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bronze idler arm bushing
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reluctantartist
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2014 5:50 pm    Post subject: bronze idler arm bushing Reply with quote

I have the new bronze idler arm bushing. It is pressed in, but the pin will not easily fit. I could press it in but then it would be too tight? How tight does it need to be? Or should I ask how loose can it be? I have a drill press so I could sand down the pin until fits which still goes to the previous question. Also the flange on it seems a little thick. So any advice would be appreciated

Thanks.
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raygreenwood
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2014 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Measure both parts with a caliper and let me know what you get. The bronze also has a tendency to mush a little at the end of the tube and needs to, be, chamfered. The flange should be thick. You will need a castle nut with, cotter pin and a wavy washer.

Give me a day and I will set up some rebuild photos in my photo bucket that will show you what uou need.
Once you get this together.....you do not need nearly the suggested torque. Just enough to make it tight and crush the wavy washer. Then mark a point jn the castle nut with a dremel or file....pull out the pin and drill a hole in it for a cotter pin.

The stock high torque is what was responsible for crushing the end of the original bushkng tube. Then you retorque....then it gets loose again and the process starts over. Its likd 20-25 ft lbs with a wavt washer and cotter pin.

Also I have pics to show how and where....to install a grease fitting once the bushing is pressed in.
Dont sand the pin. If anything....the bushing is off. Ill tell you how to lap it. Ray
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Lahti411
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just changed the bushing and noticed that there are two different pin sizes. If i remember correctly the one with larger and rounder head didn't fit into the bushing i bought from CIP. Fortunately i had another idler arm set up that had a different pin. I treid that one and the pin fitted perfectly.
By the way, changing to broze bushing was a huge improvement! I had an original bushing that still looked good whr i took it out. But whn i was lying under the car and somebody turned the steering wheel the whole idler arm pin tilted when the wheels came to lock. And if i hit to a bump when drving the steerng wheel hit me to my my fingers! After i replaced the original bushing the steering's been very smooth and doesn't rattle or kick back anymore.
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raygreenwood
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lahti411 wrote:
I just changed the bushing and noticed that there are two different pin sizes. If i remember correctly the one with larger and rounder head didn't fit into the bushing i bought from CIP. Fortunately i had another idler arm set up that had a different pin. I treid that one and the pin fitted perfectly.
By the way, changing to broze bushing was a huge improvement! I had an original bushing that still looked good whr i took it out. But whn i was lying under the car and somebody turned the steering wheel the whole idler arm pin tilted when the wheels came to lock. And if i hit to a bump when drving the steerng wheel hit me to my my fingers! After i replaced the original bushing the steering's been very smooth and doesn't rattle or kick back anymore.


Wow...after all of these I have done....I have never measured the round top and compared to the square top to see differences.

Either way, the difference must be very small because they both used the same stock bushing. I have found both WILL fit because I have done both.

I have found one or the other to be tight getting in. I passed it off as mushrooming of the end of the bushing from install.
I chamfered both ends and lapped with 400 or 600 grit, washed with solvent and pushed the pin in.

Thanks! learn something all the time with these cars.

One thing to add quick before I forget. It is advisable to drill a hole in the top of the pin of about 3mm all the way through the head portion with the allen key fitting. With this hole you can insert the short leg of an allen wrench to keep the pin from rotating while you tighten or loosen the nut below. If you dont do this...there is no no room to insert an allen key in the top because it is too close to the fuel tank.

In that case the only way to tighten or loosen the nut is to remove the assembly from the car. I will post some pictures of a restore shortly and provide a link. Ray
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raygreenwood
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I took extensive pictures of two idler arm rebuild processes....and dang if there are several items I did not photograph. I will try to answer the questions from the first post so that you cant get on with your rebuild.

1. How tight: The pin can be quite tight. If you cannot turn it with your fingers that is not a problem. If you can turn it with a wrench with only say...5-10 ft lbs of torque....grease it and work it back and forth. If it loosens up at all you will be fine. Bear in mind that the bronze is soft and wears.

2. The lower flange thickness: When I got my first bronze bushing about 15 years ago...I was really worried bout this. Do not be. As I noted above...the bronze is a self lubricating but wearable material. As it wears you will need to adjust the tension on the nut to take up the slack.
Its just another one of those maintenance items to check on an ACVW...this one unique to VW 411,412 and super beetle. I found that about once every 7-10,000 miles it needed adjustment.
Usually moving one tooth on the castle nut was sufficient..along with a pump from the grease gun....which would be slightly tight for about a week but not excessive.

The factory bushing was not as thick on the lower flange but was built the same way. You do not want the step on the pin against the idler arm. the problem with the original bushing is that if you over tightened it...it crushed the rubber and the face of the bushing tube would mushroom.

Once the bushing wears down enough that the step on the pin is in contact with the idler arm...further wear opens a gap between the lower flange face and the idler arm. The idler arm is then free to move up and down at an angle as you steer. This greatly accelerates lateral wear inside of the bushing bore.
On the stock bushing by the time it gets to this point...the overly soft rubber....gets mushed to the side and it shreds.

After many years of driving and adjusting when your lower flange wears down enough that the pin edge is resting on the idler arm...its time to replace the bushing.

A grease fitting is one of the best mods you can do. Be sure you put it on the correct side so that you can get to it.

Also...take the bronze bushing and measure it against the idler arm bracket like it would be when installed. Mark on the bushing were the grease fitting will be. Then chuck it into the drill press....and with a file put a groove around its outer circumference to allow the grease to flow around it . This way you dont have to worry about actually aligning it with the grease fitting.
Just align the groove with the hole.

The groove only needs to be about .025"-.030" deep. Then drill a hole somewhere in the groove....or drill it at the same time you drill the hole for the grease fitting.
I drill them separate so I can deburr both holes.
I will get some pictures up.

Edit: I realize these pictures are largely useless. I just realized the more detailed pics are on my other drive.

http://s1186.photobucket.com/user/raygreenwood/library/411-412%20idler%20arm%20bushing

Ray


Last edited by raygreenwood on Mon Sep 15, 2014 3:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
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reluctantartist
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2014 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well my battery died on the caliper (digital) but the pin is so tight i would need to use my hydraulic press to push it in, but otherwise i think we are dealing with .01 mm or less. I thought about maybe using a brake cylinder hone on the bushing. I have already pressed the bushing in the bracket...so is the grease fitting modification super important. I could press it back out but am afraid of messing things up. I see from you pictures the flange is the same so that is reassuring.

Thanks
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raygreenwood
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2014 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A brake cylinder hone would work just fine...but I would actually measure first. You may just find that they are nearly identical and that the main difference is at the mouth of the bore. All of the bronze bushings mushroom when you press them in.

Yes....the grease fitting is fairly important. The bronze is soft and self lubricating so it wont seize or anything....but it will start wearing excessively...and....once you install the bracket in the car there is no way to remove the pin to grease it.

But....you can go ahead and drill a hole and install a small 1/4-20 grease nipple without removing the bushing. The bushing should be tight enough that there is no worry of rotating in the housing.
Just be sure to then de-burr the hole on the inside.

It does not take much mushrooming of the bronze bushing opening to prevent putting the pin in. I will measure mine and get back to you quick. Ray
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raygreenwood
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I measured the square head pin and the round head pin this morning. They should both work just fine.

Square head pin specs: Step distance from head: 2.205"
Diameter: .7060"

Round head pin specs: Step distance from head: 2.22"
Diameter: .7055"

So the Round head pin is .005" smaller diameter. There is enough slack in the stock bonded rubber bushings for both pins to work interchangeably. I checked the fit on two stock bushings this morning.

The Bronze bushings are just a few thousandths tighter or possibly they were made by whomever after only the round head bushing was measured.

Also I would hone the bushing to fit your pin with just a very slight tight push fit...a lot like a piston pin. It will quickly wear to fit fine.

Do not sand or hone the pin. I would doubt that you will any longer find a new one if you need it and bronze bushings start appearing larger in the market at some point.

The last new one I found was at a VW dealer in Dallas in about 1997. It was $49. If you don't ding up the threads and if you keep them greased...they should last forever.

Thats why I bought a new one at that time. I had several but was having what appeared to be tolerance issues. One was very scored up....and one was badly rusted and the others had lots of patchy low spots from rust. So it was hard to get a really "like new" size on this part.

I had the money, the pin was available and I got to see what the real tolerance looked like.

It was around that time that I found out just how sloppy the original bushing was as well as how soft and easily damaged the bonded rubber was.

I found that even the lightly rusted pin would have been fine. 90% of the issue was with the stock bushing.

I found the bronze idler bushing by accident. I was buying a new bushing to put with the same pin and went to a now closed VW parts in Dallas. They kept lots of parts in cardboard skinny bins like the dealer. They pulled out the bin with the idler arm bushings....for both super beetle and type 4 (same part #)...and laying in the box were several stock bushings and one bronze bushing.

A quick check with a caliper showed the bushing would fit perfectly. I asked what it was and they noted that it had come in with a designation for last two years of super beetle. Installed it and never looked back.

But you will have to chamfer the outer ends after installation to fit either pin. Ray
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Lars S
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 1:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Preparing for some rebuild of the steering, have not been there before...

What components would be the minimum to remove before the idler arm bracket with its bushing can be taken out?
Same with the centerlink, what do I need to take out Before I can get it out?


Lars S
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raygreenwood
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really the only things in the way are the steering damper and the centerlink.

Pulling the steering damper will allow pulling the centeerlink which will allow pulling the idler bracket. Ray
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Lars S
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Ray!
Your pics on PB explains a lot, thank you for sharing them.
One of them I dont really understand...what whith the allen key on the bolt head Question

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

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh...thats very important! You need to drill a hole through the bolt head or at least one side of it....so you can insert an Allen key or small rod....to keep the bolt from spinning.....or else you WILL have problems at some point in either loosening or tightening the bolt.

There is a 15-17mm allen key recess in the top of the bolt....but it is impossible to reach because the gas tank is too close.

If the bolt spins and you cannot loosen the nut....it will be a frustrating day.

In that case....you will need to remove the steering damper, remove the bolts holding the idler arm bracket...and drop the arm down enough to get either an allen bit and wrench on the bolt head....or....as you can see the vise grip pliers marks on the bolt head in my picture....you may have to use pliers to hold the bolt to get the nut loose.

After that...I drilled a hole in the head and use a 4-5mm Allen key to hold the bolt head still. Just stick the key in and turn the nut and the bolt will turn until the Allen key lodges against the body or gas tank and locks the bolt so you can take the nut off or tighten it.

Also...about torque of the nut: After you switch to the bronze bushing....since the bushing does not flex or compress like the old bushing....you really only need enough torque to make up the nut and hold the arm firmly against the bronze face. You should be able to turn the lever by and with a maximum of about 15-20 lbs of torque.

This means you only need about 20-30 lbs of torque on the nut. To keep the nut from unlocking itself.....use a castle nut and drill a hole in the large bolt and use a cotter pin. Best mod you can do, Ray
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Lars S
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thats smart Ray, I already have wise grip marks on the bolt end, thanks again!


Lars S
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Lars S
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ray, one more question:

You write that "You do not want the step on the pin against the idler arm", but the hole in the arm is not wery tight to the pin on my car it fits wery loose with quite some play. The arm came off wery easy from the pin in the first place.
When I have tightened it all together (with the new bronze bushing etc in place) the pin does not follow the arm since the arm rotates on the pin. Havn't drilled the hole for the safety pin yet.
The pin rotates easy in the bushing when not tightned.
If I put a thin washer on the pin step so the arm rest on the pin the arm and pin follows.

Any ideas?


/Lars S
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raygreenwood
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lars S wrote:
Ray, one more question:

You write that "You do not want the step on the pin against the idler arm", but the hole in the arm is not wery tight to the pin on my car it fits wery loose with quite some play. The arm came off wery easy from the pin in the first place.
When I have tightened it all together (with the new bronze bushing etc in place) the pin does not follow the arm since the arm rotates on the pin. Havn't drilled the hole for the safety pin yet.
The pin rotates easy in the bushing when not tightned.
If I put a thin washer on the pin step so the arm rest on the pin the arm and pin follows.

Any ideas?

/Lars S


Yes.....and thank you for the reminder. I had not gotten to the idler bushing document yet....but what mean by not letting the pin step rest on the arm...is that....the step on the pin must not be the only point of contact.

The arm...as you have figured out....must rust on both the bronze face and the step of the pin. I have never figured out why they make the face of the idler bushing longer than the step on the pin. It was this way with the original bushing as well on some.

Yes...if you can make a small washer of the diameter of the pin.....or.....machine/sand or grind down the bronze face so it is exactly level or no more than about .002" higher than the step....it will work very well. My last one actually had a stack of small thin washers sitting on the step to make up the height of the gap.

I will see if I can find pictures. The arm must be on the step....but the bronze face should be either exactly on it or very close to the arm so that lateral leverage does not cause wear in the main bore of the bushing between the pin and the bore. Ray
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Lars S
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Ray!
I just have to sand down the washer so that the arm rests on both the bronze and the step then.
But what on re tightning after some wear...one will have to sand down that extra washer as the arm wears down the bronze flange or?


Lars S
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lars S wrote:
Thanks Ray!
I just have to sand down the washer so that the arm rests on both the bronze and the step then.
But what on re tightning after some wear...one will have to sand down that extra washer as the arm wears down the bronze flange or?


Lars S


One thing you will find....is that when the arm is solidly on the step of the pin.....and the tightening torque is not excessive.....which is the point of going to a cotter pin and using just enough torque to keep the arm flat and locked and suppofted by the bronze.

........there is not much wear to the brinbrbronze face over a long period of time.Ray
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Lars S
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found a washer for the step pin and coould get everything together with a perfect fit, feels super solid!

Reflexions after doing the bronze bushing operation:

-I was suprised that the bracket only was fitted with 3 bolts since it has 4 tapered holes - I kept looking for the 4th bolt quite a while.

-It was easy to get the bracket out, just remove the nut at the pin to undo the idler arm and loosen the 3 bolts for the bracket and it falls straight down.

-I made a small tool from a nut and a piece of iron to hold the pin at the upper end when tightening:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.



Yes this bushing is shot!
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.



Another idler arm (not the one in my car) shows Heavy wear from the iron part of the bushing (the bushing is shown above):
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.



/Lars S
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes...its odd....that only three bolts are used....but the steering box is the exact same pattern. This makes it easy to swap for left and right hand drive.

A long while back....before I found the bronze idler bushing and realized I could rebuild the steering box and the centerlink.....I looked hard at putting in a manual steering rack from a nearly rabbit. I realized that putting solid bushings supporting a cross bar.... into a pair of idler arm brackets and mounting them on both sides on the exact bolt pattern....would make installing a rack and pinion system very simple for the 411/412.

It id not take me long to also realize that with the high quality steering box it already has, just getting a better idler bushing, centerlink and control arm bushings....would make benefits from rack and pinion steering negligible. Ray
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