Applied engineering at Das Triebwerk: a newly designed double wishbone front axle with adjustable shock absorbers for air-cooled Volkswagen classics.


Our latest YouTube video runs 7:52 minutes and shows our latest engine engineering project. For air-cooled Volkswagen classics, our development engineer Daniel Schlingermann has implemented an innovative technology solution that would go well with contemporary racing cars. A double wishbone front axle in connection with sporty tuned Bilstein shock absorbers, which are adjustable in compression and rebound: Drivers of a VW Type 3, Karmann Type 34/14, Kübelwagen or Beetle certainly do not expect that in their favorite cars, which up to now have always been equipped with their front axle had to fight. There was no pressure on the front wheels, no precision in the steering, no faithfulness to the chosen driving line. The historic original front axle shifted under load, especially with power-enhanced engines. However, after this had been digitized, Schlingermann and DTW Das Triebwerk Managing Director Christian Wilms formulated their specifications. The biggest challenge lay in the given installation space, which required a comparatively narrow front axle. In addition, an adaptive system should be created that would be applicable to different vehicle types.


The scientific analysis of the track and camber progression over the wheel travel showed that the off-centre steering in particular is not ideal for sporty driving combined with today’s safety requirements. The approach of widening the new front axle to achieve better kinematic properties had to be discarded again. Seen from a bird’s eye view, many Volkswagen fans prefer a so-called V-shape: (relatively) narrow at the front, a little wider at the back. Thanks to complex simulations and modern prototype construction using the 3D printing process, it was nevertheless possible to achieve an optimal result, which, moreover, was not made of light metal but of steel. Christian Wilms on the background: “The front axle of the Type 3 is relatively lightweight. Under full load it can happen that one of the two front wheels is hanging in the air and has no contact with the road. Walter Röhrl worked this out more than clearly with one of our vehicles on the Mendig airfield course.” An additional weight made of solid iron provided a remedy on site, at least in an emergency.


“Of course it wasn’t engineering in its own right,” says Daniel Schlingermann, who even produced a true-to-scale model of the newly designed double wishbone front axle as part of his master’s thesis. The end product, finished using laser technology, will make a noticeable plus in driving pleasure accessible to sporty VW enthusiasts in the future, especially in highly dynamic driving conditions. Further information can be obtained by e-mail or in a personal conversation.


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