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Syncro Front End Rebuild
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tjet
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 9:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

I installed Van Cafe 2" syncro lift springs and OME shocks. I also added 40mm lift spacers (not shown in pic), which also came with 40mm upper ball joint spacers and shock extenders. I didn't use the stock upper A-arm though as I didn't think they would fit.

You can see my clearance here...

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


Here is the spacer kit. I think they are in Finland.

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

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T3TRIS
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

tjet wrote:
I installed Van Cafe 2" syncro lift springs and OME shocks. I also added 40mm lift spacers (not shown in pic), which also came with 40mm upper ball joint spacers and shock extenders. I didn't use the stock upper A-arm though as I didn't think they would fit.


Dang that looks sweet! Nice rig. I assume these are 930 CV axles you have for that much lift?
The numbers you're bringing up are interesting for our setup actually. Once we get our ball joint spacers, I believe the only real difference between our setups would be 40mm shock spacers and a "second set" of ball joint spacers. My understanding is that the Burley UCA ≈ stock UCA + ball joint spacers (at least for overall length).
Did you happen to run this setup without the 40mm spacers, and if so with or without shock extenders?

vandroid wrote:
Threads like this one really remind me how much I enjoy paying our mechanic. Did any of these parts that you have purchased come with instructions?


Ha... I can see how nice that would be. To be perfectly honest, I didn't plan on doing so much mechanical stuff when we first got the van. Never wanted to be a mechanic, nor did I really know anything about the topic before. However there is no way in hell we could have afforded the amount of work we've done on this van through a mechanic. Nor would that work be so customized. Certainly some of the work would be done better but I also believe some of the work would be done worse.
In any case, to each their own of course but I'm happy I'm learning more and more about this van, and I'm happy to hear that people can enjoy these vehicles even if they aren't super mechanically inclined, or want to do the work!

pjn_wyo wrote:
You made one side of the kinematic triangle longer at full droop by adding the shock extender. This is partially why you had such a pain assembling everything.

Ball joint spacers help with making sure you can align the vehicle with the longer springs. I have no experience using them with longer shocks.

Looking at your photos adding them in may actually make things worse for the control arm/upright/spring contact pictured.

I think you will need limiting straps if you want to keep the shock extenders. You might check with burly about his upper arms and this scenario.


I figured the shock extension would make things a little tighter, but in the end it really wasn't all that bad. Maybe it's because I have the radius rods super loose. I did have to kick the spring into place though.

Yeah, we have some spacers on the way and I hope they don't make things worse as you mention! The effect is that they lengthen the UCA, which should push the steering knuckle further away from the springs. And if there is still contact there, I will try to rotate the shock/spring combo 180. If that doesn't work, I might end up putting the spacers and removing the extenders until I can find a good way to add limiting straps. It's unfortunate... I wish it's something that would've been on my radar when I got these arms powder coated a few weeks ago...

So if you don't have experience with shock extenders, do you have a lift and do you just let the shock stop downward travel?
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T3TRIS
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

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



Oh... I just saw other photos of your rig, you have that van! Awesome stance you've created.
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- Transaxle rebuild
- 215/75-R15
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- Front end rebuild

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tjet
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 12:03 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

T3TRIS wrote:
Dang that looks sweet! Nice rig. I assume these are 930 CV axles you have for that much lift?
The numbers you're bringing up are interesting for our setup actually. Once we get our ball joint spacers, I believe the only real difference between our setups would be 40mm shock spacers and a "second set" of ball joint spacers. My understanding is that the Burley UCA ≈ stock UCA + ball joint spacers (at least for overall length).
Did you happen to run this setup without the 40mm spacers, and if so with or without shock extenders?


Yes. I had a shop do the work because I didn't want to deal with all the rusted fasteners. When I picked it up, they said they were unable to fit the 40mm spacers Crying or Very sad . They said the van kept lifting off the rack and tried to chain it down. I ended up putting the spacers in myself a few weeks later (they did however fit the upper ball joint spacers & shock extenders).

Here's a pick when it was on 2" springs only & 235/70R15's. It was a lot lower than it's current configuration. Burley 930 axles front & rear, VC 15x7 SA rims.

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/gallery/pix/1630061.jpg

One of the best mods I've seen is vwhammer's raised upper ball joints. I would rather do that than the spacer.

This pic below I had the 40mm spacers, stock springs, stocks a-arms, stock axles, & 215/75R15 BFG's on Passat 15x6 rims

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/gallery/pix/1996072.jpg

Currently with 31x10.5R15's, 2" springs, 40mm spacers. Notice the axle angle. Rear wheels are 15x10, fronts are 15x7. 15x8's are in the works right now.

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/gallery/pix/2028265.jpg
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T3TRIS
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 12:53 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

tjet wrote:
Yes. I had a shop do the work because I didn't want to deal with all the rusted fasteners. When I picked it up, they said they were unable to fit the 40mm spacers Crying or Very sad . They said the van kept lifting off the rack and tried to chain it down. I ended up putting the spacers in myself a few weeks later (they did however fit the upper ball joint spacers & shock extenders).

Here's a pick when it was on 2" springs only & 235/70R15's. It was a lot lower than it's current configuration. Burley 930 axles front & rear, VC 15x7 SA rims.

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/gallery/pix/1630061.jpg

One of the best mods I've seen is vwhammer's raised upper ball joints. I would rather do that than the spacer.

This pic below I had the 40mm spacers, stock springs, stocks a-arms, stock axles, & 215/75R15 BFG's on Passat 15x6 rims

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/gallery/pix/1996072.jpg

Currently with 31x10.5R15's, 2" springs, 40mm spacers. Notice the axle angle. Rear wheels are 15x10, fronts are 15x7. 15x8's are in the works right now.

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/gallery/pix/2028265.jpg


Well, itís quite the rig!

Iím actually having a bit of a similar problem with the van lifting off of the jacks when trying to sit the jacks. Made me wonder about how darn high this thing will sit once itís on the ground, and how stiff itíll drive!
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1987 Syncro GL converted to poptop
- 1994 Subaru EJ22
- Transaxle rebuild
- 215/75-R15
- Mexico paint job
- Front end rebuild

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tjet
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 1:21 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

Thanks.

BTW, the springs will settle in 3-4 weeks.
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vandroid
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 7:38 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

vandroid wrote:
Threads like this one really remind me how much I enjoy paying our mechanic. Did any of these parts that you have purchased come with instructions?


Ha... I can see how nice that would be. To be perfectly honest, I didn't plan on doing so much mechanical stuff when we first got the van. Never wanted to be a mechanic, nor did I really know anything about the topic before. However there is no way in hell we could have afforded the amount of work we've done on this van through a mechanic. Nor would that work be so customized. Certainly some of the work would be done better but I also believe some of the work would be done worse.
In any case, to each their own of course but I'm happy I'm learning more and more about this van, and I'm happy to hear that people can enjoy these vehicles even if they aren't super mechanically inclined, or want to do the work!

I can respect that. I am probably rare, not only do I pay for most of the work, but also have been blessed with a wife that loves to wear the overalls so to speak. I assist her when she needs it and I'm available. Since purchasing another van late last year, she has started to buy tools. Man, those are as expensive as the parts they are installing. She starting talking about a lift for the barn and that was when I put my foot down. It should arrive within a week. 🤣
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:52 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

Here's a couple pics. My suspension is at full travel (I have a jack under it & tire if off the ground) Note: the rubber boot on the ball joint does come in contact with the spring (only at full extension). I don't think the upper control arm would clear the spring without the ball joint spacer.

The backspace on my current wheels is 4.25" with 26mm adapters factored in. 15x7 SA steel rims, & 31x10.5R15 tires.

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

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

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

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 1:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

tjet wrote:
Here's a couple pics. My suspension is at full travel (I have a jack under it & tire if off the ground) Note: the rubber boot on the ball joint does come in contact with the spring (only at full extension). I don't think the upper control arm would clear the spring without the ball joint spacer.

The backspace on my current wheels is 4.25" with 26mm adapters factored in. 15x7 SA steel rims, & 31x10.5R15 tires.


Thanks for sharing that, it looks quite tight in there! I do hope spacers help but Iím not very optimistic about it right now. I donít have the spacers yet, however I installed the UBJ with longer bolts to kind of emulate the spacer and it still makes contact at virtually the same extension (with camber adjusted all the way outward).

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

I think Iíll try clocking the spring/strut 180 and see if the steering knuckle fits in between the coils but Iím guessing I might have to remove the front shock extension, at least until I find a way to make some limiting straps.
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- 1994 Subaru EJ22
- Transaxle rebuild
- 215/75-R15
- Mexico paint job
- Front end rebuild

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valvecovergasket
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 9:20 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

i think youre really setting yourself up for trouble without limiting the droop there.

maybe i missed it earlier in the thread but - why did you feel there was a need to extend the shocks from the get go?

lifting IFS setups is complicated enough and the tradeoffs are numerous, youre probably better off sticking to the "known" combo of parts
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 11:41 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

valvecovergasket wrote:
i think youre really setting yourself up for trouble without limiting the droop there.

maybe i missed it earlier in the thread but - why did you feel there was a need to extend the shocks from the get go?

lifting IFS setups is complicated enough and the tradeoffs are numerous, youre probably better off sticking to the "known" combo of parts


That's what I'm coming to terms with. I fought these springs/shocks for a while now, tried rotating them 180 (which helped with steering knuckle clearance but then the UCA hits the spring), emulated ball joint spacers, considered shortening the extenders, etc. I ended up just removing them.
However I now see how much downward travel they would allow and it would be amazing to make them work! I think it's impossible without limiting straps though (especially to save CV joints and even lower ball joints), as you hint.

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

This is all a learning curve and I've learned a lot spending hours and hours inside those wheel wells. I don't want to go back into them though, not for a little while Razz Especially since I've removed and reinstalled these springs/shocks maybe 6 or 8 times over the past few days. I thought I was getting good at it, without even needing to remove the front seats. It turns out it is significantly easier to thread the upper shaft of the shock through the little hole with the extenders attached. You can guide the shaft through by pushing on the shock when the spring is not fully seated, then put a nut on the end and use a 17mm closed wrench to push or pull on the shaft while prying upward under the nut with a small pry bar. The little metal sleeve would pop right out. Without the extender, it's another story! I was able to get the driver side in without too much trouble, but it was harder. I'm glad I didn't have to remove the front seat as we have a subwoofer there. Not that hard, just more and more to dismantle to guide the shock. The passenger side was hell!! I worked on it last night from about 11pm until almost 3am. I could not, get it to line up with hole and when I decided to do it the "right way," I took the passenger seat and swivel off only to find that the swivel base that is welded to the body has no access hole!! I fought that shock with dozens of attempts to push the shock into place, with small tubing to guide it, pushing, pulling, prying, using wood blocks, clamps! What finally did it was using a spring compressor placed directly in line with the direction the shock shaft needed to move. Then I put a pry bar between the shock and the flat surface of the spring compressor clamp. It allowed me to line shaft with the hole. Using one hand on the pry bar and one hand on the jack, I was able to get the threads to pop out. Then I threaded a nut and started doing the same thing as on the other side but I had to use a pry bar on spring too in order to not destroy the threads and a little pry bar under the nut to pull the shock shaft upward. Still, it was incredibly tough. I was able to slide the metal sleeve from the old shock upper bushing so that when the shaft was lined up with the hole, the sleeve would fall into the hole and help keep the shaft alined. Don't want to have to do that again! Only when I looked around the under part of the van a little more did I wonder if tightening the radius rod would've helped (pulling the LCA forward, making the shock sit more vertically under the hole). Lots of lessons for sure!

As far as the "need" for shock extenders, I was convinced that their benefits were worth it, especially since it seems like rear extenders are somewhat common. I just didn't realize how much it would take to make them work and I didn't understand suspension geometry enough, at the time, to see that the steering knuckle binding on the spring was because the extenders were allowing for waaaaay too much downward travel without something to limit them. There is a happy medium somewhere in there where downward travel gets close to CV angles maximum values and everything still clears. Keeping those front wheels on the ground would greatly improve traction especially without front lockers or LSD. Anyhow, these extenders are now in the wish pile until I can give them more time.
Now it's time to repack the front CV joints (including the inner 944), put them back onto the van, swap inner tie rods, install the new tie rod ends, put the brakes and wheels back together and do some DIY alignments!
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1987 Syncro GL converted to poptop
- 1994 Subaru EJ22
- Transaxle rebuild
- 215/75-R15
- Mexico paint job
- Front end rebuild

Fun off-roading
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 2:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

Probably too late at this point, but I'd be looking at coil over springs and shocks. I use HyperCoil. https://www.hypercoils.com/coil-over-springs/

You could also go to Penske, and have custom coilovers made that would be the correct length and valving.

It adds up quick though. https://www.penskeshocks.com/off-road/

Since you've already invested your money, I would feel fine adding droop limiters. It saves the shocks and can prevent your binding problems.

It's not uncommon to have parts from different suppliers to not play well together. We see it all the time. Even when the parts come as a complete package from one supplier.

Most people probably wouldn't have noticed the interference. You seem very methodical from your posts. So, I'm not surprised you caught it.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 3:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

MarkWard wrote:
Probably too late at this point, but I'd be looking at coil over springs and shocks. I use HyperCoil. https://www.hypercoils.com/coil-over-springs/

You could also go to Penske, and have custom coilovers made that would be the correct length and valving.

It adds up quick though. https://www.penskeshocks.com/off-road/

Since you've already invested your money, I would feel fine adding droop limiters. It saves the shocks and can prevent your binding problems.

It's not uncommon to have parts from different suppliers to not play well together. We see it all the time. Even when the parts come as a complete package from one supplier.

Most people probably wouldn't have noticed the interference. You seem very methodical from your posts. So, I'm not surprised you caught it.


Thanks! I do like to try and understand how things function, especially when Iím working with them.

Iím sure it wouldíve been great to get all custom springs and shocks but weíre also not necessarily building an off-road monster. However, if someone can afford it, whether they use it fully or not, have at it!

I think weíll be happy with the Schwenk and Old Man Emu shock combo (which many say should work fine). Plenty of people seem to be happy with that combo, it would seem though itís only word of mouth. Steve has been very helpful about this too, without even me asking for help (some post on Facebook)!

When I installed them with the extender, I was amazed at the full extension of the lifted Schwenk shock and OME shock, going beyond suspension geometry of course, with the shock only starting to pop out of place at the very end. When I installed them without the extender, the Schwenk lifted spring is about 2.5 to 3Ē compressed at full extension (thatís an estimate). Apparently thatís what people do, plenty of people seem happy that way and donít see their shocks fail. I feel like thatís a lot of pressure on the shock and a missed opportunity for more travel. But yeah, gotta make sure CV joint angles and clearances are dealt with with spacers and limiting straps.
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1987 Syncro GL converted to poptop
- 1994 Subaru EJ22
- Transaxle rebuild
- 215/75-R15
- Mexico paint job
- Front end rebuild

Fun off-roading
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 6:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

I wonder if it's possible to extend the top of the upright. It seems to me, that would be better than the block to move the ball joint down.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 6:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

You could do that really easily with a spacer with a hole down the middle tapped to the thread pitch of the ball joint. Only easily works if its fairly large or if you cut the ball joint threads down by half since it would engage instantly without having to pass through the strut. I think 6 threads engagement is SAE standard?

Maybe put 2 flat spots to hold it? Screw it on to the ball joint, then use a bolt through the strut into the spacer.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 6:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

If you move the top out, you may not have enough camber adjustment. Confused
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2021 11:39 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

Regarding the previous comments: I do like the spacer idea to move the actual ball joint upward instead of the ball joint spacer! I was able to hit the camber tolerance without the need of a ball joint spacer, though that was before everything settled.

I worked double time on getting this buttoned up and haven't taken the time to update here because I have another thread trying to figure out why our front wheel hubs got so hot after the first miles on the front end rebuild. So far it seems like it was because of the grease that I added to the outside of each wheel bearing, which is unnecessary on syncro front wheel bearings (I have no idea for 2WD). It could have been brake drag but that's somewhat doubtful. The theory behind the grease is that it created pressure on the plastic sealing part of the wheel bearing when the parts were pressed together. Here are images of the bearing that I now took apart... again. Anyhow, I'll be chasing down this issue, but in the meantime I can tell you that the front end performed well before I realized the bearing issue!

I was working late nights because we were invited by our local group of Land Rovers to do a day trip of off-roading. Here's what it looked like before we headed out.

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

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

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

I was able to do a rough alignment the night before, at least getting the numbers within tolerance except for toe angle. I made the wheels parallel before I realized that with a Syncro, you have to be "toe out" somewhat and the value of that angle is dependent on the distance from axle stub to fender lip (there's a handy chart on the Bentley). The tolerances on toe angles are really tight and with our lift, we are supposed to be 0.4ļ toe out, which I'm pretty sure I didn't hit. However the manuals also claim putting some miles on components before re-doing an alignment so I'll keep driving it and adjusting. It did drive straight, it just "searched" a little.

Speaking of lift, our front end was at 20.5"/20.75" from axle nut to fender lip before putting a single mile on the rebuild. When we returned after driving 120/140 miles, including lots of serious off-roading, we were sitting between 19.75" and 20" (the tire side wall pushes the tape measure out a little but it's under 20"). Our front clearance is 11.5" to the skid plates, our rear was still at about 9'5" to the Small Car oil pan, which I'm not too happy with.

So last minute before the off-roading trip, I decided to add a spacer to our rear springs (I already had two 1" spacers). It was about 10pm when I decided to do that but figured that after rebuilding the front end, adding spacers to the rear would be easy peasy! I had just received the rear shock spacers from T3 Technique too. I know people build their own but I'm not at that level of fabrication yet... but these things are nice!!!

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

Anyhow, I crawl under the van and notice right away that our rear driver side inner CV boot is completely ripped! We had those replaced a few years ago when we installed 944 CV joints and I had ordered these Rockford boots, there's probably 15K miles on them, max. There is no grease splatter anywhere so I wonder if they just ripped while the rear wheels were hanging off of the jacks for a few months! So here we are, 10pm the night before off-roading, replacing CV boots. Fortunately I had a could laying around, Rockford again, except this time they are 4 pleats instead of 3... I hadn't even realized versions were available. Anyhow, it looked like that boot had dried up and just ripped in place.

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

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

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

And here I am now, contemplating adding even more height to the back of the van... I'm getting pretty good at these CV-Vanagon-right-of-passage-rebuilds and so is Jennifer (she's the one who often reassembles the puzzles), so figured we'd still try the lift. Placing a spacer was easy compared to the front. I compressed the rear spring with the jack and wrapped the spring a dozen times with some webbing (tying a not, not using the clasp/clip/ratchet), removed the shock, dropped the trailing arm, fitted the spacer, threaded the spring back on and done. Then I had to do a little drilling and cleaning to install the shock spacer but that was straight forward too. When the van was back on the ground, our rear was sitting at 21" axle/fender (before and after driving) and the oil pan was now 10.5" off the ground. Next step for clearance will be bigger wheels (which we hope we can make happen without much change in wheel weight using our recently acquired lighter CLK wheels).

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

For both the front and rear, I reassembled everything and put the wheels back on. With the van off the ground and supported by floor jacks, I spun each wheel slowly to "feel" if there was any sort of binding in the CV joints with the more aggressive axle/fender dimensions and full extension. I didn't feel anything.
By the way, I was pleased to notice that full extension on our rear lifted Schwenk springs matched full extension on the rear shock. Adding the 1" spacer to the rear spring and the rear shock extender didn't seem to change that detail, so I assume we gained some good downward travel on the rear (which is what I was trying to do on the front too but that'll require some limiting device).

The van performed incredibly well both on and off the road. On the road, the new bushings noticeably reduced road noise and vibrations, made the van feel both tighter and more comfortable. The new shocks/springs also felt strong and tight with less droop when cornering. It was a clear difference that even easily noticed from the passenger seat. Off-road, we feel like our little camper is a beast. We know there are tons of super-built Syncros out there, but dang this thing can go, especially when you add the word "camper" to describe our vehicle!!! Every time we take this thing off the road, we are reminded of how fun it is and it makes all of our mechanical aches disappear. It makes us look forward to the camping spots we can now reach and it makes us wonder how we can get most of our 2WD van friends join on some of these trips.
We only did trails rated up to "moderate" though some sections felt tougher than that. Everywhere the Land Rovers went, we followed which was sometimes challenging just because our wheel diameters are significantly smaller, and approach/departure angles aren't as advantageous. We drove through trails that a hightop wouldn't have been able to go through without hitting trees. We climbed up some steep rocky trails that, if it wasn't for other people guiding us, we would've never attempted (video never do these things justice but here's a Rover climbing right after us, scroll to the 3rd image/video to see the section that took us a few attempts, getting our smaller wheels over some these rocks just broke our momentum). We made full use of the added clearance and did some tap tests of front bash plate! We helped bail a Razor that had tumbled off the forest road.
The other Land Rover drivers of the group were very impressed with the Syncro, and so were we. The seemingly more experienced dude in the group used to own a couple 2WD Vanagons in the past and was thrilled to finally see a Syncro and what they can do (which I assume is even more than what we throw at it)... One of the best part of all this though, is passing other people on these off-roading trails (we were at Brown's Camp, outside of Portland, OR). There were quite a few people out there that day and they are used to seeing tons of massively built trucks, off-roading and 4x4 vehicles, ATV's, side-by-side's, dirt bikes, Jeep groups, Toyota groups, you name it. They would look at the Rovers go by and wave high. Then in the middle of the Rover group, they'd see this old VW Vanagon working these trails and you could just see the genuine surprise and overall happiness that the sight would give them.

What a fun day it was and we are super thankful for the community here that allows us to keep this thing running and giving use more smiles-per-gallon than we could have wished for!

Alright, now I have to replace front bearings again Razz
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Guillaume and Jennifer

T3TRIS

1987 Syncro GL converted to poptop
- 1994 Subaru EJ22
- Transaxle rebuild
- 215/75-R15
- Mexico paint job
- Front end rebuild

Fun off-roading
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4Gears4Tires
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2021 12:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

That is a legitimately steep hill. Video never does the steepness justice. That looks like some pretty good off roading.
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'87 Syncro
Ferric Oxyhydroxide Superleggera Edition
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T3TRIS
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2021 12:37 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

4Gears4Tires wrote:
That is a legitimately steep hill. Video never does the steepness justice. That looks like some pretty good off roading.


Never does it justice indeed!

I forgot to update here that the issue with our hot lug nuts mentioned earlier was because I completely overpacked the Syncro front wheel bearings with grease when installing them, which is unnecessary since the bearings are sealed. Waaaaaaaaaaaaay too much grease here (you basically shouldn't put any, or just use it lube the outer seal).

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

My best guess as to why it created the issue is that the grease got pushed around when the wheel hub was pressed in. That grease proceeded to lift the outer bearing seal upward which met the wheel hub traveling downward. Once that happened, the grease had nowhere to go, yet the hub still had to be pressed down further. The pressure inside that area made it so that the grease couldn't escape upward (between the seal and the wheel hub), so it proceeded to push the plastic bearing cage inward, putting tons of pressure on the ball bearings. This is what I believe created the excessive heat. This drawing illustrates that issue:

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

So... I ended up replacing the front wheel bearings, again, sans grease this time. Definitely faster the second time around, especially since we were going off-roading the following Saturday! The bearings on the passenger side (the side that had lots of grease, I put less on the driver side after noticing the bearing seal moving when pressing the hub) definitely looked like the grease was compromised, after 140 miles...

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

I took some measurements after the bearing swap and there was a clear drop in temperature for the bearing that was overpacked with grease, compared to no grease.

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


Anyhow, don't add grease to your Syncro front wheel bearings!!!

The new-new bearings performed great otherwise! We had an issue on the first trip with some rattling coming from the front left wheel area but couldn't figure it out. During the bearing replacement, I noticed that our front left upper control arm had come loose, definitely the rattling problem! On the second trip, that nut came loose again despite tightening it quite a bit. I was able to to snug it up even more on the trail and it seems like it held but I have a couple more on order.

Here's a little bit of footage of the second trip. It was fun to re-do trails that we had done this past summer but with a couple inches of snow. The Syncro performed admirably again!

We did all of the trails that our friend captured in this video:

Link

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Guillaume and Jennifer

T3TRIS

1987 Syncro GL converted to poptop
- 1994 Subaru EJ22
- Transaxle rebuild
- 215/75-R15
- Mexico paint job
- Front end rebuild

Fun off-roading
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2021 8:06 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

I noticed in another thread of yours that one of the upper control arm bolts was loosening on the trail. You may want to check that your poly setup is not "dragging".l It could be that the up and down movement might be loosening the nut. Its a crimp nut, so it could be tired, but just be sure. When that bolt comes loose, your camber also changes.
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1982 Vanagon Camper with ALH TDI.
1990 Vanagon Camper Syncro.
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