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Suspension recommendations
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D78Q85V87
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:22 pm    Post subject: Suspension recommendations Reply with quote

Hello All,
The time has come when the springs are creaky, the van's abouncin' on even the smallest of road imperfections. I own a 87 wolfsburg weekender and would appreciate some advice on replacing the suspension to get it back to stock. Are there any other things I should replace while doing the suspension?? Thank you for all of your help.
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shagginwagon83
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Suspension recommendations Reply with quote

How old is the suspension? Original? You probably need new bushings, shocks, springs, and maybe ball joints.

You may have some life on some parts left - but in my opinion take it all apart and do it once.

The only 'sure' thing I can recommend is Moog branded upper ball joints and lower ball joints.

You have a variety of types of bushings and brands. The most common used here is Powerflex Urethane bushings.

Are you on pavement 95% of the time? When you do go offroad its not for long?
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Love My Westy
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Suspension recommendations Reply with quote

If you don't have one already, I recommend a heavy duty sway bar such as an Adco, or T3 Techniques. You'll wonder why you didn't add one sooner.
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Steve M.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Suspension recommendations Reply with quote

Recommend T3 Techniques for the suspension bushings in polyurethane.
Yes it is an expense, but if you equate your time to money the time saved putting them in will balance it all out.
Installing 2-piece bushings just that much easier.
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D78Q85V87
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:46 pm    Post subject: Re: Suspension recommendations Reply with quote

shagginwagon83 wrote:
How old is the suspension? Original? You probably need new bushings, shocks, springs, and maybe ball joints.

You may have some life on some parts left - but in my opinion take it all apart and do it once.

The only 'sure' thing I can recommend is Moog branded upper ball joints and lower ball joints.

You have a variety of types of bushings and brands. The most common used here is Powerflex Urethane bushings.

Are you on pavement 95% of the time? When you do go offroad its not for long?


Yes all is original as far as I am aware. I am on pavement probably 80-95% of the time. But yes when I am off road I am not offloading for long.

I was thinking the same thing: take it all apart and do it once, but this would be the biggest project I have done on the van so far and so I wanted to get more information and such.

Thank you for your help!
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D78Q85V87
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Suspension recommendations Reply with quote

Love My Westy wrote:
If you don't have one already, I recommend a heavy duty sway bar such as an Adco, or T3 Techniques. You'll wonder why you didn't add one sooner.


Dully noted! Putting it on my parts list now! What does it help? or how does it change the ride of the van?
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D78Q85V87
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Suspension recommendations Reply with quote

Steve M. wrote:
Recommend T3 Techniques for the suspension bushings in polyurethane.
Yes it is an expense, but if you equate your time to money the time saved putting them in will balance it all out.
Installing 2-piece bushings just that much easier.


sounds good putting it on the parts list now! Is there anything else I should know about this product aside from the ease of installation, that sets it above others available?
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mikemtnbike
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 5:38 am    Post subject: Re: Suspension recommendations Reply with quote

Materials quality. Excellent customer service. Supporting a small business owner who generously contributes his expertise to this forum at no charge.

Materials quality has multiple definitions- first, they're well made and fit right. Secondly, the polyurethane is supposed to do a match better job of dampening noise, vibration, small bumps, etc.

To be clear, I've only gotten CLK hardware from Chris/ T3 but all new front end hardware will be installed this year, purchased from him. I have put powerflex radius rod bushings on from VanCafe (they had a sale) and was really impressed with quality/materials. And I don't think ~600 bucks for a high end full kit of bushings etc is expensive at all- actually very affordable.
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shagginwagon83
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 6:17 am    Post subject: Re: Suspension recommendations Reply with quote

I too bought a lot of hardware from Chris at T3 Technique. I would highly recommend talking with him if you are serious about this suspension rebuild.

I tackled this job last spring. I went overkill on the under body restoration. I luckily ran into only 2-4 seized bolts.

Because of that - I bought all new bolts/hardware from Chris. The fact that I don't have to worry about finding the correct bolt size/length AND good quality was a no brainer for me.

Here's my thread on my rebuild. Again - I went overkill on some things but I broke down how many hours it took me to do some jobs - such as disassembly.

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=8856510

The bigger T3 sway bar will help the handling of your van. It's on my to do list and I regret refreshing my stock sway bar.

Anyway - after a refreshed suspension, 16" wheels, it rides great - and I don't get thrown around when a semi passes by
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llilibel03
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:13 am    Post subject: Re: Suspension recommendations Reply with quote

Don't mean to hijack the thread but I figure it's relevant...

I put in rear spring spacers a while back to correct "Westy Sag". The bottom spacers were completely consumed...and I mean completely. I did not have any replacements on hand so I put everything back together with no pad under the rear springs. I put some grease in the indentation/recess where the spring sits, thinking it would at least prevent it from screeching, metal on metal. In fact I heard no sounds...I've been driving like that for months.

Yesterday I installed some hdpe cutting board under the springs. It was only 1/4" but since it bridges the indent/recess I think it lifted the van more like 3/8"-1/2". I'm a little concerned about the spring being able to jump out/over the "perch"? It was a question asked a couple times on this thread but not answered- https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=...p;start=20


But my current question is this- I noticed where I put the grease had collected sand and debris from the few dirt roads I've driven since.

So, is the grease counterproductive? Accelerating wear rather than preventing it? I put a little grease around the perch since that is the only place where there could now be metal on metal.
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Steve M.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:55 am    Post subject: Re: Suspension recommendations Reply with quote

llilibel03 wrote:
Don't mean to hijack the thread but I figure it's relevant...

I put in rear spring spacers a while back to correct "Westy Sag". The bottom spacers were completely consumed...and I mean completely. I did not have any replacements on hand so I put everything back together with no pad under the rear springs. I put some grease in the indentation/recess where the spring sits, thinking it would at least prevent it from screeching, metal on metal. In fact I heard no sounds...I've been driving like that for months.

Yesterday I installed some hdpe cutting board under the springs. It was only 1/4" but since it bridges the indent/recess I think it lifted the van more like 3/8"-1/2". I'm a little concerned about the spring being able to jump out/over the "perch"? It was a question asked a couple times on this thread but not answered- https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=...p;start=20


Well the hard board material will not seal like the rubber did to keep out the road grim, but that is what it is.
However, you could try getting a paint-stripper heat gun blowing on the cutting board to just warm it up enough so that it will deform to take the shape of the end of the coil will get you the fit.
However, you need to do some testing to see how much heat and maybe in the whole idea of doing this drop the trailing arm to get the force of the spring off the cutting board so that when you do heat it up it does not squeeze completely so you can keep the uniform thickness.
I would also disconnect the shock to get full travel available to get an open air space under the coil end-heat it and then jack it up a little to forced the shape into it, but not high enough to squeeze the thickness out of it.

After it is shaped to fit drop it out again. Remove it and get some good sealant like 3M 4200 or 5200(permanent) to seal it afrom sand getting in under it.
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D78Q85V87
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 1:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Suspension recommendations Reply with quote

I will definitely check out T3. What shocks/struts and springs would you all recommend? I would obviously love to go with fox, but I don't have the money and don't feel like I do enough off roading to justify it. If i had a syncro I wouldn't think twice. But for my weekender, I feel like just getting her back to stock or better (without any crazy mods) would be ideal.

Also thank you for all of your advice it has been hugely helpful!
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 2:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Suspension recommendations Reply with quote

D78Q85V87 wrote:
I will definitely check out T3. What shocks/struts and springs would you all recommend?


I like the HD Bilsteins, but many believe that they're too soft.
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E1
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 2:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Suspension recommendations Reply with quote

We had the HD Bilsteins with the GW lift springs in our old van. The springs sagged around 2" in the first month, and driving was like being atop pogo sticks.

We put Schwenk springs and Konis on our new van and they are both fantastic. We are at about 16" now, without any spacers, and the rebound feel on rough bits is fabulous. Night and day compared to the other setup.
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D78Q85V87
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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 6:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Suspension recommendations Reply with quote

E1 wrote:
We put Schwenk springs and Konis on our new van and they are both fantastic. We are at about 16" now, without any spacers, and the rebound feel on rough bits is fabulous. Night and day compared to the other setup.


Yeah I am looking at the Konis now. they are middle of the road price wise, you can adjust their stiffness, and I keep hearing that people have really liked them.
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a2wolfsburggli
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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 4:59 am    Post subject: Re: Suspension recommendations Reply with quote

D78Q85V87 wrote:

Yeah I am looking at the Konis now. they are middle of the road price wise, you can adjust their stiffness, and I keep hearing that people have really liked them.


I recently went through the same dilemma of what suspension (shocks mainly to start with,) to put on my 87 full camper.

In the end I went with the Koni fronts and the Gabriel Hi-Jackers in the rear. Couldn't be happier.

I have the Koni's one turn from full stiff, I may stiffen them a half turn. I run about 50psi in the Gabriel's when not loaded. Gives the rear an ever so slight lift vs the front.
I'll be loading up for a 5 day camping trip over Memorial day weekend so we'll see where I need to be to level out next week. I bought the extra air line kit so I can independently add or remove psi to each rear shock bladder.

I'm keeping the stock springs, bushings etc for now and wanted to just get the camper safe on the road for this camping season. (I quite literally almost got blown off the road in a crosswind earlier this spring.) I'll do the bushing and potentially a swaybar over this coming winter. The parts will certainly be sourced from T3.

Here is my rambling suspension thread that started with Rancho's and ended with the setup above.

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=716502
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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 12:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Suspension recommendations Reply with quote

digressive valving is the best thing going for shock absorbers (aside from electronic control in new cars)

you can send in Bilsteins and they will do this for you - not sure re Konis

gowesty claims that some of the Bilsteins they sell are digressively valved
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D78Q85V87
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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 10:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Suspension recommendations Reply with quote

Merian wrote:
digressive valving is the best thing going for shock absorbers (aside from electronic control in new cars)


What do you mean by digressive valving?
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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 10:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Suspension recommendations Reply with quote

the shock "distinguishes" a bump from say a pothole from body roll (based on the speed of the jounce/rebound)

best to plug it into Google and then look for the youtube video on it...

it allows you to have stiff shocks yet greater comfort too
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whereiwannabe
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2020 8:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Suspension recommendations Reply with quote

[quote="a2wolfsburggli"]
D78Q85V87 wrote:


In the end I went with the Koni fronts and the Gabriel Hi-Jackers in the rear. Couldn't be happier.

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=716502


Kermit, my recently acquired 2WD Westy Weekender's rearend is riding about 1" lower than the frontend (18" versus 19"). It has GW 2" lift kit (with spacers on the rear) along with Bilsteins (unknown mileage). Tires are 205/70R16 soon to be replaced.

Kermit has a heavy engine (SVX) and 5-speed along with GW bumper, swing away spare tire carrier and tray, and bike rack.

Couple questions... 1) I looked at Gabriel's site for the 49215 Hijackers but it says fitment is for 86-89 so does anyone know if they will fit on the rear of my lifted '85? Same question applies to the Monroe MA758 (from reading multiple threads I think either will work but good to get confirmation!). 2) Are air shocks a good solution to raise up to level (gain an inch) or should I really be looking at different springs / shocks in the rear?

https://gabriel.com/product-search/light-vehicle-detailed-specs/?partnum=49215
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