1972 Beetle - Want Advice on Replacing Front Suspension/Steering Linkages

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Ol'fogasaurus
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Re: 1972 Beetle - Want Advice on Replacing Front Suspension/Steering Linkages

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Wed Feb 15, 2017 8:52 pm

I read the article (#10) and what it is missing is the "when the wear is too much" to have an inexperienced person adjust the box.

As a kid I was an apprentice mechanic and was told to adjust the steering box which I did using the manual. My boss checked it and the center position was correct but when he went too far past straight ahead the case broke because the rest of the worm gear was not as worn as the "straight ahead" portion of the box. Since he knew that the box itself was worn out it was a good lesson in both setting the adjustments and what can happen when done wrong.

The steering box is so important that I am reticent about going too far playing with them.

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Re: 1972 Beetle - Want Advice on Replacing Front Suspension/Steering Linkages

Post by Marc » Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:48 pm

Ol'fogasaurus wrote:I read the article (#10) and what it is missing is the "when the wear is too much" to have an inexperienced person adjust the box...The steering box is so important that I am reticent about going too far playing with them.
The Bentley manual procedure, like Hoover's, is to adjust the axial play first (using the giant capscrew at the end) and then turn lock-to-lock feeling for tight spots, backing off the adjustment until they're gone.
AFTER the axial play is adjusted, the roller play (the screw/jambnut on the cover) can be adjusted. Their criteria for "too tight" is if the wheel won't self-center (at least to within 45° of straight-ahead) after negotiating a turn at 10-12 MPH; that's a pretty good rule of thumb, at least with stock tires and alignment settings (even if you're "cheating" and adjusting the roller play without doing the axial adjustment).

If there's still over an inch of play at the steering wheel rim when straight ahead, no further external adjustment should be done and overhaul or replacement will be needed.

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rrb6699
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Re: 1972 Beetle - Want Advice on Replacing Front Suspension/Steering Linkages

Post by rrb6699 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:17 am

ok now im confused. you put a bead of weld on it after grinding??

"The metal on the back of the ball joint is pretty thin, and a die grinder will take it off quickly. After the ball is out, a quick bead on the inside of the joint, and it will almost fall out."

the ball is out of my front, lower driver side ball joint. its on the wheel mount. all the other 3 are still intact but with suspect looking conditions. i'll have to remove those but, don't want to waste time. so to get the bjs off, what do I need to do? remove the wheels and disconnect? then take them to a shop? how much do they charge to remove the old joints ?

I'll try to take pics. & post them here.

ill have to remove 3 bj that are still functioning. I have to do a job today but hopefully can spend time on this tomorrow.
RR

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Re: 1972 Beetle - Want Advice on Replacing Front Suspension/Steering Linkages

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:31 am

RR, there are several tools to "split" the ballpoints and tie-rods from their connections but there is one tool called a pickle fork (https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=ti ... &FORM=IGRE) that is often used. They come in three basic sizes so you would have to do some checking around on the size needed.

Another trick is to bang on the end the piece that the ball-joint fits into (not the BJ itself) which will sometimes let the connection vibrate loose and the join separates (this tool and method also works with tie-rods). You usually don't need a BFH to do this most of the time. Remember: if you want to bang on a threaded object put a nut at least part way down, but not flush to the top of the threads) on the threads to protect them.

With the BJ already stripped out of the joint itself I am not sure if the pickle fork will fit/work so you may have to take that join to the shop and have it pressed out.

Cost varies based on where you live (what the dollar will buy you there).

I just noticed that I missed putting "ball-joint" in front of tie-rods :oops:
Last edited by Ol'fogasaurus on Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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ChadH
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Re: 1972 Beetle - Want Advice on Replacing Front Suspension/Steering Linkages

Post by ChadH » Thu Feb 16, 2017 1:03 pm

rrb6699 wrote:ok now im confused. you put a bead of weld on it after grinding??

"The metal on the back of the ball joint is pretty thin, and a die grinder will take it off quickly. After the ball is out, a quick bead on the inside of the joint, and it will almost fall out."

the ball is out of my front, lower driver side ball joint. its on the wheel mount. all the other 3 are still intact but with suspect looking conditions. i'll have to remove those but, don't want to waste time. so to get the bjs off, what do I need to do? remove the wheels and disconnect? then take them to a shop? how much do they charge to remove the old joints ?

I'll try to take pics. & post them here.

ill have to remove 3 bj that are still functioning. I have to do a job today but hopefully can spend time on this tomorrow.
This is for removing the ball joint assembly from the trailing arm. If you are going to take the whole trailing arms to a shop to have the ball joints pressed out, you don't need to do this. I have some pictures on photobucket I can post up showing this DIY procedure in more detail, if needed.

For popping the ball joints and tie rods out of the knuckle, I've had good luck using this Harbor Freight tool, rather than a pickle fork. ..now being Harbor Freight, every time I use it, I wince expecting the tool to shatter, but it's worked well so far. :D

http://www.harborfreight.com/automotive ... 99849.html

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Re: 1972 Beetle - Want Advice on Replacing Front Suspension/Steering Linkages

Post by rrb6699 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 5:23 pm

ok, I guess whats confusing me is terminology. maybe I should ask is whats the easiest thing to take apart. sounds like one approach is to pop the balls out of the joint. the other is take the trailing arms off but that leaves the ball on the bottom of the wheel. I still have to edit pics to upload them. is there a permission I haven't set on the forum?

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Re: 1972 Beetle - Want Advice on Replacing Front Suspension/Steering Linkages

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Thu Feb 16, 2017 7:03 pm

See where the spud of the ball's threaded area goes through the eye on the spindle... try smacking that eye a few times with a hammer to see if that loosens its grip on the ball joint. It may or may not but it is worth a try. Usually there would be some weight on it but give it a try.

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Re: 1972 Beetle - Want Advice on Replacing Front Suspension/Steering Linkages

Post by Marc » Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:41 pm

That 6-sided part that the upper ball joint stud goes through is the camber-adjustment eccentric, and though it may stick a bit it's meant to be possible to rotate when doing wheel alignments so it shouldn't be all that tight. Loosen the nut on the upper balljoint (don't take it all the way off yet) and then smack the side of the part of the spindle the eccentric's in (bigger hammer works better) and it should drop; then remove the nut & washer and the spindle will only be dangling by the tierod and brake line and speedo cable, and you should be able to pass a big drift-pin through the top hole so you can beat on the nut of the lower balljoint while supporting the spindle on a jackstand.

Or you could remove the tierod end (the smack-the-side technique will pop that free without damaging the boot the way a pickle fork does) and the brake hose and speedo cable, then take the whole spindle/brake assembly with you along with the control arms to the shop that's pressing in your new balljoints and let them deal with it - should be trivial with the right tools.

It'll probably take a press to get the camber eccentric off of the old upper balljoint, those can stick on real good - don't leave the eccentric behind at the shop, you need to reuse it.

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Re: 1972 Beetle - Want Advice on Replacing Front Suspension/Steering Linkages

Post by rrb6699 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:28 am

so, slide the control arms out of the beams and see if I can knock out the parts that the bj attach to on the wheel assys.

remember, im takin both sides off and replacing all the bushings for anything that has one on this front end. the steering has been good with normal play. ill probably replace the steering box later.

shouldn't I be marking (with spray paint) anything I take apart? that way the alignment will be close when I put things back together.

how do I do alignment on these bugs? can I use a laser pointer? or will marking and reassembling (like counting rotations when removing) be sufficient?
RR

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Re: 1972 Beetle - Want Advice on Replacing Front Suspension/Steering Linkages

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:28 am

This is out of page 6 of the off-road beam build I am doing… the early version before I made a big goof and had to start over… twice. This also shows Thing (Type 181) and a comparison to the stock VW but mainly, the basic info you need is about the same.

The “Dusty” reference is a reverence to an input that Dustymohave made.

Image

I put the beam back together with the spindles on and this is what it looks like and part of what Dusty was talking about.

Image

Another view so show some of the off-set.

Image

Image

Two shots of the spindle showing the length differences of bungs on the spindle (stock vs. Thing); it also shows the angle part above the spindle to the bung that helps give the spindle proper shape for the spud to sit at (I hope this is clear).

Image

This shows the adjuster for front-end alignment in place.

This is a fair shot of the adjuster but it doesn’t show the notch on the adjuster. For initial setup I was advised to put the notch facing forward which, so far was good advice. By turning the adjuster you are actually rotating the ball-joint itself but by rotating the adjuster you are tipping the spindle to set both the caster and camber.

http://www.mooreparts.com/camber-adjust ... front-end/

This is a picture of an adjuster and again the notch is not showing but this does show the price to replace but based on what I was told when doing my first beam rebuild that what isn’t said is that the new adjusters are drilled differently now days to accommodate lowered cars. If your car is to remain stock and at a stock level then you need to keep and protect your stock adjusters.

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Re: 1972 Beetle - Want Advice on Replacing Front Suspension/Steering Linkages

Post by ChadH » Fri Feb 17, 2017 11:18 am

rrb6699 wrote:so, slide the control arms out of the beams and see if I can knock out the parts that the bj attach to on the wheel assys.

remember, im takin both sides off and replacing all the bushings for anything that has one on this front end. the steering has been good with normal play. ill probably replace the steering box later.

shouldn't I be marking (with spray paint) anything I take apart? that way the alignment will be close when I put things back together.

how do I do alignment on these bugs? can I use a laser pointer? or will marking and reassembling (like counting rotations when removing) be sufficient?
My suggestion: Set the front tires as close to parallel as possible, with whatever tools you have. This is just to get it drivable enough to get to an alignment shop. After replacing all this stuff, any previous alignment is so far out the window, marking parts is pointless.

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Re: 1972 Beetle - Want Advice on Replacing Front Suspension/Steering Linkages

Post by rrb6699 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 11:44 am

without being a parrot, I read somewhere that the camber has to be slightly negative on the front and backs to compensate for alignment dure to forces at driving speed. since these bugs are so old, my concern is a standard alignment tech won't do the alignment properly and I wont know it till its too late.

perhaps now that I have the opportunity to beef up the front end with better parts maybe dune buggy stuff.
RR

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Re: 1972 Beetle - Want Advice on Replacing Front Suspension/Steering Linkages

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Fri Feb 17, 2017 2:22 pm

If your suspension parts, at the time of alignment, are in good shape and the pan and frame head are OK then your alignment should be relatively good. Silly but true answer.

The wearing out of parts is normal but keeping up with that is not always a common thing so sooner or later someone gets stuck with the work and cost. I am sure everyone here has had to do before the modify assuming they are not leavings things stock. Thats how most of us have learned to speak VW... for example

Update! The :mrgreen: (now removed) I did not add!!!!! My spell check is getting worse about changing and/or adding things. I appologize about this!

Lee
Last edited by Ol'fogasaurus on Fri Feb 17, 2017 8:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1972 Beetle - Want Advice on Replacing Front Suspension/Steering Linkages

Post by Marc » Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:52 pm

rrb6699 wrote:without being a parrot, I read somewhere that the camber has to be slightly negative on the front and backs to compensate for alignment due to forces at driving speed...
Note where the notch in the camber eccentric is pointed before disassembly and put it back the same. Take a picture, or just make a small mark in the arm with a chisel at the notch. It should always be within 90° of pointing ahead (never towards the rear).
Stock camber setting is slightly POSITIVE (wheel leans out at the top) for several good engineering concerns which I'll not bore you with at this time - suffice it to say that negative-camber-based alignment settings are for the advanced class.

Spec is 30'± 20' positive with maximum side-to-side difference of 30'.

Translation: ½° positive is ideal, ⅙ to ⅚ of a degree is acceptable so long as the maximum difference between sides is ½°

It's debatable whether it's really worth paying for a professional wheel alignment on a Standard - a chain-store one, anyway. Caster cannot be adjusted (although it is affected slightly by camber adjustments) and unless the car is lowered significantly at the front will be acceptable - to increase it, shims can be placed between the lower beam tube and the frame head, but that's advanced class stuff too. With a level floor and a framing square (or even a yardstick) and a bubble protractor you can set the camber at home, then move on to the toe-in setting which is also possible to do yourself. Turn the wheels to full lock in both directions and see if the Pitman arm strikes the stop bolts in both directions - if not, odds are someone's done a half-assed alignment in the past and the position of the steering wheel on the shaft is suspect - but for now let's assume that it does. Count the total number of turns lock-to-lock and center the steering box by counting back halfway...hopefully this will put the wheels very close to straight-ahead. Note that there is substantial bump steer in the Standard's steering geometry so the toe can change dramatically with ride height - you should measure toe with typical weight in the car (including fuel, say ½ tank or more). If most of your highway driving will be done solo, throw some ballast in the driver's seat too. After any adjustment, roll the car back a few feet and then forward again before remeasuring (that's a step not included in a "rack" alignment and it does make a difference). Once the toe is perfect the steering wheel may be off-center, avoid the temptation to simply remove and reindex it; instead tweak both tierods the exact same amount until the wheel is centered. The toe spec in degrees is 30'±15' (IN) but for a DIY tape-measure job shoot for ⅛" closer at the front than at the rear (¼" maximum). Starting from normal ride height that'll decrease as weight is added (and also from aero pressure on the highway) to nearly straight-ahead. It's a primitive setup, and it's impossible to simulate all conditions, but these will get you so close that there should be no need to pay a pro if it drives straight when you're done. If you do decide to, find someone who knows what they're doing on a VW since most won't have a clue.

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Re: 1972 Beetle - Want Advice on Replacing Front Suspension/Steering Linkages

Post by rrb6699 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 8:20 pm

I'm learning to sprecken ze VW a little at a time. might drive me to Oktoberfest!...sooner than later. but, I love this stuff and I'm a hooked newbie. just gotta get better at it.

I didn't think an alignment shop will do the job correctly.

thanks for giving me both degrees and fractional measures. but your statement -
Translation: ½° positive is ideal, ⅙ to ⅚ of a degree is acceptable so long as the maximum difference between sides is ½° -

did not show your degree . don't worry about boring me with engineering details. I may not be able to design, but, I do understand the read. so, please bore me.
RR

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