Torsion bar/spring plate bushings

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tristessa
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Torsion bar/spring plate bushings

Post by tristessa » Sun Nov 17, 2019 12:47 pm

Bit of the backstory: my original spring plate bushings were replaced July 2011, one side during a half-day session with Colin, the other a week later on my own. Replacements had been sourced ahead of time from Bus Depot, and were noted by Colin and myself to be rather .. gummy .. and not harder/firmer. But like AvE says, sometimes you've gotta piss with the cock you've got, so they were installed anyway, with plenty of pure talc baby powder to help things move and glide like they should.

Fast forward to this morning when I took the spring plate covers off for re-indexing the torsion bars. I've noticed a decent amount of butt sag on my Bus, verified by the position of my spring plates between the stops compared to similar vintage Buses all parked on level ground. I hit a stop work condition because my bushings are shot (again) and I need to source replacements .. because I wasn't anticipating needing to replace them again. Interestingly, the passenger-side torsion bar had walked outward and was rubbing a bit on the inside of the spring plate cover, so I knocked it back in with the mini-BFH to keep things in position for now.

Driver's side spring plate cover & bushing:
Image
Passenger side, note the shiny spot where metal was rubbing on metal:
Image
Passenger side torsion bar protrusion and shinyness:
Image

Has anyone recently bought new bushings and can report on bushing hardness/quality? I'd like to not have to do this again in another eight years.
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Amskeptic
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Re: Torsion bar/spring plate bushings

Post by Amskeptic » Tue Nov 19, 2019 7:21 pm

tristessa wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 12:47 pm

Has anyone recently bought new bushings and can report on bushing hardness/quality? I'd like to not have to do this again in another eight years.

Tap the torsion bar in a little, no more rubbing on the cover.

Try to find NOS spring plate bushings. They will have hardened through time to your advantage.
Real talc, of course.
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 112,885 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 78,899 miles

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tristessa
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Re: Torsion bar/spring plate bushings

Post by tristessa » Tue Nov 19, 2019 10:13 pm

I have the same bottle of talc we used eight years ago, still powdery and baby fresh with no corn starch or aloe or any of that other crap they cut the product with these days. I did pick up a set of bushings at the semi-local VW parts store -- I was surprised the had them, asked just for shits-and-giggles when I was there for other stuff -- and there are no manufacturer markings on them, there was no packaging of any sort, but they're definitely harder-seeming rubber than the old ones when I do a thumbnail test.

The crap quality of rubber these days almost has me wanting to use polyurethane and put up with the squeaking. Almost...
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Re: Torsion bar/spring plate bushings

Post by Amskeptic » Thu Nov 21, 2019 6:27 pm

tristessa wrote:
Tue Nov 19, 2019 10:13 pm
I have the same bottle of talc we used eight years ago, still powdery and baby fresh with no corn starch or aloe or any of that other crap they cut the product with these days. I did pick up a set of bushings at the semi-local VW parts store -- I was surprised the had them, asked just for shits-and-giggles when I was there for other stuff -- and there are no manufacturer markings on them, there was no packaging of any sort, but they're definitely harder-seeming rubber than the old ones when I do a thumbnail test.

The crap quality of rubber these days almost has me wanting to use polyurethane and put up with the squeaking. Almost...


Stand firm, tristessa, stand firm. Squeaking will actually drive you more insane than black grated cheese.
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 112,885 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 78,899 miles

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tristessa
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Re: Torsion bar/spring plate bushings

Post by tristessa » Fri Nov 22, 2019 5:06 pm

I was actually thinking more about the trailing arm bushings -- also dry-rotted and crumbling on my Bus -- than the spring plate bushings in re: polyurethane. Stumbled across a company that makes polyurethane trailing arm bushings for the Bus. Their only VW product -- oddly, the company makes polyurethane mounts and suspension bushings mostly for FWD Mopars. Because there are a lot of people doing performance builds on 1993 LeBaron convertibles...?

I went with rubber for everything possible. There are poly bushings on the HD EMPI front sway bar because the OE rubber ones don't fit. Trailing arm bushings are Brazilian and came from CIP1 so quite possibly made by an OEM VW supplier just like the Brazilian front torsion leaves I got from them.
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Re: Torsion bar/spring plate bushings

Post by Amskeptic » Sat Nov 23, 2019 8:22 am

tristessa wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 5:06 pm
I was actually thinking more about the trailing arm bushings -- also dry-rotted and crumbling on my Bus -- than the spring plate bushings in re: polyurethane.

"Trailing arm" as in the diagonal arms? Have you found bushings that you can press in to the diagonal arms? They need to be vulcanize-cemented to the diagonal arm inner tube, then only tightened to the bracket on the torsion bar tube at the mid-point of its potential travel. Is this what we are talking about?

I saw the photograph of the spring plate bushings and thought you were talking about poly urethane bushings there ...
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 112,885 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 78,899 miles

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tristessa
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Re: Torsion bar/spring plate bushings

Post by tristessa » Sat Nov 23, 2019 9:37 pm

Sorry for the confusion -- I was half-tempted to look into polyurethane for everything just because of the crappy rubber out there, but resisted the temptation in the end.

Yes, trailing arms == diagonal arms. I found the bushings in polyurethane from polybushings.com, and in rubber from CIP1, Bus Depot, Custom&Commercial and several other vendors, p/n 211.501.121 if you're interested. Got mine from CIP1, made by Vibrasil who are/were an OEM VW supplier. They have bonded inner tube/sleeves, pressed nicely into my arms with a little schmear of silicone grease leftover from the poly sway bar bushings up front. One side down, one to go. Disassembling everything, cleaning, painting and reassembly takes time...
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Re: Torsion bar/spring plate bushings

Post by asiab3 » Sun Nov 24, 2019 12:47 pm

I installed a set of those diagonal arm bushings last year with a 20-ton press and they went in smoothly. The tooling was probably overkill; anything larger than a hammer and pipe should be able to get the bushings in.

Please keep us updated on the front leaf pack replacement results too!

Robbie <- pending leaf pack purchase person
1969 bus, "Buddy."
142k miles with me.
319k miles on Earth.

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tristessa
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Re: Torsion bar/spring plate bushings

Post by tristessa » Sun Nov 24, 2019 5:54 pm

asiab3 wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 12:47 pm
I installed a set of those diagonal arm bushings last year with a 20-ton press and they went in smoothly. The tooling was probably overkill; anything larger than a hammer and pipe should be able to get the bushings in.

Please keep us updated on the front leaf pack replacement results too!

Robbie <- pending leaf pack purchase person
Yeah, my 12-ton press was total overkill for those bushings but it was actually the easiest way for me to get the job done since I was working alone.

If you need leaves, get the leaves. Mine went in with no issues aside from the hassle of disassembling and reassembling the front end; they slid right into the beam, the arms slid right on the leaves .. like butter. I didn't drive it much before putting the Bus *back* on stands for the rear (plus non-suspension work that I won't go into here (+20HP!)) it's noticeably stiffer than with what came out, though the front still sat a little lower than I'd like. No issues with installation aside from the hassle of disassembling and reassembling the front end, slid right in and the arms went on like butter. Everything is new and stock, so the height is what it is I guess. While I ran it with the same shocks before and after swapping the leaves to minimize variables, I've since installed some fancy new yellow-and-blue Bilsteins .. but haven't driven it with those yet.
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Re: Torsion bar/spring plate bushings

Post by asiab3 » Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:20 pm

Thanks for the info. Did the leaf packs come pre-welded? If not, I'll probably weld mine for future "field repair opportunities." Did you have to weld yours?

Buddy has a nice '80's Cali Rake to him when loaded…
Robbie
1969 bus, "Buddy."
142k miles with me.
319k miles on Earth.

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Re: Torsion bar/spring plate bushings

Post by Amskeptic » Mon Nov 25, 2019 6:47 am

asiab3 wrote:
Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:20 pm
Did the leaf packs come pre-welded? If not, I'll probably weld mine for future "field repair opportunities."
Robbie
I refer you to the above post:
"Mine went in with no issues aside from the hassle of disassembling and reassembling the front end; they slid right into the beam, the arms slid right on the leaves .. like butter."

IIRC, don't weld. Heat can damage spring rate. I would maybe soften the edges of the leaves to help them enter the torsion arms, if needed.

Others have said that they welded their Chevy pick-up leaf springs just fine thankyall, but torsion leaves are a different sort of springiness.
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 112,885 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 78,899 miles

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tristessa
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Re: Torsion bar/spring plate bushings

Post by tristessa » Mon Nov 25, 2019 1:54 pm

They're welded on both ends from the factory. I do remember seeing one person had trouble with their new torsions because a leaf was misaligned when it was welded, but I don't remember if theirs were the same mfg as mine or not. Still worth checking though.
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Re: Torsion bar/spring plate bushings

Post by asiab3 » Mon Nov 25, 2019 10:18 pm

Ah, so Colin and I can both be happy; he because I’ll leave them alone, and I because they’ll be welded. :pirate:

See you at Maupin, peppy front ends and all!
Robbie
1969 bus, "Buddy."
142k miles with me.
319k miles on Earth.

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