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Steering Column issue

Ijammabox

New member
Well, I'm in the process of reworking my front end beam (ball joints, tie rods, etc).
While I was in there I was also going to fix the nearly 1/3 turn of play in my steering. I figured I was going to have to replace the steering box. But, as it turns out, the play is in the linkage at the steering box. I kept messing with it and couldn't figure out why I had so much play in the connection. Long story short, it turns out that I have a super beetle steering column hooked up to the standard beetle box. Uhg, I'm not sure if this was a standard practice with the Sterling builds or just some ones poor decision for the build. I looked all over the site and couldn't find any references to steering columns.

The problem herein lies of how to fix it, of coarse. I think I may have to pull the old column and put in a standard column. But, don't want to do anything until I find out more info one way or another. I'm sure this is probably an easy problem for most of you. But, my lack of knowledge leaves me scratching my head on what to do. (yes, I am still an amateur mechanic obviously, but I'm working on it :D). Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
 

letterman7

Honorary Admin
There is no difference in the columns other than the collapsible section of the Super and the start key sections. When you say there is play at the linkage, where exactly? At the rag joint - the round coupler at the end of the shaft where it meets up with the steering box, the steering box itself, or in the tie-rods? Generally if you have that much play it's the steering box - it's either worn to the point of replacement or needs massive adjustment (which is pretty easy, just tedious).

When you turn the steering wheel, how much does it turn at the box before the wheels start to move?
 

Ijammabox

New member
When you say there is play at the linkage, where exactly? At the rag joint - the round coupler at the end of the shaft where it meets up with the steering box, the steering box itself, or in the tie-rods?
When you turn the steering wheel, how much does it turn at the box before the wheels start to move?

Well, the play is at the universal joint between the rag joint and the steering column itself. When I turn the steering wheel the wheels start turning immediately once the slack at the universal joint tightens up. The steering box seems to be fine. It appears the universal joints are of different sizes, but only slightly which causes the play.

Here's a pic of the type of joint that connects between the rag joint and the steering column. I tried to take a pic of the actual joints, but, I couldn't get them to come out. So, I hope this helps.

knuckles.jpg

I thought that replacing that universal joint section might fix it.

It's late for me, I get up at 4am for work, so I hope I'm making sense.*sigh*

Thanks
 

ratrog64

Active member
I have a similar set up in my car. Check and make sure the pinch bolts are tight and the u joint is not just rotating on the shaft. It is possible that the needle bearings in the u joint have gone bad. When they do they often break and fall out leaving lots of play in the joint. I wouldn't think two different size joints would create slack.
 
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letterman7

Honorary Admin
I forgot Supers had that damn universal shaft. My bad.. yeah, if there is slack in those joints, Roger is probably right. Replace the entire shaft with the joints, they aren't expensive.
 

Ijammabox

New member
Update, steering play issue fixed. I replaced the universal joints. It was kind of a pain in the ass, but solved the issue. Steering works perfect now with 0 play. Only had to replace the right tie rod end and shocks. Rides and drives like a new car now. I've been driving it all day after I got off work. Thanks for all your help.
 

Ijammabox

New member
So were the u joints damaged? What was the actual cause of the play?

It seems that lower joint closest to the rag joint was just worn. It had a lot of play and was loose moving in all directions. It's even entirely possible someone tried to repair it once before with incorrectly fitting parts. I should have saved it and/or taken a picture of it before I thru it away. I'm going to have to get used to taking more pics of what I do as I'm doing it. It's not my first thought as I'm working.
 
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