I have rising rate camber on all 4 wheels. My last decision is shocks. I have been doing a lot of reading about shocks, general thoughts out 'there' are Gaz can be harsh, and after my Billy's, that is not what i want, so I'm leaning towards Protech or Spax and getting them custom valved. I will be very interested in what you decide.
One other think to consider is how offset your wheels are as all extra offset adds leaverage to your torsions, sway bars and shocks so more offset needs more bar and shock. I have been looking at various 944 'recipes' as their weight in the rear is not much different from us (of course the front is a completely different story) my new set up is 8" 77ET on the rear so very different to a typical 8" Fuch at 23.3ET . Good luck

Last edited by ian godfrey; March 16th 2024 at 19:32.
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Old March 16th 2024, 20:36
H2OSB H2OSB is offline
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I appreciate the reply and the things to think about.

So I think I'll do well for myself to, at least, give my set up a try. Since my car is not on the road yet, I tend to start second guessing myself with set ups.

I love Koni shocks and they worked well for autocross GTI I had years ago. But, man, those Koni reps really don't want to have their feet held to the fire for anything slightly off the beaten path. My current coilovers were made from 944 struts. I had Mk1 Golf inserts sitting on 1.25 inch spacers, but I really prefer having inserts made for the housings. All I did was ask the Koni rep if the inserts would work ok with my lighter 125 lbs/in springs, when 944s have either 140 or 160 lbs springs (when researching the spring rate of factory 944 springs, I found both values, and wasn't sure which was accurate). Logic tells me, even if a 944 has 160 lbs/in springs, the inserts would have no issue with 125 lbs/in springs. It would be like sporty valving. I mean, I'm only talking about a 35 lbs difference, and only 15 lbs if the 944 springs are 140. I mean, my helper springs are 25 lbs/in. The rep was unwilling to even say it would likely be OK.

I currently have Boge/Sachs meant for a 944. That is another brand I used in my GTI. I used to seem to go through them pretty quickly...like maybe 1.5-2 years of life. But then, I never took into consideration the GTI was lowered with stiffer H&R springs.

Anyway, I'll stay the course for now. I just wanted to make sure what I thought was a reasonable set up wasn't actually bat sh*t crazy.

H2OSB
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Old March 24th 2024, 15:47
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Is this being built for AutoX again, or for street?
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Old March 24th 2024, 16:41
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Well, really, dual purpose, so some compromises must be made. Realistically, probably 65/35 street/autocross. I'd love to have the autocross percentage to be higher, but I never end up running as many events as I plan in any given season. That's why I'm even considering keeping 23.5s. They were so good in all other regards. At this point, though, I've already installed my 26s and set the ride height.

What I'm really asking, I suppose, is whether it's even an idea worth considering (that is, keeping the 23.5s but with better shocks). Unless the 26s seem brutal, I will run them as is. If it were only me, I wouldn't even balk at the idea of the 26s, but my wife has established, over the years, she REALLY doesn't like riding in or driving my cars when they have an autocross leaning suspension set up. As I approach retirement (it's a ways off....I'm about to turn 55), I want to have a fun car we can travel around in.

There IS a possibility I'll purchase a second Super for use as a dedicated autocross/track day car. If that happens, no question, I'll use 23.5s in my current '74. That would be down to road a ways, however.

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Old March 25th 2024, 00:07
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Hmmm...I'm definitely setup for mountain twisties. My setup would be too soft for AutoX, and I suspect most track days. I run stock-sized torsions and KYB gas shocks. My driving style benefits from a lot of fore-aft weight transfer though, which is how I've ended up where I'm at.

Consider the QA1 dual valve shocks as an option. You can dial in the compression and rebound separately. And you'd simply run them as a shock, no coil-over springs. I have a set of the single-valve (rebound only) that I could send you to try out before buying. BUT, they are rebound adjustable only.

I seem to think you're still in California? California Mille is San Diego to LA this year, but I could also just ship 'em after bringing them down.

i do want them back though! Testing only

Edit: Wow Dave, Modesto CA right above you. I guess that means I'm shipping them. Not hitting the bay area, unless I drive the '58 down to Cal Mille.

-Dave
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Old March 25th 2024, 12:45
H2OSB H2OSB is offline
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Dave-
I truly appreciate the kind offer, but, aside from the fact I would need both compression and rebound, my car is still not road worthy, so, at this time, it wouldn't do me any good to have those in hand.
I will, though, look into QA1s!

Can you point me towards the correct unit(s) for my car?

Thanks
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Old March 26th 2024, 01:22
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DD402 or DD302 off the top of my head.

I know the Rally Bug WAS running DS402's, but I switched them up recently for a shorter unit due to running the car lower now. I think they are the DS302, but you'd have to ask me again next week when I'm back in the shop and can grab the box with the part number on it.

-Dave
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