Sunday, May 3, 2009

Strut Mounts a 1998 Volkswagen Story.

1998 Volkswagen GTI front strut mounts.

As I have found out with the VWs, German engineers can be pricks. A few weeks ago I went and gave out strut mounts, which had started to pop up, a shake. The whole strut rattled around like an off balance washing machine. This confirmed my suspicion of the strut mounts. For weeks every time you turned a sharp corner a clunking was heard.

So I gave a quick peek at the tech manual, remove the strut, then the spring, then do the mounts. Wow that was complicated. I decided on another method.
I un mounted the top shock mounts. Quickly I found out the whole strut bolt will turn. You have to have a hex key in top of the bolt, which mean the hex has to go through the socket, and the socket has to be turned with a 1. Pair of vice grips 2. An adjustable wrench/wrench that will fit the socket base 3. (my favorite) a big ass pipe wrench. I used a pipe wrench because my sockets were not squared off but round, later I used my grinder to flatten the sides of the socket I needed just to make sure they were tight.

Then I loosed the second nut, watch out for VW they like to throw in special nuts, which need special tools. Or as I did I just cut a 13mm to have teeth, took it off, and found a nut that fit so I will never have to use my newly made tool again. With my pipe wrench, socket and hex key I loosened the bottom mount.
So after getting the top mount off and bottom mount loosened. I set onto my next step.

I jacked the car up with from A frame arm, compressing the coils. Now I took my spring compressors and snugged them up on the coil. I then took my other jack and jacked at the body, just a bit higher than the other jack. Then I lowered the jack under the A frame arm, letting the coil (compressed) and strut come down. I reached up under the wheel well and pulled the bottom mount out. Then I put the new mount in. I then jacked up the strut and spring and lined it up with the top mount.
You have to make sure the top mount is lined up with the spring, or you’ll still have clunking, forever, or until the spring finds it way home.

So with everything lined up I put the mounts back together, same way they came off. Put the new bottom mount in, jack it up, put the nut on, put the top mount on, and then put the top nut on. And took my spring compressors off. Pretty easy.
Way easier than taking the strut off, and this way only takes you 10-15 minutes. I have found though expect any job to take longer with a VW, as they like to hide secrets. One side of the struts has a Standard hex size; the other side had a metric.

But behold the beauty that is VWs. Expensive parts, constantly needing fixed and good luck finding a mechanic that can really fix one. I do not have a code reader for the VW. So the wife took the car to a shop to get the codes read. Where she was told the VW didn’t have a computer. She then went to AutoZone, where they found the computer and gave her a list of codes. So much for the VW mechanics around here. I’m better than they are anyway.

So with the list of codes I have to start attacking the new problems. Old problems have been fixed. New starter, new strut mounts, new antenna, new horn, new washer pump, all done, and I have left several things. Next on my list was the fuel pump, a 350 dollar fix, then I found either a simple or complex problem. Antifreeze on the side of the block. Before you go hollering’ head gasket!!!! The thermostat housing is right above where the fluid is, so is all three hose hook ups, off of the thermostat housing. So those are prime suspects. The car runs too good for me suspect the head gasket, and doesn’t overheat. So I suspect the thermostat gasket, or hose is leaking. That I will have to keep an eye on, there is chance I sloshed it over on the block adding some antifreeze to the round radiator tank VW’s have.

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