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Spring & Shock/Damper Installation Reference Guide

GTIfan99

Autocross Champion
Location
FL
Spread, put a little upward pressure with Jack and wiggle the strut.
 

efaily

Passed Driver's Ed
Location
Chicago 'burbs
Car(s)
2019 GTI SE Exp pkg
Don't forget to lubricate!
 

HappyLegs

Passed Driver's Ed
Location
Massachusetts
HELP! Started the 2x4, all was fine and smooth, wood was rigidly attached via the screw to the strut, front strut was out and new spring in.

Now, I just can't get the strut seated back in the knuckle. I limited the LCA's travel with a wooden pallet below it to prevent disconnecting from the transmission. I drop the strut slowly via the 2x4, it is seated a few 2-3mm, and then it seems to get stuck (probably at an angle).

I try to jack the LCA but it just pushes the semi-seated strut up instead of allowing it to drop in deeper. What's worse, my spreader seems to not be that effective any more, it only opens the knuckle one mm or two. It looks as the strut is not at the perfect angle with the knuckle seat but I can't move the LCA towards it (towards the back of the car) unless i remove the pallet from below which I don't want to do in case I f@ck the drive shaft.

Also, I got a bit psychotic and think the drive shaft is already disconnected for some reason. Car is DSG and left in P but I can rotate the brake disk back and forwards if I put some force. It doesn't just spin freely per se but I can get it rotated back and forth. Am i screwed or??

Also, what's my getaway option if i can't get the strut seated? Granted I don't have the shaft bolt or ball joint bolts but just to put back everything and on a truck to get it to a shop (worst case scenario).


Thanks in advance!
See my post from June 13th... I had same issue, had to get a second set of hands.
 

GTIfan99

Autocross Champion
Location
FL

Ikbrown

New member
Location
Fair Oaks, CA
Car(s)
2019 Alltrack
Hey everyone, a) thanks Hammersticks for the great compilation of information related to this install, and thanks Flipflp for some help he provided me leading up to the install in sourcing parts.

b) SO I installed Neuspeed Sport springs and Bilstein B8s on my 2019 Alltrack over the weekend and I'm having a couple issues. I am taking the car in to an alignment shop tomorrow to look into the issue further but wanted to see if anyone here could provide some insight into what I'm experiencing if you've come across this issue. The issue is two-fold, 1) my steering wheel is returning to center much more aggressively than it should, even if you're at a stop and have the wheel turned it will come back to center or close. I noticed this when we installed the front struts with the car in the air and moved the steering to one side to gain more access to move the strut spreader. It returned to the center even in the air. 2) my dash lit up like a christmas tree after turning it on (ABS Stabilization, Front Assist not available, TPMS, Airbag error) which I'm assuming are related to either wheel speed or ABS sensors? I didn't disconnect any sensor connections, just moved them out of the way. My Alltrack is an S so it doesn't have the auto-leveling headlights.

Let me know if you have any thoughts on the problems. I'm having trouble thinking what went wrong in the install and I'm hoping it's a relatively simple fix.
 

flipflp

Drag Racing Champion
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Car(s)
'16 Golf R DSG
Happy to help!

Did you disconnect your battery? Those dash errors sound like what pops up until you get a bit of distance on the car for the ABS, TPMS and other assist groups to initialize. I don't think just unplugging anything down there would cause an error to pop up, unless something was damaged.
 

Ikbrown

New member
Location
Fair Oaks, CA
Car(s)
2019 Alltrack
Happy to help!

Did you disconnect your battery? Those dash errors sound like what pops up until you get a bit of distance on the car for the ABS, TPMS and other assist groups to initialize. I don't think just unplugging anything down there would cause an error to pop up, unless something was damaged.
No, didn't disconnect the battery. Clearance was tight on the driver side when removing the stock strut with the 2x4 method and I had to unclip the sensor wiring from the fender liner on the engine bay side as well as the clip where it stays in place on the brake assembly. Potentially damaged it when it was pulled tight before I unclipped from the fender liner as well. The centering steering is what has me more worried.
 

alper

Ready to race!
HELP! Started the 2x4, all was fine and smooth, wood was rigidly attached via the screw to the strut, front strut was out and new spring in.

Now, I just can't get the strut seated back in the knuckle. I limited the LCA's travel with a wooden pallet below it to prevent disconnecting from the transmission. I drop the strut slowly via the 2x4, it is seated a few 2-3mm, and then it seems to get stuck (probably at an angle).

I try to jack the LCA but it just pushes the semi-seated strut up instead of allowing it to drop in deeper. What's worse, my spreader seems to not be that effective any more, it only opens the knuckle one mm or two. It looks as the strut is not at the perfect angle with the knuckle seat but I can't move the LCA towards it (towards the back of the car) unless i remove the pallet from below which I don't want to do in case I f@ck the drive shaft.

Also, I got a bit psychotic and think the drive shaft is already disconnected for some reason. Car is DSG and left in P but I can rotate the brake disk back and forwards if I put some force. It doesn't just spin freely per se but I can get it rotated back and forth. Am i screwed or??

Also, what's my getaway option if i can't get the strut seated? Granted I don't have the shaft bolt or ball joint bolts but just to put back everything and on a truck to get it to a shop (worst case scenario).


Thanks in advance!

Just to report back on this for anyone having the same trouble: The key is getting the strut in as concentrically as possible to the hub (meaning with 0 angle between them). You achieve this by a combination of rotation of the strut and the hub until they are perfectly lined up. Having a block or pallet below the LCA as I did may limit how much the hub can rotate. Also, don't tighten the top mount bolts even hand tight (as I did) as it prevents the strut to rotate in the right position, just a few threads on each bolt will keep the strut secured.

So with the strut and the hub able to move you can find the "perfect" position with which to start dropping it. First few mm are easy. Then once it has started going in straight, have your spreader in the correct position and jack the LCA up SLOWLY, while wiggling the hub via the brake disc.With every push/pull the strut should be dropping several mm.If it stops mid-way you probably need to relocate the spreader. If it doesn't drop but the car is being lifted up you are either at a wrong angle or the hub is not spreaded properly. Re-check and repeat patiently, you know you are wiggling the disc enough when it just starts to shake the whole car (you don't want to throw it off the jacks obviously...). If at that point it doesn't drop it doesn't need more force but either angle or spreader correction.

It clearly helps having a friend to operate the jack ( I preferred to stay on the LCA to control the push/pull). Our second time on the passenger side was much easier and quicker after knowing where to concentrate our effort.
 

mattkime

Passed Driver's Ed
Location
madison, wi
I'm preparing to install golf r springs and bilstein b6 shocks and struts on my alltrack - I'm trying to figure out if I should get a strut nut removal wrench. Its listed under additional tools. Past experience has taught me that having the right tools are critical for success and sanity but I'm confused why its essentially noted as an optional tool. Can anyone explain?
 

Faceman

Drag Racing Champion
Location
Long Island
Car(s)
'17 GSW 4Motion
I'm preparing to install golf r springs and bilstein b6 shocks and struts on my alltrack - I'm trying to figure out if I should get a strut nut removal wrench. Its listed under additional tools. Past experience has taught me that having the right tools are critical for success and sanity but I'm confused why its essentially noted as an optional tool. Can anyone explain?
Definitely pick up VW's strut spreader.
 

impulsive.ca

Drag Racing Champion
It's been said many times, but this job requires the RIGHT tools. I can't stress that enough. Strut nut socket, strut knuckle spreader, 7mm Alen key, triple square set. Don't fuck around trying to use anything else to replace these.
 

alper

Ready to race!
I'm preparing to install golf r springs and bilstein b6 shocks and struts on my alltrack - I'm trying to figure out if I should get a strut nut removal wrench. Its listed under additional tools. Past experience has taught me that having the right tools are critical for success and sanity but I'm confused why its essentially noted as an optional tool. Can anyone explain?
Well spotted. I did this install last weekend for the first time and if there is one thing I'd do differently would be to wait until I get hold of the right strut nut pass-through socket. If you want to do it right it's just not possible without that damn tool. I tried using a 22mm lambda socket but of-course when you are approaching your final torque value it slips as it's bigger than it should. I tried to counter this by inserting 0.5mm aluminium shims inside and it allowed to add some more torque but still not enough before it also started slipping.

In the end I just switched to a 21mm spark plug open socket with a hex top body that I was able to tighten using a spanner while counter-holding the inner Allen and went by feel, up to the point the whole thing was slipping, there are no noises from the suspension at all but still not happy as i like to do everything by the book.

In my opinion the nut strut socket was far more important than the nut spreader. I had one (nut spreader) but found that the 1/4" ratchet worked just as good. I don't know why people keep stressing the need of the spreader where at least there is a working alternative but not the top nut socket which is involved in a much more precise process that you just can't carry out correctly without it.

PS. I would probably undo the big shaft bolt and the three ball joint bolts instead of trying my luck with the 2x4 as I like straight-forward steps (undo bolt a > b >c) and not ones that depend on factors you can't fully control and require also a bit of luck (relative angle between strut and hub that depends on several factors)
 
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