Itinerant Air-Cooled FUBAR

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Amskeptic
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Itinerant Air-Cooled FUBAR

Post by Amskeptic » Fri Oct 29, 2010 8:54 am

The steering in the BobD was getting sloppy, even though its feel and liveliness were still good. The wind was still chipping away after the Indiana CV boot replacement, and since it was from the west on my southbound trip to Atlanta, it was making great demands on my concentration as all crosswinds do to VW bus pilots. With the aforementioned foreboding of the demise of this wonderful driving car mentioned in the Indiana CV post, I felt compelled to try, try, try, to forestall the sensation that this car is indeed getting worn out. Let's freshen the steering . . . carefully . . .

Pulled off behind some bridal shop in Kentucky, drove across the grass and perched at the curb of the back parking lot so I could have a little extra room to swing the large hammer that drives out center pin bushings. Remember, I am the traumatized survivor of wrecked steering feel in the late great Road Warrior as a result of stiff ball joints coupled with a looser-than-original Meyle replacement center pin kit.

Not This Time! I plead. But, right out of the box and the protective plastic pouch, this washer calls itself to my attention. It is gouged, with lifted scratch divots:
Image

Good for me, say I, I will file the washer down smooth and keep the steering smooth and light. Then I take a look at the bushings and compare them to the original VW-Audi copper coated bushings . . .
Turkish Meyle's
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OEM VW Audi
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Looks like one of the replacements has been cut at some weird angle.

The original VW center pin measures in at 23.96mm at the worn end and 23.97mm at the lower end, the replacement is 23.97mm at both:
Image
Image

OK, so the old bushings pop out easily enough even with my out-of-shape arms tiring rapidly. I start the replacement bushing destined for the top of the tube and it is a bit difficult, but all seems OK until I feel the top of the tube for the requisite 1mm protuberance.We have a fricken corkscrew action going here. The bushing has ramped against that diagonal cut pictured above and has "ravelled". With great Rationalization, I convince myself it will be OK. Drive in the new lower bushing, and tap the pin up the tube. Yes! Nice snug fit. But then I reach the upper bushing. Upper bushing gets snagged by the pin, and when I tap the pin home, the upper bushing has corkscrewed up out of the tube a few more millimeters. Heck. Pin doesn't want to come back out either. Finally ViseGrip-twist the pin out (note: ViseGrip dents the new pin head far far more readily than the oem VW pin, that means it is a lot softer).I drive it all the way out. Use the other new bushing. It successfully drives up to the top and has a smooth 1mm protuberance. Then I try to drive the corkscrewed one in on the bottom. But no. There is a slight chamfer where my driver has expanded the inside diameter of the bushing and it is no longer in the mood to insert. So I file the edges and flat-sand it smooth along the edge circumference. Try again upside, downside, old pin driving, brass driver driving, no, no, no. Eventually, I grab one of the original bushings and file it's open side to see if it will close down the inner diameter when I drive it in the tube for a nice fit with the new pin. Sure did close down the inner diameter of the old bushing . . . yes, yes, yes, I tapped the new pin in there all lubricated and ready for final assembly, and the last 2mm suddenly Grabs That Pin and man, is it tight. But there is no going back. Assemble the relay lever, grease the front end and guess what? Road Warrioresque steering in the BobD. No return-to-center, horrendous vagueness in the still blowing westerly wind southbound on Interstate 65 towards Atlanta pondering the March of Time and the Changes To Our Culture not the least of which includes the Changes To My Professional Competence.
Colin
BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 129,490 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 94,225 miles

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sped372
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Post by sped372 » Fri Oct 29, 2010 9:06 am

It is so frustrating. I had the same thing happen when I replaced the center tie rod on the Super Beetle a few years back. Things just got tight and wouldn't return to center naturally. You don't realize how much you take nice steering for granted until you don't have it any more. Thankfully adding some grease zerks alleviated my problem.

I really hope to not have to touch much of the steering components on the Bus, I like it as it is and your (and others) experiences have left me apprehensive to replace things.
1971 Karmann Ghia - 1600 DP
1984 Westfalia - 1.9 WBX

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hambone
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Post by hambone » Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:55 am

Nice writeup.
Hey why the hell did such a robust (I hate that word) part only last 40k miles?
We as bus pilots are on the very fringe of groupthought consciousness. 15th generation of "fantastic plastic". The era of disposable.
Soldier on, it's all we can do. :pale:
Meanwhile I keep hearing of the worry of a couple generations addicted to skwaking blinkyboxes. Is this like equating jazz with the devil, or something seriously sinister?
And then I look at a topo map of Portland; under the street grid are ancient canyons and riverbars from when the Columbia was massive, post ice-age melt. Our house is on the slope of that ancient bank. "The Come and Go Blues". It pays to not get too attached to compressed iron filings.
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

RussellK
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Post by RussellK » Fri Oct 29, 2010 11:47 am

I had problems with the bushings that came with the Meyle Centerpin. Way too tight. Knocked them back out and ran a brake cylinder hone through them. Steering is much improved. I think we are doomed to a life of adaptation. My wife's cousin has owned a repair shop for 45 years. I was complaining about this to him and he just chuckled. Say's it's always more or less been this way.

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satchmo
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Post by satchmo » Fri Oct 29, 2010 12:17 pm

Why don't you get rid of that Meyle POS and do your replacement with a German made Febi/Bilstein kit (http://www.germansupply.com/home/custom ... 407&page=1)? When WE did the center pin replacement on my bus several years ago, you got to see the quality difference between the kits, right? I had both the Meyle and the Febi/Bilstein kits at the time. Sure, the Febi/Bilstein is more expensive, but pay a little more and do the job just once.

Tim
By three methods we may learn wisdom:
First, by reflection, which is noblest;
second, by immitation, which is easiest;
and third, by experience, which is bitterest. -Confucius

RussellK
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Post by RussellK » Fri Oct 29, 2010 12:25 pm

satchmo wrote:Why don't you get rid of that Meyle POS and do your replacement with a German made Febi/Bilstein kit (http://www.germansupply.com/home/custom ... 407&page=1)? When WE did the center pin replacement on my bus several years ago, you got to see the quality difference between the kits, right? I had both the Meyle and the Febi/Bilstein kits at the time. Sure, the Febi/Bilstein is more expensive, but pay a little more and do the job just once.

Tim
Could this be moved to the Steering: Parts known to be acceptable?

thenexttownshend
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Post by thenexttownshend » Mon Nov 01, 2010 5:35 pm

Ive got that nice pin we pulled out of my orginal front end this spring. Want it? Vintage '73 an excellent batch from a quaint german vineyard...
-steve - 73 bus

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Amskeptic
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Post by Amskeptic » Tue Nov 02, 2010 3:36 pm

thenexttownshend wrote:Ive got that nice pin we pulled out of my orginal front end this spring. Want it? Vintage '73 an excellent batch from a quaint german vineyard...
So I can make a new bushing driver? Or does it spec in at 23.97mm?
Sure, send it along, along with the small short visegrips to :

National Lost/Forgotten Tool Return
Itinerant Air-Cooled Alzheimer's Clinic
SomewhereInTheCountry
BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 129,490 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 94,225 miles

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