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1977 Beetle is lower on one side than the other.
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bmlb929
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:20 pm    Post subject: 1977 Beetle is lower on one side than the other. Reply with quote

Amateur mechanic. Learning as I go. My driver's side is lower than my passenger side even when I am not in it. Have changed the shocks and that did not help. When I jack the car up, the driver's side comes of the floor after the passenger side does. Can somebody tell me where to start? Limited budget so I have to do most labor myself. Thanks
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 6:17 pm    Post subject: Re: !977 Beetle is lower on one side than the other. Reply with quote

Absolutely nothing wrong with doing things yourself.
You gotta be proud of that.

It's difficult to say without seeing the vehicle in person, so can you post pics of the issue? Can you also post pics of the underside of the car and the suspension?
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 6:29 pm    Post subject: Re: !977 Beetle is lower on one side than the other. Reply with quote

Will do. Might be a day or two. Thanks
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 6:34 pm    Post subject: Re: !977 Beetle is lower on one side than the other. Reply with quote

Front or rear? were 77's standard still sold in the US, I forget.
if standard and in front I would suspect broken torsion leaves inside the beam.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 7:43 pm    Post subject: Re: !977 Beetle is lower on one side than the other. Reply with quote

Beetles are heavier in the rear than in the front, so when a car leans to one side that issue can often be narrowed down to a problem in the rear of the car.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 8:45 pm    Post subject: Re: !977 Beetle is lower on one side than the other. Reply with quote

It's the front. Driver's side. Will post pics as soon as possible. I really hope it's not the torsion bars. That maybe over my head.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 4:02 pm    Post subject: Re: !977 Beetle is lower on one side than the other. Reply with quote

Here are the pics. Let me know of any other angle that would help.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:58 am    Post subject: Re: !977 Beetle is lower on one side than the other. Reply with quote

couple things - Try jacking the front of the car under the center of the beam and see how the rear looks. Will help you identify which end of the car has the problem.

You have really ratty ball joint boots that need to be replaced, assuming your ball joints are any good. If you replace those, you can pull the control arms and spring packs to look for any damage and can replace them if needed.

Something else - when you push down on the front, do both sides go down about the same? Couple possibly be a bound up ball joint, but kind of doubt it.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:45 am    Post subject: Re: !977 Beetle is lower on one side than the other. Reply with quote

One more thing to check - is the frame head twisted. A quick check is to look down the bottom center of the car from the rear, and see if the front beams appear parallel with the pan.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:18 am    Post subject: Re: !977 Beetle is lower on one side than the other. Reply with quote

someone removed the anti-roll bar leaving its bushings in place, this makes me believe the beam has been tampered with.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:22 am    Post subject: Re: 1977 Beetle is lower on one side than the other. Reply with quote

Thanks everyone. Guess I got my work cut out for me.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:59 am    Post subject: Re: 1977 Beetle is lower on one side than the other. Reply with quote

What is the "U-shaped" bar / rod piece under the bottom end of the shock mount?

(See the 2nd photo, down.)

There is no comparable part under the bottom of the other - driver's side - shock mount (see the 3rd photo).

Maybe the problem is not that the driver's side is sagging, but that the passenger side is being held upwards by something.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:36 am    Post subject: Re: 1977 Beetle is lower on one side than the other. Reply with quote

Good point. I did not see that. Will check today
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 2:18 pm    Post subject: Re: 1977 Beetle is lower on one side than the other. Reply with quote

Two comments on your issue....
    The sway bar (yours is missing) provides some level of balance between the two sides. If one side is more compressed than the other, the sway bar tries to force the other side down by the same amount. Lacking this, your front end can appear uneven. This is probably NOT the primary cause but may be exaggerating it.

    After 40+ years... springs sag. When driven, the car will ALWAYS have a driver adding weight to the left (driver's) side, but may not always have a passenger. This leads to the driver side springs wearing out (sagging) earlier than the passenger side. This is a common problem with classic cars.
    This applies to the front springs and the rear. The rear torsion springs are adjustable by rotating the torsion bar on either the inner and/or outer teeth and you can often get the ride height in the rear corrected. For the front... you probably need to buy a new set of torsion leaf packs (top & bottom).



SdAufKla wrote:
What is the "U-shaped" bar / rod piece under the bottom end of the shock mount?

(See the 2nd photo, down.)

That looks sort of like a tow loop?? Maybe something a PO welded in place?
My RHD Beetle had a similar loop but it was welded to the bottom of the lower tube and extended forward horizontally.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:07 pm    Post subject: Re: 1977 Beetle is lower on one side than the other. Reply with quote

The bumper looks higher on the passenger side than the driver side
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:35 pm    Post subject: Re: 1977 Beetle is lower on one side than the other. Reply with quote

Are the shocks different?
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 5:18 pm    Post subject: Re: 1977 Beetle is lower on one side than the other. Reply with quote

Front shock are the same. Just replaced.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 5:23 pm    Post subject: Re: 1977 Beetle is lower on one side than the other. Reply with quote

You could need new torsion bars. Maybe the driver side is sagging after so many years with only a driver.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 5:26 pm    Post subject: Re: 1977 Beetle is lower on one side than the other. Reply with quote

although the front is not even the bumper makes it look worst,its cocked down
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2018 9:13 pm    Post subject: Re: 1977 Beetle is lower on one side than the other. Reply with quote

Ok. Thanks for all the help. My next question is where do I start? I know the ball joints need replacing and a sway bar added. Should I check the torsion leaves and torsion bars first before I start buying parts? And should this novice mechanic try to remove the torsion bars or bite the bullet and try to find a shop?
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