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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been having a horrible clunking noise from the front right for about 3 months. My dealer looked at the car about 4-5 weeks ago and said everything was ok. Yea right. No problems found. We'll over the Thanksgiving holiday, my car got plain scary to drive. It was getting dangerous to drive. I put it up on jacks and the front right wheel had about 1" of play, no kidding! The tie rod end was about to come apart and the upper control arms were not too far behind. I went ahead and replaced both the left and right TRE's. No problem there. Now I know that I need to replace the 2 upper control arms, but I am debating replacing all uppers and lowers. I am about 2-3 months from buying a new car, so I dont know if I should sink the additional money for the other control arms or just fix the current problem for now.

Looking at the upper control arms, I have a some questions. I have searched the site, but the control arm discussions are many and I didnt find specific answers. First, do I have to pull the entire strut assembly to remove the upper control arms? It looks like the control arm bolt at the top will hit the fender well unless the strut assembly is removed. Second, everyone says to tighten the control arms with the car in the curb weight position. Can someone explain how this is done without a lift to sit the car on? It would be very tight with the car sitting in normal position. I have also heard that you can remove the strut and install the upper control arms into the correct position by measuring the distance on the straight control arm. Would this essentially be the same as tightening in the 'curb weight position'?

I am thinking of of tackling this myself to save some money, but I want to be sure I can handle the job before dissassembly. Thanks
 

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I have been having a horrible clunking noise from the front right for about 3 months. My dealer looked at the car about 4-5 weeks ago and said everything was ok. Yea right. No problems found. We'll over the Thanksgiving holiday, my car got plain scary to drive. It was getting dangerous to drive. I put it up on jacks and the front right wheel had about 1" of play, no kidding! The tie rod end was about to come apart and the upper control arms were not too far behind. I went ahead and replaced both the left and right TRE's. No problem there. Now I know that I need to replace the 2 upper control arms, but I am debating replacing all uppers and lowers. I am about 2-3 months from buying a new car, so I dont know if I should sink the additional money for the other control arms or just fix the current problem for now.

Looking at the upper control arms, I have a some questions. I have searched the site, but the control arm discussions are many and I didnt find specific answers. First, do I have to pull the entire strut assembly to remove the upper control arms? It looks like the control arm bolt at the top will hit the fender well unless the strut assembly is removed. Second, everyone says to tighten the control arms with the car in the curb weight position. Can someone explain how this is done without a lift to sit the car on? It would be very tight with the car sitting in normal position. I have also heard that you can remove the strut and install the upper control arms into the correct position by measuring the distance on the straight control arm. Would this essentially be the same as tightening in the 'curb weight position'?

I am thinking of of tackling this myself to save some money, but I want to be sure I can handle the job before dissassembly. Thanks
Here is a good place to start. Here is a second place.
 

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I first did a complete front end on my sister-in-laws 98 Passat (which is now mine) in 2000. That was the first time I had ever worked on a VW. Without consulting any reading material it was a fairly straight foward task for me. As long as you have some mechanical ability you should be fine. The most important thing is to simulate a curb resting position when tightening down those components. Whatever you do DO NOT let that suspension hang down with the strut forcing everthing to it's maximum limit. A quality install will bring long lasting results.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I ordered the Febi kit and it should be here for an install this weekend! I have read up on everything pretty well, so I hope it goes well.

I have already replaced the TRE's, so I dont need the pair coming with the kit so anybody want a good deal on those?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
WOW!!! I just finished up installing the new control arms and it drives like a Passat again. Previously, it felt like a 1970 Ford Truck!!

Anyway, the install was pretty routine. Took me about 7 hours but I took my time, no problem, had lunch, and drank a few beers!!!
 

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Guys,

I've got a '99 B5 V6 sedan and have an uneasy feeling about my front suspension. About 2 yrs ago I replaced the struts and tires hoping to find crisper handling. I put Yoko Avid H4Ss on, as well as Koni Sports (p/n's 8040-1227, 82-2488). The Avids are clearly better handling, sharper turning tires than the a/w Michelins, and the Konis have more compression and rebound damping than the OEMs. The car had been hit on the right front quarter, crushing much of the suspension in Jan 2005. Since then the car hasn't driven consistently well. In warm weather (read spring, summer, fall) I ride my motorcycle most of the time, so I haven't put many miles in the past ~2 years (<8,000), so there isn't a whole lot of wear going on (that I know of). I haven't been happy with the handling since - the car doesn't want to track straight, and it's lost much of the steering self-centering force. It's like - turn the steering wheel some amount....and it slowly returns towards, but not to, dead center. I've taken it to my mechanic's a couple of times, and at one or two appts he recommended replacing a control rod or rod ends...I'm wondering if I need to do a complete control arm and rod end replacement?

What does it sound like to you? If I do need to do a full replacement, can you recommend some reputable company that makes a complete replacement kit or kits?

Thanks,

Elia
 

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I know this has been hashed out before, but I honestly can't find the info I'm looking for:

Febi or Meyle Heavy Duty? I know Febi is OEM, but wouldn't the Meyle Heavy Duty kit give a longer lifespan? Are there specific installation issues with the Meyle kit that makes it harder to "do it" right?
 

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WOW!!! I just finished up installing the new control arms and it drives like a Passat again. Previously, it felt like a 1970 Ford Truck!!

Anyway, the install was pretty routine. Took me about 7 hours but I took my time, no problem, had lunch, and drank a few beers!!!
You know, I've seen this time and time again -- someone is getting ready to trade their Passat, and they fix the one big problem the car had so they could get a decent price, and then during the test drive the owner remembers why they bought the car in the first place. I'm curious -- are you tempted to keep the car now?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You know, I've seen this time and time again -- someone is getting ready to trade their Passat, and they fix the one big problem the car had so they could get a decent price, and then during the test drive the owner remembers why they bought the car in the first place. I'm curious -- are you tempted to keep the car now?
I may keep the car for a few more months just to get into a better financial position to buy another. I have enjoyed owning this car but it isnt really practical for us anymore as we now have 3 kids they do not fit in the back seat of the VeeDub very well!!
 

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Deuseathera,

Thanks for the leads. I've checked out both the Febi website and the one for Meyle (the co name is a different).

By the way - they list kits for different chassis configurations....3B2, 3B5, etc. How do I find which one my B5 is? Is it part of the VIN? I checked my VIN and there is a _B_ in the middle of it. My VIN has a _3B1_ in it, but from the websites it seems my Passat is a 3B5. It doesn't seem to match the list of kits. My B5 is a 1999 V6 GLS (w/ 5spd). Any ideas?

Thx,
 

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Slo Mo,

Great! Thanks for the lead. That's a bit less than I had been expecting. By the way - I've been focusing on the front suspension - are there any wear issues that you (all) know of with the rear suspension? Is it pretty solid, or does it have similar control rod/bushing issues like the front suspension?

Thx,

Elia
 

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Slo Mo and deusexaethera,

Thanks for the help. I've ordered the Febi kit from pap parts. Either this weekend or next I'll do the rebuild (depending on when I get the kit). I've also answered my own question regarding the rear suspension - probably no problems there - it's fairly simple, no multi-links.

By the way when you did your front suspension rebuild did you rent a rod end extractor tool, or buy one, or did you already have one?

Thx,
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I didnt use any special tools. Everything on my car came apart pretty easily. Removing the outer tie rod from the inner was the hardest part just becuase there wasnt a real good spot to place a wrench. I ended up with a pipe wrench on the outer. Didnt care about damaging becuause it was going to the trash can anyway.

Best advice I can give is to have a helper. Also, be sure to read the links above as they give great information. I followed them and had no problems.
 
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