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How to Narrow your own Beam !!!
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spotfreerynse
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 3:21 pm    Post subject: How to Narrow your own Beam !!! Reply with quote

This was put out by VW tends magazine and Ron Lummis Racing , and This is what I did to Narrow My beam myself 4"s ! Maybe this can be a "STICKY" ok here we GO !

Here's what we started with, a typical German ball-joint beam fresh out of a Beetle and ready for the Lummus treatment. Incidentally, they will only narrow German metal
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

The first step is to break the beam down to its basic elements. Remove the mounting brackets (shown here) as well as the steering wheel lock stop. Pull out the torsion leaves, the outer trailing arm bushings (made from a flammable micarta) and grease seals from each beam.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Once cut in half, the appropriate amount of material is removed from each side of the beam halves. Also shown are the sleeves that hold Lummus adjuster screws, the original mounting brackets, the steering bracket and the wheel lock stop.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.
Since Ron does this so many times in the course of any given week, he has constructed this handy jig to make sure all of the pieces go together smooth and straight. On the top torsion tube the sleeve and the adjuster screw has been laid out.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Once in place, all of the pieces are clamped down, ready for welding.
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Depending on the position of the adjustment screws, the angle is exaggerated by the time it is transferred to the spindles, allowing for a wide selection of stances, from barely off stock to in the weeds.
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The angle needed is precisely measured for each adjuster.
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Welding all of the pieces together is done with a high-powered TIG welder to ensure a clean, hot weld.
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Next you'll have shorten the torsion leaves by removing from each end the amount equal to the amount the beam was narrowed. This is done simply with a radial saw.
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Since the dimples that holds the leaves in place inside the torsion tube was cut off, new ones had to be drilled.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

A variety of sandpaper grits are used to smooth out the rough weld marks up and down the beam.
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After the beam has been smoothed, it gets a bath of acetone to remove any residue and dirt.
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A fresh coat of paint finishes up another beam at Ron Lummus Racing.
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Once installed in a car, the four-inch-narrowed beam really hugs the inner fender wells while helping to draw in any positive wheel offset or distance gained by adding dropped spindles.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

GOOD LUCK !
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Fattie
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

STICKY Exclamation
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Glenn Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

spotfreerynse wrote:
Maybe this can be a "STICKY"

Maybe... very nice, and thanks.
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Derek Cobb
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This thread is exactly why I love The Samba!
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spotfreerynse
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now if somewants to chime in and give the amounts to shorten the tie rods according to the beams amount of narrowing , that would be great ! personally I just called RLR and they gave me the amounts , but I have forgotten since ! If no one knows , I may just measure them tomorrow , as for the torsion leaves , those are to be cut the same amount as the beam !
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mynameistory
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You shorten the tie-rods the same total amount as the beam itself. For example, if you narrow 4 inches, take 2 inches out of each tie-rod. If you only narrow 2 inches on your beam, you can get away with cutting 1/2" off EACH end of the tie-rod... there is enough tap to accommodate a no-welding approach. Much more than that and it's best to cut out a middle section and weld together STRONGLY. Use a beltsander to make a little bevel on each piece to make a nice big seam to fill with weld. Some add a piece of stock inside the rod, for extra strength. Clamp it in some straight angle iron and you should be fine. TIG is best for this, but if you are a confident MIG welder that is fine too.
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Fattie
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mynameistory wrote:
You shorten the tie-rods the same total amount as the beam itself.

false... that would be excessive
..on my 5" beam I only needed to cut 1" off rod end...each


and ...

just cut off unneeded length on tie rod.. on the right handed treads side then tap.. done... all that cut in the middle a reweld is redundant

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what I done was mocked everything together tie rod ends etc. everything minus the tie rods.... take a couple measurements ... tie rod end to tie rod end on each side from spindle to gearbox arm and there you go
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mynameistory
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you already have the tap(s) and are not interested in welding the tie-rods, that's a perfectly acceptable option.

Since I was already doing all the welding on my beam, it was easier for me to weld the tie-rods than go pay 15 bucks for a tap.

As far as length goes, it does change a little the narrower you go, because the angles become more drastic. It depends how much adjustment you want... that's why the threaded ends of the tie-rod ends are so long. I would hate for you to setup and find that you can't get rid of excessive toe-in because you can't adjust your rod any shorter. You can go too short as well, of course. But for most beams, the total-length-removed rule stands. That's how the guys at KCW do it, and it's good enough for me.

If you start getting narrower than 6 inches, you should of course mock everything up before you do it... you're in extreme territory.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 2:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would how much you were lowering/adjusting the front also have some (small) effect on the length of the tie rods? And if you should later decide to change the height you'd want to have some range of adjustability.

Is it better to have more of the tie rod end in the tie rod? Would this make it stonger?
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great write-up! One problem that I have...in every beam narrowing write-up I have read, no one ever talks about the steering box bracket. I mainly bring this up because that is the stage I'm at in my beam narrowing. I've narrowed my beam 6" and not quite sure there is room anymore. Anyone, with experience, have some input on this? Thanks in advance.
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spotfreerynse
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe you will just leave it off , since you've gone 6'' ! I Narrowed mine 4'' and it was butted right up against end support ! Also there was that little "nipple" thats under the sterring box clamp , I just put a raised spot weld there to serve the same purpose, you may need to grind it to fit !
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Jubbly Bug
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry if its been asked before but how narrow can you go without having to clearance the body or standard shock towers?

Cheers Jim

PS any pics of lates with narrowed beams and how much by?
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mynameistory
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jrcnova wrote:
Great write-up! One problem that I have...in every beam narrowing write-up I have read, no one ever talks about the steering box bracket. I mainly bring this up because that is the stage I'm at in my beam narrowing. I've narrowed my beam 6" and not quite sure there is room anymore. Anyone, with experience, have some input on this? Thanks in advance.


Are you talking about the steering stops or the little tabs that keep the steering box aligned? Not sure you'll be able to use the stops with stock towers, at least.

When I did my 3 inch beam, the stock zerk fitting ended up right where the steering box clamp was due to go. I welded it closed and sanded it. Then I drilled and tapped for one in a new spot.

According to most, you can go 3 inches on a stock BJ beam without any clearancing to do. Or, you can go 4 inches and do a bit of cutting to the body... or you can cut some out of the towers and weld in angle iron to clearance that way.

Here's a pic of mine... not sure I'm happy with it, thought I was going to get more tuck. The spun CMS wheels have a lot of outside to them. My 185/55 tires are kinda fat. Also, I had to add 1/8" spacers behind the wheel so they would clear my disc calipers! Rolling Eyes

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Thinking I might go to a 4 or 5 inch beam... I'm so tired of changing things on this car though, I just want to drive it already.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

what size sleeve do you use to keep the adjusters straight?
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spotfreerynse
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would just take one of the adjusters to the hardware store with you and find which size fits right inside ! DONE ! Wink
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't use a sleeve, just clamped it (REALLY TIGHT) all together with angle iron. If you keep your shock towers and uprights, it really squares itself up for you.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yea , thats what I did to, which may not be "RIGHT" but it worked !!! Next time i will probably do the sleeves that way it lines it up perfectly plus maybe a little added strenght ! Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello all,
I just finnished narrowing a B/j beam by 3" and all went good till i put everything back together and on the car, It is not level and the front now sits 1" higher on one side.
Im sure everything is square and no flatbars are broken so what could be the problem.

Thanks for any advice.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mynameistory wrote:
jrcnova wrote:
Great write-up! One problem that I have...in every beam narrowing write-up I have read, no one ever talks about the steering box bracket. I mainly bring this up because that is the stage I'm at in my beam narrowing. I've narrowed my beam 6" and not quite sure there is room anymore. Anyone, with experience, have some input on this? Thanks in advance.


Are you talking about the steering stops or the little tabs that keep the steering box aligned? Not sure you'll be able to use the stops with stock towers, at least.

When I did my 3 inch beam, the stock zerk fitting ended up right where the steering box clamp was due to go. I welded it closed and sanded it. Then I drilled and tapped for one in a new spot.

According to most, you can go 3 inches on a stock BJ beam without any clearancing to do. Or, you can go 4 inches and do a bit of cutting to the body... or you can cut some out of the towers and weld in angle iron to clearance that way.

Here's a pic of mine... not sure I'm happy with it, thought I was going to get more tuck. The spun CMS wheels have a lot of outside to them. My 185/55 tires are kinda fat. Also, I had to add 1/8" spacers behind the wheel so they would clear my disc calipers! Rolling Eyes

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Thinking I might go to a 4 or 5 inch beam... I'm so tired of changing things on this car though, I just want to drive it already.


I am talking about the steering stop (bracket attached between the two beams). I have a 6" narrowed beam with the upper portion of the shock towers removed.
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spotfreerynse
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All the people Ive seen go 6''inches have completely eliminated them ! Wink
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