[Vwdiesel] Tie rods and Wheel Bearings

Marco nwmarco at yahoo.com
Sat Jun 12 21:04:29 PDT 2010

Spent about 5 hours on the driver's side wheel assembly on my MK2 Jetta today.

Before I started, I called the Parts Place Tech Line - where I got the tie rods and steering knuckle - specifically to ask them if I needed any special tool to replace the steering knuckle.  The guy who answered - didn't get his name - said "no, nothing special."   The Bentley manual says otherwise and I should have followed the manual.

I got the brakes off (don't forget to note where the little metal clips go when you remove the brake pads) and the strut unbolted, but the tie rod end would not come off.  There is a cinch fitting on the bottom of the steering knuckle that also would not release.

I drove to the local FLAPS in search of a pulling tool and all they had was a large 3" gear puller for $40.  It looked like it might do the job, but I was hesitant.  I called a buddy of mien who used to work on VWs and he said he had the exact tool I needed.  I put everything back together and drove the 10 miles to his place and found him working on the rear brakes of his wife's '03 Golf.  One of the wheel studs had broken off in the hub and he was at an impasse.

He did have the right tool to extract the tie-rod end and once I got that loose, a small chisel loosened the cinch fitting and the steering knuckle came free of the axle.  Contrary to what Parts Place recommends, you don't need the 12pt 8mm tool to remove the axle.  Once everything is undone on the outside, the knuckle just slides off the axle end. 

OK, now let's put on the 'refurbed' knuckle with the new bearing.  Hmm, it won't fit over the axle grooves.  Turns out there is paint etc. in the bearing grooves blocking the axle from entering.  Lucky for me, my friend has a sand blasting setup and after 2 minutes, the axle slides on easily.   

Once the steering knuckle is back in place, I turn my attention to the driver's side tie rod and find the boot is split.  I don't have a replacement and the replacement tie rod looks like it takes a different kind of boot than the split one.

<sigh> ah well, that's how it goes with these older cars and I should have examined it first before I ordered the parts.  I'll need to order a pair of new boots, as well as some CV boots (they were also split).

The tie rods will have to wait.  The rubbing noise is gone from the driver's side wheel now, so at least that has been taken care of.


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