Dropped spindles are simply spindle castings where the axle (or hub center) is moved up away from the lower ball joint. This lowers your car/truck/van by moving your wheel up in the fender well. There is a limit to how far you can move the axle up (you run out of casting), which is why you see most spindle applications drop about 2 inches. Precision and maintaining the correct factory alignment specifications are important when it comes to making spindles.
One part of this project is remove the original 1958 split screen beam and replace it with a 6-inch narrowed and adjustable beam accompanied with 2.5-inch dropped disc break spindles from a 1971 Volkswagen bay window bus.
For this post, we will concentrate on converting the original bay spindles to 2.5-inch dropped spindles. The result of this modification will drop the front of the bus down 2.5 inches, creating better road handling since the vehicle is at a lower center of gravity. The beam can be also adjusted to even further lower the bus.
Original 1971 Volkswagen disc brake spindles.
1971 VW complete front beam used as donor. Ready for tear down.
VW bay window spindles after media blasting.
Another angle of original spindle before surgery.
Jig made to aid building the 2.5-inch dropped spindle. Built to keep and maintain the original geometry during modification.
Up close detail of the jig.
View from the side.
Cutting top shaft housing horizontally. This lobe is then cut vertically to be able to slide 2.5 inches down the jig tube.
The arm is cut and the jig structure is unbolted and moved down 2.5 inches creating a gap which will be filled. All original factory geometry is maintained.
Here is the gap after the arm is dropped 2.5 inches.
A piece of steel is cut to fill the 2.5-inch void. Steel is also beveled for maximum weld penetration. Steel is then heated to cherry red in preparation for TIG welding.
Continuing heat concentration throughout laying beads. Stainless filler rod 302 is used.
For added strength and peace of mind, we added a gusset for a backbone.
Welding is complete, now ready for paint, cosmetics, and assembly.
This is not a tutorial – please don’t try this at home!