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Those bushings wear/compress over time so one that's been in a car for a while will look far different than new. I recently did my gti which is same parts as nb. I had a little over 1/2" maybe 3/4(by memory guess) on old used and now less than 1/4" w/ new. I hate to say this, but it appears to me that the OP's bushings are installed upside down. I say that because of the narrower section of the rubber bushing coming up through the mount. Look at the tdiclub pic to see that if you flipped those over (they are pictured right side up) that's what you'd have.
 

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gap

Those bushings wear/compress over time so one that's been in a car for a while will look far different than new. I recently did my gti which is same parts as nb. I had a little over 1/2" maybe 3/4(by memory guess) on old used and now less than 1/4" w/ new. I hate to say this, but it appears to me that the OP's bushings are installed upside down. I say that because of the narrower section of the rubber bushing coming up through the mount. Look at the tdiclub pic to see that if you flipped those over (they are pictured right side up) that's what you'd have.
So the gap questions continue..LOL :D I also installed what they called the HD heavy duty bushing mount and I still had a gap of about 1/4-3/8 inch when I finished. Dont' know what gap I have now and thought this thread was dead and forgotten with. LOL :p
 

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Since the question has come up again regarding that space.

Last year I did install the Monroe Quick Struts Part Number 171525 and there definitely is NO GAP.

When ordering please make sure you have the correct part number for your application and be sure you have the proper tools for correct installation.
YOu dont need new struts, just new strut mounts. They are easy to change, and cost $8-10 each
 

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Imbugd - 99 1.8t
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Working on my struts today so Ive been perusing various posts. You know this gap thing might be a combination of things like how far your struts are threaded at the top.

Front strut mount replacement 'How to' - TDIClub Forums

A little ways down on that thread you can see the typical diagram that includes all the parts. There is an optional spacer which my manuals state is not included in US models, though some kits still come with them. That spacer goes between the spring seat and the bearing. That happens to be the exact place on my struts where the threading starts, and I have no spacer.

So If I were to include the spacer it would shorten the threaded area available to the top nut. That would then shorten any gap that shows up after replacement.

Im not sure what combination of struts and mounts are actually designed to have the spacer or not. But that seems to be a reasonable explanation as to why people can have different gaps even with new struts in place.

Kinda makes you wonder if the mounts could be used longer if you just added a spacer.
 

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Play in strut

I just bought a older beetle for my wife. It is a 98, the struts are supposed to be new and appear to be pretty new. When driving there is a grinding sound, reminded me of a wheel bearing. I jacked the car up, and shake on the wheel, from top to bottom, the entire strut moves, probably 1/2" or so, same thing on other side. I tried tightening the top nut more but it is tight. I am 95% sure the "grinding" I am hearing is that strut vibrating around in there, it goes away when turning left. How do you remove this play? I don't think the wheel bearing is bad, I don't think the strut is bad. Please help
 

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Upper strut bearing is bad-poss left side. DO NOT BUY CHEAP UPPER BEARING form china.
 

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Well just finished the inspection of the front struts ( lucky-both good) and the installing of new HD upper bushing from ECS Tuning with new bearings.
Now with the car on the ground the upper strut gap is gone (snug) an the front is about an 1" higher than before. Defiantly worth the time.
Only question I now have is when I installed the right side strut into the lower strut retaining cup that has the pinch bolt, I noticed that the brackets lower "L" shaped part in not in any groove and is sandwiched between the inner part of the cut. I do not remember if it was this way but the drivers side seems to be in a recessed and not like the right side. Both struts are fully seated as I jacked the sub ASSY up a bit to push the strut into the lower cup.:confused: Anyone see the same on your Beetle? After the 60 foot pound torque seems to be okay.
2006 Beetle-disconnected drive axle it really helped.
 

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Look guys I had the same problem there should be no gap if u leave the gap you steering geometry Will be **** eat her get half caps or make spacers I made spacers cheaper the handling on my car is massively improved no noises wonderful the gap allowed movement and will eventually cause your suspension to fail prematurely. I worked for vw years ago it's not supposed to be there
 
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