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halbug Sat Jun 27, 2015 1:57 pm

OEM Spindles on Mendeola Chassis

To get my project legalized for street use in Germany I cannot use the welded spindles that came with the Mendeola set. The first Mendeola sets utilized stock spindles too, but they are no longer available.

I digitized the two different spindles to be able to compare the geometries on a computer. The upper ball joint had to be moved inboard, to get back to the steering axis inclination as Mendeola had designed it. The eccentric cone was digitized to be able to design the new adapter.

My first thought was to weld a cone in place of the eccentric into the spindle and ream the cone and spindle to get to the correct geometry. But I found out, that the spindle material contains sulfur – so I decided not welding them!!!

I’ve come up with a special adapter to make stock spindles a pure bolt on!

The CAD data are shown earlier. The angled washer is keyed to the eccentric cone, so that the washer is not pushed away when torque is applied to the nut.

All parts are CNC machined for tight tolerances. I am using high grade tool steel for those parts.

The steering axis inclination is exactly the same as Mendeola’s. Camber, Caster, Toe are adjusted just as with the welded spindles. Track width is reduced and scrub is slightly less, due to the higher axle location on stockies. Both works well with the wheel combo I plan on using.

Some pictures:

Thanks for your interest

CiderGuy Sat Jun 27, 2015 2:53 pm

Very nice job. Looks like he may have competition.

halbug Sun Jul 12, 2015 12:32 pm


At least somebody's reading :) :) :)

halbug Sun Jul 12, 2015 12:56 pm

Fitting the Mendeola Bulkhead

Finding the center... sounds easy doesn't it? :roll: It took me the better part of the morning until I felt I had found it :twisted:

Cutting: The two cuts parallel to the tunnel help to position the bulkhead straight and in line with the chassis center line.

Some more fitting, grinding, hammering, bending: snug fit...

... until everything is ready to be welded in place

hours later ==> Done!

I will tack weld in place later, but first I will need to find what I call "the perfect place for the steering rack". More to come...


CiderGuy Sun Jul 12, 2015 3:23 pm

Please keep us updated, really interesting project.

Plipton Tue Jul 14, 2015 12:26 pm

Hi Halbug,

The adapters arrived today and I had them fitted within 20 minutes (pix below).

I want to say to anyone reading this that I don't believe there is a problem with the strength or design of the Mendeola welded spindles, but for us here in Europe (and some other parts of the world) it would not be possible to legally use the welded spindles on public roads without putting them through expensive destruction testing to get official approval to use them. It would also invalidate our insurance policies.

Using stock spindles overcomes both these issues and allows us to use the Mendeola suspension system so I am very thankful to Halbug for his hard work designing an adapter that allows me to upgrade my Beetle :)

halbug Tue Jul 14, 2015 2:01 pm

Hi Plipton,

Thanks for the flowers :D :D :D I am glad you like them!

I wish I would be as far as you are. Keep on wrenching! Do you plan to still drive your bug with the new chassis this season?


Plipton Wed Jul 15, 2015 1:09 am

Hi Halbug,

Credit where credit is due. Without those adapters I would not be able to drive my car legally in Europe.

Ironically, local regulations are fine with the welded spindles but as soon as I take the car out of the island I would not be insured. The way you have designed them keeps the same geometry as the welded spindles albeit with a slightly higher ride height which I can adjust back to where I want it on the shocks.

We have a long way to go yet. The stage we're at is mocking up the rolling chassis then sitting the body shell on top to make sure everything fits as it should. Then we have to strip it all back to a bare chassis for painting and do it all again. We will be experts by then :)


halbug Fri Aug 21, 2015 2:04 pm

Some theory and back to “perfect steering geometry”, or why mess with the Mendeola design anyway? :twisted:

1. I do not like cutting my Ghia body, so I try to minimize it.
2. I like to run the steering column through the original hole.
3. I want the bump steer to be as neutral as possible! More on bump steer here: or elsewher on the web.

Simply put, the tie rod must travel on the same arc as the spindle to avoid unwanted steering when the suspension moves up or down (bumps). I took the dimensions off all the affected components and transferred them into simple CAD.

Black circles are the suspension pivot points and common center.
Green circle is the original tie rod ball joint.
Red circle is the up side down tie rod ball joint.
Little circles are theoretical perfect tie rod pivots.
Yellow circle is the inner pivot point of the tie rod, moved inbord to accommodate the Red circle.

So what does it take to achieve it:

1. Up-side-down steering ball joints
First issue was finding the right joints; correct length; larger than stock cone; offset to clear the sheet metal even more. Not easy, but with the help of a local parts store, I located Golf IV ball joints. Now, the much larger issue was finding a 1:5 (20%) tapered reamer, never thought that this would be so difficult! I lost 2-3 weeks to figure all this out. Anyhow, I got very lucky, because somebody made me one from an old reamer core :D . Next I need to get access to a larger drill press to get the work done…

2. The steering rack needs to be sunk into the tunnel
After a lot of aligning and measuring I got the cutting done today. I left some extra room to be able to adjust the rack up/down 5mm from my calculated location. Welding, steering rack bracket and tunnel reinforcement will be done in conjunction with the install of the bulkhead.

3. A 3-link steering axis (instead of 2-link)
I will be using one double and one single universal joint. Modified original steering column… more later.

That is a lot of effort to create my own personal “perfect steering geometry”, no wonder the Mendeola design did not go to such an extreme.

I will upload pictures as I progress…

Thanks for reading

Steve Arndt Thu Apr 05, 2018 7:47 am

Subscribed. Great work.

Olli from NJ Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:59 am

Incredible work! Thanks for taking the time to show your work.


Loren Thu Apr 05, 2018 10:05 am

Will you still be able to remove and install the shift rod with the modification to the frame head?

halbug Thu Apr 05, 2018 12:09 pm

Hi guys,

Thanks for taking note! Bear with me, a coulple more weeks and I should be finally back on my Ghia project.

@ Loren, thanks for your hint, I will double check.

Updates soon...


BuggyT4 Thu Apr 05, 2018 5:03 pm

Amazing work! I look forward to seeing your project progress, especially as I love "sleepers"!

halbug Sat Apr 07, 2018 2:12 am

Shift rod will clear the modified tunnel section :D

Thank you for asking!


halbug Fri May 04, 2018 1:34 pm

Ghia reloaded 8) After two years of home remodelling and garage building I started working on the chassis again - finally.

Here some pictures:

Same hoist like in the old garage but MUCH more space arround it :D

I built some fixturing to hold tank and steering column exactly like they sit in the Ghia body:

First very rough fit of 3-point steering joints:

Tank does not fit, Mendeola bulk head needs some clearancing - no problem. The larger task will be clearing the tank for my steering links... :cry:

Next I will make more paper templates of brackets and plates that I will need. You can see some in the above pictures already. Unfortunately the laser cutting of all these parts will take 4-6 weeks :roll:

So far...
Cheers Lars

halbug Sat Sep 01, 2018 11:22 am

Quick Update from my slow progress :D

Mainly planning (with cardboard or wood), detailing and making sure everything fits... some pictures

Planned reinforcements:

Plates for R&P attachment welded in place.
Pre-cuts for not needed bracketry - will remove after welding of bulkhead to chassis.
Holder and clearance for pre fuel pump.

First trail fit of R&P

Main brake cylinder (20,6 mm) from CSP, very tight fit with new R&P location. Will have to install without the CSP adapter.

Little details...


halbug Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:50 am

Small steps - seeming to take for ever :roll:
Some of the work in pictures...

Bulkheads for fuel main and return line. I will run aluminum or steel lines along the tunnel, through the inside of the car. I feel that is the safest in the case of a side crash and I did not feel good running them inside of the tunnel, because I want them affixed every 30-40 cm or so...

I had to relocate the brake line through hole.

Brackets are tacked in place, paint from chassis removed for welding.

Reference points in the rear for dialing in bulkhead


TDCTDI Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:42 am

halbug wrote:

halbug wrote:

Thanks for the recent post, I am totally stealing these pictures to do the necessary Thing upgrades to The Ghiapet. :twisted:

TDCTDI Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:51 am

halbug wrote:
Brackets are tacked in place, paint from chassis removed for welding.

Double check your measurements, it might be camera angles but the added on suspension mounting points don't look square. The passenger side looks closer to the bulkhead than the driver side. Measuring with a piece of paper on the screen show a definite discrepancy.

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