1968 Beetle - Ball Joints/Tie Rods advice

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hambone
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1968 Beetle - Ball Joints/Tie Rods advice

Post by hambone » Wed Nov 11, 2009 8:41 am

They are from bad to worse, and really need to replace these probably original VW (still stamped with logos) components.
Looking at Bentley, this looks to be a hell of a job, primarily the ball joints. When replacing ball joints, do the brake backing plates have to come off? It looks like it. And how do they get pressed in, with the same clamp-device that pulls them?
Not to mention (well I did) the rusty nuts sitting in 41 years of road wet. Since this is a daily driver, I am considering taking it to a shop to avoid a long frustrating delay of service. I would like to learn how to do this, but not while someone is awaiting their car. Whattya think?
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Sluggo
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Post by Sluggo » Wed Nov 11, 2009 9:28 am

afaik the ball joints need to be pressed in by a machinist. I believe pre-assembled kits are sold.

Tie rods are not that big of a deal.
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bus71
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Post by bus71 » Wed Nov 11, 2009 9:35 pm

There is an on the car press made if you can find a shop that still has one. Less parts need to be removed. It takes lot's of leverage. Good luck.

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Post by bajaman72 » Wed Nov 25, 2009 11:02 am

I did mine with a big vise with a cheater bar. Pressed them out and put them in the same way. We did have to anchor the table to the floor though. You'll probably want a big guy to pull it like I did ;)

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hambone
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Post by hambone » Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:29 am

Guess what, after careful inspection the ball joints appear to be OK. They are actually Brazilian, while the tie rods are original VW oddly enuff.

So I think I can do the job myself, assuming I can remove the nuts.
Maybe an air impact tool from Harbor Freight would help? And a "pickle fork".

Think one of these would do the job? And fit under the car?
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/d ... mber=94803
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/d ... mber=46013

Is this better than the pickle fork?
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/d ... umber=1752
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Sluggo
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Post by Sluggo » Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:55 am

hambone wrote:Is this better than the pickle fork?
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/d ... umber=1752
By far. I tried a pickle on tie rods and it was a PIA.
:vwgauge420:

1977 Bus with Sunroof - "Lucky '77"
2000cc Type IV w/Dual Weber 36s,
Aircooled.net SVDA w/Compufire,
Redline Weber Fuel Pump,
Holley Regulator,
Half Ass Brush & Roller Rustoleum Paint Job,
Incomplete Custom Interior,
Dual Batteries,
Crunched Slider Door.
------------------------------------------------------

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Gypsie
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Post by Gypsie » Tue Jan 05, 2010 12:23 am

Tractors and Dodges have responded well to a pickle fork, with the proper persuasion. Lots of room and big a$$ chunks of steel. I like the more precise action of the puller device for this application, though I can't speak to the qualilty of this one. $10 ain't bad. Looks simple enough.

Get the impact driver. You will love it next time you have to change a tire.

Look around first though as these often come in kits with a set of sockets and such. Get a nice wobbly extension. Even if it is 3/8, it will come in handy in the long reach awkward angle sitch. While you're there, check these out: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/D ... mber=47214
Air is nice, 'specially if you keep it handy for the big jobs.
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Post by RSorak 71Westy » Tue Jan 05, 2010 12:04 pm

You do NOT need any special tools to get tapered ends loose. All you need is a hammer and some balls. You hit side of piece the taper goes thru, momentarily distorting the part and the taper pops free. You want to hit with a sharp rather than forceful blow. Lossen the nut 1st but leave it on, in case you miss with the hammer, you dont wanna mess up the threads and without the nut on you will. There's almost always a flat spot just for this purpose on the piece the taper goes thru. Try it it works great.
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Amskeptic
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Post by Amskeptic » Tue Jan 05, 2010 12:45 pm

hambone wrote:Guess what, after careful inspection the ball joints appear to be OK.
What is careful inspection? Looking? or preloading the torsion arms in opposite directions to measure the play in the ball joint sockets.
0.30" is the limit, IIRC. The torsion arms have so much preload against the stops that VW recommended using a specialty tool to pry the arms against each other then apart from each other to check each ball joint.
Colin

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hambone
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Post by hambone » Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:02 pm

All the play I thought was from the ball joints is in fact from worn out tie rods. I wiggled the wheels with the car jacked up.
They aren't that old either. Other than the torn lower joint boots they look OK.

Since I am broke I thought I'd try the cheaper fix first, free labor (me) VS $500 at a front end shop. If it doesn't cut it I already have new ball joints. But it seems like the tie rods are the bulk of the problem. Steering damper too.
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http://pdxvolksfolks.blogspot.com
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Post by Bookwus » Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:06 pm

Hiya Bob,
hambone wrote:....Since I am broke I thought I'd try the cheaper fix first, ...
Entirely understandable!
...free labor (me) VS $500 at a front end shop...
You sure about that $500? I had one tie rod replaced at the Line Up Shop (Sandy and SE 7th). While the car was up in the air the tech noticed that the rear end was crabbing a bit, so he fixed that also. Throw in an alignment and the total came to less than $150.

You just MIGHT want to get an estimate.
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hambone
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Post by hambone » Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:22 pm

$500 is for ball joints and tie rods/damper at Line Up Shop and Halsey here in Portland. Tie rods alone would be considerably cheaper.
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Post by fancy pants » Fri Feb 26, 2010 7:41 pm

Hey Hammie -

Did you decide to do the tie rod ends yourself? I need to do mine on the squareback, and was thinking about doing it this weekend. Any problems that you ran into? Did you need any special tools?
John
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fancy pants
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Post by fancy pants » Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:28 pm

The Muir book says not to reuse the little clips, and I am assuming that they mean the cotter pins. Where can I pick these up?
John
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Gone but not forgotten:
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We are not going to stick anything that dirty down in your hole - Colin, 6/30/2010

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Amskeptic
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Post by Amskeptic » Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:15 am

fancy pants wrote:The Muir book says not to reuse the little clips, and I am assuming that they mean the cotter pins. Where can I pick these up?
Cotter pins are available in assortments at FLAPS or hardware stores.
Replacement suspension parts usually have self-locking nylock® fasteners. If you see a plastic end on the replacement nuts, they are self-locking.
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . .111,130 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,787 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 93,996 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . 55,510 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 72,113 miles

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