[T3] Axle Beam

Gary Forsmo gbforsmo at gmail.com
Fri Jul 15 20:20:38 PDT 2011

On 14 Jul 2011 at 21:43, Gary Forsmo wrote:

> A technician "rocked" the tire/wheel by grabbing the top and bottom as we
> watched the movement of the ball joint.  Then he "rocked" the tire/wheel
> grabbing the front and rear as we watched the "play" in the upper ball
> joint, again.  We decided the bolt in the ball joint needed to be
> tightened.  That done; another test drive and the "shimmy" was all but

Would that be the pinch bolt that clamps down on the ball joint stem?
I've never seen one of those come loose, but I suppose it's possible.
If so, I'd be concerned that the movement there might have damaged
the clamping surfaces so that things could never be tight again.

But now I'm wondering if we're looking at the completely wrong thing.
The upper torsion bar is one continuous bar, actually a sway bar,
which connects one upper torsion arm to the other. If either arm gets
loose on that bar, the front end can develop play like what you
describe, and that play will be worst at some resonant
frequency/speed. The problem can appear to go away if the tires are
very well balanced, but the looseness should be fixed quickly or else
the parts will wear each other out and become junk.

The test for this is to have someone grab the top of one front tire
while you get under the front end and watch where the upper torsion
arm exits the beam. While he yanks the top of the tire hard, side to
side, you should see little or no movement of the torsion arm in and
out of the beam. Small amounts of play can be due to wear and can be
adjusted, but if one side has come loose (usually the left) you
should pull that torsion bar out and repair the set screw divot on
the left side.

This can be done without disassembling much. Just put the front end
up on jack stands, take both front wheels off, remove the fixing
screws on both sides, and drive the bar out to the left. Then you can
inspect the divot, repair it if necessary, and reinstall it.

Beetle front beams are NOT like this, and I don't know about bus
beams. Your bus mechanic may not have any idea of how the Type 3 beam
works inside. Most VW mechanics don't.

Checking for this problem takes a few minutes, Fixing would probably
take you and me a couple hours. If this is your problem, it's VERY
important to fix it quickly.
Apologies to all who are trying to follow this thread and help with
Right now, I'm so confused, even I don't understand what's going on, which
parts are which parts, what to check and how to fix it ... or even if can be

I certainly DON'T want.to drive my car if it's unsafe ... for me or other
vehicles on the road.

Jim, I'll Private Message you.

Gary "Frito" - '69 Variant, Mt, FI
Lake Geneva, WI
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