Steering coupler redux

During my second visit from Colin a couple of years ago, he suggested I replace the steering coupling disc. Mine was cracked (the middle one in the photo above). So I found a replacement online (the one on the left), and replaced it. The rubber seemed less sturdy than the original, but I attributed that to old age of the original. Then I read this thread on thesamba.com. Basically someone had posted pictures of the new steering coupler they had installed, and were warned about the quality of the brand, which was Euromax. I’m not here to bash brands, but I realized that the one I had installed was Euromax (which was listed as Brazilian made).

So, I decided to get a genuine VW one, which I got this week from Wolfsburg West. They had a picture of the genuine VW steering coupling disc, but I called them to make sure it was from VW – which it was.

After I removed the Euromax one which I had installed, I could see the difference between the couplers. Two of the bushings on the Euromax one fell out. The new VW one is very stiff, like the original.

Here are the two VW ones for comparison (new one is on the right).

Here’s me bending the Euromax one. I couldn’t do this with either of the genuine VW ones. Hey, there’s my feet!

Here are the three side by side again. The Euromax one says “PREMIUM QUALITY.”  You can see the Premium Quality missing bushings.

So here are some pictures of installation. I already had the dashboard unattached for the windshield, and hadn’t put the steering column back (as I had read thesamba thread and was worried about the one I had installed). It’s not a difficult installation, but it’s kind of awkward. You can work from under the bus or on top, but you need a hand in the bus and one underneath. I was able to do it by myself. On Gus, who is a ’78, there is a horn ground wire that you have to be careful with. I replaced mine with one I made, as mine was cut.

This is the Euromax one when it was installed. This is looking from inside the bus down toward the floor.

And here’s the view from below the bus – you need one wrench to turn, and one to keep the bolt from turning. I used a socket above (you can kind of see it), and a wrench below. The yellow wire is the one I replaced – the original was brown.

It’s best to look at the Bentley manual so you can see how everything goes together. It doesn’t really make sense until you start to take it apart, using the manual as a guide. I believe the ’68-’74 buses are slightly different than ’75 to ’79 as far as the steering column and steering coupler assembly go, so check the Bentley.

Here I’ve moved the steering column (on the right) off of the coupling disc. Note the horn grounding wire again.

Here’s what it looks like when the coupling disc is off. Again, looking down from inside the bus. That red circle is where you fill the steering gearbox with hypoid oil.

Here’s the new genuine VW steering coupling disc installed – from below:

And from inside the bus (you can see how the horn ground wire is attached on the top – the other end goes underneath):

By no means should this be considered an installation guide on ’68-’79 bus steering couplers, but it worked for me. I’d advise doing some reading and asking questions online ( www.thesamba.com and www.itinerant-air-cooled.com ), and using the Bentley manual as a guide anytime you attempt a new bus project. This project is pretty straight-forward, but it’s a little awkward at times.

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