VW 412 Steering Wobble

Discuss with fans and owners of the most luxurious aircooled sedan/wagon that VW ever made, the VW 411/412. Official forum of Tom's Type 4 Corner.
gearheadgreg
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VW 412 Steering Wobble

Post by gearheadgreg » Fri Mar 27, 2020 8:55 pm

So I haven't driven Bill K's 412 that long, but enough to be impressed with the huge amount of work and upgrades that were done.

I did run into a wobble that felt like it was coming from the right front. I suspected the custom wheel bearing inserts, but once up in the air, I bolted on a buddy bar to be able to stress the steering and see what was moving. Had to drill a new hole in the bar, but still.

Quickly told me it was the relay steering box - the passive one on the passenger side. The steering arm Was not 100% tightened down anymore. I know he's driven it hard and for many miles, so just a heads up.

The nut was a nylock, as it should be. There wasn't a washer, so I added a dished washer to help lock and spread the load, and a dab of medium loctite to be sure. After that, there was no play at all. I also greased the custom delrin control arm bushings that had zerks and the ball joints at the bottom of the struts. More work soon.

I should be able to do the clutch slave cylinder and see about fitting the IDF manifolds and ITBs this weekend.

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Ol'fogasaurus
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Re: VW 412 Steering Wobble

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Fri Mar 27, 2020 9:13 pm

Good you found the problem out so easy.

On the Nyloc nuts there is a cycle use on them so be aware: a cycle is one On and Off usage. As it was so long ago when they first came out so I don't remember just what the Nyloc's company had for cycles for sure but think it was somewhere around 10 cycles (give or take) before it's holding power starts to weaken. We usually limited them to 9 cycles as that is what I seem to remember the Fed standard's minimum cycle was before they were to be replaced.

Bolts, washers, etc. are also cycle limited but most people don't know that.

Lee

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raygreenwood
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Re: VW 412 Steering Wobble

Post by raygreenwood » Sat Apr 04, 2020 12:14 am

I hope you do not actually mean a "nylock nut". There are no nylock nuts on the 411/412...and the idler arm should not have one. It used a wave washer and a plate style self locking nut.....NOT the same as a nylock nut. A nylock nut actually creates too much grip by itself on a nut this large. It causes you to under torque the idler arm...and you can see the vertical lift movement...very slight...when this happens.
I have been there with trying a nylock nut. It will always work loose....or make it very hard to remove or tighten the main bolt unless you have the head cross drilled for a holding pin...or remove the idler arm.

The stock plate style lock nut (same type as the 14mm nuts used to hold the struts to the chassis)....also put too much grip and lead to too little actual torque on the idler arm nut.

The idler arm....the part you are working on....has issues as you already know. The bronze bushing fixes about 90% of that. However...the spec for tightening the original nut is too low at 22 ft lb. The way it left the factory...there is a slight gap between the bottom of the ledge on the pin/shaft and where it meets the flat surface opening of the original idler arm bushing. It puts it under tension instead of bottoming out.

This caused the thin tube of the original bushing to wear heavily...even at 22 ft lb.....and thats what lets the idler arm get loose....not the lock nut coming loose. It was wear at the bottom of the bushing tube.

So...now if you have the bronze bushing....when you remove the nut and idler arm and leave the bolt in its bushing....if you see that the step on the bolt is not flush with the flat face on the bronze idler bushing....it is doing the same thing. Its wearing away at the face and making it loose.

I have found it works the best with no added adjustments needed for 10's of thousands of miles....by getting rid of that ledge gap by milling the bronze bushing collar down to an exact fit even with teh step on the idler arm bolt.

I install a castle nut with shims....I can now use about 30 ft lbs of torque. It will not cause excessive tightness....because you are setting the gap exactly with shims set it to get proper movement...then mark the bolt through one of the slots in the castle nut. Remove the bolts and cross drill it. Re-install it with the shim....torque it to 30 ft lbs....and insert a cotter pin. Done.
Major improvement.

I have the whole process in pictures...just have not posted a how to yet. If you need pics just let me know and I can get them up.

Oh....and if you or Bill K did not already rebuild the centerlink...check that. I am pretty sure Bill used the bronze idler bushing. Usually when you feel play....the centerlink can be part of that if it has not be strengthened. They work off of each other. If one is bad...it wears out the other and vica versa. Ray

Ol'fogasaurus
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Re: VW 412 Steering Wobble

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Sat Apr 04, 2020 11:18 am

"...It used a wave washer and a plate style self locking nut.....NOT the same as a nylock nut."

Ray, your post was very interesting. Again, the Nyloc style of locking nut has it's number of "on and off" re-use limitations which is quite low comparatively to the number of times a nut is addressed to on and off. It also isn't a for every use application either. I had never heard the nylon part of the lock giving bad torque reading before but it sounds plausible. "Castellated nuts", even when using the locking pin, also has limitations in use and dimensions.

The wave washer is pretty much a limited use washer and usually used (as you said) for low load/toque applications as it will flatten out quite quickly from either re-use applications or being clamped in place to long... pretty much the same with the heavier duty use split washer.

Lee

gearheadgreg
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Re: VW 412 Steering Wobble

Post by gearheadgreg » Sat Apr 04, 2020 11:32 am

Did you also read that I used some medium loctite?
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raygreenwood
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Re: VW 412 Steering Wobble

Post by raygreenwood » Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:29 pm

Ol'fogasaurus wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 11:18 am
"...It used a wave washer and a plate style self locking nut.....NOT the same as a nylock nut."

Ray, your post was very interesting. Again, the Nyloc style of locking nut has it's number of "on and off" re-use limitations which is quite low comparatively to the number of times a nut is addressed to on and off. It also isn't a for every use application either. I had never heard the nylon part of the lock giving bad torque reading before but it sounds plausible. "Castellated nuts", even when using the locking pin, also has limitations in use and dimensions.

The wave washer is pretty much a limited use washer and usually used (as you said) for low load/toque applications as it will flatten out quite quickly from either re-use applications or being clamped in place to long... pretty much the same with the heavier duty use split washer.

Lee
Yes!.....everything you noted is correct!.....and also why I got rid of ANY type of self locking nut from this assembly.
Back when I worked all of this out.....the idler arm ....and especially its crappy stock bushing drove me crazy.
I was driving my 412 daily....long distances just in the Atlanta and Dallas/Fort worth metroplexes.....which means my daily trips could range from nearly Gainesville in the North, to Desoto in the South to Fort Worth in the west...averaged about 200 miles a day every day. Mid week or evwry other week trips to Houston, Austin, Tulsa or Baton Rouge......well you get the drift. I drove about 3000 to 5000 miles a month in the 412.

The damn idler nut was about once a month tightening. The rear brakes were adjusted every 10 days to 2 weeks. Oil change once a month average. The fact that the roads sucked did not help. I worked on the car a lot.....every weekemd. A combination of regular maintenance and experiemntation for improvement.

I had to figure out what to do with the damn idler arm getting loose. New plate style lock nut from the dealer ($8).....did not help. An actual nylock nut....was actually worse.

Using an inch pound toruqe wrench from work and marking the nut with sharpy for visual....I got about 30 inch pounds (2.5 ft lbs) just to turn on the threads with the stock nut....and about 45 inch pounds (3.75 ft lbs) on the nylock nut. While that does not seem like much.....when your total amount of ft lbs is only 22.....thats significantly loose.

What happens.....is that you can feel the "wobble" start on a long highway drive....pull over at a reat stop and grab the torque wrench out of the trunk and retorque it. Next day....it's loose again. So you end up taking it to 30-35 ft lbs.....and the problem goes away for a week or so.....but when it comes back.....it now has noticable slack between the bottom of the bushing tube and the arm.

This was the tube "crushing"/ grinding down and/or wearing on the arm face. I found in these cases...the nut itself....because I marked it....had not come loose.

So....this crappy thin wall bushing tube turns out to be the 2nd of the two flaws....in the or8ginally defective design of the 411/412/super beetle idler arm bushing. This was before I ever figured out that the last two years of super beetle had fixed all of this by going to a bronze idler bushing.

The original bushing was both too soft....poor control....wore out its own rubber and the cneterl8nk bushings very quickly.....and it had the thin wall fast wearing bushing tube.

The only thing the bronze idler bushing did not fix is the gap between the step on the bolt and the face on the arm.....and....I only found out two years ago that there are two part numbers of bronze bushing....one with a shorter face that fixes this.

I got rid of the self locking washer and wave washer assembly may years ago. I went to a steel arbor shim that I file/sand to correct thickness to give me correct 30 ft lbs torque.....when the cotter pin lines up with the hole.

I went from dicking with the lock nut monthly to not having to adjust more than once in about 20-30k miles. When you do have to adjust....its because a small amount of the bronze....usually about .005"....has worn away. So spend 5 minutes with a file and an arbor shim and reset it. Done.

Ray

Ol'fogasaurus
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Re: VW 412 Steering Wobble

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Sat Apr 04, 2020 2:42 pm

I don't do it mostly because it isn't that often I need to but I found that sometimes using a jam nut works well when holding a low torque nut in place.

You set the first nut to proper torque then jam/lock it in place with the thinner jam nut. It's one of those things where once the proper torque is done you have to be careful when setting the jam nut that you don't move anything and change the torque when it's setting is real important.

Fun subject to talk about.

Lee

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raygreenwood
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Re: VW 412 Steering Wobble

Post by raygreenwood » Sat Apr 04, 2020 7:41 pm

Yes!.....I always thought,that a jamb nut could actually work very well in this application if you can find both a primary and jamb nut thin enough.

Greg.....yep....saw that. Loctite will help and should do fine. You will also find that hitting about 30 ft lbs is better as well.
Ray

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Re: VW 412 Steering Wobble

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Sat Apr 04, 2020 9:25 pm

raygreenwood wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 7:41 pm
Yes!.....I always thought,that a jamb nut could actually work very well in this application if you can find both a primary and jamb nut thin enough.

Greg.....yep....saw that. Loctite will help and should do fine. You will also find that hitting about 30 ft lbs is better as well.
Ray
Right hand thread thinner jam nuts are easier to find at some hardware stores and especially at fastener stores. It is the left hand ones that are harder to find other than the normal thickness left hand thread nuts and that is due to the random need for them. It is the low amounts of calls for them then add the inventory taxes of stocking them (I asked the question directly at my fastener store and this is the answer I got) is the reason.

Loctite style of thread lockers I usually don't use as it can be a hit or miss with solutions like that. A lot of people like it but that becomes a personal use experience that determines that. I was not allowed to design to their use.

Lee

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raygreenwood
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Re: VW 412 Steering Wobble

Post by raygreenwood » Sun Apr 05, 2020 11:59 am

Ol'fogasaurus wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 9:25 pm
raygreenwood wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 7:41 pm
Yes!.....I always thought,that a jamb nut could actually work very well in this application if you can find both a primary and jamb nut thin enough.

Greg.....yep....saw that. Loctite will help and should do fine. You will also find that hitting about 30 ft lbs is better as well.
Ray
Right hand thread thinner jam nuts are easier to find at some hardware stores and especially at fastener stores. It is the left hand ones that are harder to find other than the normal thickness left hand thread nuts and that is due to the random need for them. It is the low amounts of calls for them then add the inventory taxes of stocking them (I asked the question directly at my fastener store and this is the answer I got) is the reason.

Loctite style of thread lockers I usually don't use as it can be a hit or miss with solutions like that. A lot of people like it but that becomes a personal use experience that determines that. I was not allowed to design to their use.

Lee
Yes...agree. My comment was meant to convey...that yes....Loctite WILL keep this nut from loosening ...IF that is the actual problem (the nut loosening).
However...if its a bushing issue or wear issue....the Loctite becomes an issue. Unless you have drilled a hole in the upper bolt head to allow putting a pin or allen key through it to hold the bolt still while you crack loose the nut....or make a specialty tool like Lars did in the thread below (great little tool)...you can see them both there....then you will have a frustrating time getting the nut off...and will usually have to remove the three bolts that hold the bracket in place.

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewt ... =idler+arm

I try not to use Loctite or thread locking compounds unless they are absolutely required. A lot of thread lockers are used on equipment in my industry. Too many times....its used without thought to regular maintenance. In too many cases a torch or excessive force has to be used which damages other items. In some of these cases....but not all... a better joint or fastener design could have been used.

Ray

Ol'fogasaurus
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Re: VW 412 Steering Wobble

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Sun Apr 05, 2020 1:16 pm

Ray, a very well stated and informed post. Thanks!

Lee

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raygreenwood
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Re: VW 412 Steering Wobble

Post by raygreenwood » Sun Apr 05, 2020 10:10 pm

gearheadgreg wrote:
Fri Mar 27, 2020 8:55 pm
So I haven't driven Bill K's 412 that long, but enough to be impressed with the huge amount of work and upgrades that were done.

I did run into a wobble that felt like it was coming from the right front. I suspected the custom wheel bearing inserts, but once up in the air, I bolted on a buddy bar to be able to stress the steering and see what was moving. Had to drill a new hole in the bar, but still.

Quickly told me it was the relay steering box - the passive one on the passenger side. The steering arm Was not 100% tightened down anymore. I know he's driven it hard and for many miles, so just a heads up.

The nut was a nylock, as it should be. There wasn't a washer, so I added a dished washer to help lock and spread the load, and a dab of medium loctite to be sure. After that, there was no play at all. I also greased the custom delrin control arm bushings that had zerks and the ball joints at the bottom of the struts. More work soon.

I should be able to do the clutch slave cylinder and see about fitting the IDF manifolds and ITBs this weekend.

Greg...let me know when you get to to the clutch slave. Is this the late 44.5mm FAG slave or the early smaller slave?

About 5 months ago I was about to rebuild 10 of them. I have a source for a serviceable EPDM seal....just have to order too many. I was about to nickel plate the 10 I have back to factory spec after honing clean (which would make them last forever)...and cast a new high temp silicone boot....and sell them off at cost just so I have spares.

However....I have too many other parts that REALLY need electroless nickel to waste on these. They would still be roughly the same cylinder so not ideal by any means.

I have found that the slave cylinder from my 2012 Golf....would work no problem with a simple adapter plate and a modified pushrod. These run about $65 to $95-ish and ran on mk 4 through probably the current mk7. I got 120k miles from mine on my Golf. You can get them anywhere.

I have to calibrate the throw of the stock cylinder and set the shim for these. Its one of my back burner projects but if you need the data I can move it up front. I figure $10 worth of metal and studs and about an hour on a drill press ...and you can have an easily replaceable slave cylinder with a modern bayonet style fitting. Let me know if you need the info and pattern for the adapter plate.

The smaller slave diameter would also REALLY improve pedal feel. Ray

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Re: VW 412 Steering Wobble

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Tue Apr 07, 2020 6:56 pm

Ray, there is another thing that just popped into my head that I hadn't thought about in a very long time. Some bolts and studs are not measured by torque but by stretch. You put the fastener in place then the nut and washer on the tighten things up but there is a measuring device sitting on top of the end of the bolt. When you get to a certain length (change) you have set the torque correctly. You see this often in head studs but I remember them being measured this in similar ways.

Just to keep info up-to-date.

Lee

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raygreenwood
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Re: VW 412 Steering Wobble

Post by raygreenwood » Thu Apr 09, 2020 12:02 am

Yep...the ARP bolts I use on rods are this way.
Ray

gearheadgreg
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Re: VW 412 Steering Wobble

Post by gearheadgreg » Mon Apr 20, 2020 12:38 pm

raygreenwood wrote:
Sun Apr 05, 2020 10:10 pm

Greg...let me know when you get to to the clutch slave. Is this the late 44.5mm FAG slave or the early smaller slave?

About 5 months ago I was about to rebuild 10 of them. I have a source for a serviceable EPDM seal....just have to order too many. I was about to nickel plate the 10 I have back to factory spec after honing clean (which would make them last forever)...and cast a new high temp silicone boot....and sell them off at cost just so I have spares.

However....I have too many other parts that REALLY need electroless nickel to waste on these. They would still be roughly the same cylinder so not ideal by any means.

I have found that the slave cylinder from my 2012 Golf....would work no problem with a simple adapter plate and a modified pushrod. These run about $65 to $95-ish and ran on mk 4 through probably the current mk7. I got 120k miles from mine on my Golf. You can get them anywhere.

I have to calibrate the throw of the stock cylinder and set the shim for these. Its one of my back burner projects but if you need the data I can move it up front. I figure $10 worth of metal and studs and about an hour on a drill press ...and you can have an easily replaceable slave cylinder with a modern bayonet style fitting. Let me know if you need the info and pattern for the adapter plate.

The smaller slave diameter would also REALLY improve pedal feel. Ray

I missed this from you, Ray. I've already got the cylinder. It's an NOS large unit, which I know will be hit or miss because of the age of the seals.

If it doesn't work or last, I'd love that adapter plate info for the later Golf one.
Dealer for Alloy Wheels & Period H4s and Fog/Driving Lights

http://www.greggearhead.com

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