Rocky Mountain Club B5

Discussion Forums => General Discussion => Topic started by: XCMTBing on April 19, 2004, 01:15:58 PM

Title: Symptoms of Control Arm Failure?
Post by: XCMTBing on April 19, 2004, 01:15:58 PM
Hi guys! I posted this on the B5 Club site as well but I'm also curious what some of the locals say about my apparent problem.

My 2000 GLX is showing some strange driving characteristics that have me confused. As some of you witnessed I recently replaced the old and severly battered tie rod ends only to have another more intrusive issue surface.

In particular the front suspension upon rebound after hitting a bump seems to cause the steering wheel to come off center and pull to the right and in general I get way too much feedback - pulling left or right - when I go over bumps and undulations in the road. If the bump is sharp the "wandering" is less pronounced then if it's just an undulation in the road or a "gradual" bump. The front-end really acts squirrely (my technical description). The car tracks straight otherwise and I had the alignment done immediately after tie rod replacement. I didn't notice this immediately after the alignment but within a couple weeks it seemed to become severe. The tires do not seem to show any odd wear patterns just yet so my feeling is that it's not an alignment issue.

I know control arms are an issue with the B5 but along with that I'm wondering if there is anything else - steering rack...etc.?

Does anybody have ANY thoughts on what I should look into? HELP!!
Title: Symptoms of Control Arm Failure?
Post by: 92UrS4 on April 19, 2004, 01:28:47 PM
I read this over on CB5 I couldn't believe it, I'm sorry i don't have a solution.  I am really suprised to see this problem occur.

I guess it could be the control arms.  I think when a lot of people have the control arm problems and hear noise and then report on the repairs they get the arms and the tie rod ends.  You replaced the tie rod ends clearing up the noise, but maybe in the end the control arms are an issue.  Of course that's what you are thinking, but I am just reiterating that.

As for the sterring rack, anything is really posible, but I would expect to feel problems in the steering always if there is an issue with it.  Not just over bumps.
Title: Symptoms of Control Arm Failure?
Post by: XCMTBing on April 19, 2004, 02:01:56 PM
Hello Jay!
My tie rod ends were definitely shot but my changing them has either caused a problem or made another existing one much more obvious/pronounced.  I'm getting some indications that my installation could be wrong as well which wouldn't surprise me.

I'm not getting any noise in my front-end which doesn't coincide with the basic descriptions I hear concerning the control arms either.  The problem of course is that unless you drive it you can't really "feel" what I'm talking about. And nearly no amount of written description will do it service.

I certainly have developed a love/hate relationship with this car. FWIW the most recent issue has been a CV boot that went bad and needs to be replaced asap of course.  That's suppose to be easy...right?
Title: Symptoms of Control Arm Failure?
Post by: JokerUNM on April 20, 2004, 10:02:00 AM
I have the same problem as you, and I was hoping more answers would come up when you posted on CB5.  

Does anything happen when you brake really hard to the point where the nose dives a little?  Does it pull a little then?

My dealer was telling me that it could be a failing shox.
Title: Symptoms of Control Arm Failure?
Post by: XCMTBing on April 20, 2004, 11:18:06 AM
I'll give the hard braking scenario a shot this afternoon.  I don't recall having any symptoms when I brake but I'll hammer them this afternoon.

On CB5 somebody mentioned a possible shock/strut issue as well so I'll look into that.

Dare I say, I feel like if I take it to a dealer and they take if for a drive with me they'll figure it out quickly but I'm reluctant to spend the $90 they want for a 10 minute diagnosis.

I'll let you know...
Title: Symptoms of Control Arm Failure?
Post by: ColoradoB5 on April 23, 2004, 07:49:24 AM
Hey Blair, I feel the same way you do about the dealer.  I think we all pretty much know more about our cars than they do, which can make a trip there frustrating.

My car is doing some similar things as well, and I think I am a definite candidate for both Tie rods ends and control arms.  I have to get my brakes first though, so that is the next step.

Good luck and hopefully someone will have seen this before.
Title: Symptoms of Control Arm Failure?
Post by: SweetVW on April 23, 2004, 08:01:36 AM
I am thinking that it may be either tie rods or control arms.  My shocks and springs are only about 18 months old and I have had all four rotors and pads replaced last November.  I have noticed some out of characteristic driving and sometimes braking that I have to steer through until stopped.  It is not constant, just every now and then.  But I admit that it has caught me off guard.
Title: Symptoms of Control Arm Failure?
Post by: ColoradoB5 on April 23, 2004, 08:10:13 AM
Dave, that is pretty much what I have been experiencing too.  Not something very obvious, but the steering is just not as tight as it used to be.  With my suspension setup, everything should be tight, so a little play in the steering is something I notice now and again.
Title: Symptoms of Control Arm Failure?
Post by: BlackA4 on April 23, 2004, 09:45:48 AM
Check you tie rod ends!!!!!   I went to the dealer to get an alignment a few days ago and I asked them to ckeck out the front suspension components because I was getting a creak while turning left and backing up. I also got it while stopping and acelerating. They mentioned that I had loose tie ends and the upper control links needed to be replaced before they would do and alignment.  I desided to do the work myself since they wanted around 2000 to do all the work. HAHA I could do the work for a fraction of the price. I jacket up my car in the garage this weekend and grabbed a hold of the rotor and twisted back and forth. It had quite a bit of play from the tie rod ends. The ball joints are definatly wore out. I dont see that the upper control links are bad so I might just replace the tie rod ends with the new Heavy Duty design that they came out with and go from there.  

Just a heads up for all you guys. The car only has 42k. I have determined from searching AW that this is pretty common on Audi's (not sure about VW). Some have even been known to go out after 10k. Thats terrible. I was only aware of the control arem problem. Comes to find out that all the arms are known to be a bad design on the Audi's.  So the next time you jack up your car grab ahold of the tire and shake left to right as if your trying to trun the wheel and see if you have any play. (You cant feel it if the car is on the ground). Oh yeah, the keys should be in the assesory position or you will feel the steering lock. Best of luck... :mad:
Title: Symptoms of Control Arm Failure?
Post by: ColoradoB5 on April 23, 2004, 10:02:16 AM
Matt, that is exactly what is happening with mine.  When I turn the wheel when stopped, they make this awful creaking sound.  When combined with the thunk of my swaybar, I have one noisy car!

ECS has both control arm and tie rod end kits on sale here:

Passat (

A4 (

N.B. this is for the 1.8t for both and Quattro for the A4.
Title: Symptoms of Control Arm Failure?
Post by: Scuba2001 on April 23, 2004, 10:54:16 AM
Im here as well... exerpeincing the same issues with braking and hard stops.  Its pretty annoying and my mom noticed it the other day when she had to drive my car around town to pick my brother up.  She didnt like it, and I hate it as well.  Scares the livin poo outta ya.  I have just attributed it to be due to lame design of upper control arms.  I understand that the new B5.5 design is much more stout and is a better design.  But that doesnt solve our issues.

So, what have I done?  Setup a group buy with New Dimensions for upper CPP control arms.  Next I plan to get the heavy duty tie rod ends from ECS and go from there.  If you're interested, check out the GB forum here for all of the details.

Title: Symptoms of Control Arm Failure?
Post by: SweetVW on April 23, 2004, 01:08:06 PM
Hey Matt, my car is just over the 47,000mi mark.  I can't wait to get everything installed.  Sorta the same feeling like a certain 2PAT and the Albuquerque track day has.  :D