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Replacing Front Control Arm Bushings
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Replacing Front Control Arm Bushings

Steve Vernon

Time:

6 hours6 hrs

Tab:

$10 to $400

Talent:

****

Tools:

16mm, 18mm socket, hydraulic press

Applicable Models:

VW GTI (2006-09)

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

If you are starting to hear a knock sound when you go around a corner there is a good chance your control arm bushings are starting to go bad. These bushing get a lot of wear and tear and should be checked every 30,000 miles.

The control arm is the lower triangulation point for the suspension and has three mounting points; the ball joint on the steering knuckle, the forward mount and the rearward mount. When performing this job you have several options, from replacing the whole arm and mount, to pressing out the old bushings from the mounts and installing new OEM, or upgrading the mounts. Most owners find the stock OEM bushing too soft for the type of driving they like to do and opt to put stiffer bushings in.

You will need to remove the control arm from the vehicle to replace the bushings or arm. You will also need 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 control arm from the car and taking it to a machine shop to have them press the new bushings in for you. Otherwise, you can replace the whole arm and skip the need for a press.

You will need to jack up the car and remove the front wheels to perform this job, please see our article on safely jacking up and supporting your vehicle. Remember to always wear safety glasses whenever you're working under your car.

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 is single use stretch bolts that need to be replaced. If you are replacing suspension components it is a very good idea to get the car's alignment done when you are finished

This photo illustrates the front control arm from under the car.
Figure 1

This photo illustrates the front control arm from under the car. The control arm is the lower triangulation point for the suspension and has three mounting points: the ball joint on the steering knuckle (green arrow), the forward mount (red arrow) and the rearward mount (yellow arrow).

Remove the three 16mm nuts holding the control arm to the ball joint and steering knuckle (red arrows).
Figure 2

Remove the three 16mm nuts holding the control arm to the ball joint and steering knuckle (red arrows).

Lift up the steering knuckle (red arrow) and lower the control arm (yellow arrow) to separate them.
Figure 3

Lift up the steering knuckle (red arrow) and lower the control arm (yellow arrow) to separate them.

Move to the front mount and remove the single long 18mm bolt (red arrow).
Figure 4

Move to the front mount and remove the single long 18mm bolt (red arrow).

If your rear mount is in bad shape you can remove the arm by pulling it out from the front mount (red arrow) and pulling it forward from the rear mount (yellow arrow).
Figure 5

If your rear mount is in bad shape you can remove the arm by pulling it out from the front mount (red arrow) and pulling it forward from the rear mount (yellow arrow). If you are going to replacing the rear mount you may as well just remove the arm and mount as one piece.

There is one long 18mm bolt (red arrow) and two 16mm bolts that need to be removed to remove the rear mount.
Figure 6

There is one long 18mm bolt (red arrow) and two 16mm bolts that need to be removed to remove the rear mount. Remember these blots are single use stretch bolts and like the rest of the hardware need to be replaced.

You can now remove the arm from the vehicle.
Figure 7

You can now remove the arm from the vehicle. You can purchase and replace the entire arm and bushing (red arrow) or replace the rear (green arrow) or front (yellow arrow) bushing as needed.

The front bushing is a solid rubber insert.
Figure 8

The front bushing is a solid rubber insert. There are several options for replacement of this bushing. Use a press to remove the old one and press in the new one. Do not forget to put the new bushing in the freezer for at least a few hours before you install it.

You can remove the arm from the rear mount.
Figure 9

You can remove the arm from the rear mount. If you are having trouble pulling it off, use a puller (red arrow) to remove it.

The end of the control arm is squared off to fit more precisely into the mount (red arrow).
Figure 10

The end of the control arm is squared off to fit more precisely into the mount (red arrow).

This photo illustrates the rubber section of the rear mount.
Figure 11

This photo illustrates the rubber section of the rear mount. You can see where the arm fits in (red arrow) and how all the factory cut outs in the rubber (yellow arrow) can make the bushing feel soft under spirited driving. You can press this bushing out and replace it with a new OEM bushing or one of a host of aftermarket options. Complete bushings already installed in the mount are also available if you do not have a press or simply want to purchase one that way.

Pressing the bushing out from the mount is straight forward.
Figure 12

Pressing the bushing out from the mount is straight forward. Find a socket large enough to cover the bushing but small enough to fit inside the diameter of the mount and press it out. I used a ball socket tool. Make sure to freeze the new bushing before you press it in.

When installing the control arm make sure to install the hardware loosely (red arrow) first to make sure you have everything lined up.
Figure 13

When installing the control arm make sure to install the hardware loosely (red arrow) first to make sure you have everything lined up. These will be new single use stretch bolts so you will only be able to torque them once. Installation is the reverse of removal. It is a very good idea to get the alignment redone on the vehicle after you complete the work.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Juha Comments: In figure 4, that bolt is easy to take off on the passenger side, but drivers side has gearbox blocking the bolt. How should you get it off?
November 2, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Can you share a photo of the blocked bolt, close then backed up so I can see?

You may need to use am open end wrench. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Justin Comments: I'm not seeing the control arm bushing listed individually. Can someone list the part number for the bushing?
October 18, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff:

For an instant response, give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.

See here:

http://www.pelicanparts.com/cgi-bin/supertech/catalog.cgi?action=frameset&return-url=/cgi-bin/supertech/catalog.cgi%3Faction%3Dframeback%26page%3D2074&catalog-url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pelicanparts.com%2Fcatalog%2FSuperCat%2F4737%2FVAG_4737_SUSSHK_pg5.htm %3Futm_source%3DSuperTech%23item27 - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Justin Comments: The hydraulic press machine shown in Figure 12 looks smaller then average press. Can you share the brand and model #?
October 18, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't have the model number. it is a small shop press. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Redjay Comments: I did this job yesterday for the first time using your tutorial. Thanks. Went OK.
June 18, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
adrian537 Comments: you didn't mention the torque necessary for the stretch bolts and ball joint nuts during installation.
May 22, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don’t have that info.


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
 

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Page last updated: Mon 12/5/2016 02:36:14 AM