The 1968 auto
stick and 1969 and newer bugs all had what is referred to as the IRS or
independent rear suspension. On these models the axles were able to pivot
on both ends which allowed the wheel to stay nearly vertical at all times.
This got rid of the wheel
tuck that Ralph Nader was so worried about. The axle pivots with what
is called a constant velocity joint which accomplishes the same function
as a universal joint. The older model VWs had a flex joint only at
the transmission end of the axle that was lubricated by the transmission
grease. The CV joint is packed with grease and protected by a flexible
boot. In time this grease can become dirty from wear on the parts
or contaminated with dirt and water when the protective boot wears
out and begins to split open. When caught in time the CV joint can
be cleaned and repacked and the boots replaced. Doing this yourself
could actually save you hundreds of dollars. The
axle with the CV joints can be removed from the car by removing the
special bolts that hold them. These bolts will either have a 6mm Allen
socket or a serrated socket that takes a special tool that you can
be bought from your favorite VW parts vender for less than $10.
It is good
to clean out the bolt sockets so the tool will bottom out when installed.
Once the bolts are removed
the CV joint can be tapped on with a hammer and will come loose.
the CV joint from the axle remove the C clip from the end.
and its metal flange can be easily knocked off the edge of the joint
and later removed from the axle.
Notice that the shoulder
on the edge that bolts to the car is thinner than the edge that is
next to the boot.
Then the axle can be driven
out of the joint. I use a brass punch so as not to damage any of the
Notice that the spacer
under the CV joint has cupped side next to the joint.
The joint can now be cleaned
When taking apart the
CV joint there is one main thing to remember. The wide area on the
outer piece will be across from the narrow area of the inner piece.
It will go back together
both ways but will be rigid if the wide areas are in line with each
other. The center will pivot right out of the joint for a thorough
You will be looking for
black rough areas in the balls.
Wear in the grooves is
very obvious as well.
The new boot kit will
come with new bolts, clamps, C clip, spacer, and even grease.
If you are just servicing
the joints use the Moly grease. You put the joint back on the same
way it came off. The inner edge of the CV spline is beveled to help
it to start easier. You may have to tap it on with a hammer.
A large socket can help
to drive it home.
The same socket could
help the clip into the groove once it is placed onto the end of the
If you are using the grease
that came with the kit you will want to put about 2/3 (2oz.) on the
boot side of the joint
and the rest on the outer
side. Be sure to work it into the joint.
Once one is done it can
be wrapped in a plastic bag until you have finished with the rest.
All that is left is to
bolt them back onto the car. As
always you can see this done in detail in our Bug Me Video series,
Vol.5 Transmission replace.