'76 bus steering slop

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jmstu76
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'76 bus steering slop

Post by jmstu76 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 8:04 am

Ok guys and gals,
I haven't really posted my own topic on this forum yet and I don't really know how to start it. I'm sure if I could get my crap together and schedule an IAC visit, then it could all be worked out in a day.

Hi, my name is James, I have a '76 westy, and I have a problem with it's steering.

Everyone says "HI James" collectively.

Ok, down to business,

I also frequent the other forum and I am having what is best described in a thread created by SGKent.

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewto ... t=steering

I have 2 to 3 inches of play between large movements in the tires. Basically, going straight down the road, I can move my steering wheel 2 to 3 inches while staying in my lane.

I have know popping or clunking. Many new parts underneath in the front end.

I have bought and installed a TRW box from Bus boys with no change. My drag link is new, my tie rods are new, my ball joints are new and I don't see any up/down movement on my center pin. My rubber "hockey puck" coupler is new with the box. I kept my German H box and know where another one is for free off of a '78 bus. I have adjusted both boxes with the small slotted adjustment screw on the side of the box until there is a light drag, yet I still don't have tight steering, not even mediocre steering. I know it can be better than what it is! One concern is that in my haste, neither box was Truly centered, that is when going straight down the road, the box is not at the center point where I hear it is tightest. Could this be my problem? My other question is how hard was it to rebuild the H boxes and how hard are the bearing and seals to find? Does anyone have a parts list put together of PNs and suppliers from where you purchased all the parts to rebuild your box?

I forgot to mention I have a new steering stabilizer as well.

Any help is greatly appreciated,

James
James
1976 2.0L FI with Hydraulic lifters

Edmond, OK
(405) 623-2191

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sped372
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Post by sped372 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 8:20 am

Get a helper and take a close look at everything while moving the wheel back and forth. The slop should show up somewhere. Seems odd to have that much play after addressing all the usual culprits.
1971 Karmann Ghia - 1600 DP
1984 Westfalia - 1.9 WBX

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jmstu76
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Post by jmstu76 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 8:38 am

sped372 wrote:Get a helper and take a close look at everything while moving the wheel back and forth. The slop should show up somewhere. Seems odd to have that much play after addressing all the usual culprits.
I will admit, I am a bit of a parts thrower when it comes to problems. I really need to work on my diagnosing skills.
James
1976 2.0L FI with Hydraulic lifters

Edmond, OK
(405) 623-2191

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sped372
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Post by sped372 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:04 am

jmstu76 wrote:
sped372 wrote:Get a helper and take a close look at everything while moving the wheel back and forth. The slop should show up somewhere. Seems odd to have that much play after addressing all the usual culprits.
I will admit, I am a bit of a parts thrower when it comes to problems. I really need to work on my diagnosing skills.
Well, you've come to the right place. The main focus of this site is helping develop self-diagnosis skills. With the widely-varying levels of quality plaguing the replacement part business (deep breath)... it isn't always better to replace things. Careful dissection and analysis are required. Read the symptoms, ponder, ask for guidance. We're all here to help.
1971 Karmann Ghia - 1600 DP
1984 Westfalia - 1.9 WBX

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Amskeptic
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Post by Amskeptic » Sat Oct 02, 2010 8:52 am

jmstu76 wrote:
sped372 wrote:Get a helper and take a close look at everything while moving the wheel back and forth. The slop should show up somewhere. Seems odd to have that much play after addressing all the usual culprits.
I will admit, I am a bit of a parts thrower when it comes to problems. I really need to work on my diagnosing skills.
When you have a pile of new parts in the steering, you have a heap of new trouble, mostly excessive resistance in all of these new joints in the tie rods, ball joints, and drag link. Also, some center pin kits bind up the relay arm a bit at the top where the dust seals are compressed. This kills your steering's ability to "talk" to you and return to center after wind gusts and corners.

I wish I could tell you that it will "break-in". My prior bus took over 30,000 miles to let me know that the ball joints were not going to loosen up correctly. I replaced the new ball joints with still more new ball joints. "Yeah, we had a problem with excessively tight ball joints," said Bus Boys.
Colin
BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 121,400 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 92,435 miles

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jmstu76
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Post by jmstu76 » Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:03 am

Amskeptic wrote:
jmstu76 wrote:
sped372 wrote:Get a helper and take a close look at everything while moving the wheel back and forth. The slop should show up somewhere. Seems odd to have that much play after addressing all the usual culprits.
I will admit, I am a bit of a parts thrower when it comes to problems. I really need to work on my diagnosing skills.
When you have a pile of new parts in the steering, you have a heap of new trouble, mostly excessive resistance in all of these new joints in the tie rods, ball joints, and drag link. Also, some center pin kits bind up the relay arm a bit at the top where the dust seals are compressed. This kills your steering's ability to "talk" to you and return to center after wind gusts and corners.

I wish I could tell you that it will "break-in". My prior bus took over 30,000 miles to let me know that the ball joints were not going to loosen up correctly. I replaced the new ball joints with still more new ball joints. "Yeah, we had a problem with excessively tight ball joints," said Bus Boys.
Colin
Is excessive slop due to the "tightness" of new parts? I have not yet replaced the center pin.

My plan at this time is to harvest a steering box off of a '78 transporter. I am going to center the new box and start with step one of the Bentley. I know you'll will laugh, but the Bentley is my last resort.
James
1976 2.0L FI with Hydraulic lifters

Edmond, OK
(405) 623-2191

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Amskeptic
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Post by Amskeptic » Sun Oct 03, 2010 5:47 pm

jmstu76 wrote:Is excessive slop due to the "tightness" of new parts? I have not yet replaced the center pin.
Well, the center pin is a huge contributor to slop, you can see it. The center tie rod ends will bob up and down when performing short/sharp rocks of the steering wheel. Usually it will also make a clicking sound in the steering.

The Tight Parts Syndrome of vague horrible steering does not have this noise, and if you sight down to the left wheel as you move the steering wheel, you will see that the left front wheel moves instantly along with the steering wheel. This makes you "hopeful". But the problem is a dynamic problem, i.e. under way the loss of self-return makes itself annoyingly evident in having to manually return the steering wheel to center after every single cotton pickin movement or correction.
Colin
BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 121,400 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 92,435 miles

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jmstu76
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Re: '76 bus steering slop

Post by jmstu76 » Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:57 pm

I have now replaced the center pin and bushings. No change in the slop. I am
Worried the drag link may be a contributing factor or that it just needs to be aligned correctly at a shop that can honestly do this type of alignment. I have got to get Colin for a day this summer.
James
1976 2.0L FI with Hydraulic lifters

Edmond, OK
(405) 623-2191

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Amskeptic
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Re: '76 bus steering slop

Post by Amskeptic » Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:42 pm

jmstu76 wrote:I have now replaced the center pin and bushings. No change in the slop. I am
Worried the drag link may be a contributing factor or that it just needs to be aligned correctly at a shop that can honestly do this type of alignment. I have got to get Colin for a day this summer.
I am happy to help you get the steering box centered and adjusted.

Please note, that the pile of new parts are all working against you. I bought this brand new 36,900 mile 1978 bus and went straight into the steering to see why it was such a joy! a joy! to drive. The answer was found with a jacked-up front end and being able to move the wheels from lock-to-lock with my pinky finger. The steering HAS slop, there is a lot of linkeaging going on. But the beautiful return-to-center of a low-friction front end, takes away half of your work, the car is always automatically fixing its own direction, and your inputs are only to correct and let go. The Road Warrior was a pia after the new ball joints.
Colin
BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 121,400 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 92,435 miles

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jmstu76
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Re: '76 bus steering slop

Post by jmstu76 » Tue Apr 12, 2016 10:20 am

Back to this poor steering issue...what is the best available drag link to buy? Brand and where to buy it from?
James
1976 2.0L FI with Hydraulic lifters

Edmond, OK
(405) 623-2191

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asiab3
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Re: '76 bus steering slop

Post by asiab3 » Tue Apr 12, 2016 12:58 pm

jmstu76 wrote:Back to this poor steering issue...what is the best available drag link to buy? Brand and where to buy it from?
I have only been able to find the Meyle drag link. Wolfsburg West sells it; others probably sell the same one. I like buying rubber from WW, since they at least TRY to sell good rubber for the rest of the car. Someone on TS last year found a NOS Febi or Meyle kit; that would be great, especially if you had spare boots to slip on it if the rubber was too aged.

On all the shiny show cars I see with the new drag link and tie rods, the metal ends always have this nasty surface rust that looks like garbage. Of course the function is fine, but whenever I get those parts in the mail, I hit the exposed metal parts with a quick wipe off and black spray paint. Little details make us happy when we meditate under our chassis, am I right??

Robbie
1969 bus, "Buddy."
145k miles with me.
322k miles on Earth.

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wcfvw69
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Re: '76 bus steering slop

Post by wcfvw69 » Tue Apr 12, 2016 2:17 pm

1970 Westfalia bus. Stock 1776 dual port type 1 engine. Restored German Solex 34-3. Restored 205Q distributor, restored to factory appearance engine.

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jmstu76
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Re: '76 bus steering slop

Post by jmstu76 » Thu Apr 21, 2016 1:07 pm

Thanks for the link. I bought that unit. Febi brand made it Germany.
James
1976 2.0L FI with Hydraulic lifters

Edmond, OK
(405) 623-2191

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