Bay... Bum Steer...

Discussion in 'Mech Tech' started by JAFFA, Oct 16, 2020.

  1. So... looking to collective wisdom...

    After epically long restoration...

    First long trip out in my 73 bay... Manchester to Hebrides...

    Anything over 50 mph is quite scary as steering feels vague... and add to that any buffeting from wind or passing trucks leaves all capable body parts tightly clenched...

    All steering parts new except steering box... which has been adjusted by the book... Feels good and almost no play... can wiggle the steering wheel a little and see the movement in the wheels... four wheel laser alignment... all stock except heavy duty roll bars front and rear, KYB shocks... great on corners no wallowing...

    Feels like the front end is too light... all the weight at he back... engine, fuel, stuff... might try driving around with a few bags of cement in the front to see if this makes a difference... or a massive faring above the windscreen...

    Have trawled around looking for pointers... seen similar issue but no remedy that I think I’ve already got covered... parts, adjustments etc... maybe not...

    Has anyone out there tried the red9design steering rack conversion wishbone conversion?...

    Any pointers welcome...
  2. There are a few on here with red9 front end @pkrboo and @Razzyh i think
    Razzyh likes this.
  3. I have the red9 but only as I got some insurance £££ and therefore it didn’t really cost too much. With a scooby engine and lots of speed, I’d rather it steered in the right direction.

    My S box was looser than a lose thing but it was fine. Probably needed adjusting. Just never did. Who cares, getting blown about is just part of the character of these old things.

    I suspect, your used to modern day steering, give it a year and then come back....
  4. Replace steering damper and see if it helps. They aren’t great in the wined etc. Tis a thing!
    snotty likes this.
  5. Let’s not discuss your original steering.......just sayin
    Razzyh likes this.
  6. It shouldn’t get blown all over the place. Steering coupler ok? Steering damper? What tyres have you got?
    mgbman and zedders like this.
  7. And what pressure are you running the tyres?
    Pudelwagen likes this.
  8. The front wheel camber angle is also quite effective at altering steering behaviour. Anybody modern doing laser tracking might not know about it.

    If on a windless day you let go of the steering wheel, does it run straight or veer off one way or the other? If it does this can be down to uneven front wheel camber.

    Go out be honest.. if you wind the steering hard one way then the other does it clunk?
    If so, you may need to retighten the steering arm pin, jacking the bus up on the bottom of the pin before clamping the arm on the top.

    Also the steering box may be worn beyond adjustment.(mine needed a new bushing in the cover plate .. a job for a machine shop or a nutter with a Dremel)

    Was the steering set up for tracking with the steering box at mid position. If its off centre the adjustment of the box will be wrong, or you will naturally get the built-in off centre free play in the box.. its designed only to be properly tight at mid position..

    Then at speed you would be constantly pulling one way on the steering, and taking up all the slack in the steering with pressure on the wheel. The wind blows and it pushes the bus in the direction you are holding it, it runs to the other end of the slop. big swerve.

    I dont have any anti roll bars, bus is lowered 75mm on coilover shocks. I can let go of my steering at 50mph it runs straight, and only feels twitchy(hands on wheel) at 65+ on a breezy day..
  9. Check your steering column bottom coupler, rubber donut thing, mine was cracked and split. Replaced it a while back with a new genuine vw coupler and steering now tight and precise.
    rob.e likes this.
  10. Mine was exactly the same, I tried everything, the fault turned out to be the suspension ball joints in the front arms. They have to be fitted correctly, they have two notches which must line up with the raised bumps on the arms. They are slotted so can only move one way, if they are even slightly out they rub and give the symptoms you describe. Original steering should be very good mine is now.
  11. Got my wheel alignment done. Was an entirely different vehicle after that. A possibility?
  12. Thinking about it..the other day at Techenders I did drive a totally stock bus, rolling on stock tyres at stock height. It did feel a bit light on the front end compared with mine, as I came into corners at speed..

    Ball joint misalignment when pressed can be serious, at least one bus belonging to a member here ended up on three wheels after the ball joint sliced through.
  13. The Red9 conversion is pretty expensive even compared with sourcing a reconditioned steering box.

    Another steering vagueness is worn ball joints, the wheel starts to rock and that alters the camber which steers the bus.

    Basically it is possible to get a stock steering setup to be pretty good in a straight line, and what is left over is just the way the bus blows around. Its not as scary as my old Peugeot 309 that would start 'floating' around 85 mph with a headwind, and if you then hit standing water, it would start to pirouette all by itself...
  14. What front tyre pressure you running ? Too high and it makes things floaty !!
  15. The other, even more important, problem with incorrectly fitted balljoints is that they can pop out of the suspension arm when cruising down a country lane at 45mph.

    Don't bother asking how I know......
    Razzyh likes this.
  16. There should be two sizes of ball joint - one as a first replacement, and then an oversize one for when the first replacement ones are too easy to fit.
  17. Thanks people... appreciate input...

    Steering damper new.
    Steering coupler new good VW.
    All steering parts new up to steering box.
    Mitchelin Agilis tyres all new 185R14C, 28psi front, 35psi rear.
    Laser tracked using VW figures by garage recommended for doing other bays...
    Steering box set by the book... centred.
    Age of vehicle taken into account... though fully restored... by over thinking owner.
    1973 Bay but been off road last 25 years.

    Would be nice drive it with a little more confidence in the steering, sure there is a solution, just need to pin it down.

    Will turn my attention to ball joints, new but one of few jobs I didn’t do myself... but if they were wrong would that have prevented the tracking from being correct?...

    Maybe have to go back to the beginning and recheck each element.

    Those with red9 upgrade... was it worth the outlay... significant difference,? and did you need some kind of sign off for the alteration?...
  18. Have you got an anti roll bar fitted?

    Tyres need to be a little higher, 30 psi front 40 psi rear

    Sent from my Pixel 4 using Tapatalk
    Bhubesi and nicktuft like this.
  19. Is it stock height? Is it lowered in any way shape or form? Do you know how old your tyres are? Anti roll bar ? Shocks ? Is camber set to max? :)
    A little more psi up front will help, try an extra three or four psi at a time as an experiment on a windy day but don’t go past forty. Then pick the one that worked best for your setup :)

    Ozziedog,,,,,,,, and some pictures of bus please :)
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020
  20. The ball joints affect the camber angle more than tracking, the garage can only set it up while it is stationary. And ball joints only move when the vehicle is moving.

    However, the kind of wear I had in the steering box meant you moved the shaft with the adjuster screw, and then it would jump out of adjustment and go clunky again on the road.. The rings down in the bushing are wear patterns/steps where the end of the steering box output shaft presses on the bushing. The steps made adjustment almost impossible.

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