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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The Old Knocking Suspension - Please help newbie!

Hi All, here goes my first post, be gentle with me... :bowdown:

I have a 1997 1.9TDi 110bhp 130000miles, FSH, all recalls complete.

And I apologise in advance for the length of this post, hopefully someone will bother to read it...:) wanted to be detailed...

For a while now I have been experiencing a knocking noise coming from the front suspension at low speed, when hitting hard or sharp pot holes suddenly - and much more noticable when the steering is on lock, turning into a driveway for example over a low kerb. Its alot worse when several pot holes follow each other on a badly surfaced road rather than a one-off. It is a definite knock, not a squeak or grind etc, sometimes felt through pedals and steering wheel if a bad one. Sometimes has a reverberation to it aswell, like one pothole might cause two or three quick successive knocks.

Now before you all tell me to search the forums, I have done many a time (googleing into the night). The most prolific answers are anti-roll bar drop links and lower straight control arms.

So off I went to GSFCarparts for the droplinks (£47 by the way, inc fitting kits). These seemed a better first choice as they are cheaper and also have been redesigned by VW, suggesting the originals had a flaw. Fitted them on saturday and blow me, the knocking is still there. DARN.

So, my question to you guys. When I find entries on all these forums, people talk about their problem, answers are offered, but very rarely do you hear what the actual fix ended up being. If I go and replace my lower control arms, does anyone think this will cure the problem? How many people out there have fixed their knocking noise and what was it down to? Or is it the Track Rod Ends (no play in steering, although it does wander at high speed a little). It can also be recreated by dipping the clutch, letting the revs die down the dropping it again, causign the car to jerk and along with it a light knock. Or also you can accelerate sharply then brake immediately to do it - does that point to engine mounts??

Cheers guys (and girls?!)
 

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There are a lot of joints in the front suspension that can cause the symptoms you have.
If you gently bounce the front do you have a knock?
If so then with an assistant you may be able to trace it.
With the car on its wheels, preferably on ramps can you feel any play in the upper and lower arms ?
Are there any damaged rubber boots on the joints ?
I ended up taking the suspension apart and still struggled to identify the problem. Having moved all the ball-ends to new positions and I guess also redistributing the grease, the knock went away.....

I had contemplated using a hypodermic syringe and injecting grease through the boots !!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi, Thanks for the reply.

There is no noise to be heard when bouncing the front, and Ive had a poke round with the wheel off, everything seems OK. I must admit though I havent inspected each rubber boot in detail. Is that basically what it is - a lack of grease?

How long did it take you to remove and refit all the suspension links? How long has it been gone for?

I really dont fancy paying VW several hundred pounds to replace parts that dont need replacing... hypodermic approach is certainly a first!!

Cheers
 

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I noticed something similar whereby it only happens on uneven roadways and sharp bumps, not in turns or accel or decel, I think it is my front snub mount(engine) which I can see is split, all my contrl arm bushings and sway links, tie rod, etc are fine, kinda thought it could be brake related as I changed rotors and pads(OEMdrilled,axxis/pbr deluxe's), but I dont think so. hth.
 

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1st,I just want to confirm that you have a B5 model as the 1997 was a B4 in the US.


You really need to inspect the parts before replacing them. Bad ball joints or bushings in the control arm are visible with the car on jackstands. The front snub,motor and trans mounts should be inspected as well as the subframe bolts. It sounds like you have 2 problems areas as the dropping clutch and potholes should be unrelated clunking.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hi

Yes this is a B5 UK passat. I will give all ball joints a more thorough inspection this weekend and with any luck will find a perished one. Is this about as much as I can do without surrendering to a garage?

Has anyone out there ever found out exactly what their knocking was? I think there should be a FAQ on this subject if it is so common!

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi

Yes its a B5 UK passat. I will give it a more thorough inspection this weekend - if I dont find anything is there anything else I can do before surrendering to a garage?

Has anyone else ever found out exactly what their knocking noise ended up being? I think there should be an FAQ on this if it is so common!

Thanks
 

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This seems to be a fairly common fault on these cars, in part due to the fact that there are 5 ball joints to each front wheel (2 top, 2 bottom and a track rod end).
I also have strange noises from the suspension, nothing when stone cold or at speeds over about 35mph, but, at low speeds over rough roads it sounds like the front end is falling apart....I have lost count of the number of times I have been under there.....even checked the steering rack was done up tight today, it has also been in 3 garages............it can be worse when gently touching the brake pedal???? Go figure!! My guess would have been anti roll bar links but I have the rubber bushed ones and no real movement in them. The dismantle and grease injection is sounding favourite.
 

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alecp said:
There are a lot of joints in the front suspension that can cause the symptoms you have.
If you gently bounce the front do you have a knock?
If so then with an assistant you may be able to trace it.
With the car on its wheels, preferably on ramps can you feel any play in the upper and lower arms ?
Are there any damaged rubber boots on the joints ?
I ended up taking the suspension apart and still struggled to identify the problem. Having moved all the ball-ends to new positions and I guess also redistributing the grease, the knock went away.....

I had contemplated using a hypodermic syringe and injecting grease through the boots !!
alecp, did you have to buy a special ball joint splitter, someone else has queried which one to use on the Passat.
 

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Parody - have you got to the bottom of this knocking problem? I have exactly the same issue with my car - front end knocking at low speeds, which are more noticable when going round a corner or lightly braking.

It used to be just one side that did it, now it's on both sides. I've changed the anti-roll bar drop links as mentioned here, but to no avail.

Cheers.
 

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Hey guys. i will join the list of owners with this problem! I have been to several garages and still they cant find this knocking noise which was described perfectly by "parody" in his first post.
I had new rubber blocks fited ($400nzd) on top of shock replaced and noise went away for approx 25km only! hehe its driving me batty! and the fact i cant sell the vehicle how it is. as every test driver mentions it.

help us some body!
( slowly loosing faith in VW engineering.)
 

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Are you guys sure it isnt brake pad/caliper rattle/knocking noise?
Easy way to discount - hoist your car and get a mallet onto the tyres and see if you can get that knocking sound happening. Sometimes aftermarket pads can have movementand you can get that sort of knocking sound.
 

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I wish it was as easy as something like caliper rattle. have eliminated them from my fault finding. really is concerning when you take your car to a VW specialist and then a suspension specialist and neither can fault it.!! but both can hear/experience knocking. :(
 

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Hello all. I know it's been about a month since this thread has had any activity, but I was wondering if any solution was ever found to this problem. I too have this issue. I've replaced all upper control arms, sway bar end links, outer tie rod ends, and had the front position lower control arms replaced under recall by VW. Still this knocking/clunking remains. I'm going to replace the rear position lower control arms just cause they are the only part that hasn't been replaced. So I was just curious if any of you have found a solution to this omnipresent problem?
 

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bdjones72 said:
Hello all. I know it's been about a month since this thread has had any activity, but I was wondering if any solution was ever found to this problem. I too have this issue. I've replaced all upper control arms, sway bar end links, outer tie rod ends, and had the front position lower control arms replaced under recall by VW. Still this knocking/clunking remains. I'm going to replace the rear position lower control arms just cause they are the only part that hasn't been replaced. So I was just curious if any of you have found a solution to this omnipresent problem?

Yep, a very common and MYSTERIOUS problem. I have it, too. Let me know if you replaced your rear position lower control arms for the fix.
 

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Knocking noise from Off side front

Hi All

I have been having the same problem with my Passat with a knocking on the front. This has progressively gotten worse and happens over low speeds over potholes or slip tapping on the brakes, sudden take off or any pitching. Its worrying as it feels like the whole suspension is going to collapse on me.

Has anyone found a fix for this? Im thinking it could be the balljoints and will need to replace the lower arm. I had a mechanic replace the rubber CV gaitor and since hes replaced it, the knocking noise appeared. I took it back to him and he still cant find the problem.

Guys, any help would be greatly appreciated! Its driving me crazy!

thanks

Tesh
B5 1.8T 1999
 

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I would like to point out that there is no reason to be hitting potholes at low speed, when they can be just as easily avoided at low speed. That should help with the knocking sound somewhat, and also help prevent its return if/when the problem gets fixed.

That said, what you describe sounds very much like worn steering tie-rods. Your rack might also be worn out. Unfortunately, our cars are so well-engineered that all of the parts wear out at once. (shrug)
 

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I have had 2 lots of knocking noises so far

The first came along after I replaced my lower conbtrol arms (they were creaking like mad). Turns out I hadn't quite done the suspension strut lower bolt up enough. 1 turn or less fixed that one.

The second knocking noise took a while to trace. Eventually found it was the bush on one of the upper control arms. replaced this and now fine.

First thing to check would be that all of your suspension bolts are done up correctly.
No chance of feeling the difference by just trying to move the arms on their own but I was able to find the upper control arm culprit but jacking the front of the car up and giving the wheel a good knock (on the tyre with my boot :) though a decent hammer might have the same effect). By placing my fingers on the various control arms I could feel the dodgy one. Not sure how to explain but you can feel it knock (almost impercetibly) more than the others as you hear the knock.
 

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I have yet to encounter a front end noise that isn't relatively simple to diagnose. All of the culprits are visible with the car up on stands.

Sources for suspension noises:

1) Control arms. There are 8 of them. Inspect each boot for cracking and wear. Grab each arm individually and try to move them. If there is movement on the inboard side your bushing is bad. Replace said arm. if the boots are worn, cracked otherwise buggered replace control arm.

2) Tie rod ends. Inspect boots on tie rod ends. of the boots are worn or cracked, or if ther eis excessive movement (the wheel moves lsightly independent of the control arm) replace them.

The above two tasks are difficult. Well the control arms are. I have replaced them 3 times on two different b5's in 5 years of ownership. I have replaced 8 tie rod ends. That job now takes me about 15 minutes per side where as the control arm job still takes all day.

3) Check for loose brake pads. tap the pads with a screwdriver. If they are loose then apply pad glue.

4) check the torque on the subframe bolts.

5) Check the torque on the transmission mounts.

6) Make sure your snub mount (or front engine mount) is intact. A cracked one causes major noise, clunking and vibration.

7) For turning related noises check your cv joints. If the boots are torn you should replace them.

8) check the strut towers bolts. There are three per side and are located within the engine bay. Make sure that you are torqued to spec but DO NOT over tighten as they can strip out.

9) The most difficult is to check that the bolt on the top of the shock is tight. You should have to remove the upper control arms from the steering knuckle (outboard end), the lower strut fork from the lower front control arm, and the three above mentioned bolts in the engine bay. Retroque the bolt at the top of the strut.

10) Worn bump stops can cause the car to bang when the springs compress. This would happen in extreme circumstances and is not likely culprit.

If you check these items... none of which costs you a thing to do. You should be able to diagnose your particular suspension/steering related noise.

If you want instructions on how to do any of the tasks specifically do a search for the words in red. Make sure you check the information base. There are walkthroughs for most of this stuff. If you have any questions after doing the search and checking the various parts post again!

All of these issues are common. When properly diagnosed all of these issues result in a fix. If you do work on your car, or a mechanic does, and it doesn't get fixed it is because the car was not propoerly diagnosed. I have done ALL of these checks and replaced ALL of these items on both my cars (2000 V6 Passat, 1997 Audi A4 1.8t). Hey it's the life of being a B5 owner.

Good luck!
 
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