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docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
7/31/21 9:49 a.m.

In reply to Slippery :

I already modified that post cat O2 sensor, so not really a loss.  I'm sure I'll have to replace it when I put the car back to stock, so I'm ok leaving it as is...

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
7/31/21 10:41 a.m.

In other news my fairly fresh front windshield got hit by a rock earlier this week and started cracking.  Since my insurance company fixes cracks for free I figured I had nothing to lose.  Glass company came out and fixed it yesterday.  You can still see where the rock impacted the glass but the crack is gone. 

Hope to install the PSS16 coilovers this Friday, don't think I'm going to lower the car much, I like the ride height it has stock...

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
7/31/21 5:46 p.m.

Well, I was bored and the coilovers were sitting on my garage floor.  Bad combo!  Decided to install the rears and see how I feel.  First things first, measure the stock ride height.  It varied from almost 26" to about 25 7/16"s, my plan is to lower the car maybe 1/2" and see how it feels.

I started on the passenger rear, which is considered slightly harder due to having to move a large evap canister out of the way.  It's all of one 13mm bolt, then just move it out of the way, so you have access to both 16mm bolts holding the top of the shock in place.  You'll see this once you've removed the fender liner, which on my car was 7 T25 Torx and two phillips heads, since I have the Rally Armor mud flaps.  What sucked is these fender liners are felt lined and hold onto all sorts of pebbles etc.  Which rained down on top of me, got in my hair, etc.  Bleah.

Ok, put a bottle jack (4 post lift), floor jack (jack stands), pole jack (2 post lift) underneath the lower control arm and take up some tension.  Now remove the 18mm bolt holding the control arm to the spindle, the 18mm bolt holding the bottom of the shock and the 13mm bolt holding on the swaybar endlink.  Unplug the DCC and pull it out of the eyelet of the shock, if so equipped.

Now jiggle the spindle down.  Remove the two 16mm bolts holding the top of the shock in place, remove the shock.  Pull the out the spring.  Replace with the Bilstein spring, the blue "washer" goes on top of the spring, then put in the coilover adjuster, then the black "washer" goes on top of that.  Put in the bilstein shock, finger tighten the top 16mm bolts.

Line everything up, use the bottle jack.  Here's where I screwed up and it cost me a TON of time.  I should've lined up the swaybar endlink FIRST and gotten the bolt through.  Instead I did that last and it was a bear!  Lots of time wasted, curse words, larger and larger pry bars, etc.

Ok, lesson learned, time to do the drivers side, which is exactly the same except you need to remove the two T25 torx holding on the ride height sensor (if so equipped) before you lower the control arm down.  Assembly is the same, except reattaching the ride height sensor.  This time I did the swaybar endlink bolt first and it went much faster.

At that point it was getting dark outside, I was tired and a beer sounded awesome.  So I went inside, got all the pebbles out of my hair, washed up and grabbed a beer.

In looking at my pics it looks like the DCC plugs clip into those mounts on the bilsteins.  I'll move them tomorrow and see if I can thread new zip ties through there to secure them.

I'll install the fronts tomorrow and set up the ride heights.  Monday I'll call around and schedule an alignment for Friday.  Will ride the motorcycle to work so I don't burn up my tires...

10001110101
10001110101 New Reader
7/31/21 7:34 p.m.

The fronts can be a bear if you don't have the right tools. I should have learned after the first set I did on our Passat, buy the spreader bit. Chisels work, but are more work. Be prepared to replace sway bar end links. Volkswagen in their infinite wisdom put a triple square in the stud so you can counter hold them, but I always manage to strip them. Disconnect the axles from the transmission to get room to swing the knuckles out, or pull them out of the spindles after removing the axle bolt (which is a TTY bolt so you'll need new ones). Rears are so much easier. 

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
8/1/21 3:38 p.m.

In reply to 10001110101 :

I've got the spreader tool for the front, bought it awhile ago.  You don't need to disconnect the axles, I'll explain below.  I ended up using an allen key to hold the swaybar end link, worked perfectly.  Once side zipped right off with the impact tho.  Oddly enough all the videos I watched, they were able to zip those off with an impact.

Anyways, after googling around yesterday I discovered something called the 2x4 method for removing the strut all the way out of the knuckle.  This lets you not remove the axle from either the knuckle or the transmission and you also don't have to release the lower control arm from the ball joint on the knuckle.

It's called that because you use a piece of wood, drill a hole in it to attach it to the swaybar endlink location on the strut, than use a floor jack on the bottom of the piece of wood to push the strut the rest of the way out of the knuckle.

Yes, it really is as janky as it sounds.  Yes, despite my better judgement, I'm going to give this a try.  Spoiler alert, it worked great!

Anyways, wheels off, disconnect the DCC plug from the strut.  18mm with a 4mm (I think) allen to remove the nut off the swaybar endlink.  Try an impact first, like I said, one side cooperated with me.  10mm to remove the nut holding the ride height sensor to the control arm, 2 T25 torx holding it to its bracket.  10mm bolt holding the DCC harness to the knuckle, then pull it out of its home on the inner fender.  Use an M14 triple square and an 18mm to remove the pinch bolt on the bottom of the strut.

Time to play!  First make yourself this:

Now use the spreader tool at the back, top of the pad on the knuckle.  Jiggle the knuckle and the strut will move some.  Remove the spreader tool, move it to the bottom of the pad on the knuckle.  Jiggle the knuckle some more and the strut should drop quite a bit more.

Now attach the wood to the endlink using the pinch bolt and nut.  Get your floor jack into position underneath the piece of wood and jack the strut up and out of the knuckle.  It won't take much movement of the wood/jack. 
 

Push the knuckle out of the way, release the pressure on the jack/wood.  Remove the piece of wood and the jack.  Underneath the hood remove the plastic cowl trim and remove the 3 13mm bolts.

The strut should just drop right out.  Now don't be an idiot like me and lay the 13mm bolts on top of the fender.  Turns out there's a hole right there and the bolts will drop right in.  Much cursing, fishing around with my magnet on a stick and removing part of the inner fender liner to retrieve them.

Here's where a friend will be a great help.  There's a notch on the top of the strut hat, that notch needs to point towards the engine.  Have your friend orient the strut correctly, then hold it up into place while you seat those 3 13mm bolts in the engine bay.  Tighten them down. 

Get the floor jack back out and put it underneath the ball joint/control arm.  Line up the tab on the strut with the slot in the knuckle.  You should still have the spreader tool in there spreading it apart.  Lift up the knuckle and seat the strut up into place.  This will require some muscle to get it to seat all the way.  You also may need to remove the spreader tool and move it on the knuckle to clear the tab on the strut. 

Once the strut has bottomed out into the knuckle seat the pinch bolt.  Reconnect the ride height sensor using the 10mm nut and 2 T25 torx, then connect the DCC harness to the knuckle with the 10mm bolt, plug the wiring harness into the strut, and seat the harness back into the inner fender clip.  Now reattach the swaybar endlink with the 18mm nut. 

Do the same on the opposite side.  I didn't really want to lower the car much, maybe 1/4-1/2".  Interestingly, the stock ride heights were all over the map.  I played with the ride heights until I lost patience.  This car is *really* sensitive to weight jacking!  I move the right rear up 1/4" and the left front drops by the same amount.

I finally got everything pretty much where I want it, I'll have the shop even it out when they do the alignment.

Did a test drive, the car wasn't freaking out, DCC works, ride height sensors are happy, ACC seems fine.  Didn't have much of a chance to really test the handling, ride quality is impacted a bit, it's stiffer for sure.  Turn in seems sharper, car seems to stay more flat in the corners.

Stick a fork in this one gents, I think it's done project wise.  From now on it'll be maintenance only, speaking of which I need to do an oil change in ~500 miles.  It has 19,5xx miles on it now.

10001110101
10001110101 New Reader
8/1/21 5:45 p.m.

I used the 2x4 method on the Passat, quite janky indeed but it does work. 

 

Looks great. I'm sure the Bilsteins ride quite a bit better than my secondhand Racelands. 

dyintorace
dyintorace GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
8/1/21 7:47 p.m.

Looks amazing! Love the build. 

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
8/2/21 8:27 a.m.

In reply to dyintorace :

Thanks!  I may raise the rear ride height another 1/4".  Need to decide that before it gets an alignment, I'll call around shops today and see if anyone can do it this Friday.

Ride quality is actually much better in "normal" mode vs "comfort" mode, seems like the spring rate is a little too much for comfort mode to control. 

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
8/3/21 8:39 a.m.

Have an appointment this Friday am for an alignment.  I want to raise the ride height in the rear (both sides) and maybe the front a little.  However everytime I raise the ride height on the RR, the LF goes down in ride height and vice versa.  Any ideas on how to mitigate this so I don't just continually chase my tail?

PMRacing
PMRacing GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
8/3/21 9:01 a.m.

In reply to docwyte :

You'll have to raise both rears and then measure the front. If you only raise the RR the LF will go down a bit. Here's one way to feel what is going on.  

Get down on your hands and knees. Put some more pressure on your RR knee. What happens to your LF hand?  It also gets more weight on it, thus "lowering" the ride height on it, if it were a spring. Now release the RR pressure and take weight off of your LF hand.  Now what happens to your other hands and knees? This is also an easy way to help explain cross weight adjustments.  If you know you need more weight shifted to a corner use this method to help figure out which corners to adjust. When I figured out this technique, it helped me when I got confused what knobs needed turning. 

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
8/5/21 8:35 a.m.

So I had a little free time yesterday and I'd left the R up on the lift.  Up in the air, wheels off.  I re-measured everything and decided I wanted to raise the ride height on both sides of the rear 1/2" and raise the left front 1/4".  So I did all of that.  Put the wheels on, car down, gave it several good shakes to settle the suspension and measured again.

Got the rear where I want it, RR, LR, RF are matching ride heights, LF is off 1/4".  At this point I think I'm gonna call it, if I raise the LF 1/4" that'll push the RR down 1/4".  The stock ride height measurements weren't even either, I'm more even than VW had the car, so I think I'm ok. 

Overall I've barely lowered the car, I like having suspension travel and the car is my DD including the winter time.  Today when I get home I'll lock down the adjustment rings, put the wheels back on and torque everything.  Tomorrow morning is alignment time.

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
8/5/21 4:56 p.m.

Got home and measured everything.  Even tho the LF is 1/4" lower then the rest, when I compare all the ride heights to stock, everything is lowered an even 1/4" all around.  Look at my bottom numbers below.  Ok, winning!

Removed the wheels, locked all the adjustment collars down, rotated the wheels/tires.  Lug bolts in, torqued, done!

Alignment tomorrow morning, might do an oil change this weekend, if not, then next weekend.

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
8/9/21 8:09 p.m.

So, tire pressure warning light came on this morning.  Then later in the morning the suspension warning light came on.

Got home, checked the left front tire, put 10lbs of air in it.  Vag Com said the right rear shock wasn't communicating.  Cleared the fault, then took my son to Ju Jitsu.

Coming back to the car I could see the nail in the left front and it's awfully close to the inner sidewalk.  Argh!

Started the car, both the tpms and suspension lights came back on.  Went home, 911 off the lift, R on.

Pulled off the right rear wheel to see the DCC plug dangling.  Oh.  Well at least that's easy.  Plugged it back in and didn't get a positive click.  Played with it until I did and I gave it a tug to make sure.  Zip tied it in place using the Bilstein mount.

Pulled the left rear wheel and checked that harness.  Glad I did because it was the same thing but it hadn't unplugged yet.  Fixed it, pulled the left front wheel off, put the left rear on there and the space saver spare on the rear.

At Discount Tire now, luckily  they were able to patch the tire and get me going.  Glad I retrofitted the spare tire kit!

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
8/22/21 8:49 a.m.

Oil change done, have just about 20k miles on the car.  Love my oil extractor, makes it a clean, easy, 15 minute job.  Reset the lights with VAG COM and it's all set.

Car is still chugging along no issues, the only thing I've had to have repaired under warranty was the front passenger grab handle.

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 SuperDork
8/22/21 10:14 a.m.

Which extractor do you have? I'm interested in not crawling under my cars ever again. 

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
8/22/21 1:02 p.m.

In reply to Teh E36 M3 :

This one, it works great!  I wanted an air powered one but it can be used manually too

https://www.ecstuning.com/b-bav-auto-tools-parts/oil-extractor-10-liter-inserts-into-dip-stick-tube-bavarian-autosport/b8800001~bav/

sobe_death
sobe_death Dork
8/23/21 1:07 p.m.
docwyte said:

In reply to Teh E36 M3 :

This one, it works great!  I wanted an air powered one but it can be used manually too

https://www.ecstuning.com/b-bav-auto-tools-parts/oil-extractor-10-liter-inserts-into-dip-stick-tube-bavarian-autosport/b8800001~bav/

I'll +1 on that extractor.  Even without air, about 30 seconds worth of pumping will pull 9+ liters of oil out of the sump on my Touareg.  Sooo nice 

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
9/9/21 8:27 a.m.

So that tire that Discount Tire put a plug in a few weeks ago?  Yeah, about that...  Last Wednesday after work I threw my dog in the R to take him to the kennel.  Pulling out of my driveway I heard a "pop!" and about a block later my TPMS sensor screamed at me.  Hmmm....  I hop out of the car and look at the left front tire, yeah, that's square.  Sigh....

Limp the car back into my garage, grab my daughters Xterra, throw the dog in it (literally, he's too old to hop in himself) and take him to the kennel.  Get home, jack up the R and toss on the donut spare.  Which, as you remember, I retrofitted as VW was too cheap to equip the car with one stock.  Getting real use out of it unfortunately!

So go out of town, get back in town, first thing Tuesday morning take the car to Discount Tire to see if they can properly patch the tire.  They look at it and say no and now there's sidewall damage.  Sigh.  Then they find this in the right rear tire.

Really?  How does a nail get in the tire that way?  I seriously think someone is F'ing with this car still.  Anyways, had to order a completely new set of tires as clearly that's not fixable.  Tires had about 3/32" on them, so oh well.  Of course the tires I want (PS4S) in the size I want they won't have until this Saturday, so the car is parked until then.  I left the nail in that tire, figured if I pulled it out and it leaked I was hosed, I only have 1 donut spare, not two....

adam525i
adam525i GRM+ Memberand Dork
9/9/21 5:11 p.m.

In reply to docwyte :

Disgruntled customer sick of having their gums picked at?

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 SuperDork
9/9/21 10:40 p.m.
sobe_death said:
docwyte said:

In reply to Teh E36 M3 :

This one, it works great!  I wanted an air powered one but it can be used manually too

https://www.ecstuning.com/b-bav-auto-tools-parts/oil-extractor-10-liter-inserts-into-dip-stick-tube-bavarian-autosport/b8800001~bav/

I'll +1 on that extractor.  Even without air, about 30 seconds worth of pumping will pull 9+ liters of oil out of the sump on my Touareg.  Sooo nice 

This, I shall purchase. After buying the air-powered coolant fill kit, I am sold on tools that make life better. SOLD!!

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
9/10/21 8:56 a.m.

In reply to adam525i :

Hopefully not!  Especially given that this has happened multiple times. 

sobe_death
sobe_death Dork
9/10/21 12:22 p.m.
adam525i said:

In reply to docwyte :

Disgruntled customer sick of having their gums picked at?

It's hard getting these people to floss consistently!

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
9/11/21 12:24 p.m.

Discount Tire had to bring in two tires from out of state, said they'd be here today.  Well I get a call from them this morning saying that the tires most likely won't be here today, that they don't get Saturday shipments.  WTF!  When I bought them they said they'd be here today and they knew it was Saturday!  Hopefully that guy is wrong and the tires show up.

Otherwise the R gets to sit in my garage until Thursday, which is the next time I can bring them the car.  I plan on calling them at 3pm to see if they've shown up...

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
10/1/21 12:25 p.m.

Well, the tires didn't show up, so I had to have them installed the following Thursday.  For awhile now I've been hearing some clunks and rattles from the suspension, both the front and the back.  I assumed both were swaybar endlink noises.

This morning I got the car up on the lift, took the wheels off and much to my amazement, I found this on the left front

Yep, that's the main pinch bolt holding the lower shock in place!  Holy schnikes, that could've been bad.  So I torqued it, checked the torque of everything else (which were all fine) and moved to the back.

There I found, as I predicted, that both swaybar endlink bolts were loose.

Not visibly like that pinch bolt, but they did tighten up with the torque wrench.  I then checked all the other bolts and found the top shock bolts on the right rear needing a little torque.  Happy that's done!

Last time I'd worked on the car I'd noticed that the Euro jack pad on the right rear was missing.  I ordered another one off eBay and it's been sitting on my workbench for awhile, until I got the car up in the air.  Easy enough to install

Pulled the car off the lift and into/out of my driveway at an angle several times.  Suspension is blissfully quiet and I'll be keeping a sharp eye on that left front pinch bolt...

CAinCA
CAinCA GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
10/1/21 3:26 p.m.
docwyte said:

Discount Tire had to bring in two tires from out of state, said they'd be here today.  Well I get a call from them this morning saying that the tires most likely won't be here today, that they don't get Saturday shipments.  WTF!  When I bought them they said they'd be here today and they knew it was Saturday!  Hopefully that guy is wrong and the tires show up.

Otherwise the R gets to sit in my garage until Thursday, which is the next time I can bring them the car.  I plan on calling them at 3pm to see if they've shown up...

FWIW: DT screwed up the delivery of my last order too. It wound up taking a full week longer than they originally quoted. 

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