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86 Syncro Westy - 3 knob and having some troubles
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ausbran
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2020 10:56 pm    Post subject: 86 Syncro Westy - 3 knob and having some troubles Reply with quote

Just picked up my first syncro in SLC this weekend. We are beyond excited to be new owners of a three knob syncro. It drives beautifully, and have to thank samba user, cmorris, for the van!

That being said, on our drive home back toward Oregon, we made a stop in Jackson, Wyoming. During the drive, there was some ice, so naturally I engaged the middle knob for 4x4. The van has a decoupler.

After driving in four wheel for a bit, I started to notice that there is a pretty loud knocking noise occurring in the front of the van when the middle knob is pulled and four wheel drive is engaged. At any speed or gear, when I press my foot on the gas, there are about three or four knocks that happen in quick succession. This happens each time I press the gas. There isnít anything else that feels out of the ordinary. The 4x4 works great and engages and disengages correctly with the knob. Could this be the front CVs? It sounds like itís coming directly from under our feet in the front. You can slightly feel it there as well.

This is my first syncro, so please bare with me as I start to understand the drive shaft components. Does anyone have a recommended guy in Portland for their vanagons? Iíd like to have the whole van checked out, just so I can address what ever is needed. Thanks samba!
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Syncro Jael
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:48 am    Post subject: Re: 86 Syncro Westy - 3 knob and having some troubles Reply with quote

Just jump under it and grab each half shaft and see if there is up and down movement. Then you can see which CV joint is the culprit. They should move side to side easily.

FYI I have found that if you have a good VC it is better to drive with the front end coupled out on the roads. The rear transaxle will run cooler = less stress on the rear R&P. Then decouple when in town or parking. (not front end locked) Shocked

Congrats, the wallet emptying mode begins with a Syncro purchase.

Cheers,
Ron
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ausbran
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 8:05 am    Post subject: Re: 86 Syncro Westy - 3 knob and having some troubles Reply with quote

Syncro Jael wrote:

FYI I have found that if you have a good VC it is better to drive with the front end coupled out on the roads.


Thanks Ron. Iíll get out there and check it out this am. Havenít done so yet since itís about 5 degrees outside lol. So just to be clear, the viscous coupler has been removed and replaced with a solid shaft and decoupler. Youíre saying that itís best to be on the roads with the middle knob pulled? Would that be true even when itís making the loud knock when the middle knob is pulled? No noise at all when Iím just in 2WD.
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Syncro Jael
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 9:12 am    Post subject: Re: 86 Syncro Westy - 3 knob and having some troubles Reply with quote

ausbran wrote:
Syncro Jael wrote:

FYI I have found that if you have a good VC it is better to drive with the front end coupled out on the roads.


Thanks Ron. Iíll get out there and check it out this am. Havenít done so yet since itís about 5 degrees outside lol. So just to be clear, the viscous coupler has been removed and replaced with a solid shaft and decoupler. Youíre saying that itís best to be on the roads with the middle knob pulled? Would that be true even when itís making the loud knock when the middle knob is pulled? No noise at all when Iím just in 2WD.


If you have a solid shaft then you do not have the AWD capability and should not have the front end coupled up on solid surfaces when turning. I am sure the solid shaft people will chime in. I do not have any first hand experience with a solid shaft Syncro.
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vanagonjr
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:12 am    Post subject: Re: 86 Syncro Westy - 3 knob and having some troubles Reply with quote

ausbran wrote:
During the drive, there was some ice, so naturally I engaged the middle knob for 4x4. The van has a decoupler.
!

With no VC, there really should to be some slippage to use 4WD, although I guess in a straight tine, you might be safe. I don't have Syncro-solid shaft experience, but on my traditional 4WD P/U, I have to switch between 2WD and 4WD-Hi in on and off slippery conditions.

The Carrerra 4 has a system much like the Syncro, but it doesn't come with any knobs Laughing
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Sodo
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 12:50 pm    Post subject: Re: 86 Syncro Westy - 3 knob and having some troubles Reply with quote

vanagonjr wrote:
ausbran wrote:
During the drive, there was some ice, so naturally I engaged the middle knob for 4x4. The van has a decoupler.
!

With no VC, there really should to be some slippage to use 4WD, although I guess in a straight tine, you might be safe.


I agree, there should be some 'slippage'.

Generally straight like on the highway is safe to be coupled in 4WD.
Safer, actually, and no problem for your drivetrain (with matched tires and all in order,,, etc).
The only problem is..... if you forget.... and then turn sharper with high traction on the roadway --- then you're stressing your drivetrain.
This would be "off" the highway.
You could bust stuff, in tight turns.
One guy says Ďup to 1/4 turn of the steering wheelĒ its OK.
You should understand the drive system well, and its limitations before using 4WD on grippy surfaces.

Note this is for 4wd with aftermarket solid shaft.
None of this applies to a norma Syncro (with a VC) which is AWD, not 4WD.

I wouldn't use the lockers (ever) on the highway.
Theres no benefit, only detriment to using lockers in high-traction situations.
Maybe just test and confirm they lock/unlock while going generally straight ahead or very slight curves.
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Last edited by Sodo on Mon Jan 20, 2020 5:06 pm; edited 2 times in total
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izzydog
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 4:31 pm    Post subject: Re: 86 Syncro Westy - 3 knob and having some troubles Reply with quote

Syncro Jael wrote:

If you have a solid shaft then you do not have the AWD capability and should not have the front end coupled up on solid surfaces when turning.


I don't want to start a solid-shaft flame war, but if I were you I would find a VC and get rid of the solid shaft. It defeats the whole point (IMHO) of having a Syncro - driving in almost any conditions without having to stop, pull/push knobs and otherwise even think about changing conditions ahead of you. I honestly have yet to hear an argument for solid shafts that makes any sense to me but YRMV...
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pjn_wyo
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 4:54 pm    Post subject: Re: 86 Syncro Westy - 3 knob and having some troubles Reply with quote

The axe grinding volume is deafening in here.

I say check the front diff mounting bolts and bushing conditions.

I once forgot to torque my front diff down and it rattled around in the exact way the op describes when my decoupler was engaged.
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mrshrimp
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:37 pm    Post subject: Re: 86 Syncro Westy - 3 knob and having some troubles Reply with quote

Congrats you the purchase, happy to have another Oregon Syncro owner in the state. Thats a nice van, i saw that on the for sale ads. Love that extended range gas tank.

Anyway, you are starting down the most exciting, daunting, wallet emptying (as someone stated above), happy, sad, frustrating, adventuring, learning, friendship, obsession, exhausting, passionate path that you will probably ever be on, at least for an object not person. If you are married you get the person part.

In the end the van will teach you and take you somewhere where nothing else will. My only advice is to not get overwhelmed and learn from folks on the thread and reach out if help is needed. Im in PDX so let me know.
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ausbran
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 8:32 pm    Post subject: Re: 86 Syncro Westy - 3 knob and having some troubles Reply with quote

mrshrimp wrote:
Congrats you the purchase, happy to have another Oregon Syncro owner in the state. Thats a nice van, i saw that on the for sale ads. Love that extended range gas tank.

Anyway, you are starting down the most exciting, daunting, wallet emptying (as someone stated above), happy, sad, frustrating, adventuring, learning, friendship, obsession, exhausting, passionate path that you will probably ever be on, at least for an object not person. If you are married you get the person part.

In the end the van will teach you and take you somewhere where nothing else will. My only advice is to not get overwhelmed and learn from folks on the thread and reach out if help is needed. Im in PDX so let me know.


Shrimp, thanks for the kind welcome and words. I had an 85 tin top for a couple years that I loved. Really excited to be back in the Vanagon world, better than ever with a syncro this time.

The aux gas tank is awesome! Do you ever take your van to any one in the Portland area or do you work on it yourself?
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ausbran
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 8:34 pm    Post subject: Re: 86 Syncro Westy - 3 knob and having some troubles Reply with quote

Quote:
but if I were you I would find a VC and get rid of the solid shaft.


I honestly couldnít agree more. I have the original VC. The previous owner gave it to me when I bought the van. The switch will be happening soon
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ausbran
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 8:38 pm    Post subject: Re: 86 Syncro Westy - 3 knob and having some troubles Reply with quote

I think I found the culprit. Was just able to get the van in a garage and found that the front right CV boot is newly cracked and spitting out grease. This has to be the cause of my knock. Bolts holding diff seem torqued and tight.


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Sodo
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 9:03 pm    Post subject: Re: 86 Syncro Westy - 3 knob and having some troubles Reply with quote

Once in an old '72 bus I had a knocking CV. The knock sounded like ball-peen hammers on the bottom of the van. I jacked the van up and spun the wheel to listen and observe the drive shafts. It knocked about 6 times and went away.

I suppose it redistributed the grease a little due to the CV running at a different angle. This was in Colorado, 1500 miles from home. We drove home, and forgot about it. About 1-2 years later the knock came back. I serviced the CVs and it went away again.

Anyway I bet it's a dry CV. You could squirt some grease in there, and moosh it around, then wrap it with duct tape, drive around a little. If it goes away you'll KNOW what it WAS. Lucky that's a "normal CV" they're easier to service than the CVs out at the front wheels.
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mrshrimp
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 11:20 am    Post subject: Re: 86 Syncro Westy - 3 knob and having some troubles Reply with quote

Get started on learning. Get the axle out and on bench with vise and inspect, replace boot and joint if needed. CV is one of the more expected maintenance or failure items on your sycro so good to know how to fix.

To answer your question, I do not take my van anywhere in PDX to get work done, try to do everything myself. Figured that out real quick. To expensive and was disappointed at turnaround and sometimes results. I had Suby conversion done by someone else, just didn't have time. Exception to this is transmission stuff, we have a few option in Oregon fortunately including one of the best in business.

Just as example I replaced both front axles 5 years ago and although the joints seem healthy, the boots are cracking and so need to replace boot. Cheap part all labor cost so will do myself and save hundreds of dollars.
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izzydog
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 11:58 am    Post subject: Re: 86 Syncro Westy - 3 knob and having some troubles Reply with quote

ausbran wrote:
I honestly couldnít agree more. I have the original VC. The previous owner gave it to me when I bought the van. The switch will be happening soon


Glad you agree. I didn't mean to beat up on you regarding the solid shaft. Syncro are complicated enough - a newbie shouldn't be dealing with that whole can of worms right out the gate.

Mrshrimp's advice is spot on. Do the work yourself - it will pay you back many times over.

CVs are possibly the dirtiest, most miserable job on the Syncro. Not the hardest, but the least fun. Not rocket science, either... you just gotta grind through it.

You will have ample time - while laying on your back for hours - to get a good look at all the fun stuff under a Syncro, LOL.

Good luck with the CVs, and don't forget to put the new boot back on the axle BEFORE you put the axle back in the van... Embarassed
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ausbran
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:54 pm    Post subject: Re: 86 Syncro Westy - 3 knob and having some troubles Reply with quote

Shrimp and Izzy, I think I'm definitely going to do a swap myself and pull the straight shaft and replace with the VC. I'll also do the CV at that time.

I'm curious as to what needs to be done with the decoupler when I make this change within the diff. Of course I'll research more and figure out the exact process. But is it as simple as switch the parts within the front diff and then nothing needs to be changed with the decoupler? So the middle knob juts works with the VC.
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Sodo
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 7:50 pm    Post subject: Re: 86 Syncro Westy - 3 knob and having some troubles Reply with quote

ausbran wrote:
But is it as simple as switch the parts within the front diff and then nothing needs to be changed with the decoupler? So the middle knob juts works with the VC.


Yes it is that simple.

With a VC, decoupler's most important duty is to be able use 2WD if you have a tire diameter problem.
Or you can now get towed with 2 wheels stopped.
Or for goofing around with 2wd, and sometimes during mechanikking
For example testing if your parking brake can skid a tire in loose gravel.

If the decoupler VC fails in the locked position (becomes a solid shaft) you can decouple. This is very unlikely, but I saw pics of a decoupler VC with mangled plates, if course it had to be stuck. That was the only one I've heard of, but it's possible.

And last but not least, it activates a light on the dash!!
It's Syncro fun.
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....KTMs, GasGas, and a Stumpjumper
One apple every 8 hours will keep 3 doctors away - B Kliban


Last edited by Sodo on Tue Jan 21, 2020 10:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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SteveMc
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 7:51 pm    Post subject: Re: 86 Syncro Westy - 3 knob and having some troubles Reply with quote

ausbran wrote:
Shrimp and Izzy, I think I'm definitely going to do a swap myself and pull the straight shaft and replace with the VC. I'll also do the CV at that time.

I'm curious as to what needs to be done with the decoupler when I make this change within the diff. Of course I'll research more and figure out the exact process. But is it as simple as switch the parts within the front diff and then nothing needs to be changed with the decoupler? So the middle knob juts works with the VC.

You donít need to touch your decoupler.
https://siradventure.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/v...ox_094.pdf


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ausbran
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 8:56 pm    Post subject: Re: 86 Syncro Westy - 3 knob and having some troubles Reply with quote

Sodo wrote:
With a VC, decoupler's most important duty is to be able use 2WD if you have a tire diameter problem.


If I'm understanding how the decoupler works in conjunction with a VC is that:
middle knob pressed in = AWD
middle knob pulled out = 2WD

But the AWD with a VC still allows for slippage, so it's unlike the 4WD with a solid shaft in that it's not as strong in off road conditions?


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Sodo
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 9:08 pm    Post subject: Re: 86 Syncro Westy - 3 knob and having some troubles Reply with quote

With a VC, rear wheels slip a little before fronts pull.
In sand, the slippage of the VC causes rear wheels to dig, whereas the 4WD solid shaft Syncro just gets right ontop of the sand and floats. Wink
And similar in very loose river-gravel.
Mostly when starting from stopped.

The 3 options of 2WD / VC(AWD) / 4WD is a Syncro DREAM.
I'm sure lots have thought about it.
And its mechanically feasible.
But I've never heard of it being done
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EJ25, Peloquin diff, locker, transaxle oil cooler/filtration system
....KTMs, GasGas, and a Stumpjumper
One apple every 8 hours will keep 3 doctors away - B Kliban


Last edited by Sodo on Tue Jan 21, 2020 10:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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