Volkswagen Air-Cooled 1970-1981 Repair Guide

Manual Steering Gear



There are three types of adjustable steering gear units. The first type is the roller type, identified by the square housing cover secured by four screws, one at each corner. The second type is the worm and peg type, identified by an assymetric housing cover with the adjusting screw located at one side of the housing cover. The third type is the rack and pinion type used on 1975 Super Beetles and 1975 and later Convertibles.

Worm and Roller Type

Disconnect the steering linkage from the pitman arm and make sure the gearbox mounting bolts are tight. Have an assistant rotate the steering wheel so that the pitman arm moves alternately 10ordm; to the left and then 10ordm; to the right of the straight ahead position. Turn the adjusting screw in until no further play can be felt while moving the pitman arm. Tighten the adjusting screw locknut and recheck the adjustment.

Worm and Peg Type

Have an assistant turn the steering wheel back and forth through the center position several times. The steering wheel should turn through the center position without any noticeable binding.

To adjust, turn the adjusting screw inward while the assistant is turning the steering wheel. Turn the screw in until the steering begins to tighten up. Back out the adjusting screw until the steering no longer binds while turning through the center point, then tighten the adjusting screw locknut.

The adjustment is correct when there is no binding and no perceptible play.

Rack and Pinion Type See Figure 1

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Fig. Fig. 1: 1975 Super Beetle and 1975-79 Super Beetle Convertible steering rack and pinion details

The steering gear requires adjustment if it begins to rattle noticeably. First, remove the access cover in the spare tire well. Then, with the car standing on all four wheels, turn the adjusting screw in by hand until it contacts the thrust washer. While holding the screw in this position, tighten the locknut.

The adjustment is correct when there is no binding and the steering self-centers properly.