2009 JSW just won’t stay aligned. Feels like driving in grooves.

Teamzarz

Active member
Joined
Feb 17, 2018
Location
FloriDUHH
TDI
2009 JSW
Title says it all. I have replaced everything in the front end except for front control arm bushings, rack bushings, and CV joints.
Literally everything else is new within 6 months.

this Includes:
Tires - Continental DWS06
Shocks - all 4 Bilstein B4 for Audi S3
Strut bearings
Complete tie rod replacment both sides
Ball joints both sides
LCA bushings, HD for R32
Sway bar end links

car was just aligned last month wheel was straight when I left and car drive normally but still feels like there is something loose/car feels like it wanders/ steering feels looser than it should.
Now the wheel is not fully centered and when held at center car pulls to the left. The subframe bolts were not loosened or removed during the alignment.
Any thoughts?
 

Teamzarz

Active member
Joined
Feb 17, 2018
Location
FloriDUHH
TDI
2009 JSW
I can get it, at the time the alignment place had a busted printer. The car has had a factory out of spec passenger caster angle since we bought it in 2014. After the suspension refresh the caster angle showed closer to spec but still not quite there.
 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
I tend not to worry about caster on these cars, as long as left and right are relatively equal. Caster seems to be dependent on vehicle load, and my cars are always empty when aligned.

You should take a look at the report. It might point out an issue with the alignment, or something that's out of whack with the vehicle. I wonder what caused the caster to be out of spec on one side. Accident?
 

Teamzarz

Active member
Joined
Feb 17, 2018
Location
FloriDUHH
TDI
2009 JSW
No accidents reported on the car, bought from VW dealer as a certified pre owned in 2014. I think it’s out of spec from the factory. Always reads 6.8ish the suspension refresh got it to 6.9/7 it’s only out by a few 10ths of a degree.

Will call the alignment place tomorrow and see if so can get the report. The way it feels when cornering is wallowy but also weirdly under-damped slightly. Which is weird for new bilsteins, even B4s.
 
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03TDICommuter

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Joined
Dec 8, 2016
Location
So. Cal
TDI
01' NB, 5spd
New tires will make the steering light, so I wouldn't put much thought into that. Some tires like to track irregularities in the road more than others, and toe'd out will make it worse.
 

Teamzarz

Active member
Joined
Feb 17, 2018
Location
FloriDUHH
TDI
2009 JSW
I think I remember .3 degrees toe out either side. Don’t quote since I haven’t had time to get the report.
 

Teamzarz

Active member
Joined
Feb 17, 2018
Location
FloriDUHH
TDI
2009 JSW
Maybe it was .03 total toe because 3 hundredths of a degree is basically 0 over that short a distance.
Again I’m still speculating/trying to remember.
 

DSIre

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2004
Location
Dumont NJ
TDI
2004 Golf TDI (sold), 2011 A3 TDI, 2015 A3 TDI (Returned)
MK5 cars like to run 5 minutes toe in per wheel. Factory spec is (or at least was) 12 minutes in the rear per wheel, but using 5 reduces inner sawtooth cupping.
 

Teamzarz

Active member
Joined
Feb 17, 2018
Location
FloriDUHH
TDI
2009 JSW
Prior to the tire change and suspension refresh there was definite sawtooth cupping. Mostly on the passenger front tire.
 

Teamzarz

Active member
Joined
Feb 17, 2018
Location
FloriDUHH
TDI
2009 JSW
Ok got it back to alignment place and it seems the toe was out a little. Also it showed my camber has a +.7 degree total discrepancy. Moving the subframe to equalize probably wouldn’t help in this instance. Not sure what is causing the camber discrepancy since nothing is camber adjustable up front.


 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
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Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
Not sure how the shop thought that having toe that far off was acceptable, except that it's (barely) within range. The rest of the measurements look good, and I agree that the camber discrepancy wouldn't cause the wandering you're experiencing. I'd have them correct the toe to as close to zero as they can get it and see how the car drives. However I'd not be optimistic that it'll solve your problem.
 

Teamzarz

Active member
Joined
Feb 17, 2018
Location
FloriDUHH
TDI
2009 JSW
Well it drove fine when I left the first time and it was “in range” when I left the first time. I had to essentially argue with the owner who did not touch the car last time that I was competent enough to fix my own suspension and that I was not the cause of the misalignment.

After he tried good-ol’-boy-splaining what road crown was and got it back on the lift he agreed the steering wheel was off and the car would drift left when held straight. He corrected the toe issue. I wish home alignments were easier I hate giving the car to other people, it’s always a failure.

The camber though is a mystery, never been in an accident but that wheel did fall into a rather large pothole during an avoidance maneuver which bent a wheel and required a tire replacement.
 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
The camber discrepancy left to right isn't uncommon. And I don't think it's the source of your problems, as I said above. If the alignment seems to be changing soon after checking at the shop then something's worn.
 

Teamzarz

Active member
Joined
Feb 17, 2018
Location
FloriDUHH
TDI
2009 JSW
Would worn rack bushings cause this? I changed the front rear control arm bushings but not the front as I have a DSG and I didn’t feel like unbolting the engine mounts just to get the bolt out of the driver side.
Besides those two things literally everything else up front suspension wise has been replaced.
 

Teamzarz

Active member
Joined
Feb 17, 2018
Location
FloriDUHH
TDI
2009 JSW
It’s been a minute after the alignment place “touched up” their alignment and the car is still driving mostly correctly and nothing has gone out.

starting to wonder if the first tech didn’t tighten the nuts on the passenger tie rod completely the first time and that’s what caused the first alignment to go slowly out of spec.
 

Wilkins

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2005
Location
British Columbia
TDI
05 Jetta Wagon 5sp, 10 Sportwagen 6MT
Is the ride height the same left/right at all wheels? I had a similar issue which seems to have been a rear spring missing the better part of a coil. New springs but not yet aligned everything seems fine.
 

ZippyNH

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Apr 22, 2015
Location
Southern NH
TDI
2015 JETTA TDI SE
Remember had a set of Michelin tires on a Hyundai Tiburon back in 99 that felt like this anytime on a certain section of the Mass turnpike (i-90) and parts of I-495 and I-84 that had a specific groves in the concrete.....it's was a nightmare....but perfect elsewhere. Once the tires wore to a certain point, it got better, then totally went away when changed.
 

DivineChaos

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Location
Minnesota
TDI
mk6 jetta sportwagen tdi
How's your subframe bolts? The rear two are stretch bolts which I've replaced because of this type of issue. The front subframe would move
 

Teamzarz

Active member
Joined
Feb 17, 2018
Location
FloriDUHH
TDI
2009 JSW
Ride height is the same on all 4 corners after full suspension refresh.

tires are new but this issue was present on the old set.

Subframe bolts have never been removed to my knowledge. It did have the diesel fix many years back and required the 1 piece DPF. If that required a subframe removal and the dealer did not replace the TTY bolts then that may be my issue. The alignment place did not loosen any subframe bolts, I watched the entire process and informed them not to touch them.

I need to replace the bolts anyway, most likely with an upgraded centering kit, whenever it is I get around to doing DSG clutches.
 
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