Volkswagen Air Cooled 1949-1969 Repair Guide

Ball Joint


Only 1949-65 models are equipped with king pins. 1966-69 models are equipped with ball joints.


A quick initial inspection can be made with the vehicle on the ground. Grasp the top of the tire and vigorously pull the top of the tire in and out. Test both sides in this manner. If the ball joints are excessively worn, there will be an audible tap as the ball moves around in its socket. Excess play can sometimes be felt through the tire.

A more rigorous test may be performed by jacking the car under the lower torsion arm and inserting a lever under the tire. Lift up gently on the lever so as to pry the tire upward. If the ball joints are worn, the tire will move upward 1 / 8 - 1 / 4 in. or more. If the tire displays excessive movement, have an assistant inspect each joint, as the tire is pryed upward, to determine which ball joint is defective.


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Fig. Fig. 1 When installing a new ball joint, make certain to align the notch in the ball joint (A) with the notch in the torsion arm (B)

  1. Jack up the car and remove the wheel and tire.
  3. Remove the brake drum and disconnect the brake line from the backing plate.
  5. Remove the nut from each ball joint stud and remove the ball joint stud from the steering knuckle. Remove the steering knuckle from the car. A ball joint removal tool is available at most auto parts stores. Do not strike the ball joint stud.
  7. Remove the torsion arm from the torsion bar.
  9. Remove the ball joint from the torsion arm by pressing it out.

To install:

  1. Press a new ball joint in, making sure that the square notch in the joint is in line with the notch in the torsion arm eye.

Ball joints are supplied in different sizes designated by V-notches in the ring around the side of the joint. When replacing a ball joint, make sure that the new part has the same number of V-notches. If it has no notches, the replacement joint should have no notches.

  1. Reverse Steps 1-4 to complete the installation.