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What Are The TOP 5 Things That Contribute To A Quality Riding VW Front Suspension?

I read yesterday that quality is subjective. The PRO's opinion of quality is X and your opinion of quality is Y. We all think differently, something one of my best friends in life made me aware of awhile ago.

The PRO's have come up with a baseline of 5 components that contribute to a quality riding front suspension. Quality is the key word because most of us that have been in the industry awhile understand that what we did in the past, wasn't necessarily quality, but it got the job done in an aesthetic way.

Let's begin.

  1. Shocks - Who would have thought that shocks have something to do with a quality of ride. But it is PARAMOUNT! Just because a shock comes in a collapsed length or extended length to fit the application, does not mean it is the right shock for the job. This has been the main reason for the PRO's advocating that KYB's are not the correct shock for the application or contributing to a quality of ride. Oil shocks are soft, most gas shocks are stiff and Adjustable shocks can be fine-tuned to get you exactly what in your quality of ride. Which one works for you is up to you.
  2. Torsion's - (Spring Rate) - I talk about measuring your vehicle to document height differences from corner to corner. Why is this important? Let me explain. Used or old torsion's are not consistent. How can that be? Well, the difference is the abuse each set of torsion's has been through in the last 40-50 years. Or the fact that torsion's will ride differently if a 350 lb man drives it 100 miles each day compared to 125 lb man driving 10 miles per day. Each set of torsion's will be different and we haven't even discussed what the difference is from left to right. Mind blown. The PRO's recommend new torsion's when lowering the vehicle and trying to achieve a quality of ride. Why? Because the spring rate is exactly the same, there is no history of fatigue or abuse.
  3. Control Arm Movement - (Bushings/Bearings) - This is such a huge part of a Quality ride and it is the most overlooked. As talked about in previous articles, there are three types of bushings/bearing combos out on the market. The best in our opinion is Delrin bushings. Delrin is like your cutting board at home, slightly different but it drives the point across. It is friction-less and we machine it to indicate the entire arm for a play-less, friction-less fit and feel. Factory roller bearings with Micarta inner bushings are common on most OEM beams, some even have Micarta inner and outer. The early Link Pin beam having Micarta had a tendency to wear out based on abuse and heat. As years went on, outer bearings came out and only inner Micarta was used. This sufficed until VW stopped making the Beetle and Ghia. I have not seen the most arms in the world but I have seen my fair share and I can tell you with factual knowledge that because most VW owners did not properly maintain their suspension, a high majority of the arms had considerable wear where the bearings rode on the control arms. If they were greased often, this would not happen. But since more arms have wear on them, there is play between the arm and the bearing, negatively contributing to the quality of ride and feel. If they rock back and forth, you can bet you will feel it or hear it. Lastly and more popular on the new construction beam market is Poly Urethane. Developed for off-road applications like dirt and sand, where vibrations are often not felt, most people never thought that it was an issue. Due to them being economic in price, shade tree mechanics started using them in new construction beams. Urethane is a squeezable bushing. it does not allow the control arm to rotate freely. Normally, the clear lube that is not available in a grease gun application has to be liberally applied to the arm as it will be the only lube in its lifetime. Normal chassis grease cannot be used in this application. So the chance of diminished ride quality is a certainty.



  4. Tire Pressure/Load Rating - Did you know that the factory radial 165sr15 tires only have 1 ply sidewalls? What does that mean and how does that help the quality of ride? Let me explain. If you have less pressure in your tire, the side wall has the ability to flex to bumps in the road, thus helping the quality of ride. The heavier the sidewall ply and the higher the pressure in the tire decrease the quality of ride. As you decrease the overall tire diameter, the sidewall ply's increase, decreasing the quality of ride but increasing the stability and performance of the vehicle. So it is a careful balance to achieve a subjective but ideal, quality of ride.
  5. Seats - How in the world do seats have ANYTHING to do with the front suspension? Everything. The springs in your seats actually contribute to the quality of ride by absorbing bumps and inconsistencies in the road. If you chose foam based seats or reduce the number of springs in a seat, (Bus Owners - Due to wheel tubs), bumps and inconsistencies in the road, are felt at a substantially higher rate.


All FIVE of these items are what the PRO's at Airkewld have found that contribute to the quality of ride. Having a vehicle properly assembled, lubed, and aligned is critical for handling, steering, and proper tire wear.


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Ultimate Adjustable VW Front Ball Joint Beam - 2100 Ultimate Adjustable VW Front Ball Joint Beam - 2100

A better way to lower a Classic Volkswagen Type 1 with ball joint front suspension (1966 through 1977) other than utilizing adjusters in the center of the beam is to order an Ultimate Adjustable Front Beam.

The Ultimate Beam (UB) allows you to adjust your ride height from stock height down to *seven inches on average. The UB has Delrin bushings, a steering dampener bracket, and grease-able zerks. The UB can come in stock width, up to 4" narrowed with shock towers. New torsions, tie rods, and shocks are recommended for the best overall user experience. If you don't know what beam makes the most sense, click here.

4" Narrowed is in Stock.

There are three ways to lower your 1966 through 1977 Type 1. Good, Better, Best.

Good
- Install a pair of adjusters, based on budget and skill set - no tech support
Better - Install an Ultimate Beam - Tech Support Included
Best - Install an assembled beam like the Stage 1 PRObuilt Beam - Tech Support Included

Made in the USA | Product updated 12/25/23 by Pete

Typical time to install - 4 Hours |
Install PDF Link | Install Video | Tools Needed

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List Price $1,199.99
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Ultimate Adjustable VW Front Link Pin Beam - 2102 Ultimate Adjustable VW Front Link Pin Beam - 2102

A better way to lower a Classic Volkswagen Type 1 with link pin front suspension (1949 through 1965) other than utilizing adjusters in the center of the beam is to order an Ultimate Adjustable Front Beam.

The Ultimate Beam (UB) allows you to adjust your ride height from stock height down to *seven inches on average. The UB has Delrin bushings, a steering dampener bracket, and grease-able zerks. The UB can come in stock width, up to 4" narrowed with shock towers. New torsions, tie rods, and shocks are recommended for the best overall user experience. If you don't know what beam makes the most sense, click here. This beam replaces the factory beam part number 113401021A.

4" Narrowed and Stock Width LHD are in stock


There are three ways to lower your 1949 through 1965 Type 1. Good, Better, Best.

Good
- Install a pair of adjusters, based on budget and skill set - no tech support
Better - Install an Ultimate Beam - Tech Support Included
Best - Install an assembled beam like the Stage 1 PRObuilt Beam - Tech Support Included

Made in the USA | Product updated 12/25/23 by Pete

Typical time to install - 4 Hours |
Install PDF Link | Install Video | Tools Needed

More Information

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List Price $1,199.99
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6 Inch Ultimate Narrowed / Adjustable Shockless VW Ball Joint Front Beam - 2112 6 Inch Ultimate Narrowed / Adjustable Shockless VW Ball Joint Front Beam - 2112

A better way to lower a Classic Volkswagen Type 1 with ball joint front suspension (1966 through 1977) other than utilizing adjusters in the center of the beam is to order an Ultimate Adjustable Front Beam.

The Ultimate Beam (UB) allows you to adjust your ride height from stock height down to *seven inches on average. The UB has Delrin bushings, a steering dampener bracket, and grease-able zerks. The UB showcased here is six inch narrowed, without shock towers (ultra smooth ride). New torsions, and tie rods, are recommended for the best overall user experience. If you don't know what beam makes the most sense, click here.

There are three ways to lower your 1966 through 1977 Type 1. Good, Better, Best.

Good
- Install a pair of adjusters, based on budget and skill set - no tech support
Better - Install an Ultimate Beam - Tech Support Included
Best - Install an assembled beam like the Stage 1 PRObuilt Beam - Tech Support Included

Made in the USA | Product updated 12/25/23 by Pete

Typical time to install - 4 Hours |
Install PDF Link | Install Video | Tools Needed

More Information
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Register here for the Airkewld Army Price

List Price $1,099.99
Airkewld Army Price $749.99 Each
Savings: $350.00

(2)
6 Inch Ultimate Narrowed / Adjustable Shockless VW Link Pin Front Beam - 2118 6 Inch Ultimate Narrowed / Adjustable Shockless VW Link Pin Front Beam - 2118

A better way to lower a Classic Volkswagen Type 1 with link pin front suspension (1949 through 1965) other than utilizing adjusters in the center of the beam is to order an Ultimate Adjustable Front Beam.

The Ultimate Beam (UB) allows you to adjust your ride height from stock height down to *seven inches on average. The UB has Delrin bushings, a steering dampener bracket, and grease-able zerks. The UB showcased here is six inch narrowed, without shock towers (ultra smooth ride). New torsions, tie rods, and shocks are recommended for the best overall user experience. If you don't know what beam makes the most sense, click here. This beam replaces the factory beam part number 113401021A.

There are three ways to lower your 1949 through 1965 Type 1. Good, Better, Best.

Good
- Install a pair of adjusters, based on budget and skill set - no tech support
Better - Install an Ultimate Beam - Tech Support Included
Best - Install an assembled beam like the Stage 1 PRObuilt Beam - Tech Support Included

Made in the USA | Product updated 12/25/23 by Pete

Typical time to install - 4 Hours | Install PDF Link | Install Video | Tools Needed

More Information
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Register here for the Airkewld Army Price

List Price $1,099.99
Airkewld Army Price $749.99 Each
Savings: $350.00

(3)
Stage 1 PRObuilt Adjustable Ball Joint Beam Complete - 2200 Stage 1 PRObuilt Adjustable Ball Joint Beam Complete - 2200

The BEST way to adjust a Classic Volkswagen Type 1 with ball joint front suspension (1966 through 1977), up or down, is by installing a Complete PRObuilt Beam. When the PRO's say complete, they mean complete. You will not need anything in addition to this assembly.

The Stage 1 PRObuilt Beam is built on the Ultimate Beam platform. It's made in stock width and up to four inches narrower than OEM to allow for wider wheels, drop spindles, and disc brakes, that add track width.

The complete beam comes as you see it, spindle to spindle, with an entire PRObuilt steering system installed and ready to bolt in and go. For a full list of details included with the beam assembly, visit the Complete Details section here.

Made in the USA | Product updated 4/30/24 by Pete

Typical time to install - 2 1/2 Hours | Install PDF Link | Install Video | Tools Needed

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List Price $3,499.99
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Stage 1 PRObuilt Adjustable Link Pin Beam Complete - 2201 Stage 1 PRObuilt Adjustable Link Pin Beam Complete - 2201

The BEST way to adjust a Classic Volkswagen Type 1 with link pin front suspension (1949 through 1965), up or down, is by installing a Complete PRObuilt Beam. When the PRO's say complete, they mean complete. You will not need anything in addition to this assembly.

The Stage 1 PRObuilt Beam is built on the Ultimate Beam platform. It's made in stock width and up to four inches narrower than OEM to allow for wider wheels, drop spindles, and disc brakes, that add track width.

The complete beam comes as you see it, spindle to spindle, with an entire PRObuilt steering system installed and ready to bolt in and go. For a full list of details included with the beam assembly, visit the Complete Details section here. This beam replaces the factory beam part number 113401021A.

Made in the USA | Product updated 1/9/24 by Pete

Typical time to install - 2 1/2 Hours | Install PDF Link | Install Video | Tools Needed

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List Price $3,499.99
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Lowered Link Pin Front Shock - Sport - 2491 Lowered Link Pin Front Shock - Sport - 2491

These shocks fit the Classic Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle and Karmann Ghia with a link pin front suspension. Shock absorbers are without a doubt the brains of your suspension. Nothing influences how your car rides and handles more than its shock absorbers.

Two kinds of shocks are provided for our clients. They are all designed to work with our Ultimate Beam's ONLY. They will NOT work with other beams including the stock beam. These shocks replace the factory shocks with part number 113413031B.

Sport - Soft riding shock great for a lowered VW.
Adjustable - Tunable shock great for the enthusiast that like to get a specific ride out of their VW.

Made in the USA | Product updated 6/20/23 by Pete

Typical time to install - 1 Hour | Install PDF Link | Install Video |
Tools Needed


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List Price $99.99
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Lowered Ball Joint Front Shock - Sport- 2493 Lowered Ball Joint Front Shock - Sport- 2493

These shocks fit the Classic Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle, Karmann Ghia and Type 181 Thing with a ball joint front suspension. Shock absorbers are without a doubt the brains of your suspension. Nothing influences how your car rides and handles more than its shock absorbers.

Two kinds of shocks are provided for our clients. They are all designed to work with our Ultimate Beam's ONLY. They will NOT work with other beams including the stock beam. These shocks replace the factory shocks with part number 113413031E.

Sport - Soft riding shock great for a lowered VW.
Adjustable - Tunable shock great for the enthusiast that like to get a specific ride out of their VW.

Made in the USA | Product updated 6/20/23 by Pete

Typical time to install - 1 Hour | Install PDF Link | Install Video |
Tools Needed


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List Price $99.99
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Billet Adjustable Type 2 Lowered Front Shock - 2495 Billet Adjustable Type 2 Lowered Front Shock - 2495

These shocks fit the Classic Volkswagen Type 2 Split Window Bus with a link pin front suspension. Monotube shock technology is more responsive with better oil control and is vastly superior to twin tube shock design. Shock absorbers are without a doubt the brains of your suspension. Nothing influences how your car rides and handles more than its shock absorbers.

These shocks replace the factory shocks with part number 113513031G.

Made in the USA | Product updated 6/20/23 by Pete

Typical time to install - 1 Hour | Install PDF Link | Install Video |
Tools Needed


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List Price $339.99
Airkewld Army Price $299.99 Each
Billet Adjustable Link Pin Lowered Front Shock - 2498 Billet Adjustable Link Pin Lowered Front Shock - 2498

These shocks fit the Classic Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle and Karmann Ghia with a link pin front suspension. Monotube shock technology is more responsive with better oil control and is vastly superior to twin tube shock design. Shock absorbers are without a doubt the brains of your suspension. Nothing influences how your car rides and handles more than its shock absorbers.

Two kinds of shocks are provided for our clients. They are all designed to work with our Ultimate Beam's ONLY. They will NOT work with other beams including the stock beam. These shocks replace the factory shocks with part number 113413031B.

Sport - Soft riding shock great for a lowered VW.
Adjustable - Tunable shock great for the enthusiast that like to get a specific ride out of their VW.

Made in the USA | Product updated 6/20/23 by Pete

Typical time to install - 1 Hour | Install PDF Link | Install Video |
Tools Needed


More Information
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List Price $339.99
Airkewld Army Price $299.99 Each

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Billet Adjustable Ball Joint Lowered Front Shock - 2499 Billet Adjustable Ball Joint Lowered Front Shock - 2499

These shocks fit the Classic Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle, Karmann Ghia and Type 181 Thing with a ball joint front suspension. Monotube shock technology is more responsive with better oil control and is vastly superior to twin tube shock design. Shock absorbers are without a doubt the brains of your suspension. Nothing influences how your car rides and handles more than its shock absorbers.

Two kinds of shocks are provided for our clients. They are all designed to work with our Ultimate Beam's ONLY. They will NOT work with other beams including the stock beam. These shocks replace the factory shocks with part number 113413031E.

Sport - Soft riding shock great for a lowered VW.
Adjustable - Tunable shock great for the enthusiast that like to get a specific ride out of their VW.

Made in the USA | Product updated 6/20/23 by Pete

Typical time to install - 1 Hour | Install PDF Link | Install Video |
Tools Needed


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List Price $339.99
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Complete 1949-65 VW Beetle/Ghia PRObuilt Lowering Kit - 2170 Complete 1949-65 VW Beetle/Ghia PRObuilt Lowering Kit - 2170

A Great way to lower 1949 through 1965 Classic Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle and Karmann Ghia is with a Complete PRObuilt Lowering Kit from Airkewld. It lowers the vehicle from 2.50" or 63mm to 10" or 254mm up front and from stock height to 6" or 150mm in the rear.

Stock is a relative term. Even though you have not changed anything over time, you are assessing the vehicle's overall height as it currently sits. But it has relaxed over time, gradually starting to sag. This is what a stock Beetle at stock height looks like off the showroom floor, over a 6" gap between the top of the tire and the upper fender arch. Even the rear wheels have some positive camber.

Assembled in the USA | Product updated 6/23/23 by Pete

Typical time to install - 12 Hours | Install PDF Link | Install Video | Tools Needed

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List Price $3,749.99
Airkewld Army Price $3,399.99 Complete Kit
Savings: $350.00
Complete 1966-68 VW Beetle/Ghia PRObuilt Lowering Kit - 2172 Complete 1966-68 VW Beetle/Ghia PRObuilt Lowering Kit - 2172

The Great way to lower 1966 through 1968 Classic Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle and Karmann Ghia is with a Complete PRObuilt Lowering Kit from Airkewld. It lowers the vehicle from 2.50" or 63mm to 10" or 254mm up front and from stock height to 6" or 150mm in the rear.

Stock is a relative term. Even though you have not changed anything over time, you are assessing the vehicle's overall height as it currently sits. But it has relaxed over time, gradually starting to sag. This is what a stock Beetle at stock height looks like off the showroom floor, over a 6" gap between the top of the tire and the upper fender arch. Even the rear wheels have some positive camber.

Assembled in the USA | Product updated 6/23/23 by Pete

Typical time to install - 12 Hours | Install PDF Link | Install Video | Tools Needed

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List Price $3,599.99
Airkewld Army Price $3,249.99 Complete Kit
Savings: $350.00
Complete 1969-77 VW Beetle/Ghia PRObuilt Lowering Kit - 2173 Complete 1969-77 VW Beetle/Ghia PRObuilt Lowering Kit - 2173

The Great way to lower 1969 through 1977 Classic Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle and Karmann Ghia is with a Complete PRObuilt Lowering Kit from Airkewld. It lowers the vehicle from 2.50" or 63mm to 10" or 254mm up front and from stock height to 6" or 150mm in the rear.

Stock is a relative term. Even though you have not changed anything over time, you are assessing the vehicle's overall height as it currently sits. But it has relaxed over time, gradually starting to sag. This is what a stock Beetle at stock height looks like off the showroom floor, over a 6" gap between the top of the tire and the upper fender arch. Even the rear wheels have some positive camber.

Assembled in the USA | Product updated 6/23/23 by Pete

Typical time to install - 12 Hours | Install PDF Link | Install Video | Tools Needed

More Information
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List Price $3,599.99
Airkewld Army Price $3,249.99 Complete Kit
Savings: $350.00
Complete 1955-67 Type 2 VW Split Bus PRObuilt Lowering Kit - 2175 Complete 1955-67 Type 2 VW Split Bus PRObuilt Lowering Kit - 2175

The Best way to lower 1955 through 1967 Classic Volkswagen Split Type 2 Bus is with a Complete PRObuilt Lowering Kit from Airkewld. It lowers the bus 3.50" or 89mm up front and 4" or 101mm in the rear from *stock.

Stock is a relative term. Even though you have not changed anything over time, you are assessing the vehicle's overall height as it currently sits. But it has relaxed over time, gradually starting to sag. This is what a stock bus at stock height looks like off the showroom floor, over a 5" gap between the top of the tire and the upper fender arch. Even the rear wheels have some positive camber.

The products supplied in this kit will lift the vehicle back up to stock height, then lower it by 3.5" and 4".

Assembled in the USA | Product updated 8/12/23 by Pete

Typical time to install - 24 Hours* | Install PDF Link | Install Video |
Tools Needed

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Gas Monkey Garage Beetle Package Gas Monkey Garage Beetle Package

Fits the following:
1949-1959 Type 1 Beetle-Bug-Fusca
1955-1959 Karmann Ghia
1960-1968 Karmann Ghia (with optional Transaxle package)
Gas Monkey Garage VW Build - Link

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Complete 1973-74 VW Type 181 Thing PRObuilt Lowering Kit - 2174 Complete 1973-74 VW Type 181 Thing PRObuilt Lowering Kit - 2174

Fits the following:
1973-1974 Type 181 Thing

Option 1 - 3.5" Drop up front - Consists of upper/lower arms, stock height spindles, eccentrics and hardware. Rear consists of new shorter rear shocks and adjusting torsion's.

Option 2 - 3.5"+ Drop up front - Consists of Ultimate Beam, torsion's, tie rods, oil shocks, upper/lower arms, stock height spindles, eccentrics and hardware. Rear consists of new shorter rear shocks and adjusting torsion's.

Option 3 - 6" Drop up front - Consists of upper/lower arms, forged drop drum spindles, eccentrics and hardware. Rear consists of new shorter rear shocks and adjusting torsion's.

Option 4 - 6"+ Drop up front - Consists of Ultimate Beam, torsion's, tie rods, oil shocks, upper/lower arms, forged drop drum spindles, eccentrics and hardware. Rear consists of new shorter rear shocks and adjusting torsion's.

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Savings: $200.00