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