Baja Rear Suspension

Our Baja Bug originally had a stock Beetle transaxle with swing axles.  This arrangement was far from sufficient for going the places we like to drive, so we chose to transplant the rear suspension from an early '60's Bus.  The lower gearing is offset by the big back tires, and the reduction boxes give more ground clearance.

This picture is a little dark, but it does give an overall impression of the rear suspension.

New lower shock mounts had to be fabricated.  The Baja now uses Bus rear shocks, and it eats them up pretty quickly.  The reverse rotating axles made the handling pretty strange, we had to add limiting straps made of seat belts to keep from destroying axle boots quite so quickly.  The whole back end of the car would lift under acceleration, which is an interesting sensation to get used to, but can actually be very useful for getting out of sticky situations.  The angle brace that can be seen above, going from the reduction box to the spring plate, is needed to keep the reduction boxes from rotating around the axle tube under acceleration.  On a Bus, the spring plate is longer and bolted to the reduction box, which eliminates this problem.  On our conversion, we had plates welded to the axle tubes to which the stock Type I spring plates bolt.

In the summer of 2003 we discovered why the Baja had started to seem grumpy for the past few years (he spent some time parked).  The rear torsion housing on the right side is cracked 1/2 of the way around. Obviously, all of those years of hard use have taken their toll.  The next step for the Baja would have to be a full roll cage, which will allow for significant strengthening of the rear suspension when the torsion housing gets welded.  Unfortunately, time and other commitments kept this project on the back burner.  In 2008, we made the challenging decision not to return the Baja to the road (trail!).  As time goes on it is getting harder and harder to find people willing to adopt old VW's and give them the loving home required to keep them going.  The Baja did go to a new home and we hope that at least a few of his components live on in some fashion.