Vanagon Front Suspension

Capt. Mike

I recommend a full alignment every time you replace tires. This can only be waived IF you have kept detailed records -- inside, center & outside ribs -- of tire wear BY TIRE POSITION so you have a long record of the wear at each corner. Rotating tires often equalizes wear but doesn't cure the problem. Alignment can be way off in camber and even castor without signifigant "pulling."
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New member
Early Vanagon Sway Bar Swap

Hi, I have a 1980 Westy with the "bent" style end links. I believe they are original and while removing one, the threaded part broke due to corrosion. I didn't take the other side off yet but I believe it will be the same. The dealer wants $150 for each end link, and I am considering changing the links to the later(85 and up) style. Would I have to change the swaybar to do this? Has anyone else tried this? Thanks

[Moderator Note: The same dealer could have told you the sway bar itself is the same part number for both. The differences are in the track control arms.]
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New member
I'm currently having the same problem with a clunking sound coming from the passenger side front wheel area of my 1991 Westfalia Vanagon. I assumed that it was the shocks and installed new ones. During the install, I noticed that the upper control arm was very sloppy. I've ordered new upper control arm bushings and will have them installed by the end of the week. I'll let you guys know how the job went.
I am wondering if I need to get a wheel alignment done after changing the upper control arm bushings?


New member
Short answer is yes. Anytime the suspension is dis-assembled the alignment is in jeopardy. Some people will say that 'if you install everything the same way then the alignment will be the same' but since you are replacing components then recreating the previous scenario is irrelevant. After all is said and done you need an alignment for two reasons: a) to have good drive ability and b) to ensure even wear of your tires. After installing your new bushings, a short test drive will tell you if you have good drive ability but will tell you nothing about your future tire wear. The only way to ensure it is as good as it can be is to have the front end aligned. Since tires are pricey I would suggest that an alignment is relatively cheap insurance for good tire wear.

But, since the alignment is needed every time the front end comes apart I would strongly suggest you (or have someone) inspect the other wear components (bushings, ball joints, tie rod ends etc.) and replace them at the same time so that you do not waste your money getting multiple alignments done every time you replace a component.

(There are also stores that provide a 'lifetime alignment' service that costs a little more but every other one after that is 'free'. This might be a good solution if you can find a store in your area that provides this.)

Good luck and tell us if the upper control arm bushings correct the noise issue.