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Pelican Technical Article:

Replacing Rear Springs

Steve Vernon

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$100 to $200

Talent:

**

Tools:

Jack, jack stands, 16mm socket, 16mm wrench

Applicable Models:

VW Golf GTI (1999-00)
VW Golf GTI 1.8T (2002-05)
VW Golf GTI 20th Anniversary (2003)
VW Golf GTI 337 (2002)
VW Golf GTI GLS (2001)
VW Golf GTI GLX (2000-01)
VW Golf GTI VR6 (2002-05)

Parts Required:

New springs, shock mounting bolts

Hot Tip:

Check your bushings

Performance Gain:

Better handling

Complementary Modification:

New shocks

The springs on your car are an import component of the suspension system and along with the shocks should checked at least once a year. You want to look for worn out bushings/mounts along with any damage including rust to the spring. People also like to change out there springs when performing suspension modifications on their cars. If you are interested in changing your springs out for after market or a sportier spring rate make sure you match up the shocks to go with your new springs. The shock and springs work in tandem and just changing one may result in worse performance than when you started.

There are two way to change the springs in a GTI Mark IV. One way is to leave the wheels on the car and lift the whole car and the other is with the wheels off. If you leave the wheels on the car you will have less room to work but it still easily doable.

This article will tell you how to do it both ways and show you how to perform the work with the wheels off the car. Begin by safely raising and supporting the car and removing the rear wheels. Please see our article on raising and supporting your vehicle.

Begin by disconnecting the wheel speed sensor at the hub connection and remove the cable from the grommet in the swing arm. Safely tuck the sensor out of the way so it will not get pinched when moving suspension components.

Place a jack securely under the rear suspension shock pick up area and lift suspension until it is slightly compressed.

Remove the two 16mm bolts holding the shock to the top of the wheelwell. Note: these bolts are single use only and should always be replaced.

Slowly lower the suspension until it is hanging fee. Note if you are doing this with the wheels on the car you would now lift the car in the air until the suspension is uncompressed. This will uncompress the spring and free it up in its upper and lower mounting points. Depending on where you live and how old the car is you may have to gently pry the spring out of its mounts. It is easiest to remove the spring from the bottom.

With the spring out of the car carefully inspect it for damage.

When installing new springs or mounting bushing make sure the spring is sitting in the bushing correctly and that the bushing is flush and flat to the top of the spring.

Installation is the reverse of removal.

Begin by disconnecting the wheel speed sensor at the hub connection (red arrow) and remove the cable from the grommet in the swing arm (yellow arrow).
Figure 1

Begin by disconnecting the wheel speed sensor at the hub connection (red arrow) and remove the cable from the grommet in the swing arm (yellow arrow).

Safely tuck the sensor out of the way (yellow arrow) so it will not get pinched when moving suspension components.
Figure 2

Safely tuck the sensor out of the way (yellow arrow) so it will not get pinched when moving suspension components. Place a jack securely under the rear suspension (red arrow) shock pick up area and lift suspension until it is slightly compressed.

Remove the two 16mm bolts (red arrows) holding the shock to the top of the wheelwell.
Figure 3

Remove the two 16mm bolts (red arrows) holding the shock to the top of the wheelwell. Note: these bolts are single use only and should always be replaced.

Slowly lower the suspension until it is hanging fee.
Figure 4

Slowly lower the suspension until it is hanging fee. Note if you are doing this with the wheels on the car you would now lift the car in the air until the suspension is uncompressed. This will uncompress the spring and free it up in its upper and lower mounting points (red arrows). Depending on where you live and how old the car is you may have to gently pry the spring out of its mounts. It is easiest to remove the spring from the bottom.

With the spring out of the car carefully inspect it for damage.
Figure 5

With the spring out of the car carefully inspect it for damage.

When installing new springs or mounting bushing make sure the spring is sitting in the bushing correctly and that the bushing is flush and flat to the top of the spring (red arrow).
Figure 6

When installing new springs or mounting bushing make sure the spring is sitting in the bushing correctly and that the bushing is flush and flat to the top of the spring (red arrow).

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Comments and Suggestions:
Ken Comments: On a VW 2009 Citi Golf, looks like the same set-up with the rear spring just sitting in the other structural members - top and bottom of the spring. I think the car had been bumped into a post on the rear corner and it must have initially somewhat and then gradually unseated or deflected the spring more at the bottom. After a long time of driving, and then the last day before with extra weight in the car's rear seat and a long drive, it appeared to have shifted the spring more off centre and it was rubbing at the inside bottom on the outside edge of the larger cup of the metal piece that the spring sat in.
Maybe a speed bump was hit too hard?
First day, it made a very funny kind of loud pong noise for two miles at occasional times and the next day, this changed to a series of more often smaller pong, pong, pongs as the spring grated on the piece it sits in.
Lifting the car's back end up and down by the body made the sound repeat sometimes when trying to determine what it might be.
The local tire guy I go to removed the tire, we then saw this mis-positioning of the spring and his man pried the spring back into place and that was that. I think the spring dropped a bit and re-seated itself better around the lip of the inner hole that it is positioned about from the factory. We sprayed some oil or lubricant on it where it seats and on the way home it seems fine a short drive.
I was surprised the spring just sits in position. I suppose it is simple and works because anything in this area is subject to rust.
Maybe this will help others who have this mysterious pong sound. When you hear it you can tell something is binding and freeing, causing the sound.
July 2, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for sharing your repair process and experience. These type of comments add so much to the Pelican tech community.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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