Something hitting the belly pan

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vwlover77
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Location: North Canton, Ohio
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Something hitting the belly pan

Post by vwlover77 » Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:35 pm

This is kinda weird.... Packed up the Bus with gear and two friends to camp in Kentucky last weekend. The Bus ran great for the entire 650 mile trip. On the way home, I dropped off one friend and on the way to the other friend's house, we heard a noise that sounded like something hitting the front belly pan (a single "tink!") when turning a corner or going over a bump. When we got to his driveway, I looked under the Bus and could find nothing amiss. Then, just turning the steering wheel from side to side while stationary caused the noise with each back and forth turn. I drove home alone without further incident and later pulled the belly pan off. I could not find anything amiss. What the heck???
Don

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78 Westy
71 Super Beetle Convertible Autostick

"When we let our compassion go, we let go of whatever claim we have to the divine." - Bruce Springsteen

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Amskeptic
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Re: Something hitting the belly pan

Post by Amskeptic » Tue Sep 17, 2013 7:00 am

vwlover77 wrote:This is kinda weird.... Packed up the Bus with gear and two friends to camp in Kentucky last weekend. The Bus ran great for the entire 650 mile trip. On the way home, I dropped off one friend and on the way to the other friend's house, we heard a noise that sounded like something hitting the front belly pan (a single "tink!") when turning a corner or going over a bump. When we got to his driveway, I looked under the Bus and could find nothing amiss. Then, just turning the steering wheel from side to side while stationary caused the noise with each back and forth turn. I drove home alone without further incident and later pulled the belly pan off. I could not find anything amiss. What the heck???
You can't just look when under the bus . . . you need to load up the steering/suspension components, and you may need to be vigorous in your agitations.

Under vigorous loading, check drag link ball joints, center pin bushings, steering damper, etc.
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . .111,130 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,787 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 94,615 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . 55,510 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 72,990 miles

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vwlover77
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Re: Something hitting the belly pan

Post by vwlover77 » Wed Sep 18, 2013 4:58 am

I'm interpreting your reply to mean that under load, there may be excessive play in one of the components that is allowing the drag link to contact the pan. Is that correct?

Getting a heavy load on the front suspension anytime soon may be difficult. Can I simulate the effect by putting a front tire sidewall parallel to a curb and turning the steering wheel?
Don

---------------------------
78 Westy
71 Super Beetle Convertible Autostick

"When we let our compassion go, we let go of whatever claim we have to the divine." - Bruce Springsteen

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Amskeptic
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Re: Something hitting the belly pan

Post by Amskeptic » Wed Sep 18, 2013 6:59 am

vwlover77 wrote:I'm interpreting your reply to mean that under load, there may be excessive play in one of the components that is allowing the drag link to contact the pan. Is that correct?

Getting a heavy load on the front suspension anytime soon may be difficult. Can I simulate the effect by putting a front tire sidewall parallel to a curb and turning the steering wheel?
Don, I did not say heavy load or sticking the wheel against a curb (not recommended).

I said you need to "vigorously agitate the steering wheel to load the components,"
in response to your statement that you "looked under the car and didn't see anything amiss."

You can ask your kid to play bus driver and that is good enough for you to be under the car while aforementioned components are experiencing "vigorous agitation."

I did not say that the drag link was contacting the belly pan, nor did I suggest that such a thing could occur anywhere in my reply to you, and if it is, you have been in a wreck.

You are fortunate in that the sound occurs when you move the steering wheel from side to side. So get someone to move the steering wheel from side and go under the car and track it down. Easy.
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . .111,130 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,787 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 94,615 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . 55,510 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 72,990 miles

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vwlover77
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Re: Something hitting the belly pan

Post by vwlover77 » Wed Sep 18, 2013 9:02 am

Got it! Ah, but the mystery is that the noise has disappeared while driving, and also while quickly moving the wheel from side to side when stationary. However, I will go under the car and ask my wife to play Bus driver doing a fast slalom course! (We now have an empty nest with both daughters away at college.)
Don

---------------------------
78 Westy
71 Super Beetle Convertible Autostick

"When we let our compassion go, we let go of whatever claim we have to the divine." - Bruce Springsteen

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vwlover77
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Re: Something hitting the belly pan

Post by vwlover77 » Wed Sep 18, 2013 7:16 pm

Well, I enlisted my wife to saw at the wheel like a mad person while I watched and listened under the Bus. Other than a slight noise from the steering box during the transitions from side to side, there was no other sound, certainly not the sound we heard on Sunday evening. All of the moving parts were pivoting smoothly, with nothing clicking or moving in unintended ways. Dunno.... Maybe last Sunday the front edge of the pan got pinched against the sheet metal and "tinked" as the front end moved slightly. I have heard no further noise since then.
Don

---------------------------
78 Westy
71 Super Beetle Convertible Autostick

"When we let our compassion go, we let go of whatever claim we have to the divine." - Bruce Springsteen

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dtrumbo
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Re: Something hitting the belly pan

Post by dtrumbo » Thu Sep 19, 2013 7:46 am

What condition is the front-most bushing on your shifter rod? If the "new" one you installed less than three years ago has already disintegrated, that might make the same noise. Bitter much, Dick? No, not at all. :angryfire:
- Dick

1970 Transporter. 2015cc, dual Weber IDF 40's
1978 Riviera Camper. Bone stock GE 2.0L F.I.
1979 Super Beetle convertible.

... as it turns out, it was the coil!

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Amskeptic
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Re: Something hitting the belly pan

Post by Amskeptic » Thu Sep 19, 2013 3:57 pm

dtrumbo wrote:What condition is the front-most bushing on your shifter rod? If the "new" one you installed less than three years ago has already disintegrated, that might make the same noise. Bitter much, Dick? No, not at all. :angryfire:
Don, is the ride height part of this equation, i.e. two people in the front?
Colin
( Dick, we could blanket this forum and every other technical forum with the list of disintegrating new parts . . . today, my 2 year-old left front window felt snapped due to rust under the fuzz, yesterday, it was exhaust gasket # 1,988 blowing soot into my heater AGAIN, monoxide poisoning AGAIN hell, oil vapor too, from these new skinny valve cover gaskets warping like spaghetti)
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . .111,130 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,787 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 94,615 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . 55,510 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 72,990 miles

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vwlover77
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Location: North Canton, Ohio
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Re: Something hitting the belly pan

Post by vwlover77 » Thu Sep 19, 2013 7:02 pm

Amskeptic wrote:Don, is the ride height part of this equation, i.e. two people in the front?
Colin
I wondered that too... My wife and I were in the front seats this evening for a drive (not as much weight as me and friend on Sunday) but there was no noise.
Don

---------------------------
78 Westy
71 Super Beetle Convertible Autostick

"When we let our compassion go, we let go of whatever claim we have to the divine." - Bruce Springsteen

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sped372
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Re: Something hitting the belly pan

Post by sped372 » Fri Sep 20, 2013 5:20 am

If you are absolutely sure it was the steering, disregard this message. If you may have been actuating the clutch at the same time, you may consider impending clutch cable failure. A strand or two letting go in the cable sound exactly as you have described (went through this earlier this year). Heard a trink from under the front floor, thought what was that? for a few days, and then the whole cable went. Food for thought.
1971 Karmann Ghia - 1600 DP
1984 Westfalia - 1.9 WBX

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