StrictlyAircooled San Diego your local Volkswagen Mechanic Shop- Kin and Link Service Guide
Save yourself the hassle (and expense) of a full rebuild by some simple, regular maintenance
This month we take a look at servicing the king and link pins on a Split Screen Bus. Whilst we are obviously dealing with a Type 2 here, the information given is also applicable to early Beetles as the procedure and application is very similar.
Though it might sound daunting, servicing king and link pins is actually a very straightforward job, taking no more than an hour, yet it is one that often gets forgotten. I have lost count of the amount of VWs I have seen that have had decades’ worth of mud and grease covering the entire spindle assembly – an obvious sign that servicing has been neglected. Tut tut!
VW’s king and link pin system is a very robust piece of engineering that, properly looked after, will last pretty much the lifetime of the vehicle, but only if – and it really is a big if – they are serviced at regular intervals. Miss out on just a few services and wear will be induced that can never be repaired without full reconditioning, and that doesn’t come cheap!
VW recommends greasing the king and link pins every 2,500 miles, and this would have been carried out by Volkswagen as part of the official service regime. If your VW is a Sunday special, then annually greasing should be part of your service plan. This simple process will help to purge any water that may have found its way into the system.
No special tools are necessary for this job, except perhaps a grease gun, but one of these should be in your tool box already as there are so many jobs on a VW you can’t do without one.
Strictly Aircooled San Diego is your local Volkswagen mechanic shop. Click here and get a free quote.
- TOOLS NEEDED: Trolley jack and at least two axle stands, 17mm socket and ratchet, 17mm, 16mm and 9mm spanners, breaker bar and 19mm socket, grease gun,
a stout wire brush
- MATERIALS USED: Moly grease, Brake cleaner Clean rags
- TIME TAKEN: 1-2 hours for both sides
- COST DIY: $0
- COST PRO: $60 or labor and $4.00 for grease
King and link pin service: Step 1
Before jacking up the front end of your vehicle and securing it on a minimum of two axle stands, loosen off your wheel bolts a little.
King and link pin service: Step 2
With the vehicle jacked up and secured on axle stands, you can remove the road wheel and survey the situation. Believe it or not, this is actually quite clean for a king and link pin set up on a used Bus. Note this one has been fitted with aftermarket disc brakes and dampers.
King and link pin service: Step 3 (Strictly Aircooled VW San Diego)
The first job is to give everything a good clean. I use a brake cleaner and a stout wire brush. Once done, you can commence with the inspection.
King and link pin service: Step 4
Pay particular attention to your grease nipples. Ensure they are spotlessly clean and then depress the spring-loaded balls with a pointed object such as a sharp pointer or a needle. The balls need to be free moving.
King and link pin service: Step 5
If you find a grease nipple that is damaged or has a seized ball in the end, remove it from the assembly and…
King and link pin service: Step 6
…check its condition off the vehicle. If water has been allowed to make its way in, it can solidify the grease and block the tip. Pick it clean with a pin, then attach a grease gun and, if grease passes through it properly, it’s good to go again.
King and link pin service: Step 7
With the spindle assembly all spangly, check the condition of the rubber seals (note: you won’t find these on a Beetle). They should have good integrity, otherwise they will allow water and dirt in, causing rapid wear. Unfortunately, if you find any cracks or splits here, you are into a full strip down and rebuild.
Note: Strictly Aircooled San Diego is a professional mechanic shop that specializes in VW Classic cars, bugs and combis.
King and link pin service: Step 8
Attach the grease gun to the upper king pin nipple and pump in some fresh grease. How much?
King and link pin service: Step 9
Keep going until you start to see fresh grease passing out around the seal below the nipple.
King and link pin service: Step 10
Now move the grease gun to the lower nipple and repeat the grease pumping process.
King and link pin service: Step 11
To do a thorough job, I like to turn the wheel hub from side to side several times through the full travel of the steering mechanism. This helps the fresh grease dissipate evenly through the king pin and its bushes. Once you have done this, add a little more grease to both the upper and lower king pin nipples.
King and link pin service: Step 12
Not finished yet I’m afraid. To do a proper grease job on a VW, you have to get a little more involved. To do this, it is necessary to loosen the link pins, so clean up any crud present…
King and link pin service: Step 13
…then loosen the retaining bolt with a 17mm socket and spanner.
King and link pin service: Step 14
With the link pin loose, attach a 16mm spanner to the end of the link pin and rotate it back and forth through its complete range of movement, all the while pumping grease through its respective nipple. Once it is fully greased, adjust the link pin so any play is ‘just’ taken out, but no so tight as to cause the link pin to bind in the bearings. Be careful here, over tightening will quickly induce wear.
King and link pin service: Step 15
Now turn your attention to the upper link pin assembly and…
King and link pin service: Step 16
…repeat the process. This might seem like an over-thorough approach, but it is exactly how Volkswagen trained its mechanics to do it.
King and link pin service: Step 17
Once you are all done, give your spindle assemblies a good clean to wipe off any grease. Whilst it may help to prevent rust, excess grease attracts dirt and mud like a blanket does doodoo!
King and link pin service: Step 18
Last job is to lower your Bus down off the axle stands, re-fit your road wheel and tighten to the specified wheel bolt torque for your style of wheel and vehicle. Job done.
Remember to visit: Strictly Aircooled Volkswagen Bugs mechanic shop in San Diego.Get a Free Quote