Subframe bolts loose, was control arm replacement to blame?
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  1. #1
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    Subframe bolts loose, was control arm replacement to blame?

    I had my control arms replaced a few weeks ago. When I got my car back it did not feel right exactly, I thought that the ride was so bad before with worn arms that I never knew my motor mounts were weak, I also noticed a the transmission jerking.

    I ordered new v6 mounts for my 20v and bought everything for a trans flid and filter swap, as well as D4 Redline. After that, I started getting a chirping like noise. I have been too busy with the last weeks of school, but today the noise was just too much so I got under the car, and found a few surprises.

    First off, I noticed that the small bracket that attaches to the trans for my TT downpipe was broken at the pipe, by moving it a little I easily determined that the scratching was the chirping bird like noise I have been looking for.

    Then after that I was looking around, i noticed my subframe bolts (the same ones that you would attack a DTS bar to), were completely loose, maybe 2 or 3 threads from falling out on both sides. I dont want to blame the mechanic, but do shops loosen those to do the control arms? I also am positive that the extra movement broke off my bracket from the downpipe. Basically thats all I want taken car of if the shop did loosen those, check them over and realign if necessary, and weld that bracket back on. The symptoms convinced me to do all this other work, but at 107 K I wanted to do mounts and fluid flush anyways.

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  3. #2
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    damn an enter key every so often would make it a helluva lot easier to read . . . .

    Did you get all of your control arms replaced? They have to drop the subframe a little to unbolt the rear arms.

    Dave

  4. #3
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    Sorry about that, I actually weeded out alot of that post, basically what I learn is that even though you have a trusted shop that treats you right, you still need to be observant.

    All of the arms were replaced, and new links and tie rods. I guess I will have to give him a call tomorrow, I just dont want to offend him since he has really helped me out in the past, hell his control arm kit (mayle) installed was $800 and theres never been any mistakes before with the 3 Vws I have had. All I want like I said is to make sure there are not any other problems that I am not aware of, plus that bracket needs fixed since I cant weld.

  5. #4
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    IIRC you have to loosen those bolts to align it. The only way to adjust camber is to shift the subframe to make both sides equal.

    I just installed the V6/S4 mounts also. I already had the urethane snub mount, but still noticed a little extra vibration with the new mounts.
    Last edited by l5gcw0b; 05-11-2005 at 06:41 AM.

  6. #5
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    You definitely need to get those bolts re-tightened IMMEDIATELY. Either DIY and drive to the shop ASAP or have the car towed in right now. Driving with a loose subframe is very unsafe -- like driving with a missing control arm.

    Since those bolts were loosened, your front end alignment needs to be checked and adjusted. Movement of the subframe relative to the body causes changes in camber and caster -- the only way to adjust these on a passat is by re-aligning the subframe and then tightening the rear subframe bolts to hold everything in position.

    Sorry to say it, but it looks like your shop messed up. Hopefully they'll fix everything on their dime. Do they have an alignment rack?

  7. #6
    PZ
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    Actually it's not that big of a deal. There are 6 or 8 subframe bolts( I don't remember), so loosening the back 2 should not affect alignment. Just have them retighten them and check the rest of the bolts while they are there.

  8. #7
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    Those 4 small bolts (two on each side) on the sub frame brace are known to loosen. That particular bolt has gone thru 3 revisions between the 98 B5 and the 01 B5. There are two parts/bolts that have superceded the original... and they still loosen.

    They have been loose on my car, and Fluids, and at the time neither of us had had the lower arms replaced.

    Given that you recently had them done, yes, I would point my finger at the installer... 8 weeks shouldn't be nearly long enough to back them out that far. I had 25k on mine when I noticed they were loose while looking squeeks.... it was them.

  9. #8
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    Now I'm thinking I ought to check mine...

  10. #9
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    These bolts are not one time stretch bolts are they? The shop is taking care of it tomorrow, I tightened the bolts as soon as I found them, and they just want the car to check it all over and align it if necessary.

  11. #10
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    Yes they are one time stretch bolts. They are torqued to something like 90ft-lbs and then rotated 90 degrees.

  12. #11
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    Sounds like the shop is taking care of you!

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