Front strut mount replacement 'How to'

Wingnut

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 10, 2002
Location
Toronto & Whitby
TDI
Silver 2003 Jetta Wagon
Front strut mount replacement \'How to\'

I assisted another member do some suspension work today and thought I would document it so others can use it for reference. Among other things, we replaced his strut mounts & added a spacer to lift the front of his car to give more clearance for his new steel skidplate.

Now normaly I would remove the struts completely & remove & replace the parts with the assistance of my bench vice. But in an attempt to save some steps and time, we tried it with the struts still installed in the vehicle. It is possible, but still requires the use of a spring compressor to compress the spring enough to remove & replace the parts.

NOTE: This task can be dangerous and should only be completed by someone who can work safely, The springs can be placed under high tension and if the spring compressor breaks, serious injury can result!

Tools required:

7mm alen wrench
13/16" spark plug socket
7/8" wrench
Spring compressor (available as a loan-a-tool at many auto parts stores with a deposit)

Parts required:

2 Strut mounts: 1J0 412 331 C
2 Strut bearings: 1J0 412 249
2 Spacers (if necessary): 1J0 412 311 A

First thing is to do is to remove the nut on top of the struts. There are two on each side. The first nut holds a cap and the one underneath it holds the mount, bearing & spring perch. Here is how to remove it. Place the 13/16 spark plug socket on the nut and run the 7mm allen wrench through the hole in the center of the socket. Using a pipe to hold the allen key stil, use the 7/8 wrench to loosen the socket:


Repeat this for both nuts on each side (4 nuts in total). Once the four nuts are removed, you can lift the front of the vehicle to release the spring tension on the mounts. Jack up both sides & secure with jackstads for safety. Then remove the wheels for acces to the wheel well.

There will still be some tension on the springs at this point. Use the spring compressor to compress the spring to relieve the rest of the tension on the upper perch & mount:


Once the spring is compressed a bit, the parts will easily come out. Beware of your hands inside the wheel well. The spring is under tension and if the compressor breaks, you can injure yourself. BE CAREFUL! Here are the parts removed:


Here are the replacement parts. Notice the adition of the spacer. This goes in between the bearing and the upper perch:


Now just put the parts back in the same order shown in the picture. This can be quite frustrating getting all the parts to line up & stay in place, but we did it. An extra set of hands would come in handy here. Once the parts are in place, use a jack to raise the lower control arm to raise the shaft of the strut up through the parts so you can secure everything with the nut. Here is a diagram of the components in case you need a reference on how to put everything back:



Note: #28 is the mount, #24 is the bearing, #40 is the spacer & #29 is the spring perch.

Oh, and since it was mentioned in a post below, the top retaining nut is supposed to be replaced as per the Bentley Manual (#27 in the illustration). If you have to get the parts at the dealer, then you might as well get these to, but I have never changed one. It does not support the weight of the vehicle in any way. In fact, all it realy does is hold the top hat piece so that when you raise the car, the strut doesn not fall through the hole in the inner fender. But I have to mention it to be diligent. For the price of them, why not change them?

Here are before & after pictures of both the mounts as seen from the gap at the top of he strut towers & the wheel well gap:




Here is a picture of the old & new mounts. Notice not only the height difference, but the shape as well. The new one is tappered & the old one is mushroomed:


The total lift was about 20mm. 10mm of that was from the spacer and 10mm was from the new mount. The old mounts had 150k km on them. The new mounts will settle a few mm, but should take a long time before they go as low as the old ones.

Again, I can't stress this enough. PLEASE be careful when workig in the wheel well while the springs are compressed.

If anyone has any other tips or if I left something out, please feel free to let me know so I can update the post.

I do plan to do a complete suspension swap at a later date. When I do one, I will document it as well so that it can be used as a suspension install how to. So stay tuned for that one.
 
Last edited:

SoCalJames

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2000
Location
OC, CA
TDI
I no longer own a TDI
Front strut mount replacement

You are a Godsend! I was just going to search for this today! Thanks for your thorough post! PS- Say Hi to "Torono" (Toronto) for me. I miss it!
 

TornadoRed

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 3, 2003
Location
Saint Paul (ex-San Diego)
TDI
2003 Golf GL 5-spd, red; 2003 Golf GLS 5-spd, indigo blue; 2003 Jetta TDI wagon, Candy White
Front strut mount replacement

Your friend's TDI is an automatic, isn't it? [Ask me how I know.]
 

DeafBug

Gone but Never Forgotten: Requiescat In Pace
Joined
Sep 22, 2000
Location
Twin Cities in MN
TDI
2001 NB
Front strut mount replacement

[ QUOTE ]
Your friend's TDI is an automatic, isn't it? [Ask me how I know.]

[/ QUOTE ]

Well, it is an automatic. I don't see the three glow plugs for the coolant by the vacuum pump. /images/graemlins/smirk.gif
 

TornadoRed

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 3, 2003
Location
Saint Paul (ex-San Diego)
TDI
2003 Golf GL 5-spd, red; 2003 Golf GLS 5-spd, indigo blue; 2003 Jetta TDI wagon, Candy White
Front strut mount replacement

Can anyone identify the rectangular black plastic box on the driver's side upper firewall? Inside are two things that could be relays, labeled "100" and "53."

TDI owners with automatic transmissions: do not bother to check. All you have in this location is an empty bracket.
 

TDA

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2002
Location
Hamilton, Ontario
TDI
None anymore
Front strut mount replacement

[ QUOTE ]
Can anyone identify the rectangular black plastic box on the driver's side upper firewall? Inside are two things that could be relays, labeled "100" and "53."

TDI owners with automatic transmissions: do not bother to check. All you have in this location is an empty bracket.

[/ QUOTE ]

Yes, it is an automatic. So, that's what that bracket is for. What would these 'relays' do if I had them?

Thanks for the help, Nigel!
 

BrentB

Veteran Member
Joined
May 29, 2003
Location
Calgary, AB Canada
TDI
Golf, 99 1/2, Black
Front strut mount replacement \'How to\'

Very good write up. Using the spark plug socket is the same way I changed my suspension. I would sugest to everyone to try to buy or borrow a compresor that fully encloses around the spring and not just clips around it. I borrowed one from canadian tire when I did mine and it had U hooks with nuts on the end that where placed around the spring then into the sliders on the bar, so this way there was no way they could slip or pop off the spring making it much safer in my opinion.
 

djdluck

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2004
Location
Dallas, TX
TDI
99.5 Jetta A4
Front strut mount replacement \'How to\'

[ QUOTE ]
Very good write up. Using the spark plug socket is the same way I changed my suspension. I would sugest to everyone to try to buy or borrow a compresor that fully encloses around the spring and not just clips around it. I borrowed one from canadian tire when I did mine and it had U hooks with nuts on the end that where placed around the spring then into the sliders on the bar, so this way there was no way they could slip or pop off the spring making it much safer in my opinion.

[/ QUOTE ]

(just finished installing Eibach prosystem)

I agree. It's hard to use (correctly)the longer screw-down type compressors that are in 2 pieces. (the ones used in the write up look alot nicer than what I was working with, so they may work fine.)

There isn't enough space to really get the spring compressed evenly without some creativity and wrench-gymnastics.

I got the job done, but one of the rear springs looked so caddywhompus and scary, that all I wanted to do was hide from it. /images/graemlins/eek.gif /images/graemlins/tongue.gif
 

Wingnut

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 10, 2002
Location
Toronto & Whitby
TDI
Silver 2003 Jetta Wagon
Front strut mount replacement \'How to\'

You had a problem with the rear springs?

You don't need anything special for the rears. If both sides of the car are up, disconnect the shocks & the springs practically fall out. The rears are a 20 min job each side.
 

djdluck

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2004
Location
Dallas, TX
TDI
99.5 Jetta A4
Front strut mount replacement \'How to\'

[ QUOTE ]
You had a problem with the rear springs?



[/ QUOTE ]

I did them one side at a time, and I wasn't sure how much downward force I could put on the rear suspension without messing somthing up... so i used the compressor to help me get them out.
/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

The new springs went back in with no compressor, no problem.
 

2fst4u

Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2004
Location
PA
TDI
Beetle 1998 Yellow
Front strut mount replacement \'How to\'

My question is how do you do this on the beetle? How does the Cowl come off? The struts are hidding from me!!!!
 

VelvetFoot

Top Post Dawg
Joined
May 17, 2001
Location
Sand Lake, NY
TDI
NB, 2000, Yellow
Front strut mount replacement \'How to\'

It's something like take off the wipers and then pull off the rubber strip and then the plastic cowl.
 

2fst4u

Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2004
Location
PA
TDI
Beetle 1998 Yellow
Front strut mount replacement \'How to\'

is there a bushing plate and a bearing plate or is it one or the other
 

TDIDarryl

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2003
Location
From Barrie, now Winnipeg, MB
TDI
2000 Jetta TDI
Front strut mount replacement \'How to\'

Wingnut,

Thanks for the great write-up!

One thing I'd like to add though, if you're planning to do this make sure you have a <u>7mm</u> allen key, They're quite rare and are not inculded in most metric allen key sets.

I had to get a friend to give me a lift to Princess Auto to find one.
 

sodapop6620

Veteran Member
Joined
May 8, 2004
Location
Lancaster, Pa
TDI
Jetta 2000
Re: Front strut mount replacement \'How to\'

Can you list the part numbers. The link only has a 1 in the top left corner. I have had to do this for quite sometime now that I can see the differnce in the pictures.

Thanks alot.

Just reread the post and saw that the pn are in the body of the text.
 

TimTall

Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2004
TDI
Daily Driver: '03 golf tdi, project: '83 rabbit tdi ('02 engine and driveline)
Re: Front strut mount replacement \'How to\'

Thanks for the info for the front susp. How did you raise the rear? New springs would make sense, but what about the shock? Is there enogh travel in the shock to use the stock part.

Thanks
 

JMason

New member
Joined
Feb 6, 2006
Location
Hudson, NH
TDI
2002 Golf
Thanks for a great write up. Should there typically be a space between the "stop" and the strut tower (inner fender) with the wheels on the ground? I just put in new struts, without new mounts and have a 3/8" gap in this area. It doesn't look right to me.
 

LNXGUY

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jan 10, 2004
Location
Barrie, Ont, Canada
TDI
'05 Jetta TDI Wagon
JMason said:
Thanks for a great write up. Should there typically be a space between the "stop" and the strut tower (inner fender) with the wheels on the ground? I just put in new struts, without new mounts and have a 3/8" gap in this area. It doesn't look right to me.
How old are your strut mounts? Worn out mounts will lead to a big gap, even if you have new ones installed, the strut cap will never sit flush, you'll always have a gap. Nothing to worry about.
 

CinRG

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2004
Location
Fort Mill SC, USA
TDI
2002 Jetta GLS
I'm getting ready to replace struts & shocks with Koni Reds. Impex sells a kit that includes mounts, bushings, rear bump stops & recommended bolts to replace. Do I need to replace the bolts? Also, do I need to replace the bump stops in the front or rear? If I don't need to replace these I can save some money by buying the parts individually.

02 Jetta with 100K miles

Thanks
 

frugality

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Sep 19, 2003
Location
Spring Lake, Michigan
TDI
none, 2016 GTI
VW and the Bentley manual state that the bolts should be replaced, but in all honesty, most people don't. I didn't on my first damper replacement. I'm getting ready to do it again and this time I bought the whole shebang -- the deluxe hardware kit, bearings, bushings and bumpers (oh, my!) I would imagine that with your newer car and milder climate, your bumpers should still be O.K. I'm replacing mine because my car is a bit older, has more miles on it, and has been subjected to more temperature swings.
 

Snowman

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2002
Location
Elmira, Ontario
TDI
2012 Jetta TDI
Well, I just noticed after reading this thread that my upper strut bushing/bumper didn't look anything like what is posted. Then after a short search on the web with the part number stamped into the bushing; it was found to be a Corrado part, not a Jetta A4 part at all. However, the bearing they seemed to have gotten correct. <sigh> Back to the dealer for a replacement/exchange!!!

 

sle91h

Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2003
Location
Prescott, Ontario, Canada
TDI
Jetta 2001, Silver
Thanks Wingnut for the write up.

Thanks again Wingnut. I did both my strut mounts and sway bar bushings today. The only trouble I had was finding a 7mm allen wrench. Nothing at PartSource or Canadian Tire. But I did find it a Rona of all places..:) So any of you need a 7mm allen wrench, Rona in Ottawa carries them.

I have only 136000 kms on the car but there was about a 3/4 inch gap before I started the mounts. Only about 1/8 inch now. I'm going to test drive it tomorrow.

Now to get the dealer to fix the peeling paint on the front fenders......
 

Snowman

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2002
Location
Elmira, Ontario
TDI
2012 Jetta TDI
Wingnut, just a couple of additions under "Parts required".

The top (outer nut) always needs to be replaced as well as the clamping bolt and nut.

Ben
 

michTDI

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2000
Location
Charlotte, MI, USA
TDI
2003 Jetta and 2015 GSW MT
I did the sway bar bushings last weekend.......which got rid of a squeek.....BUT I still have a clunk sound when I go over bumps-is it likely the strut mount???
 
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