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

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

Post by rrb6699 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:58 am

yea figures. I dont see any marks and there is no indication on the ball joints about the direction(s) of the built in range of the BJ.

the new BJ has the notches on opposite sides of it. is there any standard that says the bj range of motion moves parallel or perpendicular to those notches?

see pic . upper bj on left.
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Re: 1972 Beetle - Want Advice on Replacing Front Suspension/Steering Linkages

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Sun Mar 05, 2017 10:39 am

Look at the slot and its relationship to both of the nonotches.Next look at the marks on the trailing arms and their relationship to the pivot part of the arms that ride in the torsion tube (an easy way of dodging answering your question :roll: ). The slots handle the arc of the suspension but can bind if they are out of the designed in tolerances.

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

Post by rrb6699 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 10:53 am

upper arms have dot marks. lower arms do not have marks. is the (most) range of motion on lower bj front to back (of vehicle) or side to side? I can just put the bj in a vice and see which direction it moves furthest then if range of motion needs to be a certain direction (frt to rear I'm thinking) I can press them in with that aligned.

the uppers have marks so shouldn't have an issue there.
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Re: 1972 Beetle - Want Advice on Replacing Front Suspension/Steering Linkages

Post by rrb6699 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 11:22 am

after much searching I found this mark on the lower control arm. it's about a couple inches distant from the BJ towards the shock mount. (see brown dot?)

could this be the BJ alignment mark I need? I looked and looked on the bj mount on the arm and connot find a clear mark like the upper arm has.
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Last edited by rrb6699 on Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 1972 Beetle - Want Advice on Replacing Front Suspension/Steering Linkages

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:02 pm

RR, I am about 1800 miles from home right now so I can’t go out and take pictures for you. A couple of years ago I started to do a BJ off-road beam build (viewtopic.php?f=28&t=136514) and since I was learning I took a lot of pictures as well as making a lot of mistakes in the process but with the help of the people here I got to the point of making a really bad one which I too documented.

Look at page 5 of the build: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=136514&start=60 then down almost to the bottom of the page and you will find this:

The lower trailing arms bosses are marked different than the upper trailing arms are.

Image

Image

I marked the line that are found on the on the cast pieces on the bosses for the ball-joints. The bosses are cast at an angle and the mark is found on the side were the boss is machined to accept the flange of the ball-joint itself.

On my arms, they were either rusted quite badly (I got them bead blasted so I don’t know) or the casting is so rough that the marks were hard to find. I thought I found the marks but went to my local VW shop to have the marks verified. It took some very strong lights to be able to see the marks on one of the arms.

Image

Image

I then took a center punch and made a mark on the trailing arm to highlight the locating mark. I had tried to file the notches in deeper but a triangular file did not want to do much work on it, Must be a hard material but it did punch easily so that is confusing.

If I get a chance I will try to press the BJ’s in tomorrow.

Lee

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

Post by rrb6699 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:33 pm

I dont know the year of your beetle, but if you look at the pics of my arms the lower has no nubs like yours or marks except the one in the last photo a couple inches towards the shock. plus there is a corresponding mark on the bottom side of the arm from this mark.

I cant see any other reason for these marks other than to align the notches of the ball joint. if someone else can tell me these notches (punch holes) are for something else then let me know.

I'd rather take a little extra time getting this right than to have to redo the liwer BJs. the upper BJs seem to be fine and I may wait and do them another session, but, noth lowers on this Bug are definitely bad. guess they take more abuse than the uppers.
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Re: 1972 Beetle - Want Advice on Replacing Front Suspension/Steering Linkages

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:14 pm

Those might be Thing arms... I'm not sure but the spindles are Thing for sure. I'm not positive but the Thing lower BJs press in down rather than up otherwise I thought the arms were pretty much the same. The pan is a '71 I think.

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

Post by rrb6699 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:27 pm

gawd I love Things! wish I had one. I'm sorta at a standstill here. I want to press in this lower BJ, but, not with the wrong orientation.

I've decided to just do the lowers right now then do the uppers separately. the uppers on the Bug look ok for a few more miles.

the lowers gotta go tho.
Last edited by rrb6699 on Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1972 Beetle - Want Advice on Replacing Front Suspension/Steering Linkages

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:59 pm

Marc, Dusty or FJ to name's few all know much more on this that I do so I hope they get involved. I still suspect that the orientation does make a difference though.

Lee

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

Post by rrb6699 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:25 pm

yes. orientation of the lower BJs matter I discovered.

I put the new BJ in a vise and it rocks with the notches (parallel with) much more than it does perpendicular to the notches. big question is now should I orient the BJ to rock front to back (notches front to back or notches side to side?

if I align like the way they are lined up for your Thing's notches, then it would be with a notch at the front base of the control arm. I cant believe the beetle should be lined up any different.

those bosses look like my uppers. my lowers are without a nub. see pics earlier in this thread.

oh AND my lowers press in from the bottom which seems like the wrong way for structural strength. I. e. they could pop out the bottom if pushed hard enough unlike ones that push in from the top of the lowers.
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Re: 1972 Beetle - Want Advice on Replacing Front Suspension/Steering Linkages

Post by Marc » Sun Mar 05, 2017 4:26 pm

rrb6699 wrote:
Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:25 pm
...my lowers press in from the bottom which seems like the wrong way for structural strength. I. e. they could pop out the bottom if pushed hard enough unlike ones that push in from the top of the lowers.
That's true but in normal usage it's stood the test of time. Off-roaders limited to balljoint beams are about the only folks to lose any sleep over this; as a rule, if a lower ball joint comes loose it was improperly installed in the first place - for example pressed in, then removed and reinstalled to correct improper orientation, or initially pressed in crooked. "Oversize" (+.016" O.D.) balljoints are available to salvage control arms which have become too loose - they have an additional small vee-notch in their rim 90° from the alignment notches for identification - obviously if you replace an oversize BJ with a standard-sized one, there'll be inadequate press-fit.


I'm pretty sure I covered this some time ago, and at least twice. Let's try once more.

The slot that the balljoint stud travels in is inline ("parallel") with the marks/divots/nubs/whatever-index-mark-your- arms-have (the method of marking them may vary, and although I've never seen it I suppose it's possible one might slip through without being marked at all).

The slot is perpendicular to the tubular part of the control arm - so even if there were no markings at all you could figure it out with a carpenter's square (or anything with a 90° angle, even the flap from a big cardboard box.)

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

Post by rrb6699 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 4:47 pm

ok so the lower control arm comes out from the beam.

the pic I attached is perpendicular to the lower control arm. I should align my notches straight on looking at the boss assuming I'm perfectly perpendicular.
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Re: 1972 Beetle - Want Advice on Replacing Front Suspension/Steering Linkages

Post by rrb6699 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:04 pm

Ol'Fogasaurus,

am I to read your big mistake you mention was to put the lower ball joint in the wrong way? (e.g. down through the spindle mount instead of up)

did you leave it that way or redo the BJ? I didnt see any pics to show you changed it. seems like a logical way to install the BJ really.
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Re: 1972 Beetle - Want Advice on Replacing Front Suspension/Steering Linkages

Post by rrb6699 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:39 pm

ok so I lined up the ball joint to press it in. then I noticed something else. look at the bottom of the control arm. is it made this way or did something happen to it?

the old bj was pressed into it as far as it would go but this one has a thicker lip. if I press this one in I'm sure it will remain straight in the boss, but, it looks like the right side wont fully press in.

if this isnt right I can grind the bottom left underside of the control arm to be even with the right side as we look at it. I took a pic of the right lower control arm and it doesn't have the same bottom angle as this.

maybe this control arm had a long scrape on the road in its past.
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Re: 1972 Beetle - Want Advice on Replacing Front Suspension/Steering Linkages

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:29 pm

Image

Thing ball-joints w/protective caps on.

Image

Caps off and showing the lower ball-joint facing down instead of the lower ball-joint facing the upper ball-joint and pressed in from the top of the lower ball-joint.

This is a Thing suspension: notice the direction of the lower ball-joint.

Image

Image

These two pixs shows a Thing and a sedan spindle side by side. Notice the distance between the two legs the BJ mount to. The Thing has a wider spread due to the BJ facing down where the lower BJ for the sedan is designed for the lower BJ facing up and the BJ pressed in from the top of the arm.

Lee
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