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Rear camber - adjusting torsion bars
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SLVRSRFR
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:46 pm    Post subject: Rear camber - adjusting torsion bars Reply with quote

I am trying to fix my negative camber problem on my 78 west (-3 to -4 deg) I replaced donut bushings and no change. I checked spring plate angle and it was at 23 (supposed to be 21) as far as I could tell, if I adjusted to 21 it would lower the bus and make the problem worse... so I adjusted to 24.5 and put back together. It looks slightly better, but hardly a change (in height or camber). Should I take it back apart and change spring plate angle to 26 or more? It doesn't feel right setting it in the opposite direction of what Bentley is telling me! Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated!
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did you change the control arm bushings too?, ever dealt with the wheel bearings?
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, and no - sounds like I have some more work to do! Wheel bearings can effect camber as well?
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 6:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Read the "rear wheel alignment" section in the VW Service Manual Type 2. Setting the torsion bars gets you most of the way there. "Minor camber changes can be effected by loosening the four bolts that bind the bearing housing, spring plate and diagonal arm together, then rotating the diagonal arm one way or the other with a pipe wrench.
When I lowered my crewcab 3" the by product was 3 degrees neg camber. I used the method above to reset the camber to 1.4 neg camber and 0 toe. A good alignment shop should be able to do this if you don't have the tools.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

gumbajv wrote:
Read the "rear wheel alignment" section in the VW Service Manual Type 2. Setting the torsion bars gets you most of the way there. "Minor camber changes can be effected by loosening the four bolts that bind the bearing housing, spring plate and diagonal arm together, then rotating the diagonal arm one way or the other with a pipe wrench.
When I lowered my crewcab 3" the by product was 3 degrees neg camber. I used the method above to reset the camber to 1.4 neg camber and 0 toe. A good alignment shop should be able to do this if you don't have the tools.


anyone care to elaborate on this? where do you do the adjustment with a pipe wrench to affect camber?
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stuartzickefoose wrote:
anyone care to elaborate on this? where do you do the adjustment with a pipe wrench to affect camber?

With all 4 bolts at the springplate end loose twist the control arm, there are more civilized methods than a pipe wrench but the bottom line is twist the outer end.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

busdaddy wrote:
Stuartzickefoose wrote:
anyone care to elaborate on this? where do you do the adjustment with a pipe wrench to affect camber?

With all 4 bolts at the springplate end loose twist the control arm, there are more civilized methods than a pipe wrench but the bottom line is twist the outer end.


ill give it a shot. thanks mark!
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stuartzickefoose wrote:
busdaddy wrote:
Stuartzickefoose wrote:
anyone care to elaborate on this? where do you do the adjustment with a pipe wrench to affect camber?

With all 4 bolts at the springplate end loose twist the control arm, there are more civilized methods than a pipe wrench but the bottom line is twist the outer end.


ill give it a shot. thanks mark!


After setting the torsion bars to 23*, I reassemble the four bolt sandwich of the diagonal arm/spring plate/wheel bearing housing to "slightly loose". Then I drop the car down until the tires just touch the ground. Kick the lower edge of the tire wheel. Put your bottle jack at an angle so that it contacts the lower edge of the spring plate dead-on perpendicular. Jack the spring plate only enough to see it move inside the diagonal arm/wheel bearing assemblies. Now tighten. Repeat on other side. Jack vehicle back up until tires just clear. Measure angle of rear brake drum edge on both sides against the vertical , i.e. if vehicle is 1/2* leaning left you subtract 1/2 on left and add 1/2 on right to get true angle of wheels. If they are within a 1/2 degree of each other, yer good to go, because . . . . . . . .
. . . . . you really should drive it before you indict camber angles. The Road Warrior had a couple of hundred lbs of tools and whatnot, looked negative as heck:

BUT tires wore flawlessly even, because these suspensions know what to do when you are using its payload capacity. You can drive all the way across the country, loaded to the gills, tires leaning in terribly in the rear, and the tires still wear perfectly. Do not start adjusting because your visual aesthetic is upset. If your inner tread blocks show accelerated wear, yes, a camber adjustment is in your future AFTER you have determined that it is not too much toe-out. Too much toe-out you can feel by rubbing your palm across the tire. If it is raspy as you go IN, and smooth as you go OUT, toe-out is out. Loosen the four bolts and shove the whole assembly forward on the spring plates no more than 1/8" to a 1/4". Retest. Or go to an alignment shop with an EMPTY car and 3/4 tank of fuel and get some real numbers from a competent professional.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i did a number check on my bus last summer, and it was around -3/5 degree on one side, and -2 on the other. i have inner edge wear and i know the toe is off just a bit. i have messed with both sides now, trying to lift the back a bit (saggy) and havent got it right yet. i keep trying to do it with the brakes all together, and they keep getting in the way. so ill be doing my wheel bearings (hopefully tomorrow, but maybe next week since i wanna camp this weekend) and i wanted to swing this at the same time. thank you again colin! excellent description, ill give it a shot Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stuartzickefoose wrote:
i did a number check on my bus last summer, and it was around -3/5 degree on one side, and -2 on the other. i have inner edge wear and i know the toe is off just a bit. i have messed with both sides now, trying to lift the back a bit (saggy) and havent got it right yet. i keep trying to do it with the brakes all together, and they keep getting in the way. so ill be doing my wheel bearings (hopefully tomorrow, but maybe next week since i wanna camp this weekend) and i wanted to swing this at the same time. thank you again colin! excellent description, ill give it a shot Smile


I did not mention it specifically, but this "jack the spring plate a bit" also serves to help you get both sides equal. What you are doing in fact is *lowering* the diagonal arm/wheel bearing housing in relation to the spring plate, which serves to raise the rear end a bit. We are not doing this for ride height, just to equalize the sides a bit.

The *actual* camber adjustment that occurs when you pipe wrench the diagonal arm is the following god help me that I remember this correctly:
From under the car, rotating the diagonal arm in the forward direction makes the camber more positive. It is a powerful adjustment by the way, you will see results, but it is a messy and annoying bunch of grunt work.
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