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VW B5 Passat TDIs This is a general discussion about B5 Passat(>98 (2004-2005 in North America)). Non TDI related postings will be moved or removed.

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Old August 25th, 2008, 19:14   #1
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Post Installing Rough Road suspension - Front

Suggestions: Don't do it 100% like the Bentley says. Enlist the aid of someone else for a second pair of hands. Find someone with a very, very good spring compressor. You might seriously give thought to letting a dealer or very well equipped shop assemble the strut. Failure of the spring compressor can result in very serious injury or death. You have been warned.

Release the bonnet and lift it fully open.

Pull the gasket loose along the back of the engine compartment and remove the plenum cover.

On the right side, remove the cover over the air filter box.

Raise the car and safely support it at a comfortable working height.

Remove the wheel and tire assembly.

At this point the Bentley process says to remove the plugs in the body that cover the strut mount nuts that fasten the strut to the upper bearing bracket.

Don't bother. It is easier to remove the entire bearing bracket with the strut assembly. The plugs are painted in place and are difficult to remove. One on the left side is under brake lines. The AC lines obscure one of them on the right side.

The real first thing to do is to look up inside the top bearing plate at the top of the wheel well. There's a stud with a small press-on retaining washer. Use whatever means you have to remove the washer. This can be a challenge and the washer will get mangled. It will not be reinstalled, and a replacement is not required. I was able to use a sturdy wire cutter on it then pliers to
pull it off.

Remove the ABS sensor wiring from its retainer on the brake caliper.

Disconnet the connector next to the retainer (the pad-worn-out sensor), but do not mess with the ABS sensor end. This will allow sufficient flexibility and movement.

Locate the pinch bolt and nut at the top of the bearing housing that secures the upper links. Remove the nut and then the bolt (16mm both ends). Use a punch and hammer on the bolt to knock it out if necessary.

Apply some lubricant such as PB Blaster, Liquid Wrench, and similar products to the connection of the upper links to the wheel bearing housing.

Next, remove the links from the bearing housing. Depending on your tool assortment you may have to get creative. VW uses tool VAS 6085. At this time the tool costs a little over $500 US. Without a tool like this there is a chance of damaging the boots on the links. This is why I had replacement links on hand.

Return to the engine compartment and remove the three 16mm head bolts (green in the picture above) that attach the bearing bracket to the body. Before you loosen the bolts, you might mark the bracket and body in some way to aid in assuring alignment during installation.

Additional step not in the Bentley: remove the bolt attaching the sway bar to the sway bracket attached to the lower control arm. Remove the nut and pull out the bolt. 16mm both ends too.

Remove the bolt attaching the strut to the lower arm. 18mm here. It may be necessary to put an open end wrench on the flat area of the lower control arm (between the stut yoke and outer end) and slightly twist the arm. With the wrench on top of the arm pull the handle of the wrench towards the front of the car. This will change the angle of the bolt enough to clear the rear lower control arm during removal. Or with the wrench below the arm, push the handle to the rear of the car. See flat area in the picture below.

This also shows the disconnected sway bar link.

Now lift out the strut and bearing bracket.

Remove the two nuts on top of the bearing bracket (13mm) to separate the bracket from the strut top plate.

Now comes the fun part. If you purchased all of the parts to completely replace the entire strut assembly, proceed with assembly.

If you had the good sense to have a professional shop assemble the strut, skip down to reassembly. If you need to transfer parts from old to new, then it is time to disassemble the old strut.

The stock spring can be compressed with commonly available spring compressors. At least, mine were. Follow the instructions that came with the spring compressor(s) for safe use. Compress the spring so that it is not strongly pressing on the top plate. Remove the nut from the rod. An impact wrench works, or use an 18mm offset box wrench with a 6mm hex hey/socket bit to counterhold the rod. Remove the parts you intend to transfer to the new strut.

The rough road suspension spring that I chose is also rated for a higher axle weight rating. My desire was to get rid of the floppy ride of the front. Due to the diesel engine/auto tranny weight, I figured going up one range would help (I went up two ranges when I did my Golf some time ago). Here's the rub with my choice. It is a very strong spring. An autopart store with a hydraulic spring compressor was unable to compress it sufficiently to assemble the strut. It was the first one ever that "defeated" them.

I am not going to detail the high risk method I did to compress the new spring. I won't take responsibility if anyone gets injured trying to use the same method or tools. Suffice it to say, I did compress the spring so that the inner four loops of the spring were compressed nearly together. This is barely enough to get the nut started on the rod.

Assembly of the strut consists of several steps. First press the bottom plate onto the strut so that it is all the way down to the thick part of the body. Note there are three holes in the metal plate. One goes through the metal plate and the rubber bushing part. The other two only go through the metal plate. Position the latter two holes perpendicular to a line drawn through the bottom yoke of the strut. Refer to the removed strut for reference. The hole that goes all the way thru is closest to the hole that will be positioned towards the inside of the wheel well during installation.

Next install the plastic cap that slips over the rod and snaps to the top of the strut.

The plastic boot is assembled to the base of the bumper. Apply a drop of liquid soap to your finger then spread it on the base of the bumper. This makes it easier to press the bumper into the plastic boot. Once assembled, press the top of the bumper into the base of the top plate. I stood the boot/bumper on the boot and pressed the top plate down onto it to fully seat the bumper. It is not much effort.

Position the compressed spring onto the bottom plate, or lift the strut/bottom plate assembly up into the compressed coil. The end of the spring should be at the stop in the rubber plate and the coils should start to wrap into the guides of the rubber plate.

Install the top plate on the spring with the bumper and boot going down into the center of the spring coil. The top plate has a stop to position against the end of the spring.

Drop the washer onto the rod of the strut. It should be at the base of the threads.

Next comes the top bushing. Center it on top of the top plate. If the spring is sufficiently compressed the rod should project up through the center hole of the top bushing. If not, you need to compress the spring more. Install the top nut loosely (i.e. start the nut on the rod).

Now you need to position the metal part of the top plate. Draw an imaginary line through the studs on the top plate. This line needs to be offset 11 degrees to a line through the bolt holes of the bottom yoke. Consider the installed position of the strut with the front of the car as "north". That hole that goes through the bottom plate is "west" on the right strut and "east" on the left. The imaginary line through the studs is 11 degrees NNE/SSW on the right, and 11 degrees NNW/SSE on the left.

Keeping the rubber part of the upper plate positioned on the spring with the stop against the end of the spring, Turn the metal part to align the studs to the proper 11 degree turn. Keep everthing lined up like this and tighten the nut to 50 Nm using an 18mm offset box wrench and 6mm hex bit/key.

Now slowly uncompress the spring and verify that the 11 degree offset remains.

If you've gotten this far, the hard part is over.

Assembly into the car is the reverse of removal.

If you're replacing the upper links, mark the angles of the links in the bearing bracket. Remove the bolts and nuts securing the links to the bracket. Install the new links at the same angles. Tighten bolts to 50 Nm plus 1/4 turn.

Another method of ensuring the links are correctly angled is to measure the vertical distance of the point of the bracket (pointing to the loose ends the links) and the level of the top of the link arms. This should be 47mm plus or minus 2mm. I recommend measuring the distance since wear of the bushings in the old links may have caused the angle to be incorrect.

Now install the bracket to the top of the strut. Be sure to use the correct two holes depending on the side of the car. Tighten new nuts to 22 Nm.
Install the assembly into the car. Position the bearing bracket and install the three bolts and washers. Tighten to 75 Nm.

It is easier to install the bottom strut bolt in a reverse position than originally installed. However, this makes it more difficult to torque the nut but doable with a socket extension. Install the bottom bolt and tighten a new nut to 90 Nm. An aid to getting the bolt in is to put a bolt through the easy-to-get-at (front) side and partly into the lower arm. Then I inserted the bolt from the rear (like original) and pushed the other bolt out. This extra bolt holds the strut aligned with the control arm bushing hole. Using a wrench on the control arm flats may be needed to angle the arm for bolt installation.

Reconnect the swaybar. Use a new nut and tighten to 40 Nm plus 1/4 turn. You can do this step at the end too.

The next fun part is reconnecting the links to the bearing bracket. I used a padded jack positioned under the outer ends of the lower control arms to lift the bearing bracket up just enough to get the links into the holes. Once they are fully seated, insert the bolt through the bearing bracket and tighten a new nut onto it to 40 Nm.

Reconnect the sensor wiring and clip the wiring back into the retainer.

Fit the wheel and tighten the bolts to 120 Nm.

Clear everything from under the vehicle and lower it back down.

Repeat procedure for the other side.

Install plenum cover, gasket and air filter box trim cover.

Parts list (two each unless specified):
8D0 411 105 BM --- spring = standard axle weight range
8D0 411 105 BN --- spring = plus 1 weight range (what I installed)
4B0 412 031 CE --- STRUT GREEN paint mark
3B7 412 377 A --- MOUNTING - top strut mount
4D0 412 369 A --- WASHER - at base of rod threads (optional unless you want to preassemble the struts)
4D0 412 127 --- CAP - plastic cap at top of strut body (optional unless you want to preassemble the struts)
8D0 412 131 F --- HELPER SPRING - bumper (optional unless you want to preassemble the struts)
N 102 412 01 --- BOLT - strut to lower control arm
N 102 861 02 --- NUT - 8 - upper link to bracket, at pinch bolt, sway bar (get spares just in case)
N 034 790 7 --- BOLT - pinch bolt (N 034 790 8 may be substituted)
8E0 407 505 A --- upper link lf - 1
8E0 407 506 A --- upper link rf - 1
8E0 407 509 A --- upper link lr - 1
8E0 407 510 A --- upper link rr - 1
N 104 253 01 --- link bolts - 8
N 901 838 02 --- nut - 4 - top plate to upper bearing bracket
N 101 064 02 --- nut - 4 - top nut on strut and bolt at lower control arm
N 908 476 01 --- bolt - 6 - bracket to body (optional)
8D0 412 145 B --- washer - 6 - bracket to body (optional)
4D0 412 137 C --- boot (optional - unless you want to preassemble the new struts)

The parts for the struts (excluding misc. nuts and bolts and boot):

After the install:

It measures approximately 72 cm from the ground to the top of the wheel well at all four wheels.

Last edited by MOGolf; August 25th, 2008 at 19:33.
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Old August 25th, 2008, 19:29   #2
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I went for a test ride and then I went over to Growler's. We went for a ride with him in the front passenger seat first and then in the back. He'll report his own impressions of the change.

This definitely got rid of the floppiness. I'm no longer falling into the front seat as I get in. It rides firm but not excessively stiff. Cornering has minimal body roll (depending on speed ). I am pleased.

Others might consider just the same weight range for the front springs. I'm sure it will ride much better than original, but the front may have a little more slope.

The struts (and rear shocks) are not gas pressurized. They are made by Sachs. They dampen oscilations but are not the main support of the vehicle. The springs are.

Note: Replacing the front struts is not an activity for the typical GTG unless you have preassembled the replacement struts. Most GTGs are not held at places equipped to safely compress the springs.

Last edited by MOGolf; August 25th, 2008 at 19:39.
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Old August 25th, 2008, 19:40   #3
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Fl

Does this kit give you any more ground clearance. That is one of my only complaints about my 2005 TDI wagon. There is not enough ground clearance.
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Old August 25th, 2008, 19:41   #4
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Millersport, Ohio

My first impressions of this new ride were the following..

it no longer leans onto its door handles in the tight corners.

and for such a large vehicle, that is an accomplishment.

my normal daily car is a 2001 2 door golf tdi with eibach lowering springs and bilstein TC shocks on all 4 corners. his wagon cornered like my golf does, very little body roll, very nice bump control with the bigger tires and heavy duty shocks that the passat has. car felt like it was a little higher than stock, but since its been so long since i rode in it I reall ycannot remember how low it was before. but compared to my golf its totally 4x4

well done my friend. enjoy it, you earned it after what you had to go thru to compress the springs on the front.

Schmutz 2015 GSW S DSG
Schnurren 2001 Golf 2 door.
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Old August 25th, 2008, 19:44   #5
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Default old vs new strut

On the left is the old front strut with bottom plate and cap. On the right is a new rough road suspension strut.

They are the same length, but the body diameter is larger on the rough road suspension strut.

This picture shows the level that the bottom plate needs to be pressed onto the strut, and the position of the plastic cap where the rod enters the body.
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Old August 25th, 2008, 19:49   #6
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Peanut, measure from the ground to the top center of wheel well of your car. Compare that to the 72 cm of mine. That will give you an idea about the lift of the vehicle. It is my impression that it rides higher, but I did not measure before the change.

A drawback of this suspension, as noted in the thread for the rears, is that the matching rough road suspension springs and shocks had to be imported from Europe. That was a bit of a delay.

All the parts for the front are available in North America.

One other thing. This is not an inexpensive project.
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Old August 27th, 2008, 21:06   #7
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Fl

Thanks for the reply. I will measure tomorrow.
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Old August 28th, 2008, 21:15   #8
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Location: Calgary, Alberta
Thumbs up

Nice! Increasing the ground clearance and at the same time decreasing the body roll. I'm jealous. BTW, my stock height is 69cm.
05 Passat TDI Wagon GLS, Stonehenge Gray
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Old August 29th, 2008, 17:51   #9
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Reno, NV, USA
Fuel Economy: Pretty Damn Good

Very nice MOGolf. Taller tires to fill them wheel wells would not only give more compliance but give more clearance. Thanks for the write up.

I have 205/65-15 on my Passat. I will measure against the 72cm.

[edit @ 6:50 pst] I'm at 69cm avg.
2011 JSW "$" 2000 Golf "The Burner" 2007 Suzuki DRZ 400 SM "Fart Knocker"

Last edited by JungleDeath; August 29th, 2008 at 19:49.
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Old October 12th, 2011, 21:16   #10
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: MD

Great write up for sure!

I am fixing to lift my 01 Passat GLX 4Motion Wagon. Here's my questions:

1. Rough road shocks and coil springs are pricey and will take a while getting stateside from overseas. Will Bilstein HD shocks and some kinda aftermarket springs work just as well? If so, any recommendations on the springs?

2. Found spring spacers - planning on using these to add even more height:


Can't find a link to similar poly @ $70 per set, will post when I locate it.
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Old October 24th, 2011, 08:58   #11
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: MD

Folks, need advice on the front coil springs. Planning to do a similar project - got an 01 Passat 4Motion GLX wagon. My

local dealer (MD) can likely get the following springs (also can get them online):

8D0411105AT - 1 yellow 2 brown
8D0411105BA - 1 yellow 3 brown
8D0411105BM - 1 green 1 brown
8D0411105BN - 1 green 2 brown - this is what MOGolf used.
8D0411105CP - 1 orange 1 blue
8D0411105CQ - 1 orange 2 blue
8D0411105CR - 1 orange 3 blue
8D0411105CS - 1 grey 1 blue
8D0411105CT - 1 grey 2 blue

Which one(s) are higher rated in size and stiffness to the one used by MOGolf for his project? Thanks!

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Old September 9th, 2013, 05:46   #12
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Cluj-Napoca, Romania

1BB 0JH 8D0411105AT - 1 yellow 2 brown
1BB OJJ 8D0411105BA - 1 yellow 3 brown
1BB OJK 8D0411105BM - 1 green 1 brown
1BB OJL 8D0411105BN - 1 green 2 brown - this is what MOGolf used.
1BE OJD 8D0411105CP - 1 orange 1 blue
1BE OJE 8D0411105CQ - 1 orange 2 blue
1BE OJF 8D0411105CR - 1 orange 3 blue
1BE OJG 8D0411105CS - 1 grey 1 blue
1BE OJH 8D0411105CT - 1 grey 2 blue

1BE 0JJ 8D0411105DA - 1 grey 3 blue
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