I would farm out the press work, which means you take the arms out of
the front suspension and have a machine shop press out the old
bushings. The new urethane bushings can be installed by hand.
Disassembly of a super beetle front end takes only an hour or two, but
here's a tip: Soak EVERY fastener daily with a penetrating spray for a
week or so before you get started. There is a good chance many of the
fasteners on your front end were last tightened in 1977, and you want
to remove and replace as many of those fasteners as possible without
breaking anything. You'll need either an air hammer with a fork insert
or a pickle fork to separate the tie rod ends. You can usually rent a
pickle fork at the local FLAPS.
I did this job about 4 or 5 years ago on my 74 Super, and while I
really like the way my car handles now(no more shimmies!) the red
urethane bushings squeak. I have taken the thing apart twice and piled
that 'lube' they send with the bushings in there as best as I can, and
it still squeaks. It's not bad, just be ready for it. A little noise
beats the hell out of a front end that shimmies and shakes. The front
end is still tight, 4 years later. I changed bushings, ball joints,
idler arm bushing, steering gearbox and steering dampener.
One more tip...don't use the urethane bushings on the rear spring
plates if you decide to change them. Mine are already worn out, and
they lasted less than a year before they started 'sagging'. When I do
this job again in the near future I am going to try the rubber
bushings for the spring plate. The inner diagonal arm bushings seem to
be holding up okay.
If you are going to do front bushings I would suggest ball joints and
strut cartridges at the same time. Might as well do it all once and
not have to worry about it for a while....
Good luck with it.
I had a 1976 Standard Beetle in Green and I have seen some hardtops sold as
1977s in the USA. I guess they would have to be Standard Beetles also.
1978 and 1979 were Super Convertibles here in the USA.
Only basic tools required as far as I remember. A good floorjack.
The front doesn't really have too many bushings, there's a needle
bearing inside the torsion bar tubes, where the front arms ride in. Some
people replace those with urethane bushings, and complain about
squeaking and stiffness. I would keep the bearings, maybe just replace
with new if there's reason to think they are worn.
The rear is a little trickier. You need to remove the torsion bar
housing cover plate (4 bolts), and there's a rubber bushing immediately
under it. But there's another one behind the flex plate, you need to
mark the position of the flex plate in relation to the end of the
torsion bar, to be able to mount it back on the splines in the exact
same position. When removing the flex plate, you have to unload the
torsion bar too. Look for instructions, the flex plate may be under a
lot of tension and you can get seriously injured if you don't know what
you are doing. Once you pop the flex plate off the torsion shaft, you
can replace the inner rubber bushing/donut. So the rear has a total of 4
With new donuts, the torsion bar housing cover will be a BITCH to
install. You will need to use longer than stock bolts, to draw the cover
in place by gradually tightening each bolt in a sequence. You will never
be able to line up the bolt holes without longer bolts, the rubber donut
will not allow it. It's as if it was too big. (BOT DON'T CUT IT
SMALLER!). During assembly, lubricate the rubber donuts (or urethane if
you so choose) with graphite or talcum powder (baby powder). Grease
generally won't work because it eats rubber. Or you could try brake
grease, it shouldn't harm most rubber parts.
Once the cover is in place with the longer bolts, replace each of them
with the normal length bolt, one by one. (taking one out, while leaving
the other 3 in place to hold the cover)
Also replace the steering damper under the gas tank and all tie rod
ends, inner and outer. And since you will have the front suspension arms
out, have the ball joints replaced by a shop that has a BIG press.
If your steering box has a lot of play in it, it may be too far worn to
adjust the play out. If you adjust it to minimal play in the middle, it
will bind as you turn the wheel in either direction.
You could also replace the front sway bar bushings/rubber mounts, if
they look tired.
Spend your money on good quality parts.
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