Suspension question

  1. Welcome to VW Passat Forums : Volkswagen Passat Forum – General discussion forum for Volkswagen Passat

    Welcome to VW Passat Forums : Volkswagen Passat Forum - a website dedicated to all things Volkswagen Passat.

    You are currently viewing our forum as a guest, which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our community, at no cost, you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is free, fast and simple, Join VW Passat Forums : Volkswagen Passat Forum today!
     
Results 1 to 17 of 17
Like Tree6Likes
  • 1 Post By Passatfan2
  • 1 Post By AndreasPassat
  • 3 Post By VAGguy
  • 1 Post By Hirnbeiss

Thread: Suspension question

  1. #1
    Neutral
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Coventry, CT
    Posts
    19

    Suspension question

    I have a 03 Passat GLX FWD with 140,000 miles. I started noticing the front passenger side riding low to the ground. Our driveway is a little bumpy, and the car even bottomed out once driving slowly down the driveway. I pulled the wheel off to take a look and part of the coil/spring has broken. A couple of questions:

    1. How difficult/dangerous is it to try and use a spring compressor from Harbor Freight or the like to do it myself?

    2. Would it be better to buy an all in one assembly so that I don't have to mess with a compressor? The only one I can find is made by OSC Automotive, and I'm assuming it's made in China, and is a crap part, but I'm not planning on driving this car forever so maybe it's ok...

    3. If I choose to just buy parts and put it together myself with the spring compressor, what all should be replaced? Should I do both sides? Is there anything besides just the coil or would it be wise to do the struts on both sides? Any other components that I should do while I'm at it?

    Thanks for the help!

  2. Remove Advertisements
    VW Passat Forum
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    1st Gear
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Memphis, Tennessee
    Age
    57
    Posts
    317
    First stay away from Harbor Freight spring compressor. These are unreliable, don't get the work done and will put your life in danger. If you want to do it yourself just go to autozone they have good spring compressors at the loan a tool program and it won't cost you a dime.

    All in one assemblies are convenient but may cost you more than buying and assembling the parts yourself if you do just make sure you use oem or an aftermarket of known good quality.
    You need to replace not just the coil as the other components will be worn out if they ever are still there. Yes do both sides if one side failed the other one is just behind.
    dihedral likes this.

  4. #3
    Neutral
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    84
    Oreilly's also offers a tool loan program, it's like 20 dollars or something for a deposit. return the tool, get your money back. my well-being is worth the drive there and back twice YMMV

  5. Remove Advertisements
    VW Passat Forum
    Advertisements
     

  6. #4
    4th Gear
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Age
    52
    Posts
    3,890
    DO NOT GO TO HARBOR FREIGHT or any other cheap discount store for spring compressors!!!
    Suspension springs when loaded or under pressure have an insane amount of stored energy that can easily break bones or crush your skull if something goes wrong.

    Now that I've said that, hopefully I didn't scare you to the point that you'll never touch your own car again.
    Depending on how serious of a do-it-yourselfer you are or want to become will determine how this gets handled.
    The other thing is your level of knowledge. If you have no idea on how to go about working with the suspension I would recommend you school yourself here on this site before taken on such a project.
    It's not that it's horribly difficult to change out a suspension, but knowledge of how the spring and strut is held together and how to work with it safely is the key.

    We here at this forum can and will teach you how to do it if you choose to go that route.


    I purchased this kit from ECS. This is the best hand held kit I've ever used. The way this thing is built, gives me very high levels of confidence that I don't have to worry about the integrity of the tool.
    Never let your guard down while compressing a coil spring, but there is nothing like the ability to work and being relaxed knowing that the tool is going to hold versus working all tensed up and being scared shitless every second of the duration of the repair.

    https://www.ecstuning.com/b-schwaben...845sch01a~sch/
    jjpark likes this.

  7. #5
    4th Gear
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Age
    52
    Posts
    3,890
    Quote Originally Posted by acamp78 View Post
    I have a 03 Passat GLX FWD with 140,000 miles. I started noticing the front passenger side riding low to the ground. Our driveway is a little bumpy, and the car even bottomed out once driving slowly down the driveway. I pulled the wheel off to take a look and part of the coil/spring has broken. A couple of questions:

    1. How difficult/dangerous is it to try and use a spring compressor from Harbor Freight or the like to do it myself?
    Read my previous post!


    Quote Originally Posted by acamp78 View Post
    2. Would it be better to buy an all in one assembly so that I don't have to mess with a compressor? The only one I can find is made by OSC Automotive, and I'm assuming it's made in China, and is a crap part, but I'm not planning on driving this car forever so maybe it's ok...
    I'm not even sure you can buy a whole assembly for our cars. If you can, it'll cost dearly.
    The design of the strut assembly on a Passat doesn't lend it itself to purchased as an assembly. Many other cars the top end of the strut / shock bolts directly onto the car body / frame. Not ours.
    The Passat has a different design to it and there are other components that go on top of the strut, there's the cup that attaches to the strut piston rod, and then that is bolted onto the upper control arm bracket and then that is bolted onto the car body.

    By the way, the cup bolted to the strut piston rod is what holds the spring in place. Even when the strut assembly is out of the car fully extended, it still is under some serious compression and still considered a hazard.


    Quote Originally Posted by acamp78 View Post
    3. If I choose to just buy parts and put it together myself with the spring compressor, what all should be replaced? Should I do both sides? Is there anything besides just the coil or would it be wise to do the struts on both sides? Any other components that I should do while I'm at it?
    Depends what your outlook on this car is. If your on a budget, I'd just go to the salvage yard and buy the springs (it'll probably be more cost effective to both front springs - even if you are going to use only one)
    Replace the broken spring, take to get the front alignment checked / adjusted and be done with it.

    If your going to drive it for a while. I'd do both sides at the same time. Then you know both sides are sitting at the right height.

    Word of caution. depending on where you reside in your country of origin, removing the strut / knuckle assembly can turn into a can of worms, especially with the pinch bolt holding the two upper control arms to the steering knuckle.

  8. #6
    Neutral Tortelious's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    NE Wisconsin
    Posts
    54
    Step 1 is to buy a Haynes manual.
    When I did mine, I borrowed the tool from Advance Auto. Even with a quality tool, I was thinking to myself "Oh shit oh shit oh shit !!! Don't break don't break don't break !!!"
    You will need to compress the spring almost to the point that it is bottomed out. You don't want to tear the rubber boot.
    When you go to reinstall it, make sure to place the compressors in a position to have good access when you go to release the spring pressure. Any questions, like AndreasPassat said, you will get help here.

  9. #7
    Motel Room Moderator VAGguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Abingdon, MD
    Age
    41
    Posts
    23,136
    I'm just giving my personal opinion on the Horror Freight spring compressors. https://www.harborfreight.com/macphe...set-63262.html
    They are identical to the ones you rent at AutoZone.

    I have them and like them. I've used them many times and they work like a charm if you know how to use them and when to use them. Just recently did R36dreams' B8 S4 with H&R sports and it was like buttah. Removed the front spring on my B8.5 A4 for a look-see and also have used them on my Passat. They still operate like brand new.

    The most important things to do with these: Lubricate the threads and make sure they are directly opposite of each other on the spring. The VERY first thing I did was liberally apply bearing grease to the length of the threads. Smooth, quick and easy for me.

    If you don't want to take this on by yourself and don't want to pay a shop to do it, I know a guy in Norwich that may offer his services if he's available. For a fee, but likely less than a shop would charge.

    Take a picture of the colored marks on the spring and post it up. I have a set of front springs that may be of use for you that will give you for only the cost of shipping.
    AndreasPassat, jjpark and khnitz like this.
    Glutton for Punishment: 16 A4 S-line Sport pkg Prem+, 04 Passat 1.8T GLS Variant Manual swapped, 2017 Q5 Prem+

  10. #8
    2nd Gear
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    S. Florida
    Posts
    930
    First thing is to check overall level of corrosion on your car to determine if it’s worth keeping for a few more years. Assuming it is, then get the loaner spring compressor as mentioned above, and replace it. I would go ahead and replace struts as well, but if you are destitute, at least replace the rubber mounts on the side you take out.
    There is this one (not recommending any particular source, just showing the picture)
    https://www.europaparts.com/strut-mo...b7412377a.html, and this one:
    https://www.idparts.com/front-strut-...b55-p-953.html

  11. #9
    3rd Gear axenstar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    CharlestonSC/Atlanta
    Posts
    1,670

    Suspension question

    My 2 cents on coil spring compressors:

    -Avoid using excessive impact gun as it deforms the washers. They collapse inward and may snap under load, leaving you or family pay a hefty hospital or funeral bill.

    -I have used thrust bearings (1st pic) for easy compression. Works like a miracle.

    -if you are not poor like me, buy yourself a hydraulic compressor for $118. (2nd Pic) Yes it’s $118 on amazon & and free shipping.

    Peace






    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  12. #10
    4th Gear
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Age
    52
    Posts
    3,890
    Quote Originally Posted by VAGguy View Post
    I'm just giving my personal opinion on the Horror Freight spring compressors. https://www.harborfreight.com/macphe...set-63262.html
    They are identical to the ones you rent at AutoZone.

    I have them and like them. I've used them many times and they work like a charm if you know how to use them and when to use them. Just recently did R36dreams' B8 S4 with H&R sports and it was like buttah. Removed the front spring on my B8.5 A4 for a look-see and also have used them on my Passat. They still operate like brand new.

    The most important things to do with these: Lubricate the threads and make sure they are directly opposite of each other on the spring. The VERY first thing I did was liberally apply bearing grease to the length of the threads. Smooth, quick and easy for me.

    If you don't want to take this on by yourself and don't want to pay a shop to do it, I know a guy in Norwich that may offer his services if he's available. For a fee, but likely less than a shop would charge.

    Take a picture of the colored marks on the spring and post it up. I have a set of front springs that may be of use for you that will give you for only the cost of shipping.

    I gotta respect your input. I'll admit 100%, my don't ever statement above is heavily biased because of two particular instances. A guy I used to work with bought a spring compressor from one of those Harbor Freight places and that thing didn't even make through the first spring. The second one, my father-in-law, he was doing a strut change and it let loose. Broke 3 of his ribs and punctured a lung. I was not present for both incidents so I can't speak for the way they were being used, but two bargain compressors and 2 failures gives me great concern.

    On a side note, How is R36dreams doing? He doesn't check in really anymore. Man I remember that house fire he had. That was something.

  13. #11
    5th Gear
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Fallbrook CA USA
    Posts
    5,103
    Quote Originally Posted by Tortelious View Post
    You will need to compress the spring almost to the point that it is bottomed out.
    Shouldn't need to; the spring needs to be compressed only enough to fit the nut onto the end of the strut rod.

    One thing in favor of the OP is that the compressor will only be needed once, for installing the replacement spring.

  14. #12
    3rd Gear
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Age
    48
    Posts
    1,782
    I would never use a HF spring compressor. I have used their pulley pullers and they snapped. I have no issues with Certain things HF sells but would not trust my life with their compressors.

    If you are going to attempt to DIY. Start spraying all the suspension bolts and nuts with a penetrating spray. Being up North I am willing to bet that the salt in the Winters hasn't been kind to your car.

    As others have mentioned.

    Change both at the same time. If $ allows. Change all 4.

    Read up on the forums here and You Tube suspension change out and you will have a wealth of information to tackle this. Unless it has been done I would also check out all the control arms to see if they need replacement.

    Bilstein makes great shocks, do not cheap out on them or the control arms....

  15. #13
    Neutral Tortelious's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    NE Wisconsin
    Posts
    54
    Quote Originally Posted by ylwagon View Post
    Shouldn't need to; the spring needs to be compressed only enough to fit the nut onto the end of the strut rod.

    One thing in favor of the OP is that the compressor will only be needed once, for installing the replacement spring.
    I guess I should clarify. When I replaced my front assembly, I didn't separate any of the suspension balljoints. It was a pain, but not as much of a pain as having to deal with those upper balljoints. The only tricky spot was avoiding doing damage to that rubber boot.

  16. #14
    Neutral
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Eastern Washington
    Posts
    53
    Not only should you do both sides, you should also replace both the upper and lower control arms while you have the struts out. The control arms all have rubber bushings in them that wear out. The hardest part of this job is getting the top pinch bolt off. Start soaking it with PB Blaster now, several times a day until you do the work.

  17. #15
    Neutral
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL USA
    Posts
    13
    Quote Originally Posted by acamp78 View Post
    I have a 03 Passat GLX FWD with 140,000 miles. I started noticing the front passenger side riding low to the ground. Our driveway is a little bumpy, and the car even bottomed out once driving slowly down the driveway. I pulled the wheel off to take a look and part of the coil/spring has broken. A couple of questions:

    1. How difficult/dangerous is it to try and use a spring compressor from Harbor Freight or the like to do it myself?

    2. Would it be better to buy an all in one assembly so that I don't have to mess with a compressor? The only one I can find is made by OSC Automotive, and I'm assuming it's made in China, and is a crap part, but I'm not planning on driving this car forever so maybe it's ok...

    3. If I choose to just buy parts and put it together myself with the spring compressor, what all should be replaced? Should I do both sides? Is there anything besides just the coil or would it be wise to do the struts on both sides? Any other components that I should do while I'm at it?

    Thanks for the help!
    I purchased an $85.00 MacPherson Coil Spring compressor tool kit from ebay similar to item # 392180676433 LOVE IT for the Audi a4 & Passat B5 front struts!
    It is a clone to the tool that AndreasPassat recommended, and I agree with that pinch bolt being possibly the worse part of the job!

    I have multiple Coil Spring compressor tool kits from HF but I do not trust them since I have seen them bend and the threads strip.

    Remember that you have to align the strut top (control arms) to the bottom so you can easily install it back on the car.
    You are "supposed" to change both springs at the same time, but some do not. If you install a used spring then that should be good. A tiny bit of rust seems to eat through these springs causing them to snap at that point like the torsion bars of the classic Beetles. So treat and paint any rust!

    You can always buy a used complete strut and install it on your Passat and then you don't need the tool.
    Or you can also sell the compressor tool if you do not need it again!

    Good luck!

  18. #16
    2nd Gear cuppie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Detroit, MI
    Posts
    634
    I'll second the recommendations that "this is the car's way of telling you that it's time to do that front suspension rebuild."
    Of course, my wife's car did that to me last month - snapped a front spring, told me "hey, that rebuild you were going to do this summer? Well, you're doing it now!"

    Front arm kit (Delphi), new (solid) outer tie rod ends (also Delphi, but don't come in the front end kit - kit comes with the stupid rubber-isolated tie rod ends), inner tie rods, tie rod boots, front springs, front & rear shocks (Bilstein B4)… Also, hers is a 4Mo, and I needed to replace both rear toe links (because the eccentric bolts were corroded solid in them)… I layed out about $900 in parts. Everything from PartsGeek, except for the eccentric bolts, and (IIRC) rear shock bump stops - those had to come from VW.
    Yours is a FWD, so you don't need to deal with 4Mo rear suspension silliness.

    When I did my FWD wagon last fall (didn't need springs), I spent about $550, I think. Front end, complete, plus rear shocks.

    I think I have a PartsGeek coupon code around here that I could share with you....

  19. #17
    2nd Gear
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    S. Florida
    Posts
    930
    Quote Originally Posted by cuppie View Post
    I'll second the recommendations that "this is the car's way of telling you that it's time to do that front suspension rebuild." ....
    You have to listen to the creaks and groans carefully. Sometimes it’s saying, “Trade me, trade me”.
    PZ likes this.

  20. Remove Advertisements
    VW Passat Forum
    Advertisements
     

Quick Reply Quick Reply

Register Now

Please enter the name by which you would like to log-in and be known on this site.

Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Where do you live?

Year of model

car model

Please select your insurance company (Optional)

Log-in

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

    Similar Threads

    1. Sport suspension to normal suspension downgrade?
      By Cocos in forum Volkswagen Passat B6 Discussion
      Replies: 5
      Last Post: 03-11-2013, 07:51 AM
    2. 2.8 V6 4Motion suspension vs. W8 Suspension
      By Von B in forum Volkswagen Passat B5 Discussion
      Replies: 3
      Last Post: 12-08-2012, 08:40 PM
    3. FEELER: Trade my stock b5.5 v6 suspension for your lowered suspension?
      By kickoutthelights in forum Classified Archive
      Replies: 4
      Last Post: 09-14-2008, 11:12 AM
    4. When is it time for a new suspension? Also 4Motion suspension Q's
      By phot0n in forum Volkswagen Passat B5 Discussion
      Replies: 5
      Last Post: 03-08-2005, 04:37 PM
    5. Does lowering the suspension negatively effect suspension components?
      By randy in forum Volkswagen Passat B5 Discussion
      Replies: 5
      Last Post: 02-25-2005, 06:22 PM

    Tags for this Thread

    Posting Permissions

    • You may not post new threads
    • You may not post replies
    • You may not post attachments
    • You may not edit your posts
    •  
    Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v4.1.2