Alignment questions


bobCamp

New member
To follow up, I replaced the rotors, pads, and wheel bearings on both sides. The wheel bearings were shot on the side in question. The tire no longer rubs and it appears the sound was the result of the tire pushing into the upper control arm. It drives smoothly now, but it still pulls left. I did notice while it was jacked up that the camber is noticeably negative. Once my new tires get in, I'll be sure to get an alignment. However, I am having a hard time finding a place to align it. All the shops I called claim they need a special bar to align the front end. I'll just have to keep calling around.

Thanks
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Per Bentley section 44, there is NO special bar required for the '87 Vanagon. Some alignment shops use a tension bar between front tires to remove slack and hold tension on steering, but it is NOT required for the Vanagon. In fact, VW (Bentley 44.5) specifies "not pressed". The pry bar for the rear is nothing more exotic than a large screwdriver.
 

reluctantartist

New member
Originally posted by Capt. Mike:

Vanagons rear alignment: I've found that the rear alignment, which uses a clamping bolt in an elongated hole, has insufficient range. (See Bentley 42.2, Outer bracket for trailing arm.) This can be fairly easily corrected. Remove the adjustment bolt completely, let the suspension arm drop slightly (I'd recommend in a good alignment shop or dealer that has the hydraulic component support on his lift). then using a round file (avoid air-grinders -- they're too hard to keep aligned) increase the elongation of the adjustment hole. Be sure you do so on both sides evenly. On reconnection, you'll have more alignment adjustment.
Would this be possible to do with a jack stand and jack? I need to do this modification on my Westy. How much elongation can you do?

Thanks.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
This procedure compensates for rear wheel camber adjustment range. Watching it done on an alignment lift, the tech used the lift's internal component air jack to hold the suspension in place while he elongated the hole. The concern would be that once you remove the outer trailing arm from the bracket (Bentley 42.2) that it would have a twisting tension from the rear spring that might prevent reinserting with only hand tools. Since you have to have an alignment afterwards, how much extra shop labor would you save? Mine didn't even charge extra and took maybe 15 minutes.

The amount of elongation would depend on amount of castor correction needed; mine was less than ¼". At this point, you would do well to insure you don't need to replace your bushings -- worn bushings would have the same out-of-alignment effect on castor. If, when you drop the trailing arm to elongate, you find you have to have new bushings, I wouldn't want to tackle that job in a home shop and you'd already be there. See the trouble I had with the fronts in that topic.
 

BenTetzner

New member
Greetings,
I appear also to have the LR alignment camber problem. Does the elongation of the camber slots on LR wheel also work on the 1980 model ? Have very weird wear on LR tire, but alignment is pretty damned close to spec. Sorry,but you were referring to camber, not castor ? Castor is not adjustable on rear wheels !
 

Mathewsutty

New member
Glad you are getting things figured out. With the offset upper bushings I used Moog brand. You can index them according to the needs of your particular car. Just think of the way shims are used on "normal" cars upper A arm to get an idea of how they need to go. You first need to figure out and understand what your current alignment is and what condition you are trying to compensate for. Then install the bushings to move the upper arm balljoint in whatever direction it needs to go. You can compensate for caster and camber depending upon how you install them. These are used to get the rough adjustment and then the eccentric bolts are used to fine tune it. Keep in mind the front bushing has the biggest effect on camber and the rear bushing has the biggest effect on caster.
 

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