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Possible bent rear trailing arm - out of spec camber / toein
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jbujtor
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:09 am    Post subject: Possible bent rear trailing arm - out of spec camber / toein Reply with quote

1971 superbeetle. left rear camber -3.0, right -.9. Left toein -.65, right .27

left rear camber is way out, even after full adjustment at alignment shop. left rear toe-in also way out. Right rear toe-in slightly out.

They said that either the trailing arms (some call these control arms) are slightly bent after all those years, although not discernable by eye. Bushings all look very good all around from the outside.

The torsion connecting plate bushing is worn a little, causing it to be uncentered a bit, but I'm not sure that would affect the toein. but maybe the camber, but not probably 3 degrees worth!. Spec for camber from Bentley is -1.4 to -.6, so actually only 1.6 degrees out, but can be seen from behind as the top of the left rear tire slants in towards the top of the tranny.

Any ideas? What should I do to fix it? I could ignor it and rotate tires ever couple thousand miles, as the wear doesn't apprear that bad. Does anyone sell trailing arms that have been proven straightened? I can't find any NOS.
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Q-Dog
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Worn torsion arm bushings and worn stub axle bearings can cause excess camber.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unless the car was racked pretty good, I doubt if the control arms are bent. First thing is what is the ride height - if one side is different, the canber can vary. Not as bad as a swing axle, but it can make a difference.

Toe can be adjusted easily by sliding the wheel forward of back in the trailing arm. That should have been obvious to the aligment shop - but not always. You can also adust the camber a little by forcing the control arm to rotate a little in the trailing arm. The slots can be opened up a little to get even more, but don't over do it.

But before I went through all that, I would replace all the bushings (control arms and trailing arm) if you are sure the bearings are good.
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jbujtor
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The ride height seems to be the same on both sides. The toe-in was adjusted as far as it can be adjusted by sliding the trailing arm where it connects to the spring plate. and still not enough to get it within specs.

The bearings were disassembled and checked 2k miles ago. I completely replaced two of the four joints. The other two showed no visible wear in the races and bearings, so we cleaned them and packed them with the proper grease and put them back together. I'm not sure anymore which side got the new ones and which side the old ones, but I believe they should be good anyhow.

I'm with you on the arms not being bent. But is there a way to check that? If I'm going to replace the bushings, I might as well check the arms if I knew how.

I thought that the piece connecting to the main frame horns with bushings and it connects to the spring plate on the other end is called the trailing arm. Where then is the control arm?
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry about flip flopping on the terminology - spring plates connect to the torsion springs and trailing arm is trailing arm. Anyway, your CV joints have nothing to do with your issue, so dont be concerned.

Now, why was this taken to the alignment shop to begin with and do they have a clue on how to work on your car? Just for the hell of it, pull your rear tires and look for file marks on the top of the spring plates near the bolts to the trailing arm. Usually when someone does any work, they will file a notch in the top to allow them to put things back where they were.

And for the bushings - I am taking about the ones one your spring plates and trailing arms.
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Multi69s
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rear trailling arms get bent all the time. hell they are 40 years old and metal fatigue is alsways present. I have seen many stock bugs with bent trailing arms. The main reasons are hitting a curb or bottoming real hard in a pot hole. The off road crowd (me being one of them) go to great length to brace up and stiffen the trailing arms.

It is not worth it to try and straigten a trailing arm, it will bend again. Go to a wrecking yard and tray and find a bug that has them still installed. look from the back to make sure that the wheels are straight with know camber and get those. Once they have bent, you can not get the camber and toe right.
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jbujtor
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I've been trying to delay going to the wrecking yard as the super beetles are harder and harder to find. I'm not sure what other years/models have the same trailing arms?

It was taking it to the alignment shop because I just wanted to have it checked as it hasn't been properly aligned since I changed all the front end bushings a couple years ago. There wasn't any noticeable 'pull' or anything like that. In fact, I didn't notice the camber problem before, but now when I look from the back, it is very obvious. There are no file notches in the top of the spring plates, so this is probably all original work.

If I'm going to replace the trailing arms or bushings, I might as well replace the other while it's apart....sounds like a winter weekend thing.

So, it sounds like I should change the large bushings where the spring plate meets the torsion springs and also the smaller bushings where the trailing arms meet the frame horns, right?

Lastly, does anyone know if I get get an after market trailing arm that is stiffer and better? Or where how I would stiffen the replacements up if I go through all the work to replace them? thanks again
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are doing the bushings, bite the bullet and do them all. I am on my second IRS build and I just pull it all apart, clean, paint, rebush and its good for another 40 years.....

As far as beefier (still having probs with them getting bent all the time comments) check the off road vendors. They tend to beef up everything. Here's a couple that I found.

http://www.bugsandbuggies.com/Parts.asp?CN=724&SN=115&GN=8
http://www.chircoestore.com/catalog/product_info.p...l0bpukqdj6
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