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

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

Post by Marc » Fri Feb 17, 2017 10:14 pm

rrb6699 wrote:...did not show your degree...
If I'm using special characters which don't show up for everyone I should stop doing that, and thank you for the heads-up.

For degrees I'm in the habit of using the ASCII character Alt+248, like this: °

If that's not displaying properly I can use another symbol, please tell me if you see these:
1. ◦
2. ꞏ
3. ˚

Thanks.

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

Post by rrb6699 » Sat Feb 18, 2017 3:57 am

I see #1 and #3. ive found fractions don't show on posts if you do preview before submit.
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Re: 1972 Beetle - Want Advice on Replacing Front Suspension/Steering Linkages

Post by Marc » Sat Feb 18, 2017 5:48 am

Odd, everything I type in and post, paste in from Windows Character Map, or paste in from my collection of fractions shows up indefinitely at my end. Must be an operating-system thing.
If you don't mind continuing to help me figure this out, please respond to the private message I'm sending.

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

Post by helowrench » Sat Feb 18, 2017 7:25 am

RRB I do all of my own alignments, as some pretty simple and cheap tools yields very good results if you take your time with it. You will need a level piece of driveway or garage.

however, a few phone calls to the alignment shops in your area, and you should be able to find one that is capable of working on an old Beetle.
One friend here wanted a second set of eyes on his Ghia after we did the alignment. in a few hours, he found a place that knew old VWs very well.

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

Post by rrb6699 » Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:38 am

oh? how do you do your alignments? take your time on the answer as I'll use it for reference. thx!
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Re: 1972 Beetle - Want Advice on Replacing Front Suspension/Steering Linkages

Post by Piledriver » Sat Feb 18, 2017 12:38 pm

Several racer supplies sell alignment tools & kits ~cheap.
The "alignment kit" I like best is a pair of straight edges (with legs) and a pair of tape measures for setting toe.
http://www.smileysracing.com/shopping/p ... 071&c=1884
Of course a nice straight fence picket cut in half and a couple cheap tape measures works just as well.

For camber, the digital angle gauge Harbor Freight sells works better than you would expect, but you might need to fab adapters to attach it to the hub etc...
I, for one, regularly embrace our new robot overlords, as I am the guy fixing the robots...

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

Post by rrb6699 » Sun Feb 19, 2017 9:40 am

that's why I mention laser pointers and a level. if I had say 2 laser pointers, I could measure tow and camber at least. caster may be a different story. I assume the outer and inner edges of the tires are used but I'm not sure what points of reference are used for caster.

I would think tires are imperfect also to use and there must be a way to align the wheel assembly.
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Re: 1972 Beetle - Want Advice on Replacing Front Suspension/Steering Linkages

Post by rrb6699 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 6:59 pm

ok, i'm about to place an order for all the ball joints and tie rod ends. I can't find a list of bushings for the fron end. I'd like to order bushings for control arms (2?), tie rods, steering related, etc.

just for the steering, control arms, tie rods and shocks how many bushings each are there? the reason I'm asking is some websites say, control arm bushing - qty 1, but I am not sure if I need to order two or is there just one of these. same for other bushings.

also, is there a preference for bushing material? I see red polyurethane ones that seem superior to rubber. however, if they squeak and creak I don't want that.
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Re: 1972 Beetle - Want Advice on Replacing Front Suspension/Steering Linkages

Post by Marc » Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:36 pm

The stock control arm inner bushings are plastic/Bakelite with a thin steel sleeve inside, and the outers are needle bearings (so there's one bushing & one bearing for each of four control arms). If your control arms show no evidence of damage where they ride in the bearings/bushings there's really no reason to replace them, you're making a whole lot of work for yourself for little-to-no gain - these are not trivial to remove or to install.
They make aftermarket urethane one-piece tubular sleeves that take the place of the stock bearings/bushings (two uppers and two lowers req'd); not recommended for street use even if they didn't creak and squeak.

New balljoints and tierod ends may well be all that you need. Check the "rag joint" where the column connects to the steering box; OEM-quality cloth-reinforced is the only way to go, the cheap repops that're just cast from rubber or urethane are terrible (likely to come apart and leave you with NO steering).
Inspect the steering damper for leakage; with the front end off the ground grab a wheel and steer it from lock to lock checking for any "skips" in the action. Note that Standards did not even have steering dampers until c1960 and if everything's right up front they don't really even need one - so there's no need to buy a new one if the old one still functions and doesn't leak, but it's your money. I recall at the outset that you said you'd been to high speeds without a hint of shimmy, and that was with a suicidal lower ball joint :)

The four seals in the ends of the beam tubes are replaceable if they're shabby.

Caster is not adjustable except by shimming the entire beam away from the frame head. Be sure that the notch in the camber eccentric does not face anywhere rearward and it'll be in spec if the chassis sits level.

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

Post by rrb6699 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:55 pm

ok I'll check the steering . does it specify clith reinforced?

also, "They make aftermarket urethane one-piece tubular sleeves that take the place of the stock bearings/bushings (two uppers and two lowers req'd); not recommended for street use even if they didn't creak and squeak."

why are they not recommended for street use? I do get squeaks in the steering. rubber squeaks.

ill thankfully go with tie rod ends, ball joints and order a rag joint even if I dont need to replace it yet.

do you think the Mevotech ball joints and rod ends are decent? Also, Beck/ Arnley and ENERGY SUSPENSION Red Performance Polyurethane; Kit for the Rear; w/IRS.

and is there 1 or two control arm bushings?

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

Post by Marc » Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:48 pm

No idea on Mevotech, never used them. I've always used LMB or FEBI (of late, Meyle, which seem OK so far....Meyle is a German company that outsources production of many of their parts; when it says "Made in Germany" on the box it's only sure to be truthful for the box).

The front urethane one-piece bushings are too tight when new and soon hammer out so they're too loose - squeaking all the while.

In the rear there are 2 bushings per side. Both outers are 111 511 245 E; the right inner is 311 511 245 and the left inner is 311 511 246 - they're mirror images, the inner hole is made non-concentric intentionally to compensate for compression under load. Aftermarket urethane ones are typically identical and they will squeak - it may not be too offensive it you lube them with the supplied grease on assembly (plus it's behind you). For street use I use the stock ones.

I haven't bought a new steering column coupler in a while but from the pictures I'm seeing online it looks like most everyone's selling the crappy ones these days. Judging by the photos, the "OEM Mexican" (~$14) seems to be the best choice. 111 415 417

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

Post by rrb6699 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:10 pm

yea, the Mexican trunk lid seal is a great design. who sells these rag joints? oh is there one or 2 control arm bushings?
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Re: 1972 Beetle - Want Advice on Replacing Front Suspension/Steering Linkages

Post by Marc » Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:40 pm

A. Who said anything about trunk lid seals?
B. Google is your friend
C. Asked and answered.

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

Post by rrb6699 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:47 pm

no, I bought the Mexican trunk lid seal. works great. I ask here as last resort if I can't find or don't understand something. thx.
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Re: 1972 Beetle - Want Advice on Replacing Front Suspension/Steering Linkages

Post by Marc » Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:54 pm

rrb6699 wrote:
Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:47 pm
I ask here as last resort if I can't find or don't understand something...
As a rule that works best if you actually read the responses you get before asking the same thing again.

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