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Previous Next Up Topic Public / General Discussion / Wandering all over the road (24768 hits)
By Rick M 3613 Date 2015-09-08 01:24
I lowered my front end on my 72 Beetle with an adjustable front axle (2 1/2") adjustment.  I put in two caster shims because of the amount it lowered.  It still does not handle very well.  It wanders all over the road.  I put in a new steering box but it was a cheep O from Mid America.  Tried to adjust it but does not seem like it is doing anything.  I am looking to put in another (better) one.  Could it be that the back end is still at stock height? Thought about lowering it to bring it down to an even ride.  How should I proceed with this problem?  I am getting ready for my winters project when it does set in (Maine).
Thanks for your help you guys have been giving me on my posts on here.  I am handy and can do the work but I am learning as I go.

By Ron S 3875 Date 2015-09-08 12:00
sounds like you have made the VW inherent bump steer worse.
This usually comes along with lowering.
Best fixes involve moving steering box to center or changing over to rack and pinion.
By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2015-09-08 13:25
Simple questions first:
1. Professional alignment done?
2. Tire sizes?
3. Condition of ball joints? Tie rods? shocks?
By Rick M 3613 Date 2015-09-08 20:37
How hard is it to convert over to rack and pinion?

What do you mean by moving steering box to center?
By Rick M 3613 Date 2015-09-08 20:45
Professional alignment has been done and double checked,
Tire size is Front:
    Firestone FR710 185-65/15
    Rear : Fuzion 205-65-15

Ball joints are all brand new, Shocks are brand new, tie rods are all brand new.

I don't know how to get it under control as it is so hard to steer!!
By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2015-09-08 22:16 Edited 2015-09-08 22:20
Converting to a rack is not easy and it is not needed.  Never heard of moving a steering box. The other poster may be thinking you have a sand rail.

1.Do you have lowered (clearance) ball joints?
2. What is the alignment specs that the car was set to?
3. Alignment done before or after caster shims?
4. Shims in the bottom tubes?
By Kellison Jim Date 2015-09-08 23:11
How about toe-in ?
Kellison Jim
By Rick M 3613 Date 2015-09-10 23:21
The alignment was done to factory specs.  Ball joints came with the lowered front beam.  Alignment was done after the car was put together  Two shims with longer bolts as was recommended.

1. Is there a spec for alignment for when the car is lowered?
2. How do I check to see if ball joints are correct?
3. Did I put the shims in the right place?
4. Do I need to take one of the two shims out?
By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2015-09-11 13:31
Did you get a print out of what the alignment was done to? Usually they give you a sheet that tells you all the measurements.

Caster is only adjustable by shims. Camber should be set to factory spec as well as toe. But what your alignment guy "thinks" is factory spec may not be. That's why the sheet is important. Don't ever assume that someone did the job right. The world is full of people "we trust, and "have years of experience" that often have no idea what they are doing.

Shims go behind the lower tube. Did you put them there? Have you tried sliding one set out and seeing if there is any improvement?

I am not sure how to test the ball joints. Who built the beam?
By Tom & Kathleen I 639 Date 2015-09-11 14:34
Ball joints could be too stiff.  I have run into several types that are so stiff, the steering will not return to center after making a turn.  TRW brand seems to be OK  Tom
Tom & Kathleen Manxter #16, Kick-Out SS #16 & FiberFab Buggy
Manx Club #1030, CVA, RBC, SCCA
By Rick M 3613 Date 2015-09-11 21:21
I did not get a print out from the shop?  Just said it was done.  How do I get the specs for it if I have it redone?  I am going to take out one of the shims to see if that helps.  I will do that this weekend.  I believe they are behind the lower tube, I will find out when I get under it.  The shims you are talking about are the ones the bolts go through that hold the front axle beam onto the frame? The beam came from "MID AMERICA" as a package.
By Rick M 3613 Date 2015-09-11 21:22
The ball joints were already on the beam.  How do you tell if they are to stiff?
By Rick M 3613 Date 2015-09-11 21:25
How do you find a qualified alignment shop that can do that old of a car?  Do you have the specs?  or where can I get them?  I work at a Tech school that has an alignment machine and can have the instructor do the alignment for me there.
By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2015-09-11 23:29
The bolts that hold the beam in do not go through the shims. The bolts hold the beam and the shims are slide in behind the beam and in front of the frame head.

What EXACT beam did you guy?

What is your tire pressure?

A good read with info:
By Rick M 3613 Date 2015-09-12 19:37
So the shims are confirmed behind the lower tube.  And yes the bolts do not go through them.  I have one set of shims in place.
Tire pressure is 20 in the front and 28 in the rear.
The beam is from Mid America and there is no name brand on it. Part number305344

Do I need to add another set of shims so there would be two sets in place?
By Dave C 4367 Date 2015-09-13 00:31
Tires should be 15-18 lbs front and 12-15 lbs rear.
By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2015-09-13 01:07
One set is just fine.

Fix your tire pressure.

Get the actual measurements on the alignment.

That number you h=gave is just for the beam. I thought you had said it was a "complete" beam (which generally is spindle to spindle)? Where did your control arm and ball joints come from?
By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2015-09-13 01:08
I think you have that backwards.

I personally would go 15-18lbs in front and 18-20lbs out back.
By Rick M 3613 Date 2015-09-13 10:03
If I remember correctly the beam was complete.  I did have to buy and change the spindles (from to drop spindles as well as different ball joints(lower) for the drop. I got the print out for the alignment from the link you sent,Thank you!  I will change tire pressure today and go for a ride.  How about the steering box?  I changed the box out when I put the front end together.  I have a sway bar on the front end as well.  would that have anything to do with the ride after I dropped it?  I had the sway bar on it from prior to dropping it.  I just put it back on when reassembling the front end.

I will try both tire pressures and see what happens.
By Dave C 4367 Date 2015-09-13 12:49
Thanks for the catch. Lower front then rear.
By Rick M 3613 Date 2015-09-13 13:38
I adjusted tire pressure and did not do too much. I tightened up the steering box as well.Seems like the steering wheel has way to much play in it before it actually starts steering.  Could I have a defective box?  It did tighten it up a little.  Would like to have better wheel response.
By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2015-09-13 15:18
I personally would not run the sway bar. I am not sure if it matters, or how it would interact with the dropped spindles, but its not needed.

How did you tighten the box?

I assume you have the steering damper and its in good working order?

What size steering wheel? The smaller the diameter the more movement you will get from it before any turning takes place.
By Rick M 3613 Date 2015-09-13 18:00
I tightened the box by loosening the nut and tighten the screw clockwise.

My steering damper is also brand new.
The steering wheel is a 13" Diameter.
By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2015-09-14 13:33
Adjust the box via the adjustment at the end. Its a large lock nut and what appears to be a large allen wrench. a 24mm nut will help.

Check that the arm coming out of the box is tight.

Check that the steering box is tight on the torsion tube.

A 13" wheel will have more movement than a larger stock wheel.
By Rick M 3613 Date 2015-09-14 21:54
Is there more than one place tho tighten the box?  I loosened the nut on top through the inspection window the used a screw driver to turn the screw.  Is that the correct place? 
I am going to order a new steering wheel that is a 15"  I think the stock ones are 15".
By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2015-09-14 22:19
Yes. There is a spot in the front.
By Rick M 3613 Date 2015-09-15 01:02
Thanks I will look for that one.  I did not know there was a second place.  What is the technique to adjust it?  Is there a special way to adjust the top one as well? (in case I did not do it correctly?)
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