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@Stan Galat posted:


...It's a swing-axle car. Please don't ever forget that. Your biggest problem is not body roll, it's snap oversteer-- especially if the engine is heavier than stock...





There it is - what 'handling' in these cars is all about.

More than anything else (including tire grip), that is what limits how quickly you can get through a corner.

With this ancient geometry, cornering speed will never approach even a moderately good modern car. (If you want that, you need to step up to IRS.)

That said, it can be a lot of fun learning how to play this old game. First you need to learn where the limit is and swear an oath never to go past it. Then, you learn in stages how to approach that point gently. Riding the ragged edge is its own form of amusement.

The car is surprisingly flat in corners with the stock front bar, and the right tire will give a more gradual, predictable breakaway.

Along with the bugs in your teeth, a deafening whine from the cooling fan behind your head, and a front end that dances a bit across a rough surface at speed, most of the thrills and chills of yesteryear motoring are yours to savor.

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@Sacto Mitch posted:

.First you need to learn where the limit is and swear an oath never to go past it. Then, you learn in stages how to approach that point gently.

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Also important to remember that levels of "sticktion" vary greatly with road conditions. Hot/cold, wet/dry, clean/dirty. Nothing worse than hustling into a corner only to find some Flatlander who can't keep his SUV on the road has kicked up a bunch of dirt and gravel all over the apex.



(Sorry, it's a pet peeve of mine I encounter frequently in the mountain roads I drive/ride)

Last edited by dlearl476

Thanks for the info guys. Yeah, I want a swing axle more for the experience, since original speedsters didn’t have IRS. Also, living in MN, I don’t have any canyons to carve, just cornfields 😂. I plan to use it as a spirited cruiser. I will start with a camber compensator and evaluate from there.

You'll ultimately get more enjoyment (better handling and a nicer ride) out of your car if it's irs- the car isn't original, you'll still be able to put any bolt pattern and wheels on it, no one will be able to tell unless they look underneath and most people won't know the difference any way, so why take a step backwards?

@ALB I’ve driven a speedster replica without IRS and it handled and rode just fine for me. This is Just a fun toy, not a daily driver or track weapon. It will probably get driven a couple of times a week, and will be stored for about half of the year due weather. While I appreciate the benefits of IRS, it’s not something I need or would truly utilize. Plus, I like personally knowing the swing axle experience is what I would be getting with an actual speedster. No matter what, these are cars built on antiquated technology and won’t be anywhere close to a modern vehicle. I know these replicas handle much than my all original 55’ Bel Air did.

Last edited by TwinCitiesSpeedster

@IaM-Ray that’s part of the fun in my opinion.

Also, ALB asked why take a step back the swing axle? At that point I would ask why take a step back with an air cooled Volkswagen engine? A subie motor is technologically superior, more reliable, and has better performance. But that’s not what I’m looking for. Sure - if the car came with IRS standard I’d give it a shot, but it doesn’t, and I’m fine with that because I’m looking for the experience over anything else. I could go out and buy a boxster or cayman and have modern everything, but not the same experience.

Yes, if you want dual carbs and can fix them but if you want turn the key and go... a subie could be better for you.  At some point,  you choose what maintenance curve you want and mosly how involved you want to be and finally if your fortunate to find a great mechanic to support you then AC is better but if not you have to be more involved.  Some like that and some do not... It is not a DD and at this point few use it that way.

@MusbJim posted:

@R Thorpe

Ricardo, for visual reference here are a couple of pics of the modified bracket and sway bar installed properly with modified bracket. Hope you find this info helpful.

Wow! That's a photo of my original solution to this many years ago. We added a full sheet metal plate on the side to try to improve strength but I believe having the continuous bar at the top as illustrated above is even better.

@MusbJim posted:

@calmotion the pic with the sway bar is not my car but a file photo I use to demonstrate the sway bar relation to the modified bracket. I'm not sure what mfg sway bar is in that pic. I had an Empi 3/4 inch that did not have a rise as tall as the one pictured.

@R Thorpe as @DannyP mentioned  there is quite a bit of rotation in the sway bar from when you install it with the car's wheels/tires off the ground (sway bar will be MUCH lower than bumper bracket) to when you lower the car and compress the suspension. The sway bar will rotate upwards several inches and come in contact with (and rest against) the bumper bracket. Also, I'm guessing that heating a sway bar enough to bend it would alter the torque characteristics of the bar (I'm not a metallurgist, but that would be my guess).

FWIW, if you have a swing-axle rear, I believe a sway bar will NOT be nearly as effective as a camber-compensator.

It is actually an EMPI 3/4" unit for lowered cars; that's why it bends up like that. I'm thinking that you can just install a regular OEM Bug bar with stock rubber bushings and you'd be fine due to the light weight of these cars.

Thanks for the info guys. Yeah, I want a swing axle more for the experience, since original speedsters didn’t have IRS. Also, living in MN, I don’t have any canyons to carve, just cornfields 😂. I plan to use it as a spirited cruiser. I will start with a camber compensator and evaluate from there.

That's exactly my outlook; mine is also a swingaxle car and it maintains the spirit of the originals which were also swingaxle. I installed a camber compensator early on and had to settle for a 3/4" EMPI anti sway bar because it was readily available. I believe a regular OEM Bug one would be prefect for it. The camber compensator from CB Performance is less expensive than other units on the market and is US made.

Last edited by Impala

We've beat this old horse a number of times so here's my two cents...once again.

The 356's handled really well considering the years they were in production. Compared to a Buick they were race cars.

A properly set up replica can be made to handle just as well as the original cars.

I've owned a 356 coupe, built a replica and have one of them store bought replicas today. The key is properly set up. These cars were designed around the VW design. There were a number of VW parts on the 356's from the factory.

The 1600's were 60hp cars; 1600S, 75hp, 1600 S90, 90hp. All 356's came with an anti-sway bar on the front. They did not come with camber compensators for the rear, but Porsche offered a kit that was different from any on the market now, but similar to the EMPI product. The ends of the spring could be preloaded and Porsche had a recommendation for that.

You will want the sway bar and compensator on your car. Additionally 356's carried a spare tire, jack and tool kit in the front; about 40 pounds. The handling is seriously adversely affected if that weight is not there. I suspect that most of us don't carry that equipment.  I added about 26 pounds of steel to my front axle beam to take care of that.

Put your mind back in the 1960's; you can throw a properly set up swing axle car around the corners.

Jim - Plus the tires are a lot grippier, stiffer side walls, lower profile and wider today.  The anti-sway bars/camber compensators/limit straps come into play at the handling limit not on casual touring.

Many VS-built speedster didn't even have the OEM thin sway bar installed.  VW did realize that something was required in the rear of the bug and a Z-bar antisway bar was used briefly on later bugs. 

I had a '65 Triumph Spitfire with Pirelli tires that I thought handled great - until I took the local airport turns at breakneck speed and the IRS rear (no rear sway bar) hopped up.  I fortunately spun out in an open grass area. Scared be-Jesus out of me.

Image result for triumph spitfire rear suspension at limitImage result for triumph spitfire rear suspension at limit

Wou

@WOLFGANG posted:

Jim - Plus the tires are a lot grippier, stiffer side walls, lower profile and wider today.  The anti-sway bars/camber compensators/limit straps come into play at the handling limit not on casual touring.

Many VS-built speedster didn't even have the OEM thin sway bar installed.  VW did realize that something was required in the rear of the bug and a Z-bar antisway bar was used briefly on later bugs.

I had a '65 Triumph Spitfire with Pirelli tires that I thought handled great - until I took the local airport turns at breakneck speed and the IRS rear (no rear sway bar) hopped up.  I fortunately spun out in an open grass area. Scared be-Jesus out of me.

Image result for triumph spitfire rear suspension at limitImage result for triumph spitfire rear suspension at limit

@Wolfgang ; "The anti-sway bars/camber compensators/limit straps come into play at the handling limit not on casual touring."

These cars are death traps without these modifications. I picked up my latest car in Orlando (700 miles) and drove it home. It scared the s**t out of me!

Porsche included these things for a reason. We would be wise to follow their engineering to the extent possible.

There are old drivers and there are bold drivers but few old bold drivers.

@WOLFGANG You are absolutely right; my 2004 VS didn't have any front anti-sway bar straight from the shop; I had to retrofit it. And yes; I believe '67 and '68 Bugs had that rear Z-bar; then in '69 they went to IRS (at least the German ones that were exported into the US).

@Jim Gilbert - Madison, Mississippi I can certainly vouch for the craziness of the drivers on the Interstate; at least on I-95 down here in Florida; it is a HELLHOLE. You might be doing 70 mph or more on one of these (which is not the safest thing to do) and you always have a group of assholes either tailgating you or cutting you off, changing lanes like maniacs, etc etc. Never fails. It is definitely not a relaxing drive.

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...Put your mind back in the 1960's; you can throw a properly set up swing axle car around the corners...



Yes, yes you can.

And, it can throw you around the corners, too!

Half the fun is in the delicate negotiations between you and the car over just who is driving.

Eventually (if you survive early negotiations), you discover that smooth is good. Be in the right gear before the corner. Get all speed adjustment done before you ask the suspension to do any turning. Do as few turns per corner as possible (one is best). Keep the eyes up, look through the turn at where you want to end up, steady on the gas, and motor through.

You don't have to work at all that nearly as hard in a modern car. They're more forgiving.

But, there's something satisfying about putting in an honest day's work.

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Ultimately, the biggest issue with swing-arm rear suspension (on any car that used it) is the combination of factors leading up to an instantaneous transition from mild understeer to severe oversteer.  Most drivers back in the 1960's were not good at feeling the impending transition in very hard cornering until it was too late.  If they were lucky, the "rear came around to meet the front" but the car more-or-less stayed on or somewhere near the road.  

If they were less lucky, the rear inside wheel tucked under (see photos above), followed by the rear outside wheel rolling over onto it's sidewall (because it tucks under, too, but a few milliseconds later), followed almost instantly by the front outside tire rolling over onto it's sidewall followed by the car rolling over.  I saw a couple of these happen back when I was doing small-time VW racing in the 1960's and I'm convinced that it contributed to the death of one of our members some years back (Bill, from California, who rolled his car on a curve).  

Much has been said on here and on other VW forums about the pros and cons of each type of rear suspension, but this is, by far, the best and most comprehensive article on it that I've seen with examples and results for each step.

https://www.aircooled.net/vw-h...g-suspension-tuning/

Ultimately, the biggest issue with swing-arm rear suspension (on any car that used it) is the combination of factors leading up to an instantaneous transition from mild understeer to severe oversteer.  Most drivers back in the 1960's were not good at feeling the impending transition in very hard cornering until it was too late.  If they were lucky, the "rear came around to meet the front" but the car more-or-less stayed on or somewhere near the road.  

If they were less lucky, the rear inside wheel tucked under (see photos above), followed by the rear outside wheel rolling over onto it's sidewall (because it tucks under, too, but a few milliseconds later), followed almost instantly by the front outside tire rolling over onto it's sidewall followed by the car rolling over.  I saw a couple of these happen back when I was doing small-time VW racing in the 1960's and I'm convinced that it contributed to the death of one of our members some years back (Bill, from California, who rolled his car on a curve).  

Much has been said on here and on other VW forums about the pros and cons of each type of rear suspension, but this is, by far, the best and most comprehensive article on it that I've seen with examples and results for each step.

https://www.aircooled.net/vw-h...g-suspension-tuning/

That is why I always say that these are not race cars but toys for putzing around and sightseeing on nice days. I don't fancy myself as a Bruce Jennnings or a Juan Manuel Fangio...;-)

That make sense.  Now that I think about it, there must be a function of weight, suspension, etc that must be all balanced together as well as the front and rear.  

IMO most people like some understeer in their DD.

Finally, in the swing axle car for me I would do what P did and add sway bar front and camber compensator at least your doing what is needed to safeguard your life.

I guess you can always drive reallllll  slow, or even better put a leash on the car and walk beside it like a guy with a Model 3 and a cell phone leash that should work     Enough said.

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