The Hub Nightmare

Improvise - Adapt - Overcome ... Hit with a hammer

The removal of the rear hubs was rumored to be a little tricky. In the Haynes manual it did give warnings that some additional, erm, leverage may be required to get the buggers to slacken off. Having had similar fun and games in the past with Saab brake disks I foolishly thought I knew what I was letting myself in for
Take 1
The first attempt involved a suitably sized impact socket, a breaker bar and a 4 foot length of steel pipe to supply the leverage. This was initially slightly less than successful as the brakes weren't up to holding the car in the face of 13 stone of me swinging off the pipe. Even when I did manage to suitably wedge the wheels so they wouldn't turn it soon became apparent that the hub nuts weren't going anywhere.
Clearly more leverage was required
Take 2
Working on the principle that more is usually more, a longer section of pipe was brought into service as a leverage extender. This did indeed increase the available leverage, and put god knows how much force on the hub nut.
One minor problem encountered at this stage was that the entire car was getting lifted into the air :) And still the bugger wouldn't let go. After the second time the socket came pinging off the nut I gave this up as a bad job. Lots of big forces and potential pain were forecast.
The solution to the problem came from the good old US of A, via the marvel of modern commerce that is eBay. By chance i came across the "VW 36mm AXLE NUT REMOVAL HAMMER / BREAKER BAR TOOL". I was skeptical as to wether this would work or not, but for $8 plus postage (which cost more than the tool) I thought it was worth a pop.
If you are looking for one of these yourself, the eBay seller I got this from was "ISPWEST VWPARTS". I commend them to the house.
I had previously tried my patented crowbar wheel brake approach during my exploits with the long levers, so I thought that would stop the hub from turning while I subjected it to further brutality.

Compared to the 36mm socket I was using the new tool seemed much less keen on coming pinging off under load, given that the force is being applied from beside the nut, rather than from in front of it with a socket.

The task was then completed by using a poor mans approximation of an impact driver. The breaker bar was connected to the tool and I swung on this while battering the top of the new tool with a decent sized hammer, and guess what.... IT WORKED :)

At this point i permitted myself a small dance of victory, before repeating the process round the other side.

Anyone who has had any dealings with the hub nuts on a Beetle will understand the deep joy you feel when you get the b**tards to this stage, and off they come.

After the nuts were removed the brake drums came off much more easily than I thought and it was then almost time to remove the gearbox.

Apart from a good clean up, some new mounts and boots and some paint on the axle tubes I am not planning on doing anything else with the gearbox at the moment. The brake back plates and drums will have to be ground clean and painted, and that'll be about that for the transmission.

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