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Upper control arm failure - seeking repair advice

752 Views 8 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  pipes
A couple weeks ago I started a post about clunking noises and a control arm failure as being the possible cause. It's now confirmed. I know this because I just failed my state vehicle safety inspection and the inspection station found a bad upper control arm. There is excessive play in the arm. The car is a '98 with 34,000 miles.
Since my car is beyond the warranty period, I called the VW consumer line (800-822-VWUS) to ask them to cover the repair charge, especially since I also had lower control arm failures (both sides) at around 20,000 miles. They agreed to open a case on it and will coordinate with my local VW dealer who will look at the car next week. VW will make a decision based on what the dealer finds.
I know this topic has been covered before but I want some fresh input, so here are my questions: Who has gotten VW to cover control arm repair charges beyond the warranty period? If you have aftermarket suspension components (as I do), were you denied for this reason? If you were successful in getting VW to pay despite the aftermarket suspension, what did it take (if anything) to convince them? I am trying to anticipate what might happen when I bring the car in.
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Re: Upper control arm failure - seeking repair advice (Jake)

Last December I needed a new front-upper ball joint and linkage. The ball joint is at the end of the control arm where the control arm attaches to the hub carrier.
The total cost was $490. VW agreed to pick up the parts because I was only 1000 miles over my warranty. The parts were $250. The dealer handled all negotiations with VW and my car was ready the same day I brought it in.
They didn't say anything about my aftermarket suspension. Maybe because I only lowered my car .75" or they just didn't notice the different colored shocks and springs.

Re: Upper control arm failure - seeking repair advice (Jake)

When my 98 Passat 1.8T lower control arms were replaced - due to bad bushings (right side at 27,000 mi and left side at 31,000 mi) VW covered the parts and I paid for install. I have kept maintenance records current with local VW dealership (important in VW's review of your case) and the suspension is stock.
Re: Upper control arm failure - seeking repair advice (AlphaPepper)

A LOT of passats, especially 1998s have had this problem. (including mine) and that is likley why VW agreed to consider it. I needed basicly a whole new front suspension. It was under warentee but the parts would have been 1000+, and it took the dealer the better part of a day to instal them.
I could be wrong but I dont think new springs would aggrivate the suspension in a way to casue failure. Its my understanding that it is a manufacturing defect in the bushings and bearings that casued premature wear. The dealer told me that their is nothing I could have done to casue it or prevent it. I take whatever dealers say with a grain of salt, but I think he was right with this.
Re: Upper control arm failure - seeking repair advice (CT-passat)

Get it repaired then do the following prescribed in this article: http://www.clubb5.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/009760.html
Re: Upper control arm failure - seeking repair advice (Jake)

I too have a '98 Passat, and have control arm problems since I bought the car. Two weeks ago I returned to the dealer after already having 2 control arms replaced, and I need the "control arm maintenance kit". The cost - $950. I about hit the roof I was so mad. I gave VW a call, and though with my initial call they stated they probably could not do anything because the age and miles of the car (4.5 years old, 65,000 miles), they later decided to pay 100% of the repair. I was shocked (and so was the dealer) because normally they only pick up a portion of the tab when the car is out of warranty.
My suggestion, print off everything you can find from this web page about the control arm problem and raise a stink. It is a known problem, though they will not admit it. If you keep after them, they should pay for some of it, if not all!
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Re: Upper control arm failure - seeking repair advice (Jake)

Here's a followup on the case which is the subject of this particular thread. I opened a case with VW and after confirmation of the diagnosis by the dealer, VW is going to cover 50% of the parts cost. The issue of the aftermarket suspension was never raised. It turns out, according to the dealer, the total cost of the repair (the control arm on one side only) before the VW coverage would have been "only" $245, so I'll end up paying somewhat less than that out of pocket.
Re: Upper control arm failure - seeking repair advice (Jake)

christ, you can't even pass state inspection, and VW still won't admit there's a problem. keeping my fingers crossed.
Re: Upper control arm failure - seeking repair advice (Triumph)

I am not looking forward to my 40K mile maint. I hear slight groaning @ 32K miles...
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