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Hello, new to the forum and new to beetleland as of last night. Just bought my daughter (16th b-day) a 2002 Beetle GLX for her first car. It has higher miles, 141K but was a one owner car, dealership maintained and well cared for, and is in excellent shape for the year and mileage. Oh, and I got a pretty good deal on it, below NADA private party value.
Choice was between the 2002 NB and a 1998 Mercedes E430, both similar price, condition and mileage, and daughter picked the NB despite my recommendations. Kids..........

Anyway, first a little background on me. I have owned >20 VW's over the years starting out with a 1964 Split window camper and going all the way to a 2002 Jetta Wagon TDI (my favorite car ever). I have also had numerous mercedes from 1960's - 1990's, and a number of BMW's and a Porsche once (will never go there again). I do 90% of my own work when I have time, and have accumulated quite a german tool collection over the years.

So, enough chatter, what's the question????

The NB has a clunk / rattle in the front end when going over slight bumps, etc.. On the lift, the tie rod bushings and the "dog-bone", etc are all tight when shaken/ pried on, the upper strut mount bushings are loose however, more on the driver's side, which is where the most of the noise is. It drives straight, and there is no appreciable play in the front end, and no difference in noises while turning, etc.. the CV's have no lateral play, boots intact.
SO, i had planned to replace the upper strut mount bushings and bearings and have found a number of short-cut ways to do this on vwvortex, etc.. Struts and springs seem intact, no abnormal leak or bounce, but I wonder if I should go to the trouble of replacing just the top bushings and bearings, or just order the whole front strut bundle from completestruts.com.

Volkswagen_Beetle_Quick_install_complete_Front_Strut_&_Spring_Assembly_Pair

Seems cheap? Anybody have any experience with this company?
If I just buy the bushings, bearings, etc.. from the dealer, it will be about 60 bucks, whole strut bundle including the above = 160 shipped.

Either way will require an alignment after, which is part of the 10% of work that I cannot do in the home shop, so add 59 bucks to the total.

So, opinions?
 

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No 100% sure, but likely you should replace the lower control arms, these tend to take a lot of wear and tear both in these cars and other cars with similar suspension designs.

They are pretty cheap as well.

Also check Blauparts as I recall they had some reasonable strut/suspension kits as well.
 

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"that kid with the bug"
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sounds like the upper strut mount has loosened some. my 03 Turbo S had that problem(i lived on a VERY rough dirt road at the time) it was a pain to get to the bolts, but i just tightned them to spec and the problem went away.

Matt
 

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Hello, new to the forum and new to beetleland as of last night. Just bought my daughter (16th b-day) a 2002 Beetle GLX for her first car. It has higher miles, 141K but was a one owner car, dealership maintained and well cared for, and is in excellent shape for the year and mileage. Oh, and I got a pretty good deal on it, below NADA private party value.
Choice was between the 2002 NB and a 1998 Mercedes E430, both similar price, condition and mileage, and daughter picked the NB despite my recommendations. Kids..........

Anyway, first a little background on me. I have owned >20 VW's over the years starting out with a 1964 Split window camper and going all the way to a 2002 Jetta Wagon TDI (my favorite car ever). I have also had numerous mercedes from 1960's - 1990's, and a number of BMW's and a Porsche once (will never go there again). I do 90% of my own work when I have time, and have accumulated quite a german tool collection over the years.

So, enough chatter, what's the question????

The NB has a clunk / rattle in the front end when going over slight bumps, etc.. On the lift, the tie rod bushings and the "dog-bone", etc are all tight when shaken/ pried on, the upper strut mount bushings are loose however, more on the driver's side, which is where the most of the noise is. It drives straight, and there is no appreciable play in the front end, and no difference in noises while turning, etc.. the CV's have no lateral play, boots intact.
SO, i had planned to replace the upper strut mount bushings and bearings and have found a number of short-cut ways to do this on vwvortex, etc.. Struts and springs seem intact, no abnormal leak or bounce, but I wonder if I should go to the trouble of replacing just the top bushings and bearings, or just order the whole front strut bundle from completestruts.com.

Volkswagen_Beetle_Quick_install_complete_Front_Strut_&_Spring_Assembly_Pair

Seems cheap? Anybody have any experience with this company?
If I just buy the bushings, bearings, etc.. from the dealer, it will be about 60 bucks, whole strut bundle including the above = 160 shipped.

Either way will require an alignment after, which is part of the 10% of work that I cannot do in the home shop, so add 59 bucks to the total.

So, opinions?
Your front end clunk is more than likely from worn out sway bar bushings. I had the same issue when I first got my Beetle. Those things wear out fairly quick. While I was under there I also replaced the sway bar endlinks which weren't that expensive and probably needed it as well.
I would stay away from those "Cheap" struts. If you want to go with some Quick Struts go with the Monroe Quick Struts. They aren't that much more and they are a lot higher quality than that Chinese made crap. I got both of mine for under 200 bucks! Also I do agree with changing the Lower Control arm bushings. Mine on the drivers side were totally gone and thou they didn't cause any clunking they did make my car feel like it was still moving forward by an inch every time I had to brake a little harder. Change them with the "Solid" TT type bushings and they will last you a lot longer. Also change the rear shocks when you do the front. I put Monroe Sensatrak all the way around. Made a HUGE difference in handeling. Takes about 5 minutes to change shocks in the rear. The front struts were a bit more tricky especially on the Passenger side. You may need to drop the subframe by about an inch to get the Passenger side strut out of the cup. I didn't do that but instead used a borrowed spring compressor and carefully compressed the spring on that side and it popped right out.
Some may advise against that method but for me it worked out just fine.

Also I would consider doing the Timing belt and water pump maintenance fairly soon. At that mileage it should have already been done once and it is due again.

Between you and me I think the 1998 E430 would have been a better car overall but to a young girl the Beetle just screams "Pick ME, Pick ME" :)

Oh, I hope your beetle is a 5 Speed since if it isn't be prepared for a world of hurt with the notoriously bad 01M 4speed automatic transmission. If you do have the Automatic.
Do yourself a favor and change the transmission fluid in that thing ASAP. At 141k miles that stuff in there is darker and thicker than MUD. However, if you have a 5 Speed than "Good Choice"! It will probably outlast the engine ;)

Welcome to the ORG.

http://newbeetle.org/forums/new-member-forum/51021-newbie-welcome-kit.html

Volkswagen New Beetle 1.8T > Search > Sway Bar Bushings > ES#259396 Front Sway Bar Installation Kit - 1J0698336D

(Don't get Poly Bushings for the Beetle. too harsh and they squeak.) The above should be just fine.

These are GREAT Control arm bushings:

MJM Autohaus

Or here is the complete control arms already installed with the heavy duty TT/R32 bushings:
MJM Autohaus

I went that route since it was just soooo much easier than to mess with pressing in the bushings, besides my control arms were pretty rusty and the new ones look so much better.

Here is where I got my Monroe Quick Struts plus they always have some discount coupon floating around so I got mine shipped for under 200 bucks.

1998-2008 Volkswagen Beetle Strut and Coil Spring Assembly - Suspension - Monroe, Front 98-08 Beetle Strut and Coil Spring Assembly - 7431-07084026 - PartsGeek
 

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Taxpayer
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Thanks for the replies!
I left the car in the cites to be detailed and filled with fuel, and we're gonna pick it up in the next couple days.

He birthday is not until next weekend, so she (yes, she is required to get greasy underneath it with me to get a "free" car) and I will put it on the lift and go through everything in the next week. Good call on the sway bar bushings, will just replace now, if nothing else, will be prophylactic treatment.

I am familiar with the 01M transmission issues. I had that same unit I think in my 02 Jetta wagon. At about 30K miles, it had a bit of a whine that developed, nothing that affected drivability, but we were still under warranty, and the dealership drove it around the lot once and said they'd just replace the whole transmission! I initially though that was overkill, but subsequently learned that they were likely saving factory-billed warranty labor dollars in the long run.

I agree that the MB E430 would have been better, but 16 year old daughters don't think about vehicle longevity, safety, or anything like that. All that matters is coolness for the most part, and the MB is an "old guy's" car.

One of my first cars was a 79 Rabbit. No muffler, 4 speed, but only 1st and 4th gear worked, bad water pump, and a number of other things seriously wrong, not to mention rusted to hell, but it was free (if i could fix it, and I did!) and I learned a lot about VW's a turning wrenches from that car. I am hoping that my daughter gets a similar, but milder experience from her NB!
A few times having to tinker and possibly get stranded now and then will go a long way for her to appreciate a new car in the future.
Or so i hope.......

Will probably post back next week when we get everything done for an update
Thanks again!
 
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