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Previous Next Up Topic Public / Dune Buggy Build Advice / Swing arm prows/cons (8487 hits)
By Jim B 3573 Date 2013-02-19 20:01
I have a hand shake on the purchase of a swing arm, completed pan and drive line.  It comes with Manx Clone body (I think) and many parts which will go quite a ways towards its completion. I'm scheduled to do the title work on Thursday night and pick it up this Saturday.

Question, should I bail on this one and hold out for an IRS.  This will be my first  DB project.  I don't plan to off road and at this point I don't want to follow Brad to the Flats and join the 130 club, (all though if I were younger I'd be tempted). I do however want to wear out the rear tires before the front, I'm not that old.  In short I want a little tire chirp now and again, other than that just cruising.

Second question, will the rear torsion bar cap pieces that extend out into the wheel well keep me from putting bigger tires on the rear?  Can those caps be made smaller?

Will the swing arm suspension cause more trouble that it is worth???  I would really like encouragement to proceed with this deal if it is an O.K. thing to do?????

I need to decide ASAP!

By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2013-02-19 20:25
A swing "axle" (not arm) pan is just fine to use. The tranny is tough and dependable. Is an IRS better. Yes...yes it is. But so is a Ferrari as compared to a Vette (no arguments...just using it as an example!). That doesn't mean that the Vette isn't very competent.

Swings have a tendency to have more camber issues if dropped or raised excessively. They can also suffer from wheel tuck on extreme avoidance moves. This can be nicely corrected with a camber compensator (easy to install).

You will have plenty of tire space even with the longer caps. Remember...too big of a tire and that strains your little engine as well as the tranny. I would not even worry about it. You would have to run a REAL tall tire to get those clearance issues.

Here is my old manx built on a swing pan. The new owner has no complaints. You can see the clearance with a decent sized 15" rear tire. I easily could have added 6"-8" in overall diameter before any issues.

Just make sure your title issues are clear. I have a feeling its not as easy as you might think but I could be totally wrong...and I hope I am!

Of course pictures are required after you get it or you get no more help!!
By Jim B 3573 Date 2013-02-19 22:12
WOW! what a nice buggy.  Thanks for the advice.  Looking at your pics's the first one, you  have caps on your torsion bars, at least I think they are torsion bars.  Just behind your pan the appx. 3" diameter bar has a cap on the side I can see it only sticks out about an inch.  On the one I'm buying the cap sticks out about 4 or 5 inches.  Can the longer cap on my swing axle be made smaller like yours???

As far as tires are concerned I think a 15inch by about 8 inches wide on a mag rim would look super, in your opinion how would it look and spin?   Brad explained nicely about having front tires that are too wide can be a problem maybe 14 inch by 6 inch wide on the front, but this will be a discussion for a nother day I have a lot of work before that???? The motor is a rebuilt dual port, but size is a question as the number at the base of the gen mount is 6200556 with no two letter prefix.

I will get it home block it up remove body and post pic's.  One of my many questions is motor ID.  You did a nice job of motor ID on a post I read last night.  You could tell just by looking what it was..., a non U.S. built 1300 I think.

How did you guys do it back in the day without a forum like this?????  Without this I don't think I would tackle this project.

By Jim B 3573 Date 2013-02-19 22:31
I'm studying your pan pic's.  It looks like you rimmed your pan with metal about 1 inch thick all the way around, is that required or did you need reinforcement?  My pan is stock no reinforcement?

Second, it looks like you put a vin plate where the vin number is stamped on me pan?
The reason I ask is I'm buying the rolling pan and as a separate transaction I'm transferring a 1963 VW title into my name, that is part of the deal.....  Naturally the vin numbers are different, but I'm thinking a vin plate would solve a lot of problems????? 

By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2013-02-20 00:23
I am not 100% sure about the torsion caps...but someone here will chime in. What I can tell you is that they won't be an issue. I have built other cars with those and tire clearance (except for extremes) was not an issue.

Like I said, if you want to go through the added expense then someone will chime in.

That wheel and tire combo was 14's in the front and 15'2 in the back. I can't remember the exact size but if yo search on The Samba I have my entire build posted thee and it might be in there somewhere.

The engine number suggests its a late 1961. It didn't start off life as a dual port, although it might have been built into one. You may want to post a pic if you are unsure. Again...not all sellers know what they are talking about
By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2013-02-20 00:30
Yes, I ran 1x2" rectangular stock and flat floor pans. I do it for strength and added legroom.

Stock pans are fine. Lots of people run them. Mine are always trashed so doing it my way is about the same cost as quality replacement pans and its stronger. Just a personal choice.

That is not a Vin plate. That section is where the stamped VIN number is. I cleaned it up and taped it off before painting the pan. Its bare steel that has been clear coated.

In most states (if not all of them) altering the VIN number is illegal and punishable. I think they can impound your car. Just like you wouldn't take your daily and go to the scrap yard and remove a vin from a car and put it on your car. Thats illegal.

Legally I do not think you can do what you are planning on doing. People have done creative things and some get away with it. Thats your choice. I just don't think it will fool any inspector who sees a plate riveted over something. Having a title and trying to match it to the pan that it does not belong to might get you in trouble.
By Jim B 3573 Date 2013-02-20 01:21
I have learned to learn form others that know.  None of this is worth legal problems.  Thanks for the insight.
I think I'll pass on the odd title under the circumstances I can't how it could help me.

Can tranny's be swapped between a swing axle and IRS suspensions.  Are there adapters that will allow interchangeability? 

By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2013-02-20 01:57 Edited 2013-02-20 02:02
To install an IRS tranny in a swing axle pan you need a jig, the pieces that attach to the torsion tubes (pivot brackets?), and good welding skills.

I think putting a swing into an IRS pan is easier...but I may be mistaken.

Some reading here:
By Brad H 1498 Date 2013-02-21 14:22
To change to the shorter caps you have to change the torsion bars, bushings and spring plates. The long ones have the splines out at the ends that stick out so you have to change to the short bars 21" and matching springplates that have the splines about even twith the spring plate. Unless you are running really tall tires you shouldn't have a problem with the early setup.

Changing from IRS to swing is just as easy. Just get the swingaxle springplates torsion bars caps and bushings.

Changing from swing to IRS is much more involved. It requires cutting and fitting the inner pivots and good welding skills.

By Sandsurfer Date 2013-02-24 15:54
I have many miles on my buggy with a swing axle and I have never had an issue with it. Millions of VW's came from Germany this way so it can't be that bad.

By Jim B 3573 Date 2013-03-02 01:27
What a great looking buggy. Seeing your ride and your explanation makes me feel much better thanks!  What type and size are your tires and rims.  Do you have adapters or drums?
   Jim B
Previous Next Up Topic Public / Dune Buggy Build Advice / Swing arm prows/cons (8487 hits)

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