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Discussion Starter #1
I've a new narrowed beam with dropped spindles and I have a problem where the suspension goes down and stays down and stays up when you pull it up. I installed new ball joints and there I think one is a bit stiff but I'm not sure if one ball joint would cause it to be sticky?

Has any one else had this problem or suggest what it might be?

Thanks
 

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I had a problem with tight balljoint back in the day which was the suspect cause of exactly this problem tho the beam was swapped for another and they failed to grease of install grease nipples and soon had exactly the same symptoms again! So a couple of options for you there!
Make sure the beam has been well greased till it just starts to come out the seals and take if for a spin around to work it in.
I have heard of ball joints being of different manufacturing qualities and other on here have complained of the same problem.
Also I assume you have the balljoint installed correctly!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply, I think you are right with the ball joints.

One of the lower ball joints is very stiff. I bought the the better quality ones but that's not to say there isn't a faulty one. Fortunately I have access to a big 90 tonne press at work.

I know that the bottom ones are installed correctly but some helped with the uppers and said you don't use the marks on the arms but instead mark position of the stud backwards and forwards if that makes sense but I wasn't convinced but I think the 'proper'marks are alighned but I'll double checked.

Cheers

Neil
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the reply, I think you are right with the ball joints.

One of the lower ball joints is very stiff. I bought the the better quality ones but that's not to say there isn't a faulty one. Fortunately I have access to a big 90 tonne press at work.

I know that the bottom ones are installed correctly but some helped with the uppers and said you don't use the marks on the arms but instead mark position of the stud backwards and forwards if that makes sense but I wasn't convinced but I think the 'proper'marks are alighned but I'll double checked.

Cheers

Neil
 

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Thanks for the reply, I think you are right with the ball joints.

One of the lower ball joints is very stiff. I bought the the better quality ones but that's not to say there isn't a faulty one. Fortunately I have access to a big 90 tonne press at work.

I know that the bottom ones are installed correctly but some helped with the uppers and said you don't use the marks on the arms but instead mark position of the stud backwards and forwards if that makes sense but I wasn't convinced but I think the 'proper'marks are alighned but I'll double checked.

Cheers

Neil
I bought some of the so called best quality from Heritage & they were really tight, my steering would not self centre initially. Now I'm rebuilding my beetle using a genuine beam I bought Febi Bilstein ball joints from my local car factors. These are far superior to all that other rubbish.

Phil
 

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Make sure to send them back as faulty and let them know why! If everyone does that maybe they will think twice before stocking the [email protected]@t ones! Lol.

Just for a laugh. I had a guy I trusted to press in balljoints for me once. He managed to press one in upside down!!! Splitting the ring on the trailing arm whike he was at it. I didnt realise till got it home!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
This is the exact reason why a guy I work with refuses to take his cars to a garage!

I bought the the Meyle ones from M7 and it was a while ago, its been a long slow project! If the Febi one are highly regarded it might be worth changing the lot although it starts to get expensive.
 

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Before blaming the ball joints, remove the spindle and see if you can move both the upper and lower trailing arms. They should move smoothly and return when you let go. If not the inner bushes may be too tight or the outer bearings shot. I had this problem with a new beam and had to ream the inner bushes.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I did think this was the initial problem as I had the eurothane bushes and I was advised to change to the stock needle bearings and now they all move nice and smooth, better than before. The upper ball joints seem to move OK but the lower ones are very tight and take some pursuasion to move.

They are the Meyle ball joints, I spoke to a supplier the other day who said they only sell the Febi joints as they have had problems with the Meyle ones.

Last night I did wonder if it was the gas shocks which are new. Anyway I'll see how I get on which with the Febi ball joints.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I've now fitted the new ball joints and everything move better now and I can turn the steering using the wheel which I couldnt do before.

However, the suspension now returns without the dampers in place but sticks up or down with the dampers installed. Any ideas?

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #12
This is one from last year I've still not resolved.

After measuring the ride height I have about +/-50mm travel on the spax dampers.

Without the dampers everything moves nice and smooth.

With one damper installed it compresses and returns with the about the same stiffness as the rear.

When I install both the dampers this is when I have the problem with is sticking.

Anyone come across this? Could it be a problem with the metal bush on the shock being too tight or maybe the rubber bushes at the top?

Any help would be appreciated, I've been struggling to solve this for over a year.

Thanks

Neil
 

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That’s odd. How stiff are the spax shocks. Can you compress and expand by hand? Only problem I’ve had with sticking suspension is the inner bush being too tight on the trailing arm. But you would notice with the shocks removed. The metal bush is supposed to be tight at the bottom, the rubber takes the strain. The trailing arms without spindle fitted should move using hand pressure and return when you let go, if they are sticky at all the inner bush is too tight.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I can compress them by hand, they are adjustable and both backed rigt off. I have them on the rear and they work great.

When I bought the car I had the original stock beam with Gaz adjustable shocks and remember I had a similar problem but not quite as severe.

I just had another look this morning and I can't see anything that would cause it to bind. I have only tried one particular shock in its own and on the passanger side, I think I'll try the driver side on its own and try them on thier own on either side to rule out a problem with the mechanics on one particular side or a faulty damper.

I wondered if the springs aren't strong enough for the dampers but thinking about it now, because of the way the torsion leaves and 'pinned' in the in the center each side should work independently so could be a particular problem to one side?


Some one suggested priming them or driving them for a bit, I've tried that and the mechanic I use for my boring car is a rally mechanic and he said modern dampers shouldn't need priming. He said he would have a look if can't figure it out.

I'll let you know how I get on
 

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Right, undo the ball joint nuts and take the spindle off, put something under it to support the brake hose. Now try and move each torsion arm in turn and see if any are sticky. They should move with hand pressure. My guess is some will be tight.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
My guess is some will be tight.
I tried the other shock alone and seem OK but not had chance to remove the spindles yet BUT!

This evening I was going through a pile of documents that came with the car and I found a hand written service history and found this entry from 1998

'a bit of stiffness in the front end probably due to the bearings in new axel beam'

It also said that the ball joints had been installed 90 degrees out and had to be replaced.

I now have a new beam and the common factor is the torsion arms, is it possible that there is a problem with one or more that is causing a problem. Has the wrongly installed ball joints damaged them?

Cheers
 

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Inner bushes can be tight on a new beam and need a clean with solvent to remove glue / paint / etc. If that doesn’t work (trailing arm should move smoothly without any play), then it may need a very slight ream to open up the bearing bore by a hair. Not much fun if the beam is all greased up tho. Also, don’t get swarf in the outer roller bearing!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
It seems that the likely culprit is the inner bush, if this is the case I think the beam will have to come off and make a trip to the local vw garage as the reamers are a bit pricey!

We do have a engineering shop at work that may have one I can borrow. If I can get one, is it a case of measuring the diameter of the inner part of the torsion arm and finding an matching size reamer or is it trial and error or something else?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
New Mica should be 36.8mm or 36.4mm to allow for wear to the torsion arm.
Makes sense, wasn't sure if it was an 'interference' for or not. I consulted the Bentley, it doesn't seem to mention reaming but it does give a maximum wear diameter of 37.4mm so I think I need to find a competent garage rather that 'have a go' myself!

From memory the arms felt fine but I will double check as I can't see what else it would be.

Thanks
 
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