Home Forums Technical Questions 64 Project – Beam and tire size

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  • Dozer
    Participant
    Post count: 37

    Hey guys, its been a LONG time since owning a VW after having to sell my 56. 14 or so years later, I live in a new state and finally picked up a pretty solid, running Java Green 64.

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    First thing after getting it in the garage was a full mechanical breakdown since it has a few known issues from the PO neglecting it for 2.5 years. Im rebuilding the whole brake system currently, then moving (very reluctantly) to tackling the leaking rear axle seals that the PO messed up 2.5 years ago and the whole reason the car has been sitting.

    I discovered it has dropped spindles from at least 5 years ago since both of the 2 PO’s bought it lowered. Beam looks stock and has no adjusters but aint no way Im leaving it like that!

    I ordered a narrowed beam back around 2005 from KCW for my 70 and loved it. So definitely going to get a narrowed setup for this car.

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    Here is where all the questions come in…

    Do you guys still build beams?

    My 70 had 135’s front and 165’s rear on the 4-lug Empi 8 spokes with the KCW beam that I “think” was a 4 inch beam but its been so long I cant remember.

    Ive been seeing so many newer tire sizes mentioned since then and have no clue what size beam and tire combinations work best with these earlier cars now. The car will be a weekend cruiser, mostly riding the mountains of Northeast Tennessee and hitting a few local shows. Not planning to go crazy low as our little farm-town roads would beat it to death but need a good narrowed stance for sure or I couldnt live with myself!

    Im thinking a 5″ shockless beam with adjusters in combination with the dropped spindles might be the way to go to maximize tire clearance, etc but no clue if the 135’s are the best route for that or something else.

    Any help in this are will be SUPER appreciated!! Heres a few pics of the 64. Got so excited to have one again, I got it home and started tearing it down before getting any good pics outside!

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    Franz
    Keymaster
    Post count: 3367

    Russ, Right?

    Yeah, there are a bunch of newer sizes like 175/55, 165/60, adnd 165/65 that fit about the same as traditional cal-look 135 or 145 tires.

    I like the 145 for a lowered street car because they have a tall side wall equals looking lower. (The 165/65 sounds appealing too, but I have not tried one).

    A 165 rear tire is fine….Cal-look would go up to a 205/65 or 205/70 if you wanted fat tire look.

    When a tire just has one size like 135, 145, or 165 it is assumed to be 80 aspect ratio. So the side wall is 80% of the tread width of 165mm.

    Franz
    Keymaster
    Post count: 3367

    Here is Zack’s beetle with 145 and 165 nankang tires on 5.5″ and 4.5″ fuchs,  Empi 2″ needle bearing beam, and dropped spindles.

    The offset on fuchs is perfect for a 2″ narrowed beam. You’re 5 spokes would need a 4″ to look the same.

    We don’t build beams much anymore. For the price you can buy the nice needle bearing stuff, its better to go that route. CB Performance has the 4″ narrowed with shock towers, torsion springs, and tie rods….I’d check with CIP1 too.

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    Dozer
    Participant
    Post count: 37

    Hey Franz, yeah its Russ. Been a LONG TIME!

    Thanks for the info on Zacks car, thats pretty close to what Im looking for, maybe with a bit more tuck so the 4″ would probably give me what I want. I may end up swapping out the Empi 5’s for a set of smoothies in 4.5 and 5.5 which would help but havent decided on them yet.

    I’ve checked CB Performance and have only been able to find a 2″ beam on their site. Cip1 has a 4 inch beam listed but I can only find the torsions for the 2″ beam they sell and really dont have the setup to shorten my current springs and re-drill for the grub screws.

    We have a guy about an hour from me named Sam who owns Valley Autowerks and he builds new beams like the ones you guys did. The 4″ with shock towers and shortening my leaves is about $400 so the price is good, but he’s currently like 5-6 weeks out.

    Thanks again for the info, I may call Cip1 and see if they sell the 4″ torsions and maybe I overlooked them.

    I’ll be seeing you guys around here alot I imagine as I get more into this thing. Once I get this resolved, Im jumping on those rear axle seals and after watching someone walk through it on YouTube, Im a bit hesitant so we will see how that goes… lol.

    alykat
    Participant
    Post count: 431

    Sounds like you are back East someplace. Any plans to be in Colorado in the near future ? I have a 4″ narrowed beam with adjusters and torsion leafs that I would take $150 for , but I don’t ship. Ever.

    https://denver.craigslist.org/pts/d/narrowed-vw-link-pin-beam/7056078291.html

    Dozer
    Participant
    Post count: 37

    Yeah Im in Greeneville, TN up in the Northeast Corner… no plans to be in Colorado anytime soon unfortunately. A good friend of mine lives in Ouray and Im hoping to get out there next year and do some of the Jeep trails up there but outside of that, Nashville is about as west as I’ll be until then.

    DaKine
    Participant
    Post count: 9

    Russ- I had Sam build me a beam for my son’s car a few years ago. Top notch and constant updates when he built it.  It’s on the car in my avatar now. It had a 5” beam which was a little too slammed for a 17 year old. Sam built me a 2 incher shipped with leaves. More practical for young driver. He thinks he’s a frickin stud driving that car around lol

    Dozer
    Participant
    Post count: 37

    Thanks @DaKine! Good to hear some feedback on Sam. After we moved from Florida, and my usual VW mechanic closed his shop and moved to Ohio, I’ve been searching like crazy for someone local to handle things that I either dont have time for or not experienced/willing to tackle myself. Finding Sams shop was nice because he’s just under an hour from me up I-81.

    I’ve already reached out to him to get my order in for a 4″ beam with towers and new tie-rods/ends. $424 including new zerks, spindle bolts/hardware and new pan-head hardware. Im just going to finish pulling my beam tomorrow night and clean up my torsions and run them up there to him for shortening.

    I have some old worn-out 135’s on the front rims now, so once I get the beam in and everything re-installed, I will see how they sit and what the clearance looks like. If need be, I will swap the rims for some smoothies to run 4.5s up front.

    Just dropped about $3k on lots of misc parts, mostly mechanical and a complete interior minus the headliner. Mines in good shape for now but the seats need love and the carpet/door panels were ratty… Rebuilding the seats from the springs up so have new coconut pads, burlap, covers, etc on the way from Wolfsburg West, as well as the 2-tone door panels and Oatmeal square-weave carpet.

    Is there a section for readers rides yet? Maybe I should create a build thread and try my best over the next 6 weeks to keep it up to date.

    Vwsarent4hippies
    Participant
    Post count: 108

    I’ve known Sam for probably 15 yrs, you’re in good hands 👌

    Franz
    Keymaster
    Post count: 3367

    You’ll be fine on the axle seals. Be sure to drain the transaxle or tip the car sideways to prevent oil running out of the transaxle while you’re re-sealing.

    I use silicone the back of the brake backing plate and on the gaskets.

     

    Dozer
    Participant
    Post count: 37

    Thanks for the tip! Definitely draining the transaxle anyways for insurance since I have no idea when it was changed last. So I’ll tackle those in unison. I ordered 3 of the axle seal kits just in case I pinch one of the o-rings so I would have a spare.

    Getting her ready this weekend to tackle the pan. No holes or anything but the typical rust is there. So my plan is to wirebrush the pans and then treat them with something. Ive only had to mess with rusty pans once and it was in my first bug 29 years ago, been fortunate to not have to mess with them since. I remember my dad helping me POR-15 the whole pan… HATED IT! 😆  Been reading about some treatments from Eastwood Company and Permatex but not sure which way to go yet. Primarily just want to get the rust stopped so I can roll it how it is into next year. One small spot behind the right front wheel near where the body meets the pan that I may have to cut out and replace, but a patch about 8 inches long and maybe an inch high would do it.

    The primary goal is to get mechanical all solid, stop any rust and have fun with it. Hoping that by late 2021 this one can get a pan-off by you guys as I want to give it to my son for a college graduation present.

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