77 bay steering and wander... Running out of options.....

Discussion in 'Bay Tech Clinic' started by Chidori, Aug 28, 2012.

  1. Chidori

    Chidori Active Member

    Messages:
    878
    Location:
    Fitzroy, VIC
    So, our kombi just got back from j and f motors in Richmond, Vic, to have the wheels aligned again after I wasted $100 at beaurepaires in Carlton on their crappy wheel alignment. I decided to just write off the $100 as a loss and get someone who knows vw's to sort it out. The alignment is much much better now.
    We asked Steve to check out the steering play and possible causes for wandering. We've had all the ball joints replaced as well as the centre pin which Hasnt really made any difference to the play or wander.
    Steve at j and f seems to think that this is about as good as it's going to get and this is just how kombis drive. Since this is my first and I don't have anything to compare it to, I don't know if that's true or not. I read on here that plenty of people eventually fix the wander in the bus one way or another. Steve seems to think the last option is a recon steering box. Any ideas on how much I'm looking at to go down that road?
    Other options to deal specifically with wander that I've seen mentioned on here is upgrading tyres to light truck tyres. Eg. Toyo which I've found for $110 each. New shocks, Or a rear sway bar, but Steve seemed to think that wouldn't make too much difference to the wander.
    He mentioned that he has done about $40k worth of work to his kombi over the years and driving it to Byron bay it still wanders at times!!
    Should I just give up and accept that this is how it will always drive? It's fine on local roads no problems. But once I'm on that freeway, it can be all over the shop. Can't say I like to drive with sweaty hands all the time and my heart in my throat!
    What would you guys do? Any advice? I've probably spent about $2k so far in trying to correct the problem. Not too keen to spend much more unless I know I'll be making some sort of improvements.
    Thanks for your help!!
     
  2. cbus

    cbus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    10,734
    Location:
    sunshine coast
    I wouldnt rush at more things untill you have a few people ,who know what a good ones like,have a drive

    If you think everything is within reason mechanicaly, check your tyres first.
    Preferably same size and type all round. different caseings can handle differently and steer the car.
    Are they a directional pattern. This would give more 'tramlining' effect.

    pump up to 42psi rear and 38front.
    Light truck wont handle better than this .

    Only other matter is the tread again. A straight rib effect is better than agressive pattern.

    I changed to one that looks like a copy of the toyos and the improvement in steering was substantial.

    Helps where there is a tramlining effect but not if the wander is from somewhere else.

    Think you have good shocks?

    col
     
  3. spearsy

    spearsy Active Member

    Messages:
    1,112
    Location:
    sydney
    Have you got new tie rod ends.When there is play in just one it will make you wander.Change all 4 as they are cheap,get it aligned and I reckon you will see an improvement.Also $100 seems a fair whack for a wheel alignment.I just had one done for $35.
     
  4. Menangler

    Menangler Member

    Messages:
    198
    Location:
    NSW South Coast
    I have the same problem with my '77 micro especially on bumpy roads, I have done all the ball joints, all tie rod ends, new centre pin, it has good Koni shocks and a mungo heavy duty sway bar. I haven't done the steering box yet, and it has a bit of play, so maybe that will fix it.

    I have a theory though, I have 16 x 6 Porsche Fuchs on the front, the offset is probably and inch further out than the stock wheels, I think this may be causing the wandering problem. Chidora do you have stock rims on your bus?
     
  5. LOMBI

    LOMBI Member

    Messages:
    216
    Location:
    Forster NSW
    I was having the same problem with LOMBI - i got the mechanic to tighten everything - still wandering

    Eventually he convinced me to up the air pressure to 50 psi !

    Now hold the line really well
     
  6. cbus

    cbus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    10,734
    Location:
    sunshine coast
    The high tyre pressures i suggested above are only for a trial run.

    I would drop them back again after a few days. My pref for general running is 38R/ 34F

    col
     
  7. oldman

    oldman Super Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,868
    Location:
    Avalon Beach NSW
    Has anyone checked the condition of the wheel bearings ? Worn or insufficiently packed & tightened wheel bearings would contribute towards wander........just a thought.
    Cheers, Mark
     
  8. Chidori

    Chidori Active Member

    Messages:
    878
    Location:
    Fitzroy, VIC
    Hi everybody' thank you so much for all your suggestions.
    I'll try and answer all of your questions:

    - I don't think the shocks are anything special, I think the ones that are in there are actually second hand ones. Can shocks make much difference to wander?

    - thanks for the advice on Tyre pressures. The ones that are on there are just cheapies I think. Would it make much difference / be ok to just replace the two front tyres with some toyo tyres and leave the back one with the cheapies on for the time being?

    - not sure about the tie rod ends, but I've had 5 mechanics look at the front end of the last 6 months and nobody has mentioned them. Only the ball joints, which were replaced, which didn't really make any difference to the handling.

    - yeh I got ripped off big time for the wheel alignment at beaurepaires. I'll never go back to them. Paid $50 at j and f and they seem to have done a good job.

    - my van has standard rims on it, nothing fancy.

    - mark, the first mechanic that checked the van mentioned that they checked and greased? The bearings. I'm assuming they're ok based on that.
     
  9. Alpal

    Alpal Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,281
    Location:
    Melbourne Bend of Islands
    Any comments on rear wheel alignment???
     
  10. VanAime

    VanAime Active Member

    Messages:
    2,349
    Location:
    Primate Gully Vic.
    Mine has plenty of play in the steering, but on a nice calm day it's not a problem. In fact the old boy is a pleasure to drive, but on a day like today (yeah, bit of sun around, so I had to go for a drive) with very gusty winds blowing, it's a bugger to hold in a straight line. Ok around the towns, but out on the highway, the only time I'm on the road is when I'm crossing it:lol:

    It really freaked me out when I first bought the van and I must admit to wondering why I'd made such a stupid purchase, but it just seems to be the way things are with a Kombi. I was talking about that very same thing just tonight to an old friend who owned a near new one years ago and he mentioned that he preferred to stay off the road in windy conditions.

    Mind you Chidori, if it's handling like that on a calm day then something must be out of wack.
    Aime.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2012
  11. Chidori

    Chidori Active Member

    Messages:
    878
    Location:
    Fitzroy, VIC
    Hey Aime, yeh, it's mainly on the freeway and in windy conditions that there's wander, but not always.

    I'm sure there's something that will make the difference. Just a matter of finding what it is.
    So far about 5 mechanics haven't found it, which means I have about 0% percent chance of finding it myself.

    I think the next option will be to check the tyre inflation and if that makes no difference, maybe a new set of tyres??
     
  12. Chidori

    Chidori Active Member

    Messages:
    878
    Location:
    Fitzroy, VIC
    just called a local VW mechanic and they told me that they can get me a 'good' but not 'reconditioned' steering box for the Kombi.
    If I knew the new steering box was going to have no play, I'd pay double that for it. But is there any way to tell the quality of steering box, or if it's going to have 'play' in it, before it's actually installed into the van?
    It's just a bit of a gamble as far as I'm concerned.... don't really want to spend that $250 and spend the time installing it, if it's not going to make a difference or if it could even be worse!
     
  13. Quincy1874

    Quincy1874 Member

    Messages:
    527
    Location:
    Mudgee NSW
    Get a second opinion, in regards to an experienced kombi driver having a drive of your van. You may be trying too hard to fix a problem that really isn't a problem!??!
     
    Chidori likes this.
  14. sandyfeet

    sandyfeet Member

    Messages:
    113
    Location:
    Port Macquarie NSW
    The equivalent to a giant loaf of bread on wheels is always going to wander a bit on a windy freeway, however, I put a new steering box in my bay window and the difference was amazing.
    The smallest amount of play in the steering box (or any steering part) is amplified between the wheels and the steering wheel.
     
  15. mickey

    mickey New Member

    Messages:
    455
    Location:
    Illawarra
    Chidori

    From our experiences:-

    Slightly windy day travelling on freeway over 75km our bus wanders. Windy day, forget it, wandering all over the place at any speed on the freeway..
    Sitting behind a truck (up to two metres distance) = wander.
    Truck passing by = wander.

    We have had the shockies and the ball joints replaced, and also replaced the front sway bars and installed back ones, improved things, but she still wanders....and always will.

    I have been driving our 73 bay for over a year now as a daily drive, I still cringe when I have to take her out in the wind, but being my daily drive I have no choice. We have had severe wind warnings here for the past three weeks (just love those August winds)... The freeway drive to and from work isnt fun

    You quickly learn to chill out, hold on tight on a windy day and study the wind direction so you know which counter direction to pull towards when the gust hits you. LOL

    we have stock tyres running then at tyre pressure of 40 front and 44 rear with no issues of uneven wear etc.

    As others have suggested, have it looked over again by a VW mechanic just in case, but if everything is fine, just sit back and enjoy it, its all apart of the kombi experience.

    Angela
     
  16. VanAime

    VanAime Active Member

    Messages:
    2,349
    Location:
    Primate Gully Vic.
    This is probably also why they're now making a rack & pinion set-up for bays, but who wants to pay big bucks for something that's going to take away the charm and character of your Kombi??
     
  17. splitbus

    splitbus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,266
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2012
  18. Chidori

    Chidori Active Member

    Messages:
    878
    Location:
    Fitzroy, VIC
    I've uploaded some video to YouTube of the play in the steering. Hopefully that gives everybody an idea of how much play there is and how normal it is. Also there is a gap below the steering wheel. Not use if that's normal or not?

    Took the van on the freeway again today an it was all over the shop. Any thoughts on that $250 steering box I mentioned above?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqEryK9J6Fw&feature=youtube_gdata_player
     
  19. splitbus

    splitbus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,266
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Get under the bus while you other half moves the wheel like you did on utube, and see where the movement is, looks like your drag link to me, the gap under the steering wheel is the plastic cover, it has slipped down
     
  20. paul77

    paul77 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    920
    Location:
    Brisbane
    I have been following this thread but as I am new to kombi ownership haven't had anything constructive to offer. Posting the vid was a good idea.

    I went downstairs and checked, my bus has 2cm free play so the play on yours seems excessive. The PO did tell me that he had to get ball joints and tie rod ends replaced for RWC, which was good for me as the bus steers quite well.

    Good luck with getting this sorted, I feel sure you are on the right track:)
     

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