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Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild
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MsTaboo
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Joined: June 02, 2006
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Location: East Kootenay, British Columbia
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

I hate waiting for parts. (the price paid for living where I do)

Wanted to get this project started back in November but backordered parts and delays getting down to our PO Box means I just recently got busy.

Decided to get started on the rears first while waiting for parts. Had to rent a 46mm socket and matching breaker bar, unfortunately the breaker bar they had was pretty short (why have a short 3/4" breaker bar?) but adding the handle from my floor jack got the nuts undone.
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Wheel and lug nut hub off, the brakes I installed last year are already showing signs of rust; damn salt.
(EDIT: Embarassed The brake adjusting rod fork is facing the wrong way. The long tine of the fork should be on the inside next to the backing plate. This may help explain why I wasn't getting good grip with parking brake. Must have looked at the wrong picture. Bentley shows that fork facing both ways in different pictures! Drawing diagram on 46.6 shows it correct. Note also, lower return spring is backwards, coil should be closer to backing plate. Embarassed )
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Getting the backing plate off involved driving out the lower brake pad support pin. Punched it out from behind, that meant the pin only had to go through one piece of metal instead of two, bringing the backing plate with it.
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I managed to get one of the lower pad supports out while still on the van with some heat and vice grips, but the other refused to budge. Had to do that one on the bench. After much struggle and not wanting to ruin a good backing plate I ended up drilling a small hole through the open side into the bottom of the stuck support. Filled it with PB Blaster and let it sit overnight. Managed to crack it loose the next day.
Here's the drill bit and the angle needed to get to other side.
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The rest came apart pretty easy.
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Here's one of the reasons for the rebuild. Stuck RTA bolt. Last wheel alignment they couldn't get this bolt free to adjust the rear. Got out the Sawzall and had at it.
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Was careful about doing any damage, just skimmed the paint.
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The inner bolt came out easy. Cleaned up both sides and repainted. For those (like me) who have not done this before you can see the adjustment slots in the RTA supports; vertical on the outside, horizontal on the inner.
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Pressed out the axle stub with my new ChinaFreight press I got cheap.
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Cleaned off 27 years of grime to facilitate removal of seals, etc.
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Seal removal,
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Then snap ring,
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Tapped out the inner bearing fairly easy, just use a similar sized socket and your left with removing the original grease. When they say to pack the inner space with grease they mean it!
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The outer bearing is a tighter fit and required the hydraulic press to remove. You want to be careful about removing the bearing even if you're (of course) replacing. Keep the hub undamaged to maintain the press fit tolerance.

I had a go at removing the RTA bushing by drilling around the center steel bushing but found that method tedious. On the other side I just trimmed off the outer lip of the bushing and used a three jaw puller to push out the bushing. Much easier.
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Cleaned and sandblasted everything (fun at -20C) and then painted.
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Pushed in the new Bueley poly bushings along with some Formula 5 Prelube from Energy Suspension. This stuff is the most tacky grease I have ever used, totally dinosaur snot!
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RTA back in with a little cleanup.
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Used the dry-ice and alcohol method to chill down the outer bearing to ease installation back into hub.
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Greased up and ready to reassemble. I went back and the two exposed areas on the hub got a light coating of spray paint, the other black is brushed on and very thick.
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Oh yeah, I also pressed in some longer wheel studs to allow a thicker brake drum.
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More to come...
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The information age has morphed into the age of disinformation and willful ignorance.
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Last edited by MsTaboo on Fri Feb 02, 2018 1:34 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Microbusdeluxe Premium Member
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

Great write up and photos. Thanks!
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bsrad Premium Member
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:53 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

Microbusdeluxe wrote:
Great write up and photos. Thanks!


Agreed.... bookmarking this one.
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Jake de Villiers
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:12 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

I really dig your old snap ring pliers! Cool
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Sodo
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:50 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

MsTab you do good work! And good pics.
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MsTaboo
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

Thanks everyone!

Jake de Villiers wrote:
I really dig your old snap ring pliers! Cool

Yep, 75 year old tools still work Very Happy

OK, to finish up this side.
Backing plate on. I used a brush on HD paint (kinda overkill here) with it being too cold for outdoor spray painting and not wanting overspray in my crowded garage. I debated repainting the backing plate at all but there was some wear and corrosion and new plates are $80 now and may not be available in the years to come.

Small tip, reinstall the metal brake line to the wheel cylinder first and then onto the flexible line to reduce chance of brake fluid leaking down back of the plate (guess how I know). Confused
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The rest of the brake hardware and shoes installed.
I also added the spacers under the lower shoe supports. If you go back to the earlier photo at start of disassembly you can see that the brake shoes are only touching the top third. I'll try this trick and see if it helps.
Sure is easier to install the brake shoes with the wheel hub off, no wonder the Bentley shows it taken off for brake rebuild. I planned to just rent the 46mm socket and 3/4" breaker bar for removing and then again to torque the axle nut (how often do you need to rebuild rear bearings?) but now I'm thinking about buying one to have around for brake jobs.
Other small tip, be sure to use brake grease on the four points where shoes touch plate and a little bit at each spring mount.
(EDIT: Embarassed Wow, I'm surprised no one saw I put the brake shoe adjuster rod on with the fork facing the wrong way. Long tine of the fork should be on the backing plate side. I was cleaning the passenger side parts when I thought to check, and sure enough it was wrong. Looking back I see I had it installed wrong from last brake job. Hadn't checked the Bentley, although in fairness, the Bentley shows it installed both ways in some pictures! Page 46.6 shows correct. Embarassed )
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EDIT:Went back and corrected the above mistake and also decided to replace the old shoes with a fresh set even though the old shoes were fairly new. There was some cracking of the surface on the driver's side, but really bad on passenger side. So, brake adjuster turned around and new shoes.
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Wheel hub installed.


New HD brake drum, new UHMW spring perch (more on that later) and a new OME shock. I don't really like the stock yellow so gave it a quick spray of green. The extra paint will help with corrosion. Sprayed it outdoors, let it off-gas in the garage and then cure in the house.
Ready for wheel and axle nut re-torque.
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The new HD drums have too much runout, +/- .005 on one and +/- .003 on the other so I plan to take both in for a skimming. Runout should be less than +/- .001 or less. (I wish I owned a lathe, I'd like to check if the runout is indeed the brake drum or if it's in the axle/bearings/hub assembly)
I'll also give em' a lick of high temp paint just for fun.
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Repeat on other side.
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Currently:
90 Syncro Westy/Zetec
-Syncro, the real deal-

The information age has morphed into the age of disinformation and willful ignorance.
You can lead a person to reason but you can't make them think.
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MsTaboo
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 1:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

OK, time to update this.

First off I want to thank djkeev for the free set of Bendix brake shoes he sent me. (edit) Thanks Dave!
The shoes are organic relines, and I did end up using a set of semi-metallic, but I'll hold onto the Bendix for awhile and if I don't use I'll pass onto someone else for free.

Here's a shot of the Bendix and a supposedly USA made Beck-Arney, see anything wrong?
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I also picked up a set of NOS brake adjusters. The teeth on my old ones were kinda torn up so I thought what the heck I'll get new ones while they're still available.
Note the "L" stamped on the passenger side. L for left hand tread, not left side!
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I made a set of new spring perch pads out of 3/16" UHMW.
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Using a small oven I heated the pads until transparent,
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then quickly put them under the springs, making sure the spring ends are in they're pockets. When the UHMW cools they mold to the spring and pocket.
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So, the rears are all done including a fresh coat of hi-temp paint on the drums
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_________________
Currently:
90 Syncro Westy/Zetec
-Syncro, the real deal-

The information age has morphed into the age of disinformation and willful ignorance.
You can lead a person to reason but you can't make them think.


Last edited by MsTaboo on Thu Mar 22, 2018 10:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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MsTaboo
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

Syncro front suspension rebuild
Ready to start.
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Things don't look too bad, but I decided to do a full rebuild while I have the time. It does have a typical he-haw when hitting bumps.
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Started by loosening both front axle nuts (30mm) while the van was on the ground. Also a good time to loosen the radius rod nuts (27mm deep socket, or 1-1/16" deep)
I wanted to do both sides at the same time so this means resting the van on a solid set of stands. I use a jack-stand and a lift on each side and also put a wheel under the front dif with some blocks of wood to close up the gap. (this is only a last resort, the weight is taken by the jacks)
So, brake caliper off (hung to one side in this photo but I ended up completely removing and capping the brake line)
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Caliper, disc, backing plate, and CV boot protector off. Tie rod end loosened with pickle fork.
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Next the anti-sway bar is unbolted on both sides and pulled out.
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Then remove the axle nut, note here; is this the D6 compound listed on page 40.18 of the Bentley? I'm pretty sure this is first time the fronts have been done.
(edit: No, the axles had been off, whatever this stuff is it's not factory. I ended up using a Loctite retaining compound on reinstall.)
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Use a three jaw puller to loosen the axle, plenty of play within the CV for the amount of movement needed.
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Then remove the inner CV bolts (to loosen the bolts with the wheels off I use a three foot breaker bar wedge)
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Undo the UCA bolts. A few wiggles of the upright and the axle is free. (passenger side shown)
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To remove the spring and shock I used a spring compressor to take up some tension on the spring, put a small floor jack under the shock and a bottle jack under the LCA to support it's weight. You can remove the spring/shock without a spring compressor using this method but I like to be safe and use a compressor. Remove the shock bolt making sure the weight and tension are carried by the jacks. Note the metal foil I use to mark the threads on the radius rod and tie rod.
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_________________
Currently:
90 Syncro Westy/Zetec
-Syncro, the real deal-

The information age has morphed into the age of disinformation and willful ignorance.
You can lead a person to reason but you can't make them think.


Last edited by MsTaboo on Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
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MsTaboo
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

OK, with the spring/shock out ready to move on.
Finish undoing the radius rod nuts and remove the bushings.
From the outside my bushings looked pretty good, but they are shot, the metal ring on the bushing has eroded away and the inner sleeve has started eating into the frame. From the looks of things I think my he-haw nosies were coming from here (and the LCA bushings) not the UCA bushings.
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Both sides showed that damage. Fortunately I caught the wear before it became too bad. Don't think I need to weld the frame.
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With the LCA bushing bolt loosen and the weight of the LCA and upright supported ready to wiggle the radius rod out of the frame and drop the works.
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Yay, on the ground!
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Both LCA bushings looked like this, pushed to one side and the LCA rubbing on the frame.
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_________________
Currently:
90 Syncro Westy/Zetec
-Syncro, the real deal-

The information age has morphed into the age of disinformation and willful ignorance.
You can lead a person to reason but you can't make them think.
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MsTaboo
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

Time to start break-down.
Removing the UCA bushings. I used the UCA bolt/nut/washer and a socket. This is a bit tricky do the odd shape and care is needed to keep things from flying. Copy at your own risk.
As I applied pressure to the bushing I also gave the outer edge of the bushing a few good whacks with a punch to encourage movement.
(Looking back at this I realize I didn't mention the 14mm allen wrench needed for the UCA bolt. I use the short stub type for a 1/2" drive. With this you can crack loose the bolt so it will pull out from the body, otherwise you have to pry the bolt)
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Separating the lower sections starts with the lower ball joint from the upright. Since I'm replacing I didn't care about damage to the threads, a couple good whacks and it pops out.
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Upper ball joint out with a pickle fork.
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Removing the lower ball joint from the LCA requires a good press and a careful setup. Sorry no picture my hands were full! It's an awkward setup do to the shape of the LCA. Don't forget the snap ring.

Well, it's all stripped out.
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Big pile of parts.
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Time to clean it all up and install new goodies!
Hopefully someone will find this useful. I've gotten so much from the Samba I like to give back when I can.
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Currently:
90 Syncro Westy/Zetec
-Syncro, the real deal-

The information age has morphed into the age of disinformation and willful ignorance.
You can lead a person to reason but you can't make them think.
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Zeitgeist 13
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 8:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

Those are really nice sequential pics for the tasks handled.
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MsTaboo
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:49 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

Thanks!
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-Syncro, the real deal-

The information age has morphed into the age of disinformation and willful ignorance.
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Bills85Westy
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2018 11:49 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

Thank you in advance for the detailed write up and photos!
I'm just getting ready to do this job & your timing couldn't have been more perfect!

Bill
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MsTaboo
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 3:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

OK, time to finish up this writeup.

I have taken the time to clean up under the front end and do some touch-up of the undercoating.
Big pile of cleaned and painted parts.
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Pressed in the UCA bushings using a large socket underneath to allow room for the bushing to pass through.
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Pressed in the lower ball joints using a scrap of 2-1/8" pipe.
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First thing I tackled on the rebuild of the front was installing the new Powerflex steering rack bushings.
In order to get enough wiggle room to install the two part bushings I had to remove the two bolts on the steering shaft coupling.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

This allows some play, however because of the p/s hydraulic lines theres not much! Pry on the old bushings until you can grip them with pliers and pull out.
Installed the new ones with plenty of silicone grease. No pictures of this-pretty straight forward.
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-Syncro, the real deal-

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MsTaboo
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

Prepping the LCA with these nice new Powerflex bushings.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

More of the very tacky silicone grease Formula 5 Prelube from Energy Systems.
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Using a small floor jack for lifting help; getting the LCA into position. Threaded the radius rod through the frame first and then pressed the LCA into place.
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Next is to bolt the front strut into the LCA (don't forget the special tapered steel bushings) and setting spring onto the strut and start compressing the spring.
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Compress the spring until the shock piston rod is at least level with the spring pad.
(shock compressed)
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Using a hollow tube to guide the top of the piston rod through the hole on top of shock mount. While pushing down on the LCA fuss and fight until upper spring pad is correctly seated into the mount.
Make sure the spring is seated onto the strut seat correctly and into the upper spring pad/plate. Bentley 40.21
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Use the floor jack under the LCA for support and lifting power install the upper shock rubber donut, washer, and nut. (note, the spring compressor was still in place while doing this!)
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

_________________
Currently:
90 Syncro Westy/Zetec
-Syncro, the real deal-

The information age has morphed into the age of disinformation and willful ignorance.
You can lead a person to reason but you can't make them think.


Last edited by MsTaboo on Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:38 am; edited 1 time in total
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MsTaboo
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

After getting the spring/shock combo installed it's time for the spindle (hub upright).
Lifting the upright onto the lower balljoint and fixing the UCA onto the upper balljoint. Temporarily fasten the UCA to the upright.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Lay the front axle into place, leave the inner CV unbolted and slightly to the rear of the front diff flange. Undo the UCA so it can swing out, and with some fussing insert the outer axle stub into spindle/bearing/hub.
(edit: For the D6 compound that Bentley calls out on page 40.18 I ended up using a Loctite retaining compound. The stuff is used to fill the small gaps between the splines and prevent vibration from causing galling.)
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


With the axle inserted into hub attach the inner CV to diff flange and then tighten the axle nut to help pull together. Reattach the UCA to upper balljoint.
Tighten inner CV bolts and torque. Tighten axle nut as best as possible. Full torque after wheels on ground!
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Installed tie-rod ends and the T3 anti-sway bar with the HD end links .
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Added the CV boot guard.
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Installed brake backing plate, rotor, carrier, and brake caliper.
Basically done!
Tightening the balljoints was a bit of a hassle. If I used the locking nuts there was too much torque and the joint would spin inside it's boot. Had to use plain nuts to tighten down the joints into their tapers and then replace with locking nuts. Still had one spin and had to hold an open end wrench on shaft end while cranking with 24mm box wrench. Pain. Evil or Very Mad
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Isn't that pretty? Well, maybe not as colorful as some of the builds, but it's sure pretty to me! Very Happy
_________________
Currently:
90 Syncro Westy/Zetec
-Syncro, the real deal-

The information age has morphed into the age of disinformation and willful ignorance.
You can lead a person to reason but you can't make them think.


Last edited by MsTaboo on Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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MsTaboo
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

While I had the front end all torn apart I decided to go ahead and drop the front diff so I could install a NOS VC I've been hoarding.
My current VC was in good condition but I figured I would rather have a good used spare and a brand new VC in the van.
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Old VC
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So this meant I now had to realign the front diff to the transaxle and the driveshaft to both.
These are the two lasers I used. One is driveline alignment laser that GW used to sell and the other is a regular construction laser.
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Placing the construction laser on the floor I used it to mark a line through the middle of both the front diff and transaxle. This assured that the two were inline with each other.
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Here's what it looks like with the lights on.
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I then used the GW tool which has two parts, a puck which attaches to the drive shaft flanges and holds a laser in a flexible mount.
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And another puck which holds a marking card with level. The van itself needs to be level from side to side and the card needs to be vertical.
The laser puck is rotated and the laser adjusted until the laser describes a dot instead of a circle. This dot gets marked on card. The process is then repeated from the other direction and the two dots compared.
Adjustments to the front diff until the dots match. Depending on luck (and skill?) this process can take a few tries. Mad
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This time around it went pretty easy. Took for test drive and nice and smooth.
Now off to the wheel alignment fun.
(got that done today and all's well) Cool
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MsTaboo
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Location: East Kootenay, British Columbia
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 7:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

Here's the printout for the alignment after the rebuild.
Top is after build and bottom is their first attempt at alignment.
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I wasn't happy that there was still readings in the red so made arrangements to bring back the next day.
Here are those readouts.
Top was after driving the van about 30 miles after the above alignment. Quite a change for 30 miles! They must have not torqued the nuts very well.
Bottom is their second try.
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Overall the van steers straight, but I'm not sure if they got the alignment right, feels a bit twitchy. That could be the new stiffer poly bushings.
T3 anti-sway bar with the HD end links has given the van a secure feel diving through fast corners and when big trucks pass in the other direction.

It was a big job replacing everything ($$$), but also a nice feeling knowing it's done.
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-Syncro, the real deal-

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nuhu
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

MsTaboo,
Spectacular attention to detail and a great write-up. Thank for the valuable information and inspiration!

I am also an owner of a Syncro 16" and I hope to be starting this work in the coming months. If I may, I have a couple questions.

1. Aside from CV joints, are there any Syncro 16" specific parts? I think the wheel bearing housing uprights are different, but for example, do they use the same bearings as Syncro 14"?

2. I notice you have vented brake rotors. Which brake kit did you install, and do you like it? Again, any 16" specific parts?

3. I like the spring compressor with the retaining pins. Where did you get it?

Thank you!
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MsTaboo
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 3:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

Hi Nuhu, thanks for the compliments!

Have not owned a 16" Syncro for awhile so I may be forgetting some stuff.
16" Syncros used the same bearings as the 14", the brakes though are different, so the vented rotors I used on this Syncro won't work with yours. (older Big Brake kit from Van-Cafe, works fine)

The rest of the suspension bushings should all be the same. Old Man Emu shocks work well. As for the heavy duty anti-sway bar check with Christopher at T3 for fit compatibility on the 16".

There is a Yahoo group for the 16" Syncro you should join. Check out the Syncro 16" thread here for the address.
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=544479&highlight=

As for the spring compressor, the one I used is ok, but there are better ones out there. If I were to buy another pair I would look for some like these:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00URSCLF2/ref=s...i=15709061
More expensive but much stronger and safer. Or you can rent some depending where you live.
Good luck with your rebuild and please post some pictures of your 16" in the Official Syncro 16" thread.(is it the orange one with the SCA top? Love those!)
_________________
Currently:
90 Syncro Westy/Zetec
-Syncro, the real deal-

The information age has morphed into the age of disinformation and willful ignorance.
You can lead a person to reason but you can't make them think.
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