Front Beam Replacement (Need help!)

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ABusCalledSweetPea
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Front Beam Replacement (Need help!)

Post by ABusCalledSweetPea » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:21 am

Hello everyone!

I need to replace the front axle on my 1978 VW Bus, mine is currently rusted through as you can see in the pictures posted. I need to get me a Front Beam with Torsion Arms, Spindles, and Ball Joints according to Colin.

My bus is located in South Florida and I'm having one hell of a hard time finding something that won't cost me an arm and a leg. Plus I'm not very mechanically inclined.. so working with the knowledge that I can here. I really could use some of the wisdom of you amazing people during this journey to get my bus back to being a "safe ride". If anyone has any words of wisdom they can share as to where to find parts, tools I will need, really anything.. it's much appreciated!

PS enjoy my very confused face in the corner of all these pics..
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pic1.png
instructions.jpg
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Re: Front Beam Replacement (Need help!)

Post by ABusCalledSweetPea » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:27 am

So far I've found 1 replacement axle. What do you all think? Is it a piece of junk? Maybe worth the buy? Should I keep looking? Also what should I be spending and is it okay to buy used? Does anything need to be done to it to be fully ready to install? I basically need an entire ready to go front end.
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Re: Front Beam Replacement (Need help!)

Post by ABusCalledSweetPea » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:59 am

Or what about something like this? It's a bit expensive but is it the way to go? Also it would lower the front of my bus.. what are the implications of that?
http://www.busdepot.com/j19546

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Re: Front Beam Replacement (Need help!)

Post by ABusCalledSweetPea » Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:10 pm


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Re: Front Beam Replacement (Need help!)

Post by zabo » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:12 pm

that last one you posted looks the most promising. i wouldnt go for the lowered beam unless you like less clearence and a bumpier ride.
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78 bus

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Re: Front Beam Replacement (Need help!)

Post by Amskeptic » Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:26 pm

ABusCalledSweetPea wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:59 am
Or what about something like this? It's a bit expensive but is it the way to go? Also it would lower the front of my bus.. what are the implications of that?
http://www.busdepot.com/j19546
Oh hail no, boy.
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . .111,130 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,787 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 91 414 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . 55,510 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 72,113 miles

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Re: Front Beam Replacement (Need help!)

Post by Amskeptic » Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:27 pm

ABusCalledSweetPea wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:10 pm
Also found this one, thoughts?
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds ... id=2204726
Yes. But we prefer unpainted ones so we can see the actual rust story. Otherwise, you hammer this guy, no rust? under the paint? are you sure? Really sure?
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . .111,130 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,787 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 91 414 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . 55,510 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 72,113 miles

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Re: Front Beam Replacement (Need help!)

Post by Amskeptic » Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:30 pm

ABusCalledSweetPea wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:27 am
So far I've found 1 replacement axle.
3.jpg
This one looks honest . . .
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . .111,130 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,787 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 91 414 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . 55,510 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 72,113 miles

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Re: Front Beam Replacement (Need help!)

Post by THall » Sat Sep 22, 2018 6:02 am

ABusCalledSweetPea wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:21 am
If anyone has any words of wisdom they can share as to where to find parts, tools I will need, really anything.. it's much appreciated!
I just did this procedure last year. Not sure if you'll have helpers, but I did not and found that using an ATV jack for solo removal and installation of the replacement worked great.
Image
'78 Westy 2.0 FI

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Re: Front Beam Replacement (Need help!)

Post by ABusCalledSweetPea » Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:59 pm

Amskeptic wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 8:30 pm
ABusCalledSweetPea wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:27 am
So far I've found 1 replacement axle.
3.jpg
This one looks honest . . .
Colin
So if I got this one, I would just have them throw on some new Ball Joints. Maybe this is my best bet. Is there anything I should look out for or anything I should have them do it it?
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Re: Front Beam Replacement (Need help!)

Post by ABusCalledSweetPea » Sun Sep 23, 2018 7:02 pm

THall wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 6:02 am
ABusCalledSweetPea wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:21 am
If anyone has any words of wisdom they can share as to where to find parts, tools I will need, really anything.. it's much appreciated!
I just did this procedure last year. Not sure if you'll have helpers, but I did not and found that using an ATV jack for solo removal and installation of the replacement worked great.
Image
Thank you for the useful tip! I may run with that. An ATV jack and some jack stands. What other tools will I need? For the removal/installation of everything?

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Re: Front Beam Replacement (Need help!)

Post by ABusCalledSweetPea » Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:26 am

Another potential Axle. Let me know thoughts! Thanks
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds ... id=2193407

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Re: Front Beam Replacement (Need help!)

Post by ABusCalledSweetPea » Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:39 am

Also found this one but not sure if it has all the parts I would need. Colin thoughts? It's off a '71 and I have a '78. When I brought up if it includes a Torsion arm he kept bringing up that it has leaves..
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds ... id=2209221

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Re: Front Beam Replacement (Need help!)

Post by Amskeptic » Mon Sep 24, 2018 5:52 pm

ABusCalledSweetPea wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:39 am
Also found this one but not sure if it has all the parts I would need. Colin thoughts? It's off a '71 and I have a '78. When I brought up if it includes a Torsion arm he kept bringing up that it has leaves..
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds ... id=2209221
Do you have a Bentley manual? You need to become familiar with what you are talking about, or you may become a "mark".

All air-cooled VW front suspensions use leaves, AND all air-cooled VWs use four torsion arms (one upper and one lower each side).

'71 buses had smaller disk brake calipers and smaller shock support studs. Get a plug'n play '73-'78.

And, no to "throwing on ball joints". they only get replaced if they exceed specified play. Did you mean new ball joint boots? Yes to that.
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . .111,130 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,787 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 91 414 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . 55,510 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 72,113 miles

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Re: Front Beam Replacement (Need help!)

Post by asiab3 » Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:29 am

I like this beam because it's from a compatible late bus, and has EVERY component still mounted. Even if you don't need them now, for example, it's good to have things like the brake servo which can be rebuilt for the same cost as a new inferior servo. The ball joint boots look mostly undisturbed, so it's likely the joints are perfect underneath. Plus, it's in Florida! Though I'm not too familiar with the local geography…

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds ... id=2193407

--

As far as extra tools go, Bentley will tell you the procedure, but you will need a few specific things outside your standard metric hand tool complement, like a good jack/support mechanism. I can also think of:

- Tie rod separator to remove tie rod and drag link ends.*
- 11mm flare nut wrench to loosen or remove master cylinder hydraulic lines.
- Brake bleeding assistant and catch container

*Use this style of puller, as shown in Bentley, and lift the boot to make sure the puller doesn't do any damage to the rubber. Loosen the nut until they're just past the last threads and the tool will not 'walk' off the side of the tie rod/drag link ends.

Image


Good luck, and let us know how it goes!
Robbie
1969 bus, "Buddy."
100k miles with me.
279k miles on Earth.

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