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Old 07-25-2010, 04:55 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: So. Ca
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Toad Shimmy ?

I have been towing my 72 vw for about 12k miles with no problems, just returned from a short trip and after 150 miles it felt like a rear tire blew.
Pulled over and all was good, got back on the freeway and after another 10 miles the shimmy returned (wife looked out the rear window and said the car was bouncing around) but when I slowed to 25 mph it went away and did not happend again. At home i checked all pressures and every thing was right on spec. Any Ideas?. Toad weight is 1800 lbs


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Old 07-25-2010, 07:31 PM   #2
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Tread separation on a toad tire seems the most likely bet. The plies tend to pull apart as speed increases, giving the symptoms you observed. It would drive and handle fine at lower speeds, but get bumpier as speed increases. Eventually the tire will blow.

Other possibilities are toad alignment problem (maybe it hit a pothole or curb?) or a bad shock absorber (or strut, if it has that type of suspension).

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Old 07-26-2010, 09:34 PM   #3
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Mike, '72 was the first year of the "super beetle". They were super sensitive to slightly out of balanced front tires and anything over 3/32 of of tire run-out, the MacPherson struts would transfer any vibration/shimmy to the steering wheel. Add to that, if the steering damper has any wear or leaking, the driver had his hands full.

I'd check the steering damper first, it's easy to crawl under and peek to see if there's any leakage of fluid...it's just like a shock absorber. If there is any leakage, take the strut arm end nut loose and see if there's any dampening left. If your model is not a super beetle, IIRC, the older style front-end still has a damper and that's where my money is on the problem.

I'd still have those front tires checked for proper balance and run-out. Bob
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Old 07-27-2010, 05:13 AM   #4
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Can you add more positive caster?
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Old 07-27-2010, 09:25 AM   #5
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: So. Ca
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Thanks for all the suggestions, I took the VW to the tire shop and the balance was perfect and also the alignment. I then went to a VW parts house to compare my dampner with a new one and they were the same. I told them the story and they said the older not Super Beetles need a bungee on the steering wheel to keep it tight but loose enough to make turns and also if you hit a bump hard enough it can start the shimmy especially since mine is all fiberglass on the front end. I will try later this week and report.

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Old 08-09-2010, 12:50 PM   #6
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Put the bungee on today and went for a ride, no more shimmy. Thanks for all the ideas,

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