Wind Driving

Moderators: Amskeptic, Sluggo

mattg
Old School!
Location: Elburn,IL
Status: Offline

Wind Driving

Post by mattg » Thu May 07, 2009 3:36 pm

As I was driving home this afternoon I was trailing a thunderstorm that was throwing some variable winds at me. I was all over the road. It wasn't one of those winds that was consistent in one direction. It was really interesting when I was behind a semi as the wind seemed to throw me left, then when I thought I had it figured out the wind threw me right. I know that these boxes on wheels do not fare well in the wind. In the 8 years that I have owned the bus I have put new shocks on and also put on the properly rated tires. What else can I do? I wonder how worn the steering components are after 32 years. Thanks for your input.
I'm all out of ideas and I've tried nothing.

77 Westy 2.0 FI

User avatar
covelo
Old School!
Location: Fairfax, CA
Status: Offline

Post by covelo » Thu May 07, 2009 4:15 pm

To some of you I probably sound like a broken record but I recommend Konis. Ours were severely tested in a huge windstorm on US 395 near Death Valley a couple of years ago (one of those storms where the CHP make semis and RVs get off the road) and I maintained 55 mph without touching any paint. (We also have Big O truck tires, but our bus' handling improved dramatically when we switched from KYBs to Konis). As far as I know my steering is all original.
‘80 Vanagon Westfalia - 54,400 miles
'91 Toyota Pickup (4WD long bed) - 199,960 miles
1987 Alfa Spider Veloce - 166,400 miles
2017 VW E-Golf - 5,600 miles

User avatar
RSorak 71Westy
IAC Addict!
Location: Memphis, TN
Contact:
Status: Offline

Post by RSorak 71Westy » Thu May 07, 2009 8:04 pm

I too swear that Koni's make my bus handle the best it can...it truly does drive and handle amazingly well. But the wind is the only thing that can and will upset it's wonderfulness. It takes a strong wind. My steering has no play.

Personally I don't think anything will make a bus NOT react to strong winds.
Take care,
Rick
Stock 1600 w/dual Solex 34's and header. mildly ported heads and EMPI elephant's feet. SVDA W/pertronix. 73 Thing has been sold. BTW I am a pro wrench have been fixing cars for living for over 30 yrs.

User avatar
Amskeptic
IAC "Help Desk"
IAC "Help Desk"
Status: Offline

Post by Amskeptic » Thu May 07, 2009 9:04 pm

RSorak 71Westy wrote:I too swear that Koni's make my bus handle the best it can...it truly does drive and handle amazingly well. But the wind is the only thing that can and will upset it's wonderfulness. It takes a strong wind. My steering has no play.

Personally I don't think anything will make a bus NOT react to strong winds.
I can't jump on the Koni bandwagon as a cure for wind wander. I invite anyone not to crash my bus with Konis on it. I have ball joints that are stiff, a new Meyle center pin kit that is loose, and I need to get back and readjust my toe on the rear axle.

I would first ask of anyone complaining of bad handling, have you had any suspension upgrades recently? Are your rear tire pressures 10 lbs higher than the front if you have 44+ psi rating? Do your front tires have a rough feel when you pull your hand across towards you and a smooth feel when you push towards the center of the car?
I had perfectly acceptable KYB GasAdjust shocks that I discarded for the Konis. When I first had issues with my ball joints, I was originally adjusting the Konis all over the place trying to get my chassis settled, and there was nothing that could fixi t, not firm not soft in any of the permutations I tried.

The single most diabolical thing you can do to ruin bus handling in wind is to have rear axle out of alignment. Can you say. . . Rear Wheel Steering?
Pure Evil.
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . .111,130 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,787 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 93,996 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . 55,510 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 72,113 miles

User avatar
chitwnvw
Resident Troublemaker
Location: Chicago.
Status: Offline

Post by chitwnvw » Fri May 22, 2009 9:26 pm

Amskeptic wrote:
The single most diabolical thing you can do to ruin bus handling in wind is to have rear axle out of alignment. Can you say. . . Rear Wheel Steering?
Pure Evil.
Colin
You don't think it's the ball joints? And perhaps tie rods? My '73 suffers as yours does. Suck in the wind.

User avatar
Hippie
IAC Addict!
Location: 41º 35' 27" N, 93º 37' 15" W
Status: Offline

Post by Hippie » Sat May 23, 2009 6:27 am

It's gusty like that maybe 3 out of 5 days in Iowa except in July and August. I try to carry as much gear as I can close to the front of the Bus to help cancel the rear weight bias these Buses have. That seems to help a little.
Reasoning is because, as everyone knows, a rear weigh bias makes the aerodynamics more and more like an arrow thrown backwards with the fletching in front. It tends to rotate around it's center of gravity when in motion, and this puts a lot of air pressure area along the sides in front of the center of gravity. = A lot of force against the front steering/tires.
My 2c.

User avatar
hambone
Post-Industrial Non-Secular Mennonite
Location: Portland, Ore.
Status: Offline

Post by hambone » Tue May 26, 2009 7:52 am

KYBs are fine, even in high desert sideways winds.
Properly rated LT tires are crucial though.
Buses do tend to blow around a lot in storms though.
Go over your front end with a fine toothed comb. Check for tie rod looseness, worn parts, clunking when wheel turned etc.
Have you checked your steering box for fluid and adjustment?
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

User avatar
Amskeptic
IAC "Help Desk"
IAC "Help Desk"
Status: Offline

Post by Amskeptic » Tue May 26, 2009 9:34 am

hambone wrote:KYBs are fine, even in high desert sideways winds.
Properly rated LT tires are crucial though.
Buses do tend to blow around a lot in storms though.
Go over your front end with a fine toothed comb. Check for tie rod looseness, worn parts, clunking when wheel turned etc.
Have you checked your steering box for fluid and adjustment?
My bus was perfectly intuitively excellent with crap for tires for decades, Firestones/Winstons, yucko. What made it easy to drive was the natural self-centering of the OEM front axle and a beautiful tracking of the rear axle, since mangled beyond recourse.
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . .111,130 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,787 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 93,996 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . 55,510 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 72,113 miles

User avatar
hambone
Post-Industrial Non-Secular Mennonite
Location: Portland, Ore.
Status: Offline

Post by hambone » Tue May 26, 2009 9:40 am

Maybe it's different with a camper? I'll betcha the early bays are heavier anyway. Maybe it's those hubcaps.
When I had car tires it blew all over the road. LT's fixed it.
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

mattg
Old School!
Location: Elburn,IL
Status: Offline

Post by mattg » Tue May 26, 2009 11:39 am

I checked over the front end and found 2 things - the right ball joint boot was cracked and all of the grease was leaking out and the steering dampener had leaked all of the oil out and was not working properly. I plan on fixing these 2 things and seeing where it goes from there. The camper is a little taller - perhaps that has some effect.
I'm all out of ideas and I've tried nothing.

77 Westy 2.0 FI

User avatar
covelo
Old School!
Location: Fairfax, CA
Status: Offline

Post by covelo » Tue May 26, 2009 12:58 pm

I think you may be better off overcompensating for slightly worn front suspension parts with the best tires and shocks, rather than replacing those worn parts with after-market stuff that compromises the essential quality of the original suspension.

Fortunately, here in California we don't have to battle the wind much, but whenever I do I feel very comfortable that the bus can handle it. I also like to give in to the wind a little rather than fighting it hard the whole time. That's something they taught us in my motorcycle safety class.
‘80 Vanagon Westfalia - 54,400 miles
'91 Toyota Pickup (4WD long bed) - 199,960 miles
1987 Alfa Spider Veloce - 166,400 miles
2017 VW E-Golf - 5,600 miles

User avatar
RSorak 71Westy
IAC Addict!
Location: Memphis, TN
Contact:
Status: Offline

Post by RSorak 71Westy » Tue May 26, 2009 5:39 pm

Ah you will like having a working dampner.....I believe this is the source of your problem.
Take care,
Rick
Stock 1600 w/dual Solex 34's and header. mildly ported heads and EMPI elephant's feet. SVDA W/pertronix. 73 Thing has been sold. BTW I am a pro wrench have been fixing cars for living for over 30 yrs.

User avatar
BellePlaine
IAC Addict!
Location: Minnesota
Status: Offline

Post by BellePlaine » Mon Sep 21, 2009 7:21 am

This Spring I refreshed my suspension with new KYB Gas-A-Just in the rear, GR2's in the front, and a new steering dampener. And new Hankooks all around. The ride was pretty good but now that I've replaced the steering coupler I am now no longer afraid of being blown off the highway. I just wanted to share and remind everyone to check those steering couplers!
1975 Riviera we call "Spider-Man"

User avatar
Manfred
Old School!
Location: Chicago
Status: Offline

Post by Manfred » Mon Sep 21, 2009 7:44 am

I replaced my steering damper, new shocks, new tires, and Betty loves the highway. I'm also planning on replacing the center pin.


Oh and I installed a heavy duty sway bar because I got it for free. I know I'm going to be blasted, but I do like having it on there. On and off ramps aren't so scary. When I'm passing a semi, I don't feel like I'm going to get sucked into it.
1978 Westy FI
hambone wrote:Some times ya gotta wing it.

User avatar
Ritter
IAC Addict!
Location: Sonoma County, CA
Status: Offline

Post by Ritter » Mon Sep 21, 2009 6:45 pm

BellePlaine wrote:This Spring I refreshed my suspension with new KYB Gas-A-Just in the rear, GR2's in the front, and a new steering dampener. And new Hankooks all around. The ride was pretty good but now that I've replaced the steering coupler I am now no longer afraid of being blown off the highway. I just wanted to share and remind everyone to check those steering couplers!
I'm running the same setup--vastly improved over the dead shocks and rotting passenger tires it came with! Haven't gotten to the coupler yet as I need an extra set of hands. It's mighty high up on the list though as the existing one is looking kind of tired. :cyclopsani:
1978 Westfalia 2.0 FI

Post Reply