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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Owners!
Totally new this forum and new to VW's in general. I have a 57 beetle in the shop getting a full restoration. It will also be converted to electric drive. Everything needs to be rebuilt or repaired. The owner has already done all the body work he wants, including installing 1959 windshield frame and rear window frame. He wanted the bigger windows. Its in great shape. Just needs a few rounds of blocking and then mint paint will be applied.

Upfront: I know nothing about Beetles.

I specialize in kind of crazy, off the wall builds so this one jumped out at me as being unique and fun.

The end goal for this car to be a So Cal Bug. Lowered and pretty typical. A sleeper, if you will. Further inspection will show hints of a few unique features that will hopefully confuse the purist and then bring a smile. This car will be a daily driver in Arizona.

So first off, my biggest concern: Suspension. I don't know the weight of the Tesla battery packs yet, but there will be one pack mounted behind the rear seat and another mounted in the trunk. They will be heavy. The power will be something like 80 HP, so significantly more powerful than stock. So what would you do with the suspension? A few people I've talked to say to leave it and just adjust the springs as needed, others are telling me to swap out the swing arm and convert to IRS. The transmission will be replaced so I can order a swing arm or IRS transaxle. It looks like even an IFS kit can be had. This wont be a race car. Just a grocery getter and to putt around town. The owner hates the look of the cars with tire camber way off. He wants the tires to look right. He wants the car to drive great. Doesn't care how all that happens.

So what are your thoughts?
Thanks.
 

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Hi Owners!
Totally new this forum and new to VW's in general. I have a 57 beetle in the shop getting a full restoration. It will also be converted to electric drive. Everything needs to be rebuilt or repaired. The owner has already done all the body work he wants, including installing 1959 windshield frame and rear window frame. He wanted the bigger windows. Its in great shape. Just needs a few rounds of blocking and then mint paint will be applied.

Upfront: I know nothing about Beetles.

I specialize in kind of crazy, off the wall builds so this one jumped out at me as being unique and fun.

The end goal for this car to be a So Cal Bug. Lowered and pretty typical. A sleeper, if you will. Further inspection will show hints of a few unique features that will hopefully confuse the purist and then bring a smile. This car will be a daily driver in Arizona.

So first off, my biggest concern: Suspension. I don't know the weight of the Tesla battery packs yet, but there will be one pack mounted behind the rear seat and another mounted in the trunk. They will be heavy. The power will be something like 80 HP, so significantly more powerful than stock. So what would you do with the suspension? A few people I've talked to say to leave it and just adjust the springs as needed, others are telling me to swap out the swing arm and convert to IRS. The transmission will be replaced so I can order a swing arm or IRS transaxle. It looks like even an IFS kit can be had. This wont be a race car. Just a grocery getter and to putt around town. The owner hates the look of the cars with tire camber way off. He wants the tires to look right. He wants the car to drive great. Doesn't care how all that happens.

So what are your thoughts?
Thanks.
Wow, that's a pretty tall order. Can be done. Anything is possible with enough ingenuity and funding. My concern would be with the weight issue of the battery power, but I really don't know. Best of luck, welcome to the club and please keep us updated which ever way it turns out, please.
 

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I wouldn't worry about the suspension just yet. Consider doing the math: Engine weight versus electric motor how lbs do you lose just in doing that? Then look at GWV sticker on the door or look it up. How much weight could it safely haul? It was a four passenger vehicle at one time. Granted they thought they would all weigh less than 170 lbs but just the same it will give you an idea for how much of a battery you can add that will simulate those bodies.

The one thing I might think about is distribution. You are loosing the gas weight, another bonus, and putting batteries up front. It was designed to haul luggage not batteries but still it might sit just fine on the front suspension just the same.

Yes Keep us in the loop on this one. The Water cooled Rabbits of the 80's actually had kits available for them. Still do.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yes, but then what happens when you have the batteries and then put all those bodies in there as well?

Has anyone on here gone from swing axle to IRS? I read that they handle so much better after that conversion. Is it worth it? What about IFS? Anyone done one of those? We are open to it, but don't really want to unless it makes a noticeable difference for the better. Any companies you would recommend for the conversion kits?
 

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Oh you didn't know about that catch 22? Converting any of those old Beetles or Rabbits to an electric one pretty much leaves you with a driver only car. Back seat or rear of car loaded with lead and the front ends about the same way. Car is rated at a safe GVW and all the conversions I have seen have hit that limit and only left enough for the driver.

Maybe the owner didn't know that? Maybe the new batteries will be less weight? One can only hope so. 80 Hp motor is about double what they used to throw in them. It would go like crazy but not for long. Maybe a trailer with the batteries in it would be the thing. There was a Rabbit like that years ago, not sure of the total miles out of it per day but it did open the passenger areas back up.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The back seat will still be available for people, hence the questions about the suspension.
 

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I would see how it rides with what you currently have there. The rear end may loose a lot of weight with the engine gone.
 

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I would see how it rides with what you currently have there. The rear end may loose a lot of weight with the engine gone.
As a possible guide, a fully assemble VW Beetle 1600 engine weighs 220 pounds, I have no idea how many batteries will be needed or their individual weight, or the size or weight of an electric motor, I would think the batteries and motor would gobble up that 220 pounds pretty quickly though, but may be totally off base
 

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Discussion Starter #9
That's right. While the motor will be lighter than the old engine, the two battery packs will more than make up for the weight loss. The car will end up heavier than when it started.
 
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