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Diva's Mom
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Discussion Starter #1
So I bumped a thread that seemed along the lines of what I wanted to know. Except it was in the TDI subforum. It's been 24 hrs. Maybe I'm too impatient. But there was NO response.

So I figured I'd come back here and start a new thread and see if I could get some help.

To preface-I took my darling in for an oil change yesterday and got quite a shock. They wouldn't rotate/balance the tires, saying I needed new struts. Which was on the 'to do' list but I wasn't aware how big of an issue it was. The struts that I'd previously been told would need to be replaced have likely cost me 2 fairly new tires.

I'll take the blame for it because I didn't realize the issues involved in not replacing shocks/struts, having never owned a vehicle long enough for it to be a necessity. The mechanic who mentioned it said I would likely notice my ride getting rougher.

There are little jobs I can DIY. This is not one of them. It may be little to some of you. But in my imagination, I break my car. So my thought was to order everything to get the best deal on parts and take it to one of the locally owned shops for install. Thoughts?

This is what I'm looking at.
Meyle struts
ECS suspension kit
plus I'm also trying to find reasonably priced shocks.

My other thought was to pay more on the all-in-1 strut so there would be less labor intensive install associated with redoing the springs. Thoughts on that?

Is there anything else I'd have to purchase? Is there something you think would be a better bet for a student with no income?

also, what is a good round price to pay in East TN for such a job?

If you're wondering why I'm not just doing the strut/shock, the other stuff was recommended at the same time I was first told I would need to replace the struts. But again, it was all lumped into that I would notice my ride getting rougher. I'm going to assume that it's all just gone very bad and since it's all right there together, it's best to do it now and eat rice for 6 months than kill myself driving down the road in a busted bug.

I appreciate any/all help/suggestions y'all can provide.
 

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For the rear struts the work is quite easy just unbolt and bolt since the rear struts are separated with the coil springs just don't forget to support the lower arm with a floor jack.

For the front struts you have to replace the struts, the strut mounts and boots. Only replacing the strut will cause more problems in the future. However in this manner you have to use a spring compressor. Or you can try to find a struts assembly for easy swapping.

Believe me the struts are most likely worth their cost. Cheap parts will provide you shorter life span and might fail not in an appropriate time and cause you stranded. For the rear struts you are looking at around $100-200 and for the front struts assembly you probably have to spend $200-$500 depending on your requirement. More expensive parts are also available if you need better ride feeling and handling. If you think this is too expensive for you then you probably have to sell this car and switch to some Japanese/American cars like Toyota and Honda. German cars are known for their tons of problems and fairly expensive parts.


So I bumped a thread that seemed along the lines of what I wanted to know. Except it was in the TDI subforum. It's been 24 hrs. Maybe I'm too impatient. But there was NO response.

So I figured I'd come back here and start a new thread and see if I could get some help.

To preface-I took my darling in for an oil change yesterday and got quite a shock. They wouldn't rotate/balance the tires, saying I needed new struts. Which was on the 'to do' list but I wasn't aware how big of an issue it was. The struts that I'd previously been told would need to be replaced have likely cost me 2 fairly new tires.

I'll take the blame for it because I didn't realize the issues involved in not replacing shocks/struts, having never owned a vehicle long enough for it to be a necessity. The mechanic who mentioned it said I would likely notice my ride getting rougher.

There are little jobs I can DIY. This is not one of them. It may be little to some of you. But in my imagination, I break my car. So my thought was to order everything to get the best deal on parts and take it to one of the locally owned shops for install. Thoughts?

This is what I'm looking at.
Meyle struts
ECS suspension kit
plus I'm also trying to find reasonably priced shocks.

My other thought was to pay more on the all-in-1 strut so there would be less labor intensive install associated with redoing the springs. Thoughts on that?

Is there anything else I'd have to purchase? Is there something you think would be a better bet for a student with no income?

also, what is a good round price to pay in East TN for such a job?

If you're wondering why I'm not just doing the strut/shock, the other stuff was recommended at the same time I was first told I would need to replace the struts. But again, it was all lumped into that I would notice my ride getting rougher. I'm going to assume that it's all just gone very bad and since it's all right there together, it's best to do it now and eat rice for 6 months than kill myself driving down the road in a busted bug.

I appreciate any/all help/suggestions y'all can provide.
 

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Diva's Mom
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43 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the posts. I am aware there are only struts in the front and shocks in the back. My mention of having to find shocks is because I only have a link for struts. I would still need to find shocks. For the back.

I thought of getting the kit that Indytom linked but it doesn't include the ball joint or the tie rod components. So I started with the ECS kit that had the ball joints and tie rods and strut mounts/bearings and was looking to add the struts/shocks to that kit.

But at the moment, I feel as thought I'm speaking greek because so far I've been told how straightforward it is to DIY on the shocks and what I'd be looking at if I don't replace the struts right now. None of which I asked about.

When I asked if there was a better bet for a student with no income, it was meant to address fixing my car. Not getting rid of it to get something cheaper to fix. Like it or not, that would still cost money.

I realize I sound like the cheapest person ever but I live on loans. My student loan budget for 'auto' doesn't include $800-1000 budgeted for a Bug to need repairs. Just normal insurance and gas. So I have to cut into my grocery, utility, gas budget for the next 6 months to find the money to fix her.

I posted two links and a mention of having to also get shocks. All I wanted was for someone who knows something about shocks/struts/ball joints/tie rods to look at it all and see if I'm getting the wrong thing? lacking on components that would still be needed? spending too much money? or if there's a better way to fix my car.

If I sound cranky, I'm sorry. I just hate not knowing what to do.
 

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Believe me or not, German cars cost several times more than a REAL COMMUTE CAR every year. They are not designed to save money so if you are really tight on money, GET RID OF A GERMAN CAR AND SWITCH TO A REAL COMMUTE CAR!! I have had several cars from Honda Civic, Accord, Toyota Camry, Corolla, Echo, Mercury Sable, VW New Beetle, and I'm telling you the truth that every used car has some problems. There are few people selling a car with no problem. However after I fix all the problems in a couple of weeks the Toyotas and Hondas will give me a relatively long miles with no problems just changing engine/transmission oil and filling gas tank. However my wife's New Beetle has been costing my time repairing from last May I got it till now! My friend is a German car specialist and he owns a BMW he says he can't even afford to pay for the parts and do the work by himself! German cars are much more expensive at every aspect than Japanese and Americans I'm going to explain:

For gas, my 2.0L new beetle is getting less than 30mpg on highway and 22mpg local while my 3.8LV6 mercury sable station wagon can still get 24mpg on highway and 15-16mpg local. Notice that the GVWR of the sable wagon is 4899lbs and for new beetle is around 2500lbs.

For maintenance, new beetle 2.0L engine requires 4qt engine oil while my sable 3.8L engine requires 4.5qt. Although the factory replacement interval is 10000miles, I found that at 3000miles the oil turns dark and at 7000miles the oil is unacceptable under the diffusion test. (I'm always using Mobil 1 full synthetic). My friend's BMW3 and Passat, Audi A6 all require 7qt oil or more. My previous Honda Accord only 4qt and civic even less. What a oil eater!

For parts, German cars are known for their expensive parts and hard to find. I don't have to say more.


Thanks for the posts. I am aware there are only struts in the front and shocks in the back. My mention of having to find shocks is because I only have a link for struts. I would still need to find shocks. For the back.

I thought of getting the kit that Indytom linked but it doesn't include the ball joint or the tie rod components. So I started with the ECS kit that had the ball joints and tie rods and strut mounts/bearings and was looking to add the struts/shocks to that kit.

But at the moment, I feel as thought I'm speaking greek because so far I've been told how straightforward it is to DIY on the shocks and what I'd be looking at if I don't replace the struts right now. None of which I asked about.

When I asked if there was a better bet for a student with no income, it was meant to address fixing my car. Not getting rid of it to get something cheaper to fix. Like it or not, that would still cost money.

I realize I sound like the cheapest person ever but I live on loans. My student loan budget for 'auto' doesn't include $800-1000 budgeted for a Bug to need repairs. Just normal insurance and gas. So I have to cut into my grocery, utility, gas budget for the next 6 months to find the money to fix her.

I posted two links and a mention of having to also get shocks. All I wanted was for someone who knows something about shocks/struts/ball joints/tie rods to look at it all and see if I'm getting the wrong thing? lacking on components that would still be needed? spending too much money? or if there's a better way to fix my car.

If I sound cranky, I'm sorry. I just hate not knowing what to do.
 

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Thanks for the posts. I am aware there are only struts in the front and shocks in the back. My mention of having to find shocks is because I only have a link for struts. I would still need to find shocks. For the back.

I thought of getting the kit that Indytom linked but it doesn't include the ball joint or the tie rod components. So I started with the ECS kit that had the ball joints and tie rods and strut mounts/bearings and was looking to add the struts/shocks to that kit.

But at the moment, I feel as thought I'm speaking greek because so far I've been told how straightforward it is to DIY on the shocks and what I'd be looking at if I don't replace the struts right now. None of which I asked about.

When I asked if there was a better bet for a student with no income, it was meant to address fixing my car. Not getting rid of it to get something cheaper to fix. Like it or not, that would still cost money.

I realize I sound like the cheapest person ever but I live on loans. My student loan budget for 'auto' doesn't include $800-1000 budgeted for a Bug to need repairs. Just normal insurance and gas. So I have to cut into my grocery, utility, gas budget for the next 6 months to find the money to fix her.

I posted two links and a mention of having to also get shocks. All I wanted was for someone who knows something about shocks/struts/ball joints/tie rods to look at it all and see if I'm getting the wrong thing? lacking on components that would still be needed? spending too much money? or if there's a better way to fix my car.

If I sound cranky, I'm sorry. I just hate not knowing what to do.
Here is a reasonable front end kit. That includes the tie rods, ball joints and control arms for 131 and change.
Volkswagen Suspension Control Arm Kit Front (Beetle Golf Jetta) - VWCAKit1 | FCPEuro.com

So are they saying that the entire front end is bad not just the struts?
Are you sure those guys are on the level?
I was thinking about getting the Monroe Quick Strut for my car.
It includes the springs and is completely assembled. My shop still quotted me about $200 to replace the struts. I think I can do it myself for free ;)
Advance Auto sells the Monroe quick struts for the beetle.
Buy Monroe Quick-Strut Complete Strut Assembly 171525 at Advance Auto Parts

Put in P20 at check out and get 20% off. Still will be close to $250 bucks and that doesn't include the rear shocks yet. I still think the Blauparts kit is the most complete.
 

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Diva's Mom
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43 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Here is a reasonable front end kit. That includes the tie rods, ball joints and control arms for 131 and change.
Volkswagen Suspension Control Arm Kit Front (Beetle Golf Jetta) - VWCAKit1 | FCPEuro.com

So are they saying that the entire front end is bad not just the struts?
Are you sure those guys are on the level?
I was thinking about getting the Monroe Quick Strut for my car.
It includes the springs and is completely assembled. My shop still quotted me about $200 to replace the struts. I think I can do it myself for free ;)
Advance Auto sells the Monroe quick struts for the beetle.
Buy Monroe Quick-Strut Complete Strut Assembly 171525 at Advance Auto Parts

Put in P20 at check out and get 20% off. Still will be close to $250 bucks and that doesn't include the rear shocks yet. I still think the Blauparts kit is the most complete.


Thanks for the links, IndyTom. I'm almost certain it's all gone or will be soon. So I didn't want to do only part of it and have to pay the same labor charges again in 6 months. The labor is such a huge cost. Especially with the alignment having to be done again. Pretty mad about having to have that done again since it was just done 4 months ago. The problem with being 'certain' is the diagnostic charges that mechanics charge. It would pay for an entire hour of labor. I *wish* I could do it myself.

I s/w the shop today where I'm having the work done and we came up with a slightly modified plan. Their parts were comparable to what I was finding online so I'm not going to order anything myself. The shop seems disinclined to believe it all went out or was close to going out. Thank you for the links though. I may have to come back to them later.

If you're curious, they seem to think it's the ball joints and/or tie rods. Their tentative phone diagnosis (ha!) is that they don't think the struts/shocks need to be replaced yet or that they would cause the damage the other mechanic is saying it did.

Anyway. Thanks, Tom, for the help. Good luck with your DIY. Consider yourself somewhat lucky. :)
 

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Diva's Mom
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Discussion Starter #8
If you're curious, they seem to think it's the ball joints and/or tie rods. Their tentative phone diagnosis (ha!) is that they don't think the struts/shocks need to be replaced yet or that they would cause the damage the other mechanic is saying it did.
The final diagnosis came to be tie rods (replaced) and rear wheel bearing (replaced). I also took the Diva back the next week for the rotors to be replaced since that was deemed the reason my stops were so shaky.

Struts were fine. Shocks are closer to needing to be replaced but they seemed to think I still had good life left on them. If I can wait even another year, I'm okay with it. Ball joints were also fine.

With the labor charges, it was pricey but still less than the initial quote just to replace struts/shocks came to be. Plus the car rides smoother than it has since I've had it.

MF Auto in Knoxville was the shop I used. Couldn't be happier. Thanks for all of your tips and such. I really appreciate it!
 
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