[Vwdiesel] Struts and Bearings and alignments

Val Christian val at swamps.roc.ny.us
Tue Mar 4 23:13:27 EST 2003

A couple of comments on strut cartridge replacements...

On front struts, I use the screw-n-hook type spring compressor.  I confess
that I have two sets.  The first set was bought in the 70's for $60,
and the second in the 90's for $20, from Harbor Freight.  I use a 15/16"
socket on a 10" extension to wind the compressor up and down.
The benefit in having two sets, is that three compressors is much more
stable than two.  So I use three.

The strut retaining nuts come off with an impact wrench, with a 22mm
socket.  Don't let the shaft spin, just short jabs on the impact tool

The retaining cap usually presents the most difficult disassembly challenge.
I use a 16" set of arc joint pilers.  I always need to hold the universal
big screwdriver / pryrod in eccentric bolt holes at the base of the strut.
Actually, I use the other holes...not the ones which are elongated for the
eccentric bolts.  The real challenge is that usually this cap is rusted
on.  Normally I apply penetrant, and try several times.  My teenage son
now reminds me that I should just use the torch.  The reality is that
the oxyacetylene torch is normally needed.

I've had bad luck replacing the strut bearings.  For whatever reason, I
seem to often get bad rubber on the bearing assemblies.  I buy VW for
these parts because of that.

The keys to easy strut cartridge replacements are:

	-impact for the 22mm bolt at the top of the strut.
	-torch for the cartridge retaining nut
	-robust or multiple spring compressors

On my next strut job, I think I'm going to try taking the casting with the
wheel bearing off the ball joint.  This requires that the brake caliper
be pulled, and that casting be pulled from the lower ball joint.
Additionally, the tierod and the drive shaft need to removed.  But the
advantage would be that the alignment would not need to be redone.
That could be a good thing, especially if the alignment is already fine.
If anyone uses or can comment on this alternate technique, I'd appreciate

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