Guide: Using the service position to replace A4 Golf/Jetta radiator mounts in-car

RacerTodd

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2007
Location
Kirkland, WA
TDI
2001 Golf TDI
I just completed my first How-To guide, showing how to replace the radiator mounts in an A4-chassis Golf/Jetta in-car. The procedure may be similar on New Beetles. I haven't worked on a Beetle so I don't know exactly what differences there are compared to the Golf/Jetta.

Replacing the mounts in-car is done by moving the core support into the "service position". There is an official VW service position tool that is needed to do this, but the guide shows how to make my patented El-Cheapo Service Position Tools for a few dollars with common items from your local hardware store.

The service position is also used to gain access to replace the radiator without having to remove the fittings from the AC condenser. This saves the cost and hassle of discharging and re-charging the AC system.

I believe on the VR6 cars the service position can be used to improve access to certain components on the front of the engine. Don't have a VR6 so I'm not 100% sure.

The tools are handy if you're removing the core support in order to pull the engine out the front. Insert the tools, pull the core support forwards, giving you easier access to the coolant hoses and AC fittings. Once everything is disconnected, slide the core support/radiator/fans assembly forwards and off the end of the tools.
When installing the core support assembly, slide the core support onto the tools and let it rest there while you attach all the hoses, fittings and wiring. Once everything is hooked up, slide the core support back up against the frame rails and bolt it on.

What led me to replace the mounts was that I noticed that the bottom of the radiator on one side was quite floppy, moving in and out much more than the other side.
Upon replacing the mounts, I found on that side the upper mount was broken, the plastic shell had cracked. Don't know if the upper mount failed first, putting more stress on the lower mount or if the lower mount got all floppy and contributed to the cracking of the upper mount.
In any case, I figured having the radiator banging around wasn't good for it and it was better to replace the mounts before the vibration caused the radiator to crack or something.

Radiator mounts aren't a real common failure item. Cars with high mileage (mine is past 400K) or in climates that are hard on rubber items may see this issue. As these cars begin to enter their 2nd decade of use, this situation may come up more often.

Tools needed are minimal:
Torx T25 socket
Torx T30 socket
13mm socket
Appropriate ratchets and extensions for the above
1 pair El-Cheapo Service Position Tools, the guide shows how to make them

The front bumper cover needs to come off to do this. I don't go into details on how to do that as there are plenty of guides on this site, VW Vortex and Myturbodiesel.com on how to do that. And the Bentley manual shows how to remove it.

Total time for the procedure is 1-2 hours or so, depending on your skill level.

I'd rate the difficulty as a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10. If you can handle an oil change, you can do this.

The guide is in the form of a PDF file, making it easy to print out and refer to while doing the procedure. Get it here: http://pics.tdiclub.com/data/500/Radiator_mounts_install_guide_v2.pdf
 
Last edited:

paramedick

TDIClub Enthusiast, Vendor
Joined
Jul 29, 2001
Location
Versailles, Kentucky
TDI
2015 Audi Q5 TDI, 2000 New Beetle
Very nice!!! Printed and inserted in the procedure book.

Suggestion? Emphasize that the lower headlight shield is an integral part of the cold air intake system, and must always be replaced.

You'd be surprised how many body shop (including VW) throw that part away when they replace the core support. My VW body shop could not understand why I was so insistent that it be replaced after they threw it away.....
 

Powder Hound

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 25, 1999
Location
Under a Bridge, Crestview, FL, USA
TDI
'00 Golf 4dr White 5sp, '02 Jettachero 5sp, Wife's '03 NB Platinum Gray auto(!)
Nicely done guide. Well written and illustrated. Sometimes, no matter how well it is described, the location of the bolts in a photo just can't be equalled. This is a great guide that leaves few or no questions unanswered.

Cheers,

PH
 

RacerTodd

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2007
Location
Kirkland, WA
TDI
2001 Golf TDI
Very nice!!! Printed and inserted in the procedure book.

Suggestion? Emphasize that the lower headlight shield is an integral part of the cold air intake system, and must always be replaced.

You'd be surprised how many body shop (including VW) throw that part away when they replace the core support. My VW body shop could not understand why I was so insistent that it be replaced after they threw it away.....
Excellent point. I updated the guide just now and changed the link in the first post. File is now at: http://pics.tdiclub.com/data/500/Radiator_mounts_install_guide_v2.pdf Only changes are on Page 10, you can just print that page only instead of the whole thing.
 

RacerTodd

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2007
Location
Kirkland, WA
TDI
2001 Golf TDI
Nicely done guide. Well written and illustrated. Sometimes, no matter how well it is described, the location of the bolts in a photo just can't be equalled. This is a great guide that leaves few or no questions unanswered.
Thanks. I really appreciate a well written how-to with good photos and useful explanations. When I did the timing belt the first time, I printed out the whole 100 page how-to guide. It was extremely helpful compared to the sometime obtuse Bentley manual.
I tried to match the quality of some of the other guides here on the site.

Of course, the real test will be when someone actually follows the guide and completes the procedure successfully. Whoever is the first to do that - post here with your results!
 

PDJetta

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 6, 2003
Location
Northern Virginia
TDI
'04 Jetta GLS TDI Pumpe Duce Platinum Grey w/ Leather
Thank you RacerTodd. Nicely done. I always had difficulty with the concept of the "service position". On the 2.5 liter Jetta (my son has one) you need to use the service position to work on a lot of stuff. Replacing the alternator, especially.

When my car was relatively new, perhaps at about 30,000 miles I was under it one day and I was bothered by how much play the radiator with fans had at the bottom. It was about a quarter inch of slop forward and aft. So mine had this issue early on. About two years ago I removed the bumper cover and used plastic wire ties and secured the radiator to prevent the slop (I recall having to strap the support to the condenser copper pipe, at the condenser), but I should probably fix it correctly like you did.

--Nate
 

fruitcakesa

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
Location
Vermont
TDI
04 jetta 5 spd wagon
I likely need to replace my radiator as it has begun to leak.
Having seen this thread I have ordered some long bolts to facilitate the job.
Thanks for the legwork.
 

RacerTodd

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2007
Location
Kirkland, WA
TDI
2001 Golf TDI
I likely need to replace my radiator as it has begun to leak.
Having seen this thread I have ordered some long bolts to facilitate the job.
Once you're done, post any observations or helpful hints to help out any others replacing a radiator using the service position.
 

RacerTodd

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2007
Location
Kirkland, WA
TDI
2001 Golf TDI
About two years ago I removed the bumper cover and used plastic wire ties and secured the radiator to prevent the slop (I recall having to strap the support to the condenser copper pipe, at the condenser), but I should probably fix it correctly like you did.
I would. It's not that hard to do, as you can see.
My mounts were about $12-13 each. My local parts store had the uppers but I had to go to the dealer to get the lowers. 1stvwparts shows them for $8 each + shipping.
 
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