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Help Please Replace one or all control arms?

meph137 May 4, 2018

  1. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    Hi all, cars done about 50k miles and I've got a judder throughout the car at certain speeds (bit random), confirmed this is due to the nearside front lower rear control arm (now that's a mouthful! In other words "the bendy one") being a bit worn so it needs replacing.

    Question - previous driver drove it somewhat hard, not abused but he wasn't light on the throttle. Would people suggest I go the whole hog and upgrade the entire front control arm set?

    The reason I ask is that I've seen sets such as the 034 one which claim to be better than original parts and to be honest I find my steering feel so all the upgrades I have planned are handling mods (ARB, springs, strut brace etc).

    Or, just replace the one I know is wobbly and be done with it?
     
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  3. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    No opinions on this, no-one done it? Maybe that's my answer - i.e. "just do 1, why would you do them all?!" :D
     
  4. Lavis89

    Lavis89 Well-Known Member Regional Rep Team Sprint Audi S4 Audi A3

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    When I replace mine I'm going to go whole hog and do the whole lot, purely to save me the effort have having to keep taking it apart doing them separately
     
  5. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    What mileage are you going to do it at? I’ve no idea of the longevity of the bushes really - 034 say as little as 40k but no idea if that is sales talk :)

    Are you gonna do it yourself? Not sure how hard it is


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  6. spartacus 68

    spartacus 68 Active Member Team Ibis Audi A2 Audi Avant Owner Group quattro

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    If you can afford, then just replace the lot. Meyle HD parts are guaranteed for 4 years. It's all I'd fit. Get the car tracking done afterwards. Check the dampers too, seeing as everything will be off the front.
     
  7. Roadrunner146

    Roadrunner146 Active Member Team Moonlight TFSI Owners Group Team V6 Supercharged Audi A6 Audi Avant Owner Group quattro S-line owners group

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    Have you thought of just replacing the bushes. You can keep the original arm's and have Poly Bushes pressed in.
     
  8. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    Reckon it’s a tough job to do? I’ve seen videos of people using blowtorches to try and remove the upper arms...

    You’d go for Meyle HD over anything such as the 034 density line?

    Cars done 52k, I reckon it was driven a bit hard previously so I wouldn’t be surprised if they were worse than normal, but does 52k sound a bit young?


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  9. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    I did briefly consider this, I’ve read mixed things - some people seem to dislike them, I’ve no experience with them though


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  10. Roadrunner146

    Roadrunner146 Active Member Team Moonlight TFSI Owners Group Team V6 Supercharged Audi A6 Audi Avant Owner Group quattro S-line owners group

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    I'm tempted. If you use a decent company it should be a better set up.
     
  11. Lavis89

    Lavis89 Well-Known Member Regional Rep Team Sprint Audi S4 Audi A3

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    My car is on 94k, I'll hopefully do it myself. It's usually the pinch bolt the seizes I believe, I'll just buy new pinch bolts and cut the damn things off if need be, if I'm changing the arms anyways it doesn't matter if they get a bit mangled
     
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  13. Retroman

    Retroman Audi A3 2010 Sportback 2.0 TDI 170 (CBBB engine)

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    Mileage seems low for control arm failure but maybe its a issue on high performance S4s. I've done lots of BMW ones and would suggest doing across the axle rather than just one side. Meyle HD - whilst I've found their ball joints tough, I've had problems with premature wear of the rubber bush bits - both on BMW control arms and droplinks and had to replace again quite soon with Powerflex purple which I find superb quality.
     
  14. RyanJonS4

    RyanJonS4 Drive It Like You Stole It

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    I had an advisory on 2 front arm bushings on my B6 S4 a few years back, rather than replace 1 set then need more the year after etc I replaced the full lot up front with meyle hd arms. It saves massively on labour in the long run if you plan to keep the car a while and brings the steering feel and front end ride back to as new. My b6 is a keeper so it was worth the investment.

    I’ve got a B8.5 S4 as well which is fully polly bushed on the front end. While I was having coilovers installed last year and the suspension was in bits anyway I thought I may as well get them all done. 2 of the lower polly bushes have cracked twice but there is now a revised version which is due to be fitted next time my car is in. I’ve not noticed any increased NVH but I had my KW v3’s installed at the same time so maybe it’s not a true test. The feel of the front end is super tight though now it’s polly bushed
     
  15. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    It's not awful I don't think but has some play, the first I knew of it was an RAC inspection of all things, now I'm getting a steering wobble at high speeds, feels exactly like a badly balanced wheel. Funny that it's taken my local garage ages to find that one arm is wobbly - it's the front left lower rear (the wavy one), I even told them the RAC inspection noted it and they said they checked and said it wasn't an issue, seems now that it is after checking again.

    Longer story - they were waiting for the part, but never got back to me and they said they'd have to drop the subframe to fit the arm which I think sounded wrong (someone may correct me) so I just didn't chase and they've never contacted me, think I'll get it done elsewhere.

    Even longer, I rang a local VAG specialist who said that a worn control arm wouldn't ever cause steering judder (he seemed to say this as if it were quite obvious, i.e. never in a million years would this happen), I'm pretty certain this is wrong as I think (can someone confirm?) there is a TSB 2024687/2 which describes this very situation and suggests replacing 8K0 407 693 and 8K0 407 694, so I'm now wondering whether to even bother going to this so called VAG specialist!
     
  16. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    How much difference would you say it made to the feel of the car? Not had arms done on a car before so not sure how much different it feels. Obviouslly based on age etc, but would be interested to hear how it felt for you.

    What brand bushes did you go for? How much did it cost to get everything poly bushed?
     
  17. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    Also I'm interested, specifically because you've got both Meyle HD arms and also poly bushes. My question (being a total mewbie to all this), does the arm itself make much difference, or is it pretty much just the bush? To me, an arm is an arm - as long as it doesn't snap or flex and it's not too heavy then all arms seems equal to me, is this true or not? To me it seems like you'd go for OEM or Meyle based pretty much on the bushes, does that sound true? Because if so then I'm fine to keep all my arms and just replace bushes if I so choose the poly bush route.
     
  18. spartacus 68

    spartacus 68 Active Member Team Ibis Audi A2 Audi Avant Owner Group quattro

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    The pinch bolt inevitably seizes but nothing penetrating fluid and impact driver can't handle. Sorry no experience of poly bushes. Meyle HD are quality parts. If you renew the entire front it will transform the ride. Only tighten top arms with vehicle on the ground, or you'll stress the bushes.
     
  19. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    So I took this to a local VAG specialist (all ex Audi mechanics) and they couldn't feel a vibration, however they did hear a very slight knocking from the offside front but they couldn't feel any play in any of the arms. It's a bit odd to be fair - all a bit random and mainly felt on good quality A roads going high speeds (so that's probably about 0.001% of UK roads!!), they suggested that on different days it may come and go depending on how wet it was etc, I never know what to believe from garages to be honest.... a previous place I went did say they observed movement in the lower rear (curvy) arm.

    I'm trying to figure out a plan of action being as I can't actually observe the issue....

    My question is - at what age would you expect to have to replace any one arm? I've done nearly 53k miles and whilst it's not been thrashed I do enjoy going round corners quite fast :D if it's getting to the sort of mileage where arms start to go then I think I'll just replace the whole lot, but the local VAG place seem to think doing so is madness and these arms should go on forever, but that seems to run a bit contrary to opinions on here where people have renewed all the arms just to keep things fresh.

    If 52k miles is in "arm sloppiness" territory then I'm happy to spend the cash to change them all as I'd much rather do the lot but I don't want to do it if it will make no difference at all to the feel of the ride, if that were the case then I'd just replace the single bad arm.

    Thoughts?
     
  20. rum4mo

    rum4mo Well-Known Member

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    I need to start keeping an eye on your progress, my February 2011 S4 has always, since I bought it at 12.5K miles in July 2013, a very slight "movement" on the offside, though I've not worked out which bush that could be, certainly I'd guess it will be years before I need to do anything to it, but I'd prefer that I knew where the issue was and got rid of that very slight issue.

    Pinch bolt, maybe I should start to feed that with proper release oil and then coat it with some thing to stop it seizing, I did that with my 2000 VW Passat B5 and had got the near side fully free to move - just in time for that road spring to break, AA sorted that out as I was well away from home. That car, while only having a 2.8 30V 193PS engine, must have been almost as heavy as a B8 S4 and when I sold it at 89K miles and 13 years old, it still had all its original arms and joints on it - and felt very tight - ie like new, now at 18 years old and 109K miles it is still on all its original arms and joints!

    It is a nuisance when you put your car into the hands of experts and they don't seem to be finding out what you are convinced is the problem.
     
  21. Mario

    Mario Active Member TDi Audi A4 quattro S-line owners group S tronic Manual

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    How long is a piece of string? Our B7 A4 is on all original bushings at 12 years old & 83,000 miles. However we have just found a worn front lower, inner track arm bushing on our B8.5 A4 which turns 5 years old in October with only 21,000 miles on it.

    So the honest answer is no-one knows. Now you have been asking about this since May....in your shoes I would simply replace the known bad control arm bushing (only the bush, not the entire arm) with a genuine Audi one and then see what happens.
     
  22. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    I shall try and keep the thread up to date :)

    I meant on a B8, as the B7 bushings will be different. I assume there is some form of pattern to when bushes fail - obviously there will be exceptions for different styles of driving, where you live (potholes) etc - but I'd have thought there is a rough pattern of mileage or age.

    Most seem to suggest replacing both sides at once, not sure how important this is. Also, I don't want to do one arm now if there is a fair likelihood that other arms will soon fail - if that's the case I'd opt to replace them all if the price was not awful.

    Strangely I haven't given this much thought - mainly because it seems that no-one does this. I can see that you buy the bushing separately, but I do wonder - why does no-one really do this? It certainly costs a whole load less than buying the entire arm (about a 20th of the cost), so how come people don't do it more often? Meyle arms seem to have the bushings moulded to the arm if I'm right in saying, so I presume it's not possible on their arms? That said, I know the OEM arms are Lemforder so this doesn't apply, just curious.
     
  23. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    Actually that's for a Meyle HD bush, not an OEM Bush. If this eBay link is anything to go by then OEM bushes cost only half the price, and if the advice of replace both sides is to be followed then that costs £200 and you start to think should you go down the route of doing the lot with Meyle HD, if indeed any of the other bushings were soon to fail.

    I'd have to do a parts request to Crewe Audi to determine how much the bush only is from them, that eBay seller may be asking for a scandalous price!
     
  24. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    OK so I never got this done, I was doing other bits ushc as replacing all my tyres so was kept a bit busy, just went for a service now and it seems both front lower rear arms are leaking! They have play in them - finally I have it on camera (Audi cam)! Anyone else had this before?
     

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  25. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    So I need to justify to myself the purchase of some jack stands (rum4mo knows the ones!) so may try this myself. I’ve bought some lemforder arms to replace by curvy arms - they’ve arrived and look good, I was going to get somewhere local to fit them but wouldn’t mind having a go myself.

    Has anyone got any guides on how to do this? Never done a control arm before, or much mechanical stuff to be fair. I’d consider myself fairly adaptable and have a very handy father who could help out too.

    A local place to me said they’d have to “drop the subframe” to do the work because a bolt is pointing directly at the chassis - anyone care to explain (a) if that is true and (b) what they mean? :)

    It does seem like a bolt is in a shitty position:

    [​IMG]

    I presume that’s what they’re on about.

    Some of you have mentioned getting some penetrating fluid on the pinch bolt(s) - which bolts are the pinch bolts? The near near the wheel or the one near the chassis? Or both?

    Also, seems I’d need either a ball separator fork or one of those little clamp devices to separate. Does anyone know which? Do I need any other specialist tools?


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  26. Tim Nondahl

    Tim Nondahl New Member

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    From the videos I've viewed on YouTube it appears you don't drop the subframe, but remove the strut assembly and then remove the control arms on the bench. It also looks like the lower curvy one is a steering stabilizer and that looks to come off without removing the strut assembly. It also appears that the pinch bolt seems difficult to remove due to the weight of the wheel, and perhaps taking some of the weight off of the wheel itself by lifting it just enough to remove the pinch bolt may be helpful (just my opinion based on viewing the videos). I too am having this issue and haven't found much info on the other forums so found you guys by searching. Not many videos either but have been looking at everyone I can find. Also they list all of the tools need in a few of the YouTube videos. If this thread is still active I am curious how it came out for you, as I plan on tackling this job this winter when the weather cools (I live in the desert in Scottsdale Arizona USA)
     
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  27. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    Nice to hear someone else tackling the issue :) did you get the replacement parts yet by the way? I have got them already and went for Lemforder parts which I can confirm are the exact Audi parts (it even has the Audi part number on the bad they came in) but with the Audi logo ground off.

    Also, lucky you living in the USA, you have the option of buying Jackpoint Jackstands or Rennstands to nicely raise your car whilst doing the work - I’m currently considering importing the Rennstands but they are certainly not cheap!

    You mentioned seeing videos - have you seen any for the B8? I could only really find B7 videos.


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  28. Tim Nondahl

    Tim Nondahl New Member

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    Yes on the B8 videos, mine is a 2009 A4 B8, there are only a few on youtube
     
  29. Tim Nondahl

    Tim Nondahl New Member

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  30. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    Cheers for the link, doesn’t seem to work on my phone but will try on my laptop tonight.


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  31. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    I will soon attempt this job I've been putting off for ages - I was going to just replace the arm with an issue but actually I may just do the lot - it costs £355 more to get all the arms and if I do it myself I save on labour. I must admit the idea of doing the pinch bolt scares the **** outta me but perhaps a liberal dousing of penetrating fluid for days/weeks before will help.

    But anyway - checking dampers, not done that before - I presume I'm just looking for fluid leaks and that's about it? I have the active dampers though, so that may change things.
     
  32. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    Also if anyone else in the UK is going to attempt this at any point I should point out that for the next 7 and a half hours buycarparts.co.uk are having a 22% off sale which takes the total price for every single LEMFÖRDER front suspension control arm to about £450 with free delivery, which is insane because Audi will charge you about £400 just for the curvy lower rears.

    I'm not 100% sure I'll be changing the lot, but at this price I could keep them until I need to and I'm quids in!

    You can use the spreadsheet I created to get the part numbers.
     
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  34. youngsyp

    youngsyp Member Team Monsoon Supercharged Audi S4 Audi Avant Owner Group Black Edition S tronic

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    Probably covered above but don't forget to factor an alignment check/ reset into the job. I've come to learn that even the slightest disturbance in the steering/ suspension components will have an effect on the wheel alignment, despite what so called experts might have told me.

    That's about it yes. You can't do much more than check for leaks and rattles. Also check the condition of the piston rod for scoring etc and the dust/ dirt covers for condition.

    Good luck.

    Paul
     
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  35. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    I’ve decided to do all the arms, why not? In for a penny in for a pound!

    The pinch bolt scares the hell out of me, this is my daily driver so I can’t have a job half done as then I couldn’t get to work! My plan is to use penetrating oil morning and night for a fair few days in order to try and make it as loose as possible, then I’ll take the pinch bolt off in the wheel arch (I’ve heard of some others taking the control arms off at the other end so they can work on the pinch bolt on a bench off the car, but apparently it’s fiddly - any opinions on this anyone?).

    The pinch bolt looks like this, looks fairly corrosion free to me, does that suggest it would come out relatively easily?

    [​IMG]

    Any recommendations on an absolutely fantastic penetrating oil? If I can spend £10 now to make my life easy I’m happy. It seems Americans have a wide selection but we barely have any - I have GT85 already for Jetski use, also WD40 (who doesn’t?) and have read about Plus Gas (which seems dedicated to being a penetrant much like some of the American ones like Kroil).

    Any other tips for taking out the arms? I know I have to tighten the bushings with a load on the suspension so they’re not stressed so I think I have that one covered. I had read that the pinch bolt is easier to remove when the control arms are either up or down (can’t remember which and can’t find where I read that) - is there truth in this?


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  36. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    Oh and also, should I buy any spare parts just in case, such as a spare pinch bolt or anything else?


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  37. youngsyp

    youngsyp Member Team Monsoon Supercharged Audi S4 Audi Avant Owner Group Black Edition S tronic

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    That pinch bolt looks fine, un-touched by the elements even. I doubt you'll need any penetrating fluid on it, but it doesn't hurt to use some regardless. Just make sure you have good puchase on it with a small breaker bar or long ring spanner, to get the most leverage on it. Is it a torque to yield bolt? If so, make sure you have replacements on hand.

    As for penetrating fliuds, PB Blaster is another good one to put along side Plus Gas. GT85 is a lubricant/ water dispersant, not a penetrating fluid, so don't waste your time using that.

    Paul
     
  38. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    Oh I’d heard GT85 had penetrating properties similar to or better than WD40, although is that actually any good as a penetrant?

    Cheers for the advice :)


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  39. youngsyp

    youngsyp Member Team Monsoon Supercharged Audi S4 Audi Avant Owner Group Black Edition S tronic

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    It may have that property as a byproduct of the type of lubricant it is but it wouldn't be as good as a product formulated for that task. In essence, most products of its type will have a degree of penetrating ability.
    WD40 is classed as a penetrating fluid. It's also really affective at stripping grease from anything. But conversely to GT85, WD40 isn't a lubricant, in the long term. I.e. it will evaporate very quickly.

    I'm all for using the right product for the job. For example, for a metal to metal lubricant (door hinges), white lithium grease is what I'd use. For seal lubrication, silicone grease. I've always used WD4o for penetrating duties but tackled some exhaust work on my brother's V10 S6 recently and he had Plus Gas to hand. It worked way better than I've ever experienced WD40 to work. So that's what I'd use in a particularly challenging job like the one you're about to attempt. Although as above, unless there's some particularly nasty corrosion where the bolt passes through the arm, you should be OK with WD40 for that job.

    That brings up another point actually. When you re-fit the pinch bolt, smearing them (where they come into contact with the alloy arms) with aluminium grease would be a sensible idea, to prevent future corrosion issues.

    Paul
     
  40. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    Just noticed a bit of knocking today, slightly odd - only happens when going over several small bumps, no knocking or anything over big bumps. I presume this is the control arm?


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  41. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    Finally preparing to attempt this work and will try and go for all control arms. It sounds like you’ve done the same at some point Spartacus? What problems did you hit? The bottom rear arm seems the easiest, the pinch bolt seems potentially tricky but hopefully not too bad as mine doesn’t look rusty, the lower front arm also looks challenging having seen a video on YouTube which I’ll put below where they had to resort to fabricating a piece themselves to remove it! Safe to say if I have to do this I’m most likely a bit buggered so I’m hoping you didn’t experience the same problems they did, see the video:



    Also would you mind sharing what tools you needed? I’ll have to buy them all bar the sockets (I assume) as I have the Halfords advanced 170 piece set. It seems the main tool I would need is either a ball joint separator (the jaw type) or what they call a pickle fork. I’m thinking these:

    Draper 14159 19 mm Ball Joint Separator



    Draper 13914 19 mm Capacity Ball Joint Separator






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  42. rum4mo

    rum4mo Well-Known Member

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    I'd never ever use WD-40 as a penetrating/release fluid, use proper stuff like Plus Gas or similar, the trouble with applying penetrating fluids is, is you have soaked that area with something like oil or WD-40 that area will remain "wet" and so any proper release fluid like Plus Gas will not be interested in creeping in and doing its job. So clean that area with a suitable brush and apply Plus Gas and keep on repeating this, then start trying to remove the nut, once it is off start rotating the bolt once it can rotate fully, refit the nut back to front and screw on until the bolt is just recessed inside its width, then tap the bolt back and rotate again. In my experience, these bolts, probably like any similar clinch bolt, will get slightly bent when it is fully tightened, remember to apply fluid into the splits on the upright as well. You will need new bolts and lock nuts once you have swopped everything.

    As said already, your upright looks very clean so maybe it will be okay, but no harm in preparing for the worst. I have only loosen these clinch bolts off on a B5 Passat and it has exactly the same design - but steel uprights! At over 10 years old, that car's clinch bolts were solid initially and took a lot of working and fluid applying to get them out, cleaned and greased and back in prior to working on the suspension.
     
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  43. meph137

    meph137 Active Member Audi S4 Black Edition

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    Just a thought for when I come to doing this (as I have to get the tools needed) - I presume the suspension components are all aluminium? If so, and I have to start hammering things (it seems that's normally what people do to free the top control arms from the upright), then shouldn't I be using a copper or brass hammer, presuming I don't want to damage the upright in any way? I imagine this is insanely picky but I'm curious anyhow
     

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