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Upgrades (non TDI Engine related) The place of handling, lighting and other upgrades that do not relate to the performance or economy of the TDI engine. In other words upgrades to your TDI that don't fit into TDI Fuel Economy & TDI Engine Enhancements.Please note the Performance Disclaimer

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Old October 4th, 2011, 10:06   #1
STP-TDI
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Default Typical Labor Cost for Shock Installation?

What is the typical labor cost to install Bilstein HDs at all four corners, on a 2002 5-speed TDI? I am providing the shocks to the shop/dealer, but my initial job quotes are all over the place. $175/shock to $350/shock. What is a reasonable labor cost, for what is invloved?
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Old October 4th, 2011, 11:13   #2
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Well, are you only doing the shocks and nothing else (you should do all the rubber moving parts). The rears are easy to do and could be done for less then $100 in labor total. The fronts are a little harder and require 2 special tools to do and a spring compressor. Maybe around $125 a front. But then again I did it myself so I don't know what others charge.
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Old October 4th, 2011, 12:54   #3
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I would estimate

Front = 1 hr per side
Rear = 1/2 hr per side
Alignment = 1 hr

Labor rates is dependant on region.

Also you should include is additional parts:

Front:
  • Strut Mount
  • Strut Bearing
  • Spindle Stretch Bolt & Nylok Nut
  • Axle bolt (if they have to remove the axle to drop the passenger side, maybe the driver side, depending on the stop)...
Rear
  • Shock mount
  • Shock stretch bolt
...and forgot to mention... you won't be reusing the front strut bumpstop. The Bilstein HD shaft is too large & has internal bumpstops
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Old October 4th, 2011, 19:25   #4
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My shop here charges 80 a shock and all they do is front end and shock work.
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Old October 5th, 2011, 03:54   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 20IndigoBlue02 View Post
I would estimate
Front = 1 hr per side
Rear = 1/2 hr per side
Alignment = 1 hr
Labor rates is dependant on region.
Also you should include is additional parts:
Front:
  • Strut Mount
  • Strut Bearing
  • Spindle Stretch Bolt & Nylok Nut
  • Axle bolt (if they have to remove the axle to drop the passenger side, maybe the driver side, depending on the stop)...
Rear
  • Shock mount
  • Shock stretch bolt
...and forgot to mention... you won't be reusing the front strut bumpstop. The Bilstein HD shaft is too large & has internal bumpstops
Thank you all and thanks also '20IndigoBlue02' for listing the additional parts that should be replaced... which are probably not always addressed or are overlooked at some shops.
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Old October 5th, 2011, 04:01   #6
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Alldata book times:

Front struts: 2.7hr

Rear shocks: 1.2hr

This does NOT include alignment time.

Personally, I find the front to be a wee bit low (but we almost always are also doing control arm bushings, too). And the rear too much.

We charge 3.0 for all the front, and .7 for the rear, plus alignment. Which ends up being a bit less than book time total.

Then, maybe 50% of the time, I end up having to replace the tie rod assemblies because they are siezed.
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Old October 5th, 2011, 04:43   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oilhammer View Post
Snip... (but we almost always are also doing control arm bushings, too).
What are the observable effects of worn control arm bushings? Steering wheel vibration during light braking above 50 mph, such as experienced on a BMW E28 with its known upper control arm bushing wear issues? What does the Golf suspension exhibit that would indicate control arm bushing wear? Or, is it primarily an inspection task to determine if replacement is needed?
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Old October 5th, 2011, 04:56   #8
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Well, a quick peak will reveal their condition, but when they are let go to the point that they are completely broken into 2 pieces, the car will wander a bit, clunks on braking and acceleration, etc.

In the time it took to read the above sentence, you could probably inspect them. Check them at every service. They are usually shot before the shocks are.
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Old October 9th, 2011, 11:45   #9
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Are these control arm bushings the lower control arm bushings? Not trying to hijack; but I've long had this "clunk" on accel/decel that I assumed was the door shifting around (sounded like that area). But I had the TT bushings installed, err, I guess it was 100k/3 years ago.
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Old October 10th, 2011, 04:09   #10
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There are no "upper" control arms, therefore it is quite silly to call the control arms on a Mac strut car "lower" control arms. They are just "control arms". And actually, Volkswagen calls them a "track control arm".

It would be like saying "one of my front headlights is out, but both my rear tail lights are good".
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Old October 10th, 2011, 18:53   #11
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Touché... ouch!
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Old October 10th, 2011, 19:46   #12
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Supton: i'd wager the front control arm bushings are probably fine, whereas if the rears are the TT ones and at 100K miles, I'd check them at least. Any cracks and I'd be replacing them.

Clunking on braking can also be a slightly loose outer tie rod bolt(s) since I found out firsthand that they sometimes break or the top bracket plate breaks from too much torquing on the same corner (like going up a steep inclined driveway from the same side every time...)

Caliper holding brackets torqued down? Could be another source of clunking...
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Old October 11th, 2011, 05:09   #13
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I thought the solid TT bushings were supposed to last much longer than that? Eh, my Koni's have 100k on them, I'm guessing another 50k and they will be up for replacement; at that time I'll just have the bushings et all done over/replaced. [I did notice, while looking for a potential exhaust leak, that it looked like the sub-frame to body bushings were rather cracked.]
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Old October 11th, 2011, 06:20   #14
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Pardon my tiredness in the above post; outer tie rod actually was supposed to be ball joint. Has 3 bolts holding it with a bracket/top plate to keep everything in place. I've seen that top plate break, seen bolts come loose too. That can be a source of front end clunk. You'll also notice it on brisk acceleration as well as braking.
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Old October 19th, 2011, 09:18   #15
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UPDATE -
Bilstein HD's (from Tire Rack) and all new associated mounting hardware (from IDParts) installed by a local shop (that we've worked with for the past 20+ years) plus alignment, came to $397.57 total labor. Great to have Bilstein HD's controlling things, major improvement in handling, of course, compared to the tired original shocks with 107k miles on them. Thanks to all for your earlier inputs. Much appreciated.
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