Skip to main content

Instead of further polluting the Emory thread, I decided to post this here. JMM(Michael) posted up a kit to change the Beetle beam to a rack, but at 850 euros plus shipping I thought it steep. It appears they've converted a LHD rack into a one-sided rack with a dummy cap on the left.

Does anybody know what this fits? I've done a bit of looking, but haven't quite seen this one. I'm assuming it is from a European vehicle.24102_3

2016 Vintage Spyder 2165 type1 EFI/Dry Sumped


Images (1)
  • 24102_3
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest


I'm interested in this too. Here's what I found.

Well after reading and searching high and low, I feel the old Polo rack and pinion units are the way to go for a Type 1 pan under a fiberglass buggy.
Now where does one find one.

Manufacturer VOLKSWAGEN
Number 867 419 065
Description Steering Gear
Cross numbers VOLKSWAGEN 867419065
LIZARTE 02965700
AUDI 861419063B
AUDI 867419065
AUDI 871019065

Last edited by Jim Gilbert - Madison, Mississippi

There's a guy on the Cal Look Lounge that (I think) sells everything but the Polo rack to go on a type 1 beam. This computer isn't fully functional right now (we've replaced the external hard drive and won't have the data transfer until tomorrow) so I don't have the link handy but when I have the info I'll post it. Al

PS- Great cross reference list, @Jim Gilbert - Madison, Mississippi

Last edited by ALB

This looks like unobtainium in the US. If we were in the UK they are about $130.

Looking at the photo Danny provided; I don't think I like the connection to the tie rod ends. Looks flimsy. Your life is at steak here. A photo doesn't tell the whole story. This would be a pretty easy fab up. There must be some other rack that would work. It's short, maybe about 12" of barrel length.

I'll look on.

Here's the link to the discussion on the Samba.  Alex is the guy selling everything but the rack, which is obtainable on eBay for $268 in the US.

Jim's link above goes right to the rack on eBay.

Nice winter project and with his mounting frame it is all a bolt-in using stock tie rods.


Last edited by Gordon Nichols

Ed, seriously? You're relying on some things that are backyard-engineered and unproven on your Spyder. 

I don't do anything on my car for bragging rights. I do things that make it better/faster/more reliable/tougher etc.

This kit works. The rack is AS IS used on the VW Polo in europe. Nothing blocked or changed. The factory Polo suspension is trail steer, and uses that same piece to attach the inner tie-rod ends to the end of the rack. The only load on that piece is a push/pull from the spindles.

Reasons for doing this: More precise, especially off-center. I'll bet the whole arrangement is really tight on-center as well, always the achilles heel of the steering box. Much better bump steer, both tierods are the same length so at least the bump steer is the same on both sides. It does not use factory tierods. It also can still incorporate the steering damper(also used on the Polo with the rack).

Jim, thanks. That piece that holds the tierods on the rack? Alex makes one from billet steel, he emailed meearlier today. I found all that stuff on the Samba this morning. About 500 bucks or so shipped includes everything except outer tierods and altering your column for a new connection.

With a welded-in beam in a Spyder, there isn't a whole lot you can do to improve the suspension other than shocks and a swaybar, and this rack.

Wait until you see what I build this winter for the rear suspension.....

The eBay link is from that a country?

I say, I say , It's a joke , son!

Danny, I'm about built out on the Speedster. There are a few things I still want to do. It's amazing how Mickey Mouse some of the build quality is on what is supposed to be a factory built car.

Looking forward to your rack & pinion installation and review. Don't know if I want it $500 bad. If the double u-joint connector included in the price?

Michael McKelvey posted:

Danny, I've been assuming you would be going first.

Curtis, did you install it yourself?  Are there any issues fitting it to a Speedster?


i installed it myself. I did think of one issue. The clamps are no longer available to hold the rack to the adapter. Luckily my brother owns a machine shop so he whipped some up for me. He can make some for you at a reasonable price and they will fit perfect. Let me know if you want them. 

@curtissb you said "I used a single u-joint. I had a shop weld in a splined adapter because you have to shorten the steering shaft. I’ll try to take some pictures this weekend and find the part numbers for the joint and spline. "

Whenever it is convenient for you I would still appreciate it if you could do this.

I am probably going to order the kit from Alex even though my wife has made recent comments about the need to control spending.

Michael McKelvey posted:

I am probably going to order the kit from Alex even though my wife has made recent comments about the need to control spending.

Of course you are going to order it.

As for the other part, do like the rest of us and just keep the money spigot running full-blast - like you're trying to stop an alien invasion, researching something the cure for cancer, or something similar. Car parts are important for global trade, and you want to do your part.

You should remodel the kitchen while you're at it. The economy is in danger of slowing down without your personal stimulus package. It probably needs it. The rest of us are counting on you.

Michael McKelvey posted:

Here is a picture of my kit still in Finland: 


I bought a late Super Beetle shaft with a u-joint on each end.  It is about 16" long by and it matches the splines on the rack.  I will cut the u-joint on one end off and cut it to the length I need.


I guess you will get it when they are Finnish with it



I have had it for a while but have been working on other things.  I sent the pieces out to be powder coated. 

After powder coating, I had a lot of trouble reattaching the piece that holds the tie rods on the rack.  It was like it shrunk.  I had cleaned all holes of powder coat material. I had to use a pretty big hammer to tap it onto the rack shaft.  I hope I didn't damage anything inside the rack.

The kit doesn't have any provision for using the steering damper.  Alex thinks it isn't needed even though some pictures show it being used in several different configurations.  If I really want to use it I would have to drill a hole.

I will probably start on it in the next few days.

I haven't gone beyond the mailbox for about 2 1/2 weeks and now my wife gets the mail.  When I needed some lock nuts I ordered them from Amazon instead of going to the hardware store.  I am hoping I don't need to get hardware to install the rack.



Images (2)
  • 20200319_142208
  • 20200319_142305
Last edited by Michael McKelvey

@DannyP, I thought I was finished but when I turned the steering wheel 180 degrees the horn honked.  I discovered the bottom end of the steering shaft was moving around and at one point touched the tube, grounding the horn.

I have installed a Super Beetle bushing in the bottom of the tube.  I had to have it turned down a bit to fit.  And, I am installing a double u-joint.

I had to shorten the shaft and tube to make room for the double u-joint.

I will post more, with pictures in a few days.

I was out riding the countryside yesterday (it seemed OK at about 90F until you stopped for something ) and noticed that my horn button didn't always make contact and it didn't seem to be steering related.

When I got home I pulled the button off and must have emptied 1/8 of a can of Electrical Contact Cleaner into the housing while swishing it around as much as possible and pushing the button in a bunch.   Seems to be working OK, now.  That CRC contact cleaner (I got it at NAPA) is pretty good stuff!

Agreed, Michael. I have an early 911 column, double-jointed intermediate shaft and a 911 rack. The rack can't be used(IMHO too much bump steer introduced) but the other parts maybe. The 911 column is SHORT though at 9", and the shaft is about 11" total. I'd rather not re-invent the (steering) wheel, but would if I have to. Sounds like a great winter project.

The intermediate shaft will need shortening, but I like the idea of two joints. That way any misalignment is taken care of by the U-joints. The rack can be centered EXACTLY where it should be.

@Gordon Nichols CRC makes GREAT stuff, indeed. I have some CRC "Lectra-Motive" electric parts cleaner that just plain WORKS.

Last edited by DannyP

As mentioned above, I removed the single u-joint and installed a double u-joint and a Super Beetle bushing.

This is the double u-joint. I couldn't find a 16mm x 60 spline double u-joint so I bought a 5/8" by 36 splines double u-joint from It is made by Sweet Mfg. My old single u-joint clamped onto the shafts. The double one uses set screws.


The splined end of the u-joint wouldn't fit over the shaft on the rack so I used a 5/8" drill bit to remove the splines. If you look at the shaft on the rack you can see that it has flat spots at two different depths. It has a shallow one on the end, then a longer, deeper one, then a shallow one again.


I was a bit concerned that with no splines, it was only the set screw that prevented rotation of the u-joint in the shaft or movement of the u-joint along the shaft.

I made a little aluminum piece that I epoxied onto the deeper flat area in the shaft. It will help prevent u-joint rotation or movement along the shaft.


This is the Super Beetle bushing. It replaced the bearing previously used on Super Beetles.  I am glad they replaced the bearing because I don't want any electrical connection between the shaft and tube.  I hope the Nylatron bushing isn't conductive.


This is the bushing installed in the tube and the modified steering shaft. A 5/8" x 36 spline piece is welded in the end. The splined piece is an Empi part from If you get it from them on eBay shipping is free.


This is what the completed installation looks like.



Images (6)
  • 20210708_151924
  • Rack
  • 20210708_151808
  • 20210708_151821
  • 20210708_151830
  • 20210709_143623

I have been unable to find a u-joint that matches the splines on the rack.  I emailed Alex and he said to use an unsplined connection with a set screw.  That is what I have in the photo above.  So, I am going to leave things as-is unless a problem develops.

I have two Super Beetle bushings and I installed the tighter one.  After driving the car I think maybe I should have used the looser one.  There is a little resistance to turning the steering wheel.  I hope it will wear a little and free up.

I plan to drive it.  I would be much more concerned about the set screw if it was going on a completely round shaft.  I think it is less likely to be a problem going to the flat spot on a D-shaped shaft. I also have the little aluminum piece in there.

The u-joint can't have unlimited rotation on the shaft unless the set screw shears off right where it screws into the u-joint.  If the aluminum piece disintegrates and the set screw loosens its grip a bit I would get limited rotation of the u-joint of the shaft. The set screw wouldn't get past the flat spot.

I still would prefer to have a u-joint with splines that match.  I would welcome anyone pointing me toward a 16mm 60 spline u-joint.

If it were me, I’d stick a spring loaded center punch down the hole on both U joints. Remove them, then put a couple of  divets in the shafts. As long as you have a steady hand, a good drill, and a sharp bit, it should be fine.

OTOH, with a flat surface on the shafts, your little aluminum piece, and a hardened set screw, I doubt you’ll have any problem. It’s not there’s a ton of force working to break that connection.

But I’d locktite the set screw for sure.

Last edited by dlearl476

I FINALLY received my parts from Alex.

Three weeks and one day to ship from Finland. I unpacked it all, it looks great. I'll take pictures and post them when I get into it.

The rack and the mounting bracket look fine. I have to paint all the fabricated parts, it's bare metal. It includes a machined, billet steel bracket for the tierods which looks super sturdy. The tierods are custom made and for my 2" shortened beam. There are also two bent steel straps to hold the rack to the bracket. All grade 8.8 bolts are included.

Here are the parts as I received them, but after cleaning all the packing tape adhesive and mill-scale:


These welds penetrated well, you can see the bluing. Parts are all laser or water jet cut and fit well:


I was able to get the paint sprayed on today. Tierod bracket is machined from one billet 50mm piece. I like the use of the nutserts on the rack bracket. Rack bracket and tierod bracket:


Left to right: 911 steering U-joint, custom fabricated SOLID tie rods with Polo inner tierod ends, and rack clamps to hold the rack on the rack bracket:


The rack and the rest of the hardware. L-R: 911 U-joint bolts, inner tierod bolts, beam clamp bolts, rack clamp bolts, and outer tierod ends:


The rack does indeed have a 60 spline 16mm D-shaft(R). The 911 U-joint has a 36 spline 16mm size(L):


I partially removed the splines with a 5/8" bit on one end of the 911 joint so it could slip onto the rack. The 36 splines are MUCH deeper cut than the 60:


This is the other end left alone:


It slips on, but will need to be tapped with a mallet to go all the way on:


The single 8mm bolt has a clamping force of almost 5000 pounds when torqued. I'm not worried about slippage in the least.

But just to hedge my bets, a Kia U-joint is on the way via ebay. I'll know exactly which way to go once I start to actually mount this stuff.

Also, I told Alex I had a 2" narrowed beam so the tierods should each be 1" shorter. I'll see if that was done. The tierods have right hand threads on the outers and left-hand on the inners. The locknuts are 22mm and the tierods themselves have an 18mm wrench flat on the outer end.

I'll take the tank out next week after the Kia U-joint arrives. That way it will be minimal down-time for the Spyder.

The rack is 3.5 turns lock-to-lock(I think my steering box is about 3 turns), and I may be installing stops on the rack bracket so my tires don't hit the wheel wells. I didn't measure the travel distance of the rack. It appears to be plenty, so 3.5 turns should be more than enough.

It's amazing how many Speedsters and Spyders don't have the steering stop bolts in the factory locations on the beam. I remember Michael commenting that the metal stop needs to be trimmed/removed.


Images (9)
  • 20210917_134712
  • 20210917_135025
  • 20210918_110741
  • 20210918_110757
  • 20210918_111107
  • 20210917_134136
  • 20210917_134254
  • 20210917_134302
  • 20210917_134419
Last edited by DannyP

Thanks Ray. Never heard of Lanner. Since I am using my existing column, I won't need any rings or adapters. I'm good. FYI, I have a really nice hub adapter that Carey Hines has made. I love it.

Bob, the only 911 part in the whole system is the U-joint. The Polo rack will use the VW column, the rack is offset to the left centered on the column. Both tierods pick up off the right side of the rack, just like in the VW Polo. I think it's very innovative and cheap engineering for packaging and rack precision.

Last edited by DannyP

My car came (from Intermeccanica) with a Golf rack and pinion setup adapted to the beam, so I'm really looking at this for the first time. It's a really cool little bit of kit. It isn't just that the rack is a much more precise way to move the tie-rods, it's that the tie-rods are equal length (left and right) with it. It's got a lot of the advantages of a center-mounted rack (which I don't have), without the need for the attendant u-joints and articulation needed to get the rack in the center of the car, when the column is off to the side.

I've long been interested in the Red-9 coil-over setup for a beam (where the torsion springs are eliminated as in an air-bagged car, and the shocks are replaced with coil-overs). If an AirKewld beam was used (with the robust shock towers), and that suspension setup was used, and this rack was installed, I wonder how it would perform in relation to an A-arm setup?

As Bruce has found, the packaging of a beam (especially in a Spyder) is very hard to work around. Look at a Mendeola front suspension, and you'll understand what I mean - it's obviously an adapted part. I know @DannyP has thought of a work-around, but if a beam can get even close to an A-arm/rack and pinion set-up with a beam, it'd open a world of possibility for guys with beams already installed.

Michael, I don't have to remove the tank. I could go from underneath, there is an 18" wide removable aluminum plate that is the width of the beam under the car. But, my EFI pump, filters, Webasto pump, and horns are all under there. And don't forget the master cylinders for brakes and clutch and my custom-made swaybar(in front of the beam).

The tank is right over the beam and column. Easy access without getting under the car. I hope.

Stan, that is my thinking. With a Spyder, the packaging is tight. I hadn't thought of a workaround for the front suspension yet. Rear IRS though, that I actually bought the steel for. I'll need IRS bearing housings and stub axles, and eight heim joints and four lateral "tierods".

As for the front, a 2" narrowed beam gives me room for my 4-piston brakes(track increase of 3/4" per side). The spring rate feels good, whatever leaves Greg used are OK. The NOS Koni adjustable oil shocks make the ride supple but firm.

I'm really hoping the on-center feel and overall rack precision finish this off, as this is as far as I'm willing to go in this car.

Add Reply

Post Content
Link copied to your clipboard.