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Installing the Front Beam Backwards to Get Longer Wheelbase?
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dasbulliwagen
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2022 11:16 am    Post subject: Installing the Front Beam Backwards to Get Longer Wheelbase? Reply with quote

As the title says, who here has details on reversing the front beam to get wheelbase stretch? Ive seen it done a couple times, but Ive found no details on what was done. I know that just putting the axle in backwards will not get correct caster angle, but then I thought, cut off the shock towers, and if its backwards and upside down, then caster would be right, but the springs would then be rotating the opposite direction as they are used to. How much of an issue is that if any? The shock towers could be welded back on the correct way, or custom shock mounts made. And steering would have to be adressed as well, but it seems like you could mount the gear box normally and swap the pitman arm 180 degrees. Let me know your thoughts, and experiences with this. Im looking at doing a very budget rat build. I have some fab skills and tools to work with. A beam extender isnt out of the question, but if it can be done the other way, thats one less thing to have to buy. Thanks

Im in process of buying a solid 60 Beetle basket case for this upcoming build, and I have several air cooled cars in the past, my last one being a 68 Bug, and before that a 59 Microbus, 72 Ghia, 73 Ghia vert, and several other bugs.
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eyetzr Premium Member
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2022 2:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Installing the Front Beam Backwards to Get Longer Wheelbase? Reply with quote

2 words. Bump steer. Seen it done crazy steering after going over a bump or grooved pavement. Beam extender is a better option.
I helped a guy who cut off the frame head, made a spacer and put it together. Looked fine, never finished it so I have no other information
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dasbulliwagen
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2022 12:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Installing the Front Beam Backwards to Get Longer Wheelbase? Reply with quote

I can see bump steer or death wobble being an issue if the beam is just put on backwards without taking into account the caster angle. Mounting the beam upside down and backwards would make the caster right again. In that regard, if the beam wasnt upside down, caster shims may be able to make it right again as well, though I dont know by how much the shims would change the angle.
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NJ John
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2022 6:04 am    Post subject: Re: Installing the Front Beam Backwards to Get Longer Wheelbase? Reply with quote

Many people have done it on volksrods.com. It always looks scary, but seems to work and adds a unique look.
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72MUST
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2022 3:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Installing the Front Beam Backwards to Get Longer Wheelbase? Reply with quote

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=...p;start=20

Poster "rgdedge" has it done nicely, unfortunately photos missing in the volksrods.com link.

He has made new longer steering arms, swopped trailing arms side to side , caster shims etc etc
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EVfun
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2022 12:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Installing the Front Beam Backwards to Get Longer Wheelbase? Reply with quote

dasbulliwagen wrote:
I can see bump steer or death wobble being an issue if the beam is just put on backwards without taking into account the caster angle. Mounting the beam upside down and backwards would make the caster right again. In that regard, if the beam wasnt upside down, caster shims may be able to make it right again as well, though I dont know by how much the shims would change the angle.

I think the arms are the same length and the caster is built into the frame head (and so altered by chassis rake.) I don't think it will effect caster to flip the beam.

The problem I see (first) is that it will reverse the steering trail. The king pin angle (caster) doesn't go through the center of the spindle, but rather goes through line slightly in front of the spindle (the speedometer cable enters behind the king pin.) This offset is an important part of a car wanting to go in a strait line. I think it is this angle that makes it so you cannot flat tow a Bug and back up (the front tires flop over.) It is the angle that makes shopping cart casters flip around backward when you reverse the cart and helps it go strait when pushed. I think you would need to flip the spindles around, back to the original side, or face some unstable tracking.

There is going to need to be some creative changes to the steering. I see it has been done, more than once, and I think the OP should seek out one of those for the voice of experience.
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