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Interchangeable Parts - VW to Porsche

September 26, 2010 | Troubleshooting & Repair
In reference to VW from 1954 to 1965


Most of the following information is from an article written by Bruce Hall that was published in the 356 Registry Magazine, Volume 2 - Number 3, February 1976. The article was included in the "356 Porsche Technical and Restoration Guide", published in 1984 by the 356 Registry.

Use this information with discretion. In many cases the equivalent Porsche part is no more expensive than the VW part and may be more reliable. Perhaps the best way to use this information is: (a) for cosmetic parts that are not mission critical and that may be more available and/or less expensive than Porsche parts and; (b) for mission critical parts when you break down in the middle of nowhere and don't have access to Porsche parts.

Use your own judgement in all cases and be aware that The 356 Registry is making this information available for your use and does not make any specific recommendations on any information contained here. Please read the Full Disclaimer at the bottom of this page.


Front Suspension


  1. Rubber steering cookie that fits between steering shaft and steering box
  2. Tie rods
  3. Tie rod clamps, bolts, and washers
  4. Tie rod ends - VW tie rod ends do not have the grease fittings [check size of tapered stud - Porsche wnet to larger ones with "A" types]
  5. Rubber grease cups that fit under the rod ends
  6. Steering knuckle (spindle) [only up to about '55, maybe some '56]
  7. King pins and bushings
  8. Link pins, bushings and shims (The only part that does not come in the VW link pin kit that you will need in rebuilding your Porsche front end is the specially shaped retainer bushings that fit in the eye of the suspension arm. They serve to hold the rubber O-ring in place to keep in grease and keep out dirt and water. You may be able to use your own retainer bushings, but if not, they are still available through the dealer.)
  9. Bolt, nut and washer used to adjust link pins.
  10. Steering damper - VW bus
  11. Rubber bumper between front trailing arms for 1950-55 Porsches
  12. Front wheel ball bearings for 1950-58 Porsches
  13. Steering gear box for pre 1958 Porsches
  14. Front drum seals for 1950-63 Porsches
  15. Front trailing arms and link pin carriers 1950-55 Porsches
  16. Some front torsion bars

Rear Suspension


  1. Large and small rear axle O-rings
  2. Rear axle seal and outer bearing [and bearing inner and outer spacers, bearing retainer for 1950-63 -- 356C uses the bearing and inner spacer]
  3. Rear axle tubes and shafts
  4. axle boot
  5. 36mm rear axle retaining nut
  6. some torsion bars and trailing arms



  1. Master cylinder resevoir for all 356's through 1963 - VW bus through 1967. Plastic resevoir that fits the Porsche master cylinder with no alterations. I am a purist, but this is definitely an improvement over the Porsche aluminum resevoir that has a tendency to sprout holes after several years of use. The cost is about 1/2 of the Porsche replacement part.
  2. Backing plate retaining bolts
  3. 19mm wheel cylinder overhaul kits [3/4" cups available at auto supply stores which is all you usually need]
  4. Almost all nuts, bolts and washers used on the VW front suspension are interchangeable with Porsche



  1. Hella interior lights mounted on roof are the same as those used on early model Karmann Ghia
  2. Interior door handles are VW parts
  3. Window crank will fit - they have white knobs which would be fine for most "A" models and earlier
  4. The accelerator pedal rubber is an Opel part
  5. Clutch and brake pedal rubber are 914 and 911 parts
  6. Light bulbs
  7. Speedometer cable (VW sedan)- check length as some VW cables are a bit short when suspension is fully extended
  8. Some windshield wiper motors for early 356's
  9. Rear window latch knobs on 911's on the same as those used on 356's
  10. Shifting lever boot same as the 914



  1. Headlight assembly early VW - If you specify that you want the lens that says Hella instead of VW. It is still available and is the original and authentic Porsche lens [editor's note: Remember, this article was written in 1996!]
  2. The front directional lens and lens gaskets on 1960-65 are available through Mercedes Benz. They were used on the 190 and 220 series
  3. The rubber window washer spraying units on 356C and late "B" mounted by the windshield wipers are 914 parts
  4. Windshield wiper blades
  5. The license plate light assemblies for 1960-65 are the same as those used on the early Mercedes 190 and 220 series
  6. The backup light assembly for 1960-65 is the same as those used on 1967-72 VW bus (change bulb to 6-volt)
  7. The rear reflectors are the same as those used on the Mercedes 190 series
  8. In case you are short a spare tire wheel, the VW 5 lug wheel will fit until a Porsche wheel can be located
  9. Early fuel tank cap ("A" and early "B")
  10. Older VW jack

Engine (36hp VW Only)


  1. Generators brushes and bearings (from 40hp VW also)
  2. Cooling fan, generator and pulley (from 40hp VW also)
  3. Starter and solenoid (from 40hp VW also)
  4. Distributor cap, points, rotor and drive mechanism
  5. Oil pressure relief valves and sprin, for pre-1958 356's
  6. Oil pressure sending unit (all VW)
  7. Flywheel seal
  8. Crank shaft end play spacers
  9. Dowel pins for main bearing location
  10. Some oil pumps and gears for pre-1960 Porsches
  11. Some oil pump housing for pre-1958 Porsches
  12. Crankshaft timing gear, key, spacer, distributor drive gear and clip
  13. Crankshaft timing gear - will have to drill dowel pin holes
  14. Some gaskets on 1500 Porsches except valve covers
  15. Some fuel pumps on early model Porsche
  16. Throw out bearing (ball bearing type - any VW)
  17. Clutch disk and pressure plate assembly (VW transporter. Rigid center and spring center disks available for 180mm and 200mm. Coil spring pressue plates available for 180mm. 200mm pressure plate not usable)
  18. Dipstick, only on 1500 Porsches
  19. Spark plug connector
  20. O-ring on distributor shaft
  21. Valve adjusting nut
  22. Oil cooler seals pre-1958
  23. Camshaft end-plug
  24. Oil drain screw
  25. Lock washer for flywheel bolt
  26. Spring washer for crankshaft pulley bolt
  27. Cooling fan hub
  28. Gasket for small oil pump cover
  29. Drive pinion for distributor
  30. Washer for pinion
  31. Spacer spring for pinion
  32. Camshaft for 2-piece Normal engines



  1. Spring for gear lock (reverse gear). Also detent balls, maybe interlock plungers
  2. Shaft for differential pinion
  3. Lock pin for differential pinion shaft
  4. Differential carrier
  5. Differential side gears and spider gears
  6. Differential bearing opposite ring gear - also availabe at local bearing supply houses
  7. Transmission input shaft rear bearing - also available local supply houses
  8. Differential fulcrum plates
  9. Transmission rear rubber mounts for 1950-55 Porsche

Addendum by Capt. Stan Stanton
Published in the "356 Porsche Technical and Restoration Guide"

  1. VW has a rubber gasket (Porsche is cork) for the fuel gauge sender that can be used on the 1962 BT6 with the flat gas tank and bottom sender and the 1963-65 gas tanks with top senders (VW part #113.919.133)
  2. The overhead courtesy light in the BMW 2002 is the same as the dash courtesy light in the "C"
  3. A standard VW spark plug wire harness will work on a 356, but the #1 wire is a tight fit.

Additional Information

You will find additional information on substituting VW parts for 356 parts in the following places: