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Broken Lower Control Arm Bracket
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joetiger Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2015 10:36 am    Post subject: Broken Lower Control Arm Bracket Reply with quote

Yesterday, we decided to take a family day trip around the Front Range, down to Castlewood Canyon and over to Manitou Springs, just a few hundred miles to get some Vanagon and family time in before the snow falls again.

I ran to the store for a few things before we left, and the steering seemed just a tiny bit squirrelly. Something didn't feel right.

I got home, took a look underneath, and found this:

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


When I rebuilt the front end recently, I had to cut the old bolt and bushing out to remove the LCA. I can only assume that in doing so, I caught some metal on the inside front section of the bracket and weakened it. Also, that bracket had been bent forward in a very unnatural way due to a bad alignment; It bent back naturally when I installed the new bushing and the LCA, so that could have also had something to do with it.

I'm making arrangements to have it repaired. I only post this to remind everybody to be sure you inspect your ride before hitting the road.

As it was, we had a nice day trip in my wife's Highlander. Not nearly as fun as the Vanagon, but also without the driver's side front end coming apart on the highway.
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insyncro
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2015 12:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Broken Lower Control Arm Bracket Reply with quote

Looks like a flex point was possibly created if you buggered up the dropout with the sawzall.
You will know for sure once the part is disassembled.

I don't cut these on anything but crusty parts vans.

Try drilling the head and tail into the bolt, than with a 1/2" or better yet 3/4" impact, you can spin each end of the fastener off and not cut a thing.

You must drill into the fastener far enough to pass the dropout.
This creates a relief point where it will snap clean off.

Hope this helps.
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Zeitgeist 13
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2015 12:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Broken Lower Control Arm Bracket Reply with quote

I've long thought those LCA mounting tabs were a weak point. A while ago we were having a discussion in a thread about how to beef up these mounts. Since you're already going to be doing some welding there, perhaps you could add some gussets similar to what I've shown below. Good luck

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

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seans67
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2015 12:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Broken Lower Control Arm Bracket Reply with quote

I was crawling around under the front of my van doing the coolant pipes the other day. While looking around just inspecting things I noticed those mounting tabs and thought that they looked kinda flimsy. I like the gusset idea.

After doing a bunch of front end work on my Audi A4 (f'ing pinch bolts!), I got kinda tuned in on front end mechanics. Will definitely be going through my front end once I get her back on the road again.
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Jake de Villiers
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2015 2:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Broken Lower Control Arm Bracket Reply with quote

Zeitgeist 13 wrote:
I've long thought those LCA mounting tabs were a weak point. A while ago we were having a discussion in a thread about how to beef up these mounts. Since you're already going to be doing some welding there, perhaps you could add some gussets similar to what I've shown below. Good luck

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


That's a great idea.

When I installed my rebuilt power steering rack a couple of years ago I noticed how much flexing the unsupported rack mounting beam was doing as the rack went side to side, so I made a pair of 1/4" x 2 1/2" aluminium straps to join the steering mount to the main cross member.

With two bolts in each end, the steering is noticeably more positive. I imagine its added to the stiffness of the cross member, too.
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insyncro
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2015 3:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Broken Lower Control Arm Bracket Reply with quote

The shown triangulations look good.

The Syncros have extra supports welded to the dropouts that are part of the subframe.
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Zeitgeist 13
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2015 5:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Broken Lower Control Arm Bracket Reply with quote

Yeah, Syncro front suspensions seem pretty stout to my eyes
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insyncro
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2015 6:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Broken Lower Control Arm Bracket Reply with quote

Zeitgeist 13 wrote:
Yeah, Syncro front suspensions seem pretty stout to my eyes


I will add a pic of the added supports they have tomorrow.
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rubbachicken
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2015 7:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Broken Lower Control Arm Bracket Reply with quote

i especially like the red rectangles, i've thought about adding these, maybe just one in the center, 6mm plate, likely 30cm long, then it'd make it a safe jacking point


to the OP that's an easy enough part to repair, its easy enough to template, a piece of 3mm plate cut to the same dimensions, and welded on would be more than enough.
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tpinthepack
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2015 3:10 am    Post subject: Re: Broken Lower Control Arm Bracket Reply with quote

This looks like the part you need and only 10 Euros.

http://shop.volkswagen-classic-parts.de/vwcp/mounting-251803255.html

Maybe they have seen this happen before?
Tony
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 7:23 am    Post subject: Re: Broken Lower Control Arm Bracket Reply with quote

Finally, after two months of putting it off, they just loaded up my Vanagon on a flatbed to take up to RMW.

I'm at work; my daughter saw this happening out the window and sent a text:

"SOMEBODY IS TAKING THE VANAGON!!!"

I assured her that I was aware and that it would be okay.

Looking forward to getting the bracket fixed as well as getting many more goodies from our friends at Rocky Mountain Westy!
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Joe T.

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Polygavanagonamy: Only practical for people with big yards and lots of time.

"Still, it's good to be afield."--VWagabond
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:23 am    Post subject: Re: Broken Lower Control Arm Bracket Reply with quote

Rocky Mountain Westy was able to fix up my Vanagon. They cut out the old broken bracket and made a new one and welded it in:

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


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


While it was there, I took advantage of the opportunity and had them do a few other things, like stainless coolant pipes and a locking drawer.

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


Mike and his crew at Rocky Mountain Westy are simply outstanding. I was treated to a tour of their rather impressive facility and finished the day with a couple of beers at O'Dell's Brewery, my favorite. So, I got to visit two of my motherships in one afternoon, and got a very well-updated Vanagon as well.
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Joe T.

'86 NAHT Vanagon GL Syncro/ supercharged ABA 2.0

'85 928S

Polygavanagonamy: Only practical for people with big yards and lots of time.

"Still, it's good to be afield."--VWagabond
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heidi85ho
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 11:15 am    Post subject: Re: Broken Lower Control Arm Bracket Reply with quote

Tpinthepack
That part from Europe is a great find on your part.
Thanks for the link.
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IdahoDoug
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Broken Lower Control Arm Bracket Reply with quote

I got a 404 error on that link to the european part, and a photo of a lost couple in an orange Rabbit. Work for others? We do some gravel/dirt road touring and if this is a failure point I'd like to source those as well. Thanks.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Broken Lower Control Arm Bracket Reply with quote

That's a cool picture, though. Love that Rabbit.

Here's the part:

http://www.volkswagen-classic-parts.de/en/aufnahme-b6bb7e.html
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Joe T.

'86 NAHT Vanagon GL Syncro/ supercharged ABA 2.0

'85 928S

Polygavanagonamy: Only practical for people with big yards and lots of time.

"Still, it's good to be afield."--VWagabond
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ALIKA T3
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 6:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Broken Lower Control Arm Bracket Reply with quote

joetiger wrote:
Rocky Mountain Westy was able to fix up my Vanagon. They cut out the old broken bracket and made a new one and welded it in:

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


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


While it was there, I took advantage of the opportunity and had them do a few other things, like stainless coolant pipes and a locking drawer.

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


Mike and his crew at Rocky Mountain Westy are simply outstanding. I was treated to a tour of their rather impressive facility and finished the day with a couple of beers at O'Dell's Brewery, my favorite. So, I got to visit two of my motherships in one afternoon, and got a very well-updated Vanagon as well.


Bro, while you're in there, you need a set of these before dust ruins your power steering rack seals....

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=1837448

Aloha!
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 8:32 am    Post subject: Re: Broken Lower Control Arm Bracket Reply with quote

ALIKA T3 wrote:


Bro, while you're in there, you need a set of these before dust ruins your power steering rack seals....

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=1837448

Aloha!


Yeah, that boot is actually brand new but got buggered around during alignment. I've since gone in and twisted back to its correct position. But when these fail (as they certainly will,) I'll be coming to you!
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Joe T.

'86 NAHT Vanagon GL Syncro/ supercharged ABA 2.0

'85 928S

Polygavanagonamy: Only practical for people with big yards and lots of time.

"Still, it's good to be afield."--VWagabond
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ALIKA T3
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 11:06 am    Post subject: Re: Broken Lower Control Arm Bracket Reply with quote

Oh I see, they twisted the whole tie rod without resetting the boot. Sloppy workers Laughing

Have a great day!

Alika
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http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=416343
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insyncro
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 11:39 am    Post subject: Re: Broken Lower Control Arm Bracket Reply with quote

Good excuse to get some silicone boots Exclamation Wink
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2016 7:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Broken Lower Control Arm Bracket Reply with quote

So another Samba member alerted me to the fact that my sway bar bushings had a big gap where they're supposed to meet. I noticed it when I installed them, but thought that it was just how the new aftermarket parts were.

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


He told me that T3 Technique had identified the issue (21 mm early sway bar) and sold Whiteline poly bushings that would fit. I ordered up a set and had them three days later due to the impeccable service that T3 offers of course. I installed them today.

Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you look at it, I can't really tell a difference since I just replaced all of the bushings in the front end and it rides like a Ferrari Cadillac either way. Smile

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

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Joe T.

'86 NAHT Vanagon GL Syncro/ supercharged ABA 2.0

'85 928S

Polygavanagonamy: Only practical for people with big yards and lots of time.

"Still, it's good to be afield."--VWagabond
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