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VW / Audi Front Bumper Removal and Service Position
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

VW / Audi Front Bumper Removal and Service Position

Peter Bodensteiner

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$0

Talent:

***

Tools:

Flat-blade screwdriver, ratchet, extension

Applicable Models:

 
Audi A4 (1997-01)
Audi A4 Quattro (1997-01)
Audi TT (2000-04)
Audi TT Quattro (2000-04)
VW Beetle (1999-02)
VW Golf (2000-02)
VW Jetta (2000-02)
VW Passat (1996-00)

Hot Tip:

Patience!

Performance Gain:

You get more room to work with!

Complementary Modification:

None

Similar to the process of jacking up the car, this project is more of a means to an end than an end in itself. In other words, it is a procedure that must be done before performing many other projects on the A4--so many that it deserves its own write-up.

The project explained here entails first removing the front bumper. This is necessary to service the headlight washers and to reach the radiator drain petcock in the case of the 1.8T, with its side-mounted intercooler and associated ducting.

When changing the timing belt or accessory belts, among other projects, removing the bumper is only the first step. In order to improve access to the front of the engine, Audi created an ingenious solution. It designed a radiator support panel that can be slid forward to provide many inches of clearance at the front of the engine compartment. This panel can be moved without disconnecting the radiator hoses, AC lines, electrical wiring, and other major connections that extend to components that are part of the radiator support panel - the hoses and wires in question are all long enough to reach to the service position.

This project is not particularly difficult, but it involves many fasteners and components and a few tricks I'll show you along the way. You may notice in the photographs that I have removed the fender liners, but this is not a necessary step when performing this project.

The first step is to remove the small plastic grilles on either side of the bumper.
Figure 1

The first step is to remove the small plastic grilles on either side of the bumper. Each grille has two plastic clips to the outboard side, one on top and one on the bottom, that keep it secured to the bumper. Use a flat-blade screwdriver to gently move the clips away from the bumper. This photo shows the passenger-side grille.

Once the clips are released, you can pull the grille away from the bumper, rotating the outboard edge away from the car first.
Figure 2

Once the clips are released, you can pull the grille away from the bumper, rotating the outboard edge away from the car first. There is a clip on the inboard side as well, but it should release naturally as you rotate the grille.

This view of the driver's side grille should give you an idea of the configuration of the clips on the back of the grille.
Figure 3

This view of the driver's side grille should give you an idea of the configuration of the clips on the back of the grille. This grille feeds air to the duct that supplies the side-mounted intercooler. Some manuals indicate that you can reach the radiator petcock here, but on 1.8T cars, the petcock is blocked by this ducting.

You now have access to a 6mm Allen-head bolt that secures the bumper to bumper support rams that are part of the radiator support panel.
Figure 4

You now have access to a 6mm Allen-head bolt that secures the bumper to bumper support rams that are part of the radiator support panel. There's one on each side of the bumper.

These bolts are longer than you'd think.
Figure 5

These bolts are longer than you'd think. When you re-attach the bumper, tighten these to 17 ft-lb.

On the leading side of each front wheel well are four fasteners you'll have to deal with.
Figure 6

On the leading side of each front wheel well are four fasteners you'll have to deal with. The bottom two are Torx T-20s.

Once you've removed the Torx fasteners (note that the fender liner is removed in this photo of the passenger-side wheel well), you'll need to release the top two plastic fasteners.
Figure 7

Once you've removed the Torx fasteners (note that the fender liner is removed in this photo of the passenger-side wheel well), you'll need to release the top two plastic fasteners. Wedge your fingers under the black plastic edge of the bumper to pry the fasteners loose. They stay with the bumper when you remove it.

Next you can start separating the bumper from the car.
Figure 8

Next you can start separating the bumper from the car. The bumper is mounted to the car with a black, triangular plastic piece with two "claws" on top and one on the bottom. Your goal is to free the bumper from these claws. Place something underneath the bumper to rest it upon once it starts to come loose. You need to protect it from scrapes and manipulate it a bit to disconnect some wiring and plumbing. Start on the driver's side (shown--again note the fender liner has been removed). It will take some wrestling, but the general idea is to push the bumper down and slide it to the rear to release it from the mounting. Once the end of the bumper is free you can pull it forward and away from the car a little bit.

Here you can see that the bumper has cleared the black bumper support ram (it's a tight fit in a slot in the aluminum part of the bumper--the same slot where the headlight washer hose fits).
Figure 9

Here you can see that the bumper has cleared the black bumper support ram (it's a tight fit in a slot in the aluminum part of the bumper--the same slot where the headlight washer hose fits). The headlight washer hose runs from washer fluid reservoir to a plastic T fitting, which splits the feed between the two headlight washers. The supply line to the passenger-side washer runs through the aluminum bumper support. You need to disconnect the hose in order to fully free the bumper.

Ideally you would disconnect the main feed line from the T fitting; in my case the weather-worn T fitting gave up the ghost.
Figure 10

Ideally you would disconnect the main feed line from the T fitting; in my case the weather-worn T fitting gave up the ghost. Note that washer fluid will leak out when you disconnect the hoses.

Next, disconnect the wiring to the left-front fog light.
Figure 11

Next, disconnect the wiring to the left-front fog light. Refer to the photo later on that shows how to release the connector with a screwdriver.

Here the bumper has been pulled away on the passenger side, again with the bumper sliding past the tight-fitting bumper support ram.
Figure 12

Here the bumper has been pulled away on the passenger side, again with the bumper sliding past the tight-fitting bumper support ram. In the background you can easily see the passenger-side fog light connection.

Use a flat-blade screwdriver to release the wiring connector on the fog light.
Figure 13

Use a flat-blade screwdriver to release the wiring connector on the fog light.

For reference, here is a nice back-side view of the passenger side of the bumper after it has been removed.
Figure 14

For reference, here is a nice back-side view of the passenger side of the bumper after it has been removed.

Now that the bumper is out of the way (store it someplace where it will be safe from scratches and other damage) you can start preparing the radiator support panel for its move to the service position.
Figure 15

Now that the bumper is out of the way (store it someplace where it will be safe from scratches and other damage) you can start preparing the radiator support panel for its move to the service position. First, disconnect the duct from that feeds the airbox...

.
Figure 16

...remove the two Phillips-head screws holding the forward section of the intake duct to the support panel...

.
Figure 17

...and remove the duct.

Two 10mm bolts are used to attach the power steering cooler plumbing to brackets on the front of the radiator/air conditioning condenser assembly.
Figure 18

Two 10mm bolts are used to attach the power steering cooler plumbing to brackets on the front of the radiator/air conditioning condenser assembly. The first one is front and center ...

.
Figure 19

... and the second is hidden behind the intercooler ducting, which I have bent out of the way for this photo. Note that the orange radiator drain petcock is also located here.

The ambient temperature sensor is attached to the power steering cooler bracket as well, and its wiring must also be freed from clips that secure it to the radiator.
Figure 20

The ambient temperature sensor is attached to the power steering cooler bracket as well, and its wiring must also be freed from clips that secure it to the radiator.

The rubber molding that surrounds the engine compartment is divided into sections, and the front section must be freed.
Figure 21

The rubber molding that surrounds the engine compartment is divided into sections, and the front section must be freed. Simply peel it off of the flange on the inside of the fender.

Each side of the radiator support panel is secured from the top by two Torx T-30 fasteners.
Figure 22

Each side of the radiator support panel is secured from the top by two Torx T-30 fasteners. Remove these.

An additional Torx T-30 fastener is found on each side of the radiator support panel.
Figure 23

An additional Torx T-30 fastener is found on each side of the radiator support panel. These are just below the headlights and face to the outside.

Next, disconnect this wiring connector just above the passenger-side bumper support ram.
Figure 24

Next, disconnect this wiring connector just above the passenger-side bumper support ram. Squeeze the two wire clips on either side of the connector and pull it free.

At this point your Bentley manual will tell you that you need to insert a special tool to support the radiator support panel when it is slid out into the service position.
Figure 25

At this point your Bentley manual will tell you that you need to insert a special tool to support the radiator support panel when it is slid out into the service position. As you can see here, I followed the advice of the Haynes and Chilton manuals and rolled my own, using a piece of threaded stock and some hex nuts. It wasn't as easy as it sounds, though. It was difficult to find the correct threaded stock at a hardware store because it is a metric thread (8M x 1.25). So I was forced to buy a full meter length at Fastenal and cut it to two 10-inch lengths. It may be possible to use a smaller, standard-threaded rod--one that would not mar the car's threads but that would simply pass through the threaded hole without turning--and then secure it with nuts on the inside of the car, as well as on the outside end as shown here. It's possible that a smaller rod might not hold the weight of the radiator support panel as well, but you could supplement the rods by placing something on the floor under the panel.

Once your support rod is in place, you can remove the three Torx T-45 fasteners that secure the radiator support panel to the car in the area surrounding the bumper ram on each side of the car.
Figure 26

Once your support rod is in place, you can remove the three Torx T-45 fasteners that secure the radiator support panel to the car in the area surrounding the bumper ram on each side of the car. Here the lower inside bolt is already removed.

If you have a 1.
Figure 27

If you have a 1.8T, you'll also have to disconnect some intercooler hoses. The radiator support panel incorporates some ducting between the turbocharger and the intercooler; the rubber hoses running between these components and the support panel's ducting can't stretch when the support panel moves. This photo shows the connection at the base of the intercooler.

I loosened the hose clamp, removed the hose, and was surprised to find a few ounces of oil on the floor of my garage.
Figure 28

I loosened the hose clamp, removed the hose, and was surprised to find a few ounces of oil on the floor of my garage. My advice, therefore, is to have a drain pan handy. At this stage I'm unsure if this is a bad sign or not. It's true that turbocharged cars often have some oil in the intercooler piping, as crankcase ventilation lines lead into this piping in order to send oil vapors into the intake stream, where they can be burned by the engine. It could also be a problem with the turbo, which has an oil-fed center section and could be leaking some oil.

This is the hose just after the turbocharger as it connects to the hard pipe that is part of the radiator support panel.
Figure 29

This is the hose just after the turbocharger as it connects to the hard pipe that is part of the radiator support panel. You must also disconnect this hose. I was anticipating more oil leakage after disconnecting this one, but there was none.

Alright, we're ready to start pulling the radiator support panel forward.
Figure 30

Alright, we're ready to start pulling the radiator support panel forward. In this photo it's easy to see the inspiration for the later-model Nuvolari-nose Audis, with their tall vertical grilles.

As you pull the radiator support panel forward into the service position, keep an eye on various wiring connections and hoses.
Figure 31

As you pull the radiator support panel forward into the service position, keep an eye on various wiring connections and hoses. If you feel any resistance, investigate the reason why and move things out of the way as needed. Looking down into the engine compartment behind the radiator, you can see some wiring surrounding the fan shroud that was attached with a zip tie, rather than with the metal clip as from the factory. I had to cut the zip tie in order to move things along. I also recommend removing the plastic duct that leads to the side-mounted intercooler. Because it is wider toward the front of the car, it interferes with the radiator support panel as you move it away from the car. To the right you can see the homemade threaded rod tool that is holding up the radiator support panel, as well as the part of the body (painted) that it threads into.

You can easily see how much clearance is gained by employing this service position.
Figure 32

You can easily see how much clearance is gained by employing this service position. This should be enough to change the timing belt, water pump, accessory belts, and so on.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Sparkywillett Comments: I was wondering about the setting of the timing with the crank marks on the cam pulley on with number one cylinder top dead how can you make sure that they can fully is 180 degrees turned opposite of the mark to make sure that it is on I don't want to be off one tooth any help would be most appreciated also one more question when checking my timing belt it said in the service manual that they had recently replaced the belt but all of the parts are original Auto Parts and the timing belt I can pull of thepullys very easily is this normal shouldn't it be a little harder to remove the timing belt
December 4, 2016
Marlon Comments: Thanx Nick, will do...my model is a 2010 A4 2.0 Tdi B8
July 5, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Marlon Comments: no technical articles on any B8 models yet?
July 4, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Keep your eye son this link:

http://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/Audi_tech/Audi_Tech_Index.htm - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
woody Comments: very INFORMATIVE..any pics for a 2008 bug?
March 20, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: We don't currently have that tech article. If we get a chance to perform the procedure, we will be sure to document it.

I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Bennie Comments: Great help!
January 16, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
danny Comments: I found using the bumper to ram bolts worked perfect to slid the radiator support panel into the service position!
December 5, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
filjako Comments: can u please expand on how to use flat screw driver in releasing the wire connector of the fog lamps.
November 26, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Step 13 shows it. You insert the blade into the connector opening to release the locking tab. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Bayleaf Comments: How do you bleed headlight washer
After taking bumper off
Plenty of water , lights on , pump working , no joy
August 16, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You shouldn't have to. Is the pump running? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
RC Comments: Thanks very much for taking the time to produce such informative, well explained, knowledgeable information, as well as awesome pictures. As I was searching the various sights and looking for way to remove my 99 passat front bumper to access my snub mount, I checked your site and it is no doubt the best!!! If you have any tips on replacing the front snub mount, I would greatly appreciate it if not no worries. Thanks a million.
July 29, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The bumper support? Once the cover is removed, the support strut is held on by a few fasteners. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Equalizer Comments: Awesome guys!!!!!!!!!! Very straight forward, great pics, great dialog.........Thank you so much.........Don...
July 20, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
RegularJoe Comments: i like the straight forward instructions. thanks. can apply these same procedures to 2000 Audi A6 Quattro V8?
January 6, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This tech article applies to:
Audi A4 (1997-01)
Audi TT (2000-04)
VW Passat (1996-00)
VW Golf (2000-02)
VW Jetta (2000-02)
VW Beetle (1999-02) - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
James Comments: Seems pretty straight forward. I am guessing the procedure is pretty much the same when getting room to change the v6 timing belt.
April 17, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sure, the body will be the same.
The article applies to:
Audi A4 (1997-01)
Audi TT (2000-04)
VW Passat (1996-00)
VW Golf (2000-02)
VW Jetta (2000-02)
VW Beetle (1999-02) - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Ryan Comments: I'm looking at buying a used '03 A4 1.8T, I was wondering how different the maintenance is on that Model Year.
April 8, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Maintenance on what? The entire vehicle? The specific tasks may change, but the general procedures will remain the same. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
jgarnc Comments: Great writeup! Excellent pictures and explained very well.
Thanks!
February 4, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
eddie Comments: Great" how to" better explained than the Haynes book
February 9, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the kind words. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  

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