DIY How To Easily Upgrade MK4 Front Strut Mounts Cupra R Mounts

TDI_G

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Dec 16, 2011
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Sugar Hill, Georgia
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Front Strut Bushings and Strut Bearing Replacement VW MK4 (A4). Fast and easy!
First of all, as a disclaimer, this repair is part of the AArodriguez/FixMyVw Sponsored Repair program. Information regarding this program can be found here: http://www.fixmyvw.com/sponsored-repairs/
All of the parts used were purchased from FixMyVW.com. Here is a link to the bushings I purchased http://www.fixmyvw.com/cupra-r-front-strut-mount-bushings-1ml412331/
Part number is 1ML412331 for the Cupra R Mounts (worth the extra price in my opinion). The part number for the original mounts is 1J0498249G. Part number for strut mount bearings is 1J0412249.
This how-to is to teach you how to swap out your worn out and squashed front strut mounts and bearings without removing the entire strut itself which can get quite involved. With this method, you don’t even have to remove the wheels.
Tools required:
1) A floor jack and a jack stand
2) Either the Metalnerd strut nut removal tool and a 7MM allen socket with extension or a 13/16” spark plug socket and a 7MM allen wrench with something to hold it with (a small box end wrench or anything else that will allow you to get torque on the allen wrench). If using the spark plug socket, use an adjustable wrench or an appropriate size wrench to turn the socket with. I used the Metalnerd tool and recommend using it.

3) A torque wrench
4) Coil spring compressors which can be loaned from any major auto parts store. More on the spring compressor later.
Total time for me to do the job was less than an hour.
Here you can see how much gap there is with the old mounts. Some may say this is normal. It bothered me and that is the reason why I am upgrading these mounts.

Here is a pic of the new mounts along with the new bearings.

First step is to remove the little plastic cap and set it aside (sorry no photo but very simple).

You will notice that there are two types of nuts used on this. The nut that holds the strut cap on does not have a shoulder and the nut that holds the mount in place has a shoulder. You will need to remove the first nut, remove the cup, then remove the second nut. You will need to use the 7MM allen wrench to counter-hold the strut while loosening the nuts. Loosen both nuts with the weight of the car on its wheels (not jacked up) and then install only the nut without the shoulder. What this does is hold the strut/spring assembly together and will allow you to remove the mount.

Only the nut without the shoulder is installed at this point
 

TDI_G

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Go ahead and jack the car up now and the weight of the wheels should cause the strut to drop down. When I was doing it, the strut dropped and the mount stayed in place. I simply tapped the mount and it dropped right out.

I used my knee to push the wheel down and reached in under the fender and manipulated the mount out. The driver side is very easy to do this on.

Once the mount is out, If you will be changing the bearings, carefully lower the car onto the strut without a mount on it back into the strut tower. Do this slowly and carefully (a helper can come in handy here though it can be done solo, you just need to be able to manage guiding the strut in place and lowering the jack at the same time). Once the weight of the car is compressing the spring, undo the nut and remove and replace the bearing and reinstall the non-shouldered nut (no need to torque yet). If you aren’t replacing the bearings you can skip this step.


Before proceeding, here is a shot of the new Cupra R strut mount on the left next to the old mount on the right. The old mounts only have about 40K miles on them and look how compressed they are already.

After installing the new bearing, reinstall the non-shouldered nut and jack the car back up again and do the opposite of what you did to remove the old mount to install the new mount. Press the wheel down with your knee or foot again and manipulate the new mount on top of the strut. Once it is in place, go ahead and slowly and carefully lower the car back down making sure the strut enters the strut tower as shown.

At this point you will remove the non-shouldered nut and replace it with the shouldered nut to hold the mount in place. I am not 100% certain if these nuts should be replaced or not but I chose to reuse the nuts.
 

TDI_G

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Go ahead and tighten the nut down.

Once it is snug, use your torque wrench and torque the shouldered nut down to 44 ft-lbs. If you are using a spark plug socket to tighten everything, you could probably use a crows foot socket on a torque wrench or you could just opt to torque it “good and tight”.

Once the shouldered nut is torqued, reinstall the cup and put the non-shouldered nut back in place.



This nut is also torqued to 44 ft-lbs

Reinstall the plastic cover and you are finished with the driver side. The passenger side is a little more difficult than the driver side. Go ahead and remove the nuts like you did on the driver side, remove the cup and install only the non-shouldered nut. Now you can jack the car up like you did on the driver side.


I was not able to get the wheel/strut to drop low enough due to the drive axle hitting the subframe. In order to get the mount out I used a spring compressor to compress the spring just enough to give me some more clearance up above. Another option is to loosen the subframe bolts to lower it to give you the additional 1/2” or so of clearance that you need or you can remove the axle itself. That is just too much work in my opinion. I found the spring compressors to be very easy to use.


Once you get the spring compressed some, it should be pretty straightforward on how to get the mount out. I did have to push the strut itself down a hair to get the mount out. With some patience and effort you will be able to wiggle the mount out of there. Once the mount is out go ahead and lower the car again without a mount in place to change the bearing if you decide to do so. The rest of the installation is just like the driver side. Once the mount is in, remove the spring compressors and finish installing everything.
 

TDI_G

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Location
Sugar Hill, Georgia
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Below is the after shot once everything is installed. The Cupra R mounts are a bit stiffer than the original mounts and I am expecting them to last longer.


I did notice that the front of my Golf sits about a half inch taller than it did before. I wish I would have taken before and after measurements of front end ride heights but I didn’t. I do expect the front end to settle a little after driving it for a while. My initial impression of these mounts is very positive. I don’t notice as drastic of a change as I did when changing control arm bushings to solid TT bushings or changing the rear axle beam bushings to Cupra R bushings but it does feel a bit better. I definitely don’t notice any more clunking going over speed humps (or bumps depending on where you live). I will need to drive on these a little more before I can give a solid review. It does sound like there are a lot of steps required to change these mounts but I assure you it isn’t all that difficult.
 

Black00Jetta

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Relocated to AZ
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2000 Jetta GLS Black 5spd
Nice write up and good pics!

I am sure I could do this following these instructions. This should also be added to the 'How to' section.
 

Votblindub

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NY
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MK4 Jettas: Sedan & Wagon
Nice guide!
I wonder if getting those with halfcups will alleviate my "underhood mushroom" issues.
 

Iflyasa

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Oct 27, 2009
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Georgia
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06 Jetta TDI
My MK5 Jetta makes "Popping" noises from the front end while turning, which makes the car to lean. I wonder if I need cupra replacements as well?
 

TDI_G

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Not sure what kind of options exist for the MK5 platform. Sounds like your problem is probably your strut bearings.
 

swetbak

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Thank you TDI G and AARodriguez. This was a very timely post. I just had an estimate to change both bushings and a tie rod end. I saved about $300 in labor (and about $50 in parts) by doing those myself.

Here's some things I'll share about my experience:
1. I could not have done this myself. There is no way I could have taken off and put on the bushings myself while holding the wheel down, much less working the jack to lower the car while also holding the shock in proper place.
2. The bushings on my car were very stubborn and I needed a screwdriver and hammer to unstick them.
3. The illustration for the spring compressor showed you grabbing three spring (loops?) on each side, and the description implied that you didn't need to compress much. Well, I needed to grab four spring loops and crank them as far as I could. That took me at least an hour by the time I realized I needed maximum compression. Very little clearance to turn the compressor bolt on the rear side and could only turn it 1/8th turn at a time. Even with that, if I didn't know it could be done I would have given up. Finally, I was able to get out and replace the bushing.
4. Lastly, even after reading the instructions multiple times first and during, I forgot to set the car back down to remove the bearing before putting the new bushing on. On the passenger side, I decided not to replace the bearing because there was no way I was going to be able to remove the new bushing when I was barely able to remove the squashed old one.

At least for me, if these instructions had each step numbered (like the tools needed) I might have caught that detail while I re-scanned the instructions. Something about a narrative makes one scan and miss details. At least thats how it was for me, on both sides. My frame of mind might have been a contributing factor since on each side I didn't think I was going to get the bushing out and when I finally did, my mind just wanted to get the new bushing on.

It might have taken me half a day to do this, but it would have taken me a whole day of working to pay someone else to do it, and I wouldn't have learned anything to pass along.
Thanks again!
 
Last edited:

deejaaa

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very nice write-up indeed.
with mount compression after 40K being as bad as that, wonder if there are poly units available? and would it be a harsh ride? read a lot about people wanting a stiffer ride but I like a softer ride.
 

Yreka

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Joined
Mar 12, 2010
Location
Tracy, Ca
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2003 Jetta TDI
Part number is 1ML412331 for the Cupra R Mounts

That $39 (Q1) gets you the pair right ? I need to do this soon.
 

TDI_G

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Joined
Dec 16, 2011
Location
Sugar Hill, Georgia
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None Currently- 2008 BMW 335I
Part number is 1ML412331 for the Cupra R Mounts

That $39 (Q1) gets you the pair right ? I need to do this soon.
They are $39 each, so $78 for the pair. Well worth it in my opinion. I've run the cheap stock bushings and the cupra r bushings and I'll take the cupra bushings any day over stock.
 

TDI_G

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2011
Location
Sugar Hill, Georgia
TDI
None Currently- 2008 BMW 335I
Thank you TDI G and AARodriguez. This was a very timely post. I just had an estimate to change both bushings and a tie rod end. I saved about $300 in labor (and about $50 in parts) by doing those myself.

Here's some things I'll share about my experience:
1. I could not have done this myself. There is no way I could have taken off and put on the bushings myself while holding the wheel down, much less working the jack to lower the car while also holding the shock in proper place.
2. The bushings on my car were very stubborn and I needed a screwdriver and hammer to unstick them.
3. The illustration for the spring compressor showed you grabbing three spring (loops?) on each side, and the description implied that you didn't need to compress much. Well, I needed to grab four spring loops and crank them as far as I could. That took me at least an hour by the time I realized I needed maximum compression. Very little clearance to turn the compressor bolt on the rear side and could only turn it 1/8th turn at a time. Even with that, if I didn't know it could be done I would have given up. Finally, I was able to get out and replace the bushing.
4. Lastly, even after reading the instructions multiple times first and during, I forgot to set the car back down to remove the bearing before putting the new bushing on. On the passenger side, I decided not to replace the bearing because there was no way I was going to be able to remove the new bushing when I was barely able to remove the squashed old one.

At least for me, if these instructions had each step numbered (like the tools needed) I might have caught that detail while I re-scanned the instructions. Something about a narrative makes one scan and miss details. At least thats how it was for me, on both sides. My frame of mind might have been a contributing factor since on each side I didn't think I was going to get the bushing out and when I finally did, my mind just wanted to get the new bushing on.

It might have taken me half a day to do this, but it would have taken me a whole day of working to pay someone else to do it, and I wouldn't have learned anything to pass along.
Thanks again!
Sorry you had so much trouble with yours. It does require some contortionist skills to get them out especially maneuvering the jack and wheel. With the passenger side, I really didn't have to compress the spring much. I only needed about a half inch of clearance. I am running GLI springs and that may have given me an additional bit of clearance. I am also noticing that not all MK4's have the non shouldered nut on top.
 

swetbak

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No worries. It was good experience. Glad I tackled it and won. Like the infomercial says "if I can do it, anyone can". Really!!
 

Yreka

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Mar 12, 2010
Location
Tracy, Ca
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2003 Jetta TDI
They are $39 each, so $78 for the pair. Well worth it in my opinion. I've run the cheap stock bushings and the cupra r bushings and I'll take the cupra bushings any day over stock.

Got em, thanks. A little pricey, but buy-once-cry-once right ?
 

yatzee

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see sig
is there any proof that supports these bushings stronger or tougher than the original ones?

I've changed so many of these on mk4's over the years and have always wondered about the Cupra option
 

turbovan+tdi

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is there any proof that supports these bushings stronger or tougher than the original ones?

I've changed so many of these on mk4's over the years and have always wondered about the Cupra option
Someone on the Vortex site tested the durometer and they were indeed denser. IIRC, stock was around 30/40, the Cupra R's are 80.
 

TDI_G

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I've been very happy with the Cupra R mounts. They haven't compressed like the stock mounts have in the past. There wasn't as drastic of a difference as the Cupra R rear axle beam bushings but a difference none the less. I would still recommend them over stock mounts.

Sent from my XT1045 using Tapatalk
 

panthers89fan90

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I just received my Cupra R mounts along with some VR6 Wagon springs for the front (To level out the suspension height) and will be putting them in today or tomorrow. I can't wait! I'll report back later.
 

turbovan+tdi

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Been running the purple mounts for 4 months, the top hats which barely fit haven't changed their gap.
 
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