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Went crazy on Syncro front end rebuild
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silversync
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:27 am    Post subject: Went crazy on Syncro front end rebuild Reply with quote

It started a month ago with: there is a bit of a vibration, and probably new shocks will cure all of the handling woes. Isn’t it funny how we humans can fool ourselves!

But ended with:
- all new bushings, the powerflex package
- ball joints
- front wheel bearings
- new axles
- new drive shaft
- new steering rack
- front brake pads/rotors, and new brake hoses all around
- 4 Old Man Emu shocks
- 4 new tires
- wheel alignment and tuning it all.

It was all so worn out, I have about 230K miles on it. Even some metal-on-metal for the control arms. I knew it was all bad for some years, I avoided driving it this last year because it was so uncomfortable and bordering on unsafe. You had to turn the steering wheel about 1/8 of turn before anything happened. I’ve had this Syncro for 12 years, and it is in my blood. Heck we raised our kids in the back of and ’89 Bluestar for 10 years that we bought new.

Work was done by San Diego Westy, a very nice project, and they did a lot of value-add things along the way: filled a mounting flange with weld because it was so ground down, got a bent radius arm straightened, and called me periodically with questions or to make other suggestions, we worked on it together, guiding the end result so it was exactly where I want it to be. The point is that they didn’t just replace parts, but handled this as a turn-key project with everything done. Call Pete, he’s got a great team there.

One note on tires: I previously had the “standard” BFG AT tires, but selected these instead. Kumho Road Venture A/T 51, https://www.discounttire.com/buy-tires/kumho-road-venture-a-t-51/p/31481. The specs and reviews are all good, and quite a bit less expensive.

The wonderful surprise bonus? We can actually have a conversation from front to rear now. Previously this thing would howl and roar down the road, very annoying noise inside. And now it is 90% quieter, it is once again enjoyable. Somebody will ask: the total package was in the $6K range and soooooooo… well worth it.

Yes, it grew out of scope, but all the Syncros will need this at some point, and hey, it’s Christmas, why not, and now I got a new Vanagon!
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IdahoDoug
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 11:06 am    Post subject: Re: Went crazy on Syncro front end rebuild Reply with quote

Roland,

That's cool and I'm going to share your enthusiasm in a similar vein that may sound familiar. Our Quattro is a much beloved family hierloom and I love driving it. But some of the suspension has become worn and the front struts are shot and it starts to pain me when I'm driving it and I hear and feel that extra wobble on a bump that tells me bushings are going. Took the enjoyment out of it.

The front strut upper mounts had disintegrated and there was only thin hard rubber and the front end was an inch low due to flaccid strut, etc.

So last spring I bought a 20T press and put all new bushings front and rear, new front struts, lower ball joints, repacked a couple CVs, tie rod, wheel bearings, new tires.

Suddenly, it's a new car. Turn in is crisp and the front suspension (that big 5 cylinder is heavy) has energy and response. The car is actually fun to drive again and I don't feel like I'm damaging things further now that bits are new and properly working together.

It's a great feeling to give something mechanical you love a new lease on life. I caught that feeling from your post and wanted to share it. There's a strong mix of pride, visceral enjoyment, and somehow an almost humanistic feeling the vehicle feels grateful and enthusiastic itself blended in. Well done and Merry Christmas to you and yours.
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Sodo
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 11:26 am    Post subject: Re: Went crazy on Syncro front end rebuild Reply with quote

I know that feeling too. My Syncro had 180k miles, and a noisy wheel bearing. I took it to PeaceVans and they said a Syncro front end rebuild costs about $5,000. 5G? ..... I better do it myself...

I found that the noise was not the bearing, it was because the axle nut came loose. The bearing was fine, but running loose ruined the hub. SyncroShop said syncro front ends should run about 250k and advised that I fix ONLY the hub/bearing and run the rest of the stuff out. I decided that I had the time to do it and wanted it ALL renewed. My upper ball joints were totally gone, making a lot of noise.

I found the advice from Syncroshop to be double-edged. While he said I was wasting 60,000 miles on my OEM parts, he didn't even skip a beat in telling me to get FoxShox. Wink

But I tore it apart anyway..... and found the rest of the components were on good condition, with many miles remaining..... I could have replaced the hub, and the two upper ball joints and run another ~60k miles for a fraction of the cost and effort of replacing all. i didn't total up the cost, but I bought all the yellow Powerflex elastomers, all the ball joints, tie rod ends, and bearings from T3Technique. I drilled the balljoints and added grease nipples too, for the hobby of it all.... I had to buy a hydraulic press (harbor freight, $109 onsale, and widen it). Considerable savings in the DIY, covered the FoxShox I think.... And then "took it in" for a full 4-wheel alignment.

Anyway if anyone else has 180k on a Syncro, this might be useful info. Could be all you need is new upper ball joints. And verify your axle nuts are tight.
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dobryan Premium Member
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Went crazy on Syncro front end rebuild Reply with quote

Spring of '15 I replaced 'everything' in the front end of my westy. About 220,000 miles on the front end at that point. When I was done I was stunned at how well it handled. I wasn't even blown around by side winds or 18 wheeler's any more. It was a ton of work to do but well worth it. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 4:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Went crazy on Syncro front end rebuild Reply with quote

Same here, complete front end rebuild with no special parts. BIG BIG difference in ride and stability. And it didn't even seem worn too bad.
I think in general replacing old hard rubber parts with new soft parts makes a big difference. Even if the rubber is unbroken its still causing a lot of road roughness.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 5:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Went crazy on Syncro front end rebuild Reply with quote

It is not just the rubber parts. The ball joints, tie rod ends, steering rack, yes all the bushings, etc. They all have play after 30 years and it adds up.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2017 2:29 am    Post subject: Re: Went crazy on Syncro front end rebuild Reply with quote

I just had 8 days leave from work, and had already acquired all of these parts. So, I went ahead and did it, too. Yeah, I agree. What a difference it makes! I didn't come across anything NEEDING replacement (except a CV boot and steering boot), but it all needed to be replaced, if you know what I mean.... Wink

Drives like a dream now!
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2017 7:38 am    Post subject: Re: Went crazy on Syncro front end rebuild Reply with quote

I'll add a harumph! to this thread...I rebuilt my 2wd a couple of years back and had RMW do the same to my Syncro when I bought it. Outside of an engine/power upgrade, I think that a front-end rebuild is the most satisfying improvement possible. It takes 30 years off!
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2017 7:56 am    Post subject: Re: Went crazy on Syncro front end rebuild Reply with quote

joetiger wrote:
I think that a front-end rebuild is the most satisfying improvement possible. It takes 30 years off!


Now if that would only work so well for me on a personal level.....


Razz
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2017 8:32 am    Post subject: Re: Went crazy on Syncro front end rebuild Reply with quote

joetiger wrote:
I think that a front-end rebuild is the most satisfying improvement possible. It takes 30 years off!

I've seen a few girls with a front-end rebuild.... Very Happy
But I don't know about the 30 years off bit though.... Laughing
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silversync
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:00 am    Post subject: Re: Went crazy on Syncro front end rebuild Reply with quote

Thanks for all the support on making the decision for this work. I think that is is really important for any car to have the underlying "bones" working well and reliably: suspension, steering, brakes, clutch pedal, shifter mechanism, lights. We know that all of these areas will wear out on the Syncro, but so much of it is directly related to safety, peace of mind, and hassle-free enjoyment.

I have done a lot of work on the Syncro myself, and really admire those who can rebuild the suspension themselves. I don't have lift, and not sure I could face the challenge of what could be 20-30 hours of working on my knees or back. Mine was a big chunk of money, but well worth it.

So, next? Now that I am on a roll. The next set of upgraded / repaired bones is: rebuilt front diff, straight shaft, and decoupler. I wonder, does Santa take requests already this week for next Christmas? Rolling Eyes
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:34 am    Post subject: Re: Went crazy on Syncro front end rebuild Reply with quote

Once you get started...


Link

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