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31
How many kms on this puppy?

Before I slid under the car to check the control arm bushings I would do the following:

Check the lateral play in the steering wheel.  1" is ok.  Is it more and how much?  Steering box will need to be adjusted at some point. 

Jack the car up and grab the left front wheel at 6 and 12 o'clock.  Any play.

Then at 3 and 9.

If so, adjust your wheel bearings to eliminate that as a contributing factor.  Do the other side next.

Now look at the control arms.  Bushings on one end and ball joint on the other.  Check for play.

Then check the tie rods and the ends for slop.  Repair as needed.

As Bruce said check the steering damper.  If it is really rusted or has oil leakage, I usually just replace them.

Finally check the idler arm for play and the tightness of the bracket. Repair as needed.

Back to the steering box adjustment.

Check those joints on the lower steering box shaft and clamps for tightness.

What is the condition of the struts?  Tight?  How is the upper mount?  Oil leakage?  Rust in the mounting area?

Off the top of my head.  Others will chime in if I missed something.
32
Ok, been meaning to post an update for a couple days and finally have some time.   So the front wheels are fine.   I think I found what the tech thought was a problem with the back wheels but I'm now kinda thinking it's just the way they are.    When you put the rear wheel on, it definitely goes up against the hub nice and flat.   However it is not "snug" on the center part of the hub that juts out with the large bolt.   It's got space to move around.  However as I experimented with putting the lug bolts in and slowly getting them in enough that they were lightly holding the wheel up against the hub but not tightly.  I found I could just barely move it at all.   Just a wee bit tighter and it no longer allowed jiggling.  So I assume this means that the wheel gets centered properly by the tightening of the lug bolts rather than the center hub.    I think the tech probably thought it was moving around too much after putting the first lug bolt on or something.   Anyone think I have this incorrect, please let me know.  So yep, just you guys suggested: not a problem that has anything to do with needing spacers.

So I did some driving tests.   The car does have a shimmy for sure.  When I get over 80km/hr going straight it's ok.  But any kind of turning at 80+ even a minor gentle one gets a shimmy in the front end that directly affects the steering wheel in the range of "Bloody Hell!" all the way to "Holy Crap!!".    Slowing down and straightening out is the only way to solve it.  So it did not take too much time to research and confirm what some of you guys suggested: I'm fairly sure that our little Beetle has the renowned Super Beetle Shimmy.   So looks like time to get under there and figure out what parts/connectors are worn and then order some parts.   

Of course during all this it stopped cranking over when I try to start it so it appears the starter motor wiring needs a little attention first.   Battery has lots of power.   When the rain stops I'll get her up onto jack stands and start poking around the starter first and get that fixed up and then move the jack stands to the front and start looking at all the steering/bushing components.   First time for this for me, should be interesting!

-George



You have described exactly what was happening with my car.
33
The wheels were balanced by the shop I got the tires at.   They do have brand new little square weights behind each wheel so I'm assuming and hoping they got it right.   
34
I would not spend one red cent on any part until I have performed a complete and thorough diagnosis of the entire front end.  Take the time and do your analysis and don't take the shotgun approach.  Get your Bentley out - Section 8 and go to it.  And don't forget the 2 universal joints and the attaching bolts in the steering shaft.

I was thinking all I needed was where to apply the duct tape.   

I still think I'm pretty funny regardless of what everyone says.    I agree with what you are saying mostly but if I get under there and clearly see bushings thrashed I'm gonna replace them as step one and then work my way through the process.   
35
re & re-ing the steering damper is easy. take it off and test it.

when were the wheels balanced?
36
Air Speed Lounge / Re: OLD VW Adventure anybody?
« Last post by bwaz on April 17, 2019, 10:04:12 AM »
show starts at 10 am Saturday
37
I would not spend one red cent on any part until I have performed a complete and thorough diagnosis of the entire front end.  Take the time and do your analysis and don't take the shotgun approach.  Get your Bentley out - Section 8 and go to it.  And don't forget the 2 universal joints and the attaching bolts in the steering shaft.
38
Bushings are easy to replace if you have a small shop press and an assortment of large socket wrenches to use as press tools. Arms only need replacement if they are bent from off roading or tow truck damage.
39
I do have a question for you guys that have gone through this before.    After more research I'm thinking if the problem (or part of the problem) is shot bushings on the control arms, would you buy just the urethane bushing kit (i.e. the Empi brand red ones from CIP1) and replace them or would you just get the entire lower control arm all ready to go and just replace it that way?    Bushing kit for the control arms would cost me around $50.   Buying the two full sets of ready-to-install control arms would be more like $220 each (so $440 vs $50) but some guys make it sound like replacing just the bushings can be a bit of nightmare dealing with proper fit and removal or no removal of the "sleeve" or "ring" at the end that goes to the car frame.  I don't really want a nightmare but neither am I made of money.   But I guess what I'm wondering is this one of those times experienced guys would say to me "spend the money, it's worth it"?    (again, assuming I find these particular bushings shot).

Thanks!
-George
40
Ok, been meaning to post an update for a couple days and finally have some time.   So the front wheels are fine.   I think I found what the tech thought was a problem with the back wheels but I'm now kinda thinking it's just the way they are.    When you put the rear wheel on, it definitely goes up against the hub nice and flat.   However it is not "snug" on the center part of the hub that juts out with the large bolt.   It's got space to move around.  However as I experimented with putting the lug bolts in and slowly getting them in enough that they were lightly holding the wheel up against the hub but not tightly.  I found I could just barely move it at all.   Just a wee bit tighter and it no longer allowed jiggling.  So I assume this means that the wheel gets centered properly by the tightening of the lug bolts rather than the center hub.    I think the tech probably thought it was moving around too much after putting the first lug bolt on or something.   Anyone think I have this incorrect, please let me know.  So yep, just you guys suggested: not a problem that has anything to do with needing spacers.

So I did some driving tests.   The car does have a shimmy for sure.  When I get over 80km/hr going straight it's ok.  But any kind of turning at 80+ even a minor gentle one gets a shimmy in the front end that directly affects the steering wheel in the range of "Bloody Hell!" all the way to "Holy Crap!!".    Slowing down and straightening out is the only way to solve it.  So it did not take too much time to research and confirm what some of you guys suggested: I'm fairly sure that our little Beetle has the renowned Super Beetle Shimmy.   So looks like time to get under there and figure out what parts/connectors are worn and then order some parts.   

Of course during all this it stopped cranking over when I try to start it so it appears the starter motor wiring needs a little attention first.   Battery has lots of power.   When the rain stops I'll get her up onto jack stands and start poking around the starter first and get that fixed up and then move the jack stands to the front and start looking at all the steering/bushing components.   First time for this for me, should be interesting!

-George

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