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Syncro Front End Rebuild
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remraf
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 10:43 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

Following this as I'll be doing a complete front end rebuild on my syncro soon. Thought I'd point out in the pdf from T3 Technique it says don't trim the bushing. Very Happy
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T3TRIS
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 11:23 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

remraf wrote:
Following this as I'll be doing a complete front end rebuild on my syncro soon. Thought I'd point out in the pdf from T3 Technique it says don't trim the bushing. Very Happy


Youíre right, finally found the comment hidden in the low resolution image.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 11:57 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

Sleeve or bushing? That is the question. The center tube is where the adjustment is made. Not the poly mount.
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T3TRIS
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 12:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

MarkWard wrote:
Sleeve or bushing? That is the question. The center tube is where the adjustment is made. Not the poly mount.


Right. T3 Pilot mentioned something about trimming the bushing itself though, which I can see could be needed depending on length difference between bushing and inner sleeve. I donít have the bushings in front of me but if the sleeve is more than 1mm or so shorter than the bushing and the gap is already 0mm, that means the bushing will compress by 1mm when tightening right? What if itís even more of a difference? How much compression is created by a 1mm difference?
Iíll have to check the dimensions when I get home, it might be a non-issue. I was surprised however about how much I could compress the bushing before bottoming out on the inner sleeve (which I didnít reach). Maybe thicker washers are needed actually!
Bottom line: gotta measure.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 1:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

The factory bushings were ďfixedĒ to a point. The up and down movement came from the internal bonded mount.

The aftermarket bushings should pivot on the inner sleeve. When the arm bolt is torqued. Both inner sleeves should be ďpinchedĒ tight to the camber washers. The factory spec should allow the bolt to torque without distorting the arm.

This adjustment is the same stock or poly bushings. Since the arm is now free, it depends on the outer faces to locate it front to rear. I recall when I converted my syncro I had 2 thicker camber washers and 2 thinner. I had lost track, but ended up with one thick and one thin on each side. To keep it similar, the thick went on one end and thin on the opposite. This was with stock bushings. Iíve since replaced with white poly bushings and it all fit up without changes. So, I must have got it close.
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T3TRIS
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2021 1:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

Alright, did some measurements and calculations and Iím pretty confident I need 4mm eccentric washers without the need to trim any bushings nor inner sleeves, at least for the one UCA I measured so far. Hear me out and let me know if Iím way off.
I measured it the total width of the UCA with all bushing hardware installed and under enough pressure to deform the bushingís shoulder ever so slightly (about 0.4mm on both sides). Thatís the part of the bushing thatís between the pressed outer shell and the washer. That width is 264.2mm.
The washers are 9.9mm in thickness.
The inner sleeves are 42mm long.
I used a long screw driver inside the UCA bolt housing on the van and marked it with a thin tip sharpie to get the length of that housing. Both sides are 152.3mm.
Under these conditions, the space I have left for the eccentric washers is: 264.2-2x42-2x9.9-153.2=8.1mm
Therefore (2) 4mm eccentric washers, right?
I measured the ones I currently have and each side has (1) 5mm and (1) 5.5mm. Thatís 2.5mm more than what Iíve calculated I would need, which would undoubtedly result in serious bushing mushrooming since theyíd each need to compress by 1.25mm.
Also, the inner gap between the poly bushings in this setup is 159.7mm. Using the same measurements, when assembled, each bushing should be compressed by 0.3mm on the inner part with 4mm eccentric washers (159.7-2x4-152.3=-0.6mm).
The other UCAís width measures 263.7mm under the same conditions, leaving a 7.6mm space. I think (2) 4mm eccentric washers are still the answer and maybe shave off a sleeve, see how it fits pushed in or even spread the UCA just 0.5mm.
Hereís an illustration of the measurements:

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1987 Syncro GL converted to poptop
- 1994 Subaru EJ22
- Transaxle rebuild
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- Front end rebuild

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Last edited by T3TRIS on Mon Jan 04, 2021 2:38 pm; edited 1 time in total
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2021 1:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

You lost me a little. You need to measure the width on the inside of the control arm bushings compressed with the sleeves installed. Then measure the width of the mounting surfaces on the van with the washers you have.

The difference is where you add or remove shims.
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T3TRIS
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2021 2:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

MarkWard wrote:
You lost me a little. You need to measure the width on the inside of the control arm bushings compressed with the sleeves installed. Then measure the width of the mounting surfaces on the van with the washers you have.

The difference is where you add or remove shims.


Does this drawing help illustrate my thought process?
The space between the mounting surfaces (without washers) and the inner sleeves is equal to the total width of the UCA with bushings, minus de thickness of the washer, minus the length of the inner sleeve, minus the space between the two mounting surfaces (the UCA bolt housing length).
264.2-9.9-42-152.3-42-9.9=8.1mm
So 8.1mm of space for two 4mm eccentric washers.

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1987 Syncro GL converted to poptop
- 1994 Subaru EJ22
- Transaxle rebuild
- 215/75-R15
- Mexico paint job
- Front end rebuild

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2021 3:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

159.7 - 152.3 = Your shim total. I'd expect the center bushings to actually be a little proud on the inner edge when fully seated. Your drawing shows them recessed slightly.

As I said earlier, its the center bushing that is taking the full torque of the bolt/ the center, will seat on the camber washer. Any recess is going to cause the bushing to swell out.
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T3TRIS
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2021 4:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

MarkWard wrote:
159.7 - 152.3 = Your shim total. I'd expect the center bushings to actually be a little proud on the inner edge when fully seated. Your drawing shows them recessed slightly.

As I said earlier, its the center bushing that is taking the full torque of the bolt/ the center, will seat on the camber washer. Any recess is going to cause the bushing to swell out.


Well, hereís the catch:
- the metal inner sleeve is 42mm.
- the poly bushing where the sleeve fits (minus the recessed part for the washer) is 42.4mm.

By design, I believe the bushing is ever so slightly longer than the inner sleeve, so that it compresses (someone else mentioned and used a transparent tube to be able to get the gap right, instead of the purple bushing).

That 159.7mm is the distance between the poly bushings. I expect this to compress a little when tightened (159.7mm - 152.3mm = 7.4mm, which will be compressed using two 4mm thick eccentric washers).

The 8.1mm gap I measured is from solid metal parts to solid metal parts. Itís the distance between the inner sleeve and the UCA mounting surface on the van itself. Maybe itís more visible if you zoom into the drawing I made, which shows that the purple poly bushing is slightly longer.

The X dimension on the drawing, the gap, is between the 42mm dimension line and the 152.3mm dimension line. Iíve updated my drawing a little as I mightíve placed the dimensions in confusing places.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2021 5:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

With the the poly bushing being longer than the inner sleeve, it is going to preload the poly bushing, which may or may not be good. I would check with Christopher. He may say some preload is ok. What is odd that the directions would mention having to shorten the inner sleeve. Seems you have the opposite problem. Only the sleeve will fully seat on the camber washer and take the torque. The poly is going to distort. The question is how much is too much. Good luck.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2021 11:40 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

Well, nobody around had 4mm eccentric washer so I trimmed the sleeves to keep going. I shaved off about 1.9mm off of each inner sleeve for a total of 3.8mm per side, more or less. The belt from $49.99 belt sander I got from Harbor Freight snapped EXACTLY as I got the 4th inner sleeve to 40.1mm!
I used a new razor blade to trim the bushing, which is tough to cut! I hated every second of it... itís impossible, at least for my skill set, to make a clean cut. Theoretically, that part of the bushing doesnít matter too much but those are a $250 set of 4 bushings and sleeves, a premium for a Vanagon. Taking a blade to them is already not ideal, but not being able to make a clean cut on fancy stuff is just plainly frustrating, especially when Iím pretty confident 4mm washers wouldíve done the trick. Had I know how dissatisfied I would be of my own cuts, I wouldíve waited to receive the washers. Oh well, Iím sure Iíll forget all about it soon enough and the bushing will far outlast my disappointment.
Heck, actually putting the control arms back together was satisfying enough after this struggle. We have new parts coming from Chris (front and rear shock spacers), Iím slowly discovering that [url= https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=...rt=109]DIY alignments might be much easier on a Syncro[/url] and the only true unknown left for this front end is our front outer CV joints.
Regarding those CV joints... I'm also a little frustrated here too. When we first decided to start this rebuild, it was because we suspected one of our outer CV joint was getting bad. Turns out it was a loose axle nut (duh...) but I wanted to order new outer CV joints and 944 inner CV joints (especially since we are adding Schwenk lifted springs). I tried ordering from the standard vendors and somehow nobody had just the Lobro/GKN outer front CV joints, despite showing them in stock on all these sites. I figured, F-it, we'll just get a fully assembled Lobro/GKN front axles, even though it's a bit more cost and shipping. Only after a little while did I start noticing (and being informed) that these assembled axles, though branded Lobro/GKN, aren't using the same outer CV joints as the standalone Lobro/GKN. In my mind, I was ordering the same high quality Lobro/GKN front outer CV joint, just with an added axles and a standard Lobro/GKN inner CV joint. Well this doesn't seem to be the case and I am now stuck with 2 fully assembled axles that are difficult to return... The vendor claims that there is no basis to what I'm worrying about, saying that these are the exact axles they use when they service syncros and they haven't had any issue with them.
Here is what makes me doubt the quality of one CV joint vs another.
Photo of the front CV joints and assembled axles for sale. You can see the difference just in these photos, just in colors and also in the boots provided (number of pleats). Yes, I should've noticed that before purchasing but the description just makes you think that it's a Lobro/GKN part, and not that there might be different tiers of quality available. The joints that were on the van definitely resemble the standalone joint, not the dark assembled one.

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

Here are the axles I received. Both were in the shipping box with very minimal packaging, some bubble wrap here and there. No protection really, no branded Lobro/GKN box, the plastic spindle protective covers were broken and the metal rings bent in. Nothing major, they are probably just fine, but definitely not what you'd expect for a premium $275 per axle packaging. More importantly though, the axles themselves are different from one another (significant diameter difference) and the spacing between the boots is different too (not as worried about that).

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Lastly, I wondered if there was a part number on these. The inner joint has a nicely engraved GKN Germany branded number. I assume these are the standard Lobro/GKN inner joints, which cost about $60. The outer front CV joints alone supposedly cost $175 and the outer ring had some crappy illegible hand engraving. I think it says GKN in there but just can't be sure.

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I'm honestly not too sure what to make of all this. I'm tempted to just reinstall our existing outer CV joint, now cleaned up. I'll repack them but they aren't perfect. It looks like one side was smashed a little on the corners of the outer race, axle side and it binds ever so slightly when the axle is pointing directly away from the two marks (the ball bearing coming all the way out of the race, right by the smashed mark). I can power through it, but it's not smooth. It's obviously at very extreme angles and I doubt the wheel will ever see this angle, and if anything, not for more than a few turns. The other side has a couple adjacent outer bearing races with some significant pitting.

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

I'm sure these front outer CV joint will last a long while before truly requiring a swap but since it's all apart right now, figured it was a good time. However I don't want to be replacing these with what I'm suspecting is an inferior product for a premium price...

Am I being too critical about this?
Should I have known that they wouldn't be the same front outer CV joints?
Am I justified in wanting a return these axles that I don't feel are representative of what we paid for them (over $600 with shipping for the pair)?
Should we just run with our existing ones or just go with the new axles regardless of my concerns?


It's just a little frustrating to put that much effort and money into something and not feeling like you're getting your money's worth. But hey, this CV joint dilemma is already making me forget about having had to cut power flexbushings Razz
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1987 Syncro GL converted to poptop
- 1994 Subaru EJ22
- Transaxle rebuild
- 215/75-R15
- Mexico paint job
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2021 11:50 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

Sorry, I wouldn't reuse that outer joint with the pitting shown. Maybe as a spare, but your doing all this work.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2021 11:55 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

MarkWard wrote:
Sorry, I wouldn't reuse that outer joint with the pitting shown. Maybe as a spare, but your doing all this work.


Dang it... Both my gut and my brain agree with your sentiment... my desire to get this job done is strong enough to make me consider cutting corners! That's no good. I am, however, less put-off by the prospect of swapping front CV axles now. It's work, yes, but having removed them once makes the whole idea less daunting. But yeah... I do agree with you and the do-it-once-do-it-right mentality.
Nobody seemed to have these CV joints a month ago, I haven't checked since. I'm also not happy about the idea of spending another $350 + shipping for outer CV joints without being able to return these $550 assembled front axles... I haven't heard back from the vendor (who I do like) and am worried I'm emails are ending up in the "annoying customer junk box."
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1987 Syncro GL converted to poptop
- 1994 Subaru EJ22
- Transaxle rebuild
- 215/75-R15
- Mexico paint job
- Front end rebuild

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2021 12:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

That sucks to have that trouble with the CV's. I'd call the vendor and nicely talk through it. Hopefully they can take the axles back with a restocking fee at the most. Emails get impersonal.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2021 12:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

I can't comment on the length, of shafts, but the outer ring can easily be straightened with some small vice grips. If the shaft length is a issue, can you swap the outer joint from the new shaft to the older shaft?
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2021 12:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

dobryan wrote:
That sucks to have that trouble with the CV's. I'd call the vendor and nicely talk through it. Hopefully they can take the axles back with a restocking fee at the most. Emails get impersonal.

Yeah youíre right. Gotta pick up the phone. I told them Iíd take the difference in price as a refund if they can ship just the outer joints!

MarkWard wrote:
I can't comment on the length, of shafts, but the outer ring can easily be straightened with some small vice grips. If the shaft length is a issue, can you swap the outer joint from the new shaft to the older shaft?

The length of the axles are fine I believe, the measurements only show the difference in spacing between the boots, which is a minor thing but doesnít speak to me as: this is a fancy premium part and both axles should at least be the same!
And yeah, same with straightening the rings. Not a big issue but more a sign that these things just arenít packaged as a premium item. Disappointing customer experience I guess for a $550 set of axles.
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1987 Syncro GL converted to poptop
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- Transaxle rebuild
- 215/75-R15
- Mexico paint job
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 1:00 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

Alright, new update.

First about the front outer CV joints. I still want to install new standalone outer CV joints eventually. I've heard your input about not reusing our existing joints because of the pitting. I think what we'll do is swap them side to side so the balls push on the other surface when moving forward until I can get my hands on another set. Now that I've done all this work, I'm not too worried about swapping front CV axles anymore.

Installing the lower control arm and radius rods was a bit problematic... so much so that I started thinking the stamped steel LCA were side dependent. You can read all about the rabbit hole I went through if you want. Bottom line was that stamped steel LCA of this vintage are interchangeable and I was just installing things in the wrong order. It was easier to put the spring/shock in place with the radius rod completely removed, but then it was impossible to re-attach the radius rod.

Now that the LCA's, UCA's and radius rods are installed, I started installing the shock/springs combo.

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

I'm having issues however with the steering knuckle hitting the spring at full extension.

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

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Our van has those lifted Schwenk springs (marked "Syncro D/P Lift", they seem to be just an 1" to 1.5" longer than stock) with the Old Man Emo front shocks and some shock extenders.

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

We don't have upper ball joint spacers (yet). The Burley UCA's might've helped with this too by extending the length of the UCA but we didn't go that route. Theoretically, spacers do the same thing of lengthening the arm (except for poly bushings vs heim joints, and Burley looks prettier). Here are some recommendations so far:
- add upper ball joint spacers or Burley arms
- add limiting straps (I'd like to avoid that if possible, at least for now)
- rotate the shocks/springs 180 in hopes that the coils line up better (they are oriented same as in the Bentley, which uses stock height springs)
- remove the extenders, though I feel like that will put additional stress on the shocks and limit downward travel

Feel free to share more ideas, I'll report with the solution I came up with whenever that happens.

On another note, I found this post buried in a "spacers and limiting strap" thread.
SyncroGhia wrote:
Ok if we're talking about the front, there should not be any play in the driveshaft. It's fixed in the outer CV joint.

You should only start to worry if you have run out of CV joint angle travel.

If you lift the front end of the van up (and put on axle stands), can you rotate the front wheels (with the front suspension in full droop) easily without binding? The CV joint running out of travel will usually give a notchy rotational binding.

There are many things to take into account when lifting the front end of a Syncro. It's not just a case of fitting a spring spacer.

When you fit a spacer, the shock absorber then tops out. You need to lengthen that.

Also, your top suspension arm will now be sitting at an angle causing negative camber and the adjustment is no longer able to get you back to 0 camber.

You can buy top balljoint spacers to counter act this.

Once you've done that, the upright (hub) will hit the spring on when the suspension is on full droop.

At this point, your CV joints start running out of travel.

You can upgrade to Syncro 16 front driveshafts (which only came on a Syncro 16 with a factory fitted front diff-lock) or buy an aftermarket alternative from Burley Motorsports or similar outlet.

To stop the upright hitting the spring, you have to replace the spring and damper for an aftermarket set... which kind of defeats the point of fitting spring spacers in the first place!

It's a slippery slope but you should know what's ahead of you Very Happy

MG


Not sure how I missed this post before starting this project but SyncroGhia is describing exactly what's happening right now!
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1987 Syncro GL converted to poptop
- 1994 Subaru EJ22
- Transaxle rebuild
- 215/75-R15
- Mexico paint job
- Front end rebuild

Fun off-roading
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 10:39 am    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

You made one side of the kinematic triangle longer at full droop by adding the shock extender. This is partially why you had such a pain assembling everything.

Ball joint spacers help with making sure you can align the vehicle with the longer springs. I have no experience using them with longer shocks.

Looking at your photos adding them in may actually make things worse for the control arm/upright/spring contact pictured.

I think you will need limiting straps if you want to keep the shock extenders. You might check with burly about his upper arms and this scenario.
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vandroid
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Joined: July 26, 2018
Posts: 44

vandroid is offline 

PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2021 6:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Syncro Front End Rebuild Reply with quote

Threads like this one really remind me how much I enjoy paying our mechanic. Did any of these parts that you have purchased come with instructions?
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