Paul recently asked me if I was running long axles or short axles in my swing tranny. I didn’t even know there was a difference!
I placed a call to Dave at Bug City and asked him what the difference is. Well, the 1967 and 1968 had the long axles. Great info, but how do you know you have the original tranny? Maybe you have a short axle in a ’67 pan or maybe you have a 61 with a long axle. You never know!
I recently bought a replacement tranny. While I only paid for one, the seller let me throw both short and long trannys on my trailer since I really didn’t know what I had. Thanks, Dean. So, unless you’re in the know, you may not know what you don’t know… if you know what I mean.
I’m going to detail the difference so hopefully you can easily identify what length of axle you have.
The photo above is a shot of the passenger side axle tubes. If you’ve been around VW for a while, you probably already know the difference. Chances are, if you’re even reading this, than you don’t really know, but that’s cool… No one will bash you for saying you knew the difference at this point in the article.
If you didn't know before, you can clearly see that the dimensions are different in the location between the spring plates and the hub that the brake backing plate bolts to, as shown here in this photo.
This shot is of a short shaft style axle tube. The dimension is something like 2-1/2 inches.
This picture shows the dimension between the spring plate and the backing plate on a long axle. According to one of my many sources, this would indicate a 1967 or 1968 axles
Yes, I know the tape measure is upside down. I needed a quick straight edge and in an effort to keep the confusion of what exactly I was measuring here to a minimum, I turned the tape upside down. Here I'm showing what a short axle looks like on the outboard edge of the lower shock mount. Notice there is a kick in the mount on both the inner and outer edges.
This last image is another shot of my tape measure upside down. No, seriously... It a shot of a long axle. Notice the way the long axle's lower shock mount outboard edge is straight across. The inner edge maintains the same kick that the short axle has. the only difference is the outboard edge.
In review, there are two very easy ways to identify the length of your axles. One is to get all dirty crawling under the vehicle, assuming its in one, and measure the distance between the spring plate and the backing plate flange. A second, possibly less dirty way to identify the length of axle you have is to simply take a step back and look at the lower shock mount. Having seen both together it shouldn't be rocket science trying to ID your axle length. I hope this helps you out. Now get outside and figure out what length axles you have in your ride!