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  1. #1
    Senior Member Two Rings
    Join Date
    Apr 18 2012
    AZ Member #
    92081
    Location
    Bay Area, CA

    Unhappy failed MD state inspection: control arms, CV boots, and bears, oh my

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    howdy, folks! it's been a while since i've been on here, as i moved from California to Maryland in January for a pretty kickass job.

    quick car stats: 2007 S4 Avant 6MT, 132,000mi

    i finally got around to registering in MD and took it to a shop for the extensive MD state inspection, which is usually $70-100 and takes >1 hour. (when i imported my car to CA, a DMV dude with a clipboard poked at the car for <10m.)

    sadly, my Avant failed:
    • torn upper control arm bushings - all of them
    • torn driver's side inner CV boot
    • one high-beam shutter has malfunctioned (but no dash warning)
    • front side tint is THREE EFFING PERCENT outside legal

    ...and now i have 30 days to fix all of that.



    the blowtacular part of this is that (a) i knew about the bushings, but didn't think they would fail the test, and (b) i was waiting to refresh the front suspension when i pull the engine for The Big Service. now, i need to scramble to do this in the next month. i might get some quotes from local shops, but i'd rather do it myself and spend the savings on better parts.

    setting aside the tint (easy to remove) and the high beam (probably just stuck or a loose wire), i'm looking at ways to fix the arms and boot as fast and painlessly as possible in the next month.

    control arm bushings
    • replace just the bushings, $40-100
    • replace just the upper control arms, $255 for 034's
    • replace all the control arms, $525 for 034's
    • optionally, also replace/upgrade the tie rods to survive the brutal roads of Maryland and DC, around $100

    CV boot
    • replace just the one boot, around $50 or less
    • replace the whole axle assembly to save time, around $300
    • replace both axle assemblies to refresh an 11-year-old drivetrain and ensure balance on the differential, around $600

    so, i have a few questions for those with experience:

    is it possible to replace bushings without even removing the control arms? i highly doubt it, but this could be the quickest way.

    how hard is it to remove the entire front wheel assembly? just pull off the axle, control arms, brake, and possibly suspension in one (heavy) piece, giving me plenty of room to replace parts.

    is it conceivable that a shop would do a quality job for around $500 in labor?

    sigh let the parts dance begin...
    - emilio
    Last edited by emilio; 09-15-2018 at 10:42 AM.
    Vorsprung durch Service Position
    Buy shirts & help me buy tires!

  2. #2
    Established Member Two Rings M0ve0ver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 18 2010
    AZ Member #
    61603
    Location
    Louisville, Kentucky

    I'd say that as long as anything isn't seized, it's pretty straightforward to pull the front axle, spindle, and shock/spring (as separate units, not one large connected unit).

    Regarding axles, you're either going to want to rebuild with an OEM kit, or replace with either OEM or Raxles. Anything else is really hit or miss as far as quality. When I found both front axles had torn boots, I replaced them with Raxles.

    While everything is apart, do as much maintenance/preventative maintenance as you can afford in order to save time/labor.
    05 B6 S4: JHM 93 Tune, Trex DP, JHM 2.5" CB, JHM LWCP, Apikol snub, Bilstein PSS9, 034 Adj Control Arms, 034 Rear Sway + Endlinks, 034 front Endlinks, Team Dynamics Pro Race 1.2's, 034 wheel studs, 034 Strut Bushings, 034 Lower Control Arms, tyrolsport caliper bushings, ECS braided brake lines, Hawk HPS pads

  3. #3
    Senior Member Four Rings VinnysS4's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 12 2015
    AZ Member #
    364349
    Location
    Oregon

    No shop will do that work for $500. Atleast not in my opinion. Just buy the control arm kit and some Axle boot rebuild kits and go to town

    Unbolt the lower control arms, unbolt the 3 upper shock bolts, disconnect the sway bar and tie rod . Remove the axle bolt, tie up the brake caliper and remove the whole knuckle. You have to remove the knuckle the first time. FLIP THE UPPER INNER CONTROL ARM BOLTS BACKWARDS when you reinstall the shock/knuckle and next time it will take a whole 30 minutes to remove and replace them as you can remove the bolts without removing the knuckle next time.

    Sent from my SM-N920V using Tapatalk
    1997 VW GTI VR6 (sold), 2003 Audi RS6 (sold), 2010 Audi A4 2.0T (RIP Totaled on 11/2/2015 ) 2005.5 Audi S4

    My build log
    http://www.audizine.com/forum/showth...-s-s4-timeline

    Texpoops "Correct, but a half inch difference isnít going to accelerate wear by much. Iím sure the front dips that much with a fatty in the front"

  4. #4
    Veteran Member Four Rings Seerlah's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 05 2007
    AZ Member #
    23104
    Location
    A place between here and there

    ^This

    Also, 034 arms are not the best on the market by a long shot. They outsource elsewhere, mark up the price by who knows how much, and people eat it up because " if 034 sells them, they must be quality". I don't have a B6, B7, or an S4 for that matter. But I did run 034 arms before and they are junk. Swapped OEM ones in after maybe 40-50k. FCP lasts that long, but FCP also has lifetime warranty.
    I hate it when my car acts like a little bitch, treating me like a bitch

  5. #5
    Veteran Member Three Rings
    Join Date
    May 29 2010
    AZ Member #
    59652
    My Garage
    2004 Audi S4, 2008 Audi RS4 Ti
    Location
    Phildelphia / Auckland

    I would prioritise the inspection repairs first, pass inspection then do the nice-to-have/long-term items.

    You can buy the entire set of front control arms, but just do the uppers.

    If I had all of my tools and you were in upper MD, I would help you do the inspection repair items for $500.
    2008 Audi RS4 Ti Mugello Blue / Ebony
    2004 Audi S4 6MT Saloon Brilliant Black / Ebony
    2012 Lexus CT200h

  6. #6
    Senior Member Two Rings
    Join Date
    Apr 18 2012
    AZ Member #
    92081
    Location
    Bay Area, CA

    thanks for the replies, gents! i figured $500 labor was a big stretch, but i should have most of the tools i need to do this (maybe not the hub bolt hex).

    i was definitely checking out OEM-built axles, as there's this suspiciously low $50-60 price point that seems like the kinda Brand X stuff i don't want to run >300lbs-ft of torque through. thanks for mentioning Raxles, too; a buddy had those on an A4 years ago and said they seemed like good quality. hopefully they can ship quickly!

    thanks for the tip, Vinny! there's a good chance i'll replace the suspension at some point, so easing removal is welcome.

    is it much additional time to replace the lower arms, too? it looks like i need a ball joint separator, but otherwise no other special tools.

    - emilio
    Vorsprung durch Service Position
    Buy shirts & help me buy tires!

  7. #7
    Established Member Two Rings
    Join Date
    May 01 2017
    AZ Member #
    398738
    Location
    Lincoln DE

    I want to say youll need a 10mm 12point (triple square) for the axles to remove them also.
    2008 DTM RS4

    Instagram--@tjbradney

  8. #8
    Active Member Two Rings bendilzerian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 25 2018
    AZ Member #
    423075
    Location
    Texas

    I don't have a ton of experience with these cars, but I do like to do things the right way and only once. When I asked around a bunch about axles and also talked to the most highly recommended audi shop owner here in Houston, I was told to go for rebuilding stock axles over even Raxles (although they did seem like the best alternative if you needed to actually replace your oem)

    Sounds like you aren't too afraid of the repairs competency wise so if I were in your shoes id go in and do all the control arms at once. I got the meyle HD kit for 475 for my rs4.

    If you're super tight on cash, I did think I read in another thread that someone did press in all new bushings into their oem CAs for much cheaper. Do your own time value of money for that one I guess

    Sent from my LG-H810 using Audizine mobile app

  9. #9
    Senior Member Two Rings PSUS4's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 06 2011
    AZ Member #
    82191
    My Garage
    B5 S4
    Location
    Charleston,SC and Pittsburgh

    Iím in the same boat. Pa inspection next month. I plan to swap the whole axle to save time. Iíve done them on last Audiís and itís pretty simple. I keep the oem axle because they are quite costly. Iíll reboot it when I have more free time. Iím also doing shocks and struts because Iíll have all the arms off so I may as well. I have 126k and plan to keep the car 2 more years at least. Labor for control arms and axle on our X5 which was a similar multilink set up was quoted $450 per corner. Which included rebooting the axles


    Sent from my iPhone using Audizine

  10. #10
    Senior Member Two Rings
    Join Date
    Apr 18 2012
    AZ Member #
    92081
    Location
    Bay Area, CA

    update: i ordred new GKN axles and a Meyle HD control arm kit, all of which should come with replacement fasteners (the axle-transmission bolts are reused). the last things i need to pick up or borrow are a driver for the big axle hex bolt, and a ball joint separator. i'll probably also pick up an electric impact wrench, as those are generally handy.

    Raxles sound like great parts, but the price difference isn't huge ($50-60 after shipping), especially since they want the old axles back. i could probably sell the pair for around $100, or more if i re-boot them.

    aside from cleaning out an area to work on the car, there's one super important thing i need to remember to do a couple days before the work: spray some Kroil on all the fasteners i can get to!

    i would love to do the front suspension since i'll have everything out. however, that's another thing to research and install while i'm on a tight schedule and trying to minimize stress. i'm not sure if i'm going to do all the control arms right now, rather than just the uppers, but i'll decide when i see how the work is going. i'm planning on doing an engine pull for timing and a general overhaul, so i can do the rest of the control arms and suspension then.

    - emilio
    Vorsprung durch Service Position
    Buy shirts & help me buy tires!

  11. #11
    Veteran Member Four Rings Gosser's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 05 2013
    AZ Member #
    116640
    My Garage
    2005 A4, 1988 Buick Lesabre T-Type
    Location
    Ottawa

    I think you are doing it right with just sticking to the uppers for now. Removing the lower arms can sometimes(Always happens to me) pull the steel collar inserts from the aluminum knuckle. Its not the end of the world, but just another thing to contend with ie; grinding the ball joint in half, then reinsert the collar with a large fastener or press. I've had Meyle HD arms on my wifes 3.0(not as heavy as the 4.2 but close) and they have been holding up great for 40,000km.

    Nothing beats OEM axles, I would have found a cheap used unit to slam in for time, then rebuilt your own with a GNK boot. Also, nothing is more therapeutic than rebuilding axles, I absolutely love it.

    Dont use that impact trying to break the axle nut, or reinstalling it. If so you might be doing a wheel bearing in the future.
    2004 S4 MT - Summer
    2005 A4 3.0 AT - Wifes
    2004 A4 1.8 6MT - Winter
    2003 A4 1.8 CVT -> 5spd quttro swap!

  12. #12
    Veteran Member Four Rings BCsniper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 29 2010
    AZ Member #
    54160
    My Garage
    B6 S4 6MT Avant, B6 3.0 Avant 6MT (for sale), C5 A6 2.8
    Location
    north ga

    Quote Originally Posted by Gosser View Post

    Dont use that impact trying to break the axle nut, or reinstalling it. If so you might be doing a wheel bearing in the future.
    Please tell me more. (No sarcasm, Iím honestly interested)

    How does using an impact even on removal harmful for the wheel bearing? I am very curious because I just had to replace a wheel bearing that went bad in about a wars time. I chalked it up to a cheap/bad part but Iím sure I used an impact to remove the axle but at least 2 or 3 times in that year. Always use a torque wrench on install but pretty much never to break the bolt loose.


    Also, just to let people know Raxle axles ARE OEM. That is the only way you are going to get factory parts without spending a fortune (not that is are cheap when compared to alternatives). He requires your core back which MUST be an OEM axle. Then he rebuilds them using FACTORY CV joints from Audi. This is also why they cost what they do.

  13. #13
    Veteran Member Four Rings Gosser's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 05 2013
    AZ Member #
    116640
    My Garage
    2005 A4, 1988 Buick Lesabre T-Type
    Location
    Ottawa

    There are a few reasonings for findings. The bently is pretty specific about the removal and reinstallation procedures. Something to the tune of only breaking the bolt loose while the car is on the ground for up to 1/4 turn only. Then removing the rest of the bolt while the load is removed. There isnt enough control to loosen a bolt 1/4 turn with an impact. Then installing, they need to be torqued in the air to a certain point, then finish the TTY on the ground.

    When I read things that specific, it makes me think that the bearings are more sensitive than we think. Also, for an impact to work without stripping bolts, you lean into with your body weight, which is just hammering away at the bearing until the bolt breaks.

    When I did the control arms on my wife, I didnt follow any procedures. Just went to it, complete removal of the bolt with all vehicle weight. I only installed the bolt while the wheel was on the ground and gave it the final TTY with a new bolt. Then 6kmiles and 12kmiles later I had to replace both front bearings. And the car only had 58kmiles when I did the control arms. I believe the way I handled the bolt removal and installation prematurely wore the bearings. And that using an impact has potential to damage the bearing further.

    I'm sure some people use impact hammers all day long, reuse the same bolt and never have problems. But to me, its a small precaution to prevent from having to go through an expensive repair later on.
    2004 S4 MT - Summer
    2005 A4 3.0 AT - Wifes
    2004 A4 1.8 6MT - Winter
    2003 A4 1.8 CVT -> 5spd quttro swap!

  14. #14
    Senior Member Four Rings VinnysS4's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 12 2015
    AZ Member #
    364349
    Location
    Oregon

    Quote Originally Posted by Gosser View Post

    When I did the control arms on my wife,.
    Hehe. I tell mine I'm going to rotate her tires.



    Sent from my SM-N920V using Tapatalk
    1997 VW GTI VR6 (sold), 2003 Audi RS6 (sold), 2010 Audi A4 2.0T (RIP Totaled on 11/2/2015 ) 2005.5 Audi S4

    My build log
    http://www.audizine.com/forum/showth...-s-s4-timeline

    Texpoops "Correct, but a half inch difference isnít going to accelerate wear by much. Iím sure the front dips that much with a fatty in the front"



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