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Spring Plate Angle/Torsion Bar Adjustment (Pics Added)
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patayres
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:47 pm    Post subject: Spring Plate Angle/Torsion Bar Adjustment (Pics Added) Reply with quote

Getting ready to tackle this. I recall a thread here in which someone had posted some very helpful pics of the process - but can't seem to find them searching for torsion bar, spring plate, camber, etc. I will take a lot of pics and post them into this thread for others' reference, but if anyone has a link to that thread I'd love to have another look at it.

Also, any words of wisdom that make the process smoother would be great.

Thanks!
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Last edited by patayres on Tue Feb 23, 2010 8:51 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

use the VW tool if you can borrow one. They are exceptionally precise and read down to 10 minute increments. (60 minutes equals a degree). You can also use a magnetic digital style.

Buy some real talcum powder and not corn starch. Look at the ingredients. I think we ended up with Johnson and Johnson.

Use new torsion donuts when it is apart. We used an engraver to mark the bar and the arm so we could see where we started and keep control over the process. Be sure to mark the hub top and bottom per Bentley if you want to put it back together and not screw up the alignment.

We put the back up on jack stands and the front too, then used a floor jack in the center of the front to get the bus 100% level, taking readings from the frame, door sills and just inside the sliding door. Once it was level then then degrees read off on the spring plates was exact. None of this add and subtract stuff going on.

this thread? http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=75205&highlight=spring+plate+talc
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I take it you're trying to raise a sagging behind? Very Happy

Not sure how much reading you've done on this, but you can finely adjust the height by rotating the inner and outer splines of each torsion bar. It's a few years since I did this, so the memory's a little rusty but I remember that turning the inner end of the torsion bar 5 splines and adjusting the outer spring plate 5 splines in the opposite direction led to a 40mm body raise, which just about leveled things up nicely on my 71. I'm sure others will chime in soon with myriad links and advice but the main points that stick out in my mind are

> The 4 big bolts that secure the hub to the spring plate were a bastard to undo, I think they're 22mm heads from memory, so make sure you have a good sized ring spanner and a decent 6 sided socket with a 2-3' breaker bar and plently of penetrating oil on there a couple of days before you start, might want to soak the torsion cover bolts too. Those 22mm bolts are difficult to find (even here in metric-land) so bear that in mind before lopping the heads off them with a cutting disc in a rage!

> Before you remove the spring plate from the torsion bar, mark their positions relative to one another, and ideally to the outer torsion tube/housing so that you have some idea of where you started from if you lose your way. Many people use a protractor or inclinometer to set the 'relaxed' angle of the spring plate so they know that both sides of the bus are the same before re-assembly, however, I've always relied on a bit of trigonometry to work out how many splines to move, and 'feeling' each spline movement as I adjust it.

> After I'd made the adjustments, I went to jack the spring plate over the stop and found that due to the extra 'twist' in the torsion bar, the body just lifted off the stands instead. Might help to have someone around to stand on the rear bumper at this point!

These are only my observations, most of the the info I used was from searching forums, and a It's worth reading these too.


http://www.type2.com/library/suspens/tmadj.htm

http://www.type2.com/library/suspens/torbar.htm

http://www.type2.com/library/suspens/torsion.htm

Keep us posted.

Ant
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patayres
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My goal is twofold: raise the rear about 1/2" and cure excessive negative camber of rear wheels (right side slightly worse than left). With approx 200 lbs weight in the front seats, the rear sits about 1/2" lower. By the sounds of it, the vernier adjustment of the torsion bar (1 spline forward on the inner and 1 spline back on the outer) should lift the rear approx the 1/2" desired - it will be interesting to find out if the spring plate angle is off by a corresponding amount. Hoping that adjustment and new bushings also corrects the camber. Bent diagonal arm being the next possible culprit.

Real talcum powder: Check
4 new bushings: Check
VW Tool: I've got the magnetic style already

Thanks for the link to that thread, SGKent, but the one I'm thinking of was posted within the past few months.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

drivers side will most likely need to be preloaded a bit more than passenger, due to the weight of the driver being constant, passenger not so much. This is much more prononounced on a beetle, I have heard excess of 8 deg difference on real abused torsion bars.

the bus will want to level itself on the ground, so its hard to tell if its trying to lean. give it a few good jiggles, try to influence where it sits and it will be clearer. removing the front sway bar helps, but at that point you are kind of splitting hairs. I think 1 and 1 might be too little adjustment, just get it set to VW specs by the book, and work up from there. err on the side of too much, as some bars have softened over time and you are more LIKELY to need more preload then less, but we are not talking absolutes here.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Look up "glandnut" in the memberlist and go to page 42 in his gallery. Starting about half way down he has some good pictures of the process that were very helpful to me.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

patayres wrote:
Hoping that adjustment and new bushings also corrects the camber. Bent diagonal arm being the next possible culprit.


The camber you *observe* with sagging torsion bars is often exactly correct for that place in the suspension's travel. The only only only time you are allowed to second-guess the camber adjustment is if your tires are wearing on the inside tread blocks.
Colin
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amskeptic wrote:
patayres wrote:
Hoping that adjustment and new bushings also corrects the camber. Bent diagonal arm being the next possible culprit.


The camber you *observe* with sagging torsion bars is often exactly correct for that place in the suspension's travel. The only only only time you are allowed to second-guess the camber adjustment is if your tires are wearing on the inside tread blocks.
Colin


and in that case, the diagonal arms are bent.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Patayres - was it this one?

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=392374&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

I just did this adjustment over the Christmas holiday season and posted some pics to the thread above. If you haven't done it yet, I'd advise you to start soaking the bearing housing nuts with PB Blaster for a few days beforehand.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The camber you *observe* with sagging torsion bars is often exactly correct for that place in the suspension's travel. The only only only time you are allowed to second-guess the camber adjustment is if your tires are wearing on the inside tread blocks.

Thanks, Colin. I've read your comments in other threads about some negative camber being normal & trust you're right. My main concern regarding camber is the imbalance between the rear wheels, with the right wheel being worse. Hoping that it's not from a PO running over a curb and bending the diagonal arm Confused I've got fresh Hankooks with 0 miles on them, so I'll be able to watch wear pattern closely. The tires that came off weren't showing any signs of increased inside tread wear, however.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daryl -- that's the one! Thanks. I looked at that thread, but didn't scroll far enough down the 2nd page.

PB Blaster soak down begins this evening - hoping to tackle the procedure this weekend. Just before my ACL/Meniscus surgery next week - can't ski so might as well spend some quality time with the bus.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I reccomend the pb as well, and probably going out and buying new bolts if funds permit. if you have to go on/off more than twice you will kick yourself for not doing it earlier. I had em on and off about 7 times due to some custom work, and I still feel like an idiot for not just buying new hardware. times are hard, money be tight, and i'm a cheap sumbitch
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just did a DC last week that had wierd camber on one side only, I'll try to post a pic of the torsion bushing on that side, it wasn't pretty. Everything lined up nice after, drives awesome, no more butt sag and both wheels have just a tiny but even amount of camber.
As Colin says, even with the sag the alignment remains right, no odd wear on the tires, even though it looked cockeyed from the rear.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2010 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting development today: I think my Westfalia left the VW factory in Hanover with the lighter duty torsion bars. The undercarriage still has the dealer undercoating including the spring plate cover. The paint underneath the undercoating is perfect... I'm pretty sure that the spring plate covers have never been off. Not to mention the state of the doughnut bushings - old, ovaled, and with the VW emblem and part #.

Here is the right torsion bar:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

The right torsion bar has the letter 'P' stamped on it, the left has the letter 'W'. Both right and left torsion bars are 26.9mm diameter, which according to this chart is the lighter duty Station Wagon bar.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Dash VIN and engine compartment chassis #s match & begin with a '23' to designate a Kombi. M Codes also confirm the bus was destined to become a Deluxe Campmobile.

So is this a mistake at the factory, a Bentley error, year specific variant, or ????

The bus had just under a degree of rear sag, which agrees with the 23* spring plate angle measured on both sides. One click of vernier adjustment should set me just about perfect.

Think Think Think Think
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

patayres wrote:
Interesting development today: I think my Westfalia left the VW factory in Hanover with the lighter duty torsion bars.


Possible . . . by 1975, VW was cleaning out inventory and throwing it in vehicles. My '73 Squareback had a European velour rear seat cover under the US market vinyl to serve as "burlap" over the springs.

Either way, the GVWR for the Westy and the Station Wagon was exactly the same 4,961, so what's the point?
Colin
( excessive negative camber is not a defacto indictment of diagonal arm integrity. If you have ever adjusted camber back there before, you will already know that there is amazing adjustability. I have no doubt that anyone at any point can loosen those four bolts and accidentally FUBAR things without even being half aware of what they just did to the camber)
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Set the spring plate angle to 24* and mounted everything back up. Very pleased to report that the camber is ever so slightly negative and equal on both sides... much better than before. The bus sits perfectly level with 200 lbs in the front seat. Mission accomplished!

I took lots of pics along the way and will write up my experience in the next couple days. Had ACL reconstruction and Meniscus repair this afternoon. Pretty doped up tonight.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is my write-up/pictorial for the procedure... hope this helps others looking to adjust their rear wheel camber and/or rear end sag.

Prep Work:
Before jumping into the project, I put the rear end up on jack stands, removed the rear wheels, and soaked the 4 bolts that hold the bearing housing, spring plate, and diagonal arm together with PB Blaster -- liberally applying it twice daily for 4 days.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Day of procedure:

Release the emergency brake cables from the front of the bus

Remove the rear shock

Remove the brake line from the diagonal arm. I replaced the flexible brake line while I was there.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

In this next photo you can see the brake line disconnected. The 2 red arrows point to 2 of the 4 bolts mentioned earlier.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Create an alignment mark on the spring plate, diagonal arm, and bearing housing. I cold chiseled a line as well as marking with a white paint marker.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Now it's time to have at those 4 bolts (22mm socket). They are torqued to 94 ft. lbs., so it will take some effort. I was lucky to get them to release with an 18" breaker bar (presoak of PB Blaster certainly helped). Have something ready to rest the assembly on, which can easily be slid to the rear. Be careful not to bend the metal brake line -- I didn't have to worry as mine were disconnected.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Remove the spring plate cover. Here's what my outer donut bushing looked like after 34 years of wear:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Release the spring plate from its lower stop (red arrow). I used my floor jack and a small pry bar. Jack up the spring plate until it is off the lower stop and pry it outwards. Once the plate is out far enough, lower the jack. You can also see in the pic that I've marked the setting of the outer torsion bar splines with the spring plate.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Check spring plate angle. First, determine how far off the bus is from level. If the rear is higher, add the number of degrees from level to the angle measured on the spring plate. If the front is higher, subtract. My rear was 1* higher, so I added 1* to my measurement.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Remove the spring plate from the torsion bar. It helps to hammer a socket against the torsion bar while pulling the spring plate off... you don't want to pull the inner torsion bar from its splines. Then use a straight edge and marker to mark the setting of the inner torsion bar splines.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

It's now safe to remove and inspect the torsion bar.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Clean everything up
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Coat the new bushings with talcum powder
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Grease the inner splines and reinsert the torsion bar and new bushing. First step of adjusting spring plate angle is to adjust the inner torsion bar splines. I needed to increase my angle 1*. This is equivalent to one spline down on the inner splines and 1 spline up on the outer. Pull the torsion bar back out until it just releases from the splines and rotate 1 spline down from the original setting (counterclockwise on passenger side, clockwise on driver side)
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Place the spring plate back onto the outer splines of the torsion bar. To complete the 1* vernier adjustment, rotate the spring plate 1 spline up from original setting (clockwise on passenger side, counterclockwise on driver side). Measure new spring plate angle... should be just under a degree (50') higher than the original setting. Don't forget to compensate for bus levelness - adding 1* to my new measurement of 23* put me right where I needed to be.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Press the spring plate cover over the new bushing on the spring plate. I had purchased a couple longer bolts to aid in getting the spring plate cover into place but found that they weren't necessary. Once the spring plate cover bolts are started, jack the spring plate back up over the lower stop and torque the cover bolts to 25 ft lbs.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Slide the rear hub assembly back to the front and bolt the bearing housing, spring plate, and diagonal arm back together - respecting the alignment mark made earlier. Torque the bolts to 95 ft lbs.

Reattach the brake line to the diagonal arm.

Reattach the rear shock, but don't completely tighten the bolts until the wheels are back on the ground.

Repeat for other side.

Edited to add pics of the camber improvement:

Before:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.
After:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

You can also see in the after pics that the rear end was raised as evidenced by the distance between the top of the wheel and the fender.
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Last edited by patayres on Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:47 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice write-up/photos. Let's hope this serves others well in future searches, (when they use search properly?!)
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Watch your overhead clearance when backing out of the garage! Shocked
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a good 4" or more, but that photo does make it look tight Laughing
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