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Replacing Audi A4 Rear Suspension Bushings
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Replacing Audi A4 Rear Suspension Bushings

Steve Vernon

Time:

6 hours6 hrs

Tab:

$10 to $400

Talent:

****

Tools:

18mm wrench, 18mm socket, T30, T35 Torx, breaker bar, hydraulic press

Applicable Models:

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

Parts Required:

New control arm bushings, mount and/or arms

Hot Tip:

Freeze the new bushings

Performance Gain:

Better handling

Complementary Modification:

Install performance struts and springs

The rear suspension on the Audi A4 is made up of four major components that all have bushings in them; the trailing arm, the wheel bearing housing, the tie rod and the track control arm. Some signs of a bushing going bad are sloppy handling, a knocking sound when the vehicle changes direction or a wiggle when driving straight. These bushing get a lot of wear and tear and should be checked every 30,000 miles. Any deterioration or deformation of the rubber in the bushing can lead to lack of performance and eventually metal on metal contact; the bushing should be changed out long before this point.

The trailing arm is the lower triangulation point for the suspension and has four mounting points; it mounts to the chassis in two points on the inward section of the arm and mounts to the wheel bearing housing and tie rod on the outer section. The inward bushing has a concentric washer on it that helps set the alignment and should be marker to get the alignment as close as possible upon reinstallation. When preforming this job you have several options from replacing the complete components to pressing out the old bushings from the mounts and installing new OEM, or upgrading the mounts.

You will need to remove the trailing arm from the vehicle to replace the bushings or arm, but several of the bushings on the other components can be replaced while still in the vehicle if you have the right bearing puller/press. If you remove the components you can use a hydraulic press to press out and press in the new bushings. Hydraulic presses are not expensive and if you plan on doing any serious DIY work on your car they can be a great addition to your garage. If you do not own a press you can still save yourself some money by removing the tracking arm or wheel bearing carrier from the car and taking it to a machine shop to have them press the new bushings in for you or just replacing the whole arm and skipping the need for a press.

You will need to jack up the car and remove the rear wheels, the brake caliper and rotor, the wheel speed senor and at the minimum safely compress the spring to perform this job, please see our articles on these projects for further assistance. I strongly recommend removing the shock and spring as it will give you a LOT more room to work. This is not a job you should try and rush through. Give yourself a break and take the extra time to give yourself the room to work. Note: you should never attempt to remove any suspension component with the spring under load! The spring is under tremendous pressure and can cause serious damage to you and the vehicle is the tension on the spring is not removed before working on suspension components.

Before you begin removing the old bushings place the new ones in the freezer. Freezing them over night will help in the installation process.

All the hardware involved with this job are single use and need to be replaced. If you are replacing suspension components it is a very good idea to get the cars alignment done when you are finished

With everything described above removed you should be looking at the hub and dust shield.
Figure 1

With everything described above removed you should be looking at the hub and dust shield. Remove the three T30 screws holding the dust shield in place and slide it off the hub.

Tie Rod- The tie rod (red arrow) connects to the chassis (green arrow) and the wheel bearing housing and trailing arm (yellow arrow).
Figure 2

Tie Rod- The tie rod (red arrow) connects to the chassis (green arrow) and the wheel bearing housing and trailing arm (yellow arrow).

Tie Rod- The tie rod (yellow arrow) and trailing arm (red arrow) are connected to the chassis side by a single 18mm bolt.
Figure 3

Tie Rod- The tie rod (yellow arrow) and trailing arm (red arrow) are connected to the chassis side by a single 18mm bolt. If the spring has been removed and no other hardware removed you can remove the 18mm nut and slip the bolt out far enough to remove the tie rod from the mounting bracket.

Tie Rod- Use an 18mm socket and wrench and remove the single long bolt that holds the tie rod (yellow arrow) and wheel bearing housing to the trailing arm (red arrow).
Figure 4

Tie Rod- Use an 18mm socket and wrench and remove the single long bolt that holds the tie rod (yellow arrow) and wheel bearing housing to the trailing arm (red arrow).

Tie Rod- All the hardware involved with this job are single use and need to be replaced.
Figure 5

Tie Rod- All the hardware involved with this job are single use and need to be replaced.

Tie Rod- The tie rod bushings can be pressed out and new bearings pressed in if you have the proper bearing puller tool while the tie rod is still in the vehicle, you only need to drop one side at a time to do it this way (red arrows).
Figure 6

Tie Rod- The tie rod bushings can be pressed out and new bearings pressed in if you have the proper bearing puller tool while the tie rod is still in the vehicle, you only need to drop one side at a time to do it this way (red arrows). If you do not have the tool you can take press the bearings out in a hydraulic press at home, take it to a shop and have them press the bearings in or just replace the tie rod as new ones come complete with new bearings installed.

Wheel Bearing Housing- The wheel bearing housing connects to the trailing arm in two places.
Figure 7

Wheel Bearing Housing- The wheel bearing housing connects to the trailing arm in two places. There is a bearing in the housing (red arrow) as well as a bearing in the trailing arm (yellow arrow).

Wheel Bearing Housing- Use an 18mm socket and wrench and remove the single nut and bolt attaching the tie rod, wheel carrier housing and training arm together (yellow arrow).
Figure 8

Wheel Bearing Housing- Use an 18mm socket and wrench and remove the single nut and bolt attaching the tie rod, wheel carrier housing and training arm together (yellow arrow).

Wheel Bearing Housing- Use an 18mm socket and wrench and remove the single nut and bolt that connects the wheel carrier housing to the trailing arm.
Figure 9

Wheel Bearing Housing- Use an 18mm socket and wrench and remove the single nut and bolt that connects the wheel carrier housing to the trailing arm. The bushing for this joint is inside the wheel bearing housing (red arrow).

Wheel Bearing Housing- If you have the proper bearing puller tool you can now press the old bearing out from the wheel bearing housing (red arrow) while it is still connected to the track control arm.
Figure 10

Wheel Bearing Housing- If you have the proper bearing puller tool you can now press the old bearing out from the wheel bearing housing (red arrow) while it is still connected to the track control arm. You can now also press out the bearing for the trailing arm (yellow arrow) though at the time of publishing new bearing where not available separately for the trailing arm.

Wheel Bearing Housing- When pressing the new bearing in be aware that the bearing is not symmetrical and larger on one side (red arrow).
Figure 11

Wheel Bearing Housing- When pressing the new bearing in be aware that the bearing is not symmetrical and larger on one side (red arrow). Make sure have frozen the bearing first and press in smaller end first (yellow arrow).

Wheel Bearing Housing- If you do not have a bearing puller and are going to press the bearing out yourself or take the wheel bearing carrier to ta shop and have them do it you will need to disconnect the track control arm from the bearing housing.
Figure 12

Wheel Bearing Housing- If you do not have a bearing puller and are going to press the bearing out yourself or take the wheel bearing carrier to ta shop and have them do it you will need to disconnect the track control arm from the bearing housing. There is a concentric washer that is used in aligning the geometry of the suspension, even though you will need to have the alignment redone it is a good idea to mark this washer (red arrow) so you can get the suspension close on reassembly.

Wheel Bearing Housing- Use an 18mm socket and wrench and remove the single nut and bolt that connect the upper section of the wheel bearing housing (red arrow) to the track control arm (yellow arrow).
Figure 13

Wheel Bearing Housing- Use an 18mm socket and wrench and remove the single nut and bolt that connect the upper section of the wheel bearing housing (red arrow) to the track control arm (yellow arrow).

Wheel Bearing Housing- Use care as the wheel bearing carrier will now be free all of its mounts and you do not want to drop it.
Figure 14

Wheel Bearing Housing- Use care as the wheel bearing carrier will now be free all of its mounts and you do not want to drop it.

Wheel Bearing Housing- You can now take the housing to your press and press out the old bearing and a new on in or have a shop do it for you if you do not have a press.
Figure 15

Wheel Bearing Housing- You can now take the housing to your press and press out the old bearing and a new on in or have a shop do it for you if you do not have a press.

Track Control Arm- The track control arm is connected to the wheel bearing housing (yellow arrow) and the chassis (red arrow).
Figure 16

Track Control Arm- The track control arm is connected to the wheel bearing housing (yellow arrow) and the chassis (red arrow).

Track Control Arm- There is a concentric washer that is used in aligning the geometry of the suspension, even though you will need to have the alignment redone it is a good idea to mark this washer (red arrow) so you can get the suspension close on reassembly.
Figure 17

Track Control Arm- There is a concentric washer that is used in aligning the geometry of the suspension, even though you will need to have the alignment redone it is a good idea to mark this washer (red arrow) so you can get the suspension close on reassembly.

Track Control Arm- Use an 18mm socket and wrench and remove the single nut and bolt that connect the upper section of the wheel bearing housing (red arrow) to the track control arm (yellow arrow).
Figure 18

Track Control Arm- Use an 18mm socket and wrench and remove the single nut and bolt that connect the upper section of the wheel bearing housing (red arrow) to the track control arm (yellow arrow).

Track Control Arm- If you have a bearing puller you can now replace the bearing on the wheel bearing housing end (red arrow).
Figure 19

Track Control Arm- If you have a bearing puller you can now replace the bearing on the wheel bearing housing end (red arrow). If you do not have this tool, need to replace both bearings or are going to replace the whole arm you will need to remove the single bolt from the chassis end.

Track Control Arm- It is much easier to remove the track control arm from the chassis if you lower the sub-frame.
Figure 20

Track Control Arm- It is much easier to remove the track control arm from the chassis if you lower the sub-frame. The sub-frame is held in place by two long 18mm bolts on each side. To access the front bolt use a T35 Torx and remove the three Torx screws holding the lower guard in place. With the lower guard removed you can get easy access to the from sub-frame bolt (red arrow). Note that the spring is compressed at this point (yellow arrow) if you have not already removed it.

Track Control Arm- With the rear sub-frame bolt still safely secured loosen the front bolt (yellow arrow).
Figure 21

Track Control Arm- With the rear sub-frame bolt still safely secured loosen the front bolt (yellow arrow). You can see in this picture that the bolt can be lowered approximately 1 inch and still have plenty of thread to safely support the sub-frame.

Track Control Arm- Slowly lower the rear sub-frame bolt (red arrow) until the sub-frame has lower approximately one inch.
Figure 22

Track Control Arm- Slowly lower the rear sub-frame bolt (red arrow) until the sub-frame has lower approximately one inch. This will give you more room to access the inward mounting bolt.

Track Control Arm- After the sub-frame has been lowered (yellow arrow) it is much easier to get access to the 18mm nut and bolt (red arrow).
Figure 23

Track Control Arm- After the sub-frame has been lowered (yellow arrow) it is much easier to get access to the 18mm nut and bolt (red arrow).

Trailing Arm- If you are replacing the trailing arm you will need to follow the steps for removing the wheel bearing housing form the trailing arm and lowering the sub-frame that are listed above.
Figure 24

Trailing Arm- If you are replacing the trailing arm you will need to follow the steps for removing the wheel bearing housing form the trailing arm and lowering the sub-frame that are listed above. Next you will need to disconnect any lines or accessories connected to the trailing arm (this will differ depending on how your vehicle is optioned). In this photo you can see that the wheel bearing housing has been fully removed for phot graphic purposes, you only need to disconnect it form the trailing arm. The sub-frame has also already been lowered (green arrows) giving you more room to access the chassis mounting points (red and green arrows).

Trailing Arm- The tie rod (yellow arrow) and trailing arm (red arrow) are connected to the chassis side by a single 18mm bolt.
Figure 25

Trailing Arm- The tie rod (yellow arrow) and trailing arm (red arrow) are connected to the chassis side by a single 18mm bolt. Use an 18mm wrench and socket to separate the trailing arm from this mounting point. Support the weight of the trailing arm with a jack at this point.

Trailing Arm- here is a concentric washer on the back side of the forward mounting point on the trialing arm (red arrow).
Figure 26

Trailing Arm- here is a concentric washer on the back side of the forward mounting point on the trialing arm (red arrow). It is a good idea to mark this.

Trailing Arm- Mark the concentric washer on the bolt side of the forward mount (red arrow) and use an 18mm wrench and socket to remove the single bolt.
Figure 27

Trailing Arm- Mark the concentric washer on the bolt side of the forward mount (red arrow) and use an 18mm wrench and socket to remove the single bolt. The trailing arm is now free and can be replaced. Installation is the reverse of removal. The vehicle must be back under its own weight before final torqueing and alignment.



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