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VW Beams

bajaboy

Well-Known Member
#1
Do any of you guys know if it is easy to convert a VW ball joint beam to a link-pin beam ? Is it as simple as just bolting on a link-pin beam onto the brackets or are other mods necessary ? Is link-pin that much stronger than balljoint ? I just had a bug given to me and want to start tearing it a part ! Give me tips guys on what to do and not to do on this bug ! It's just going to be for fun , maybe some pre-running if any teams need me anymore , not building a 5 car , just something tuff .

bajaboy
 

vwguy

Well-Known Member
#2
how easy it will be depend on what you are planing to do for a chassis or frame

if your gonna keep a stock pan you have to weld on a new pan head and no you cant just bolt in a linkpin beam to a ball joint pan

and yes linkpin is stronger because there is no force on the ball joint and linkpin is the only way to go long travel if you have that in mind

if you want any more advice or other alternatives to those options ask
 

bajaboy

Well-Known Member
#3
Thanks Patrick for the info ! I'm planning on buying one of those long travel beams you see in all the VW mags . Any particular one you recommend ? Is the head pan easy to replace ? Does steering geometry & parts stay the same ? What about the rear ? Do those beef up kits suck or should I buy some 2x3's ? I don't mind spending a little for some peace of mind

Thanks again for your imput , it really helps knowing it comes from a reliable , true VW guy !

PS: How much are those chromoly beams that all you racers use ?
 

vwguy

Well-Known Member
#4
this brings me to another good point if you want to go long travel, longer and wider trailing arms are an investment (generally i have seen for about 600 to 650 for good chromoly ones) also because to a certain point your shocks only add so much travel, not to mention you still have a torsion bar and the leaf set in there limits the travel

if your talking about the "extreme or warrior" beam they are selling in the magazines they are all pretty much the same, so if you were to get one i would say it doesnt matter really where you get it.

some shops like prowlers make their own out of chromoly and they are a little pricey and beefy like 300 or 350 i think kartek makes their own too i know they sell them.

the pan head conversion is easy (just welding) provided everything is lined up completely properly on a jig (which reminds me i need to draw one up in autocad) but for the hassle i think it is better to just make a whole new square tube lower chassis and the rest round tubing.

in all beams they have the same inside diameter for bushings and therfore you could stick stock trailing arms on a new long travel beam (but again if you go really long travel you should get new trailing arms) you can find some 2.5 inch longer/1 inch wider trailing arms for 175,i if you get a wider beam or wider trailing arms the steering rods need to be longer thats really the only problem and to make sure your future frame if for long travel wont interfere with the movement of those rods but if you get center mounted rack n pinion it should be ok

the rear can be widened and lenghtened really any dimensions you want, 3x3 seems to be very readily available which is cheaper because its not made to order. custom is like 700 bucks so 3x3 is the way to go and is a pretty good size and you can probably find for 225

when you upgrade the back you also have to change the axles. when you replace you should also replace the drive flange on the transmission and stub axle abd cv's to 930 style which would cost about 590 but is really strong

mostly i would say those beef up kits are good if your dragging your trailing arms around over stuff but other than that they are also to keep the wheels from getting off camber in the back which irs does when the torsion is cranked up and gets a lot of travel

another option in the rear is to toss the torsion idea and use coil-overs on custom trailing arms and not have any camber problems and a lot more adjustability because of the coil-overs

if you tell me more of your long term planfor what your going to use it for and what you want i can reccomend the best set up and ecconomicaly
 

bajaboy

Well-Known Member
#5
Hey Pat, Thanks again for all your knowledge ! The car is going to be my desert toy ! I've had to many crash incidents on my bike and would like to get back on 4 wheels . The rear coil-over idea sounds great ! What is your opinion on putting coil-overs in the front ? I just might cage the whole thing out , so there should be room to mount them up front ! If I'm short on time , Do you know of a shop or fab guy who can do some good work on VW's ? I've never build a frame before , just bumpers and cages .

Thanks, bajaboy
 

vwguy

Well-Known Member
#6
coil-overs in the front is a great idea as long as you dont try to run a stock style beam with torsion leaves on it and the coil overs at the same time. ive seen people do it and i only recommend that if you want absolutely no preload which is the worst idea in the world.

if you were to really want to go coil-over in the rear it would basically require a new frame and i think that would be a really good idea

i am starting to build frames that i have designed and do fabrication. i wouldnt mind working on your vw so if you would like more info just ask
 

bajaboy

Well-Known Member
#7
Sounds good to me Pat ! Once I get everything set I'll get in contact with you , I'm looking for a motor right now first !
Thanks, bajaboy
 

DailyPedal

Well-Known Member
#9
One thing you may want to consider before cutting-up your car, what is the "realistic" budget? Everyone wants a "5" car but sometimes the time and money required to do a complete car just isn't there. With minor work, some good shocks and a new set of torsion bars, your baja would be a capable prerunner, as long as speeds are kept in check. Both class 11(most of 'em anyway) and class 9 cars use a vw balljoint beam. Typically, all of the welds are re-welded, adjusters added, ball joints replaced with german units and tack welded in, and hook stops added (to help prevent the balljoints from getting pulled out of the arm). Standard baja bugs have been used for prerunning for years. They are cheap to build and maintain, in comparison to a mini truck, and the cars will go about anywhere with only a minimum of mods.
 

Wayne_Nosala

Well-Known Member
#10
Hey Dave,
You mention the Craig Colorado race in your profile
I belive it only ran once, around 1985ish, near Steamboat Springs Co

I was at that race, it was pretty cool.
I remember they had a controlled pre-run, Coors had a
van set up at S/F giving out cases of beer,(try doing that these days!)
We did the slow pre-run sipping suds & enjoying the
Colorado scenery
Wayne
 

DailyPedal

Well-Known Member
#11
Hey Wayne,
It was a long time ago, but here are a few things I remember.
First, we drank the Coors distributor out of beer at the Welcome to Craig party hosted by the entire town. The guy actually had to take a Coors station wagon into town and buy more beer, he even came back with some Bud. I remember all of the tables piled high with snacks, each one sponsored by a different group or business in town. I remember some local folks invited our race team to dine with them. They told the story of how the town, during the boom years of the mine, had 45,000 residents but had dwindled to 4,500 at the time of the race. I will never forget the view during the pre-run. Looking over the valley, there must have been a thousand small puddles. You could see where a glacier had cut a swath through the valley a zillion years earlier. The race was like 45 miles from the town and I think everyone came to watch. They let us set pits up along the track but made the locals park a long ways off. It was so cool, watching as some of the great folks we had met at the party came hiking the miles through the desert carrying seats and ice chests, just to hang with us and help anyway they could. The locals could have stayed down by start/finish, but they instead chose to hike in to where we were. I have never felt so welcomed by a group of people in my 20 years of off road racing.
 
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