Tom's Baja Bug

VW Beetle Repair
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FAQ 60

Question: I just bought a 69 bug, really good shape, except the front wheels started to shimmy between 30 and 40 mph. They feel like lose casters on a shopping cart when driving. I can push on the front wheels and they move about a half inch back and forth. Its not bearings, but Ive never owned a bug before so Im not sure what it is. All I know is that it shakes the steering wheel vigorously for a few seconds until I get up to speed. I know, its probably dangerous to drive, so I'll stop driving it for now. I like doing car work myself, so please give me a hint of what to look for. The last answer I got from a guy at a shop was "shocks". But they appear to be working just fine.

Answer: This sounds like ball joints or tie rod ends. I think somewhere in the 1968 time period, VW changed to ball joints from the older style king pins.

I think you need John Muir's book "How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive". My full review is


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