Help Please Replace one or all control arms?

meph137

Registered User
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

Anyone got any thoughts on this? I reckon you might @rum4mo as you seem like a guy who likes to do things right :D
 

rum4mo

Registered User
Sorry for missing this posting, but yes, I do have a copper headed hammer and would probably use that on these arms - I've got a large brass drift as well!!
 

meph137

Registered User
Sorry for missing this posting, but yes, I do have a copper headed hammer and would probably use that on these arms - I've got a large brass drift as well!!

Ah so I’m not being ridiculous! I wasn’t sure whether to go for a copper hammer (Thor do some good ones it seems) or a rubber coated deadblow, I’m sure they both do different jobs but for this application they seem fairly similar - I.e non-marring hammers.

I get the impression most people don’t care and just use steel ball peins?

It did occur to me that I may be ridiculous because the control arms themselves (different part I’m aware) have had the Audi logos ground off (and are therefore quite marred!) as I bought them from Lemforder direct, so avoiding marring the upright does possibly seem a bit pointless!!


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rum4mo

Registered User
Its a good plan though.

Come to think about it, it is Thor ones I've got, my dad's old copper/hide one and my newer alloy/nylon I think!

Edit:- so far, I'm quite old enough, but I have not got a loaded deadblow hammer yet - I do have enough space for one!!
 

meph137

Registered User
Its a good plan though.

Come to think about it, it is Thor ones I've got, my dad's old copper/hide one and my newer alloy/nylon I think!

Edit:- so far, I'm quite old enough, but I have not got a loaded deadblow hammer yet - I do have enough space for one!!
Well the deadblow came today, seems like it would do a good job so I'll try that.
 

meph137

Registered User
So I'm about to do this (next couple of weeks), and just checking over everything and didn't realise that the lower front arm has a seperate ball joint, expertly outlined in the attached image! @spartacus68 (or @spartacus 68 whichever it is) - you replaced the whole lot didn't you? I presume you replaced this part as well? Seems like it would wear fairly quickly so if you're doing the lot you should do it too. Looks like it's secured via a pinch bolt...

Also, I noticed that the lower rearward bushing bolt looks pretty hard to remove as it looks to go straight in to the bodywork, am I wrong - is it not actually hard to remove? See second attached image.
 

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spartacus 68

Registered User
So I'm about to do this (next couple of weeks), and just checking over everything and didn't realise that the lower front arm has a seperate ball joint, expertly outlined in the attached image! @spartacus68 (or @spartacus 68 whichever it is) - you replaced the whole lot didn't you? I presume you replaced this part as well? Seems like it would wear fairly quickly so if you're doing the lot you should do it too. Looks like it's secured via a pinch bolt...

Also, I noticed that the lower rearward bushing bolt looks pretty hard to remove as it looks to go straight in to the bodywork, am I wrong - is it not actually hard to remove? See second attached image.

Hi meph137. I've replaced the entire front suspension on a B5 2001 A4 2.5 TDI quattro V6 at 120k miles. At the end of the day, it's roughly the same. Also did my wife's A2 suspension, including subframe console.

First off, do you have another car as your daily driver? Suspension work never goes according to plan. You're bound to come across something seized, and use PlusGas penetrating fluid not WD40. In terms of tools, Halfords professional tool kit is good to start, but also get coil spring compressors (Laser or Draper), extension bar, propane blowtorch, torque wrench, rubber mallet, wire brush, axle stands, spare trolley jack, etc.

I attempted changing the broken coilspring on my Allroad literally 12 hours before I was due to catch a ferry, and hauling a boat on a trailer. Obviously not the best way to start. Damn pinchbolt was seized. I undid it as far as I could, but it was going no where. Drove it with a goosed coilspring. Garage at the other end had to remove the strut assembly to free it.

If the pinch bolts come out, this is pretty straight-forward. Take your time and be methodical. The upper arms, don't tighten them until the vehicle is on the ground, or you'll stress the bushes.

I'm away to change the lower wishbone arms and link arms on my Fabia next week. Suspension... gotta love it!

Speak to Audi main dealer regards bolts and have replacement parts. I greased mine with marine grease prior to refitting.
 
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meph137

Registered User
Quick question to anyone who has done this before and used Lemforder parts (@Tashfeen has I know, but I'm not sure you have all the part numbers).

I've got all the parts to do the entire front now, the only one I'm unsure of is the front seperate ball joint. The Audi part number for my car is "4G0 407 689 C" which should be an M14 ball joint as far as I understand, and the Lemforder part seems to be (according to many of the german parts sites, and also ZFs online catalogue) is "36899 01", however this seems to be an M12 ball joint, even though the ZF catalogue lists the manufacturer part number as "4G0 407 689".

So, any clues? :)

Is it possible that it isn't Lemforder that supply the M14 ball joint? Sounds doubtful but you never know.
 

rum4mo

Registered User
Well now that my February 2011 B8 S4 with just over 24K miles, has been in for its MOT, it has come back with advisory for the lower arm bush on both sides, one side separating very slightly, the other side marking/cracking starting to show on the other side - monitor or replace if it fails.

@meph137, did you complete this job yet, I'm in no rush, I'll wait until Summer and see if I'll get off with just replacing the lower arms - in my case it must be an age thing as the mileage is only just over 24K miles.
 

meph137

Registered User
Well now that my February 2011 B8 S4 with just over 24K miles, has been in for its MOT, it has come back with advisory for the lower arm bush on both sides, one side separating very slightly, the other side marking/cracking starting to show on the other side - monitor or replace if it fails.

@meph137, did you complete this job yet, I'm in no rush, I'll wait until Summer and see if I'll get off with just replacing the lower arms - in my case it must be an age thing as the mileage is only just over 24K miles.

Urgh crikey no I haven't yet. Work got busy, kids as well, etc etc. I will have to before March I think as I have my MOT then. Mind you, it's not a huge wobble but it's there. I shall report back when I do, no idea when that will be! Next month I guess, cold! :(
 

meph137

Registered User
Well now that my February 2011 B8 S4 with just over 24K miles, has been in for its MOT, it has come back with advisory for the lower arm bush on both sides, one side separating very slightly, the other side marking/cracking starting to show on the other side - monitor or replace if it fails.

@meph137, did you complete this job yet, I'm in no rush, I'll wait until Summer and see if I'll get off with just replacing the lower arms - in my case it must be an age thing as the mileage is only just over 24K miles.

So I have finally gotten round to doing the job! Took me long enough..

I’ve only driven it for about 20 miles thus far but all seems fine. The job itself went really rather smoothly, surprisingly.

I’ll share a bit more about it when I have a few spare moments. I have all the pages from Erwin to cover it off, as well as torque specs for everything. Is it the rear curvy (guide) links that are going? If so, you have to remove a subframe heat shield to remove the bolt, and to remove the heat shield you need to remove the subframe cross brace, or alternatively do what I did and attempt to remove the cross brace, realise that the front two bolts are spline (and you don’t have a spline socket big enough) and then revert to bending the hell out the heat shield to remove the bolt . Oh well, I bent it all back again and as is well. If you like to do things properly though, you won’t want to do that. Annoyingly the bolts (and square nuts) are renew when replace so it adds about £35 on to the job.

I can provide you with all the parts needed if you want?


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Owyn

Registered User
I'm really looking forward to reading your write up, I have a wobble that feels like out of balance wheels that no amount of balancing or wheel swapping will sort.
I'd love to cure it!
 

rum4mo

Registered User
So I have finally gotten round to doing the job! Took me long enough..

I’ve only driven it for about 20 miles thus far but all seems fine. The job itself went really rather smoothly, surprisingly.

I’ll share a bit more about it when I have a few spare moments. I have all the pages from Erwin to cover it off, as well as torque specs for everything. Is it the rear curvy (guide) links that are going? If so, you have to remove a subframe heat shield to remove the bolt, and to remove the heat shield you need to remove the subframe cross brace, or alternatively do what I did and attempt to remove the cross brace, realise that the front two bolts are spline (and you don’t have a spline socket big enough) and then revert to bending the hell out the heat shield to remove the bolt . Oh well, I bent it all back again and as is well. If you like to do things properly though, you won’t want to do that. Annoyingly the bolts (and square nuts) are renew when replace so it adds about £35 on to the job.

I can provide you with all the parts needed if you want?


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Good to know that it went okay!

I've made up a list of all parts involved with replacing just the "Link" or lower arm and the "Guide" or lower curved arm, buying the arms from GSF as either Lemforder or TRW parts, it might be that ZF is rationalising which of their parts they sell as currently for some they list both company part numbers. I did buy a Haynes repair manual so I have some torque settings, but I should really get to know Erwin!

In answer to your question as to which arms have been mentioned in the MOT, as I have not gone under the car to look I can't say, though I assumed that it was only the straight link - and I could be wrong there. I had not considered replacing the individual ball joint, but now that you have mentioned it, if these two arms are coming off, then it must make sense to replace the ball joint, some thing to add to my list!

Edit:- it would be very helpful for others if you did do a write up of how this went as it can only make life easier for others, having a Haynes book is well and good for the odd tip, but typically they gloss over something that "you/me/others" get into a flap about.
 

rum4mo

Registered User
I'm really looking forward to reading your write up, I have a wobble that feels like out of balance wheels that no amount of balancing or wheel swapping will sort.
I'd love to cure it!

Today I think, I am getting the chance to look over my daughter's late 2009 Ibiza SC which seems to have a front end wobble or something, from a quick 2 minute check a few weeks ago, while she drove us with luggage to the railway station, I worked out that there was "free movement" at the steering wheel when car stationary and engine switched off - so my guess for that is either track rod end(s) or inner track rod joint and so I have bought bits for both sides, just in case, ECP allow you to return unused parts within a year. I've needed to do this job on wife's previous Polo but that one showed no signs of wobble, just got an MOT advisory - this Ibiza passed its MOT with flying colours a couple of months ago and daughter had been moaning about front end wobble for longer than that, but her hectic social life does not allow her to hand the car over easily!!
 

rum4mo

Registered User
If it helps, I used the ZF website to find out all the Lemforder/TRW part numbers and it has the ability to use your UK reg to find the correct parts for your car.
 

Klickflip

Quattro 4 life
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?

I had one of my Lower curved arms and 2 straight ams replaced recently at an indie , Was about £600
Did ask abou just changing the bushings, they are bonded to the arms of that was a no.

I don’t think it’s so much about being driven hard , it’s more about potholes and speed bumps that crush them and split . Mine were split pretty badly and latterly could hear them clicking and being deseated , but mainly when driving slow over potholes speed bumps .
Also didn’t seem to affect steering much.

Now I’ve them replaced, with genuine ones I have a different steering feeling response. Still trying to work out if it’s better or worse!
Basically it now feels so much lighter steering which isn’t quite as nice to me , but maybe this the way they are meant to be when new ..? Mechanic said it dives exactl as one should.

Also I find myself having to correct steering a lot more now over limps and bumps on road , and seems like I get a bit of understeer - it seemed heavier but more direct and less twitchy before. I am going to get them to look at tracking again though in case it’s that.

However I also had my tyres swapped from back to front as front ones were cheapo Landsails dealer put on front , and now have Avon zz5 or 6s on the front. Which could be the difference.
One thing though the landsails would just break away and looose all traction, now the Avon’s progressively loose grip and the Q esp kicks in , so you can push it round roundabouts knowing where you are with grip , it will slide a bit but still grips which is good, you can power it though instead of just being a passenger aiming for the kerb!

Anyway that’s beside the point , but if anyone noticed a difference in steering feel after new control arms that would be interesting to know.

As for doing it yourself , I definitely wouldn’t bother , some of these well worn in bolts may need heating and brute force to get out , plus imagine you need to make sure everything is aligned right and tracking is spot on.
 

rum4mo

Registered User
@Klickflip I get what you are saying with respect to the allow of grief that might surround doing this job at home, but some of us are just not made to act like that, especially when at I and probably others have a good set of tools etc.

Changing these 2 lower arms should not cause any change in alignment, but I would always get the alignment checked anyway if only due to me never having had it checked while I've owned this car over the past coming up for 6 years.

Are you saying that an indie supplied VW Group genuine 3 arms and fitted them for £600 including an alignment check?

That seems like being very cheap as the arms themselves, I think, cost about or below £200 each from VW Group outlets, getting a pair for one side costs almost £300 from GSF and gets knocked down to around £200 a side for the 2 lower arms - and that is Lemforder or TRW brands, both part of ZF and probably as supplied to Audi but with the VW Group casting marks grinded off - please correct me if I'm way off the mark price wise.

Edit:- which Scotland based Indie did you use?
 

Klickflip

Quattro 4 life
@Klickflip I get what you are saying with respect to the allow of grief that might surround doing this job at home, but some of us are just not made to act like that, especially when at I and probably others have a good set of tools etc.

Changing these 2 lower arms should not cause any change in alignment, but I would always get the alignment checked anyway if only due to me never having had it checked while I've owned this car over the past coming up for 6 years.

Are you saying that an indie supplied VW Group genuine 3 arms and fitted them for £600 including an alignment check?

That seems like being very cheap as the arms themselves, I think, cost about or below £200 each from VW Group outlets, getting a pair for one side costs almost £300 from GSF and gets knocked down to around £200 a side for the 2 lower arms - and that is Lemforder or TRW brands, both part of ZF and probably as supplied to Audi but with the VW Group casting marks grinded off - please correct me if I'm way off the mark price wise.

Edit:- which Scotland based Indie did you use?
Hi Rum4mo,
I’ll check invoice when I get home , though it was around that , but may not include vat.
I used Autohaus at Loanhead.

Aye not knocking anyone doing It themselves if they are confident , personally I wouldn’t! . Watched some YouTube of mechanics changing control arms and seems a fair bit of effort involved . Do you have a ramp , think would be really awkward without having it up high.
 

rum4mo

Registered User
My preferred, or current preferred local Indie is AVW in Gilmerton Road direction opposite an Aldi/Lidi.

Reason being, I've looked into Autohaus at Loanhead and asked about something with a view to them getting paid to do it for me and they just didn't seem to want to talk about anything until I booked the car in. Then a couple of years later, I emailed them about removing CP from a DAB Concert radio I had bought to upgrade my non DAB Concert in my car, no response about yes/no or cost! I had, round about that time been told about AVW - first time that I had heard about them or knew there was a VW Group Indie operating in that area, so I dropped them an email and within the day got a reply back giving me a price and to phone them as they could fit that job in easily as it only takes about 15 minutes, so they got my money. I asked my daughter to get her late 2009 Ibiza booked in there for its cam belts etc, and they seemed to do that job well and at a good price.

I'll see what I feel like when the weather gets warmer, I have not bought anything yet - there will be a price in my head that would let me hand this work over, so I'm not completely blinkered, just partially! I can see that having a good bit of height would make this job a lot easier - I would not mind knowing if the price you said was near enough what you paid though.

Prior to finding AVW I would always go across to Dysart for cam belts on Polos and Ibizas, a bit of a faff a bit easier to spend your money locally - though we did tend to take 2 cars and spend the day further up the coast! I have in the past used Witherspoons when they operated out of a big Audi style building at Sighthill, that was for a cam belt on a 2000 VW Passat 4Motion with the Audi 2.8 30V petrol engine.
 

Klickflip

Quattro 4 life
My preferred, or current preferred local Indie is AVW in Gilmerton Road direction opposite an Aldi/Lidi.

Reason being, I've looked into Autohaus at Loanhead and asked about something with a view to them getting paid to do it for me and they just didn't seem to want to talk about anything until I booked the car in. Then a couple of years later, I emailed them about removing CP from a DAB Concert radio I had bought to upgrade my non DAB Concert in my car, no response about yes/no or cost! I had, round about that time been told about AVW - first time that I had heard about them or knew there was a VW Group Indie operating in that area, so I dropped them an email and within the day got a reply back giving me a price and to phone them as they could fit that job in easily as it only takes about 15 minutes, so they got my money. I asked my daughter to get her late 2009 Ibiza booked in there for its cam belts etc, and they seemed to do that job well and at a good price.

I'll see what I feel like when the weather gets warmer, I have not bought anything yet - there will be a price in my head that would let me hand this work over, so I'm not completely blinkered, just partially! I can see that having a good bit of height would make this job a lot easier - I would not mind knowing if the price you said was near enough what you paid though.

Prior to finding AVW I would always go across to Dysart for cam belts on Polos and Ibizas, a bit of a faff a bit easier to spend your money locally - though we did tend to take 2 cars and spend the day further up the coast! I have in the past used Witherspoons when they operated out of a big Audi style building at Sighthill, that was for a cam belt on a 2000 VW Passat 4Motion with the Audi 2.8 30V petrol engine.

That’s good to know man, not heard of them before. A bit closer to me than loanhead or Sighthill.

I’ve found AutoHaus to be really helpfully, chatty and good on prices , I asked them to do a cheaper deal for a fair bit of work recently and they obliged. And they’ve been quick calling back with quote.
Though my new gearbox sump they did has a slight leak from seal , phoned them up and took it in to look at , straightaway they said no problem it’s covered with their warranty and got it booked in for new seal and new ATF oil .. which will cost them a fair bit.

Before this they put it up on ramp and checked it over for free and mechanic took me round the car showing me what needed doing - 3 control arms , sump , seal and oil change . He also showed me the rear suspension saying it’s fine and where it’s had new rear arms.
So really can’t fault them. And there’s been some pretty nice cars like RS4s and M3s getting work done or parked outside when I’ve been there , which seems a good sign to me..

Previously I’d used a small Audi indie just off Broughton Street , Bellingham Motors but they were quoting a fair bit more for this recent work.
And I’d had an abs problem which I got them to look at , but I got them impression they were taking stabs in dark at it till they found the abs wheel sensor was damaged ( stone hit it on a site) which was first thing I wanted to check if I had a driveway and ramps . But they only figured it out after vagcom diagnostic and ordered new wiring loom which they ‘thought’ would remedy it, then they found the cracked sensor by chance taking the wheels off!
Could of fixed that myself for £20 , they charged me £180!
So I won’t be using them for much , maybe brakes etc as they are nearby.

Right found my invoice ,

Front curved arm £84
Straight arms £84 each x2
Ball joints £34 x2
Labour
Curved arm 1hr £49
Straight arms 2hrs £98
+VAT
So total for that was £560 :)
 

meph137

Registered User
I've made up a list of all parts involved with replacing just the "Link" or lower arm

The link was the only one I haven't (yet) done. I'll do it sometime soon but I didn't have the time this time.

I assumed that it was only the straight link

It was the curvy guide link that went for me.

Edit:- it would be very helpful for others if you did do a write up of how this went

Will do!

If it helps, I used the ZF website to find out all the Lemforder/TRW part numbers and it has the ability to use your UK reg to find the correct parts for your car.

I dindn't know you could use your reg, thanks for sharing anyway but yes I did use this for the ball joints. They were tricky to trace.

Anyway that’s beside the point , but if anyone noticed a difference in steering feel after new control arms that would be interesting to know.

I haven't driven it much but it did feel a little more jittery. I quite liked it though..!

Right found my invoice ,

Front curved arm £84
Straight arms £84 each x2
Ball joints £34 x2
Labour
Curved arm 1hr £49
Straight arms 2hrs £98
+VAT

I don't think that can be for genuine parts. The OEM part for the curved guide link (8K0 407 693 Q) is £192.92 + VAT, the OE (Lemforder, exact same but with Audi ground off) was £97.82 plus VAT cheapest I could find. Also the bolts for all this came to about £50, in fact probably more like £80 if they did it by the book and removed the subframe brace and refitted with new bolts (which you should). 1 hour per arm labour, well - that's a good deal!

The OE price for the guide link is close but I'd be surprised if a garage sourced OE vs OEM - I reckon they'd go OEM or aftermarket. I got my straight link arms at £56.51 plus VAT each. Ball joints were £15.25 plus VAT each.

Audi quoted me £800 fitted for both curvy guide arms. Indie quoted me £600 for the same job using OEM parts.
 

rum4mo

Registered User
Good to share prices etc from both of you!

Klipflip:- Bellingham Motors, I had heard about them being VW Group Indie place, but some how came to the conclusion that they were probably "light weight" ie ideal for getting minor/major servicing done in town without main dealer rates, so I've never used them, and what you said sort of backs that idea up.
AVW has all the necessary licensing from VW Group to formally update digital servicing and as I said Component Protection Removal - so no hooky stuff going on. Initially it was an exwork friend that told me about them, he had just bought an Audi A6 and as he protects his money, he needed to sniff out what he was likely to need to do to keep costs in check etc - so he visited them and went through every thing and what he considered the worst case situation, and that was auto box trouble, they said that in the unlikely event of him having big issues, they would remove the box and send it to Glasgow for repair and gave him the current max price to expect for that job.

AutoHaus, maybe I am wrong, have been many times, but they for me looked like they see RS models and other equivalent BMW Ms as their target niche market - as well as being tuning agents, so maybe that added to my concerns. As I said in the past I travelled to Star Performance though initially I was a bit worried about them not wanting simple cam belt changing work - now I know that is not true as in reality while a place can be an agent for tuning and upgrading, most of the time and income will come from providing proper VW Group level service and repair work for customers that value work being done correctly and at a slightly lower labour rate than main dealers charge.

Edit:- I'd be quite happy for a proper Indie to use parts from Lemforder which by the price, Auto Haus seem to have done in your case, also AVW seem to hold stocks of TMD Friction fast moving brake service parts - again possible same as factory fit and VW Group parts places sell in their own branded packaging at higher prices, so why not. All good stuff, I do wish that I had "liked" Auto Haus as their location suits me better than AVW but that is not where I'm at right now. Auto Haus used to reside next door to my VW dealer of choice who was Sloans - which seemed a bit cheeky or smart!
 

meph137

Registered User
Following up on this one (sorry I still need to do a write-up, 2 young kids and busy work are making this hard), I noticed a slight clunking recently in certain situations (seems to be when turning right on a roundabout but it’s a bit random). It’s not particularly alarming and I can’t see anything obviously wrong other than I notice my front right is lower than my front left, scientific measurement here - I can fit 3 fingers between the front left (and all other tyres) and the wheel arch, but only 2 fingers only the front right, so I reckon that’s about a 1.7cm difference, maybe slightly less.

I’ve no idea if the two things are related, but obviously not having the car level is bad enough on its own. I’m not sure if this was the case immediately after I did the work to be honest as I was in a rush to pack up so didn’t measure.

I did make sure to jack up the steering knuckle/upright/whatever when torquing the bushing bolts. I didn’t manage to Jack both sides up exactly the same but they were within 1-2cm and I didn’t think it would matter that much as you see YouTube videos where they don’t even measure.

Any advice? :)


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