How to replace centre pin for steering.

Discussion in ''How To' & 'Handy Hints'' started by MY74VW, Jun 16, 2007.

  1. MY74VW

    MY74VW Member

    Messages:
    125
    Location:
    Warners Bay, NSW
    I recently replaced my centre pin and bushes. I have seen on some sites that special tools are required but found that I could adapt my own tools and do the job without too much trouble. For those who do not know what the centre pin is I will explain briefly. It is also known as the Relay lever and lever shaft. In the centre of the bottom torsion tube on the front suspension there is a vertical pin that your swing arm rotates on. The swing arm connects your steering box to your tie rods. Basically without it you wouldn't be able to steer. If you have a lot of free play in your steering you will often find that the problem is that the centre pin bushes are flogged out. Get under the front of your bus and have somebody move the steering back and forth. If you see the swing arm move up and down as well as side to side it means that your centre pin bushes are cactus.
    Here's a picture of where the centre pin is and the swing arm

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The first thing you need to do is have enough room under the bus to work. I didn't trust my old ramps so I just jacked up the front until the front tyres were just touching the ground and then put some stands under each side. If you have ramps it would be much better.

    You will need to seperate ball joints or tie rods during this proceedure so you will need a ball joint seperator.
    There are usually two types, one is like a 2 prong fork that you place between the ball joint and lever or arm that it is connected to and then belt the end with a hammer.
    The other type is like a clamp that you tighten with a spanner.
    I prefer the clamp type because you don't have to have enough room to swing a hammer and I think the first type could be more destructive.
    I purchased a clamp type from a local spare parts shop for $14.69.
    Here's a pic

    [​IMG]
     
  2. MY74VW

    MY74VW Member

    Messages:
    125
    Location:
    Warners Bay, NSW
    First you need to purchase a centre pin kit from Roy.

    Remove the cover plate under the pedal cluster.

    Disconnect the tie rods and steering damper that are pictured above. You will need to use your ball joint seperator on the tie rods. There is a bit of mucking around to get them off and you will find that the bolt on the ball joint seperator will slip off the bolt on the ball joint. To stop this get another nut that will fit on the ball joint and screw it on so that the ball joint seperator bolt will sit into the top of the nut stopping it from falling off. Don't use the castle head not on the ball joint because the not will get damaged during this process.

    You will then need to seperate the ball joint at the front end of the swing lever that connects the drag link. The drag link is the rod that comes from the steering box.

    The swing lever should now have nothing connected to it except the centre pin in the centre.

    The Bentley manual recommends that you place a clamp from the cap at the bottom of the centre pin to the top of the swing lever. This is because there is a spring washer on the centre pin that will try and pull it out of the swing lever while you are undoing the bolt in the side of the swing lever.
    I clamped mine and then undid the bolt throught the side of the swing lever and then undid the clamp and removed the swing lever.

    You can now remove the end cap by prying off with a screw driver or driving off with a hammer and chisel. You should now be able to remove the centre pin by sliding it out.

    This is the note from the Bently manual,
    "Normally, the shaft will fall out of its bushings when the end cap is removed. Because there is a head on the lower end of the shaft, it cannot be driven out upward. Check the top end of the shaft for burrs it it is stuck."

    Remove the grease nipple from the front of the housing being careful not to damage it as you don't get a new one in the new kit.

    Now the fun starts!!!!!!!

    You are now left with 2 bushes stuck inside the centre pin housing that you need to remove. This is where special tools are generally needed.

    Remove the bottom bearing first by pulling it out through the bottom.

    To do this I used a 7/16" by 3 1/2 " coach bolt. The head of this bolt is about the same diametre as the bush. You can check it alongside your new bush to make sure. I ground the head of the bolt to an oval shape so that I could insert it up into the housing through the bottom. When straightened up it then rested on the top of the bearing so that it could be pulled out.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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  3. MY74VW

    MY74VW Member

    Messages:
    125
    Location:
    Warners Bay, NSW
    I then used a 30mm 1/2" drive socket and some washes as shown in this photo.

    [​IMG]

    Here is a drawing of how it was used to pull the bottom bearing out. This method causes no damage. The bearing is pulled out into the socket. It you don't have a socket this size you could maybe use a bit of pipe the correct diametre.

    [​IMG]

    To remove the top bush I used another socket that was the right diametre to fit snuggly inside the housing. I used an extension bar on the socket and placed a jack under it. I jacked it up and pushed the bearing out of the top of the housing. The bearing didn't want to move at first so I tapped the extension bar and housing with a hammer until it released while the pressure was on.
     
    SteveLownds likes this.
  4. MY74VW

    MY74VW Member

    Messages:
    125
    Location:
    Warners Bay, NSW
    When you install the new bushes be very careful not to damage them. I have read posts on American sites where the pin has to be driven back in with a hammer because they have distorded the end of the bearing while putting them in. This will cause your steering to be very heavy.
    Don't be tempted to hammer the bearings in and don't try to use your old pin upside down on the top bearing to tap it down. If you do you will not be able to get the pin back out through the top as there is not enough clearance and you will have to cut the head off.

    I put my bearings in one at a time and the pin slid back in. It was nice and tight but I did not have to force it.

    I inserted the bottom bearing first. I used a 7/16" x 5" bolt, nut and large washers. The washers have to be larger than the diametre of the bearings.
    My method is below in the drawings. Make sure that the bearing is square when you start to tighten the bolt. It will generally straighten up anyway because the bolt is held square by the washer at the other end as you tighten.

    When you insert the top bush it needs to stick out the top of the housing slightly as there is a washer in the kit that sits around the top of the bush. I found it best to put this washer on the bearing first so that when you pull the bush down it will stop level with the top of the washer.

    [​IMG]

    You are now ready to re-assemble everything.

    Put the wave washer on the centre pin and insert it up through the bearings after you grease it. In order to install the swing lever on the top you will need to compress the spring washer. To do this place a jack under the centre pin and jack it up.

    There is a metal cap and plastic seal that then goes on the top of the centre pin. The rubber o-ring and the smaller washer go on top of this and then the swing lever is placed back on. A new bolt is included in the kit to bolt the swing lever back on. Line up the slot in the side of the centre pin with the bolt in the swing lever and bolt it back on.

    Here's a drawing of the way it should go back together.

    [​IMG]

    Put the grease nipple back in the front of the housing and pump it full of grease.

    Re-attach your ball joints and steering damper to the swing lever and replace the cover plate and you're back in business.

    I hope this helps and is not too confusing.

    The difference to my steering was amazing!!!!!
     
  5. Split 1

    Split 1 New Member

    Messages:
    7,077
    Location:
    Adelaide
    Great post.
    Thanks for all the information.
    I will be doing this soon.

    Dave
     
  6. Aging Surfie

    Aging Surfie New Member

    Messages:
    82
    Location:
    Waikiki Western Australia
    Agree great post. I did mine a couple of weeks ago and it made a huge difference. Well worth the effort.

    However I didn't need to disconnect the ball joints. The hole assembly moved away far enough to give me room to work once I undid the bolt on the pin. I turned down the head of the original pin and punched the bushes in from the bottom no problem. Mind due I have alot of experiance fitting this type of bush. I would recommend the method above as full proof.

    Deano
     
  7. Organichead

    Organichead New Member

    Messages:
    232
    Location:
    Adelaide Hills, SA
    Yep, did mine last year and didn't remove ball joints. Plenty of room once pin is removed, just swing it out the way.
     
  8. ttmck

    ttmck Super Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    2,783
    Location:
    Hallett Cove STH AUS
    this is one fantastic post hence now stuck , well done great info and photos
     
  9. MY74VW

    MY74VW Member

    Messages:
    125
    Location:
    Warners Bay, NSW
    I just logged back on to photobucket so that the pictures would work again. That was slack of me. I get peed off when I can't view other people's photo's and now I'm probably worse.

    Paul
     
  10. Doc

    Doc Active Member

    Messages:
    2,923
    Location:
    Gunnedah
    This was brilliant, absolutely perfect .....it works just as in the explanation.:D


    However bloody tie rods .............:mad:
     
  11. MY74VW

    MY74VW Member

    Messages:
    125
    Location:
    Warners Bay, NSW
    Thanks Doc. I owed it to you. You delivered my son and he turned 18 on 17 /3/2010.
     
  12. Doc

    Doc Active Member

    Messages:
    2,923
    Location:
    Gunnedah
    How time flies for us that are getting older ...... in a blink of an eye .... say happy birthday for me.
     
  13. Doc

    Doc Active Member

    Messages:
    2,923
    Location:
    Gunnedah
    Centre Pin Washer Sequence

    The washer sequence for the centre pin is done poorly in Bentley
    From a Haynes Book this is the sequence
    [​IMG]
    The split in the place mats is where the beam is.
     
  14. Doc

    Doc Active Member

    Messages:
    2,923
    Location:
    Gunnedah
    Just a picture of the tools needed to change the Centre Pin (Without a hammer Stevie)

    [​IMG]
     
  15. StevieVW

    StevieVW Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,468
    Location:
    Somerset, Tasmania
    I'll stick to my hammer method. I started to pull it in like that but the thread on the bolt i had was as course as yours and the hammer and a set of earmuffs worked better... Try it, you'll love it.
     
  16. starkz

    starkz Member

    Messages:
    46
    Location:
    victoria
    Hi guys, this threa is a fantastic guide to changing the centre pin, so many thanks. I have just bought a new kit from George at classicveedubb but the bushes seem to be to big in outside diameter. The old bushes were 28 mm but the new ones seem to be 29.4 has anyone had this problem.
    Cheers rory
     
  17. geoff62sw

    geoff62sw Member

    Messages:
    768
    Location:
    sydney
    Great Posting MY74VW

    I have done my splitty too last year
    I made up some similar tools.
    But I had too use an expanding reamer after pulling in the new bush

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]
     
  18. MikeS56

    MikeS56 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Marlow UK
    This is a great thread thanks to all. Did it today, took about 3 hours, without breaking any ball-joints. Only major issue was lining up the pinch bolt hole with the recess on the swivel pin.
    Only additional comment, in UK I couldn't find any 7/16 Coach Bolts. Nearest metric is M10 which is a bit small. Only the largest one (out of Pack of 6) was just big enough to pull the bottom bearing out, without any grinding down. The other 5 all pulled straight through the bearing. I may have just got lucky and might have had to try an M12, but that would need a lot of grinding down to get it in.
    Cheers Mike
     

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