Swing Axle vs IRS Transmissions - How to tell the difference - Aircooled VW Tech TipsFilter By
Swing Axle transmissions ran from 1946-1968 on a stock Air-cooled VW Beetle or Bug. Early style buses also used standard beetle transaxles with reduction boxes on the hubs. Swing axles transmissions can easily be identified by the enclosed swing-axle tube with a single axle boot on the transmission end of the axle tube.
IRS (Independent Rear Suspension) transmissions were used from 1969 and on in VW Beetles and late-style Buses. IRS can be identified by the exposed axle, and use two CV joints (Constant Velocity Joints), and have a CV Boot on each end of both axles - 2 per axle, 4 total CV boots.
Swing axles are a budget-friendly way to get reliable power down if you are building a budget-friendly drag car, and many people agree the camber looks great on slammed beetles. In most other circumstances, IRS is the superior choice for on-road and off-road situations, offering more articulation while eliminating the extreme camber under load.
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