1971 Squareback-drives at an angle

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whc03grady
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1971 Squareback-drives at an angle

Post by whc03grady » Sun Dec 13, 2009 9:51 pm

So I never noticed it before, but we were driving today and a guy in a tall pickup pulls up to us and says, "Yer car's goin' down the road sideways." I thought, "WTF?" but Melissa said she's noticed it before, when she was driving behind me in Ludwig ('74 Westy). Apparently it's more apparent from higher up. She mentioned it in the past but my mind must be prone to blacking out what I don't want to hear.
Anyway, I had her drive straight away from me in a parking lot and sure enough, Gertie drives with a small but noticeable lilt to the driver's side; like an airplane crabbing in the wind. I know this is normal behavior for Chevy Novas, but....
What does this mean? Bent pan? Bent frame head? The car feels normal enough, I thought. We're slowly fixing her up but a pan-off resto, if necessary, is probably out of our fiscal league.
Ludwig--1974 Westfalia, 2.0L (GD035193), Solex 34PDSIT-2/3 carburetors.
Gertie--1971 Squareback, 1600cc with Bosch D-Jetronic fuel injection from a '72 (E brain).
Read about their adventures:
http://www.ludwigandgertie.blogspot.com

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Amskeptic
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Re: 1971 Squareback-drives at an angle

Post by Amskeptic » Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:32 pm

whc03grady wrote:So I never noticed it before, but we were driving today and a guy in a tall pickup pulls up to us and says, "Yer car's goin' down the road sideways." I thought, "WTF?" but Melissa said she's noticed it before, when she was driving behind me in Ludwig ('74 Westy). Apparently it's more apparent from higher up. She mentioned it in the past but my mind must be prone to blacking out what I don't want to hear.
Anyway, I had her drive straight away from me in a parking lot and sure enough, Gertie drives with a small but noticeable lilt to the driver's side; like an airplane crabbing in the wind. I know this is normal behavior for Chevy Novas, but....
What does this mean? Bent pan? Bent frame head? The car feels normal enough, I thought. We're slowly fixing her up but a pan-off resto, if necessary, is probably out of our fiscal league.
An alignment shop may be able to help you narrow down which end of the car is responsible. Both the axles are rubber mounted. You may be able to loosen and shift. We need to know which wheel is giving you which thrust angle.
Colin

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whc03grady
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Re: 1971 Squareback-drives at an angle

Post by whc03grady » Wed Dec 30, 2009 3:18 pm

Amskeptic wrote:We need to know which wheel is giving you which thrust angle.
Colin
Toe
Front, left = 0.35*
Front, right = 0.24*
(spec for front = 0.21* to 0.46*)

Rear, left = -0.23*
Rear, right = -0.73*
(spec for rear = -0.13* to 0.13*)
Total toe [?], rear = -0.96* (spec = -0.25* to 0.25*)
Thrust angle, rear = 0.25* (I assume this is 0.25* clockwise, and is the source of the irregular driving angle?)

Which gives us something like this, right? (angles grossly exaggerated):

| f |
\ /

The alignment guy, he says to me, "It's aligned. Taking care of that right rear means adjustments at the trailing arm, but most times you end up making it worse than it was and it takes forever or longer to get it back right or close to right. It's out of spec but not terrible, probably not enough to cause much weird tire wear, so my advice is to leave it alone."

Do we like this advice? My gut says this is okay for now but it's not gonna be left alone forever. I think I'll take a look at the Bentley.
Ludwig--1974 Westfalia, 2.0L (GD035193), Solex 34PDSIT-2/3 carburetors.
Gertie--1971 Squareback, 1600cc with Bosch D-Jetronic fuel injection from a '72 (E brain).
Read about their adventures:
http://www.ludwigandgertie.blogspot.com

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sgkent
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Post by sgkent » Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:20 pm

no one likes to work on the rear suspension because they don't understand them or like them - and they can't make money at $79.95 an alignment so they lie. They can be fixed if the guy has the time and the car is not accident damaged. Most VWs have old rubber bushings in them and it can cause things to shift a little. The best solution is always to replace all the old rubber bushings but only if you can find good quality pieces to put back in, and someone to do it right. Sometimes the numbers come back to normal with new bushings.
Thank You -

Merlin The Wrench

Machine Work/Shop Recommendations: http://kentcomputer.com/77VW/machinework.pdf

Pointers on rebuilding an engine: http://kentcomputer.com/77VW/rebuilding_a_vw_engine.pdf

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whc03grady
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Post by whc03grady » Sat Jan 09, 2010 8:40 pm

sgkent wrote:....They can be fixed if the guy has the time and the car is not accident damaged.
I have to admit, this car has several signs of having been smacked pretty hard at least once.
My biggest concern with the whole thing is safety. My second biggest is wearing tires out quickly.
Ludwig--1974 Westfalia, 2.0L (GD035193), Solex 34PDSIT-2/3 carburetors.
Gertie--1971 Squareback, 1600cc with Bosch D-Jetronic fuel injection from a '72 (E brain).
Read about their adventures:
http://www.ludwigandgertie.blogspot.com

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Bookwus
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Post by Bookwus » Sat Jan 09, 2010 9:10 pm

Hiya whc
sgkent wrote:.....no one likes to work on the rear suspension because they don't understand them or like them - and they can't make money at $79.95 an alignment so they lie.....
Oh ditto! Definitely ditto.

I had my Bug in for a tie rod replacement and alignment. The tech says, "Your rear end needs work too". I told him to mind his own business before I realized that he was talking about the Bug. He said that the main problem with adjusting the rear end was loosening the nuts on a 40 year old car. He also mentioned that most shops did not want to mess with that sort of thing.
I have cancer.

It does not have me.

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Amskeptic
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Re: 1971 Squareback-drives at an angle

Post by Amskeptic » Sat Jan 09, 2010 11:33 pm

whc03grady wrote:
Amskeptic wrote:We need to know which wheel is giving you which thrust angle.
Colin
Toe
Front, left = 0.35*
Front, right = 0.24*
(spec for front = 0.21* to 0.46*)

Rear, left = -0.23*
Rear, right = -0.73*
(spec for rear = -0.13* to 0.13*)
Total toe [?], rear = -0.96* (spec = -0.25* to 0.25*)
Thrust angle, rear = 0.25* (I assume this is 0.25* clockwise, and is the source of the irregular driving angle?)

Which gives us something like this, right? (angles grossly exaggerated):

| f |
\ /

The alignment guy, he says to me, "It's aligned. Taking care of that right rear means adjustments at the trailing arm, but most times you end up making it worse than it was and it takes forever or longer to get it back right or close to right. It's out of spec but not terrible, probably not enough to cause much weird tire wear, so my advice is to leave it alone."

Do we like this advice? My gut says this is okay for now but it's not gonna be left alone forever. I think I'll take a look at the Bentley.
Where are the camber readings?

You can raise the right side of the car only as far as the spring plate hitting the bottom stop but no further. Scribe the edge where the wheel bearing housing meets the spring plate. Make a mark 1/4" forward of this line top and bottom. Be sure to eat your Wheaties. Loosen the diagonal arm/wheel hub bolts on the spring plate and tap the diagonal arm and wheel bearing housing forward 1/4". Retighten. No biggadeal.

The numbers above do *not* seem to answer the crab walk you have described.

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whc03grady
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Re: 1971 Squareback-drives at an angle

Post by whc03grady » Sun Jan 10, 2010 8:35 am

Amskeptic wrote:Where are the camber readings?
For the record (all numbers in degrees, *indicates out of spec):
Front Left
Camber 0.4*
Caster 4.8*
Toe 0.35

Front Right
Camber 0.2*
Caster 5.5*
Toe 0.24

Front
Cross Camber 0.2
Cross Caster -0.7
Total Toe 0.59

Rear Left
Camber -0.15
Toe -0.23*

Rear Right
Camber 0.0*
Toe -0.73*

Rear
Total Toe -0.96*
Thrust Angle 0.25
Ludwig--1974 Westfalia, 2.0L (GD035193), Solex 34PDSIT-2/3 carburetors.
Gertie--1971 Squareback, 1600cc with Bosch D-Jetronic fuel injection from a '72 (E brain).
Read about their adventures:
http://www.ludwigandgertie.blogspot.com

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Amskeptic
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Re: 1971 Squareback-drives at an angle

Post by Amskeptic » Sat Jan 23, 2010 10:13 pm

whc03grady wrote:
Amskeptic wrote:Where are the camber readings?
For the record (all numbers in degrees, *indicates out of spec):
Front Left
Camber 0.4*
Caster 4.8*
Toe 0.35

Front Right
Camber 0.2*
Caster 5.5*
Toe 0.24

Front
Cross Camber 0.2
Cross Caster -0.7
Total Toe 0.59

Rear Left
Camber -0.15
Toe -0.23*

Rear Right
Camber 0.0*
Toe -0.73*

Rear
Total Toe -0.96*
Thrust Angle 0.25
These numbers just don't add up to a car crabbing down the road!
How does the tire wear look? How does it drive? Maybe it is just the body so banged up twisted that it looks like a collapsed pick up truck bed where you think "dang he got a busted spring"
Colin :scratch:
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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