Odd ride height

Sorry about all these posts asking stupid questions, Ive had a few days off and since the weather was good i decided to lie in the street under my car!

This is an issue ive had since i bought the car 2 years ago.
Ive always felt sitting in the car that the o.s.r. was sitting lower than the near side. Its noticable when comparing the gaps between each rear wheel arch. Also when i go over bumps or one of the many potholes theres a clunk- the bump stop on the osr bottoming out. Ive had a look and i can tell by the marks on the bump stop that its a regular thing.

This is the good side. Note the distance between the bump stop.

This is the low side. I reckon this side is a good inch lower.

When i first got the car i replaced the shock but it made no difference. You can also see the difference in the angle of the drive shafts.

I like it low but id prefer it on all corners, not just one!

Ive also noticed a grinding from the same area when i free wheel at slow speeds, i thought it could be a wheel bearing. Could it be connected to my wonky suspension?

Any help would be grand (again, thanks) mad.gif

Could be the suspension (torsion bar) has been taken to pieces at some point and not fitted correctly so it is set too low on that side.
OR… the torsion bar has excess rust which has weakened the “spring” so the suspension sits too low.

The fix is tricky. Reset the correct ride height and check the condition of the torsion bar. (or remove the bump stop or lower the other side to match :slight_smile: )

The wheel bearing on that side could be worn (or just dry & noisy). They are lubed with the oil from the gearbox that flows down the axle tube. If the suspension is too low and the axle doesn’t slope down towards the wheel, then no oil gets to the bearing reducing it’s life span.

I did wonder if someone had been playing with the ride height, but i dont think anyone has done anything to the car until i got my hands on it.

It all seemed pretty standard apart from the chrome kit which beetles uk would have done, prob the ragtop too.

Interesting idea regarding the lowering the other side, didnt think about using a possible fault to my advantge. Its a good point tho! How do you stop lowered bugs from bottoming out? Fit stiffer shorter shocks?
Removing the bump stops sounds a bit dodgey. Would there not be dire consequences?! Like metal to metal bottom out? CRACK!!

Also how do lowered beetles get the oil to the wheel bearing if the shafts are angled?

If the torsion bar’s knackered, i would feel that in the handling wouldnt i? My car does feel quite wallowey! Bouncy at the back… I thought it was characteristic of the beetles ‘handling’.

Is there a mark or anything on the splines on the rear to show where the correct position for a standard set up should be? I guess i would have to remove the rear torsion bar to check if its rusted? Sound painful!

Thanks for your help so far Bruce.

I’d probably raise the dropped side. It looks pretty close to the bump stop (I’m assuming the torsion bar hasn’t snapped) and preserve the original handling.

Heavily lowered beetle tend to wear out wheel bearings pretty quickly (probably don’t do many miles per year though).

The rear spline setting is done with an angle gauge to measure the spring plate angle (vs the floor pan) with no tension in the bar. Either that or by eye. The torsion bar has a different number of splines at each end so fine adjustments can be done (by rotate one end and counter-rotate the other). The job is a bit tricky because the spring plate catches on a lip that holds tension in the torsion bar (if the car is jacked up for exampple). The springplate has to be pulled over the lip to release all the tension in the spring before you can adjust the splines or check the angle. As you can imagine, there are a few risks. Then the bolts that hold the cover (over torsion bar end) can be a bitch to remove (can snap).

Unless you are very spanner happy, I’d probably suggest getting some experienced help (Anyone, Is Gary B still working on bugs?)

Not sure about beetles, but when i did the rear of my bay the Haynes manual (surprisingly) had a really good guide on setting the rear suspension and gave details on how many degrees each move would do and a chart of how many for how much, so might be worth a look.

This link too might help: http://www.bugbabe.co.uk/year_age.html#howlow