The following procedure is a step by step on how to correct the rear ride
heighth on '68 - '79 IRS buses.
The time involved varies, of course, but I was able to do the procedure
in approximately 5 hours (3.5hrs on the first - learning, 1.5 on the second side -
rushing and making stupid mistakes ) without any step by step instructions.
I feel with these instructions a person with a good set of tools and a
minimal amount of mechanical ability could complete the procedure in
appoximately 3 hours. One person could complete the job but I would highly
recommend a second person (my procedure includes disconnecting the brake lines
which is optional but I recommend it, so you will need a second person to
help bleed the brakes when you are done).
(A) Open/box end wrenches: 11mm, 16mm, 17mm, 18mm (or 3/4), 22mm (or 7/8)
(B) Ratchet with sockets: 16mm, 3/4" (19mm?), 22mm
(C) Jack stands (2)
(D) Large hammer
(E) Pry bar and/or Small wedge
(F) Small flat-head screwdriver
(G) Floor jack
(H) 6mm Allen wrench or triple square wrench, depending on your CV bolts
(I) Good Vice-grips
Additionally, I would like to add some optional tools that I used that
really made the job easier, but are not necessary.
(A) 3/4 inch drive Air or Electric Impact (an electric impact is one
of the best investmensts I have made for old Vw's)
(B) Large floor jack
(C) I presoaked all bolts thoroughly with Liquid Wrench (or similar lubricant).
(D) I want to double-emphasize the word GOOD on the vice-grips, without worn jaws
(E) Brake Fluid
(A) Begin by breaking the lug nuts on both rear wheels to easy
removal when tires are off the ground.
(B) Block the front tires so the vehicle can not roll forwards
or backwards on you and jack the back of the vehicle up at
least high enough to remove the rear wheels
(C) I placed large jack stands under the rear main frame supports
just forward of the torsion housing.
(D) I then removed the floor jack and rear wheels.
(E) Remove the lower shock mount bolt (mine had 17mm on one end and 3/4" (19mm?)
(F) Next, I removed the outer CV bolts (the trick here is to dowse the
bolts ahead of time with lubricant, then take your vise-grips and try turning
the bolts forwards and back, tightening and loosening until they break, then use
your Metric Allen wrench or triple square wrench). I used something to support the axles to keep em from
dropping to the floor. Important: If dirt gets in the greased ends of the CV's
or if you are low on grease, your CV's may pop when reassembled. Now is a
good time to regrease. Use special CV grease rather than
standard grease. Also, I covered the ends of the greased CV's with Zip-lock bags
(or Duct tape) to keep dirt out and grease in.
(G) I disconnected the brake line that runs thru the hub. I will say this
is optional but the first side I did was hard to get a part until I disconnected
so it is one of those things where if you go thru a little extra work now, it will
save you much time and head aches later. This is NOT necessary on the Type 1.
(H) Next, I removed the bolts (2 small, 2 large -> 22mm?) from the outer hub that
run thru the spring plate. This is where the electric (or air) impact showed its worth.
(I) Now, you should just have bare spring plates with nothing attached to them.
(J) At this point, we take the four bolts out of the torsion housing ends
(16mm?) and remove the covers. A black rubber spring plate bushing should come
out with the cover.
[Editor's Note: There are two of these bushings, one on either side of the spring plate.
Now is a good time to replace them with new ones. The part number is 211 511 245A for '50-'79 Type 2s.
You'll need 4--they cost around $7 each (1999 prices). Lubricate
them with talcum powder (not grease!) before installing. Talcum powder is available from your local pharmacist/chemist.
FYI: A Porsche aftermarket company selling torsion bars states that breakage of the bars is not
covered under warranty if they were not installed with all new spring plate bushings. Installing
only new outer bushings is not acceptible--you must replace all four together.]
(K) This is where I marked the current location of the spring plate on the
splines of the torsion. I just scratched an arrow on the spring plate that
pointed to the center of the little circle on the torsion housing but, in retrospect,
wish I would have scratched a full line to go all the way across the torsion
bar and spring plate.
(L) Now great caution must be taken not to pull the torsion bar from its
spline location on the inside of the torsion housing (the torsion bar is not
secure on the inside; it is just splined on both ends; there is one torsion
bar per side). I also scratched a line into the torsion housing using the
spring plate as a straight edge just in case this happened. Again, tons of
lubricant was applied to the spline area of the spring plate and torsion bar.
(M) What we want to do now is push the torsion bar thru the eye of the
spring plate. I did this by hammering a wedge or crow bar behind the spring plate,
and hammering a deep well socket thru the center of the spring plate on the torsion
bar (wedge pushes spring plate out, socket keeps torsion pushed in).
Take your time and be aware of what you are beating on.
A small hammer worked fine for me. If the inside of the torsion bar pops out,
don't freak out, just realign the spring plate with the mark we straight-edged on
the torsion housing.
[Editor's Note: If you scratch any paint of the torsion bar, it is a
good idea to clean and paint so no rust occurs. Rust will eventually
cause the bar to break as it penetrates the bar, so use precautions].
(N) More Liquid wrench...Heat????? Have you taken a break yet?????
Give it a couple seconds and come back with a little more patience and possibly
a new perspective.
(O) OK...now that we got those off, Now comes the time for precision.
(P) See George Lyle's procedure for proper adjustment of the torsion bar
to attain the correct ride height.
(Q) Now that your adjustment is done, more than likely, you will need
an assistant here to help you get the spring plate up above the step on the
bottom of the torsion housing cover. I used a large floor jack to jack
the spring plate up so far, then hammer it on at the same time.
For reference, when I jacked up the spring plate, after a while, it
did eventually lift the bus off of the jack stands.
(R) Also, the torsion housing cover can be kind of tricky to get back on.
Don't forget to install the spring plate bushings lubricated with talcum powder.
I took a long skinny
bolt and washer through one of the bolt holes and the cover that would
allow the cover to move around a little, then got one of the original
bolts started and then got the other two originals in. Once I got those
pretty snug, I removed the unoriginal long, skinny bolt and nut and replaced
it with the last of the original bolts.
(S) The rest is basically everything in the opposite order. Put brake
line and outer hub back on. The CV and the shock are bolted
back to the wheel hub and you reattach the tires.
(T) Don't forget to bleed the brakes if you did disconnect the brake lines.
(U) Finally, to insure proper tire wear and stability, take your baby
by your local Tire guy for rear wheel alignment check.
(V) Don't forget to re-aim those headlights!