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Own an '05 tdi with 75,000 mi. Owned it since brand new. I had a '99 before that and the suspension on that was just really hard and horrible. When I bought this TDI I remember the test drive and I couldn't believe how smooth the suspension was. Now 75,000 miles later I feel like I'm driving the '99 agian. I also hear a loud hum at certain speeds coming from the rear of the car. I'm assuming this is road noise due to the shocks needing to be replaced.

So here are the questions: Can I do this myself? If I bought the shocks/struts on Eaby and just jacked the car up, would it be pretty straight forward? I usually do all of my own work on all my cars, but this beetle scares me a little. Is there anything I should know?
 

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Get yourself a Bentley Repair Manual for the NB, make sure you have the right tools and enough time and you'll be fine.
 

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If you bought a complete assembled 'kit', it would be very straightforward. That would have to include struts and springs.

If you get the individual parts, then you will need to disassemble the old ones which require a spring compressor. They aren't all that expensive and are pretty easy to use. Just be careful. Make sure the spring is compressed to remove all tension from the strut top plate before removing the securing nut.

Other than that, just take everything apart and reassemble in reverse order with new struts and strut mounts/bearings.

Look over your rear tires to see if there is any odd cupping in the tread. That could be the source of the hum you are hearing. After installing the new struts shocks, have it aligned - that will tell you if there are any other issues.
 

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If you bought a complete assembled 'kit', it would be very straightforward. That would have to include struts and springs.

If you get the individual parts, then you will need to disassemble the old ones which require a spring compressor. They aren't all that expensive and are pretty easy to use. Just be careful. Make sure the spring is compressed to remove all tension from the strut top plate before removing the securing nut.

Other than that, just take everything apart and reassemble in reverse order with new struts and strut mounts/bearings.

Look over your rear tires to see if there is any odd cupping in the tread. That could be the source of the hum you are hearing. After installing the new struts shocks, have it aligned - that will tell you if there are any other issues.
... What? You can't use spring compressors while the assembly is attached to the car. Maybe you can using some styles, but not most. And there's really no need to anyway. The nut accessible from the strut tower will not disassemble the strut. It will only allow the assembled unit to be removed from the vehicle. Then it can be safely maneuvered, compressed, and separated.

It's definitely a DIY, but please don't buy ebay parts; you never know what you're really gonna get. And if you haven't messed with spring compressors before, try to find a friend who has. They can be dangerous if not handled correctly. (Make sure you're out of the line of fire at all times, etc.)
 

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Can you handle it??
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Hey 05TDI,
Let me know how this goes for you. I am sure I will need to do this sometime soon. I have a 2005 TDI also. I have about 25 thousand less miles, but still,... I am sure I will have do it one of these days in the future.
 

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... What? You can't use spring compressors while the assembly is attached to the car. Maybe you can using some styles, but not most. And there's really no need to anyway. The nut accessible from the strut tower will not disassemble the strut. It will only allow the assembled unit to be removed from the vehicle. Then it can be safely maneuvered, compressed, and separated.

It's definitely a DIY, but please don't buy ebay parts; you never know what you're really gonna get. And if you haven't messed with spring compressors before, try to find a friend who has. They can be dangerous if not handled correctly. (Make sure you're out of the line of fire at all times, etc.)
I didn't mean to make it sound like you compressed it in the car. I was referring to compressing them once the whole assembly was out of the car.

I've done more than a dozen sets of struts, but not on an A4 chassis car yet - I'll have to do both my Jetta and the Beetle this year. What I was describing was not to try to disassemble the strut without having the spring compressed. I've heard horror stories of people taking them apart and sending parts flying across the garage, or worse yet, hitting someone in the process.

A buddy of mine has a nice heavy duty spring compressor. I have the cheaper (ran about $80) setup with two threaded sections with 'hooks' on either end.

I couldn't agree more with your warnings - they are easy to do, but can be very dangerous as well.
 

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Those spring compressors give me the willies. I spin wrenches all day, and when doing struts at the house I remove from the car and take them to a local shop to swap the springs(I live 70 miles from work). They charge me 20$ a strut. Which is alot less the coast if one of those compressors brake or slip. But that is just me. Hed the warnings and follow the how to's. Its easy. And as a back up you can use a couple ratchet straps, cris crossed over the compressor rods.
 

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Spring compressors are safe as long as you work slowly, carefully and work both sides evenly. Just be aware of where your body parts are in relation.

If you have the right type of spring compressor (like the one pictured above) that can be helpful in removing the pass. side strut from the car. The easier thing to do though is to just drop the subframe on the pass. side and then the strut assembly will drop right out. Only loosen the subframe bolts, dont remove them. This is not necessary on the driver side as it will drop right out as long as you have the stabilizer link disconnected.

Make sure you get an alignment done afterwards...but that should be done anyways after any suspension work.
 

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If you are uncertain, ask some friends to come over and help. I had a "GtG" at my house to do the suspension job on my car. Only one person had ever actually done it before, someone else supplied the bentley and everyone had tools! :)

The one tool you WILL need is a Strut Spreader. You can find that at metalnerds.com I think it is. It's only like $10ish or so dollars. But it will make your life SOOOO much easier. I would not do the job without that tool. Seriously.

You might need the spring compressor for the passenger side to get the strut assembly out. And if you have an automatic transmission, you will need to undo the transmission bolts and lift the transmission in order for the control arm on the driver side to drop completely. Trust me, I was scared by this, but it worked out fine.

Also, if you're changing the struts/shocks. Go ahead and replace just about everything in there. Seriously, the only way to replace most of that stuff is to take out the strut assembly. So, ball joints, bushings, tie rod ends, strut/shock mounts, etc. It's not a cheap repair, but when you replace ALL of that...you won't have to worry about it again for a LOOOONG Time.

Al, let me know when you want to work on Cup. I'd be down for it. Took me 8 hours or so to do Probie. I'm no expert, but I'd help for free lunch ;)
 

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I've done loads of these now, the easiest way to get the passenger side (UK drivers side/long driveshaft side) assembly out is to undo the inner CV joint that then allows the strut to easily drop enough to get it out.

I've never bothered with the strut spreader tool, no idea where we'd get one in the UK tbh, we just use a large metal working chisel/large screwdriver, etc (anything metal and V shaped) and a big hammer, a few whacks with that soon separates the knuckle enough. ;)

The rear shocks/springs can be done in around 30 minutes and are easy peasy :D
 

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I just ordered a suspension kit (struts shocks bearings bushings) from GAP yesterday (got the strut spreader tool too) so we'll see next weekend if you guys are right and it really is easy or not.. I figure if I buy a case of beer my VW guy friends won't mind helping :p
 

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I just ordered a suspension kit (struts shocks bearings bushings) from GAP yesterday (got the strut spreader tool too) so we'll see next weekend if you guys are right and it really is easy or not.. I figure if I buy a case of beer my VW guy friends won't mind helping :p
I know it's been a while but I was wondering how everything turned out? I am about to undertake this venture and never done any suspension work. Can this be done in a garage with a jack and or jack stands? If so please share your experience or perhaps even better post a DIY. Thank you! :)
 

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Mine were done a couple of weeks ago, we bought complete strut/shock assembly from Ebay (about $185 for pair of fronts) and used axle stands no problems at all :)

Kate
 

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Mine were done a couple of weeks ago, we bought complete strut/shock assembly from Ebay (about $185 for pair of fronts) and used axle stands no problems at all :)

Kate
Did your struts came with new springs? Did you replace the strut mounts and bearings? Can I come over and have you help me with this venture? :D
 

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We bought these :)

Front Pair Complete Quick Strut Shock Coil Spring Unit | eBay

Expect the shipping to take the 12 business days though.

Kate
Thanks for the info. I actually found the Monroe Quick Strut at Advance Auto cheaper than that Knock off brand on E-Bay especially with their 20% discount. Came up to $185 with free shipping. The E-Bay guy wants $205 for his kit and I have no idea what brand struts he is using. Thank you for pointing me in the right direction. ;-)
 
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