Originally Posted by akaryrye
Ok, i was not aware of that. I only knew that super beetles had independant front suspension and that they have a nicer ride as a result. So you are saying that all beetles (standard and super) 71' and up have IRS and that the super beetles have full Indepant suspension? I was sort of interested in the super beetle for that reason and the fact that theres a lot more trunk space as well. Then I found out that they are about 150 - 200 lbs heavier which i do not want.
Around 1969, the Type 1 (which covers all Beetles and Ghias) began transitioning to what they called the "IRS" (independent rear suspension) setup. It wasn't a hard model-year change, and the auto-stick cars got it first.
The IRS is a fairly traditional suspension as we think of it. The rear hubs are positioned by a single triangular control arm, and the half-axles are very much like our own- two CVs each, one inside one outside.
The earlier cars used a "swing axle" suspension. It was still fully independent (left and right sides not coupled) but the difference is that the axle was hinged only on the inside, and solid at the hub end. So as the suspension travels up and down, the camber angle changes radically, leading to somewhat erratic handling in extreme conditions. For comparison, James Dean's 550 spyder had an identical swingaxle rear suspension, and as we all know, that ended badly.
On the front end, the Type 1's have always had an independent suspension. The "standard" beetles and Ghias use a double transverse torsion bar setup, basically two leaf springs one above the other, fixed in the middle, and free to rotate at the ends. At each side is a pair or trailing arms, which pivot on the end of each spring, and then couple to the hub. The major difference here is that the early cars used a king and link pin setup to couple to the hub which, while quite durable, was again a bit vague. Around '66 they changed to a double ball joint setup, retaining the same basic geometry but smoothing things out a bit.
The Super Beetle ('71+) used a MacPhearson strut front suspension. The decision, as I understand it, was based principally on the desire for increased trunk space. I don't think it necessarily works that much better than the torsion bar system, it's just more compact. One downside is that Super Beetles notoriously suffer from a shimmy (not unlike our cars) at around 50-60MPH. They even call it the Super Shimmy.
All Beetle convertibles from '71 on are Supers.
In '75, the Supers got rack and pinion steering. This was a definite improvement over the old worm gear box. Unfortunately, this is also the year that Bosch L-jetronic fuel injection was introduced to the cars. It's not an inherently bad system, but it's difficult to service (all analog) and does not lend itself to modification. It's not hard to rip it all off and convert to carb(s), but as unmolested FI cars are now becoming rare, I have a hard time condoning that sort of thing.
The weight difference between the standard and super is fairly small. Ď73+ Supers (with their bulbous nose) might be a tad heavier, but itís not much. Frankly, all Type 1ís handle so very poorly compared to a Miata that you wonít notice.