Subframe replacement needed - which one to get?

mountain lion

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Location
Florida
TDI
04 Jetta TDI
I need to replace the subframe in my Jetta and was wondering if anyone had advice on what frame to get? I initially was looking at a used ones from a scrap yard or ebay, but the prices they are going for I'd rather just a get a clean/new subframe with new bushings.

I see three available from vendors I like, prices are shipped:

Fixmyvw: $185
http://www.fixmyvw.com/engine-and-transmission-subframe-for-mk4-golf-jetta-new-beetle-1j0199313j/

ID: $315
http://www.idparts.com/subframe-a4-p-3694.html

Factory VW: $375
https://www.ecstuning.com/Volkswagen-Jetta_IV--TDI/ES259194/


Any thoughts on the $150 frame from Fixmyvw? I don't believe they sell trash parts, but I know you get what you pay for with replacement parts on these cars. Made by Mechanex, appears to be made in Germany. The original part ( 1J0199313J ) was superceded by part 1J0199313M which is what ECS has. Not sure who makes the one from ID.

This job will be a big enough of pain that I only want to do it once...is the $150 frame junk steel that is going to rust out or bend right after I put it in?

Advice welcome!
 

JETaah

Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
Jan 18, 2001
Location
mi 48836
TDI
96 B4V, 1999.5 jettaIV,2005 BEW Beetle
I live in the salt belt and have seen many. After almost 18 years of that, none of them have seemed to disintegrate to the point of being dangerous...mainly surface rust and, of course, deteriorating bushings. Bushings are not that expensive.
Can't go wrong with OEM in my opinion...be it new or used.

Did you wrinkle yours?
 
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mountain lion

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Location
Florida
TDI
04 Jetta TDI
I did...long story short, after 200k miles of incident free driving, I managed to catch a corner of this raised square manhole in parking lot while making a sharp turn at slow speed. I thought I would clear it, but the suspension was compressed and it just caught the panzer plate. It managed to bend/wrinkle the rivnut/bolt area where the plate mounts to the center of the subframe. The panzer plate is pretty well bent too. Costly mistake I'm finding out in both parts and time. :(
 

mrrhtuner

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2011
Location
London Ont Canada
TDI
2003 Jetta Wagon TDI, 2004 Jetta TDI, 2009 Jetta TDI, 2010 Touareg TDI
I'd go with option ID parts or buy a used one and just recondition it yourself.

Why do you need to replace your subframe?
 

Rembrant

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2014
Location
Canada's Ocean Playground
TDI
2013 Golf TDI DSG
...none of them have seemed to disintegrate to the point of being dangerous...mainly surface rust and, of course, deteriorating bushings. Bushings are not that expensive.
I just replaced the subframe on my 16 year old Beetle. I wouldn't say that it was dangerous, but it was definitely disintegrating.

I bought a relatively clean used one for $100, then sand blasted the little bit of rust there was on it, and installed two new bushings @ $10 each. I also had to re-weld one of the swaybar clamp stationary nuts, so by the time I was done, I probably had too much time into it.

I'd think that even the cheapest new subframe would be better than an old rusty one.
 

mrrhtuner

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Mar 29, 2011
Location
London Ont Canada
TDI
2003 Jetta Wagon TDI, 2004 Jetta TDI, 2009 Jetta TDI, 2010 Touareg TDI

Rembrant

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2014
Location
Canada's Ocean Playground
TDI
2013 Golf TDI DSG
Why do you need to replace your subframe?
I can't speak for the OP, but around here they do rust to the point that they will fail our provincial motor vehicle inspections. On top of that they get dented and/or bent, one or more of the stationary nuts will strip or break off, and the bushings do rot away.

I'm thinking about buying a new one for my Golf so that I can replace it when I install a new steering rack this summer. After completely refurbishing one used subframe, I'm not sure if I'd bother to do it again.

I guess it will depend on what I have more of at the time, time or money.:D

Good used ones are hard to find around here.
 

fruitcakesa

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
Location
Vermont
TDI
04 jetta 5 spd wagon
I bought a new TT bushed set for the 02 and have refurbed the old pair with rust removal, new paint and TT bushings which will go into the 04 when I redo the front end on it.
Definitely worth the time and the cost was minimal.
 

JETaah

Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
Jan 18, 2001
Location
mi 48836
TDI
96 B4V, 1999.5 jettaIV,2005 BEW Beetle
I'd think that even the cheapest new subframe would be better than an old rusty one.
I disagree.
I find nice "looking" parts in the aftermarket can have fit problems.
Things like aftermarket (not all of them) oil pans with no moving parts have presented frustrating mounting problems when dimensions were off. Don't know that this would happen here with the subframe but, it might be sad to find out once you get ready to mount it.

I seriously doubt that VW would put up with this stuff. Never had OEM parts that did not at least fit the way they are supposed to. It really has made me steer toward recommending this to my customers if the price difference is not too drastic and there are no known reliable choices. The advent of the on-line VW dealers selling at wholesale has made that available.
 
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Rembrant

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Joined
Oct 31, 2014
Location
Canada's Ocean Playground
TDI
2013 Golf TDI DSG
I disagree.
I find nice "looking" parts in the aftermarket can have fit problems.
Well yes, of course...I agree as well...when I said that above, my assumption was that even if it was a (nice looking) aftermarket subframe it should fit well and be at least the same thickness of steel as the original.

My point being, I wouldn't want a cheaply made ill fitting Chinese copy of something like a subframe. I'd consider a decent quality aftermarket one however.

As far as I'm aware, the vendors listed above sell decent stuff. I've purchased from a couple of them.
 

mountain lion

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Location
Florida
TDI
04 Jetta TDI
I bit the bullet and just got the VW subframe. Chances are the $150 one would have been fine, but it wasn't in stock and the all the supplemental one time use bolts and alignment costs are not worth risking to have to the job over again if something is not right with the cheaper frame. I got 250k miles out of the original, I guess a new one will be nice. I don't really have the energy or desire to refresh a used/scrap one anymore, dealing with replacing all this stuff is enough of a headache as it is.

Despite the panzer plate saving the underside of the car many a time, this is one of those instances where I think it did more harm than good.
 

JETaah

Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
Jan 18, 2001
Location
mi 48836
TDI
96 B4V, 1999.5 jettaIV,2005 BEW Beetle
Well, I be darned.
I finally ran into a subframe that is biting the dust.
Seems to be linked to having the drainage hole plugged up with dirt and the salty Michigan winter environment.

The subframes can collect a lot of dirt over the years....and can hold that briny crud all year long to do it deeds on the metal.
Check your drain holes on this baby.
It would not hurt to periodically remove the dog bone and do a flush as well.

 
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Rembrant

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2014
Location
Canada's Ocean Playground
TDI
2013 Golf TDI DSG
Well, I be darned.
I finally ran into a subframe that is biting the dust.
Seems to be linked to having the drainage hole plugged up with dirt and the salty Michigan winter environment.

The subframes can collect a lot of dirt over the years....and can hold that briny crud all year long to do it deeds on the metal.
Check your drain holes on this baby.
It would not hurt to periodically remove the dog bone and do a flush as well.

Yessir...age combined with the salt. The subframe that was on my 2000 Beetle was bad...not quite as bad as your picture here, but close enough that I wanted to swap it for a better one.

I'm seeing old Mk4 cars for sale here that have "Subframe Replaced" in the list of recent work done, so I know they're starting to fail.

Good idea to check them though.
 

Dimitri16V

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jan 30, 2005
Location
DE
TDI
01 Golf, 04 Golf
Put those solid subframe bushings in it
Subframe will cause instability after years due to play in the bushings
 

brian_e

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2004
Location
Farmington NH
TDI
2001 Silver Jetta
Just to add to the belated discussion I recently used the AARodriguez subframe and it was perfect. No issues what so ever. Although living in New England for all 15 years I didn't have any rust issues with the frame just a loss of a few captive nuts. The dogbone nuts were lost so I went for the R&R on the subframe.

Not a specially tough job. Best of luck if you haven't done it already.
 
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