By Jim B 3573 Date 2013-07-08 20:00
I have been considering changing the swing axle on my dune buggy (1970 pan and running gear) to IRS. I have found a 1974 junker. The pan and body are junk but I can purchase the motor and IRS trans. to include all suspension parts for $500. I have know way of determining what condition any of it is in, so that will remain an unknown until after the purchase.
I plan to keep running the buggy this summer, then this winter I will install disc brakes on the front, relocate the gas tank inlet neck to the center of the hood, I also will pull the motor then check the heads for needed work even rings if necessary. My existing swing axle is strong the only problem I have with it is I need to pull it and install new "O" rings and gaskets to the side plates (I think I'm saying that right). It leaks trans. fluid and makes a bit of a mess. Because I need to pull the swing to fix the leak that would be the time to tackle a conversion to an IRS suspension.....
I have a pretty good Idea how much work all this will be with the exception of the IRS conversion. My current swing works fine I just always thought the IRS would be better??? The buggy handles fine, corners well with no unusual transmission noises that I can hear, all gears shift smoothly with no grinding. Other than the fluid leak all is well with it.
Will the 1974 bug parts (it looks like a super beetle with it's curved windshield) fit a 1970 pan???
How much work and possible problems am I in for with an IRS conversion???
Would I be better off sticking with the swing since it is fine with no noticeable problems at this time and just completing the work I know and forget the conversion???
Is $500 a good price to purchase the motor and IRS, should I buy them and just sit on them for future, old VW's are getting harder to fined here in PA.???
The junkers vin # is 1342462200 I tried an on line search to determine what the bug actually is but had no luck, the salvage yard guy wasn't positive.
What insight and advice can you guys provide on any or all of this. As always all comments and suggestions are welcome
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By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2013-07-08 20:17
For the IRS to a swing you will need a jig and some very competent welding skills. I don't know if you can do it with the body on or if it has to come off. It has to be done right or it won't handle right or be safe.
Another thing to keep in mind is that it might not fit your body without cutting. Do you have a battery and spare tire well in your buggy?
I did a Samba search on your VIN and nothing even remotely comes close. Are you sure that it is 100%? Taken off the pan near the shift rod coupler access plate?
The tranny, axles, and stub axles as well as the motor will all work. If it is GOOD running motor and GOOD tranny than $500 is very reasonable.
By Brad H 1498 Date 2013-07-08 23:40
I agree with Jeff, it's a pretty involved swap and you needs some skills. Hot VWs has covered it a couple times in articles if you have some back issues. I think 2 or 3 years ago was the last time they did it. Personally I would never go back to swing axle I love the way IRS handles but that's just me. We did an IRS swap on my friends buggy. Some people might call it a hack way of doing it, but we cut the swing torsion housing off and cut some reliefs in the tunnel and slid the new IRS clip inside the swing tunnel and welded it all together. It worked very well for us and once everything was cleaned up and painted looked pretty good.
And yes, if your car has a battery box or spare tire well, you'll probably have to modify them to go to the IRS. I've had to do it on a few buggies.
Up here I can get $500 for a decent running engine
By Jim B 3573 Date 2013-07-08 23:52
Jeffrey, thanks for the info. I do have battery and spare tire wells. There is no way to know the actual condition, it currently isn't in running condition. I might have transposed a number on the vin, no wonder I had trouble....
You are helping me with my decision, pulling and cutting the body aren't thinks I want to do.
By Jim B 3573 Date 2013-07-09 00:14
Brad, The clip on this car is in pretty sad shape. I'm pretty handy but trusting my skills against the safety and reliability of the buggy on something this complicated having never done it before isn't something I would be comfortable doing myself for the first time.
Unless I can find someone who has done this before and willing to work with me I will pass on the tranny swap. My swing axle is working better and better all with every post I read here.
I'll just stick to the rest of my planned winter work.
Thank you and Jeffery for your insight and honesty, you have saved me tons of headaches.
By Bob E #19 Date 2013-07-24 00:53
if it really was a 70 pan, it already would have the IRS pivots, (they all did after 69) and it would only be an exercise in swapping parts from the 70 to the 74, it would all drop right in.
That said, without the pivot points it's probably not a 70 pan.
Boston Bob E
www.bimelliott.com - www.the-bug-club.com - www.deserterownersgroup.org
By Brad H 1498 Date 2013-07-24 01:29
We got swing axles until the end of prodution in Canada, but they never imported Standards into the US
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