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I have a '99 Passat - GLS - manual transmission - no mods - ~93,000 miles.

About a month ago my non VW mechanic told me that my right front Tie Rod End was shot. I had noticed that the handling has been a bit sluggish but no noises, etc. (Yes, I had the recall work done back in 2000 for the tie rods.)

Now, in the past 1.5 weeks, I have a clacking noise coming from my front driver side wheel area. This can only be reproduced at slow speeds, going over speed bumps, or hitting pot holes. I can turn the wheel left/right and get no noise unless I am going forward (or backwards I guess).

So, here's my ignorence...is it a tie rod? Is it a control arm? A ball joint perhaps? (I replaced ball joints on my previous car at least three times in 150K). And here's the next, sad question...what can I do to minimize the noise?

My VW has caused me a very very very painful few years (among other problems, I have had an electrical system from hell since about 45,000 miles) and I have decided to sell out to Toyota (a very sad day...). I will be trading the car in, in the next few weeks and would like to get as much as I possibly can, considering the circumstances. :cry:

Do any of you have any advice on what I can do to keep it relatively quiet? And can your solution be performed relatively easily? I don't have the tools necessary to be replacing parts, etc.

Thanks in advance for any advice you may have.
 

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I don't have an answer, but i have a similiar (and interesting) problem too.

I had the same thing, a rattle or clank clank noise from my front wheel whenever I drive at a slower speed (less than 10-15 mph). It turned out one of my lugs came loose and was just tumbling inside the cover! I am not sure if someone tried to steal my wheels, or perhaps the tire rotation done didn't tighten them enough. Needless to say I am thankful I found out early instead of losing a wheel (batmobile, lost a wheel...).
 

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Getting back to the problem though, my steering recently is a little bit loose; but only noticible at higher speeds (on freeway). I also have a gentle creeak whenever going over a high ramp. Someone told me that this is the control rods worn and needing replacement and how VW was suppose to cover it etc...Also another person said its the ball joint or some other part I can't remember.

My question is, can someone enlighten us what each of the component do? I have basic car knowledge but please don't make fun of me if I started to call them thingys... :p
Hey, at least I can replace my air filter! Although took me more than 1hr!
 

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Ball joint replacement needed...

My 4 year old B5 has same problem recently- a clack noise going over potholes, and looser steering at highway speeds. Dealer says ball joint seals failed and joints need replacement. $400 for them to do it with parts. But also said it wasn't dangerous, and existing joints would last another couple years. I may get it done just to have that perfect steering again...
 

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Passat control arms (CA) and tie-rods(TR) are commonly problematic,
but VW corporate denies any responsibility. :???: :mad:

A "clacking" or "popping" sound over bumps usually indicates your upper CA's are shot. There is a rubber grease "boot" around the ball-joints that commonly leaks/breaks and allows the rod to slap or pop inside the socket. Unresponsive stearing is also a common indication of this condition around the TR ends. A "squeaking" usually indicates problems with your lower CA's.

Use Liquid Wrench in the CA socket as a temporary fix for the noise- and in the TR ends to prevent the joints from siezing and killing your power steering pump.

Check to see if the rubber boots around the CA and TR joint are cracked or pulled-away on either end....THis is a dead give away that they are busted.

Replacement of the suspect CA's or TR's is the only sure fix.
If you are an intermediate DIYer, you can do the tie-rods yourself, but the general consensus is the the CA's are a job for those with expertise.

Quality parts are available at www.ecstuning.com

I first noticed my new Passat TR leaking grease after just 3 months of ownership, but thought nothing of it at the time....My dealership last year even said my visibly-destroyed TR ends are within VW spec (!!). :suspicio:

After 4 years and 60k on my B5, I desperately need to replace my top CA's and tie rods- Im sick of the noise, lethargic steering/suspension, and constant need to lube my tie-rods so they dont sieze.

My 2 cents.


GOD BLESS TEXAS!!
[MOxie formerly known as AUSTEX]
 

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oh geez! i had these parts replaced right left side at 40k miles, right side at 50k miles. I live in NYC, and I drive pretty hard. I had similar problmes with my previous car (taurus). I know that MY driving havits have a lot to do with it. On the Passat they charged me abt $500 per side (at the dealer). You will also need a allignent afterwards. To minimize the sound use Liquid Wrench (as someone alreday suggested) it works for a few days. Or play the radio while driving. :)
 
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