We all dream of having a type 2 VW bus. Whether it is one with all the windows or a camper the wife and the kids strapped in and cruising down the road. Sounds good right? You would think.
I did some asking around and came up with some pretty surprising information. Most people listen to companies and friends on what they think they should do with their bus and fork down the cash to make that happen. After they are done it ends up in the classifieds. Why?
Most people look at things as a cosmetic and how cool it looks when you step out of the vehicle and turn to take a peak. Although it looks cool the outcome is not what the owner wanted. The type 2 bus rode terrible and the wife did not want to cruise it anymore. Because of certain products that were installed on the bus, the beers in the ice chest got all shook up on the drive to the beach. You see where this is going right?
There are two variations of a lowered bus.
Daily Driver Status (DDS)
This is the most common of the variations. 3.5" dropped spindles up front and either a straight axle conversion or an IRS conversion in the rear which drops the rear end about 4". Update your wheels and tires to get better drivability/looks and there you have it. Install some new shocks that are not KYB's and you're done.
The ride is like stock because you really did not change anything that had to do with your torsions (in theory). Why is this most common? Performance handling ride quality enjoyable to drive and the drop job does not break the bank.
- Daily Driver Status
This variation looks the coolest but is really is not for everybody even if the salesman tells you it is. Dropped spindles 4" narrowed beam, poly beam bushings, raised steering box, tubbed front fenders, and seats that have been altered to look like stock but with half the amount of springs or foam. KYB shocks on all four corners and a similar treatment to the rear in the (DDS) but the torsions are adjusted down to lower the bus.
Although I am somewhat partial to body dropped bus looking sick it really is not practical nor in my opinion does it have any gains mentioned with the DDS.
Let me give you the pros and cons of this kit.
We will always instruct our clients to create a menu of what they want out of their bus and the driving style they will be doing with it. If the bus is just to pick up donuts on Saturday morning or trailered to show slammed is king. If you plan on taking a trip to Mt Shasta with the family for camping but still want a cool looking and driving bus the DDS is the right direction to go.
Something I have not talked about is Air Ride. Air Ride can give you the best of both worlds. Great ride handling and performance is all achievable without the addition of a narrowed beam steering box raise wheel tubs or KYB shocks. Torsions are not used any more front or rear and you ride completely on air. Momma will be in love again I have seen it.
So in conclusion if you are looking for a simple 3"-4" drop the drop spindles and straight axle/IRS axle conversion is perfect. If you want to go lower install some adjusters and some Ridetech or Boge shocks. If you want to go even lower think about air ride. We even make a complete lowering kit to make it easy here.
STAY AWAY from
- Dropped spindles - Pro - You cannot beat these.
- 4" Narrowed Beam - Con - 4" of the torsions is removed tightening the suspension all to gain 2" on each side to tuck the wheels in or compensate for aftermarket brakes that add track width. The ride is IMHO terrible.
- Poly Beam Bushings - Pro/Con - Depending on who you talk to will you get different points of view. Poly is at the bottom of the barrel IMHO. Bearings are middle of the road and Delrin is top of the line.
- Raised Steering Box - Con - You need to cut your bus to gain ground clearance so that your steering box does not smack the ground.
- Wheel Tubs - Con - Cutting up an old VW bus will devalue it tremendously. Your seats will be modified to fit the tub decreasing the ride quality that the seats actually help with.
- KYB Shocks - CON CON CON - Putting a high powered gas shock in place of a stock shock when you remove 4" of the torsions which in itself causes the ride to be rougher installing a gas shock in its place makes it even worse. The wider you go the higher powered of a shock you need to compensate for movement. The narrower you go the less you need where as a Cofap/Boge oil shock or Ridetech adjustable shock will give it the best ride.
- Adjusted torsions - Pro/Con - When installing a straight axle kit or IRS kit the supplied spring plates are notched to give you more travel with a standard installation 4" drop (Pro). When you decide to go lower two things will happen. You will need to notch the spring plates more to get the desired drop you desire (unsafe) or adjust the spring plates up and bottom out on the spring perches (bumpy ride (Con).
We hope this helps guide you and your project in the right direction. We will update this article as we can with new and even more improved information. Enjoy the ride keep it low and keep it kewl!
- Narrowed Beams for Type 2's
- KYB shocks for all VW's
- Body mods that will devalue the Bus