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Pelican Technical Article:

Front Control Arm Replacement

Jared Fenton

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$50 to $100

Talent:

****

Tools:

13mm/16mm/18mm sockets, offset 18mm wrench, torque wrench, floor jack, jack stands, wheel chocks, safety glasses

Applicable Models:

VW Jetta GL (1998-05)
VW Jetta GLS (1998-05)
VW Jetta GT (1998)
VW Jetta K2 (1998)
VW Jetta Wolfsburg (1998-99)

Parts Required:

Control arm

Hot Tip:

Replace the control arms in pairs when possible.

Performance Gain:

Better handling

Complementary Modification:

Replace sway bar end links

Over time, the rubber bushings inside suspension components will eventually wear out and start to deteriorate. You should inspect the control arm bushings for wear every couple of months. You'll want to jack the car up in the air and inspect the various bushings in the control arm for cracks or wear. I like to use a large breaker bar to physically move the ends of the bushings. If there is excessive play in the bushing or cracking or tearing, it's time to replace it.

In this article, we will focus on replacing the entire control arm for the Mk4 Jetta. However, you can buy the bushings separately and have them installed in the arm by means of a hydraulic press. The difference in cost typically makes it more worthwhile to simply replace the entire arm.

Begin by jacking up the front end of your Mk4 Jetta and placing it on jack stands. Then remove the front wheels. See our article on Jacking up Your Mk4 Jetta for more information. You'll also need to do the final torqueing of the bolts with the car's front suspension fully loaded. This means with the wheels on the ground. You just need to get the bolts snug while the car's up in the air.

I'd also suggest having the suspension alignment of the car checked after replacing any suspension component. Using our article, the suspension geometry should be "close enough" for the drive down to the alignment shop.

Loosen and remove the 16mm bolt (green arrow) holding the sway bar end link to the lower control arm.
Figure 1

Loosen and remove the 16mm bolt (green arrow) holding the sway bar end link to the lower control arm.

Loosen and remove the three 13mm bolts (green arrows) holding the control arm to the wheel hub.
Figure 2

Loosen and remove the three 13mm bolts (green arrows) holding the control arm to the wheel hub. Pull the wheel hub assembly out from inside the control arm.

Loosen and remove the 18mm bolt holding the control arm to the front of the sub frame (green arrow).
Figure 3

Loosen and remove the 18mm bolt holding the control arm to the front of the sub frame (green arrow). When installing the new control arm, torque this bolt with the wheels on the ground to 50 Nm (37 ft/lbs.).

Loosen and remove the 18mm bolt (green arrow) holding the control arm to the rear of the sub frame.
Figure 4

Loosen and remove the 18mm bolt (green arrow) holding the control arm to the rear of the sub frame. You'll need to counter hold the 18mm nut on top (yellow arrow) with an offset 18mm wrench while you remove the bolt. Now wiggle the control arm out from the sub frame. When installing the new control arm, torque this bolt with the wheels on the ground to 50 Nm (37 ft/lbs.).

And here's the control arm removed from the car.
Figure 5

And here's the control arm removed from the car. The control arm itself is reversible, meaning it can be used on both the left and right side of the car. I recommend changing them in pairs, however.

Shown here are the telltale signs of a bushing that is starting to fail.
Figure 6

Shown here are the telltale signs of a bushing that is starting to fail. You can see the cracks developing in the rubber (green arrows). If you see this, it is time to consider changing the arm.

Also be sure to inspect the front bushing for wear (green arrow).
Figure 7

Also be sure to inspect the front bushing for wear (green arrow). Typically, this bushing receives less wear, but can fail in the same way.

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Page last updated: Fri 12/2/2016 03:06:14 AM