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Can't separate strut tower from steering knuckle - 71 super beetle

I’m trying to rebuild the front end on my super, and not even six bolts in and I’m stuck. I can’t get the struts and steering knuckle apart on either side. Ball joint came off okay, had to bang on it some, but I’ve now spent two days and I’ve got nothing. I’ve tried a pickling fork. Three armed puller. Loads of penetrating oil. Anyone know any good tricks here?

Someone here might help, but there are lots of old Vdub fans over at

Taper fit?
I remember visiting a friend once who was attempting to separate a ball joint from a steering knuckle. He had an enormous amount of force placed on the taper using a separater and it wouldn’t budge. He’d been messing with it for some time. I picked up a 2lb ball peen hammer and gave the tapered socket one healthy rap and BANG, the whole thing came apart. The look on his face was priceless. Rapping on the tapered socket (while pressure is applied to the parts) slightly distorts its shape and this is often enough to release the parts.

What are you using for penetrating oil?

I got a chuckle out of pickling fork. I’ve always heard it called a pickle fork since it resembles a fork used to serve or retrieve pickles from the jar. Versus it being used in the production of pickles… ;-D

I never disassembled this far,what part would you replace once you had these two pieces seperated. I am thinking of just putting a shock insert into the tube you are trying to seperate from the knuckle,perhaps I need to see a picture.