Volkswagen Passat Forum banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
130 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My b5.5 has 110k miles and I bought it used with 78k miles from the original owner. The PO had just had both OEM axles replaced with ones from a local parts store unfortunately (autozone or pepboys) when I bought the car from them because of torn boots.

Fast forward to today (2 yrs later), I can see that both axles have torn boots again now (one has inner and outer boot torn). I also notice that the steering wheel shakes under moderate to heavy acceleration, but when cruising at any speed (even past 80mph), there's no shaking - the car drives smooth. That tells me wheel balancing is fine.

I've heard that cheap axles can cause steering wheel shaking, but there was no shaking up until now, and I'm not hearing any noises from my axles. And I'm not sure if shaking caused by cheap axles would only during acceleration or at all times.

So I jacked up the car and inspected my UCA's (I've read control arms can also cause shaking). The ball joint ends appear fine - no movement or play or torn rubber boots, but the rubber portion that mounts to the struts shows some little cracks on the rubber. The cracks don't go through to the other side, and when I used a wrech to rotate the control arms left to right, they seemed to still feel pretty rigid - not much slop.

I'm not sure how long I plan to keep my passat for and am not sure if I want to spend $$$ on Raxle axle's, but I know my axles need to be replaced. I can get new ones from the local parts store for $68 or spend $70 for used OEM ones from the wreking yard. Which route would you guys go with?

Does it sound like the steering wheel shake on acceleration could be coming from my control arms or tie rods? Do the little cracks on the control arm rubber portoin indicate they're totally shot at this point? I forgot to inspect my tie rods while I had the car up. Could it be those instead? How can I tell for sure if I need to replace my control arms or tie rods?
 

·
I had a steering knuckle in my shed. Really!
Joined
·
4,164 Posts
From your description, the upper control arms seem fine. A good test of the bushing is trying to twist the arms axially: worn bushings will allow a lot of twisting; good ones just a little. Also try to pull and push the upper arms along their length (you can rock the wheel with your hands at 12:00 and 6:00as well) to check for play. Also try that with your hands at 3:00 and 9:00 to look for play in the steering (tie rod ends, inner tie rods, steering rack mounts).

Axles will cause vibrations under load. Like acceleration or held at a stop in drive in an automatic. The boots being torn isn't good, of course, and indicates sooner rather than later replacement.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
130 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
thanks for the reply Zak - just what I was looking for. in checking for movement at the 3:00 and 9:00 position, is it better to lift just the wheel being checked, so the other has resistance to movement to make any play be more obvious? or should I lock the steering wheel?

I'll get the front end back up and will check for movement as you mentioned.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,192 Posts
It may also be better to jack the side you are testing back into the nearly "neutral" position, to the point where the jack is just about to lift the car. Make sure to support the car on jack stands. This puts the CA's in the operating position where any play will be more evident.
 

·
Moderate Moderator
Joined
·
16,486 Posts
The strut assembly (spring & shock) carries the weight of the vehicle through where it attaches to the front lower arm. If you jack under the front lower control arm so that tire is lifted off the ground by that one arm, it takes all the weight of the car off the other three arms. Then do the top/bottom and left/right wheel shaking and look for play.

Some auto parts stores sell "new" axles. These are likely 100% after market construction. The solid shaft design has shown to produce vibration while stopped in drive in automatic cars.
Some also offer "rebuilt" axles. These are likely VW shafts with after market joints and boots. These have shown to be less likely to cause vibration in automatic cars.
The quality of the joints and boots on both of the above types is what will determine how long they last.
A place like Raxles starts with VW shafts and rebuilds them with quality joints and boots.

You know your axle boots are shot. If this has been going on for a while, the grease has leaked out and water and road grime have leaked in. This wears the joints aggressively. I say take care of the axles first then see if the vibration continues or goes away. From a stop, try giving it good throttle around a tight corner as if you were trying to make a right-on-red into fast moving traffic. Maneuvers like that is when you hear the clicking of a bad joint get loud.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top