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A Wandering Sunroof. Steering Fix.
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dkveuro
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:44 pm    Post subject: A Wandering Sunroof. Steering Fix. Reply with quote

This is about my wandering, semi blown, cross wind buffeted, lane changing, white lining, white knuckle drivin' Sunroof.

It's always been difficult to drive in a straight line but it's getting old explaining to the cops why my vehicle seems to be driven by a drunk.

So...I put it up on the lift and looked at what VW does to hold all the steering parts together. At first glance it seems to be built so you don't get 'white finger' on a ripple dirt road or on Belgian Pave.

Everything is suspended in rubber...and when said 'rubber' gets to be 25 plus years old, it's not getting any better.

So, looking at Mercedes, GM, BMW, Ford, etc they just bolt to steering box to the frame. So out comes the wrenches and after about 2 hours, a test drive confirmed that it is well worth the effort.

I removed the radius arm front bushes, spacers and fashioned a spacer out of bug urethane mount/s bushes. Flattened the front black rubber bushes on the grinder, fitted them and tightened up the radius rod bolt until there was enough crush to pull the lower arm forward 1/2 inch from static position with no crush..

Both front and rear rubber bushes now are crushed and bulging to the thick thrust washers size. Replaced all the front sway bar link bushes with O'Riellys urethane after market, 'boy racer' bushing kit.

Next took a grinder to the steering rack lower bushing spacers and ground them back into the eyes. Added a spacer washer under the original washer and bolted original bolt back into the cross member....solid mount rack.

Next I found an old box truck body U bolt from a job last year. 1/2 inch thick and has a flat bottomed U. I welded this to the member in front of the gas tank and to the spare wheel carrier cross member...all centered up of course. Then welded the center member to the U bolt legs.

So now, all three cross members are welded together, stiffening up the carrier for the steering rack but still leaving room to service everything.

A road test down the local I-35 was amazing. Semi truck passing I could feel the bow wave but the old Sunroof stayed on course !

Next, down the back roads and rough roads that normally have me jacking the steering around to stay on the right was a thing of the past. Ran straight and whats more...no noise.

I had assumed the bolting and welding to stiffen everything would make a lot of road noise but not so. It's running Passat 15 alloys on 20mm spacers all round and I like it.

So, get under there and pry on the rack member and you'll see how much it moves. The extra trail or caster in the inclination is also helping and my toe is 3/16ths Toe In.

Obviously if you do this you need to make sure there is no play in any ball joints or wheel bearings as wear will make any vehicle difficult to keep straight.

Next Tuesday my buddy is doing a 4 wheel alignment for me so should make for even more relaxed driving.


Any questions ?

regards

dk



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Last edited by dkveuro on Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:04 am; edited 2 times in total
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Phishman068
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are we talking about a sunroof or a westfalia skylight?
A sunroof is about 4 feet long and came on a select few tintop vans.
Most westfalia models (but not all) have a pop up skylight, is this your problem?

The same problem on either one would have very different results.
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dkveuro
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1985 Vanagon. 7 seater. 1.9ltr. Sunroof top. Stripped out as a cargo van. Now weighs 3200 lbs.

This will be done to my others too....steering that is. Improvement is so much better than I thought it would be.

I was going to install some expensive 10 ply tires as it seems a lot of owners report improved resistance to cross winds. Now I can buy cheaper tires and have a decent ride .


I'll see if I can get some pictures posted too.


regards

dk



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seanjenn
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

10 ply tires, on a vanagon, who does that?
Most of us run 6 or 8.
My Hancook RA08s are some of the least expensive/vanagon correct tires you can buy. $82 each mounted and ballanced, that's tough to beat.

Popcorn
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presslab
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure if you've seen these, but I run em and they made a big improvement:

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


http://www.t3technique.com/powerflex-bushings/steering-rack-bushing-set.html


A pic of your crossmember bracing would be cool. Cool
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dkveuro
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

seanjenn wrote:
10 ply tires, on a Vanagon, who does that?
Most of us run 6 or 8.
My Hancook RA08s are some of the least expensive/Vanagon correct tires you can buy. $82 each mounted and balanced, that's tough to beat.

Popcorn


I would. ! Why ? Because a set of 4, 10 ply, 225/75/15's turned up on eBay for $308.00 delivered.

I understand it would be overkill but so is putting a 455 Olds in a Fiat 500, but somebody did. Just because it's 'normal' to do something, does not make it the only way. Otherwise there'd be no customizing or SXV's in a Westy either.

There's no 'right or wrong' if you want to do it and it works when your done.


regards

dk



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Last edited by dkveuro on Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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dkveuro
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

presslab wrote:
I'm not sure if you've seen these, but I run em and they made a big improvement:

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


http://www.t3technique.com/powerflex-bushings/steering-rack-bushing-set.html


A pic of your cross member bracing would be cool. Cool


Next time on the lift I'll break out the digi and post them.


Thanks for the link, didn't know that, but my solid mounts work just fine for cost of two washers !

Anyone doing radius arm bushes in urethane ?

regards

dk



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Christopher Schimke
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dkveuro wrote:


Anyone doing radius arm bushes in urethane ?

regards

dk

.



Yep! Very Happy

http://www.t3technique.com/powerflex-bushings/radius-rod-bushings/
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windnsea
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With age the steering racks display their wear by providing vague steering in the straight ahead position. Tightness of wheel bearings also can provide a bit of steering play - both front and rear bearings. Rear trailing arm bushings can also provide a little bootie dance when worn and being passed by a semi.

You just can't attribute loose steering to a loose steering rack.

What about the two rubber donuts in the steering column and in front of the steering rack?

Cheers!
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dkveuro
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you T3, but my ghetto steering modifications will have to do for now, but this is just the job for my upcoming Westy Camper rebuild.

Any discount for all the urethane kits in one purchase ?

regards

dk



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dkveuro
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

windnsea wrote:
With age the steering racks display their wear by providing vague steering in the straight ahead position. Tightness of wheel bearings also can provide a bit of steering play - both front and rear bearings. Rear trailing arm bushings can also provide a little bootie dance when worn and being passed by a semi.

You just can't attribute loose steering to a loose steering rack.

What about the two rubber donuts in the steering column and in front of the steering rack?

Cheers!


Good point ...urethane for those ?


regards

dk


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Christopher Schimke
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dkveuro wrote:


Any discount for all the urethane kits in one purchase ?

regards

dk
.



Yes, definitely! Please send me an email to the address in my signature for more information on this.


dkveuro wrote:
windnsea wrote:


What about the two rubber donuts in the steering column and in front of the steering rack?

Cheers!


Good point ...urethane for those ?


regards

dk
.



That is one application where urethane is not a wise choice. If you do some searching, you will find numerous accounts of people who have experienced cracked/split urethane steering shaft couplers.

The stock rubber couplers have a very strong fabric weave sandwiched in layers that provides a very strong union, even when the rubber layers are cracked. Obviously it's wise to replace any cracked couplers, but he point is that the stock parts perform very, very well in this application.
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dkveuro
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm familiar with the coupling material. Not a lot of give but takes the angle stress very well.

I'll email you about kits.

regards

dk
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tschroeder0
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After my complete front end rebuild, I was less than impressed with the steering, it still wondered. When I finally put the T3 bushings in the steering rack it made a bigger difference than all other bushings combined.

The steering rack play seems to me to be the place to focus, coul you please post some pics of this?

I have wondered for a long time about making some simple braces for the rack, to just add more stability, I think you are on the right track, good job!
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dkveuro
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tschroeder0 wrote:
After my complete front end rebuild, I was less than impressed with the steering, it still wandered. When I finally put the T3 bushings in the steering rack it made a bigger difference than all other bushings combined.

The steering rack play seems to me to be the place to focus, could you please post some pics of this?

I have wondered for a long time about making some simple braces for the rack, to just add more stability, I think you are on the right track, good job!


I have welded 1/2 inch bar from the wheel carrier/radius rod member to the member behind the steering rack and heated the rod/s and hammered them up to the rack member and then welded to it to.

I spaced the U bolt I used, dead center, but I will further reinforce the cross members with more 1/2 inch rod to the cross member just forward of the gas tank.

If you pry on the rack with a long screwdriver you will see it flexes and 'boxing in' all members, plus solid mounting the rack, stops the bump steer.

In racing we always used solid mounts even on the transmission and engine but that's not practical for the road.

Looking at the rack frame member you will see that it is totally unsupported from being pushed forward or back by steering forces. Tying in all the cross frame members makes the whole steering support assembly rigid and flex free .

I thought about using cut 1/4 inch steel plate but that obscures too many areas, plus a little overkill. Even with the urethane mounts all round, there is still frame flexing, so this stiffens up the whole deal and compliments the urethane if and when fitted.

I was able to see the rack flexing the frame by applying force to the tie rods and at least 1/4 inch of movement of the road wheel resulted from flex alone.

Remarkable thing is...no extra noise.

This is all a 'work in progress' so additions and modifications will be done as I see the need .

Right now the steering wheel free play is about 1/8th of an inch or less watching for tyre movement in the straight ahead position.

I need to adjust the dead center of the rack to steering input shaft, as I see the centering marks on the rack are slightly off, so this will be done on Tuesday when Donnie runs a 4 wheel alignment for me. ...as well as increasing the trail or caster.

This afternoon, rear alignment measures toe-out by 3 degrees. I'm thinking this needs to be parallel.

Now don't forget, this van is now 3200 lbs ....most of them are 4000 lbs plus.

As a bonus of stripping it down to this weight, I now see 19.8 mpg on a regular basis.

regards

dk
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