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VW MKIII-A3/B4 TDIs This is a discussion about MKIII-A3/MkIII Jetta/Golf (<99.5) and B4 Passats (96,97) TDI's. Non TDI related postings will be moved or removed.

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Old March 1st, 2012, 17:59   #1
GTSLOW
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Default Ball joint replacement? How bad?

Anyone replace their front ball joints recently? How did it go? What else did you replace? I've been thinking about doing the ones on my B4 and am just wondering what kind of job I'm looking at? Also any specials tools needed?

Also what's with these "second design unthreaded" ball joints??
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Old March 1st, 2012, 19:16   #2
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Hopefully the pics will come through
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Old March 1st, 2012, 19:29   #3
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Aside from corrosion, the B4 front suspension has to be one of the easiest I've worked on. The ball joints are probably the easiest part.

If you suspect the ball joints need to be replaced, I wouldn't hesitate to replace them. Easy to do.

Make sure you use jack stands and be careful!

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Old March 2nd, 2012, 10:00   #4
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Agreed. I love the design, so easy to replace.

Undo the nut and bolt near the top (the horizontal ones, and you have to remove the bolt completely), then remove the three bolts from underneath, remove ball joint, reassemble with new parts.

Most of the time it's quick & easy.

The second design unthreaded ball joint is great, basically it's a ball joint with no top threaded portion. The one in your picture has the threaded portion on it, and the problem is if the tapered fit comes loose, it is difficult to hold the top portion from spining if the nut isn't all the way off. On the second design, there is a recessed portion on this top piece, and the bolt that goes through horizontally uses it as a keeper, so it won't come off. It also clamps the top portion together, which is easy to spread with a chisel or ply bar making the joint removal MUCH easier. No special puller is needed.
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Last edited by Abacus; March 2nd, 2012 at 10:21.
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 14:02   #5
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Ok I'm just going to get the threaded ones like whats on there and be done with it. Anyone replace any bushings or other things on the front end while down there?
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Old March 6th, 2012, 05:20   #6
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No need, since nothing else comes off. Quick and easy.
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'96 B4V: 464,000km (Windex's wagon) Malone 2, PP520's, 6 speed, G60 brakes, leathers, DMF, Evo...
'96 B4 (wife's): 212,000 miles Malone 3, Sprint 205's, Bilstein TC's
HEX-USB-CAN Vag-Com, A3/A4/B4 timing belt tools & manuals, IP socket, alt & specialty tools.
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Old March 8th, 2012, 18:40   #7
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As long as you dont' have corrosion you'll be okay. Brearing press kit for an impact wrench for the bushings, hammer and pry bar for opening the ball joint socket, and a little patience. Took 15 min to get my 2nd ball joint off and it had corrosion. Control arm bushings took about 30 min because I never had pressed bushings before. It really is pretty simple.
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Old March 23rd, 2012, 18:25   #8
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Now looking at mine they don't look like the one above. It seems mine have a part that clamps around the top of the ball joint? Does this mean I'll need the non-threaded ones? Actually I can only find those.
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Old March 24th, 2012, 08:41   #9
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VR6 ("Plus") suspension uses the threaded ball joints.
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Old March 26th, 2012, 05:41   #10
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Super easy job and replace your rear factory " garbage" rear a-arm bushings with Audi TT ones while you're in there.
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Old March 26th, 2012, 06:15   #11
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The A-arm doesn't need to come off to replace the ball joints, so you're not "in there" already.

I agree the TT's are the way to go though.
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'96 B4V: 464,000km (Windex's wagon) Malone 2, PP520's, 6 speed, G60 brakes, leathers, DMF, Evo...
'96 B4 (wife's): 212,000 miles Malone 3, Sprint 205's, Bilstein TC's
HEX-USB-CAN Vag-Com, A3/A4/B4 timing belt tools & manuals, IP socket, alt & specialty tools.
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Old March 26th, 2012, 07:46   #12
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I did this job this past weekend. I got the harbor freight tool for the inner ball joints and it made the job quite easy.

the hardest part was getting the boots on. If the control arms had been out it would have been easier I think. Each boot took about an hour to wiggle on there - there just isn't any room to get your hands or a tool in there..
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Old July 4th, 2012, 07:11   #13
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I forgot how I changed the one on my A3 yeas ago(I think I did it while replacing axle). Can the wheel be on ground(as in on car ramps)to remove ball joint,or does the wheel have to be in air? I'll be doing both sides,then hopefully an alignment check tomorow after work.
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Old July 4th, 2012, 07:17   #14
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The suspension has to hang free, wheels off.
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Old July 4th, 2012, 08:21   #15
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Does the driveshaft actually have to be disconnected from tranny? I'd rather not mess w/ those bolts if I don't have to(12pt)-I don't own the best bit for those,and the bit broke 1/2 way through last timeI was putting axle in-got a replacement one,but of same quality(Autozone warranty)......
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