Car sits uneven after jacking up, what did I do?

kennethsime

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2010
Location
California
TDI
2004 Jetta Wagon GL TDI 5-Speed Baltic Green
Ok, so I did a bunch of stuff today.

Oil and filter, fuel filter & injector cleaning, air filters, new thermostat & housing. Car was up on jackstands for maybe 3 hours. It's the Jetta in my signature and left-hand info, a 2003 Jetta sedan.

When I took it off the stands I realized the car was sitting a little funny. My driver's side front wheel has a lot more fender clearance than any other wheel (the rest match). It's maybe a 2-3 inch difference.

Does anyone have any thoughts? I haven't driven the car yet, going to try it in a minute.



Issues I see:
I took off the plastic belly pan, and bent one of the side skirts out of the way of the coolant/radiator drain for a little while, although I'm pretty sure I got it back in place.

When I jacked it up I used the side rail instead of the factory point (like an idiot), and not only that, I didn't do it in the right spot. By the time I was done I realized I bent the little rail. This isn't the first time jacking the car up for me, and I've been kicking myself since.

 
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AndyBees

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Joined
May 27, 2003
Location
Southeast Kentucky
TDI
Silver 2003 Jetta TDI, Silver 2000 Jetta TDI (sold), '84 Vanagon with '02 ALH engine
Push the front end of the car down a few times. It should level out!
 

flee

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Sep 19, 2011
Location
Chatsworth, CA
TDI
2002 Jetta GLS wagon
Jack the 'high' side up again and make sure everything is kosher at the top of the spring.
There is a bushing, bearing and other hardware that may have separated if not installed correctly.
Check if anything is loose.
 

Lightflyer1

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Sep 13, 2005
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Round Rock, Texas
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2015 Beetle tdi dsg
Please resize your pictures to some size that doesn't blow the margins out of the page here.

Have you driven it yet? Sometimes when lowering a wheel/suspension can get pushed in or out till it is driven.
 

Corsair

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Joined
Aug 17, 2003
Location
Auburn, New York
TDI
2002 Jetta GLS TDI 5M
Sometimes jacking a wheel off the ground and letting it back down... can put the suspension in a little bind which prevents it from settling- no big deal. Drive the car around the block and check again.

I noticed the crushed pinch weld seam before reading your mention of it. Not the end of the world, but that's a structural part of the car. They make accessories for hydraulic jacks for jacking at the pinch weld site- the accessories look like a round thick puck of hard plastic with a criss-cross slot cut in the top. You place the puck on your jack, and the pinch weld seam goes down in one slot of the criss cross.
 

kennethsime

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Joined
Oct 29, 2010
Location
California
TDI
2004 Jetta Wagon GL TDI 5-Speed Baltic Green
Thanks guys, I over-reacted. Pressed on it a few times, drove it around, it's fine.

Sorry about the picture size, forgot to resize before uploading. I wish we had BBCode options to display at a reduced size.

I'm either going to invest in factory jack point pads from ECS or some ramps real soon, this was really stupid of me.
 

JB05

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Oct 20, 2005
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Il.USA
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Golf,2005,anthracite blue
This reminds me of the time I changed my struts a few years ago, and when I was done my Golf looked more like a 4 X 4 until it settled down. I did gain an inch or so with the Bilstein TC's.
 

kennethsime

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2010
Location
California
TDI
2004 Jetta Wagon GL TDI 5-Speed Baltic Green
This reminds me of the time I changed my struts a few years ago, and when I was done my Golf looked more like a 4 X 4 until it settled down. I did gain an inch or so with the Bilstein TC's.
Yea, same for me. I like it, gives me more ground clearance and the car handles better.
 

Powder Hound

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'00 Golf 4dr White 5sp, '02 Jettachero 5sp, Wife's '03 NB Platinum Gray auto(!)
...this was really stupid of me.
Don't say that. I had the right side seam on my 4-dr folded up by a tire store twit, so it can happen no matter how careful you are. Or rather, some uncaring, unthinking mouth-breather will mangle parts of your car when you can't do anything about it no matter how careful you are. (Yet another reason I stay away from dealerships.)
 

kennethsime

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Oct 29, 2010
Location
California
TDI
2004 Jetta Wagon GL TDI 5-Speed Baltic Green
No, no. ECS lies about these. They are designed as jacking points when using a 4 point lift. NOT as a single jacking point.
So is the only place to use a shop jack the side rails between the triangles? These are sometimes hard to make out.
 

paramedick

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Jul 29, 2001
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Versailles, Kentucky
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2015 Audi Q5 TDI, 2000 New Beetle
Find a 12 inch piece of 4x4 and a friend with a table saw. Rip a wide slot into the 4x4. You now have an excellent way of jacking your car. Put the slot on the pinch weld, and lift the 4x4 with the jack. You won't damage anything ever again.

We use 4 of these when we're replacing engines or suspensions. Put the 4x4 on jack stands and the car never moves.......
 
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kennethsime

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2010
Location
California
TDI
2004 Jetta Wagon GL TDI 5-Speed Baltic Green
Find a 12 inch piece of 4x4 and a friend with a table saw. Rip a wide slot into the 4x4. You now have an excellent way of jacking your car. Put the slot on the pinch weld, and lift the 4x4 with the jack. You won't damage anything ever again.

We use 4 of these when we're replacing engines. Put the 4x4 on jack stands and the car never moves.......
Thank you. I think myturbodiesel has a suggestion similar to this buy I never bothered. Think my dad even has some lumber in his shop I can go use.
 

Seatman

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Apr 23, 2010
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2007 Seat Alhambra 2L tdi
Easiest way is to not jack it on the chassis and put the jack under the subframe instead. I put mine under the lca bush fitting for the front and usually on the axle for the back.
 

paramedick

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Jul 29, 2001
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2015 Audi Q5 TDI, 2000 New Beetle
Easiest way is to not jack it on the chassis and put the jack under the subframe instead. I put mine under the lca bush fitting for the front and usually on the axle for the back.
Front subframe has a large bolt to the body that is an excellent jacking/jackstand point.

VW cautions NEVER to jack on the rear axle......
 

AndyBees

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Southeast Kentucky
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Silver 2003 Jetta TDI, Silver 2000 Jetta TDI (sold), '84 Vanagon with '02 ALH engine
Front subframe has a large bolt to the body that is an excellent jacking/jackstand point.

VW cautions NEVER to jack on the rear axle......

Yeah, I jacked-up the rear of my Jetta a few weeks ago using the rear axle ................... hope I didn't hurt anything:eek:
 

Seatman

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2007 Seat Alhambra 2L tdi
It's fine Andy,I've done it loads and never had an issue yet, best with a decent size jack with a decent size pad though to make sure you're right on it properly, it can be a bit slippy if you're not careful. I suspect that's why it's not recommended.
 

FlyTDI Guy

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Nov 3, 2001
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PNW
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'01 Jetta GLS
I usually just slip under the lower spring cup for the rear. I've got a small hydraulic scissor jack that fits perfectly there and doesn't damage the stamped steel part. The added bonus is just a few pumps and the tire is lifted. No taking up all the suspension travel before you actually get the tire free. For the front, I use the pinch weld, as instructed. You can get floor jack pads HERE... Though expensive, they last the life of the car. Only caveat is if you have a tall floor jack, and/or you have lowered your car, there may be some clearance problems. Usually you can solve it by capping the pinch weld first, then slide the jack under it.
 

kennethsime

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Joined
Oct 29, 2010
Location
California
TDI
2004 Jetta Wagon GL TDI 5-Speed Baltic Green
Definitely a little over my head. The front subframe would be where the control arms attach to the frame of the car? The "pinch weld" is what I'm referring to as the "side rails" ?

I think I'm going to investigate the 4x4 route.
 

FlyTDI Guy

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Joined
Nov 3, 2001
Location
PNW
TDI
'01 Jetta GLS
4x4 is probably too thick for most floor jacks. Doing a 2x4 has a tendency to split after a few uses. I started w/that and ended up w/the jack pad I linked to above. Been good ever since.
 
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