question for syncro listees: syncro front sub-frame

clamshell-misalignment

I completely disassembled the front end of my syncro, including removing the sub frame. Didn’t pay particular attention to the placement of the sub-frame when it went back in, just figured if the bolts all lined up then it should be good.

A few days ago when I went to put the stock driveshaft back in it didn’t want to fit in place, as if it was a tiny bit too long. That seemed odd but I just used a slip yoke driveshaft that I had purchased from Gowesty some years ago and that fit in no problem (as it has the slip yoke, the length of that shaft is variable).

Then yesterday I installed the spare tire clam-shell (the same one that used to be in this van) but the hole in the front for the support bolt (to hold front of clam-shell up) doesn’t line up perfectly with the threaded hole in the body. (and of course the back of the clam-shell mounts to the sub-frame)

Now I am starting to wonder if the sub-frame isn’t quite lined up correctly. All the bolts are tight with the exception of the 3 differential mounting bolts as I was planning
to tighten them after a short drive. (the entire front suspension, etc. is back in place.)

Does anyone know how much play there is in the sub-frame mounting holes (relative to the threaded holes in the under-body)? Is there something I should have been watching out for as I bolted the sub-frame back in, alignment-wise? It seems like the clam-shell mis-alignment along with the driveshaft fitment (or lack thereof) could indicate a problem.

Any thoughts appreciated.
Thanks.

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6 Responses to question for syncro listees: syncro front sub-frame

  1. albell says:

    Hi Ed,

    while I haven’t taken the subframe off as you did, I can see how even a little bolt hole clearance in the assembly could add up to cause the mis-alignment you see.
    The tire carrier offset makes me wonder if the entire sub frame is askew slightly. This could affect wheel alignment and also prop shaft lateral alignment.

    cheers

    alistair

    • edbee says:

      Hi Alistair,
      Yes, I think what I need to do is support the van frame on jack stands and then use the floor jack to gently support the front diff and sub-frame, then loosen the sub-frame to body bolts (10 of them I believe) and then pry or otherwise cajole the driver’s side of the sub-frame forward until the clam-shell bolt hole lines up nicely with the threaded hole in the frame. That may also make it so the stock driveshaft has a wee bit more room to squeeze into place.

      If it’s not one thing it’s another 🙂 Too bad they (the good folks at VDub) didn’t put some alignment dowel pins in there or something like that. Well, once this is sorted out the van is ready to take to Aircare! (Aircare is BC’s version of smog check – just for the greater Vancouver area)

  2. cheerio8 says:

    Hi Ed,
    My understanding is the clamshell is part of the crash test mechanism as well as having a spare tire inside the clamshell…
    Trevor was working with Curt Long a bit on devising an adjustment to the clamshell so a 16″ tire should still fit…not sure how far along they are with this project…thought you might want to know.

    • edbee says:

      Hi Cheri,

      Yes, thanks for mentioning. I wouldn’t drive on a trip without a spare tire in the clamshell as I have seen that crash test video showing how the spare helps absorb front impacts.

      Bob (near Salt Lake City – guy with the super nice looking red syncro westy) modified a clamshell to fit bigger tires. If I can find his email I’ll ask if he minds if I post the images here. Seemed like an ingenious little idea he had.

  3. cheerio8 says:

    Yes we would be irterested to see how he’s modified his…

    • edbee says:

      Hi Cheri,
      It appears Bob made some pieces that position the rear of the clamshell lower down allowing a larger tire to fit in there. Here are some images he sent me:
      clamshell modification
      parts

      Note that this was on a syncro where the rear clamshell mounting pins fit into the front sub-frame. I am not sure what the clamshell pins are held by on a 2WD but maybe the same set-up would work.

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