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adjustable front axle

Home Forums MGTD Kit Cars VW Based Kits adjustable front axle

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  • #232378
    Bill Pollard
    Participant

    @mr-bill

    Evening Fellow MG-TD lovers,

    I have a question. After driving my car about 200 miles now the front end has settled below the original ride height.

     

    I have installed the ?raise? style adjustable front axle. Today I tried to raise the front end and could not make the adjusters move. I loosened both jam and main nuts on each adjuster, I loosened the center pinch bolt, and I disconnected the shocks. Still no movement; the adjuster plates are completely loose.

    I tried turning one end at the control arm still no luck.

    Do I need to dissemble everything and reset the ride height that a way? I just need to raise the front about ??.

    Mr. Bill

    #237348
    Mark Hendrickson
    Participant

    @pink-mg

    Did you jack the car up first? Where were the adjuster “plates” at when you started?

    What is a “raise” style adjuster? The adjusters are usually raise or lower.

    Once the snub nuts are removed, the torsion leaves are “free” to turn. Is something binding?

    #237349
    Bill Pollard
    Participant

    @mr-bill

    Morning Pink MG,

    Yes the car was jacked up and it is supposed to be an “up” adjustable axle. When I installed everything originally the pinch bolts and adjusters plates are at the bottom of the adjusting slot/axle.

    In my mind the pinch bolt and the adjuster plates need to rotate upward toward the top of the adjusting slot/axle, is this correct?

    I don’t see anything stopping movement unless maybe the sway bar is keeping it in a bind. I don’t see it touching anywhere except where it connects to the lower control arms. Like I said earlier I thought the shocks may have been preventing it form moving so I unbolted them at the top of the shock tower.

    Bill

    #237350
    Mark Hendrickson
    Participant

    @pink-mg

    Correct, moving the serated plates “up” should rotate the torsion plates so that it pushes the trailing arms toward the ground, thereby raising the front ride height.

    I suspect that the sway bar is the culprit. Disconnect it, at least where it anchors to the beam and the trailing arms should drop as you raise the car.

    If the sway bar, shocks and ride height adjusters are all disconnected and it still doesn’t move, while the car is on stands, push down on the wheels (two people, one on each wheel). They should drop no problem.

    Pink MG39549.6265393519

    #237351
    Bill Pollard
    Participant

    @mr-bill

    Okay,

    Thanks for the information. I was afraid I was needing to remove the control arms inorder to make it move. That was more work than I wanted to do if it wasn’t necessary.

    Bill

    #237352
    Mark Hendrickson
    Participant

    @pink-mg

    Did you get the ride height to adjust???

    #237353
    Bill Pollard
    Participant

    @mr-bill

    No I didn?t. I actually think something is binding in the upper tube.

     

    I took the upper tube ?pinch? bolt out and it appears the torsion springs rotated toward the bottom of the tube. I was unable to reinstall the ?pinch? bolt. I was able to remove and reinstall the ?pinch? bolt in the lower tube. (This is with the car jacked up.)

     

    I have also ordered the German made ball joints and I will replace the Brazil made ones while I have it torn back down.

     

    I know where I need to place the adjusters when everything goes back together, so I should not have to worry about it again after I reassemble.

    Bill

    #237354
    Mark Hendrickson
    Participant

    @pink-mg

    Bummer

    It gets a little tricky guiding the torsion leaves through that square hole in the adjuster. I used some painters tape (blue) to hold the leaves together until I got them through the adjuster.

    I then “eyeball” centered the leaves in the tubes and finger tightened the snub bolts after adjusting them where I wanted them making sure the leaf sets were parallel.

    THEN I INSTALLED THE TRAIL ARMS ON THE LEAVES ONE SIDE AT A TIME. I snugged their snub bolts up and then installed the other side trail arms and snugged up their snub bolts. Then I installed the spindles on to the ball joints.

    I assume this is how you did it. I wonder what made that upper snub bolt let the adjuster turn so far? Sounds like the leaf sets were not parallel when the snub bolts were tightened or they turned under load due to a loose snub bolt. Weird…

    At any rate, the problem wil be fixed in time for the cruise weather and that’s all that counts!

    #237355
    Bill Pollard
    Participant

    @mr-bill

    Evening Pink MG,

    I received my ?German Manufactured? ball joints today and hopefully will start tearing the front axle back apart by Thursday.

     

    I used black electrical tape to hold the leaves together as I inserted them. You could see all the leaves held together when the center pinch bolt was removed. I suspect I may have the leaves not straight inside the square opening of the center adjuster.

     

    Here cruising weather is almost year around. In the winter with the top down just put on a reasonable heavy coat, gloves and a toboggan cap and you are ready to go.

     

    There is a North Texas Volkswagen Club that meets once a month about five miles from me. I wonder if it would be to my advantage to join them?

    Bill

    #237356
    Mark Hendrickson
    Participant

    @pink-mg

    If that VW club doesn’t mind kit cars, then by all means you should join. I’ll bet there is a wealth of VW knowledge in that club.

    Used to be true that the Carlisle Import/Kit Replicar Nationals had many VW vendors that showed up to peddle their wares. The last show I attended a few years ago had only a couple VW vendors. Seems that most of the kit cars being built today, with the lone exceptions of the Porsche 356 and Spyder variants, do not require VW parts. So, these guys are pretty much suppliers for VW’s and those of us with older VW based kits. No exactly a hot market!

    There was a really well built Subaru powered 356 replica at Carlisle a few years ago. Much more driver friendly than an air cooled VW.

    The VW aftermarket used to include the off-road buggy guys, and they are few and far between now too. Most of these cars are now powered by water cooled power from Toyota, Nissan, Ford, Chevy, etc.

    There is a local shop, German Auto Repair, that has a ’69 standard bug for sale…I keep wanting to stop and look at it! But I have too much stuff already

    #237357
    Bill Pollard
    Participant

    @mr-bill

    Evening Pink MG,

     

    From some comments that were made at last years ?Bug In? at the Ennis, Texas drag strip I think the allow anyone as long as it is V.W. powered.

     

    I have one little problem, one of the main sponsors of the club is the local parts supplier (Black Gold) that would not honor a bad part that I was sold.

     

    I have purchased the majority of everything else from a different local parts supplier that does not sponsor the club.

     

    It would be fun to see the owner of Black Gold?s face when he sees how much money he threw away over a $175.00 part that I know he didn?t have more than $100.00 invested in.

     

    Bill

    #237358
    Mark Hendrickson
    Participant

    @pink-mg

    Most of these vendors do not realize that it’s good business to keep you happy. When you had a ligitimate gripe, he should have made good just to keep his good name.

    When you tell people that a vendor treated you right, they tend to use that vendor. It surely wasn’t worth losing you as a customer and you telling others about your bad experience for the $70 he made.

    It’s a shame, but the car hobby is rampant with predatory vendors. Some even align themselves with various car clubs to try and guarantee victims. I’d make it a point to let Black Gold know you have his number and be sure to tell all the people that are his potential customers about your experience.

    #237359
    Bill Pollard
    Participant

    @mr-bill

    Morning Pink MG,

     

    I was finally able to finish putting everything back together. I still can?t say why that upper beam would not rotate with everything bolted together but as soon as I unhooked the ball joints from both spindles it rotated smoothly.

    I did have the ?German? made ball joints pressed in and it does drive better. It is still a little stiff turning but I feel better about these ball joints loosening up after a short driving period. I now need to go back and reset my ?toe in? and ?camber?.

     

    Yes at the ?Bug In? I plan to make me a sign and lay in the seat showing how much I did not spend at Black Gold and the reason why. Due to my schedule I have not been able to attend any of the local VW club meeting and inquire about me joining their organization.

    Bill

    #237360
    Mark Hendrickson
    Participant

    @pink-mg

    Glad everything is A-OK on your ride. Is the steering stiff in both directions (left and right)?

    How is the alignment of the ride height adjusters now? Parallel? Are both sets of torsion leaves working?

    Great idea to place the sign in you car at the Bug-In. The Northeast has a couple large VW Bug based events. One is at Maple Grove Dragway about 140 miles west of me near Reading, PA. The other is a huge show in Litchfield, CT. That’s about 180 miles northeast of me. I went to it once about 10 years ago. There are few smaller shows closer, but not on the scale of these two.

    Keep us posted on the improvements.

    Mark H.

     

     

    #237361
    Bill Pollard
    Participant

    @mr-bill

    Evening,

    I have only driven my car about 3 blocks. Yes steering is a little tight left and right. I haven’t checked the toe in or camber adjustment.

    Before I adjusted the adjusters they were at the very bottom of the slot. Now I have the set 2 teeth up from the bottom and 7 teeth from the top. To me it appears a little high but I want to drive it a few miles before I make a decission to change the adjusters again.

    Before I adjusted the adjusters the frame height set level (carpenter torpedo level) but the fenders had about 1/4″ clarence above the tires. Now the fenders clear the tires about 2 1/2″ – 3″ and the level indicates I am a little high in front.

    Hopefully with a little driving everything will settle into place.

    My next project will be to install my new custom bumpers and install the powder coated engine tin and two barrel carb set up. I have the new upholstery purchased just have to make time to have it made up and installed.

    Bill

    #237362
    Bill Saurber
    Participant

    @willie2

    Mr Bill, It sounded to me like you had the top set of springs out of index a quarter turn.  If I were to venture a guess I would have told you to take your upper control arms off and index your springs around then reinstall the control arms.  Your upper and lower spring packs were fighting each other.  Sounds like you have everything put back together correctly now.  If you are using used springs and non-gas shocks you should find you get very little settling effect.  Even though you removed leaves, you basically corrected the spring rate back to somewhere near the original bias which should already be settled out.  Good luck!

    #237363
    Bill Pollard
    Participant

    @mr-bill

    I keep fighting the stiff steering problem. I have the “German” made ball joints installed and a new steering box. With the tie rods disconnected nothing in the steering to that point is binding. The shop that pressed the ball joints in say they are indexed correctly.

    My question now is what is the relation between the upper and lower control arms? Do they hang loose at the same angle or are they at different angles.

    I don’t remember how they hung on the stock axle before I started taking everything apart.

    Bill

    #237364
    Bill Saurber
    Participant

    @willie2

    They won’t necessarily hang at the same exact angle, but they should be close.  That’s why I said it sounded like you had one the upper indexed 90* out on your first assembly, and it’s easy to do. 

    How hard are the spindles to move back and forth with the tie rods disconnected?  Also, if your have your steering boxrotated on the beam too high or too low it could cause some amount of binding, but it shouldn’t be too significant.  I would start by disconnecting your tie rods and cycle your steering box lock to lock.  If you don’t have any binding there, grab each spindle and move it back and forth to see if either/both bind up.  If they’re free, reconnect everything and cycle the steering with no weight on it.  If there is no binding there then let the car back down and see what happens.  If it starts to bind now then you probably have an issue with the steering box either having really worn components that are binding up under load, or maybe it is rotated out of index and binding the tie rods or another suspension component.  <>  Here’s another thing I just thought of…I can’t remember if it’s possible or not, but check to see if your pitman arm is mounted upside down and causing the tie rod to hit the steering arm or any other components.  And here’s one obvious question but I’ll ask anyway so as to leave nothing out…Are the tie rods mounted so that the right is on the right side of the pitman and the left on the left side of the pitman? It might be helpful to have someone else turn the wheel while you watch what’s going on up front.  If you can post a pic of your steering box area let’s have a look at it. 

    willie239578.4706018519

    #237365
    Bill Pollard
    Participant

    @mr-bill

    Evening willie2,

    The spindles actually are tight when you try to move them with the tie rods disconnected. That is why I was wondering if the angle of the control arms was critical.

    Here is my cell phone number but I will be occupied until Monday afternoon. 817 228 0305

    I live in Texas so I am on CDL time.

    I will try to have the car jacked up and the tie rods disconnected by the time you call.

    I had no problem with the steering (except the ball joints were worn out) before I changed to the adjustable axle. Even then the first set of ball joints were installed wrong and the steering did not bind. When I installed the adjustable axle is when the steering started to bind.

    Bill

    Bill

    #237366
    Bill Saurber
    Participant

    @willie2

    Mr Bill, What part of TX are you in?  Let me know what time to call.  I know when I’m in Houston it’s an hour later here than there.  I would have to agree that there is something shady with the ball joints or install job if your spindles are binding with no tie rods hooked up.  Even if your control arms were out of index again you should not get binding from it.  There would have to be a huge amount of pressure either against or in tension of the ball joints to produce binding from the control arms, and I doubt you’d be able to assemble them if there was.  They should be stiffer than the old ones were that were worn out but I can’t imagine that you’d feel any significant amount of stiffness through the steering wheel.  There’s definitely something out of whack.  I’m going to dig through some of my repair info and see what I can find.

    #237367
    Bill Pollard
    Participant

    @mr-bill

    Evening willie2,

    I’m on the same time zone as Houston I am located in north Texas between Fort Worth and Dallas. Anytime after 5:00pm “Dallas” time should be great.

    Bill

Viewing 21 posts - 1 through 21 (of 21 total)
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