Types of VW Beetle Front Suspension
There are three different kinds of front suspension fitted to the Beetle: two earlier types that use a torsion bar beam, and the third – fitted only to 1302/1303 models - that uses a ‘strut’ assembly instead. Below is a brief breakdown of the different types of Volkswagen Beetle suspension:
King and Link Pin - used up until August 1965
This beam consists of a pair of axle tubes, each housing torsion bars to which the trailing arms are attached. The trailing arms then support the stub axles by means of ‘king and link pin’ assemblies. If your shock absorber ‘towers’ (the vertical legs at the ends of the axle tubes) are straight, then you have a king and link pin model.
Balljoint - used from September 1965 onwards (but not on 1302/1303)
This beam also consists of a pair of axle tubes, housing torsion bars to which the trailing arms are attached. But on these models the trailing arm support a stub axle by means of a pair of ‘balljoints’. If your shock absorber ‘towers’ (the vertical legs at the ends of the axle tubes) are angled outwards at top, then you have a balljoint model.
MacPherson Strut - used on 1302 and 1303 (Superbeetles) only
There is no main beam.
Instead each stub axle is connected directly to an independent ‘strut’ (a sort of glorified coil-over shock) and balanced by control arms that mount to the chassis. If your spare wheel is mounted flat (horizontally) under your bonnet then you have a MacPherson strut model. Not useable on Beach Buggies, this suspension is occasionally found on Baja Bugs.
Types of VW Beetle Rear Suspension
There are TWO different kinds of rear suspension fitted to the Beetle: the standard ‘swing axle’ assembly, that uses rigid axles, and the ‘IRS’ type – fitted only to certain models. Below is a brief breakdown of the different types of Volkswagen Beetle suspension:
Swing Axle – used on most standard models
The swing axle assembly consists of a pair of rigid axles that pivot from the gearbox. These were used from the very earliest cars right up until the end of Mexican production in 2003. If your axles only have rubber boots on the ends of the axles that join the gearbox (and not at the hub ends), then you have a swing axle model.
Independent Rear Suspension (IRS) – used on 1302/03 & Semi-Auto
IRS is a more advanced type of Volkswagen Beetle suspension that features CV (constant velocity) joints both next to the gearbox and also at the hub end of the axles. These were only used on some later models, including 1302 / 1303 (Superbeetle) and Semi-Automatic cars. If your axles have rubber boots on both ends of axles (next to the gearbox and at the hubs), then you have an IRS model.
Of course VW Heritage stock an extensive range of parts for both types of VW Beetle rear suspension, including axle and CV boots, hub seal kits and bump stops. Plus a great selection of performance and styling parts, including adjustable springplates and uprated shocks.