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VW MKIV-A4 TDIs (VE and PD) This is a general discussion about A4/MkIV Jetta (99.5-~2005), Golf(99.5-2006), and New Beetle(98-2006). Both VE and PD engines are covered here.

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Old March 25th, 2011, 09:54   #1
fatman
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Default Why does my car wobble?

I have had some suspension issues with my 2001 Golf, I realized that my sway bar bushing are worn and called my regular mechanic to get them replaced (I was told about them the last time I was there and started noticing some clunking noises when driving the car lately) However I justed assumed that another sympton to a worn bushing was the fact that my car feels like it wobbles at low speeds (when I first noticed it I actually stopped, suspecting I had a flat tire, but it wasn't). The shop that I regularly go to said that worn bushing would not cause that. I have not had the opportunity to let them look at the car yet but wondering what could be causing this wobbling sensation?
Just out of curiousity, what would I expect for a repair cost to replace the bushings?
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Old March 25th, 2011, 10:56   #2
Powder Hound
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I don't know on the bushings - how much it would cost because I just do stuff like that myself. I can say that if there's a low speed wobble, it can be a lot of things.

Sometimes there are subtle problems that are difficult to find such as a wheel that is bent. This would not be a bend at the rim, but a bend of the center of the wheel so that if you spin the wheel while it is off the ground, you can track the tread moving back and forth.

It could be a tire failing. It could be an axle that has taken a hit and is bent, causing the bearing to wobble slightly. It could be a combination of a wheel balance and alignment. IMO, any alignment problem would be very difficult to check yourself and could be doubly difficult if it is something that only shows up because of a tire fault.

I would suggest that if you can find a friend that knows front wheel drive cars well, or if there is a local guru to take it to if you are mechanically challenged, then it would be well to do so. And, when checking things yourself, be methodical, and take notes if you can so that you don't keep repeating yourself.
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Old March 26th, 2011, 17:13   #3
2002MK4
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Fatman/PowderHound,

My understanding of the wobble sensation is as follows...

It is likely the dogbone mounts that have failed or the cv joints. In my own MKIV with 110,000 miles, the wobbling sensation recently started happening. It is especially noticable on hard acceleration in 2 and 3rd gears.

Wondering if more experienced members could confirm/validate my comment.

Furthermore, while I am not experienced enough to rule OUT sway bar bushing as a cause of the wobble. One, more experienced, user here descibed failure of the sway bar bushing as a little Elf hitting the floor of your car with a hammer or baseball bat.

Once again, if a more experienced suspension person could weight on on these issues would be great.

PS - Dope is perfectly fine. We have tons of it up here...lighten up!
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Old March 26th, 2011, 18:37   #4
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I had a low speed wobble once, it was a bad tire.
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Old March 26th, 2011, 18:41   #5
2002MK4
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But given mileage of 180,000 Km what are the most likely culprits?

CV Joints?
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Old March 26th, 2011, 22:57   #6
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Fatman: Do not take your car in for swaybar bushings. You can do them in 1 hour or less.

Floor jack, long pair of needle nose pliers and a socket. It's absolutely simple. There is a sticky here under 101. To do the left turn your front tires all the way to the right and you can reach it very easily, reverse for the right side. Look at the sticky for sway bar bushings. If you don't have a floor jack you can use the thing they gave you in the car "at your own risk" even though there is none.

Most likely tires, do you rotate them? My 03 falls into every groove and divet in the road. I did my first set of brakes 3000 miles ago and checked for any type of play, camber, caster, and saw none. Don't think CV joints either.

The clunking noise is most definately the sway bar. I have saved alot of folks money because they thought it was much more serious. I ain't kidding, less then an hour to change.

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Old March 26th, 2011, 23:04   #7
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Oh, another thing, front struts. I am ordering a new set next week, what alot of folks don't realize is this is a huge part of your control. If the top bushings are worn you're front end can walk around excessively. I've got to ask IDI parts a couple of questions before I order or I would have ordered them with my timing belt kit I just ordered. Later again.

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Old March 27th, 2011, 08:47   #8
fatman
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737tdi, I appreciate the encouragement but I am a Chicken with a capital 'C' when it comes to car repairs. We are a one vehicle family (the wife and I) so any screw ups means my wife has to find another way to work. Not good. If we had a second vehicle to rely on then I may be brave enough (or stupid enough) to take on some projects.
I work at home but I may find that I have to go out of town ever so often, so I have been contemplating buying an older VW for my self or buying something new for the wife and keeping our car (which is an older VW). Because I am always game for a challenge.
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Old March 31st, 2011, 08:28   #9
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Quick update.
The person or persons that suggested my wobble was due to a faulty tire, was right on. Apparently my back tire was starting to separate. They were Nokian WRG2's with about 65,000 km on them (40,000 miles). They were pretty well worn out.
I never been happy with my WRG2's (second set already) seem to wear out really fast but I guess that is to be expected with these types of tires. I just felt that they were the ideal tire for me, living in the Vancouver area of BC. I never in my life have driven with snow tires, but felt the WRG2's would be good during those rare times we do get snow and I also on occasion do head up the mountains for winter recreation. But I am tired of replacing them every 18 months (which is how long they been lasting). May look at an all-season and take my chances if and when it snows next winter.
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Old March 31st, 2011, 09:41   #10
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thanks for finding the problem and posting the result!
Tires are like spouses, there are loads of options out there, you can get what you like.
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Old March 31st, 2011, 22:20   #11
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I win! Always check the easy stuff first: tires, where the rubber meets the road, yada yada yada
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