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A Hello, and a cry for help - front control arms

Discussion in 'A4/S4 forum(B5 Chassis)' started by stuthemong, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. stuthemong
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    stuthemong New Member

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    [Oct 1, 2009]
    Hello everyone!

    I recently needed to get a new daily driver due to starting a new job. To cut a long story short I managed to go from thinking of a pug 106, to a mondeo, to a 1.9Tdi A4... and then I ended up with a V6 quattro. :rockwoot:

    So I have it, and it's great a '98 with sports interior and some nice toys, really nice drive, surprisingly good stereo. The only thing that is a problem is the front control arms are obviously not happy (although I didn't notice on test drive, only on the way home when I detected a slight wandering under acceleration).
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Right, so I definitely have a knocking from the drivers side going over bumps/speed humps and had a look. JAcked it up slightly and took these photos

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Comparing that to the other side, the bushing to the top right seems to have come adrift from the arm :( I assume I need to get this sorted ASAP, and will drive very carefully, but I am assuming it should be ok to drive like this for a couple of errands I have?

    So is it reparable? Can I push the bushing back in and refit (I assume I'd need a circlip or something?)?

    I also saw this when searching for front control arm:
    http://www.part-box.com/audivw-front-upper-arm-to-chassis-bush-p-17483.html Could I just replace the bushing with one of these, if you dont think I could mend the one I have?

    .....or

    I've seen the entire control arm sets on ebay - (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/SUSPENSION-CONTROL-ARM-SET-AUDI-A4-B5-A6-VW-PASSAT-3B_W0QQitemZ330360124146QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUK_CarsParts_Vehicles_CarParts_SM?hash=item4ceaff72f2&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14) - that's a damn good price, and I'd just do the whole lot or is this a bad idea? Obviously money is a consideration.

    I've seen this guide here
    http://www.audiworld.com/tech/wheel43.shtml
    which seems to show me most of what to do if I went for all arms replacement.

    If I just wanted to repair what I have, would I have to totally strip it down, or could I undo bottom shock mount, then the suspension arm and fit bush?

    Sorry to come on here and plead for help, especially on a topic done to death no doubt, but some assurance/guidance would be most appreciated.... and I know not whether I can fix as-is, fit with new bush, get new arm set off ebay.... or if you don't recommend any of this, new arms from Audi I guess? :/

    FWIW I love it, it's a very nice car and I'm certain it will be a great toy to get me into work over those winter months.

    Cheers guys/gals

    Stu
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2009
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  3. aragorn
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    aragorn "Stick a V8 in it!" Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Oct 1, 2009]
    Personally i'd go the whole hog and replace everything.

    I wouldnt use those cheap kits though, as i fitted one of them to mine, and it lasted 5 months, and scrubbed out two tyres with it when it failed.

    I went for a meyle kit the second time round. cost around £330 from german ebay, which comes with all 8 arms, the two track rod ends, and the two ARB droplinks.

    http://cgi.ebay.de/MEYLE-HD-Querlen...ehör?hash=item5ad3ad0f9a&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14

    I think thats the folks i baught from, i just dropped a mail and asked for a UK shipping quote.

    Totally transformed how the car felt too with all new bushings.

    As for fitting them, the top plate really needs to come out, and the pinch bolt that holds the top two balljoints into the knuckle are renowned for being complete b*stards. I would start soaking it every day with plusgas NOW, in the hope that it will come apart when you get stuck in.
    #2
  4. rasA4
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    rasA4 Four Rings Mafia Specialist

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    [Oct 1, 2009]
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2009
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  5. stuthemong
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    stuthemong New Member

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    [Oct 1, 2009]
    aragorn/rasA4,

    Thanks for your help.

    £350 for a set with a 4 year guarantee sounds fair enough, more than I wanted to spend, but sometimes you have to do the job right I suppose.

    rasA4, you say you don't recommend attempting a DIY - is it really that bad :( ? - I fear that a garage would want a fair amount to fit all that, as it looks like a lot of work - I'd assume 2 days for me, 1 for a pro? Incidentally are there any recommended indepedant specialists in the huntingdon/bedford/cambridge region? Would be interesting to get a quote from them, but I fear it's going to be an expensive job.

    aragorn, you've obviously DIY'd it then - how long do you think it would take? The actual bolt on the pinch joint doesn't look too corroded to me, and pre-soaking is a sound plan. Anything in particular you think I should look out for, or does that link I posted cover most the bases?

    Thanks ever so much chaps, the help is really appreciated. I sort of rushed into buying this as I wanted another car before my job started, shame I didn't know about the arm issues pre-purchase or I'd have picked this up and maybe got a bit off to help pay a pro to fit it. On the plus side though it had the cambelt done 1K ago, and if I do do a full arm change it should hopefully put me in good stead for many a month to come :arco: (oh, do you need a geo after doing these arms btw?)
    #4
  6. aragorn
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    aragorn "Stick a V8 in it!" Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Oct 1, 2009]
    It took me 10 hours the first time to do all the arms, although i was changing the wheel bearings too, which made it take longer.

    One of my pinch bolts came right out, the other was so siezed i ended up drilling it out!

    The second time round it took perhaps 7 hours, but that was partially due to me wanting to change the shocks and not realising there is a measurement you need to set the top mounts correctly, i had it on and off a few times to set the alignment by eye!

    You'll need a good set of tools though, balljoint splitters and suchlike, but if your confident doing the DIY then i say get stuck in!
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  7. aragorn
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    aragorn "Stick a V8 in it!" Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Oct 1, 2009]
    Oh, and given that the kit contains new TRE's then you'll really need to get the "tracking" set on the front end, nothing else is adjustable.

    Since the cars a quattro theres more adjustments on the rear end you might wish to have checked, but that kinda alignment might get pricey.
    #6
  8. ian52
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    ian52 2000 a4 1.8tqs-yellow

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    [Oct 1, 2009]
    whatever you do dont buy the cheep ones! you will be buying a new set soon after if you doo. im going to do mine again soon and am going to try the febi bilstein ones on ebay for about £250 i think.
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  9. stuthemong
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    stuthemong New Member

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    [Oct 1, 2009]
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/BALL-JOINT-SE...ment?hash=item3a53381107&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14

    Would a splitter like that be good enough? I realise it's cheap, but may be OK?

    I'll give algerman parts a call in the morning, see what he says re pricing/delivery - I may contemplate new bearings, but I see invoices for them in the recent past so maybe uneeded.

    I'll just have to weigh up if I can find the time to try this myself or if I'll have to pay :(

    Stu
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  10. adamss24
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    adamss24 Well-Known Member

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    [Oct 1, 2009]
    You dont need a splitter for the top front arms. The real problem is the pinch bolt wich can seize.
    #9
  11. Matt82
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    Matt82 Active Member

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    [Oct 2, 2009]
    the bush in pic one looks very code F.

    i cant see it being that hard to sort out if you have the right tools and patience

    jump in and swim!
    #10
  12. Nige P
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    Nige P Member

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    [Oct 2, 2009]
    One of my top joints went 2 weeks ago just before my MoT was due. I had a full kit fitted even though the lower ones had been replaced 3 yrs previous. Had a specialist do it and they charged £180 for labour so not bad considering he had to use some specialist equipment & skill to get those pinch bolts out.

    I am absolutely amazed at how different the drive is now, it seriously makes a huge improvement!! Keep touching the inside kerb on corners as it tucks in so well with absolutely no drift out, simply amazing! I now know why these cars cost £30k new!

    If you have a few days spare and have some good experience in shifting long corroded bolts then have a go, otherwise save yourself the grief and stick it on plastic.
    #11
  13. aragorn
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    aragorn "Stick a V8 in it!" Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Oct 4, 2009]
    A point to note, if the front wheel bearings have been done recently, then the pinch bolt will have been removed at that time, so hopefully, it'll come out easily.
    #12
  14. stuthemong
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    stuthemong New Member

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    [Oct 4, 2009]
    Hi chaps,

    I bought the Meyler set from algerman parts, but there is a 10 day lead on them. I think I'll have a go at DIYing - I've had some brave pills recently :D

    As a side there are few other things your collective opinion would be appreciated on
    1. Cruise control doesnt work. Got the stalk, just won't set/hold a speed. I understand there is a second brake sensor or something on the brake pedal that can play up and take the system out - anything else to look/check for?
    2. After shutting the car down after running the AC the pipework 'hisses' quite a bit. I initally thought it was a vacuum leak in the brake servo or something, but only happens after using the AC. Is this normal? Hiss comes from pipes just under drivers side windscreen wiper :)
    3. Tiptronic mode, when in manual changing mode I find it impossible to get a smooth downshift compared to the auto mode. Any tips on what to do, bit of H&T, or just put up with it? It's annoying as I prefer being in manual when accelerating as sometimes it changes gear when I don't want (so hesitates under power changing cogs), but if I'm in manual when slowing for a bend its much more jerky on downshifting in comparison.
    4. Queuing in traffic. Am I correct in saying that when sat still for 20s or so to hold the car on the handbrake? When planning to stop for longer, select neutral. This way I'm off the brakes and not blinding the person behind, but just want to check that this auto is happy to be sat on the handbrake in drive :rulez:


    Thanks guys, this entire arm kit seems to be the best play, comes with a 4 year warranty so I'll hopefully have no more issues on it during my ownership :)
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2009
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  15. jcb
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    jcb Active Member VCDS Map User

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    [Oct 4, 2009]
    auto and handbrake in drive is not great for the handbrake.
    I have an auto as well and generally knock it into neutral if sat at lights, otherwsie it is pulling against the brake
    #14
  16. rasA4
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    rasA4 Four Rings Mafia Specialist

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    [Oct 4, 2009]
    i went for Lemforder from all german parts. they are defo OEM type as i could see the 4 rings grinded off. IRCC he stocked the Lemforder ones
    #15
  17. aragorn
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    aragorn "Stick a V8 in it!" Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Oct 4, 2009]
    I retrofitted the cruise to mine, and theres quite a few parts of the system that are known to fail. The stalks can be dodgy, modules fail and the vacuum pump itself can die.

    Theres a diagnostic guide on audiworld iirc, takes a bit of time with a multimeter to work out whats causing the fault.
    #16
  18. AB5QTS
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    AB5QTS Member

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    [Oct 4, 2009]
    Is there an after market kit for the b5 1.8qts? I seem to go through front passenger side bushes on the arms every 6 or 7 months. Bloody curbside potholes and drains.

    Cheers
    #17
  19. aragorn
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    aragorn "Stick a V8 in it!" Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Oct 4, 2009]
    Meyle do a "HD" kit.
    #18
  20. stuthemong
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    stuthemong New Member

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    [Oct 4, 2009]
    aragorn,

    Cheers again - looks like the Cruise Control will be an afternoon of fun and games, low priority at the moment given the apparent complexity! There is promise that it may be a free fix with dodgy switch :)

    ab5qts,

    I think the kit I'm getting would work on your car too. If you wait 20 days I'll let you know how I got on! / what quality the kit appears to be.
    #19
  21. AB5QTS
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    AB5QTS Member

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    [Nov 1, 2009]
    Anybody using Bilstein front control arm kits? I feel I need to try something different. Checked out Meyle main site but that is trade only so have to find a dealer somewhere which of course crank the price up.

    Soon be icy snow quattro fun
    #20
  22. aragorn
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    aragorn "Stick a V8 in it!" Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Nov 1, 2009]
    What bushes are you using just now?

    If your killing the bushes in 6 months your not fitting them properly.

    Are you lowering the car onto its wheels before tightening the lower arms, and setting the upper arms as per the manual?
    #21
  23. AB5QTS
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    AB5QTS Member

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    [Nov 1, 2009]
    Hi Aragorn.

    I'm using what ever my mechanic puts on. Therefore I don't know what procedure he uses ofr fittment. I trust that he is doing it correctly and it is always the left front which goes. If he were using the wrong technique I would expect both sides to go??

    Cheers
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2009
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  24. aragorn
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    aragorn "Stick a V8 in it!" Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Nov 1, 2009]
    I never trust mechanics to do anything.

    The fact it failed so quickly means its either cheap ****, or they're not fitted properly imo. The front left does get a harder time that the right, simply due to roundabouts and it being kerbside, but when you consider the OE bushes last 10 years, you can see why its unreasonable for them to be failing so quickly.

    If you dont want to do it yourself, supply him with some Meyle arms and make sure hes aware that they must be tightened up with the vehicles weight resting on the suspension.
    #23
  25. stuthemong
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    stuthemong New Member

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    [Nov 1, 2009]
    Hi guys,

    For what it's worth, I recevied the full Meyle kit, and am just fighting to get the cerbera manifolds back on to get that rolling again (therefore have some stands to use!) before dismantling the audi - having two cars off the road would be a nightmare, and the A4 doesn't seem to be getting worse :)

    I'll let you know how fitting goes when I Get there! Kit looks pretty complete in the box!

    Stu
    #24

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