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Powerflex steering rack bushings
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syncrodoka
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 1:24 am    Post subject: Powerflex steering rack bushings Reply with quote

I had heard that polyurethane steering rack bushings help tracking at freeway speeds on some european groups. I bought a couple sets of Powerflex poly kits to install on my vans now that they are available in the US. My steering rack bushings aren't much more than a year old but with bigger tires, a lift and poor aerodynamics due to my roof top tent and full height tilt I decided it is a good investment.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

I ordered them from Loogy (http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=429348&highlight=powerflex) on sunday and they were to me on wed.
The kit is 8 half pieces of the bushings, the metal insert for the bolt and some lube-
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

I installed them today pretty quickly with the help of idahodoug's bushing removal trick- http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=4908798&highlight=#4908798. I tweaked it on the fly and unbolted the rack and stuck 3 of the washers behind the bracing and pulled the bushing that way with a squirt of triflow on the bushing for lube.
You need to remove this pin on the inside of each side of the clamshell pivot to gain access to the steering rack
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Once the pin is removed drive out the bar end and remove the clamshell and bars to get this-
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Once you have access you can remove the bushings-
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Installation is a breeze, the half pieces slip in with a little pressure and the metal insert slides in to finish it off.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Here is once I figured out to add the lube and install the pieces-
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Here is a comparison between the stock bushing and poly bushings. You notice that the stock units have flat sides and the poly units are round. The poly material is softer than I thought it would be but stiffer than the stock units.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

The lube that the kit is provided with is minimal. I had enough to slather on the bushing and metal insert but just barely enough. If I had more I would slather the flat ends where it meets the frame member and the washer that mounts it to reduce the chances of squeaking in the future.
I took the truck over HWY 17(a steep, windy mountain pass) and it tracks really well, I got rid of the wandering and the steering is a lot more crisp. I used to turn and feel the steering do its movement before I would feel the truck actually start turning- a lag in my steering input until the truck would turn. That is gone and it really helps the van drive more like a modern car. I really enjoyed this improvement and wound it up to 80 on the flats to see what the difference would be and the steering was rock steady instead of giving it a little right or left to keep it in line.
Keep in mind that I went through the entire front of the van a few years ago including a new steering rack so this improvement is solely due to the poly rack bushings.
It is a worthwile investment TS Logo
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1621
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 6:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the write up, something I'm really interested in getting to soon. Seriously, anything to help these old bricks handle better is a huge improvement in my book.
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insyncro
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 6:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Love mine.
Great upgrade.

dylan
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j_dirge
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the writeup Syncrodoka.

My purple bushings came in the mail this week, too.
Maybe I'll pop them in today/tomorrow!
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climberjohn
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

great write up and photos, thanks!
CJ
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madspaniard
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice post! now, where did I put my checkbook? need to do some shopping Laughing
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IdahoDoug
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great writeup. Your post makes it so easy even a Caveman could do it*












*No inferences to any living or dead individual intended, no particular intellectual capacity either subnormal or supranormal of any ethnic group is implied, due deference to Geico and the lizard given, void where prohibited, taxed or otherwise regulated, your mileage may vary depending on load, road conditions or driver habits.

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syncrodoka
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
*No inferences to any living or dead individual intended, no particular intellectual capacity either subnormal or supranormal of any ethnic group is implied, due deference to Geico and the lizard given, void where prohibited, taxed or otherwise regulated, your mileage may vary depending on load, road conditions or driver habits.

Good stuff Laughing

One thing that I should have written is the I unbolted the steering shaft from the rubber steering coupler. I slid the shaft over so that I could pull the power steering rack away from the frame member to access the upper driver's side bushing easier.
If anybody has some tips to pass on from their install add them at will. Smile
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IdahoDoug
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't have to do that, but I think it's because I used the tool linked in my thread which is much smaller than the lunker you're using. I just needed a fraction of an inch.

And an update on the stock bushings. Pretty much a waste of time as the steering rack moves back and forth about half as much as it did before I put fresh ones in. Someone posted a video of this after they also put new factory bushings in.

Mind you, this flex is sitting on the pavement at a standstill and sawing the steering wheel back and forth. The flex you see on that posted video shows what happens in that circumstance but on the road at highway speed there may be little to no movement in normal steering because the loads are much lower. Even hitting potholes doesn't apply steering forces as much as you'd think.

So if you're replacing yours to remove the steering rack movement, don't bother with stock - get the poly bushings. Based on what I see, those will give you laser sharp steering response. I'd love to hear what SyncroDoka's observation with a flashlight is with someone sawing the wheel back and forth. I'd estimate my rack moves an eighth inch total - a sixteenth each way and it's all bushing flex - no free movement.

One final observation is that the movement of the steering rack is in line with the tie rods, which angle downward from the rack. Turning left raises the left side of the rack and pulls the left side downward. So I'm going to rotate my bushings so the long axis is directly in line with them. Left side (US driver's side) bushing long axis at 10 o'clock and 4, other side at 2 and 8 roughly (line them up with the tie rods and it'll be a slightly different angle if you're a Syncro or lifted. Splitting hairs can be so fun....

DougM
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climberjohn
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2011 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

syncrodoka wrote:

One thing that I should have written is the I unbolted the steering shaft from the rubber steering coupler. I slid the shaft over so that I could pull the power steering rack away from the frame member to access the upper driver's side bushing easier.
If anybody has some tips to pass on from their install add them at will. Smile


syncrodoka,

This is a very important tip for doing this, thanks for adding it. I was installing my Powerflex bushings today (or, trying to). The passenger side is easy, as I could just gently pull the tie rod and move the whole steering rack away from the frame far enough to slip the bushing in the back side.
But the driver side left me scratching my head. I could not see a way to move it far enough away from the frame without disconnecting some part of the steering shaft.

But lunch, a beer, and a review of your post looks like I will try another plan of attack. Thanks!

And my tip to add to this: I found that needle nose pliers (edit, actually needle nose vise grips, my favorite tool) easily removes the old stock bushings. Grab the inner metal sleeve as best you can with the pliers, and gently pull it out. No mini pry bar needed for me.

I will post a "road test report" once I am done.

-CJ
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Last edited by climberjohn on Sun Feb 27, 2011 9:03 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Brickwerks
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2011 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad you like them.
Cool
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syncrodoka
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2011 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would like to buy other parts from you if you are willing to sell to the US. Pray
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syncrodoka
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2011 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
And my tip to add to this: I found that needle nose pliers very easily removes the old stock bushings. Grab the inner metal sleeve as best you can with the pliers, and gently pull it out. No mini pry bar needed for me.

I will post a "road test report" once I am done.


Very cool. I was impressed with the drive feel of these, keep us updated.
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Brickwerks
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2011 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would love to.
Can't.
I have an "agent" who will do it, but he doesn't want to mess around with small orders.
Search brickwerks on here, theres an explanation why I can't somewhere.
I have my insurance renewal soon, I will bring this up as it's a real pain for all involved.
Sorry.
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syncrodoka
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2011 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I know.
It doesn't hurt to ask. Smile
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VWhead
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting to see these helped out in handling Mario.I have completely replaced or upgraded every suspension/steering component on the Single Cab but those. I'm gonna have to see how much flex the stock bushing are giving me, I might decide to do the same as you.
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syncrodoka
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I redid everything in the front end too and I still noticed these little bits in driving over 17 or on windy sections like 101 south by king city. I beat on my truck and have yet to hear a peep out of the poly steering rack bushings, the UCA bushings on the other hand sound like a box full of chicks for a week after playing offroad Mad .
It is a very good bang for the buck item that I noticed right away.
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boulderdrop
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gotta do this when I swap the manual rack for a power-rack. Thanks for the write-up on the bushings!
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IdahoDoug
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Be advised some other parts are different from manual/power. Steering wheel shaft joints change from rag joint to CV maybe? Tie rod type? Can't recall, but just a head's up.

DougM
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brickwerks wrote:
I would love to.
Can't.
I have an "agent" who will do it, but he doesn't want to mess around with small orders.
Search brickwerks on here, theres an explanation why I can't somewhere.
I have my insurance renewal soon, I will bring this up as it's a real pain for all involved.
Sorry.


Just put a notice in all you internatonal shipments that the parts are for "off road use only"

That or grow a pair.
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