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  View original topic: Steering box - how much travel?
airschooled Fri Nov 12, 2021 7:44 pm

1960 beetle. Shop installed a new steering box, chrome pitman arm, and 2.5" EMPI disc brake drop spindles in 2017. (Large tie rod ends all around.) Box/wheel are centered, and the car was laser-aligned after the work was done.

The installed steering box in the car only has 2.5 turns of travel, less than I'm used to. The bug struggles to navigate parking lots, and has to make 5-point turns frequently. Is 2.5 turns correct for a '60 chassis?

Or was there a bad batch of steering boxes a few years ago?

Thanks!
Robbie

scrivyscriv Fri Nov 12, 2021 11:22 pm

I canít say for sure since I donít have a Ď60, but my understanding is the boxes are all pretty much the same, with exception of the 50s. See if itís hitting the full lock stop on the beam.. are you getting 2-1/2 turns from center both directions? Those TRW boxes have a notoriety about them and a well deserved reputation. Maybe youíve already seen the TRW tear down topic; but if not, itís excellent and highly educational.
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=660446

airschooled Sat Nov 13, 2021 12:56 am

I plowed through that thread a year or so ago when my friend was disappointed with his TRW box. This one has the usual play, but also severely limits full lock in each direction.

With the tie rods disconnected, the box still limits stop, one full turn and some change each direction from center. 2.5 turns total. The pitman arm does not contact anything. It, and the tires, come inches away from contacting any body or chassis parts.

Everything in my right mind says it's just a box quality issue, but I want to make sure I'm not missing anything early bug specific.

Robbie

scrivyscriv Sat Nov 13, 2021 10:54 am

I donít have a manual going back to 1960.. but here is what I have found fo far:
The 61-65 blue book has this


If the turning radius is too large, grind down the boss.
The 66-69 book also says the same but it also gives a measurement from upper torsion arm to wheel as .4Ē+- .04Ē, not sure if thatís the same for king and link pin.
However it also specifies 2.5 turns from full lock, in the chart on the right side. So I donít know. Is it an aftermarket box or an OG VW?


EVfun Sat Nov 13, 2021 1:37 pm

airschooled wrote: 1960 beetle. Shop installed a new steering box, chrome pitman arm, and 2.5" EMPI disc brake drop spindles in 2017. (Large tie rod ends all around.) Box/wheel are centered, and the car was laser-aligned after the work was done.

The installed steering box in the car only has 2.5 turns of travel, less than I'm used to. The bug struggles to navigate parking lots, and has to make 5-point turns frequently. Is 2.5 turns correct for a '60 chassis?

Or was there a bad batch of steering boxes a few years ago?

Thanks!
Robbie
The stock box for a '60 (worm and sector) should be 2.4 turns, lock to lock. The standard replacement box is a later style worm and roller type and should be 2.6 turns lock to lock. Either way the turning circle should be about 36 feet. For comparison my '04 Tacoma pickup is about 34 1/2 feet.

On king and link pin Bugs (1965 and older) the steering is limited by the front bolts holding the brake baking plate (or disc brake caliper bracket) in place. You should be able to turn left and right until either that bolt hits the link pin carrier, or until the front tire hits the front of the upper trailing arm.

airschooled Mon Nov 15, 2021 10:44 am

Thanks for both of your advice; I have more to go on now when I see the car again.

Appreciate it!
Robbie

KTPhil Mon Nov 15, 2021 11:21 am

I never got a chromed joint flange to fit right, gave up and bought used OEM.

Erik G Mon Nov 15, 2021 12:07 pm

lots of junk steering boxes from TRW, and with those spindles it boosted the trach with wider. Was the beam narrowed to compensate?

airschooled Wed Nov 24, 2021 6:43 pm

Got to poke around the car in question today, though no wrenches on hand.

The beam was narrowed 2Ē according to the owner.

Unless anyone else has other thoughts, I feel like the pitman arm is too short, or the spindle arms are too long for this carÖ

EVfun Wed Nov 24, 2021 10:30 pm

What is stopping the car from turning farther left or farther right? I've never seen the steering box itself be the limit.

evanfrucht Wed Nov 24, 2021 10:59 pm

Narrowed beams increase the turn radius a fair amount. In other words, it reduces your ability to make a clean getaway in the parking lot :P

KTPhil Wed Nov 24, 2021 11:01 pm

Reduce or increase?

evanfrucht Wed Nov 24, 2021 11:03 pm

Was the car driving before. What was changed?

Was the issue not present before? Or is the first time your ever driving this car since it's been redone?

modok Thu Nov 25, 2021 11:39 pm

Normally the spindles would be the "stop" that limits steering lock angle.
The front most brake backing plate bolt is where the stop is. So, look there and find it.
Or rather look where it "used to be" and you will (probably?) see there is a boss there, since you have aftermarket spindles.

The spindle itself can only pivot so far.
Usually it's about right to keep the wheel or tire from rubbing the grub screws on the trailing arm, or if you have wider wheels then sometimes not enough.
So if it needs to be adjusted you grind a little off, weld a little on, or use a longer bolt as needed. Tho if using a longer bolt you better put a steep bevel on the end so it doesn't rivet itself :shock:


If your aftermarket spindles work differently, have different stops, have different ratio, then I guess you will have to figure that out.

airschooled Sat Nov 27, 2021 5:09 pm

Thanks for all the advice; this is a friend's car who is only casually interested in correcting the problem. I'm taking it as a chance to learn about the earlier Type 1's.

I'll probably see it again next week and poke around for backing plate bolt bosses, though everything being aftermarket tells me it's probably just stackup error. Thanks again for the insight.

Robbie



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