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Off road modifications for your bus
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roland
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PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2017 12:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Off road modifications for your bus Reply with quote

hey thanks guys!! I had to change these tires for all terrains though. Way better for a daily driver.

So it now has 235/75/15 on the back and 215/75/15 on the front. Stock split steelies all around. I believe the rear has been raised one click before i got the bus...


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Grandpa_Ronny
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:37 am    Post subject: Re: Off road modifications for your bus Reply with quote

It is time for me to get new tires and shocks and it looks like the "Grabber" comes highly recommended.

https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=...p;i1_Qty=5

Can I mount them to the stock 14" rim?

My other idea is to run BFG ALL-TERRAIN T/A KO2
LT215/75R15 or maybe the 215/70/R16.

https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=...p;i1_Qty=5

Anyone know if I need to lift my 77 stock westy to get them on? Links to parts would be awesome!

Can anyone recommend the best way to beef up the suspension? What shocks, lift kit, trailing arms, etc...? I am not looking to go crazy. I live near the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho and there are some pretty gnarly roads (lots of sharp rocks, ruts and wash boards) I navigate regularly. It is time for me to replace my tries and suspension anyway so I might as well upgrade if possible. Could really use some solid advice and links to parts Smile

Lastly I am looking to be able to monitor my head temps and install an additional oil cooler. Can I mount any full flow oil cooler? Does it replace the stock cooler or is it in addition to? I am guessing the way to go on the head temp is the VDO gauge with sending unit that goes on the spark plug. I understand that they may not be the most accurate but I figure something is better than nothing... Thought? Advice? Links?
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Alan Brase
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Off road modifications for your bus Reply with quote

I would caution to be careful getting much larger tires unless you have a monster motor. You might find you cannot pull 4th gear. Bigger tires might give better off road manners, with a longer foot print have more traction plus a little less likely to get tripped. Airing down in rough stuff is better too, better get an on board compressor for the road home.
Al
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Off road modifications for your bus Reply with quote

I can tell you that the 14 inch Grabber AT2s will fit fine on a stock rim and stock-height bus.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Off road modifications for your bus Reply with quote

Bump

jordanlbaker wrote:
It is time for me to get new tires and shocks and it looks like the "Grabber" comes highly recommended.

https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=...p;i1_Qty=5

Can I mount them to the stock 14" rim?

My other idea is to run BFG ALL-TERRAIN T/A KO2
LT215/75R15 or maybe the 215/70/R16.

https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=...p;i1_Qty=5

Anyone know if I need to lift my 77 stock westy to get them on? Links to parts would be awesome!

Can anyone recommend the best way to beef up the suspension? What shocks, lift kit, trailing arms, etc...? I am not looking to go crazy. I live near the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho and there are some pretty gnarly roads (lots of sharp rocks, ruts and wash boards) I navigate regularly. It is time for me to replace my tries and suspension anyway so I might as well upgrade if possible. Could really use some solid advice and links to parts Smile

Lastly I am looking to be able to monitor my head temps and install an additional oil cooler. Can I mount any full flow oil cooler? Does it replace the stock cooler or is it in addition to? I am guessing the way to go on the head temp is the VDO gauge with sending unit that goes on the spark plug. I understand that they may not be the most accurate but I figure something is better than nothing... Thought? Advice? Links?

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Grandpa_Ronny
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Off road modifications for your bus Reply with quote

Got a set on the way! thanks!!

vwwestyman wrote:
I can tell you that the 14 inch Grabber AT2s will fit fine on a stock rim and stock-height bus.

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TDCTDI
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Off road modifications for your bus Reply with quote

Bilsteins!

They have a tendency to raise a vehicle 1"-1.5" just because the high pressure gas gives them their own spring rate.
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Grandpa_Ronny
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Off road modifications for your bus Reply with quote

I got the General Tire "Gabbers"

https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=...R4GRAT2OWL

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I did notice the engine was working a little harder to spin these tires and my stoping distance increased. The bus does feel smother and more stable on the road.


Still looking for options for an additional oil cooler, a way to monitor head temp, recommendations for beefing up the braking system and a better gear ratio/transaxle. Anyone out there want to chime in I am all ears, links are good too!
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 11:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Off road modifications for your bus Reply with quote

Tire wear is uneven. Hope you got an alignment?
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:57 am    Post subject: Re: Off road modifications for your bus Reply with quote

Tcash wrote:
Tire wear is uneven. Hope you got an alignment?
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I think my entire front end needs an overhaul! cant get grease into most the zerks, the shocks are pretty beat up, the ball joints are pretty banged up and boots are toast. Don't have the cash to rebuild it yet and I am pretty sure I will need to to get an alignment. Thought? Can an aliment be done on a tired front end? How does everyone feel about the blistein shocks? I was looking at the Koni from bus depot

http://www.busdepot.com/802110

or

http://www.busdepot.com/211413031phd

How about recommendations/links for ball joints, spindles, tie rod maybe a full kit? This bus will be driven on some rough stuff so I want to make sure I get parts that will last. I am also looking to beef up the breaks there are tons of long steep roads around here and not to mention all the wildlife darting out onto the road. Recommendations and links would be great.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 10:48 am    Post subject: Re: Off road modifications for your bus Reply with quote

^What front tire mount do you have on there? Doesn't seem to be sitting against the nose. Got a picture with the tire removed?
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 11:54 am    Post subject: Re: Off road modifications for your bus Reply with quote

Grandpa_Ronny wrote:
Tcash wrote:
Tire wear is uneven. Hope you got an alignment?
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I think my entire front end needs an overhaul! cant get grease into most the zerks, the shocks are pretty beat up, the ball joints are pretty banged up and boots are toast. Don't have the cash to rebuild it yet and I am pretty sure I will need to to get an alignment. Thought? Can an aliment be done on a tired front end? How does everyone feel about the blistein shocks? I was looking at the Koni from bus depot

http://www.busdepot.com/802110

or

http://www.busdepot.com/211413031phd

How about recommendations/links for ball joints, spindles, tie rod maybe a full kit? This bus will be driven on some rough stuff so I want to make sure I get parts that will last. I am also looking to beef up the breaks there are tons of long steep roads around here and not to mention all the wildlife darting out onto the road. Recommendations and links would be great.


If you can't feel play at 3-9 and 12-6, wheel jacked up off ground, firm grip and push pull on each location, then try measuring toe-in with two meter sticks or pieces of wood. You look way toe-out based on wear of those tires.

It should be 0-3mm toe-in IIRC, but that is what the Bentley is for.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Off road modifications for your bus Reply with quote

Grandpa_Ronny wrote:
Tcash wrote:
Tire wear is uneven. Hope you got an alignment?
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I think my entire front end needs an overhaul! cant get grease into most the zerks, the shocks are pretty beat up, the ball joints are pretty banged up and boots are toast. Don't have the cash to rebuild it yet and I am pretty sure I will need to to get an alignment. Thought? Can an aliment be done on a tired front end? How does everyone feel about the blistein shocks? I was looking at the Koni from bus depot

http://www.busdepot.com/802110

or

http://www.busdepot.com/211413031phd

How about recommendations/links for ball joints, spindles, tie rod maybe a full kit? This bus will be driven on some rough stuff so I want to make sure I get parts that will last. I am also looking to beef up the breaks there are tons of long steep roads around here and not to mention all the wildlife darting out onto the road. Recommendations and links would be great.

My favorite alignment shop like to schedule appoitment for a CHECK PARTS VISIT first. They don't charge for this. No, you can't do much alignment with badly worn parts.
I would not like to take out good original German parts and put in PASTE that will only last 20k miles, either, tho.
WRT shocks: Bilstein are the best for racing. (Of course, there are others.) They even have a race shop where they will take your Bilsteins apart and re-valve them.
Konis are very good quality. They can be taken apart and rebuilt. (do you care?) Also adjustable. This might be a good idea.
Sachs/ Boge: original equipment. Very good stock replacement. Some are still functioning for decades!
Bus Depot had a couple other German aftermarket brands.
How about you try one and tell us? I'd stick with German or Konis (Dutch).
Not fond of KYB.
Al
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Projects: 67 sunroof bug, 67 Porsche 912 Targa, 70 Westy
Dec 1955 Single Cab pickup WANT 15" BUS RIMS dated 8/55, thru 12/55
To New owners: 69 doublecab ,71 Dormobile Aug58 pressed bumper 23 window
Vanagons:
80 P27 Westy JUL 1979, 3rd oldest known US
83 1.6TD Vanagon, 87 Wolfie Westy daily driver, swap meet home


Last edited by Alan Brase on Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:08 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Off road modifications for your bus Reply with quote

Grandpa_Ronny wrote:
Can an aliment be done on a tired front end?


No. Get your entire front suspension and steering systems inspected and repaired/replaced before you put many miles on those new tires, or they will be junk in short order.

Ball joint quality has been an issue in recent years. Some are better than others, many are junk. Search for the threads about them. Tie rod ends and drag links are readily available new, but in my experience are not as good as original build quality. Not sure if there are any good steering box rebuilds available, but I have read about swapping a later bus box into the early bay bus. They are available new as I recall.

I have run stock style oil filled shocks and KYB's with decent results. Many prefer the more expensive options.
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Grandpa_Ronny
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Off road modifications for your bus Reply with quote

Went in for a alignment and as I suspected there was not much room for adjustment. They had very little information on how to solve the problem. Their statement was the "suspension had settled too far" and they could get it to specified ranges.


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I am looking for anyone that has information on some quality "off road" suspension parts, really I just need quality, the roads around here are rough and I want to make sure I do this right. Has anyone been through this before? solutions? I am wondering about if I just need to replace the entire front and rear end? There is some mickey mouse bullshit fix on the passenger rear trailing arm that needs to be done right as well (I will get photos up next time I have it in the air). Any info would be greatly appreciated.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Off road modifications for your bus Reply with quote

Go with Bilsteins, once you've had a vehicle with them, you won't have a vehicle without them. They eliminate "Porpoising" on rough roads and get rid of front end dive while braking thus shortening stopping distance & really tame the effects of crosswinds. The Bilsteins will cause more "road feel" by transmitting more of the smaller road imperfections into the chassis (pot holes, rocks, & the like) but will soak up larger things that would cause the vehicle to pitch & roll (bridge expansion joints, train track crossings).

You can get the Bilsteins for around $300 for all four special ordered through AutoZone. Let me know if you need info on how & what to order if you decide to go this route.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Off road modifications for your bus Reply with quote

Grandpa_Ronny wrote:
... was not much room for adjustment. They had very little information on how to solve the problem. Their statement was the "suspension had settled too far" and they could get it to specified ranges.
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UHHH. No. They do not understand. US cars have set screw anchors for the torsion bar adjustment, as do 911 Porsches on the front. Type 2 Vw's are different.
Look in the factory manual, It shows how to adjust the REAR torsion bars to factory camber settings.
The torsion bars have uneven numbers of splines inner and outer. You pull out the bar, turn the right number of splines and put back together. Helps to have the protractor with the bubble level.
As far as I know, one cannot buy a "new front end" and why would you want to anyway? Just fix the worn out parts. Ball joints, tie rod ends, swing arm pin, drag link. Likely not all are worn. the swing arm pin needs regular greasing.
I doubt very many owners do this.
Al
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Projects: 67 sunroof bug, 67 Porsche 912 Targa, 70 Westy
Dec 1955 Single Cab pickup WANT 15" BUS RIMS dated 8/55, thru 12/55
To New owners: 69 doublecab ,71 Dormobile Aug58 pressed bumper 23 window
Vanagons:
80 P27 Westy JUL 1979, 3rd oldest known US
83 1.6TD Vanagon, 87 Wolfie Westy daily driver, swap meet home


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Off road modifications for your bus Reply with quote

As far as I know, one cannot buy a "new front end"
The Front Beams are available from a few companies. This one popped up with a google search.
http://www.wagenswest.com/partstore/index.php/bus-suspension/1968-79-beams.html?mode=list
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Off road modifications for your bus Reply with quote

Tcash wrote:
As far as I know, one cannot buy a "new front end"
The Front Beams are available from a few companies. This one popped up with a google search.
http://www.wagenswest.com/partstore/index.php/bus-suspension/1968-79-beams.html?mode=list

Well duhh. I guess I'm wrong. Though I thought he was trying to get a vehicle that performed better off road. I think the Wagenswest caters to a different group.Steering box draggers. Not off road.
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Projects: 67 sunroof bug, 67 Porsche 912 Targa, 70 Westy
Dec 1955 Single Cab pickup WANT 15" BUS RIMS dated 8/55, thru 12/55
To New owners: 69 doublecab ,71 Dormobile Aug58 pressed bumper 23 window
Vanagons:
80 P27 Westy JUL 1979, 3rd oldest known US
83 1.6TD Vanagon, 87 Wolfie Westy daily driver, swap meet home
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Off road modifications for your bus Reply with quote

Alan Brase wrote:
Tcash wrote:
As far as I know, one cannot buy a "new front end"
The Front Beams are available from a few companies. This one popped up with a google search.
http://www.wagenswest.com/partstore/index.php/bus-suspension/1968-79-beams.html?mode=list

Well duhh. I guess I'm wrong. Though I thought he was trying to get a vehicle that performed better off road. I think the Wagenswest caters to a different group.Steering box draggers. Not off road.
Al

No you weren't wrong. Unlike a Beetle, I have not seen a complete stock front end for sale.
IIRC Wagenswest builds both lifted and lowered beams. As does other Manufacturers.
Tcash
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