NewBeetle.org Forums banner

1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,690 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I have determined that the struts on my 2003 1.8t GLX Convertible with 82k miles on the odometer are in need of refresh. I had looked around and did not want to invest a bunch of cash and found that BlauParts had a very nice and complete strut kit for $280 shipped. Looked like a very complete kit and they claimed the strut/shock valving was tweaked fore the Beetle. Not so sure the valving was tweaked, maybe it was just a different application??

Anyway I ordered the kit, promptly received email confirmation that the order was accepted, within 3 hours I received a shipping confirmation that things were moving. 2 days via FedEx Ground from WI to VA.

Came home about 1 pm today and the package was on my doorstep less than 48 hours after placing the order!

Very complete kit, gas struts and shocks, rear upper shock mounts, front upper strut mounts, front strut bearings, compression bumpers, dust tubes, hardware and anti-seize compound, Loctite. Most parts are either OE or Mahle. Not sure who`s struts/shocks are used?

I have already swapped out the rear shocks, the only think I needed to reuse were the upper strut mount to body bolts and the upper strut mount half sphere dust cover.

Swapped out the rear shocks in about 1 hour taking my time, having to find my tools, ramps, jack stand and floor jack.

Everything that was needed was included, went together without issues and all I can say is the original rear shocks although they had not leaked were rather weak. They did not appear to have a strong amount of gas charge left in them and one seemed to have a bit of air it it when compressed. The new shocks were FAR superior in their dampening and return.

I took the car for a ride even though I had not swapped the front struts yet. I could tel am immediate difference just with the rear struts, nice improvement.

I am hopeful to swap the front struts in a little while today as the temps are finally starting to drop. I had 104F on the NB outside temp display earlier today!!

I believe at least one of the front struts has little to no gas charge left and I am excited to see how the car handles and behaves with all 4 struts/shocks refreshed.

Update - Finished installing both front struts. Both of the original struts had no gas pressure to return the piston. Not sure if they were originally gas pressurized, assume they were?? One challenge was getting the original struts out of the steering knuckle. I figured out how to make an $0.80 tool to keep the steering knuckle spread slightly so the old strut tube could be removed and the new strut tube installed. I used the end of a crow bar and a rubber mallet to wedge open the steering knuckle then I used my $0.80 wedge to keep the knuckle loose while the strut tubes were swapped.

I could not find any specific markings on the struts or shocks, they appear to be OEM supplied to BlauParts. Overall I see no quality concerns with any of the items I have purchased from BlauParts. My initial impression is all quality parts, very complete kit, very reasonable price and the end result of the ride quality and handling is a great improvement over original struts that were 10 years old and had 80k miles on them.

Again, this may be the most complete kit and likely the best price that I have found. It would be nice if they added a torque value sheet and a diagram for how the bump stops and bearings install, however, if you pay attention when you disassemble things it should not be an issue.

Pictures below.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,052 Posts
That kit is very affordable; especially, if you start looking at typical places... for just the cost of the shocks/struts alone! Most places; for stock type parts are beyond the total cost of this very all inclusive kit! I am interested to hear about the increased stiffness and performance they refer to (15-20% better!). I wonder; if these are actually just replacement versions of the optional "sport suspension"; that all VW's typically, had in their lineup (e.g. GTI, GLI, Turbo S etc.)

Similar in concept to this kit but doesn't even come close to all the extra service parts that should be replaced!); Meyle is a good oem parts supplier for that stuff as well:

Mk4 Bilstein Touring Class suspension kit (uses sport suspension parts)

http://www.germanautoparts.com/productdisplay/84564

Have you figured out who makes the struts/shocks? Are there any markings on the struts (part #'s, symbols etc?); they say in the video, they are made in Japan... so, maybe that would give us a clue! All, in all; it really one of the best bangs for the buck, I have not seen a more affordable VW suspension refresh kit! Looking forward to your full review and evaluation of the Blauparts Sport kit! :cool:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
The kit does seem like really good value. I'll be interested in your thoughts when you finish the fronts. My car has travelled about the same distance. Do you reckon it's worth doing the rotors, bearings, pads etc while you have the fronts out? (Yes, I suffer badly from the 'as long as' syndrome - as long as I'm doing this job, I might as well do that too!)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,690 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
1/2 of the front is finished.

Too hot, too dark and too many mosquitoes.

I the drivers side front strut had no gas pressure to return the piston.

For the values and ALL the extras, I think it is a decent package. Even if you have to replace the system again in another 5 years, it is still a pretty good value. Even high end struts that may have a lifetime warranty, you likely pay at least double for them anyway.

As for the while I am there, I would think your rotors are fine, but they are easy enough to change at a later time. If you have low 80k miles, you likely have original pads on still and they likely still have some life left??

As for bearings, I would say you could consider them, but likely you should consider axle half shafts as the CV boots are likely about ready to crack if they are not already cracked.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Thanks for the advice/info. Yes, the brakes still have plenty of life left in them. The car has been well looked after by the previous owner. Pampered even. I hadn't really thought about the CV's or ball joints. I might jack it up this weekend (although it's supposed to be wet and cold here!) and check a few things out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,690 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
All struts/shocks are not in. Fronts were a bit more of a PITA as I had to press the axle shafts out.

Basically had to remove the wipers and lower windshield cowl trim removed the brake calipers, tie rod end and 3 bolts from the lower ball joint, pressed the axle shaft out of the hub
Both front struts did not appear to have any gas left to return the piston when the strut was compressed. Not sure if these were originally gas filled or not??

What I can say is after about 50k miles I think all OE struts/shocks could use an upgrade. I decided I would try the value route this go round. I know many people had had issues with Bilstein and Koni, some under warranty, but you pay a lot more up front and you still have to take the car apart and you only get the failed unit replaced.

I decided to go the cheaper route and if there are any failures, just refresh the entire package again. I think I will be better off than the extra cash spent up front for the name brand units and I do not think I will be missing much in the way of ride & handling?

Anything is an improvement over the original OE struts and shocks.

Initial 6-8 mile run on known roads seems to be a great improvement. I also recently updated my lower control arms with polyurethane bushings so everything except for the front sway bar bushings and end links are new. It seams that car is more in tune to the road, less float and I have to assume maybe before I was actually getting to the strut/shock suspension bump stops often? I do not appear to have the slamming and harshness in the front suspension that I used to have. Overall a much nicer and tighter feel.

Will update once I get a few days of driving under my belt, but if the difference with just the rears was so good, can't wait to see how all 4 corners updated rides and handles.

I added a few more pictures in the first post along with my $0.80 steering knuckle wedge!
 

·
Older but not Wiser
Joined
·
1,015 Posts
can so it while its on the car.... i dont know why you took it off. just diconnect the front sway bar and move it out of the way. as long as the car is jacked up high enough you can put enough weight on it to get it out/in. done it a million times. youre working too hard!!

-jd
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,690 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Not on my car was I going to be able to replace the struts on the car. Might be because I already had the lower control arms with the poly bushings?? I dropped the swap bar end links, but there is was NO way the lower control arm was going to drop far enough to pull the strut.

I was not going to pull the lower control arm from the subframe and I was not likely going to be able to pull the strut from the steering knuckles with them still in the car.

Believe me, if I could have replaced them while on the car, I would have. Even with my $0.80 spreader it was still tight getting the struts out of the steering knuckle.

The convertible sits up higher than most of the cars so maybe this has something to do with it??
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,052 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,690 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I was aware of the special spreader tool, however, my $0.80 tool worked pretty good and has much easier resale!!

What is nice about my tool, is it stays in place and I do not need 3 hands.

I will likely have another 800 miles on the suspension in the next few weeks.

Then I need to get the real test, put my daughter back behind the wheel and get her comments as she is really the primary driver of this car.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
665 Posts
Just for anyone who is going to do this swap in future; there is a special VW socket/tool to spread the struts, for easier removal.

https://www.google.com/search?q=vw+...e.0.69i57j0l2.5667j0&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

Looking forward to your observations and evaluation of the kit; when you get some more road time with the new suspension! :)
I have the raceland one and it works great. Much better than the chisel I used to spread them apart the previous time.?


Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,690 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Likely I might have been able to replace the front struts in the car, IF, I could find a decent set of spring compressors that would not spin on the springs. But I just used the spring compressors that the local Advance Auto loans out and they are pretty touch to use on these springs with the tapered top.

Unfortunately I am getting pretty good about pulling the suspension apart so it did not take me too long to pull the axles and steering knuckles.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,690 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
BlauParts was stamped into the struts/shocks.

So it is a pretty good OEM deal that they have the metal stamping.

Overall the quality appears good and the ride is nice, so as long as I can get 50k out of them, I will be happy!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,052 Posts
From one of the pics of the front strut; I am seeing what I think is part # MG3003: ironically, enough... google is popping up Honda motorcycle parts! At least; we are getting something Japanese (BP said they were made in Japan)! LOL! :) What about your front rotors; they look pretty nice, what brand are those?
 

·
Older but not Wiser
Joined
·
1,015 Posts
im swapping out spring tomorrow, ill take pics and show ya. i kinda wish i did it last week cause i was going to do a "how to" anyways.

-jd
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,690 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
007 thanks for the idea and reply.

Hey, I'm all eyes, but I do know that I had issues even getting the lower control arms in originally with the poly bushings. The rear bushing would not allow the arm to flex and drop near as much as the OE bushings.

I know sometimes there are tricks or shortcuts that the Masters have, but as hot as it was, I was going to take the most direct route that I could figure out.

In the end other than the brake caliper pins and wire, it was only 5 additional bolts and without a decent set of spring compressors, it was likely the way to go.

In any event I would say the effort either way was worth the replacement of the shocks and struts. Major improvement, but again, I will know far more next week after 13 hours on the road!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,690 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
JD,

I see my first mistake no hotdogs & cold beverages!!!

1. So an issue with my car, since it is an 6 speed Tiptronic with snap in axles you cannot really remove the axles easily. No removing the axle flange. If you can unsnap the axles, you still the axle stub to guide in and out of the transaxle.

2. I did not have a buddy to help.

3. Given I had installed new control arms with polyurethane before doing the struts, so this makes the lower control arms much harder to drop lower.

Anyway, I appreciate your write up and comments on the spring installation.
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top