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Front Suspension Swap: 86-91 into an 84? Can this be done?
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beach_creature
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2016 3:23 pm    Post subject: Front Suspension Swap: 86-91 into an 84? Can this be done? Reply with quote

Hi.

I have an 84 Westy and was hoping to swap newer front spindles into my van, along with the newer brakes as well; in hopes of someday upgrading to bigger brakes.

I also picked up the front cast lower control arms from the same vehicle. I purchased new radius rods, and I am planning on purchasing new end links as well as all new urethane bushings.

Will the late model Vanagon front suspension swap directly into the early model? Or will there need to be any fabrication done to the brackets on the frame? Anyone done this?

Thanks.
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Bills85Westy
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2016 4:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Front Suspension Swap: 86-91 into an 84? Can this be done? Reply with quote

Yes, you can swap the newer front spindles onto your 84.

When installing the big brakes, you'll need to supply the 19mm bolts not included with the kit. I believe everything else is plug and play.
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levi
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2016 4:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Front Suspension Swap: 86-91 into an 84? Can this be done? Reply with quote

Power steering spindles are different from non-power steering.
Might want to make sure that you get the right ones.
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beach_creature
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2016 4:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Front Suspension Swap: 86-91 into an 84? Can this be done? Reply with quote

The spindles I was not worried about. Does the lower control arm, end links, and radius rod all match up as well?

I do not have power steering. I didnt know there was a difference in the spindles between ones with power steering and non-power steering?

So I either need to put in a power steering rack or find newer spindles that were not power steering? Does that exist?
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foodeater
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2016 6:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Front Suspension Swap: 86-91 into an 84? Can this be done? Reply with quote

beach_creature wrote:
The spindles I was not worried about. Does the lower control arm, end links, and radius rod all match up as well?

I do not have power steering. I didnt know there was a difference in the spindles between ones with power steering and non-power steering?

So I either need to put in a power steering rack or find newer spindles that were not power steering? Does that exist?


All of the suspension parts will bolt up.

I believe the power steering spindles and non-power steering spindles are cast from the same mold, but the positioning of the hole where the tie rod end bolts through is different. If I remember right using the power steering spindles without a power steering rack will increase the effort required to turn the wheel, so it will work, but be more difficult to turn the steering wheel. It would probably only be an issue at low speeds, like in parking lots...etc.

Non power steering late version spindles were made, but I don't think they were ever sold in the US, so you might want to search in Europe.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2016 6:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Front Suspension Swap: 86-91 into an 84? Can this be done? Reply with quote

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


Yes, here they are side by side.
Samba member jwpate bought a set of spindles and was sent one of each. Shocked
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2016 8:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Front Suspension Swap: 86-91 into an 84? Can this be done? Reply with quote

For what it's worth, I installed the Power Steering Rack out of an '86 Westy (total wreck) into my '84 tin-top. I do not recall any problems at all.
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beach_creature
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2016 8:21 am    Post subject: Re: Front Suspension Swap: 86-91 into an 84? Can this be done? Reply with quote

Putting in a power steering rack, running lines, adding a pump can all be done. I guess it adds a little extra weight and I would lose a little HP as well.

Ill have a look at the spindles I picked up and see if they are for power steering or not. I dont recall what rack the vehicle had.

Is the power steering spindle the one on the left or the right in the photo?

Thanks.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2016 8:50 am    Post subject: Re: Front Suspension Swap: 86-91 into an 84? Can this be done? Reply with quote

The one on the left is not one of the later spindles. That early spindle came manual only.

The one on the right has a much larger flat area where the hole is drilled for the tie rod end. The hole is drilled in a different place in that flat area depending on whether it is meant for power or manual. That one is drilled for power steering. A manual one would have the hole drilled closer to the end.

Mark
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beach_creature
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2016 2:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Front Suspension Swap: 86-91 into an 84? Can this be done? Reply with quote

ok. Thanks so much!

Looks like maybe it wouldn't be too much work to have a machine shop fill the whole and drill an new one closer to the outside.
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PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2020 5:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Front Suspension Swap: 86-91 into an 84? Can this be done? Reply with quote

I know this thread is old as hell. But Ill try anyway. I have this same option. I have no desire to add PS to my van. If I swap in spindles and CAs and brakes from a later t3 into my manual steering 84 with manual steering rack that works? just perhaps tougher to steer?

thanks
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crazyvwvanman
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PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2020 5:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Front Suspension Swap: 86-91 into an 84? Can this be done? Reply with quote

The manual rack will work ok with the later PS steering stuff. Yes, a little harder to steer at low speeds.

The later radius rods need to go in with the later lower arms.

Mark
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PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2020 4:13 am    Post subject: Re: Front Suspension Swap: 86-91 into an 84? Can this be done? Reply with quote

A competent welder could fill the holes and new holes could be drilled further out from the spindle. The hole where the tie rod end attaches is tapered, so that would need to be solved. Not a deal breaker though. A reamer with the correct angle would work.
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PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2020 10:17 am    Post subject: Re: Front Suspension Swap: 86-91 into an 84? Can this be done? Reply with quote

FWIW, there were a small number of late model Vanagons sold in the USA without power steering. Some of the Westfalia Weekenders (pop top, but no kitchen) had manual steering. Also, there was a Vanagon L sold in 1985 and 1986 (vinyl seats, chrome hubcaps), that came standard with manual steering. So the late model uprights for manual steering do exist in the USA, but they're very rare.
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PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2020 10:49 am    Post subject: Re: Front Suspension Swap: 86-91 into an 84? Can this be done? Reply with quote

I had 3 different 86 vans in my driveway that came manual steering. All of them were white.
Never even seen anything newer that came that way in the US market Vanagons.
Just about impossible to buy those parts though.

I wonder if these would help for relocating the holes?

https://vwparts.aircooled.net/Tie-Rod-Relocation-K...kit-pr.htm

Mark
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PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2020 7:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Front Suspension Swap: 86-91 into an 84? Can this be done? Reply with quote

crazyvwvanman wrote:
The one on the left is not one of the later spindles. That early spindle came manual only.

The one on the right has a much larger flat area where the hole is drilled for the tie rod end. The hole is drilled in a different place in that flat area depending on whether it is meant for power or manual. That one is drilled for power steering. A manual one would have the hole drilled closer to the end.

Mark




Wow! This is interesting info.

When I installed the PS from the 86 Westy in my 84 Tin-top, I never drilled a new hole. I just installed it and never looked back. It works great with the PS pump that come on the ALH TDI engine. I did have to rebuild it due to a failed 30 something year old seal. The rebuild was almost three years ago with no leaks and works great.
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