Volkswagen Air Cooled 1949-1969 Repair Guide

Swing Axle Rear Suspension


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Fig. Fig. 1 Exploded view of the rear swing axle suspension

The rear wheels of the Volkswagen are independently sprung by means of torsion bars. The inside ends of the torsion bars are anchored to a body cross member via a splined tube which is welded to the frame. The torsion bar at each side of the rear suspension has a different number of splines at each end. This makes possible the adjustment of the rear suspension.

The torsion bars of different models may be slightly different in diameter, depending on the loads designed to be carried. For example, the torsion bars at the tear of the 1967 type 1 are 21mm. in diameter compared to 23mm. for the Squareback sedan. The length of the torsion bar also has an effect on its springing properties, and Volkswagens have, through the years and models, had torsion bars ranging in length from 21.7" (1967 type 1) to 24.7" (the first type 1 produced).

The suspension of the Squareback sedan is reinforced by a transverse torsion bar which is located above the rear axle. This bar acts progressively to soften the bumps in proportion to their size, and also to add to the handling qualities and lateral stability of the rear axle. This reinforcing spring is also present on all 1967 and 1968 models. For earlier models, there is available an accessory known as the "Camber Compensator."

This device is a transverse leaf spring which is installed below the rear axle. It reduces oversteer by resisting the tendency of the rear wheels to tuck under the body on hard cornering.

The rear shock absorbers of the Volkswagen are of the double-acting type which dampen the shocks of the road as well as prevent excessive rebound when the wheel(s) are in the unloaded position.