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Kustom1wherehouse narrowed beam, steers like a dump truck! WHY?
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fifthcenturycheese Premium Member
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:28 pm    Post subject: Kustom1wherehouse narrowed beam, steers like a dump truck! WHY? Reply with quote

Second time I have posted about a 2" narrowed ball joint beam with puma 50/50 adjusters built by Kustom1wherehouse. The guy that runs the company told me the ball joints are stiff at first and will break in over time. He said he could send me new arms with ball joints that have been hammered on that would be less stiff/more broken in. I don't think hammering on the ball joints is the correct procedure for a correctly built front end, nor do I think abusing the car over rough terrain is the answer for a brand new dropped beam. I have heard of TRW ball joints, Febi, and a third German one that are stiff. Seems like I have seen no clear answers on why a newly built beam can't perform as well as a 52 year old original, but I have a sneaking suspicion why. I have seen a million pictures of other cars lowered and they steer just fine. Front end has been checked by alignment guy, new TRW steering box, that works great, one set of empi caster shims, as much as I hate empi crap and CB performance 2.5 dropped spindles all to torque specs. Steering is stiff, ready to just put original beam back in....had no luck on Samba with answers to this problem as of yet. Hope someone can supply some productive insight. Thanks, Mike
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Kustom1wherehouse narrowed beam, steers like a dump truck! WHY? Reply with quote

Doesnít this thread belong in the buyer seller feedback ?
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:29 am    Post subject: Re: Kustom1wherehouse narrowed beam, steers like a dump truck! WHY? Reply with quote

Zundfolge1432,

I understand your point, I am trying to get this worked out and know why.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:07 am    Post subject: Re: Kustom1wherehouse narrowed beam, steers like a dump truck! WHY? Reply with quote

Yes, many of the currently available ball joints are stiff when new.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:42 am    Post subject: Re: Kustom1wherehouse narrowed beam, steers like a dump truck! WHY? Reply with quote

just a thought.

are you installing oe sized ball joints on both upper and lower arms?

ive been helping a friend sort out his beetle with a 2"narrowed original beam that road like it had no travel. it wasnt until we installed some ball joints that were made for a lowered ride height that it road smooth. the ball joints were binding.

http://www2.cip1.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=ACC-C10-4193
these are an example of the ball joints used. i dont remember the brand (willing to bet they were just empis) but i road in the car last sat and it was buttery smooth
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:13 am    Post subject: Re: Kustom1wherehouse narrowed beam, steers like a dump truck! WHY? Reply with quote

Not sure why you didn't keep the other post going to consolidate.....but...

True. lowered cars needs elongated ball joint slots or lowered ball joints to properly pivot.. As well as cheap ole oil shocks to have the best ride..
Odds are thats what's installed


But I think the complaint this time is stiff steering.. not ride??

Is the problem stiff ride or stiff steering or both..???

99% of the time the issue with new ball joints.. the case socket slightly collapsing during assembly trapping the ball and making it very stiff.
I've had it happen multiple times with multiple brands of ball joints. Some so bad.. the car had ZERO steering return to center due to the ball stud and ball not rotating smoothly.

I'll hammer them back out.. do a little creative grinding on the joint case.. keeping some interference fit.. then Loctite those bitches into place.

If you find after installation pressing that you can not simply flop the ball stud back and forth in the slot or rotate it easy with you fingers.. it is too tight..

Move and feel the ball stud.. before installation.. if it tightens WAY up.. its collapsing and squeezing. Laughing .. well that sounds a bit nasty..

I do my best to use old stock ball joints if I find they are not worn. Ill replace the boot grease it up.. and call it a day..

Replacing "just because" is not always the best option..
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:58 am    Post subject: Re: Kustom1wherehouse narrowed beam, steers like a dump truck! WHY? Reply with quote

There is also a long-known issue with varying outer diameters of ball joints. I had some German (Febi? Can't remember) type 1 ball joints which pivoted beautifully, snugly but smoothly, in-hand. Then once they were pressed in to the torsion arms, they were literally locked solid. I stupidly installed them, thinking they would loosen up....NOT. They rode like a brick, as if there was no suspension system, and needless to say, the steering was nearly locked too. As a result, simple steering corrections required an extreme pull of the wheel, so the car could only dart from one side of the lane to the other, there was no keeping it straight. Of course, they had to come out, and the new ones had to be machined slightly to fit properly. You DON'T want to machine all the serrations off though! I believe there was an article in Hot VW's several years back about this issue, but I stumbled onto the article too late.

The goal is to have just the right amount of press-fit interference, without making them sloppy loose.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 1:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Kustom1wherehouse narrowed beam, steers like a dump truck! WHY? Reply with quote

your new TRW steering box is junk, put your old one back on

check out this thread on new junk steering boxes

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=660446
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 3:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Kustom1wherehouse narrowed beam, steers like a dump truck! WHY? Reply with quote

Zundfolge1432 wrote:
Doesnít this thread belong in the buyer seller feedback ?
Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Kustom1wherehouse narrowed beam, steers like a dump truck! WHY? Reply with quote

TRW ball joints are the best ones available right now. And if you are using dropped spindles, you don`t need the "Lowered" ball joints.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:59 am    Post subject: Re: Kustom1wherehouse narrowed beam, steers like a dump truck! WHY? Reply with quote

Bryan67 wrote:
TRW ball joints are the best ones available right now. And if you are using dropped spindles, you don`t need the "Lowered" ball joints.


why would you not need lowered ball joints if using drop spindles? im a simple man, but in my cloudy head, the spindle will attach to the arms the same as an original spindle, the only change is the where the actual mounting point for the wheel is moved up the spindle.

i guess if you're only using drop spindles and not lowering the front end via beam adjustment, that makes sense to me. otherwise a "lowered" ball joint, to me, makes sense to use when lowering with a combination of drop spindles and beam adjustment to keep the ball joints from binding.

im not trying to argue, ive just used this same combination of narrowed beam, drop spindles, and lowered ball joints on three beetles now and have not run into any of these issues and they ride fantastic
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:31 am    Post subject: Re: Kustom1wherehouse narrowed beam, steers like a dump truck! WHY? Reply with quote

This is a long ongoing problem. Everyone's ball joints are shit, no matter if they are German, Chinese or American.

Your best bet is to install the ball joints clearanced for lowered beams.
The casings have a bigger slot in them and don't seem to pinch the spud as tight letting them move more freely.

Front end parts don't "wear in", they wear out.

brad
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:11 am    Post subject: Re: Kustom1wherehouse narrowed beam, steers like a dump truck! WHY? Reply with quote

TastyTuner wrote:
Bryan67 wrote:
TRW ball joints are the best ones available right now. And if you are using dropped spindles, you don`t need the "Lowered" ball joints.


why would you not need lowered ball joints if using drop spindles? im a simple man, but in my cloudy head, the spindle will attach to the arms the same as an original spindle, the only change is the where the actual mounting point for the wheel is moved up the spindle.

Because a 2" drop is never enough. Rolling Eyes We MUST spend lots of money to re-engineer a bug to make it drive & ride like total crap so we can make it look cool.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:32 am    Post subject: Re: Kustom1wherehouse narrowed beam, steers like a dump truck! WHY? Reply with quote

TastyTuner wrote:
why would you not need lowered ball joints if using drop spindles?

Because if one is only using drop-spindles, then he/she is not altering the nominal geometry (i.e. relationship) of the torsion arms to the spindle. So if using drop-spindles, the ONLY thing that changes is the spindle mount location on the steering knuckle, nothing else.

TastyTuner wrote:
...in my cloudy head, the spindle will attach to the arms the same as an original spindle...

Yes, it's the same. What affects ball joint geometry is when one rotates the torsion leaves inside the tubes which, to lower a car, swings the torsion arms upwards, decreasing the allowable working range of the ball joints. Get it? Wink
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2018 8:06 am    Post subject: Re: Kustom1wherehouse narrowed beam, steers like a dump truck! WHY? Reply with quote

In reality.. if the drop is not extreme.. "lowered" ball joints are not required..
Its just common practice for most beam builders and suppliers to use them... Better to have more slot travel than binding..

My 67.. has stock original ball joints, torsion adjusters added to a stock beam (and lowered some) plus..drop spindles too..
It rides and handles better than stock..



.
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Its your vehicle- stop askin' for approval-do what YOU like for cryin' out loud
Better to roll em' how you want and wear em' out-than lettin' em' rot out
Its about the going not the showing
Rebuilt to drive not decorate
WANTED: Local Eatin' Joints, Triple D for TheSamba contributions here http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=570510
Search "VOLKSWAGNUT" on YouTube since you cant watch a "certain" BELT change video round here
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:40 am    Post subject: Re: Kustom1wherehouse narrowed beam, steers like a dump truck! WHY? Reply with quote

The builder admits the ball joints are stiff. Your not the first to have this problem. Its a known issue. Change out the ball joints. See, I deal with a local parts guy that repairs vw's with the parts he sells. he has Chinese and Brazilian ball joints, but they aren't stiff, how do I know? He uses them.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Kustom1wherehouse narrowed beam, steers like a dump truck! WHY? Reply with quote

This is a follow up on what I did to resolve the issue. I yanked the Kustom1wherehouse narrowed beam because it was UNSAFE and would not return to center when steering. I then purchased TRW ball joints, as some of you suggested were the current best choice and pressed them into the stock trailing arms...and reinstalled the stock beam. I used two Nakata tie rod ball joints with my CB 2.5 dropped spindles. I am not using disc brakes, so the width is just fine. I am very pleased with the stance of the car and the way it steers! Thanks for the input, Mike
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 6:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Kustom1wherehouse narrowed beam, steers like a dump truck! WHY? Reply with quote

How low are you setting the suspension? Most BJ cars Iíve setup or ridden in ride hard when set too low. They are awesome when not much lower than stock. My old 5Ē shockless beam that was 2Ē off the road with new ball joints was built by a local professional when I was young and didnít trust myself doing it. Car rhode horrible and super tight. It simply wore out and got worse 2 months later. I put the long travel joints on all ball joint beams and donít set them as low as I do link pin setups. A link pin front end will always ride better than a ball joint when you lower past a certain point.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 8:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Kustom1wherehouse narrowed beam, steers like a dump truck! WHY? Reply with quote

Smitty24,

The narrowed beam is a puma style and I fought to get the adjusters at a half way point. That, along with the CB 2.5 dropped spindles had it to where the heavy duty sway bar was below the rim. Even the alignment guy who does all the VW's in the area said it was ridiculously hard to turn. Happy with what I built, not happy with what is supposed to be a ready to go professional built front end.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Kustom1wherehouse narrowed beam, steers like a dump truck! WHY? Reply with quote

Forgive me if it was previously mentioned. You said you had a new TRW box put on or you yourself put it on? I assume you made sure it was lubed and adjusted correctly as well? Iím asking because I donít know if you paid K1 to do this or not. I have installed more puma cb beams than I can remember. Most have adjusters set around stock setting (highest available slotted height at adjuster) but some of them lately have been too low for my liking. These are even more temperamental with ball joints and really low with hd swaybars. I use the 3/4Ē swaybars and mild drop and Iíve had cars where it was just too firm and effected other things. Every car is different, some you have to slightly preload torsions and others you have to set dead even for best handling and ride. Anyhow, Iím not trying to fault ya, just thinking out loud. I placed 3 items with K1 over the years and had bad luck with them. Itís one place I just wonít deal with now.

Out of curiosity since this is a steering problem from what youíve said, what are your front and rear alignment settings? Iím looking at amount of toe, camber in back, camber at front. Are you running caster shins? What shocks? When the beam was installed to the steering box and column shaft, was the pitman arm dead straight or angled? Are the tie rods straight or angled, up or down? We can figure this out.
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