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Audi A4 Replacing Front Lower Control Arms
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Audi A4 Replacing Front Lower Control Arms

Steve Vernon

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$100 to $150

Talent:

***

Tools:

18mm sockets, 18mm, 16mm wrenches, 4mm Allen, ball joint spreader, floor jack, jack stands, wheel chocks, safety glasses, torque wrench, penetrating oil

Applicable Models:

Audi A4 (2002-05)
Audi A4 Cabriolet (2003-06)

Parts Required:

New control arms, all new nuts and bolts to replace old hardware

Hot Tip:

Hit all the hardware with penetrating oil before you begin

Performance Gain:

Ability to hold a proper alignment

Complementary Modification:

Front shock/spring replacement, front tie-rod replacement

The front suspension on the Audi A4 consists of two upper control arms that basically form an upper A-arm and a lower guide link and control link that connect to the wheel bearing housing. The strut and sway bar also connect to the lower control link. Note: if your vehicle is equipped with a level control system, you must remove the sensor-retaining clip on the left control link before removing.

The links can get damaged by road debris and the bearings will just wear out over time. If you are starting to feel a little slop in the front end, hearing a clicking sound when turning or it has been over 10,000 miles since you last checked, you should check the condition of all the suspension components including the lower links and replace as needed. Audi does not offer new bushings for the links, so your only option is to replace the entire link.

You will need to safely raise and support the vehicle to perform this work. Please see our article on safely jacking up and supporting your Audi A4. It is a good idea to hit the hardware with penetrating oil before you begin, especially if you live in a four-season climate. Note: the bonded rubber bushings have a limited torsional range and can only be tightened with the vehicle in driving position; this means back on the ground. Tightening the bushings without the vehicle in the proper position will result in over stressing the bushing and shortening their life span. Audi considers all hardware to be single use only and recommends replacement with new hardware after each use.

This photo illustrates the two lower links.
Figure 1

This photo illustrates the two lower links. You can see where the guide link connects to the chassis and wheel bearing housing (red arrows), as well as where the control link connects to the chassis and bearing housing (yellow arrow). Note that the ball joint on the guide link faces upward and the control link faces downward. It is a good idea to hit the hardware with penetrating oil before you begin, especially if you live in a four-season climate.

To remove the lower control link first, remove the strut and sway bar connections (green arrows).
Figure 2

To remove the lower control link first, remove the strut and sway bar connections (green arrows). You can unbolt the strut bolt using two 18mm wrench or socket combinations, while the sway bar bracket is 16mm. Next, you will need to disconnect the control link from the wheel bearing housing (red arrow) and the chassis (yellow arrow). Note: if your vehicle is equipped with a level control system, you must remove the sensor retaining clip on the left control link before removing.

Use an 18mm socket to hold the bolt (yellow arrow) and remove the 18mm nut using a wrench (red arrow).
Figure 3

Use an 18mm socket to hold the bolt (yellow arrow) and remove the 18mm nut using a wrench (red arrow).

The control link is connected to the bearing housing with a ball joint.
Figure 4

The control link is connected to the bearing housing with a ball joint. Use a 4mm Allen to keep the ball joint shaft from turning (yellow arrow) and remove the nut using an 18mm wrench (red arrow).

Use a ball joint separator to separate the link from the housing (red arrow).
Figure 5

Use a ball joint separator to separate the link from the housing (red arrow).

The new ball joint should have a good fitting rubber boot with no tears or cracks (red arrow).
Figure 6

The new ball joint should have a good fitting rubber boot with no tears or cracks (red arrow).

Remove the guide link from the chassis using an 18mm socket to hold the bolt (yellow arrow).
Figure 7

Remove the guide link from the chassis using an 18mm socket to hold the bolt (yellow arrow). Then using an 18 wrench, reach up through the access port in the chassis and remove the nut (red arrow)

Remove the ball joint from the bearing housing in the same manner as you remove the guide link ball joint (red arrow).
Figure 8

Remove the ball joint from the bearing housing in the same manner as you remove the guide link ball joint (red arrow).

Installation of the links is the reverse of removal.
Figure 9

Installation of the links is the reverse of removal. Note: the bonded rubber bushings have a limited torsional range and can only be tightened with the vehicle in driving position; this means back on the ground. Tightening the bushings without the vehicle in the proper position will result in over stressing the bushing and shortening their life span. Audi considers all hardware to be single use only and recommends replacement with new hardware after each use.


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