Our 350 chevy V8 Powered 1969 VW Beetle Hot Rod Project
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ford 8.8 rear end with u bolts and hellwig sway bar

Next I needed to make a rear cross member for the s-10 chassis. I needed the rear cross member for a couple reasons, 1) just to tie the back of the frame rails together 2) a place for the upper shock mounts, and 3)I needed a place to tie in the sway bar end links. I started out by putting the u-bolts and leaf spring plates on the axle instead of c-clamps. The leaf spring plates are from the ford explorer, I figured I might as well use the built in lower shock mounts that where already there if I could. I just had to bend the mount tabs towards teh tires because it put the shocks at too much of an angle to be able to attached anywhere that would work.

I also mounted my rear sway bar. The stock explorer rear sway bar was VERY whimpy looking compared to the zq8 S10 extreme sway bar I was going to use with the s10 rear end so at first I thought I'd make it work for the 8.8 rear end. It was going to be more work than it was worth trying to make it work so I bought this hellwig sway bar that is ment for the explorer 8.8 rear end. It mounts nicely to the rear end, and I'll just have to figure out some end links.

buildling a rear cross member for mounting shocks and sway bar on v8 beetle s10 chassis.

I got into making the cross member and kind of forgot to take a couple pictures along the way. At first I was thinking of using a piece of 2x4 tubing or c channel, but first I didn't have any on hand, and I just didn't like the way it would look. So I had some heavy wall 1 inch square tubing so I started messing around with it. I first cut a piece to go straight across the bottom, then I put the shocks in the lower mounts and was eyeballing them. If I ran another piece of 1 inch tubing from the top of the frame rail to the center of the lower piece of tubing the angle was the same that the upper shock mount would need to be. So then I cut the two piece of tubing for the top supports and tacked them in. This should be plunty strong and I just like the way it looks compared to a piece of 2x4 going straight across.

rear cross member v8 beetle s10 chassis

After getting the tubing tacked in place, I tacked on a couple piece of 1/4" plate for the upper shock mounts that ran with the angle of the upper supports. I then pulled it off of the car and started welding everything up.

shock mounts on rear cross member for v8 beetle

I got the shock mount brackets/tabs from Speedway Motors they were like 2 or 3 bucks for 5 of them, well worth not having to make them.

modifying ford explorer leaf spring plate lower shock mounts

Next I had to do a little work to the lower shock mounts. Since I bent the tabs out to work with my setup the holes no longer line up.

modified ford explorer lower shock mounts

Not a problem though, I just welded up the old hole in the long side, cut off the extra length and then drilled a new hole that lined up with the other one. A pretty simple fix I think.

mouting shocks on rear cross member on v8 beetle s10 chassis

Next I bolted the new rear cross member back in and then put the shocks in the modified lower mounts and my new upper mounts to see how everthing fit. I think it turned out very nice!

v8 bug shocks and rear cross member

I also got the shocks from Speedway Motors, they are their 3 way adjustable Carrera (QA1) Street Rod Shocks. I have them wrapped in paper and tape so they don't get all scratched up. They ended up being perfect for my application, and I figured being adjustable might help a bit. They have a regular, firm and very firm settings. Just push them in and turn the shaft until it clicks. I figured I'd set them at firm and go from there.

bolting in rear crossmember in v8 bug s10 chassis

Since everthing fit nicely it was time to bolt the cross member in. I drilled throug the back of the frame and into the cross member with an 1/8 inch drill bit and then pulled the cross member off and drilled it up to 1/2 inch on my drill press.

v8 bug rear cross member and shock mounts

Now I have everything bolted in.

v8 bug rear cross member and shock mounts

Next I just need to figure out some sway bar end links....... After an order from McMaster Carr I was set though......

Ford explorer 8.8 inch rear sway bar on v8 beetle

I ended up making end links out of a couple heim joints, one male and one female. That way I could adjust them to just the correct length.

v8 beetle heim joint sway bar end links

Here is a closer look at the homemade end links. I just ordered 2 male and 2 female 5/8-18 heim joints from McMastercar (they were the cheapest for GOOD heim joints at the time.) I was short on 5/8" bolts so just for mock up the top of the end links are bolted on with 1/2" bolts. At first I was going to make some mounting tabs out of heavy angle and weld them to the back of the cross member, but I didn't have a 5/8" drill bit and my step drill was SHOT. I didn't want to stop progress so on to plan B. I had some heavy wall 5/8" id seamless tubing so I cut a couple chunks of that and welded it to the bottom of the cross member. I think it ended up looking cleaner this way anyways.

upper shock and sway bar end link mounts for v8 beetle

Just a closer look at the end link and shock.

PT cruiser seat in v8 beetle

A few weeks ago I picked up some seats for the V8 Bug. On Craigslist I found some PT cruiser seats for 25 bucks, that was for the two front buckets, and the rear split seat. They are in pretty good shape, a little dirty, and a couple burns in the back seat, but I can't complain for 25 bucks. I'll probably get some black seat covers for them until I have the money to recover them. I just had to throw the drivers seat in and sit in it. I think these will work out great, they seem to fit nicely arn't too high, etc... Of course that 1" angle holding the body together is in the way a little.... LOL

V8 beetle with PT cruiser seat in it.

Like I told a few people, with a little duck tape we could have a finished rat rod....... LOL

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