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Discussion Starter #1
Ever since we bought it (around 160k miles, currently 200k), our 2002 V6 4motion has been having unbalanced wheel-like vibrations around 65 mph and faster. In the meantime, we have replaced the tires, wheels, and rotors/pads. The vibrations occur irrespective of braking and are more noticable in the seats than in the steering wheel, suggesting it's coming from the back of the car. It's also equally present going through left and right hand turns, making us think it's somewhere central in the driveline (drive shaft, CV axles?). I've found similar reports online, but none with a clear solution as how to further troubleshoot the issue. Does anyone have an idea what to look at next?

Perhaps of relevance, we have replaced the drive shaft shortly after purchase with one from the junkyard because the old one started making squeeling noises at all speeds (which was resolved by the 'new' drive shaft).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the suggestion. Any idea how to confirm this is the case? For instance, should I be able to see (missing) balance weights on the drive shaft, just like on a wheel?
 

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What is the condition of the driveshaft carrier bearing? I've never had a 4-motion but I've heard of those going bad. And +1 on a driveshaft specialist, especially if you can find one familiar with the VW 4-motion setup.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for your inputs. I don't know the condition of the drivershaft carrier bearing. There have also been reports online linking highway speed vibrations to CV axles. Does anyone know how I could differentiate between vibrations caused by those and vibrations caused by an unbalanced drivershaft? For instance, does one only occur when accelerating/coasting/decelerating?
 

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It's more likely to be the propshaft that's either unbalanced or the centre carrier bearings knackered. Also check the universal joints on the propshaft for signs of heat or free play.

If it was the front driveshaft cv joints you would be experiencing clicking from them when cornering tightly e.g. Finding somewhere where you can put it on full lock and accelerate fairl hard
 

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I have heard of play in the flange bearings (where the shafts go into the front diff) causing vibrations. Something worth checking.
 

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Thanks for your inputs. I don't know the condition of the drivershaft carrier bearing. There have also been reports online linking highway speed vibrations to CV axles. Does anyone know how I could differentiate between vibrations caused by those and vibrations caused by an unbalanced drivershaft? For instance, does one only occur when accelerating/coasting/decelerating?
Genuine VW/Audi and Raxle axles are the only (2) types of axles that I know of that don't have inherent issues.
I'm not saying that you'll never find an aftermarket axle that will work properly but the odds really aren't very good that they won't last very long.
Front axles can and sometimes cause vibrations. They usually make clicking sounds when they get to that point though.

For instance, because of financial decisions I used the aftermarket brand FEQ on my and my wife's car, they both lasted less than 6 months. So because of my decision trying to save ended up being a complete waste of money anyways. Another set of axles and an alignment check were needed.


As mentioned before, I would suspect the carrier bearing and or the driveshaft going to the rear end. I would have an experienced shop check the balance of the driveshaft. It doesn't cost that much money to have that done.

Other things that should be checked so you can rule them out are suspension components. A worn bushing or worn shock that has lost it's ability to dampen properly can cause vibrations. That should be visible as uneven tire wear. You said you replaced the tires, what did they look like?

Wheel bearings? Rear wheel bearings are majorly neglected by most people. Me included!
I had a horrible howling noise on my 1998 GLS with the previous set of tires I had. I thought it was the rear passengers side tire as it had some minor uneven wear to it. When I jacked up the car, I took quite a bit of effort to turn the wheel. And it wasn't the brakes sticking. The wheel bearing was TOAST.
 

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I am having a very similar issue with my V6 4motion right now as well. My vibration is at its worst at 60-65mph. Feel it in the whole car. Feels like its shaking up and down like something is unbalanced. Will do it coasting, light throttle, and in neutral. I have swapped a different set of wheels and tires and still have the vibration. I have 185k on mine. Axles and control arms are original. CV boots all good and intact. Control arm joints tight and bushings in fair shape (not separated but showing signs of cracking). I think my next step might be to check my u joint for the rear driveshaft and make sure it moves freely. I'm thinking it is axle shafts, driveshaft, or control arms. Unfortunately nothing is obvious right now. Hate to throw parts at it but not much else I can do right now. It is really starting to annoy me though!
 

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Center support bushing/bearing for the driveshaft is most likely the problem. I replaced mine a few months ago (but have not driven the car since). It was a hassle grinding down wrenches to fit through the U-joint to remove the bolt, but it's cheaper than a new driveshaft.

This is the correct part for the Passat: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Audi-A6-C5-V8-Driveshaft-Center-Support-Carrier-Bearing-1997-2005-2580-75-CBA6-3-/162275725749
PZ what symptoms were you having that led you to replace the center support bearing?
 

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Vibration on the highway, not tire related and driveshaft noise as the clutch was let out The new bushing seems fine, but either the I was 1 spline off when I put the driveshaft back together, the poly rear differential mount I made is too stiff or there is another issue with the drivetrain as the vibration is much more pronounced now starting at 20-25mph. I have not found anything moving, but have to pull the heat shield, RS6 rear sway bar and then run the car on stands to see what moves. I also have a new rubber rear diff mount on the way.
 

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It's funny. I have only front wheel drive and have the 60 to 65 mph same trouble. At 70 to 80 all is well. At 58 mph or just below also all is well. no matter tire and the new rims. I can feel some of it with a bit of a hard take off at 30 mph.
 

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as a caveat to this discussion ,and a footnote that I am from the rustbelt it is imperative that the mating surfaces of the hub and inside surface of the rotor , and the outside mating surface of the rotor and complimentary inside of your alloy rim are clean as a whistle ,a 1/32"/1mm of crap equates to 1/8" 3mm at rim. And last but not least that the CV axle bolt is correctly torqued to spec.
 
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