Vanagon – syncro front spring pad

I think I mentioned in my post about upper control arm bushings that I was considering further tomfoolery with the front suspension. What I have in mind is a modest front ride height increase – 1″ at the most – to compensate for the weight that the camperisation added to the original tin top. Currently I have approx. 19″ from wheel centre to fender edge on the rear (one extra stock spacer above rear spring) and 18″ from wheel centre to fender at the front. You probably know all the approaches to ride height adjustment, and no doubt have your preferences. I’m going to have a go making some spring pad spacers, similar (but not identical to) what Futbus in the UK sells.

I discovered that the spring pad is the same for both 2WD and syncro, so I could make a spacer to fit the 2WD stuff I have on hand. Here is the spring pad, underside that fits onto end of spring. Yup, that orange paint is there again. BTW, the spring (from ’82 westy diesel)  had 2 white paint marks in middle of coils. The closest match I have found is the 2 beige mark one listed on the IG16 Wiki page about springs here. Do you get the idea that I am tempted to try these spring out on my syncro despite the 20 mm or so longer length? I am, but I want to have springs side by side on bench to confirm length differences. IG16 chart says it’s 20 mm diff, and that would translate to a 33 mm ride height increase (all things equal, ie spring rate). That is a tad more than I am shooting for, but so close as to worth trying.

Oh BTW, “x” amount of lift at spring translates to approx. 1.66 “x” at wheel. Slightly different multiplier at rear. The IG16 Wiki explains more.

You can see how the spring fits into spacer and the remnants of the tape that holds spring to spacer during installation.

So back to the additional spacer idea. I had this doughnut shaped bit of aluminium, was going to make some other goofy thing out of it, but never did.

I wish it was thicker stock so that I could have had a longer collar.

As is, I made the spacer 16.75 mm thick, and the collar 8 mm. The stock was originally nominal 1″ thick. I made a little bit of an effort to radius the top  corner to mimic the stock rubber pad.

And the rubber pad pushed onto the collar of the aluminium spacer. This pic could be a little confusing, there is an aluminium disc under the spacer, more salvaged scrap.

Whoa! There’s that orange spring.

Pad and spacer on spring.

I probably will use some adhesive between the pad and the spacer. Seeing as I am just trying to bring ride height back close to stock tin top specs, I don’t think I will need to extend the shock shaft at threaded end. More on this to come later.
Addendum may 2017

Here is drawing I found in my files for Beau, pretty close to my estimates I mentioned in comments. Thickeness can be altered to suit of course. Don’t forget the multiplier effect of shim to effective lift. 


  1. #1 by famillysyncro on July 18, 2012 - 5:17 am

    Looks good. Damn ,I really need to get a lathe (but my wife thinks I am spending too much on the van and other toys already…)
    As long as you want to get your original height back to stock, you should not need to extend the shock shaft. Unless you have more momentum from the aditional weight, I am not sure if you are close to the limit with stock stuff (bought my van with OME shocks and GW +2″ topping out… since it is a tin top)

    • #2 by albell on July 18, 2012 - 10:24 pm

      I agree about height adjustment shocks Jerome. And the lathe? It was a great buy, well used and a bit worn out, but good enough for most of the stuff I can do.



  2. #3 by on July 19, 2012 - 1:05 pm

    Just bought my first Vanagon. I’m so impressed with your scope of knowledge and having the skill set to build your own solutions. I have been totally buried in your blog all day. Oops, should be working! Ha!

    • #4 by albell on July 19, 2012 - 1:12 pm

      Thanks Andrew. it feels good when I get comments like yours.



      PS I just try and get in there and do it. I make so many mistakes and I am not letting on to most of them 🙂

  3. #5 by Beau on May 19, 2017 - 6:50 pm

    Hey mate. I’m trying to do the same, unfortunately don’t have the lathe, so will have to order it in the machine shop and they want drawing with dimensions. Do you by any chance have dimensions (outer and inner diameter of the original rubber and rough radius on top)? Thanks heaps, Beau

    • #6 by albell on May 20, 2017 - 8:45 am


      Like an idiot I can’t find my notes, but I think the rough dimensions are 145mm OD with a 90mm hole.

      The radius at the top is approx 5-6mm

      I have a drawing of another persons soacers somewhere on my other computer. I’ll if it out and post it. But as I recall the dimensions confused me a little. Maybe you can make sense of it. I’ll look for it in a bit.



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