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Old March 18th, 2017, 01:13 PM   #1
EVOlyn
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Default Front end options revisited
Re:: My Harley Davidson powered roadster   

A brief bit of history so you all know where I'm coming from with my questions.
I've been working on the project on and off for 10 years as of December 2016 - I know, seems crazy for a project I thought would be out of the garage in six months, but a lot changed along the way. Here is the link to my build page here on the forum...
http://www.volksrods.com/forum/showt...ghlight=evolyn
So if you want, you can revisit, or visit my journey.

Last year, I thought was going to be the year I got her on the road, but my health prevented that, so this year I was sure, and I'm close, or so I thought.

My son has a tool to do alignments and yesterday afternoon, we got a rough toe and camber set. It rolls so much easier now. So today, I went down to measure the caster, to make sure I didn't need the shims between the beam and the frame head. The measurements more or less confirmed my worse fears about the front end that I have cut & welded so many times with modifications (more on that in a minute). So, the measurement I have for caster is 3 1/3 (+-) 1/3.
The driver's side measured 7.2
The passenger's side 1.6

So obviously, there is something terribly wrong and in all honesty, the modifications I've made to the front beam have always sacred me a little since they are basically untested.

I started with a new beam, welded on a section of a third tube in the center to center mount the steering box.
With the front having virtually no weight on it, I removed the upper torsion back like the Formula V guys do so I had some suspension travel. So far so good, except with the center steering, one wheel actually turns more than the other since the steering arm is made for the steering box to be offset. (I know you can modify the steering arm to fix this).
So, with some suspension travel, I decided to use the upper tube to run a bar through, put ears on it and relocate the shocks to the center inside the body. The overall appearance was what I was looking for as to me, nothing say VW more that those big old shock towers sticking out on the sides of those 70's kit cars.

The issue now is, what are my options?
I could trash the whole setup and go back to a stock, lowered beam and mount my drop spindles and disc brakes on it and make the necessary modifications to the body to relocate the steering rod to the stock steering box location.

Is there a way to adjust what I have, basically twisting the stock (modified beam)?

Or, would I be better off/happier with a straight axle setup? I know this is a more expensive approach and would still require considerable body modifications, but no shock ears that scream VW!
I've read good and bad things about the Speedway kit, so what do you all think?
I believe I can buy some pipe and make a spring perch for a straight axle to fit the frame head myself. I think Speedway wants almost $1000 for it.

The window for me to work in the garage, and drive this when and if I get it done is closing faster than I thought, so I really want to get this done. I wish I could say money isn't an object, but that's not true as I'm retired now and unable to work.

So, I'm wide open to suggestions. What do you think?

Thanks, Larry
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Old March 18th, 2017, 04:45 PM   #2
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Default Re: Front end options revisited

What spindles do you have ?

IIRC, BJ spindles have an eccentric on the top ball joint,
to adjust Camber and Caster. Play with that, to get it closer.

Caster stagger, will make it pull to one side.
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Old March 18th, 2017, 06:12 PM   #3
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Default Re: Front end options revisited

where and how was the caster measured?
the car was level when measured?
were the camber adjusters that Unk spoke of centered when the measurement was taken? if they are off to far they will change caster.
were both side equal in the amount the torsion spring forces them down?, I have found new ball joints so tight that they will bind up the compression/extension of the suspension and limit the steering from self centering after a turn.
If it does turn out that it has twisted due to the cutting and welding try some brute force and maybe a touch of heat and dial the twist the other way.
The rest of the work you did to the front end looks good in your pics.
cut and modify steering arm as required.
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Old March 19th, 2017, 07:34 AM   #4
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Default Re: Front end options revisited

This Is VolksRODS, not Volks Loyal Forums... I like the whole Idea of the Straight Axle set-up... If you can do it without the spendy part... All the better. I've considered the Speedway kit as well... and still may due to lack of time and space. But I have also studied VSUSP and there's enough there to help a guy do the home made suspension as well.
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Old March 19th, 2017, 07:51 AM   #5
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Default Re: Front end options revisited

I have Cip1.com's dropped spindles, they are new (well almost 10 years old, but never on the road). The beam I cut was new, the trailing arms are original to the car as far as I know, but I had dropped front end ball joints installed and as far as I can tell, they are indexed correctly. The toe and camber adjustments were made by my son with me watching and learning. He used a Watkins SmartCamber Products tool to do the job. I also used the tool to measure the caster.
#1) We have not strung the car to square everything up, just wanted to get them in the ball park, then we will do the toe with strings down either side of the car.

Step one, toe - we rolled the car back and forth measured center groove in tires front and back and after repeated adjustments of the tie rods, got the toe within 1/8" (presumably only that it is 1/16" on either side) Final toe will be set after camber and caster adjustments are made using the strings.

Step two, camber - the SmartCamber tool is self leveling, so after rolling the front wheels up on two vinyl floor tiles with a lot of bar soap rubbed between them to make them slick, we turned the steering wheel from side-to-side and centered the steering wheel. You then set the SmartCamber tool on the floor close to the tire and press two buttons and it self calibrates to level. From that point, you move the tool to the wheel where two pins rest on the bead of the rim and make your reading. Repeat on the other side. We then used the eccentric bolt to adjust the camber. Repeated the process on the other side. Rolled the car back and forth and then remeasured and adjusted again.
I think it took two or three times until we got both wheels to .5-.6 positive camber.

Step three, toe again - we then went back and measured the toe with a tape measure like we did before and adjusted as needed (this is still a rough measurement until the car is strung)

Step four, the caster - The instructions in the manual that came along with the SmartCamber tool have you put down their template on the floor next to the tire/friction plates(vinyl tile) and mark off two lines front and back at 20 degrees. I used tape on the floor.
Left?driver's wheel first, you turn the rear of the wheel inward to the 20 degree line, level the SmartCamber tool and take a camber reading. If that camber reading is is less than the (wheels straight ahead reading) you have positive caster (true in my case). If less, you have negative caster.
So, now I've determined I have positive caster and will measure to see how much.
1. Start with left wheel. Roll the car back and forth until the wheel is on the centerline of the 20 degree marks on the floor. Turn the front of the wheel outward until it lines up with the 20 degree line, level the SmartCamber tool and measure the camber (mine was + .4)
Next turn the wheel through straight to the other 20 degree line and measure the camber (mine was -1.3)
According to the instructions, since one number is positive and one negative, you ignore the positive & negative value and add the numbers together .4 + 1.3 = 1.8
Next you multiply by by 4 (1.8 x 4 = 7.2)
The left wheel has 7.2 degrees of caster

I next did the right wheel and the numbers came out like this...
Wheel turned out to the 20 degree line -positive 1.2
Wheel turned in to the 20 degree line - positive .4
In this case, since both numbers are positive, you subtract the smaller from the larger
1.2 - .4 = .8 (next, multiply by 2) .8 x 2 = 1.6
The right wheel has 1.6 degrees of caster

So, that's how it was done. Last night I also ran a tape measure from the back of the rear wheel to the back of the front wheel on each side and the right side is 1/2" longer. Not sure if that is the rear wheels are not centered on the spring plates or not, something I have to check.

As far as the front, my son has done quite a few cars, 650HP Mustang, 71 Corvette, 02 Camaro, etc. so he is pretty confident we did the procedures correctly although he admits the VW front beam is a different animal. His feeling is the car will pull drastically and probably chew up front tires.

I'm just not sure where to go with this to get it safe.
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Old March 20th, 2017, 07:39 AM   #6
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Default Re: Front end options revisited

I want to update the thread and ask a question about alignment specs, so here goes.

Yesterday I moved the car and reset it to check the alignment since when I did it the first time the wheels were basically sitting on a seam in the concrete floor. Also, while the final numbers for caster were way different, left side = 7.2 and right side = 1.6 the actual measurements were almost identical. Because one had a negative reading and the other side was both positive the formulas to calculate the actual caster were way different. So, with this in mind, I redid it thinking maybe I misread the positive negative on one of the measurements.

To make a long process short, I did find an error, but not what I thought. It turns out, when my son and I set the initial Camber, one was positive and the other side negative. Who did, or didn't do what is debatable but not important to getting it right. What we set was...

Right/passenger = -.5
left/driver = +.4
According to my son experience, these both should have been negative.

Here is where the question comes in...
The numbers I have are from VW (I think the Samba), a copy of the original specs on non radial tires with 15" rims. This is NOT what I am running obviously.

Up front I'm running Salt Flats 16" rims and in the rear 17".
The stock specs call for positive camber in the front +.5 (and this is interesting (with wheels off the ground, or what they call unloaded)
Camber is called out at 1/2
Caster is called out at +3.33
Toe in is called out at -1/16
Rear toe is called out at -5/64 to +5/64

My son insists on todays modern tires that this is a very bad setup and that I need at least -.5 camber on each side. He is very adamant that the camber should be negative. Of course, by setting it that way, all the stock numbers go out the window.

So, here's my setup ( all radial tires)
Up Front - 16" rims on a slightly lowered beam with center steering
In the Rear - 17" rims slightly reversed/deep dish

What kind of setup, and I guess procedures for doing the setup would you all use for this kind of setup? Front & rear if you know them would be greatly appreciated.

Please pass along what you know. As I mentioned, this has been a 10 year project and I am so close to be able to drive it and this is the last major hurtle to that happening!

THANKS!
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Old March 20th, 2017, 11:10 AM   #7
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Default Re: Front end options revisited

Camber is set by adding or subtracting shims from the king pin carrier, and link pins.
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Old March 20th, 2017, 11:23 AM   #8
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Default Re: Front end options revisited

Figure out if you have an 8 shim or 10 shim front end, and go from there-
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Old March 20th, 2017, 04:41 PM   #9
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Default Re: Front end options revisited

"According to the instructions, since one number is positive and one negative, you ignore the positive & negative value and add the numbers together .4 + 1.3 = 1.8
Next you multiply by by 4 (1.8 x 4 = 7.2)
The left wheel has 7.2 degrees of caster

I next did the right wheel and the numbers came out like this...
Wheel turned out to the 20 degree line -positive 1.2
Wheel turned in to the 20 degree line - positive .4
In this case, since both numbers are positive, you subtract the smaller from the larger
1.2 - .4 = .8 (next, multiply by 2) .8 x 2 = 1.6
The right wheel has 1.6 degrees of caster

"

One side, the number is multiplied by 2,
the other side it was multiplied by 4.

Does that sound right ?
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Old March 20th, 2017, 04:42 PM   #10
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Default Re: Front end options revisited

Expect that the Chinese spindles are not machined to German precision.
You will have to cheat a little.
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Old March 20th, 2017, 05:16 PM   #11
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Default Re: Front end options revisited

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Cormack View Post
Figure out if you have an 8 shim or 10 shim front end, and go from there-
Ball joint front end, so no shims, an eccentric bolt on the top ball joint instead.

Anyone know the correct orientation of the eccentric bolt? One of the flats on the bolt has a notch in it and instructions I've read for adjusting it say the adjustments are made within 90 degrees on either side, positive one direction, negative the other.

I just looked at what I have and the notches are in different locations from side-to-side.
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Old March 20th, 2017, 05:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unkl Ian View Post
"According to the instructions, since one number is positive and one negative, you ignore the positive & negative value and add the numbers together .4 + 1.3 = 1.8
Next you multiply by by 4 (1.8 x 4 = 7.2)
The left wheel has 7.2 degrees of caster

I next did the right wheel and the numbers came out like this...
Wheel turned out to the 20 degree line -positive 1.2
Wheel turned in to the 20 degree line - positive .4
In this case, since both numbers are positive, you subtract the smaller from the larger
1.2 - .4 = .8 (next, multiply by 2) .8 x 2 = 1.6
The right wheel has 1.6 degrees of caster

"

One side, the number is multiplied by 2,
the other side it was multiplied by 4.

Does that sound right ?
This is right out of the manual on the tool I'm using, so it's correct. I agree, a weird way of getting there, the caster that is.
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Old March 21st, 2017, 03:09 AM   #13
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Default Re: Front end options revisited

notches start out pointed straight ahead, then adjust from there.
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Old March 21st, 2017, 07:25 AM   #14
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notches start out pointed straight ahead, then adjust from there.

That would make a difference.
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Old March 21st, 2017, 03:37 PM   #15
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Default Re: Front end options revisited

I just read the instructions, see page 9 and you will find that your multiplier numbers are not 2 and 4 but both should be 1.5. You have the sample numbers not the multiplier numbers. Check it.

Also if you were not level was the tool recalibrated for non-level as per the instructions.
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Old March 22nd, 2017, 07:54 AM   #16
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Quote:
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I just read the instructions, see page 9 and you will find that your multiplier numbers are not 2 and 4 but both should be 1.5. You have the sample numbers not the multiplier numbers. Check it.

Also if you were not level was the tool recalibrated for non-level as per the instructions.
I did it two different ways. One was recalibrate it to level before each measurement, the other, I calibrated to level once and did all the measurements on one side, then repeated for the other side. Results were pretty much the same.

I will check the manual again and get the eccentric bolt oriented correctly and then give it another try. I sucks getting old, things that were once simple sometimes seem so dang complicated.

Thanks.
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Old March 22nd, 2017, 08:53 AM   #17
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Default Re: Front end options revisited

Might be able to cheat on the Camber, by shortening the top tube.
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Old March 22nd, 2017, 08:55 AM   #18
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Default Re: Front end options revisited

Caster needs to be correct.
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Old March 22nd, 2017, 08:55 AM   #19
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Default Re: Front end options revisited

You can also use "Caster shims", to get more Caster.
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Old March 25th, 2017, 12:10 PM   #20
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Default Re: Front end options revisited

Are you looking to do something like this?
http://www.locostbuilders.co.uk/gallery/VDub1.JPG

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Old March 25th, 2017, 12:37 PM   #21
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Default Re: Front end options revisited

"It sucks getting old, things that were once simple sometimes seem so dang complicated."

Remember the old saying, "He's forgotten more than you'll ever know."? Well, my friend, it looks like we have graduated from the "you'll ever know" category to the first part of the saying...
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Old March 25th, 2017, 04:50 PM   #22
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Default Re: Front end options revisited

Quote:
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Are you looking to do something like this?
http://www.locostbuilders.co.uk/gallery/VDub1.JPG

Jeff
he already did something similar and thinks he may have dialed a twist into the beam when it was welded



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Old March 25th, 2017, 06:56 PM   #23
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Default Re: Front end options revisited

Just throwing stuff out there for references.
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Old March 25th, 2017, 08:10 PM   #24
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Default Re: Front end options revisited

If the upper and lower tubes are in the same plane, shouldn't be a problem.
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Old April 1st, 2017, 11:29 AM   #25
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I did it two different ways. One was recalibrate it to level before each measurement, the other, I calibrated to level once and did all the measurements on one side, then repeated for the other side. Results were pretty much the same.

I will check the manual again and get the eccentric bolt oriented correctly and then give it another try. I sucks getting old, things that were once simple sometimes seem so dang complicated.

Thanks.
You were right on about me using the wrong multiplier in the formula. My Son was over Friday and after we spent time on our motorcycles, he wanted to help me with the alignment again.
We started over from scratch and this time, he did the readings. We set the camber at -4 degrees on both sides after first setting the eccentric bolts to the correct starting place (notch forward).
Once the camber was set, we measured the caster and used the correct formula. This time we ended up with right around 3 degrees on the left, but only 1.5 degrees on the right. For now, we left it that way.
The conversation we had was over the affect of changing the camber on just the right to get a caster reading closer to the one on the left which is close to what I have for stock. The formula V guys run as much was 7 degrees. I'm not sure I can get there, but we're going to start with what I have and see how it drives. My Son thinks it will pull to the right, off the road.
We then set toe in.
The next step is to square up the car by stringing it and then see where the toe in really is and see what the rear wheels look like. I have adjustable spring plates, so I have some adjustment on the camber in the back. They are uneven now, 1.5 and .5, so I'm going to even them up at 1 since I have wide rear tires on reversed rims.
I know how to move the rear axles for toe in, but it seems like it will require removing the wheels, so not exactly sure how I'm going to go about setting it without having to string it multiple times. We'll see. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
So that's where I stand at this point, Saturday, April 1st.
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