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Help me - can't get the strut back on

Discussion in 'A4/S4 forum(B5 Chassis)' started by voteforpedro, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. voteforpedro
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    voteforpedro Member

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    [Oct 5, 2008]
    So my 1.8T failed its MOT on front control arms (one each side).

    On the O/S it was the upper front control arm. I did this:

    - Removed the upper pinch bolt
    - Pulled the upper ball joints out of the wheel bearing housing
    - Removed the lower strut bolt
    - Pushed down on the disc/hub and pulled the bottom of the strut clear of the control arm
    - Removed the three bolts in the engine bay
    - Pulled the strut/plate/upper control arm assembly clear of the car
    - Replaced the part

    Now I can't get the fecker back in!

    I've got the plate back in position and loosely bolted it back in. I can't get the holes in the bottom of the stut to line up with the holes in the lower front control arm. The side nearest the front of the car is lined up and I can slip the bolt in halfway but the other hole is way off. It's like the control arm and strut are at completely the wrong angle.

    So I tried to remove the tie rod end to give the assembly a little more "flex" and I can't remove the 13mm bolt on the top. It spins OK but I've tried for ages and it's just not coming out. When I turn the assembly so that the ball joint pivots the nut does too, so presumably it's bolted into the end of the ball joint pin?

    Any advice? :beee:

    I can't remove any of the lower bolts now that I've removed the strut as the whole assembly just shifts and I don't want to put too much strain on the CV joints and tie rod.
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  3. Broken Byzan
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    Broken Byzan Photographic Moderator Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Oct 5, 2008]
    The strut body will twist if you grab it that should allow the rear of the strut mounting bracket to line up with the control arm etc.
    #2
  4. voteforpedro
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    voteforpedro Member

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    [Oct 5, 2008]
    Grab shock and twist? Noted - thanks!

    Any other suggestions? If I don't get it fixed tomorrow I will be tempted to tip it off its jack stands onto its side and leave it for the DVLA to remove. :s
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  5. Broken Byzan
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    Broken Byzan Photographic Moderator Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Oct 5, 2008]
    Nope you have already done the hard work,you on the easy bit now
    #4
  6. voteforpedro
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    voteforpedro Member

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    [Oct 5, 2008]
    Taking me longer to try and get it back in than it did to remove it. *rolls eyes*
    #5
  7. Broken Byzan
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    Broken Byzan Photographic Moderator Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Oct 5, 2008]
    PM me if you get stuck tomoz, maybe i can lend a hand
    the U shaped part of the shock lines up for one hole in the arm, but not the other side of the U, twist the shock body to line the holes up. If needs be use a s:icon_thumright:crewdriver or similar as leverage to help you twist to line up.
    #6
  8. aragorn
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    aragorn "Stick a V8 in it!" Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Oct 5, 2008]
    you may find you need a jack under the hub assembly to lift the arms up enough to get the shock bolt thru

    i know we certainly did, but then the lower arms mounting bolts were all loose on ours.
    #7
  9. auroan
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    auroan Active Member

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    [Oct 6, 2008]
    Yup I used the jack that comes with the car today to move my suspension all over the place, on my old V6; While I was removing the drive shafts for Siena.

    The good thing about the freebie jack is that you can place it at angles due to the curved base plate. Thats of course if you've got axel stands or a trolly jack holding the motor up.
    #8
  10. AndyMac
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    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    [Oct 6, 2008]
    And if you haven't then you shouldn't be doing the job anyway!
    #9
  11. auroan
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    auroan Active Member

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    [Oct 6, 2008]
    Very true
    #10
  12. aragorn
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    aragorn "Stick a V8 in it!" Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Oct 6, 2008]
    i had the car on axle stands and used the trolley jack on the knuckle

    I found i had to jack the hub up a long way to get the top arms back in, as they need to be tightened up in position, and once there they're not easy to pull downwards into the hub itself.

    it would be easier if you could fit the top arms without the mounting bolts done up fully, but getting into them to tighten them properly isnt easy with the plate fitted to the car!

    Also remember that the shock and bottom arm nuts should only be tightened with the suspension at its loaded height, ie not full droop. I jacked the hub up until the car lifted off the stand at that corner then tightened the mounting bolts, as its the only way i could see to do it without a ramp.
    #11
  13. voteforpedro
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    voteforpedro Member

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    [Oct 6, 2008]
    Thanks for the tips guys!

    I used a combination of a hammer, jack and crowbar under the "U" and it eventually went in.

    Now I have another problem. Firstly I still can't get the 13mm bolt out of the top of the tie rod end. This means I can't get the long pinch bolt in as the threads of the 13mm nut are in the way! I'm going to grab a ball joint separator later today. Hopefully the tie rod end should pop out so I can reassemble it. One step forward and two steps back. :(

    Second problem - it appears I've lost one of the three threaded bushes on the underside of the top suspension plate. Can somebody find me a part number please?

    Thanks again! :)
    #12
  14. AndyMac
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    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    [Oct 6, 2008]
    Do you mean tie rod end or actually the top of the hub carrier?
    #13
  15. voteforpedro
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    voteforpedro Member

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    [Oct 6, 2008]
    Where the ball joint at on the tie rod end meets the top of the wheel bearing housing/hub. There's one horizontal 16mm pinch bolt and a vertical 13mm bolt. I can see the threads of the 13mm bolt through the hole of the 16mm bolt so it looks like you're supposed to remove the 13mm bolt first. I just removed the 16mm bolt and now it won't go back in because it hits the 13mm bolt slightly and I can't get the 13mm bolt out because I've turned and turned and it's just not coming.

    Hopefully it's "free" and I can remove the ball joint using a separator and then pull the 13mm bolt out and reassemble.

    Any thoughts on the part number of the threaded bush? Don't want to ring Audi as I know they'll order me one of the bolts or big washers if I don't give them the actual part number!!!
    #14
  16. voteforpedro
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    voteforpedro Member

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    [Oct 6, 2008]
    Audi said the threaded part of the upper plate is part of the plate and not a replaceable part and thus want £71 for a new one... Grrr!!!

    How the feck did it fall off and, if it did, where the hell did it go?!
    #15
  17. AndyMac
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    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    [Oct 6, 2008]
    Not sure which bolt you mean, as you can't seperate the hub carrier from the tie rod without removing both of them. The pinchbolt is the horizontal one and then there's a 13mm top bolt which screws into the top of the TRE's balljoint. It's a bolt not a nut. Without the pinchbolt holding the balljoint then that bolt is likely to just spin. You need to rotate it so that the groove in the upright of the TRE is aligned and then replace the pinchbolt to hold it & stop it spinning while you remove the top nut.
    [​IMG]
    #16
  18. aragorn
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    aragorn "Stick a V8 in it!" Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Oct 6, 2008]
    it sounds like the thing obstructing the pinch bolt is the actuall body of the ball joint, not the M8 nut in the top

    The track rod end looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    The M8 bolt in the top is used to pull the balljoint into the hub securely, under that M8 bolt is a 10mm hex fitting that you can use to turn the body of the balljoint to line up the flat section with the pinch bolt.

    You do realise you didnt need to touch this to take the upper arms off? When i did mine, i unbolted the shock, undone the pinch bolt at the top of the hub and knocked the arms out with a hammer, undone the engine bay bolts and manoevered the shock and top mount assembly out!
    #17
  19. voteforpedro
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    voteforpedro Member

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    [Oct 6, 2008]
    Yeah, I did realise... I removed the TRE bolts to try and release the TRE to aid refitting the strut assembly.

    So basically I shouldn't have removed the 16mm bolt before removing the 13mm bolt...

    So what now? I can't get the 16mm bolt back through. Do you think I could hammer it back in with the 13mm bolt still in place?
    #18
  20. voteforpedro
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    voteforpedro Member

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    [Oct 6, 2008]
    Oh, I get it. So it's good a flat groove, which is what's getting in the way? So I rotate the 13mm not or ball joint until I can get the 16mm bolt through, then tighten the 13mm bolt back up?
    #19
  21. AndyMac
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    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    [Oct 6, 2008]
    As said you just need to rotate the 13mm bolt, which will rotate the upright, and rotate it so that the groove lines up and allows the pinchbolt to be reinserted. If you need to hammer it then it's not lined up. And definately don't hammer it, it may need a light tap, but definately no hammering.
    #20
  22. voteforpedro
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    voteforpedro Member

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    [Oct 6, 2008]
    Did it! Thanks again guys.

    Do I need to tighten the 13mm bolt at all or is just to turn the ball joint pin?

    So current state of play is this:

    Everything is bolted back up hand tight for now except for the three engine bay bolts.

    Stupid question and I know I will get flamed for this... but can I get away with just bolting the top up with two of the three bolts so I can take it in for the partial re-test (they shouldn't look in the engine bay).

    If I have to get a replacement plate it's going to mean taking it all apart again and I don't have time for that before the 10 days is up. :(

    Then I can drive it the half mile to the MOT centre, watch it pass, then get back and concentrate on fixing the upper plate?
    #21
  23. AndyMac
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    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    [Oct 6, 2008]
    You need to tighten it up before tightening the pinchbolt.
    Can't you just use a nut on the underside of the top plate for now?
    #22
  24. voteforpedro
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    voteforpedro Member

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    [Oct 6, 2008]
    From within the wheel arch. This is the hole above the forward/front control arm.

    [​IMG]

    From inside the engine bay. The other two bolts are in place but as you can see there's nothing to bolt to in this hole anymore...

    Please tell me you can replace this threaded bush someone...

    [​IMG]
    #23
  25. voteforpedro
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    voteforpedro Member

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    [Oct 6, 2008]
    Apologies for the image size. :D
    #24
  26. aragorn
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    aragorn "Stick a V8 in it!" Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Oct 6, 2008]
    I would be VERY wary of driving it without all three bolts fitted to that top plate, especially as its the main top link of the suspension...

    If you run it without all three the plate will be able to twist against the other two, and might snap them...
    #25
  27. voteforpedro
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    voteforpedro Member

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    [Oct 6, 2008]
    Bah. Thanks mate.

    Local scrappy has a strut + plate for £30 so I might go down and get that. It does mean I have to get the leg out and back in again but hopefully it will be easier the second time around...
    #26
  28. AndyMac
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    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    [Oct 6, 2008]
    One washer, one nut = sorted.
    #27
  29. aragorn
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    aragorn "Stick a V8 in it!" Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Oct 6, 2008]
    i woudlnt bother getting the whole plate from the scrappy, if you can just knock the threaded part out and take that, if its a place that lets you wander around and get the parts yourself, tell him your looking for something else and make up where it came from (that way he'll charge you 50p for it instaed of trying to charge £30 for the entire strut!)

    And even if you do have to buy it all, dont do removing everything from the car to fit the new plate, just knock the insert out of your replacement strut and fit it to the existing one.

    I've had a look on vagcat but it doesnt seem to list those inserts as seperate parts for some reason.
    #28
  30. voteforpedro
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    voteforpedro Member

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    [Oct 8, 2008]
    So I went to buy a nut and washer as per suggestion, got back but there wasn't enough clearance to get them in as it was the hole above the front control arm. :(

    So I bit the bullet and removed the strut again and voila! The threaded bush was caught behind the hanger for the control arm!

    After a bit of hammering and some epoxy stuff, he's not getting away again.

    So I reassembled it all then over-tightened the pinch bolt and it snapped. :( Using a torque wrench as well. It wasn't clicking. I think it's knackered.

    Apart from that it's all torqued up apart from the pinch bolt. Then I can get it back on the ground and start on the N/S, which is a lower control arm.

    Thanks guys!
    #29
  31. voteforpedro
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    voteforpedro Member

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    [Oct 8, 2008]
    Audi have one is stock, thank God.
    #30
  32. AndyMac
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    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    [Oct 8, 2008]
    Result, nice one. They do say not to reuse any of the bolts, I guess that's why!
    #31
  33. voteforpedro
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    voteforpedro Member

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    [Oct 8, 2008]
    Cardiff Audi - not impressed.

    Phoned VW for a bolt but they didn't have it. So I phoned Audi and they said they had 8 and reserved one for me.

    3 hours later I drive down in school run traffic - 40 minutes it took - to be told they HAD ALREADY LOOKED and couldn't find it.

    WHY THE **** DIDN'T THEY PHONE BE BACK TO SAY?!

    I am NOT happy.

    So two hours later I'm back home, a fiver spent on petrol and empy-****ing-handed.

    They offered to order one and have it dropped through my door first thing in the morning free of charge. It's a £1.59 bolt. It doesn't even offset the petrol I spent getting there and back. If I knew I had to order one I would have ordered it from VW, which is 5 fecking minutes away.

    They had better pop a £10 gift voucher through my door too, or at least a can of that windscreen spray I was looking at while I was waiting.

    And to top it all? It's a sit-down professional parts desk type thing. In the middle of my fury while the man went to check again for it (he was gone 15 minutes - I was in there for nearly 30) they offer the next guy waiting for a parts a TAKEAWAY CUP OF TEA.

    What do I get? A free bolt. If it turns up, that is.
    #32
  34. AndyMac
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    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    [Oct 8, 2008]
    Sorry, spoke too soon......
    #33
  35. voteforpedro
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    voteforpedro Member

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    [Oct 9, 2008]
    Right... so the bolt turned up sometime after midday when I went to work. No gift voucher but at least it was the right part and it was free. :D

    Wheel's back on and everything seems OK. No creaking, groaning or knocking (although there wasn't any before I changed the control arm lol).

    There is however a very slight scraping noise. I might just be a little paranoid as I always am when I mess with the drivetrain.

    Now tell me I fecked the CV joint up... :(

    I moved on to the N/S, which apparently was a lower ball joint, and there is no play whatsoever. I've moved the wheels full-lock to full-lock, shook the whole assembly and I can't feel any play. He said to put a bar under the wheel but I've done that too.

    He mentioned the squeeking from the N/S, which is intermittent. Hopefully if it doesn't squeek when he has a look he might give me the benefit of the doubt...

    Fingers crossed.

    On a related note, if it does pass I'm tempted to spend £300 on the Febi 12-piece kit (8 control arms, C links, TREs) and do the whole lot properly.
    #34
  36. auroan
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    auroan Active Member

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    [Oct 9, 2008]
    Get the Meyle kit !!!!!!
    #35
  37. aragorn
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    aragorn "Stick a V8 in it!" Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Oct 10, 2008]
    i concur
    #36
  38. voteforpedro
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    voteforpedro Member

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    [Oct 10, 2008]
    Not a happy bunny. Partial retest was due today and they were adamant there is play on the N/S. "Put a bar under the wheel and lift it blah blah blah."

    So consequently it has officially failed its MOT. :(

    Now what? Tempted to take it to a council one and, if it passes, write to the relevant people to try and get a refund for a "mis-diagnosis". However, it could just fail again leaving me another 10 days to get it fixed.

    So... Meyle kit anyone? It's the only way to be sure.

    Any thoughts? What would you do? If I'm going to replace both lower control arms I may as well replace the whole front suspension lol.

    How much is the Meyle kit and where do I find one? They're on eBay.de for around £266 but they don't/won't deliver to the UK.
    #37
  39. AndyMac
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    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    [Oct 10, 2008]
    #38
  40. auroan
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    auroan Active Member

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    [Oct 10, 2008]
    A Bit more expensive but hi highly recommend www.allgermanparts.co.uk

    Jason sorted me a kit out... including all new bolts delivered to my door direct from meyle themselves within two days. If you phone him mention Danny from York sent you.
    #39
  41. aragorn
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    aragorn "Stick a V8 in it!" Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Oct 10, 2008]
    the ebay link is the chap we used for craigs S4, delivery was cheap and it was here quickly!

    very recommended!

    I think the play in the balljoint is hard to detect because one arms joint sits underneath and one sits above.
    #40

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