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The Artcar: 2001/08/10
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The past few evenings have been spent trying to get the suspension off the junker and onto the rail frame. Problems have included everything from some idiot buying the wrong size bolts to the very same idiot not being able to find a 17mm allen wrench at 2130hrs on a week night.

The front suspension came off pretty easily. So easily that I forgot to take pictures. Same with the transaxle, it just sorta popped right out.

The rear torsion bar has been the first major sticking point. A torsion bar is a spring made from twisting a thick steel bar. Imagine taking a 1" piece of steel about 3' long, grabbing it at each end and twisting it 1/8 turn or so. That's basically what the rear torsion bar is on a bug. Oh, and it's what the trailing arms -- the things that hold up the rear of the car -- are attached to.

The black clamp-looking thing is just that -- a special compression clamp. If I just pried the trailing arm off, it'd snap loose with 1400 pounds of pressure (an estimate I've found in various places) in the direction of the big red arrow. Every VW mechanic I've talked to has explained that the trailing arm would snap your femur if you happened to be sitting with your legs under the trailing arm when it came loose.

Thus, the clamp. Of course, I didn't have the clamp when I started, I thought I'd just cheat and use a floor jack instead. The torsion bar, however, is stronger than the car weighs. I put the floor jack under the spring, started it up, and the whole body lifted off the jackstands. Grr.

But finally, I got the transmission removed and the driver's side torsion bar removed. Look at the huge gaping hole where damn near everything used to be. The big lump of dirty metal at the bottom right is the transaxle, axles and break drums, all in one big piece.

Two gratuitious photos. Dirty bolts waiting to be cleaned, and my girlfriend and I at Burning Man last year. Julian at www.supersnail.com took this photo and bunches more. Go check them out and tell him what a genius he is, ok?


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All original text and images Copyright 2000-2002 J. Eric Townsend.