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Previous Next Up Topic Public / General Discussion / Loose steering (13674 hits)
By Rick M 3613 Date 2014-06-22 09:56
Seems after I put in a new adjustable front end with new steering box, in my 1972 Beetle, it seems to drift a lot.  I also, put a smaller steering wheel on it as well.  Not sure how to correct it.  I've adjusted the steering box but seems it doesn't help the drifting going down the road.  Any help would be appreciated.
By Paul G Date 2014-06-22 15:37
As you lower the front of a car the caster angle decreases. This can lead to wandering at speed. The solution for the Bug chassis is to install a set of caster wedges between the frame head and lower beam tubes. A quick google search for VW caster shims will get you a number of shops selling them and a some of links about installation too.
By Rick M 3613 Date 2014-06-23 20:53
I do have a set of shims in there do I need another set?
By Brad H 1498 Date 2014-06-23 22:20
Did you have the alignment set after you lowered the car? The toe changes quite a bit when you lower the car.

By Rick M 3613 Date 2014-06-24 23:57
I did have an alignment done on it.  However, I am wondering how good a job they did?  When I put the adjustable drop front end on it and had it aligned the car does not have enough right hand turn radius as the left hand turn.  So I think I am going to redo the alignment.  Do I need to set a second set of camber shims in?
It seems that when I'm driving there is more play than it should be.  Seems that I am constantly trying to bring it into the lane.  I thought it was the steering box but it does not seem to help it.  I am hoping for a real responsive steer like driving a go-cart.  Not sure what to do?  Is there an add on rack and pinion or something?  The whole front end is brand new.
Would appreciate any help and ideas.

By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2014-06-25 02:35
Did you replace the pinion arm on the steering box? Was that put back so it is on the center of the travel? That might explain the reduced turn radius from side to side.

It depends on how much in the weeds you put the car. If its way down you might need a second set. If so make sure you go with longer bolts.

If all your front end parts (stabilizer, shocks, ball joints, tie rods)are new then I would say alignment issue.

There is really no rack system available that is easy and affordable.
By Brad H 1498 Date 2014-06-25 04:07
When you correct the steering, say to the left, does the car want to keep going left until you adjust it to the right, and then the car will want to continue to go right. IF this is whats happening, you may have balljoints that are sticking, or, you have over tightened the steering box and it won't self center. What size of tires do you have on the fron of your car?

By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2014-06-25 13:26
Good point about the ball joints Brad. Unless you have the clearanced ones the front end will bind up like crazy if its dropped alot.
By Ron S 3875 Date 2014-06-25 16:20
Changes from a stock ride height set up will change the amount of bump steer that occurs.  So if lowered then other changes need to occur to minimize the bump steer.
Centered steering is a common fix used on sand rails for ride height changes.
By Rick M 3613 Date 2014-06-25 21:35
Tires on front are Firestone FR710 P185/60/15  (Brand new)  Front end is dropped about 2" from stock.  One set of shims for caster.  Front end was a complete unit from "Mid America" with new lowered spindles. new steering damper.  Not sure if I missed anything but everything is brand new up there.  Including new shocks to allow for the lowered ride.
Not sure what you mean about "Centered Steering", "Bump Steer"?
I'm listening to all of your ideas so please bare with me as I am trying to learn how to do this myself. 

By Rick M 3613 Date 2014-06-25 21:41
Yes car will go left when turning that way you are constantly muscling the car and it is not a natural feel and ride.  Ball joints are new with front end as well.  I don't believe steering box is too tight I have tried tightening and loosening box.  I am trying for the 1" side to side play in wheel.  I am about 1" when tighter and 2" when looser. Not finding a happy medium.????????
By Rick M 3613 Date 2014-06-25 21:46
Explain pinion arm on steering box?

I did change the complete steering box as to what was there,  car was dropped 2"

Can the tie rods be adjusted so that it will have a tighter radius on one side than the other?  Should I have adjusted these myself before I had them align it or would that be part of the alignment?
By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2014-06-25 23:32 Edited 2014-06-25 23:42
OK...coupe of questions....

So its not an adjustable beam...its dropped spindles?

Shims are under the lower beam right?

I didn't think you used lowered shocks when you use dropped spindles? When you drop it via the beam you can need different shocks (based on the amount of drop) because you are actually bringing the lower shock mount closer to the upper shock mount. With dropped spindles you are basically just raising the rim. The lower shock mount remains in the stock position.

On the output shaft of the steering box it will make "X" amount of rotations from lock to lock. If you install the pitman (sorry...I called it pinion before) arm incorrectly you might get more rotations  (ie: travel) to the left than to the right. In other words.....say the output shaft on the box takes 4 rotations to go from lock to lock. When installing the pitman arm you should make sure that it is rotated exactly 2 rotations (1/2 of the total) and then install the pitman arm. This will ensure that you have similar left and right travel.

Your side to side play will increase as you change steering wheels. The smaller the wheel the greater the movement of the wheel. The steering box preload should be adjusted so it allows the wheels to center themselves with minimal (if any) driver input.
By Rick M 3613 Date 2014-06-26 01:09
I do have an adjustable beam not dropped spindles (I made a mistake) I changed the spindles to allow for my disc brakes from the actual stock spidles that was on the new beam. (sorry).  But the beam is adjustable.  I now understand the pitman arm and I think I will remove it to make it centered like you say.  I also have a smaller wheel on the car from a stock one I think it's a 13".  So would that make the play excessive? and steering poor?  Never did any other car I had.  But I never used a drop adjustable beam either.
By Brad H 1498 Date 2014-06-26 01:19
VW pitman arms will only go on to the sector shaft one way as they only have partial spplines and the through bolt goes in a slot in the shaft. Do like Jeffery said to center the sterring box and then make sure the tires are pointed straight ahead. If they aren't the steering box is centered but the tie rods are badly adjusted and that might cause your turning radius difference. I'm betting your balljoints are binding up causing your steering issues. Lift up the front end and knock the tierods off and see if the wheels move freely. Lots of guys on other forums complain about the balljoints binding up even at stock height do to poor quality parts, even well known brand name parts. They also say they will free up after some miles are put on the car.

By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2014-06-26 01:40
The smaller wheel would not "make" the play excessive or make the steering poor. However..the smaller the steering wheel the more it will move side to side without causing movement of the wheels.

Think if you have a 20" wheel and it takes "X" rotations to go lock to lock. If you replace it with a 10" wheel it will take more (twice maybe?) rotations to go lock to lock.

Now shrink that analysis down.....1" of left to right movement with a 20" wheel might be 2" movement with a 10" wheel...with all other things being equal. Now I haven't done the math (ie: a change in circumference calculation) to figure out the exact difference but I think you get my point, that being is you might be chasing a movement spec that may not be obtainable with a smaller wheel.

I would check the ball joints like Brad suggested. Do you know if they are the clearanced type? The last stock set I installed on an adjustable beam bound up so badly if was hard to turn the wheel. I would also suggest a re-alignment with maybe another location.
By Rick M 3613 Date 2014-06-26 20:52
Thanks Bread and Jeff!  I will be under the car this weekend.  I will post after I see what I might stumble into.
Appreciate the help.

By Rick M 3613 Date 2014-06-28 00:45
I readjusted the steering box (Loosened it up) and the car handles much better.  Now I can at least drive it with one hand! :-)  I still need to adjust the tie rods and check a few other things out.
Thanks all for your help!,
Previous Next Up Topic Public / General Discussion / Loose steering (13674 hits)

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