Rear axle beam bent?

d0u8l3m

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2014
Location
Connecticut
TDI
B5.5 Passat
So last week my road was getting repaved and one of the idiot dump truck drivers was speeding down the hill while I was leaving for work....long story short he was in the middle of the road as I was coming up on the Apex of the up hill turn, and I had to move out of the way to avoid him at the top. I ended up taking the passenger wheels off road a bit and curbed the crap out of my rims. Luckily other than the major curb rash the car still runs and drives and the tires hold air.

My problem is that upon inspecting the rear passenger wheel, it looks like it's got some extra camber now and might even be turned ever so slightly, I'll try to take a picture that captures what I'm talking about, but is there any adjustment for the rear wheels or did I end up bending the rear axle in that whole process.

If the axle is bent, do the wagons and sedans use the same one? I ask because I have that 05 wagon I'm parting out and stealing the engine from that I can also pull the axle from.

If they are the same is there any way to reinforce it so I don't bend it again or do I just have to be more careful even in those situations? It looks straight on the wagon so at a minimum if I pull it I'm gonna clean it up and maybe throw some por15 on it.

How long do you guys this this job would take/can it be done at home DIY style. I know I'll need a new 4 wheel alignment but I need that anyways because the front was also thrown off a tad.

When it rains it pours thanks for the help in advance.
 

Windex

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 1, 2006
Location
Cambridge
TDI
05 B5V 01E FRF
That beam is pretty substantial - very hard to bend.

Also, when you say the rear has some extra camber, are you talking about the top of the tire tilted inward or outward?

If it's inward, the type of curbing and rash you describe would have made the bend in the other direction.

I would get the alignment checked before going to the trouble of replacing the beam
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis (where it's safe)
TDI
There are just too many to list....
Beams bend easily, I have probably replaced 50+ of them over the years.

ETKA does not show a different beam for sedans or wagons or engines. Just "FWD", so I assume they are all the same. We always just give the VIN. You can have a local dealer look it up for both VINs and confirm that it is the same part.
 

d0u8l3m

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2014
Location
Connecticut
TDI
B5.5 Passat
That beam is pretty substantial - very hard to bend.

Also, when you say the rear has some extra camber, are you talking about the top of the tire tilted inward or outward?

If it's inward, the type of curbing and rash you describe would have made the bend in the other direction.

I would get the alignment checked before going to the trouble of replacing the beam
The top of the tire is bent inward,I just dont want to have to go pay for an alignment twice if it is the beam.

Beams bend easily, I have probably replaced 50+ of them over the years.
ETKA does not show a different beam for sedans or wagons or engines. Just "FWD", so I assume they are all the same. We always just give the VIN. You can have a local dealer look it up for both VINs and confirm that it is the same part.
From just looking at them they look the same, if my local VW dealer wasn't run by a bunch of rude clowns I would go double check, but if you say it's the same in ETKA you're probably right that they are the same.

Is there a way to check if it's bent like should I try to get a straight edge under there? Also since you've done so many how hard is the job, it is it just tedious because of the location.
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis (where it's safe)
TDI
There are just too many to list....
Put it on an alignment rack. If it is in the red, it's bent. No adjustments back there aside from a minor toe equalization in the bracket mounting holes.

But if it LOOKS out, to the naked eye, then it is almost certainly bent.
 

d0u8l3m

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2014
Location
Connecticut
TDI
B5.5 Passat
Put it on an alignment rack. If it is in the red, it's bent. No adjustments back there aside from a minor toe equalization in the bracket mounting holes.
But if it LOOKS out, to the naked eye, then it is almost certainly bent.
Sounds good I'll see if my buddies down at town fair tire will hook me up to check it. You can definitely see it's off so it's likely bent. I'm just glad I have the wagon for parts, if not I'd be screwed. Thanks for the help hopefully all the torque specs for that assembly are on the Bentley DVD
 

Windex

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 1, 2006
Location
Cambridge
TDI
05 B5V 01E FRF
Curbing a tire almost never results in an increase in negative (top of tire tilted inward) camber.

That said, get the alignment checked out as you have planned and go from there.
 

bbob203

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2012
Location
Louisville, ky
TDI
b5.5v
I had this happen a few months ago... curbed bent axle. It's an easy job just takes some time. Plan on a whole day. I changed mine with a used one that was also bent so make sure you check it before getting everything back in the car. I used a magnetic angle guage.
 

d0u8l3m

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2014
Location
Connecticut
TDI
B5.5 Passat
So I finally had time to fix this issue with the car, but upon getting an alignment I was told the front left toe is maxed out and they cant get it in spec. The back seems good now except the camber which cant be adjusted, but its close enough to tolerance for me, and the wheel is visibly straight now. Any ideas what i could have bent or screwed up in the front? I'm thinking maybe a control arm or the tie rod end, but all the bushings seem alright and none of the arms look cracked. Any advice?

Before rear axle swap:


Alignment report (after swapping the axle):

 

QuickTD

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2002
Location
SW Ontario
TDI
2003 Audi A4Q 5spd 2.0 TDI 2056VK R783, 2006 Audi A4Q 6spd 2.0 TDI, 2007 A4Q 6spd 2.0 TDI
Any ideas what i could have bent or screwed up in the front? I'm thinking maybe a control arm or the tie rod end, but all the bushings seem alright and none of the arms look cracked. Any advice?
The steering wheel can be removed and turned a couple of splines to allow more toe adjustment. Lots of alignment techs don't know this about vw's, most domestics have a dead spline that does not permit steering wheel movement. Check if the steering wheels stops at the same relative angle when turned to the stop right and left. Some lazy tech may have moved it to center the wheel at some point.

Make sure the subframe is centred as well. If it has been lowered for BSM work it may be out a bit. moving the subframe to the right may correct the left front camber and allow a bit more left toe adjustment.
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis (where it's safe)
TDI
There are just too many to list....
Unless the toe adjuster is seized, or the rack was installed WAY wrong, I fail to see why they cannot adjust the toe properly. There is no reason to remove the steering wheel.

It also looked like the front subframe needs a tweak.
 

d0u8l3m

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2014
Location
Connecticut
TDI
B5.5 Passat
Unless the toe adjuster is seized, or the rack was installed WAY wrong, I fail to see why they cannot adjust the toe properly. There is no reason to remove the steering wheel.

It also looked like the front subframe needs a tweak.
They will re-do the alignment for me for free after I "get it fixed", so should I take a look at home and see if the sub-frame guide holes are lined up? Does this have anything to do with the raised toe setting these cars have? If so should I just eat the loss and take the car to a dealer to have them do it properly?

Also the rear camber is right on the limits of the specs, in your opinion oilhammer should I worry about that at all? I figured its probably fine, its either leave it or buy a new axle since id rather not go through the whole process with another used one to find out its off again.

Thanks!
 
Last edited:

Uberhare

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2006
Location
Ontario, Canada
TDI
Too many.
Raised toe measures the spec and a different height. If you look at the tie-rod ends, they are height adjustable into the spindle.

Very very few shops (even dealers) ever adjust this. But if you don't set it correctly you can get bump steer. As the angle between the spindle and tie rod changes, so will the toe setting. This allows the toe to stay more accurate over a larger range of ride height. I bet the average Passat driver would never feel the difference anyways!
 
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