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Vanagon Front End Alignment - Tips, Do's, Dont's, etc..
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vw54john
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:57 pm    Post subject: Vanagon Front End Alignment - Tips, Do's, Dont's, etc.. Reply with quote

I just did a COMPLETE front end overhaul on my van over the weekend. I replaced everything that could be replaced except my steering rack. It's about to go to my mechanic for an alignment tomorrow. It's a very well respected shop, but I don't know how well they know Vanagons. Can anyone tell me if there's anything really unique about aligning a Vanagon? Tips, Do's, Dont's, etc..
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garryv84
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did you replace your upper control arm bushings? Did you use Meyle? They will fail very quickly. Many posts on this. Mine failed after 30k. The best ones are from Powerflex USA. Make sure the van is loaded with the weight of how you normally drive it. Maybe you sit in the drivers seat or have them put weights in.

Make sure your shop has a Hunter laser alignment rack.
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Everything is unique. Take your Bently along and leave it on the seat open to the correct pages.

I brought my van in to a tire shop one time and I had to crawl into the pit with the book to show the kid what a camber adjustment was. I guess newer cars have completely different suspension and some things aren't even adjustable where Vanagons are.
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tschroeder0
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

May sound funny but the best alignment i have had...and the cheapest was at sears,who would have guessed?
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Vanagon Nut
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vw54john, thanks for posting that timely question. My '88 is going in for alignment tomorrow. Though it's a VW shop, I'd be asking about the big three: camber, castor, toe and may bring my Bentley.

Having just done UCA bushings, radius rod, etc. unless one has a crows foot and proper wrench, setting torque value on rod to lower control isn't easy to do. Ask them to check that.


Neil.
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RHMoore
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

x2 on bringing the Bentley along and leave it on the seat open to the correct pages. Don't let the shop do it their normal way, but ask them to set it to Bentley specs.

A local shop set my alignment their standard way and it chewed the front tires in 3000 miles. Tires are expensive. The next shop had Vanagon experience and told me that the first shop set everything well for a different vehicle, but not for the Vanagon.
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BillM
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am also going for an alignment tomorrow. Does putting weight
on the front seats really make a difference and what setting
does it effect the most.
My last alignment was done by the specs in the machine
and it handled terrible. I am trying a different place and
wondering if I should leave the Bentley specs with them.
Are they accurate for sure? I wish there was a good place
for me to go around here. I'd drive an hour or so to a
shop if I knew they did a good job.
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Jake de Villiers
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I (and others) get great results with the numbers I have posted on my Subaru Vanagon Alterations page, down at the bottom. I'll try to paste them here - I'm not sure the formatting will survive:

2WD Van

Front

Caster: - 80 to 85 --- + 7 degrees
- 86 to 91 --- + 6 degrees

Camber: - degree negative or - 30 (.4)

Toe: - 3/32 toe-in or -2 mm or 20 or .2

Rear

Camber: - 1 degree negative, plus or minus 1/10th of a degree

Toe: 0

These numbers make for easy steering, low bump steer and better gas mileage. I don't put any weight in the front seats.


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BillM
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I dropped it off and gave them those specs. I just got a call
it was done. I'll let everyone know how it drives after I get out
of work.
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r39o
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well good luck.

THE best alignments are done by the specialty shops.

These have been around for decades and have their ways of doing things and their methods for doing things right.

Frequently it is a one or two person shop.

These shops are hard to find and are disappearing, sadly....
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Vanagon Nut
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just dropped off my 88 to VW shop for alignment and stuff. Left them with Bentley asked them to use that. Will report back.
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50 ABA Swap in to '88 Westy: http://tinyurl.com/yap5hpwt

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https://tinyurl.com/2f24rmh

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BillM
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I picked it up and it's horrible. The van handles the
worst it ever has. I replaced everything in the front end
using powerflex and installed a set of GoWesty 2wd lift
springs. My springs were shot and I has these and figured
they would be better than nothing. I don't know if it's
the springs,the alignment or what. I do know that I am
really fed up with my Westy.
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joseph928
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:25 pm    Post subject: alingnment Reply with quote

tschroeder0 wrote:
May sound funny but the best alignment i have had...and the cheapest was at sears,who would have guessed?
Blue Bay Bus I tried sears while back they said no way won't do vw vans! Said to hell with it, got on ebay got camber and caster gauges a toe in rod and just do it myself! There is a post on this, and it works fine. Cool
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BillM
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I forgot to mention that the steering at center "bounces"
back and forth instead of coming back to center. I also
got a call from the shop telling that they did NOT
have the van pulled down to a weighted height. Despite
my giving them the info from GoWesty.
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BillM
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:29 pm    Post subject: Re: alingnment Reply with quote

joseph928 wrote:
tschroeder0 wrote:
May sound funny but the best alignment i have had...and the cheapest was at sears,who would have guessed?
Blue Bay Bus I tried sears while back they said no way won't do vw vans! Said to hell with it, got on ebay got camber and caster gauges a toe in rod and just do it myself! There is a post on this, and it works fine. Cool


Getting the tools to do it myself is next along with maybe
another set of springs. I really wanted to go away this weekend
and it looks like that may not happen now.
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insyncro
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BillM wrote:
Well I picked it up and it's horrible. The van handles the
worst it ever has. I replaced everything in the front end
using powerflex and installed a set of GoWesty 2wd lift
springs. My springs were shot and I has these and figured
they would be better than nothing. I don't know if it's
the springs,the alignment or what. I do know that I am
really fed up with my Westy.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Do you have the upper ball joint spacers installed?
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BillM
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes I do have them installed Dylan.
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jstar89crx
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is the consensus here? I am putting the 2wd GW zero lift springs on this weekend and was going to take it to an alignment shop suggested by a local european auto repair shop. I am a little leery about how I will come across bringing in my own specs and asking to have the van weighted. Are Vanagons really that different from other vehicles on the road when it comes to this? My other concern is that I am leaving shortly on a 5000 mile plus road trip so I won't know if I am having an strange wear or anything until its too late.
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BillM
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well my experience with trying to get a proper alignment
was interesting. When I got home after a white knuckle drive
I also found the pass upper control arm nut loose and the
left steering rack boot twisted to hell. I brought the van
back and with a copy of an email from GoWesty explaining
that the shop needs to weight the front end. That if they
won't go to a competent shop. The discussion got heated
and after a bit of screaming got the point across.
I picked it up and it handles much better. Not quite what
I would like but acceptable until I can find a better shop.
I do think that one of the techs could not keep their fingers
off my adjustable boost controller hanging off my turbo.
It was over boosting on the way home....
I am buying the stuff to do my own alignments and will
learn what I can. I know there will be a steep learning
curve but I am confident over time I can learn how to
fine tune my van to a happy medium between handling
and tire wear.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

google smart strings from srp (Smart Racing Products) now part of Wevo
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