Center Pin Questions

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dtrumbo
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Center Pin Questions

Post by dtrumbo » Fri Feb 06, 2009 7:45 am

So on my '78 Riviera, the steering is sloppy. Colin told me so last summer and now I notice it daily (CURSE YOU COLIN AND YOUR JEDI MIND TRICKS!!!). So digging around in the parts that came with my wife's '70, I find a brand new Meyle (o.k. it's a Meyle and not a Febi) center pin kit. I read this thread, viewtopic.php?t=3164, and figured since I have the part, I might as well put it in and see if my steering improves.

So I jack up the bus and start cleaning everything off and here's what I found.
Image
Image

This doesn't look good, does it? In addition, even though you can't really tell from the pictures, there is no locking tab on the bolt that holds it all together. I assume this is the original part as everything else on it seems original. Did VW not put a locking tab on the bolt? I suppose another plausible answer is someone has replaced this in the past, but didn't do it properly. Yes, this sounds more likely, doesn't it?

Is this possibly the/a cause of my sloppy steering? With the bus up on jackstands, when I grab a front wheel and rock it back and forth, there doesn't seem to be any play at the center pin, but rather in the steering box (clunk, clunk). I guess I'll go ahead and replace the center pin and then come back here for help with adjusting the steering box. Yes, I have a Bentley and will study it thoroughly, but it's nice to include other points of view, from folks who have done it before, when tackling a problem.
- 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: Center Pin Questions

Post by Amskeptic » Fri Feb 06, 2009 9:56 am

dtrumbo wrote:So on my '78 Riviera, the steering is sloppy. This doesn't look good, does it? Did VW not put a locking tab on the bolt?
To determine if the center pin bushings are worn, make sure that the tires are facing straight ahead, have someone wiggle the steering wheel back and forth about two inches in each direction while you look at the inner tie rods bolted through the relay lever. Sight along the belly pan at the middle. You are looking for up-and-down movement of the tie rods.

The late steering boxes develop play as you reach lock in either direction. This is designed-in. But at the exact center of the steering travel, there is supposed to be a light preload. If you have steering box play at the very center of its travel, you can adjust the box.

The factory used a lock plate behind the relay lever clamp bolt. If yours was missing, bushings have likely been replaced. The dust boot can either get pushed out as seen in your pictures by overly enthusiastic greasing or incorrect assembly.
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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dtrumbo
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Post by dtrumbo » Fri Feb 06, 2009 10:28 am

Thanks Colin. The fact that the lock plate is missing means I'll be replacing the bushings and pin, if for no other reason than to know that it is assembled correctly. Once that's done, there better not be any tie-rod up-down as the bushings will be brand new.

After that, I'll adjust the steering box per Bentley's instructions.

Thank you again.
- 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!

bus71
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Post by bus71 » Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:42 pm

If the bushings are good, I would leave them and just use the lockplate from the new kit. I have had new bushings wear out in 6000 miles. Just something to think about. :bounce:

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Amskeptic
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Post by Amskeptic » Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:02 pm

bus71 wrote:If the bushings are good, I would leave them and just use the lockplate from the new kit. I have had new bushings wear out in 6000 miles. Just something to think about. :bounce:
Heck yeah, I was disgusted to replace my OEM VW kit with 100,000 miles on it for a looser yet Meyle kit.
Colin
(p.s. the Bentley adjustment procedure is way too involved . . . there is a better way that does not require removing the drag link and steering wheel and using an inch/pound torque gauge)
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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dtrumbo
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Post by dtrumbo » Fri Feb 06, 2009 5:31 pm

Amskeptic wrote:
bus71 wrote:If the bushings are good, I would leave them and just use the lockplate from the new kit. I have had new bushings wear out in 6000 miles. Just something to think about. :bounce:
Heck yeah, I was disgusted to replace my OEM VW kit with 100,000 miles on it for a looser yet Meyle kit.
Colin
(p.s. the Bentley adjustment procedure is way too involved . . . there is a better way that does not require removing the drag link and steering wheel and using an inch/pound torque gauge)
Good thoughts. I think we know that the bushings must have been changed at some point, otherwise the lock plate would still be on the bolt. Since we know they aren't the original VW bushings, I won't be sacrificing those. The cap and associated washers and seals on top of the beam, under the relay lever look pretty shot so I think I'll do the whole thing which will be excellent practice for if/when the Meyle kit wears out and I have to do them again.

After this is done, I'll be back to get the simplified steering box adjustment procedure.
- 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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dtrumbo
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Post by dtrumbo » Tue Feb 10, 2009 7:31 am

It's not going well...

Driving the lower bushing upwards was easy enough until it contacted the upper bushing. The upper bushing WILL NOT BUDGE! I have used a hammer, a bigger hammer, an even bigger hammer all with no luck. I have used a floor jack to try and press upwards and all that happens is the front of the bus lifts up off of the jack stands. I've used a c-clamp with a socket on the bottom of the beam trying to press the upper bushing downward, still with no luck.

I thought of using a gear puller, but mine isn't long enough to get a bite. Even if it were, I think the angle it would be at to get around the 'bump' on the beam would prevent it from working.

Out of the corner of my eye, I've glanced at my little propane torch that I use for plumbing. Would heating it help? Will the grease that's still in there catch fire and burn my shop with my bus, beetle and all of my wife's prized Christmas ornaments to the ground?

Shall I re-assemble it so that it's steerable to get it on a trailer so I can take it to a shop where I can hang my head in defeat and piss money away like every other time I've had someone besides me work on my VW's?

Sorry for the borderline-psychotic ramblings, but it's been a frustrating morning.:banghead:

Suggestions, condolences? Go!
- 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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hambone
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Post by hambone » Tue Feb 10, 2009 8:23 am

I'll betcha some carefully applied heat to the area would do the trick.
http://greencascadia.blogspot.com
http://pdxvolksfolks.blogspot.com
it balances on your head just like a mattress balances on a bottle of wine
your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat

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Amskeptic
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Post by Amskeptic » Tue Feb 10, 2009 10:58 am

dtrumbo wrote:The upper bushing WILL NOT BUDGE!
That is not possible. They are cheap bronze/aluminum bushings. Is it possible that your driver has cut into the bore of the tube and is gouging into the steel? Did you remove the grease nipple?
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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dtrumbo
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Post by dtrumbo » Tue Feb 10, 2009 11:19 am

Amskeptic wrote:
dtrumbo wrote:The upper bushing WILL NOT BUDGE!
That is not possible.
Is too! I've got the bus that can't be driven to prove it!

Amskeptic wrote:They are cheap bronze/aluminum bushings. Is it possible that your driver has cut into the bore of the tube and is gouging into the steel?
Nope, I used the driver made from the old pin as you described and I also have tried a spark plug socket which fits perfectly as well. Once the lower bushing contacted the upper bushing, all movement stopped.

Amskeptic wrote:Did you remove the grease nipple?
Yes, the lower bushing is now obscuring the hole and is almost past it.


So if they're cheap bronze/aluminum bushings, I would think heat, applied carefully, would cause the two different metals to expand differently and hopefully break loose from each other? What am I missing besides my mind?
- 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!

bus71
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Post by bus71 » Tue Feb 10, 2009 11:34 am

You could use a hack saw to slice the bushings on the vertical, this should loosen them up. Don't cut too deep. The tie rods, etc. are clear of the hole? Good luck! Someone could have used the earlier solid bronze bushings?

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Ritter
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Post by Ritter » Tue Feb 10, 2009 11:53 am

I can only offer condolences!

I chickened out on changing my bushings for this very reason when I did the center pin several years ago (it was my very first mechanical experience).

Perhaps a day of rest will bring new vigor and accuracy to the hammer blows?
1978 Westfalia 2.0 FI

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hambone
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Post by hambone » Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:04 pm

Does one have to ream out the dia. of the bearing to get the pin to fit, like on splits? That's a pain too. My first big mechanic-job and it almost stumped me.
http://greencascadia.blogspot.com
http://pdxvolksfolks.blogspot.com
it balances on your head just like a mattress balances on a bottle of wine
your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat

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Post by bus71 » Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:09 pm

No reaming on the later ones. This made me very happy at the time! :profileleft:

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dtrumbo
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Post by dtrumbo » Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:41 pm

bus71 wrote:You could use a hack saw to slice the bushings on the vertical, this should loosen them up. Don't cut too deep.
Excellent suggestion. I have one of those handles that holds a hack saw blade for just such an application.
bus71 wrote:The tie rods, etc. are clear of the hole? Good luck! Someone could have used the earlier solid bronze bushings?
Yes, the relay arm is clear. The pin was original VW (it had the stamp to prove it, I'll post pics sometime later). At one point, I thought the bushings had been replaced due to the fact that the locking tab on the bolt was missing. Now I'm not ruling anything out. It is possible that these bushings are original as well. No matter, they're comin' out one way or the other.

Thanks for the suggestion, I'll give it a try in the morning (if I wake up early enough!) and report back.
- 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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