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2003 Passat GLX 4Motion
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26 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I was wondering, does this look normal? This is on the driver side. If it's not normal (broken) is it safe to drive like that and for how long? Second picture is passenger side for reference. I'm wondering if it's just a different part maybe. Also idk if that's related but he car sometimes makes metallic rubbing noise when turning, or sometimes getting off the line for a second.
Tire Automotive tire Tread Synthetic rubber Bumper

Tire Automotive tire Tread Wheel Helmet
 

· PassatWorld Elder
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8,385 Posts
That is a normal situation with the upper control arms. That long bolt (pinch bolt) that's on the top of the steering knuckle holds the control arms by passing through a notch.
That notch allows some play while installing. So what you see is normal. That one control arm might be a different brand as it looks slightly different.
Actually, it might be original (or original equipment) as those had the black spring retainers to hold the rubber boot on.
By the looks of those tires you need to check your front suspension for the condition of the control arm joints and bushings. I'm guessing they'll need some attention.

The rubbing noise might be coming from worn out wheel bearings.
 
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2013 B7 2.5 L
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109 Posts
Can you feel any vibration when you hear the sound? If so, where do you feel it? Does the sound change pitch or come and go if you turn left or right?
 
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· PassatWorld Elder
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It looks like the rubber boot on the control arm has torn and dropped down over the retaining clip. You would need to raise that side of the car off the ground (on stands), grab the wheel at the 6 and 3 position, then shake it back and forth. Look for the end of the control arm to move up and down, or for side to side play in the joint. Also check the inner bushings as they fail and will allow the control arm to slide back and forth against the mounting bracket.
 

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2003 Passat GLX 4Motion
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26 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
There are no vibrations when the noise happens and the pitch is always the same. The wheel bearings guess sounds very likely or maybe an axel?
The tirewear is probably due to my driving in the mountains lol this car is a lot more fun and sporty than it looks lead people to believe.
I will be taking the car for an oil change in a couple of days and they offer complementary inspection, so we'll see what they say. I do hope that it's just a different arm. Either way, I hope it's not something expensive.
Thank you all for replies, I'll post update after inspection.
 

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2013 B7 2.5 L
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109 Posts
LSQ63 - Before you let them do any of the work after the "Free Inspection", check back with the forum. For example, the wheel alignment printout that shows one wheel might be out at .016 from its spec .012. The shop will tell you it will rip your tire to shreds. Using some math, .004 of an inch cannot not be corrected given the design of the front end of a car. There is no way to move the mechanical parts that control alignment .004 of an inch. It can be done with a hammer in under 30 seconds if you understand what I mean here.
 

· Registered
2003 Passat GLX 4Motion
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26 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
LSQ63 - Before you let them do any of the work after the "Free Inspection", check back with the forum. For example, the wheel alignment printout that shows one wheel might be out at .016 from its spec .012. The shop will tell you it will rip your tire to shreds. Using some math, .004 of an inch cannot not be corrected given the design of the front end of a car. There is no way to move the mechanical parts that control alignment .004 of an inch. It can be done with a hammer in under 30 seconds if you understand what I mean here.
Thank you for the advice! I wasn't gonna. I only went to the dealer because they had a good offer for an oil change. Otherwise I take it to a local German car shop. Either way it passed everything from a visual inspection, they were actually impressed with the condition. Also the tires had even wear so I guess it's not a suspension issue, just me putting them to their paces. Dealer had no recommendations for maintenance.

They also mentioned nothing about the joint looking different.
 

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The ball joint boot appears to be degrading/softening. This usually indicates that the rubber is reacting to either the grease inside or something from the outside. I've seen this occur over long periods of time on OE parts or even on poor quality replacements in just a few weeks. Eventually it will fail. Looks like other 3 control arms have been replaced by the looks of the blue color on the boot retaining rings.
 

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2003 Passat GLX 4Motion
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The ball joint boot appears to be degrading/softening. This usually indicates that the rubber is reacting to either the grease inside or something from the outside. I've seen this occur over long periods of time on OE parts or even on poor quality replacements in just a few weeks. Eventually it will fail. Looks like other 3 control arms have been replaced by the looks of the blue color on the boot retaining rings.
Why would anyone not replace all of them, if they are going to replace 3 out of 4? Anyway I guess there are ultimate cheapskates should should not buy B5s lol. What happens if that ball joint fails?
 
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