My splitty suspension woes

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BrettB
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My splitty suspension woes

Post by BrettB » Tue Apr 02, 2019 9:29 pm

Since this is my first post I should probably introduce myself. My name is Brett, I'm from Durban and I have recently purchased a 57' splitty project. I have owned a bay window for some time too which I have worked on over years.

When I Purchased the splitty I knew that something was not lekker with the rear suspension but I was not 100% sure what it was because I had never owned or worked on one. I purchased it anyway because it was a good price for a solid body. After doing research on what I had found it seems that what I have to deal with is a properly botched straight axle conversion. It came with a 68' beetle gearbox, long axle, long tube, hubs and brakes on the rear. Luckily, these all seems to be in working order. However, The spring plates were cut incorrectly and if the bus ever drove like this it would have been its last. From what what I can gather, I would require offset spring plates and a bus gearbox nose cone to complete this successfully? And then I have bug brakes on the bug which is not ideal either. Also, this conversion lowers the bus 75mm or so on the rear?

Should I carry on with this conversion or should I try revert back to reduction boxes?
If I carry on with the conversion would I need to lower the front suspension to level the bus out? flipped spindles? who can assist locally?
If I revert back, can I use the current beetle gearbox and flip the diff to get the correct rotation direction? Where can I get reduction boxes from?

Bear in mind that this splitty will have an electric motor. Engine power and cooling will not be an issue. It wont be fast or extremely powerful. I will cover this in a different thread for those interested.



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Re: My splitty suspension woes

Post by sean » Tue Apr 02, 2019 9:47 pm

Hi Brett.

As your bus is a 57, it’s gearbox and specially nosecone mounting will also differ from later splits, 60 - 67.

Your bus should have the split transmission with unsyncronised 1st that’s designed to work with the 30hp 1100 motor. This is the only gearbox that will fit in your bus as standard. Nothing else, only gearboxes earlier than 1960 will work.

I would really advise to restore originality.

There are conversion kits available to adapt later tunnle bus gearboxes, but with compromises.

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Re: My splitty suspension woes

Post by retrovan » Tue Apr 02, 2019 10:45 pm

Seeing as you are going electric you need to ask yourself a few questions to come to the right decision.

Once to have the motor sorted, would you want to have it lowered, or do you prefer the standard height of a split bus.??

What gearbox have you got in it at this moment, as I do not think you would have a split bus box but you may have a Beetle box.

If so the cost of finding a split box, with reduction boxes, will be high, and your box ratios will be bad for the conversion as well, due to the torque the electric motor will put out.

So if you want a low bus, then get drop spindles for the front, or have the rear lifted with adjustable spring blades for a normal ride.

Bugger made some in the past, not sure if he still makes them.

You can drop the gearbox very easy to make it line up better.

Will love to hear more on the electrification of your bus, as I have wanted to do a low cost conversion using standard over the counter parts rather then the expensive imported system for years.

Post some photo's so we could make more informed suggestions.

This really needs a project thread.

Herman
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Re: My splitty suspension woes

Post by 73type2 » Wed Apr 03, 2019 10:01 am

Welcome Brett! I'm also leaning more towards keeping things original, but I'm very excited by your idea of running your bus electric. With electric vehicles being rolled out all over the world now, this seems like a way of taking our classic cars into the future. I'm looking forward to reading your project thread.

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Re: My splitty suspension woes

Post by Dawie » Wed Apr 03, 2019 10:58 am

Weight-carrying capacity of beetle "straight axle" conversion may not be up to the task of carrying around heavy batteries. Especially when driving on potholed roads.
Do'nt assume anything- (While doing fault-finding).
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"If something can go wrong, it will go wrong" (Murphy's law).

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Re: My splitty suspension woes

Post by fig » Wed Apr 03, 2019 12:53 pm

Dawie wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 10:58 am
Weight-carrying capacity of beetle "straight axle" conversion may not be up to the task of carrying around heavy batteries. Especially when driving on potholed roads.
The beetle rear axle has a single bearing at the hub end, while a reduction box axle has 4.

I know we can't just pick and choose which split bus to buy, but I think you'll have far fewer headaches with an electric conversion if you base it on a 1964-67 split or a Brazilian 1975 Fleetline. Also your 1957 will be worth a LOT more than later splits if correctly restored. As Sean says, it requires significant modification to convert a pre-1960 bus to a run a later transmission. Early split case transmissions are longer than the tunnel case boxes and the front mounting is completely different (and more primitive than the later mounts). And you've already discovered that the shift rod enters the box in a different position on a beetle compared to a bus, hence the different nose cones.
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Re: My splitty suspension woes

Post by BrettB » Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:12 pm

sean wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 9:47 pm
Hi Brett.

As your bus is a 57, it’s gearbox and specially nosecone mounting will also differ from later splits, 60 - 67.

Your bus should have the split transmission with unsyncronised 1st that’s designed to work with the 30hp 1100 motor. This is the only gearbox that will fit in your bus as standard. Nothing else, only gearboxes earlier than 1960 will work.

I would really advise to restore originality.

There are conversion kits available to adapt later tunnle bus gearboxes, but with compromises.
Thanks Sean. I do prefer original. Everything in my Bay window is original but parts were much easier to find. Finding a bus tunnel trans is going to be a challenge but finding a split trans seems impossible nowadays, even just spares. I'm not in a rush though. I will keep my ears to the ground. Luckily I have built up a few contacts when doing the bay window.
retrovan wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 10:45 pm
Seeing as you are going electric you need to ask yourself a few questions to come to the right decision.

Once to have the motor sorted, would you want to have it lowered, or do you prefer the standard height of a split bus.??

What gearbox have you got in it at this moment, as I do not think you would have a split bus box but you may have a Beetle box.

If so the cost of finding a split box, with reduction boxes, will be high, and your box ratios will be bad for the conversion as well, due to the torque the electric motor will put out.

So if you want a low bus, then get drop spindles for the front, or have the rear lifted with adjustable spring blades for a normal ride.

Bugger made some in the past, not sure if he still makes them.

You can drop the gearbox very easy to make it line up better.

Will love to hear more on the electrification of your bus, as I have wanted to do a low cost conversion using standard over the counter parts rather then the expensive imported system for years.

Post some photo's so we could make more informed suggestions.

This really needs a project thread.

Herman
Thanks Herman,

I would prefer the bus at its standard height. Going back to original seems daunting though. I have been looking for an RGB trans for a while now without any luck. I currently have a beetle trans with long axles and long tubes from a 68 beetle which is the right stuff for a straight axle conversion.

I have already made a trial adapter plate for the electric motor and it includes a reduction pulley so I can play with the ratios. I'll cover this in the build thread.

Would I be correct in saying that the rear wheels would have some serious camber if the rear is adjusted to stock height with a straight axle conversion? you mentioned dropping the gearbox? do you have more info on this?
73type2 wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 10:01 am
Welcome Brett! I'm also leaning more towards keeping things original, but I'm very excited by your idea of running your bus electric. With electric vehicles being rolled out all over the world now, this seems like a way of taking our classic cars into the future. I'm looking forward to reading your project thread.
Dawie wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 10:58 am
Weight-carrying capacity of beetle "straight axle" conversion may not be up to the task of carrying around heavy batteries. Especially when driving on potholed roads.
fig wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 12:53 pm
Dawie wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 10:58 am
Weight-carrying capacity of beetle "straight axle" conversion may not be up to the task of carrying around heavy batteries. Especially when driving on potholed roads.
The beetle rear axle has a single bearing at the hub end, while a reduction box axle has 4.

I know we can't just pick and choose which split bus to buy, but I think you'll have far fewer headaches with an electric conversion if you base it on a 1964-67 split or a Brazilian 1975 Fleetline. Also your 1957 will be worth a LOT more than later splits if correctly restored. As Sean says, it requires significant modification to convert a pre-1960 bus to a run a later transmission. Early split case transmissions are longer than the tunnel case boxes and the front mounting is completely different (and more primitive than the later mounts). And you've already discovered that the shift rod enters the box in a different position on a beetle compared to a bus, hence the different nose cones.
Thanks Guys, The weight limitation on the straight axle conversion seems obvious I guess.

Thanks for all the advice so far. You have definitively kept me going on the original route. I guess the search continues for an RGB trans. If anyone comes across anything, let me know please :)

Il start a project thread with pics and post the link here for continuation.

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Re: My splitty suspension woes

Post by retrovan » Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:16 pm

You would Get one of these and you can then fit a Fleetline box as these are easier to get.

You then fit the Fleetline reduction boxes as well and then you will have near perfect "Original" drive train.

You may be able to swap your box for the Fleetline back axle as a lot of guys are looking for the early gearbox.

Wanting to drop the box, you would make up a longer legged one of these as per picture, and then make a drop plate for the bell housing side of the gearbox mount

https://www.serial-kombi.com/en-GB/spli ... 967-n36739

Image

https://www.serial-kombi.com/en-GB/spli ... 967-n37273

Image

1st price will be getting the fleetline setup if you can not get the original parts.

Herman
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1968 Fastback 2Lt.type4( Red)
1972 Low Light Bay Panel Van 2Lt type 4(White)
1975 Fleetline Panel Van 1914cc (Aqua Blue/White)
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Re: My splitty suspension woes

Post by sean » Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:15 am

That adapting bracket as Herman shows above will be hideous. It is solid with no rubber mounting, so be prepared to have plenty gearbox and drivetrain sounds vibrating and echoing through the bus while you drive should you use something like this.

The early split transmissions are available, last year alone I purchased 5 of them. Just keep looking.

You can also buy a beetle box as a start, gearbox itself is the same, but you just swap the crown wheel around and fit reduction boxes to it.

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Re: My splitty suspension woes

Post by BrettB » Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:46 pm

So after doing some research it turns out I have a 61' model. When I compared the gearbox mount in my bus to some pictures I found online it was clear mine is not made for a split case. So I did some more research and checked my chassis number. I suppose this makes a search a bit easier. Infact, I may just use the case I have, change the nose cone and flip the ring gear.

Since mine had a 1200 engine meant it would of had small nut RGB's right? Are small and large nut RBG's interchangeable? would either work with my gearbox?

Pic of my gearbox mount:
Image

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Re: My splitty suspension woes

Post by fig » Wed Apr 10, 2019 8:52 am

Yes, your bus had a small nut RGB and yes, they are interchangeable with big nut RGBs. The only difference that will need to be addressed is that the small nut RGB buses had longer handbrake cables, so you'll either have to fit later handbrake cables or find a way to shorten yours. You used to get a kind of clamp that puts a bow in the cable to effectively shorten it, but I don't know if they are still available.

Lesson learned here is that the VIN is the only definitive way to determine the age and model year of an ACVW. What the papers or the seller says should be discounted.

If you need unmolested spring plates I can assist. PM me.
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