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Guys - anyone here have experience with replacing 4 control arms in the front suspension?

Mine are creaking and the dealer suggests that I replace them. $1700 with labor, plus $125 for the alignment.

On eBay, I am seeing complete sets for $700, $218, and $68! I figure that the $700 set is OEM, the $68 set is genuine Far East, and the $218 is someone with a $68 set prowling for a guy that was originally going to drop $700.

My question is, has anyone put the $68 versions in their car? Do they work? Do you regret doing it?

Thanks,

Scott



---
Scott Fergusson
Dulcius Ex Asperis
www.chapmansbrewing.com
 

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If you're looking to save money, instead of going with the cheap arms, have them replace just the bushings on the upper arms. Lower arms are a bit more of a problem, I don't know if you can get the bushings for those, but the VW bushings are definitely available for the uppers. Take a look at FCPEuro.com, they have VW, OEM & aftermarket arms. I believe TRW are the OEM, and they're significantly cheaper than VW sell them for. FCPEuro also have the VW bushings for about $20. The other thing you should do is take a wheel off and take a good look at the rubber yourself. It's unlikely that ALL of them are creaking.
 

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The bushings on the upper arms are simple to push out. Don't follow Bruce's cutting procedure! You can jury rig a press with a socket head that pushes just on the rubber, that is sufficient to push the whole thing out including the collar. I don't know how easy/hard it is to push the factory ones back in, you have to get the orientation correct. I used Powerflex, which ride well but are noisy as hell at slow speeds.
 

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Keep us posted on how the Meyle's work out. I fitted their control arms to a friend's BMW a few weeks ago, mostly because they were cheap and have replaceable ball joints. What I saw of them looked very good and the car drove very well afterwards. Been thinking about doing the same as you on my Phaeton. I'm at 120k and all I've replaced so far are the droplinks & the control arms bushings (I kept the ball joints). My lower bushings still look ok, but I'm thinking at some point I'll just do the lot. I greased up the poly bushings when I changed the strut last week, which seems to have alleviated a lot of the squeaking, so I think I'm good to go for a while yet.
 

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The lower bushings are definitely doable...did mine at Pit Row in Santa Clara last week. You can find them cheaper online than you will find them at an official supplier. Tip for getting cheaper-than-VW parts: Buy them from the OEM's supplier, Lemförder. Bought a complete front upper set for something like $800, they have the spot where the Audi logo would be on the original casting visibly ground down to surface level, because it's cheaper to do that than to have another production line to make parts without that logo in the metal to begin with.
As for lowers, I used Lemförder bushings as well. The car had Meyle HD bushings in it when I got in there and got the pinch bolt out (it requires dropping the subframe about an inch! Perhaps just a bit less than an inch. This means 4 subframe bolts need to be loosened by nearly an inch and the subframe to body brackets at the rear can be either loosened or removed completely, 3 bolts each. Not too difficult, the bentley ebahn manual has tightening values for everything, everything is Torque-To-Yield meaning replace all of your bolts, subframe, pinch bolt, etc. This adds $50 cost. I didn't have the bolts with me and it was a Saturday so I just didn't do that.
Those Meyle HD Bushings rode fantastically! I mean, they were totally ripped and destroyed, but the rode well and didn't cause any issues of their own. This was the part I found on the car, it's available for $12.60 from Oscaroparts
New bushings are good too. They are OE which is nice to know, they tighten up the feel of the car a bit (including over bumps, but oh well, you can't beat worn out suspension as far as smoothness goes. Still trying to solve my issues, but a cold has put that on hold.)
 

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Looking for OE parts, I'd suggest the ZF Lemforder WebCat online catalog system:
https://webcat.zf.com/?SPR=4

For Meyle HD "supposed to last longer" parts, look here:
http://www.meyle.com/en/service-centre/online-catalogue/

this will all make it abundantly clear which parts go where and which fit your car.
I have a special note that if I'd had it before my bushing service would have changed my actions:
I was going for ultimate comfort. I figured OE would be the way, so I went with more expensive OE parts. Turns out, the OE Lemforder lower control arm bushing is rubber all of the way through (contoured, not just a cylinder with an inner and outer sleeve, but it is solid rubber) and the Meyle actually has cutouts, meaning it would be the one that gives more play easily, making me think it would perform better over potholes at reasonable speeds in a straight line.
I haven't compared new Lemforder vs new Meyle bushings, but just looking at them it looks like the OE ones would be more solid and less comfortable. Better for track days and setting performance metrics, but that's not what I do. Meyle offers a decent lineup of different bushings for the job, with different profiles and cutouts. You can find them all at their online catalog, complete with photos. Once you do that, grab the Meyle part number and google it to find your cheapest supplier, or look locally if going for speed.

Also, I have no idea how these Meyle parts can last longer with cutouts if the Lemforder parts are solid, but that's probably because I'm not a high performance suspension design engineer.
 

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Zoltan, you replaced just the bushings on the old lower control arms? What's the mileage on your car? With the lowers, I was thinking that because of the extra work involved, I'd replace the whole thing including the ball joints. I changed just the bushings on the upper control arms because those arms were replaced under warranty not that many miles ago, but the lowers are still original.
 

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My P's mileage is at 166,100 or so. Upper ball joints and bushings are gone, need to replace those. Lower bushing was completely gone. Lower ball joint looked okay, smooth actuation and no play. Eventually the rubber seal is going to go (it is cracking) but when it's in position the cracks are compressed so I expect it to last a while longer.

The upper ball joints have a bit of a flat spot/sharp rise to them in the travel, clearly not exactly round anymore on the inside. Seems to be no play, just not smooth side to side as you move it around, so I got all new upper arms.

EDIT: rrussell, I have to agree! The Phaeton is just the perfect car for HWY17. Wider tires helps. I run 275mm Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+'s and love them dearly.
Also with your photos you've reminded me that I need to do my front lower control arm bushings as well (4x per car, 2x per side.) I haven't done those yet. I only did the front axle rear lower control arm bushings (2x per car, 1x per side.)
What I've refreshed is apparently referred to as the "Guide Link" in some literature and has a much larger bushing than the front lower link which is just "Control Arm". I did this on the recommendation of Dennis at Pit Row in Santa Clara.
The bushings were toast, so I guess it was fine advice.

EDIT 2: Just noticed the Bentley wheels. Does that mean you're running 295mm tires? :D
 
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