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Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild
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MsTaboo
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:14 pm    Post subject: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

Well, it's my turn to do this job on my '90 Syncro Westy. The van has 168,000 miles on her and is in really great condition but this past summer's travels have brought out the dreaded hee-haws and I'm getting some play in the rear wheel bearings. Also had a strange high pitched squealing coming from somewhere during the hottest (105*) part of our travels. I'm thinking it was coming from the front wheel bearing seals.
The last time I had an alignment the tech said they couldn't get the rear bolt to move, so new bushings and bolts for there along with the new wheel bearings.

I've dug out the various bits and pieces I've been storing up over the past ten years including these whole front axles from GNK-Lobro, along with some cheap-o EMPI axles I got for an economy rebuild on a Syncro Doka I had bought cheap. Sold that Doka before I did the work and have saved them for some reason, doubt I'll ever use the EMPIs.
Anyway, check out the full coverage outer CV boots and extra seals on the Lobros! Anyone ever seen those before? Also the plastic cover on the boot clamp. I haven't torn the van apart yet so don't know if that extra seal is on the old CVs. I do know they don't have that full coverage boot.
Got a nice surprise when I looked closer at the inner Cvs.

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

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


I also have some Lemforder UCA bushings and upper/lower ball joints and I'll be buying a full set of Powerflex bushings. Still haven't decided whether to use the Lemforders or Powerflex UCA bushings.

I'll be using this thread to ask questions and post photos as I go along.
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MsTaboo
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

So, that first question. Powerflex UCA bushings or Lemforders?
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Pcforno
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

May I humbly suggest Burley UCA’s? If you decide to use fox shocks with more drop down you’ll need them. Otherwise, they’re awesome and squeak free anyway.
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MsTaboo
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

Pcforno wrote:
May I humbly suggest Burley UCA’s? If you decide to use fox shocks with more drop down you’ll need them. Otherwise, they’re awesome and squeak free anyway.

Burly's UCAs are awesome! But sadly too much money at this time. I have no plans to raise the van up real high or use Fox shocks and I'm already spending quite a bit on this rebuild so I'll be keeping the stock UCAs.
The reason I ask about Lemforders vs Powerflex UCA bushings is I've read about some of new Powerflex fail and the OEM bushings have given good performance until now.
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Zeitgeist 13
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 6:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

Lemfoerder has been steadily shipping more and more of their production to Asia, so caveat emptor. If you can buy VAG bushings still that would be preferable, but I've been pretty happy with all my previous experience with Powerflex products, as well.

Those frozen LCA bolts will more than likely need to be sawzalled off, which is a major PITA. I highly recommend Powerflex for the LCA bushings, as they're way way way easier to install than stock.
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elizer
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 7:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

I went with the burley uca powerflex bushings. I am happy with the bushings and go with poly bushings on most of my suspension upgrades on different vehicles I had in the past and on my harley now. I haven't heard anything recently about the powerflex bushing failures.
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heimlich Premium Member
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 7:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

Are they stamping those with an old cast or are they still using up stock that was made in W. Germany?
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Microbusdeluxe Premium Member
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

I'm planning on doing a similar front end/bearing rebuild on your old syncro 16 hightop. It will probably have to wait until spring, that tall guy just doesn't fit into the garage! So please take plenty of photos and notes as you work.

I just replaced the drop links, the Bella Coola backroads broke one, with the Burley version. Put in his bushings on the bottom end of them and Powerflex on the top of the link. So far so good, but very few miles at this point.

Plan is to go with Burley for the lower control arm bushings. I replaced the originals, with OEM rubber, right after I bought it from you, as the alignment guru said they were toast. Now they are getting eaten up. At the same time we also did the radius rod bushings using the Powerflex yellow bushings which seem to be holding up well. Evidently the 16s put a lot of strain on the system, so I'm hoping the poly bushings can take the pressure.

I bought a bunch of Powerflex from Chris at T3, including the rear control arms. Looking forward to following your build and I'll chime in on any notable things I learn on my build.
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Last edited by Microbusdeluxe on Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
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mrshrimp
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:39 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

I just did a complete front end rebuild last summer and it was a fun project. I had a thread going but didnt have enough energy to keep posting. But with whatever combination of bushings you use, you will be happy with the improvement. Road stability and off road is a nice difference.
I used a combination off urethane and rubber and am happy with it. I do recommend using urathane on the lower control arm bushings, as the lower control arms like to push forward and smash rubber bushings. The urathane are thicker and add spacing and a nice buffer that pushed the lower control arms back.
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syncrodoka
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

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

I have a pair of NOS Lobro brand(not GNK/LOBRO) front outer CVs in a box that I looked at and they have the correct seal in place to protect the front wheel bearings and a cover over them to maintain their integrity while in the box until installed. I have seen the full coverage CV boots before in the aftermarket but not on a OEM part.
I have rebuilt the front end on my truck with all OEM rubber bushings and my son's van with powerflex bushings. The bushings on his van are holding up much better, some of the bushings on my truck are getting swapped over as the rubber ones get funky like the radius rod bushings for example. I am still not sold on poly UCA bushings though, just my opinion at this point.
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IdahoDoug
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

MsTaboo,

If I'm remembering this right, there's an extra seal on the inner hub that's hard to get. Its a syncro only part and nobody had it in the States. I ended up getting it from a place in England with the help of either a Vanagon guy from another list or my brother who's a pilot and flies to Europe a lot. As much work as you are doing, locating this $9 seal would be worth it. It helps keep dirt n water out of your bearings. I rebuilt my Syncro to use it heavily offroad so I secured a pair and I think I also got a few extras and sold them to others in the same spot. Heck, I may even have a single spare if I didn't sell it with the Syncro.

If you're familiar with it, let me know. If you want more info let me know and I'll try to dig what it was and where I got it.

Doug
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MsTaboo
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 3:46 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

Hi Everyone-thanks for the replies.

Zeitgeist 13- The Lemforder UCA bushings I have are older stock so hopefully still good quality. I've decided to use them instead of the Powerflex mainly because I already have them and trying to save some money; want to get T3's anti-sway bar and HD end links!

Yep, I've read about those rear trailing arm bolts being a pain. Going with poly bushings and new bolts.

Microbusdeluxe- Glad to hear you're using the Unicorn for what it's made for! Yep, not being able to get it in a garage is a pain.
Bit surprised that some of the suspension is failing, it looked to be in great condition, but then it's hard to tell. It's why I've decided to do the whole hog on my Syncro even though most parts still look good.

syncrodoka- Not sure what you're saying-the seal pictured is different than the seals for the bearings. I did find a picture that seems to be what I have in the Bentley (40.29) and (40.30) that call it a splash ring. Never seen these sold separately.
The outer CVs are definitely GKN/Lobro/Germany, the inners say only Lobro/Germany.(at least the outers are not from Spain) In fact I just went out and unpackaged the the other axle and the inner CV has a date stamp of 12/75! Another oddity, the outer CV has a different boot and CV cover, I'll take a picture of that and post.

IdahoDoug- I think maybe you're describing the "splash ring" I found on Bentley 40.29-40.30?

So anyway, to save some money and get some extra goodies I'm thinking to go with the Lemforder UCA bushings and maybe Whiteline bushings instead of Powerflex everywhere else.

Anyone know of any poor feedback on the Whitelines? In another post Christopher from T3 seem to feel the Whiteline were as good as Powerflex, just no SS hardware. And they are quite a bit cheaper!

One of the goodies I decided to splurge on were a pair of these:
http://www.van-cafe.com/steering-knuckle
The reason being that the OEM bearings/seals/hubs will have been pressed into virgin castings at the factory.
(fyi-I may have got the last driver's side)

(edit)Here's the other outer CV and boot.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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

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T3 Pilot
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

http://www.van-cafe.com/syncro-front-axle-dust-ring
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syncrodoka
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

The availability of splash ring seal has been sporatic and sometimes omitted on replacement units. The fact that your units have them is a good sign. They are available seperately currently at VC as noted above but they haven't been available in the recent past.
Since the bearing is a non servicable sealed unit all of the seals should be in place to help extend it's life.
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MsTaboo
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

T3 Pilot & syncrodoka- yeah, now that I look I see those splash rings being supplied with new front joints. Looks like what Van-Cafe is selling is just the rubber part of the seal. In any case, this is just the first of what will most likely be lots of new info I'll learn as I go through this process.
This is the first full rebuild of the suspension on any of the Syncros I've owned.

Well, darn. Some of the parts I want for my rebuild are on backorder so I'll be doing this job in December. I get the US supplied parts delivered to Kalispell MT so looks like snow camping. Good thing I've got a Syncro with studded snow tires, the roads can get pretty bad between here and Kalispell!
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MsTaboo
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

Oh yeah, another question (I think I know the answer), should I repack the new CVs? I hate to disturb the stock clamps but on the other hand maybe best to make sure there's plenty of grease?
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T3 Pilot
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

I think it is good practise to open the joints and replace the factory grease with the grease that you prefer and tend to have on hand for future maintenance intervals.... same goes for Ball joints, tie rod ends. Sometimes the amount of grease installed at the factory is less than you would expect.

Side note, on two Vans where I have rebuilt front suspension, the threads on the radius rods were damaged where they passed through the bushings and the associated metal sleeve. One set of rods was repaired by welding and filing, another set with severe corrosion was replaced. The new bushings on the LCA and Radius rod required plenty of adjustment on the radius rods and those missing/damaged threads were a problem. Syncro radius rods are available new at brickewerks, (both versions)
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

I made my own radius rod sleeves and still have a few laying around if you can't find these. I also made my own bushings out of some stout rubber. Wouldn't do that again but I think they were NLA back then. Yeesh, somewhere wherever that Syncro is, I'm sure those are rotting off by now - better to find proper ones.

If you want to make your own sleeves, I bought a special drill bit and slightly bored out a common size stock tube and I could tell you what size the bit is etc and you could locate these in advance of your project. Or you could just do a loop from Kalispel into Coeur d'Alene, say hello and I'll hand you a pair!!

Doug
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MsTaboo
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:24 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

Thanks for the offer IdahoDoug, I'll have to see what condition everything is in.

The fun of buying parts for a project before starting to tear things apart; you don't know what might be needed. I have the extra joy of cross border shipping for most parts!
On my side I have a Syncro in really well cared for condition, hopefully I won't find lots of corrosion.

Yep, I figured the consensus would be to repack the CVs. Laughing
At least I can get that done while waiting for T3's anti-roll bars to come in.

Thanks for the heads up on the radius rod threads, I'll be soaking everything with PB Blaster ahead of time to help lessen damage.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro suspension and bearing rebuild Reply with quote

You can see in the pic that the Powerflex radius rod comes with sleeves:
http://www.t3technique.com/suspension-bushings/powerflex-suspension-bushings/radius-rod-bushings/

Chris at T3 Technique told me that the slightly harder durometer of the Whiteline bushings works well in the LCA location; I saved some money using those, they installed easy, and they've worked great and squeak free for 3 years now. Sawzalling one of the old ones out was every bit the PITA previously mentioned. The unbelievably hard grade 12.9 bolt took 4 Diablo Steel Demon blades to cut through! If you so much as touch the subframe or mounting tabs in the process the same blade that is crawling through the bolt will fall through the frame steel like butter. Keep your aim true!
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