Hello! Log in or Register   |  Help  |  Donate  |  Buy Shirts New!  See all banner ads | Advertise on TheSamba.com  
TheSamba.com
 
Installing front shocks and springs
Forum Index -> Vanagon Share: Facebook Twitter
Reply to topic
Print View
Quick sort: Show newest posts on top | Show oldest posts on top View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Vsyevolod
Samba Member


Joined: August 07, 2009
Posts: 204
Location: Seattle
Vsyevolod is offline 

PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 7:57 pm    Post subject: Installing front shocks and springs Reply with quote

88 Westy 2WD.

Just received a new set of springs from Steve at Syncro.org, and a new set of Koni shocks from VanCafe. Installing the rears was a piece of cake, even though it was the deepest I've yet to delve into my own repair work (inspiration coming mainly from this here list...).

Looking at the fronts gives me a bit more pause. Got the car up nice and high on car stands, the wheels off, and I'm looking at all that ball joint, tie rod, control arm, caliper stuff that I might have to remove to get at it all. Called up my local (very helpful and friendly) VW mechanic, who said it would probably take me 2-3 days to do both sides. He warned me about marking the eccentric washers on the upper control arm shaft before removing, as well as marking the position of the nut on the strut bar (to keep the alignment as close to where it was). I've also been reading up in the 'Good Book', pages 40.2 and 40.7.

Has any weekend warriors ever attempted this task and lived to tell about it? Am I going to need special pulling tools in addition to my basic set? It is really going to take as long as it looks? Do I really need to remove all that stuff just to get the springs and shocks replaced? Will I need a spring compression tool as well? Been reading up here on the Samba (lots of good reading) though I've yet to find the kind of inspiration that I need to move forward.

I've been calling around for quotes to have this job done by a shop. I get between $280 and $330, (that's a basic labor charge of 3.6 hours). I'd like to be able to do this on my own, as much for the satisfaction of tackling a tough job as for saving money.

Hit me, somebody...

Stephen






.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Classifieds Feedback
SteveVanB
Samba Member


Joined: June 01, 2008
Posts: 1644
Location: This side of Daytona
SteveVanB is offline 

PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I did mine it was a matter of removing the two allen bolts that hold the upper ball joint to the control arm. That gave me enough room to pull the spring. Granted you need to lift the van so the front suspension will be at full droop, pull the front wheels, remove the front shocks, probably remove the calipers,.....The hardest part is finding the courage to try. I myself find a lot more courage than $ Wink
_________________
91 CARAT
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Gallery Classifieds Feedback
Vsyevolod
Samba Member


Joined: August 07, 2009
Posts: 204
Location: Seattle
Vsyevolod is offline 

PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, looking at the whole assembly today, I kept on thinking... "all I have to do is pull those two allen bolts and the whole thing will fall into place for me..." My friendly neighborhood mechanic said that if I undid those two allen bolts, I would hear a "sproing!" and would have a tough time getting things back together. He kept on saying that I had to remove this and then that and then a coupla more things.

So is it true that I only have to remove the two allen bolts that hold the upper ball joint in place (and possibly the calipers)? Page 40.20 seems to speak in that direction (even though it's for a syncro). Will I damage anything by removing those two allen bolts that hold the upper ball joint in place? Can I replace the springs without needing a spring compressor tool?

Stephen






.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Classifieds Feedback
PDXWesty
Samba Member


Joined: April 11, 2006
Posts: 5777
Location: Portland OR
PDXWesty is offline 

PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also did mine the same way bigsteveob did. The hardest part was freeing the two allen bolts that hold the top ball joint on. I didn't take off the brake caliper, but in hind sight, it would have made the job easier. I did remove the nuts on the end of the control rod also so the suspension could be dropped even farther. With that, the springs still took some force to install. Don't be timid with it, but if you did the rears, you can do the front too. The first side took me two hours, but after I figured it all out, the second side took 45 minutes.
_________________
89 Westy 2.1 Auto
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
Vsyevolod
Samba Member


Joined: August 07, 2009
Posts: 204
Location: Seattle
Vsyevolod is offline 

PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I didn't take off the brake caliper, but in hind sight, it would have made the job easier.


It didn't look like it had to come off. To take the caliper off, I need to let the hand brake off? Or is that just the rear brake that is held by the hand brake?

Quote:
I did remove the nuts on the end of the control rod also so the suspension could be dropped even farther.


I don't see a "control rod" in the Bentley, I see an upper and lower "control arm". Do you mean one of these? Or a rod that connects to one of these?

Quote:
Don't be timid with it, but if you did the rears, you can do the front too.


Exactly what I need to hear... Smile

Quote:
The first side took me two hours, but after I figured it all out, the second side took 45 minutes.


If the whole thing took you 2hr45min, why do the repair shops say 3.6hr? It should only take 45 minutes per side for a 'professional' to do it if you were able to make that kind of time by the second side. ??? Are we just living in a crazy world or something? I've been here for 51 years and I swear, I still have a hard time figuring this place out.

I think that the repair shops are all assuming that they have to remove the calipers, the strut bar, the upper control arm shaft, the tie rod end, etc. Especially because they all say that I'll need an alignment after this is all done (cause they're messing with some of the sensitive alignment stuff). That's my best guess.

Stephen






.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Classifieds Feedback
PDXWesty
Samba Member


Joined: April 11, 2006
Posts: 5777
Location: Portland OR
PDXWesty is offline 

PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The caliper didn't need to come off, but while forcing the suspension down, the brake line was stretching. It would be better if it didn't. So the rod I was refering to is called the radius arm. It's in the front of the picture. It attaches to the front frame with two nuts. If you only losen the front nut, it can be retightened to the same position. losening it will allow the suspension more movement. I think I also took the sway bar mounting bolt out too. Anyway, don't forget you'll need an alignment when you're done.

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

_________________
89 Westy 2.1 Auto
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
pete000
Samba Member


Joined: July 29, 2004
Posts: 642
Location: California
pete000 is offline 

PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Might need to replace the upper ball joints once you have the upper control am off exposing the boot for inspection.

Very easy job unless you are going with lift springs which can requite some compression to install.

You can do it !
_________________
1990 Vanagon RS 2.1
1967 Deluxe 21 window
1974 Porsche 914 2.5
--------------------
Koni Shocks
H & R Red Springs
Addco Sway Bars Front-Rear
18 X 7.5 and 18 X 8 OEM Porsche Wheels
Recaro Power-Heated seats
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
spitsnrovers
Samba Member


Joined: December 17, 2005
Posts: 868
Location: Calgary, Canada
spitsnrovers is offline 

PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also replaced my springs with newer (not brand new) less mileage ones, hence stronger. PLUS I added a 15mm nylon spacer above the spring.

Taking things apart was just as described above by several members.
Re installing the stronger springs, and the spacer did require some extra force. Really all it needed was a small pry bar, and a boot to kick the bottom of the spring into the seat.

The difficulty on my job came from not being able to remove the upper ball joint from the vertical link, in order to change it while I had the rest apart.

Finally got the speedo cable out of the hub, after kinking it slightly and ruining the rubber grommet. Then got the whole front axle/spindle unit out where I could get a puller on the errant ball joint. Getting it back together wasn't half a bad!
_________________
'88 VW Westfalia
'75 Triumph Spitfire 1500
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website Gallery Classifieds Feedback
Mofus
Samba Member


Joined: February 21, 2008
Posts: 369
Location: San Diego
Mofus is offline 

PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Everthing I do to my van is always my first experience, and it was a bit intimidating to start this. I did it about a year ago. I bought a cheep set of spring compressors from Harbor Freight ($8.99). The only thing I had to remove was the upper ball joint from control arm. The first side took me like 3 hours, and the second side took me about 45 minutes.

A couple tips that really help: Use a long ratchet extention down through the hole under the seat to guide the top of the shock in place. I used a small bottle jack to help postion the bottom of the shock into place. A big-ass impact wrench is always handy if you have to start loosening suspension component like the radius arm.

Good luck, and have fun.
_________________
'87 Syncro passenger w/ 2.2L Subaru
'10 Passat Wagon (keeps Mrs. Mofus away from my van)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
Franklinstower
Samba Member


Joined: September 21, 2006
Posts: 1547
Location: PNW
Franklinstower is offline 

PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stephen,
I just did this too. a couple of times. I found removing and hanging the caliper out of the way made the job much easier. I did everything in this order:
Font end on jack stands, wheels removed:
1. Remove shock - you need a stubby 6mm allen on the top shock to hold the shaft while you remove the nut. Then remove bottom shock bolt. there should be a taper bushing against the nut. tap that out to ease in removing the shock.
2. remove and hang caliper out of the way - I think two 22 mm bolts.
3. I removed the lower sway bar end link for more flex on the lower control arm. Mine is a Westy and the springs are tall so I need all the room I can get.
4. Remove the two allen bolts on the upper ball joint - 8 mm allen I think.
5. Position spring compressor so it compresses evenly. This can be a bitch cause there is not a lot of room.
6. compress spring as much as possible and then lever down on the lower control arm to pull compressed spring out.

Install in reversed order. sometimes it is problamatic getting the lower sway bar end link attached - I installed everything and then jacked up the control arm to compress the bushings for easier installation of the end links.

It takes about an hour a side, but the first side might be more. It is not that difficult - the hardest part for me was getting the spring compressed enough to get it out.

Remember - If you change your springs - you will have to get it re-aligned. the springs and ride height have a direct effect on the camber settings.



paul
_________________
'89 Westy - EJ25/22 Frank 4.44 5mt
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
PDXWesty
Samba Member


Joined: April 11, 2006
Posts: 5777
Location: Portland OR
PDXWesty is offline 

PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did it on my westy without the spring compressors. I had them, but I found it was easier without them. I probably took more of the suspension apart though to make it work.
_________________
89 Westy 2.1 Auto
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Gallery Classifieds Feedback
Vsyevolod
Samba Member


Joined: August 07, 2009
Posts: 204
Location: Seattle
Vsyevolod is offline 

PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, so you guys convinced me. After taking a day off to think about it (and let the rain clear up), I approached the job today. After about 3 hours, I have the springs and shocks off on one side only. I couldn't get the calipers removed and I'll have to do that to get the new springs on. I don't have a set of spring compressors and the brake line is near the end of its travel. I'm a woodworker and have 10,000 tools all related to working with wood. I don't have an impact driver, so I'm thinking of fitting out my Hilti hammer drill with a 22mm socket to get those calipers off. Right now I'm soaking them overnight with WD40.

I'm using a floor jack and a couple of bottle jacks to aid in the process. Deadblow hammers and crowbars also come in handy.

Thanks for all the encouragement everyone, I'll post again once I finish the job. I'm documenting it with photos just in case someone else will find this info useful.

Stephen






.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Classifieds Feedback
Vsyevolod
Samba Member


Joined: August 07, 2009
Posts: 204
Location: Seattle
Vsyevolod is offline 

PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay I did it!

It only took a few hours for the rear springs and shocks. I'd recommend this task to almost anyone.

The fronts were quite a bit more challenging. My main problem lay in the fact that I've never taken on as big an automotive challenge as this before. I didn't know if there were certain bolts that should never be turned or what. The second most challenging aspect was not having a very clear idea of how to go about loosening frozen bolts. Day one I spent about three hours on the first side and only finished taking the springs and shocks off. Today I finished up the job, and did the second side.

I'll try to post some pictures tomorrow detailing the process.

Thanks go out to those who encouraged me to tackle this. Without you guys, I was really ready to admit defeat and take it to the first available mechanic.

Stephen






.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Classifieds Feedback
Christopher Schimke
Samba Member


Joined: August 03, 2005
Posts: 5171
Location: PNW
Christopher Schimke is offline 

PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vsyevolod wrote:
My main problem lay in the fact that I've never taken on as big an automotive challenge as this before.


Isn't that a great feeling? That feeling of accomplishment when achieving something that seemed so daunting int the beginning?

Nice job! Congratulations!
_________________
Christopher

*Custom wheel hardware for Audi/VW, Porsche and Mercedes wheels - Urethane Suspension Bushings*
T3Technique.com or contact me at [email protected]
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Facebook Gallery Classifieds Feedback
Vsyevolod
Samba Member


Joined: August 07, 2009
Posts: 204
Location: Seattle
Vsyevolod is offline 

PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's my description of the job. Hopefully others can learn something from this little photo documentary.

1) Jack the car up well. I used a 4x12 behind the front wheels, since I'm on a slope and uneven ground, this gives me a solid base to put the car jacks on. The rear wheels are blocked with 4x4's.

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




2) Jack under the shock absorber in a way that takes the weight of the axle while still allowing you to remove the shock.

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




3) Every bolt that is to be removed needs to be sprayed with WD-40 or other kind of penetrating oil. I took a needle probe to clean out the inside of the allen bolts before trying to loosen them.

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




4) The strut bar needs to be fully loosened from the wheel assembly. First measure the threads that show on the far end where it meets the chassis (sorry for the out of focus photo...) You'll need to return it to this spot to get any semblance of alignment back. And even then, the new springs and shocks will require an alignment soon after you finish the job anyway. This just gets you close to what it was. I found that loosening the nut near the chassis about 1 1/4" was enough to then loosen the end where it goes into the wheel assembly. That should be fully loosened though I didn't find it necessary to remove it all the way. Just watch this strut bar as you are raising and lowering the whole thing. You can only thread it back in if the wheel assembly is close to the correct height.

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




Here the upper ball joint has been separated from the upper control arm.

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




All these photos have been looking at the driver's side. From here on, I'm switching to the passenger side. The next photo is the brake calipers being hung by a wire so that no stress is put on the brake line.

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


Upper ball joint separated from the upper control arm, spring and shock removed. Here you also see another arm just dangling after having been unbolted (dunno what it's called... sway bar???). This connects both wheel assemblies and needs to be unbolted from both sides of the vehicle for either lower control arm to descend fully. These should be bolted back up only after both sides have their springs and shocks in.

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




Back to the driver's side, the completed project.

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




If anyone has any suggestions to add or clarifications needed, please feel free to chime in. One question that I have is: should I be using Locktite when reinstalling any of these bolts? When and where is Locktite appropriate?

Thanks again for everyone's encouragement.

Stephen






.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Classifieds Feedback
Display posts from previous:   
Reply to topic    Forum Index -> Vanagon All times are Mountain Standard Time/Pacific Daylight Savings Time
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

About | Help! | Advertise | Donate | Premium Membership | Privacy/Terms of Use | Contact Us | Site Map
Copyright © 1996-2020, Everett Barnes. All Rights Reserved.
Not affiliated with or sponsored by Volkswagen of America | Forum powered by phpBB