I took my car not long ago to a local VW mechanic to look over my steering and suspension as I was observing a slight vibration coming from the front end. While my car was inspected, the mechanic pointed out and showed me that one of the dogbone mount bushings is in a very bad shape and needed to be replaced.
So I started investigating little by little and found out several companies that make aftermarket bushings and dogbone mounts. I definitely did not want to spend over $150.00 for a complete dogbone mount from VF Engineering, so I decided to replace just the bushings.
I found a sale on http://www.ecstuning.com They were the only ones that offered the complete 3 piece set of bushings. And they had a sale on them too!
While I was researching about aftermarket bushings, I found out that most of the replacements are more performance oriented rather than comfort oriented like the OEM mounts. Users were very happy the way their cars felt with aftermarket bushings but complained about increased vibrations.
Further investigation revealed that VR6 engines tend to vibrate less than 4 cilynders. The worst vibration occurred with 1.8T engines...This DIY was performed on my 1999.5 Jetta GL with 2.0 AEG engine.
Also, users usually replaced only 2 of the bushings as the third circular one was either not available to them or was very hard to replace.
Since I had to replace all 3 of the bushings I knew what I was going against and because the replacement proved difficult on couple of stages, I wanted to share my experience and create this DIY.
I assume no responsibility about this DIY. This is designed as a mere guide. You can use this guide at your own risk as I assume no responsibility of property and physical damage.. You can deviate from this DIY as much as you like
With that said, lets get started!
TOOLS AND PARTS NEEDED:
1. Complete 3-piece set of dogbone bushings or a complete mount with bushings.
2. Two jack stands
3. Car jack of your choice.
4. 5/8" socket + 12mm socket
5. Wrench, pliers, drill with various bits
6. A can of WD-40 or some soapy water! (Important)
STEP 1 (Preparations):
1. Park the car on a leveled place.
2. Pull the e-brake ALL the way
3. Jack the car up as high as possible and let it sit on the jack stands
4. Make sure it is all safe and dandy!
STEP 2 (Removal):
Here is the dogbone mount location:
1. Using the wrench and the 5/8" socket, remove the two green bolts from the front first!
2. Using the wrench and the 12 mm socket, remove the back two bolts.
Here is how the dogbone mount looks like when removed:
STEP 3 (Disassembling the mount):
1. Using the 5/8" socket and the wrench unscrew the long bolt that at the end of the mount. You may have to step on the mount to keep it in place.
Here is how the mount looks like disassembled:
STEP 4 (Removing the third bushing):
Comments: This is the longest and the most tedious part of the DIY. The third circular bushing is installed in such a way from the factory that it is absolutely impossible to remove without breaking it. If you don't have the complete 3-piece set, then skip this part. I HAD to replace it and I had no other choice!
Here is how the third circular mount looks like:
You can see that the rubber is not continuous.
Using the drill, drill multiple of holes IN THE RUBBER parts of the mount shown above. Take your time. Don't damage the actual aluminum mount! I spent good 2-3 hours drilling and removing piece by tiny piece the little rubber shavings!
Here is how the mount looks like with the third bushing removed:
STEP 5 (Installing new bushings):
Notes: This section has been revised since the original post. This is the latest and the CORRECT way of doing things!
1. Clean the aluminum mount completely
2. Spray some WD-40 or in my case soapy water in the hole where the circular bushing should go
3. Remove the metal bolt guide from the new bushing:
4. Slide the new bushing in by squeezing it in. Make sure it is going evenly on each end or otherwise you will have trouble!
Here is how the third bushing looks like after it has been installed:
5. Install the metal bolt guide for the third bushing:
6. Install the SMALLER of the two remaining bushings first by observing the "nipples" and the "ridges" on the mount and the bushing. They must meet and interlock.
7. Install the metal part by carefully observing its orientation. Here is the correct way:
8. Install the BIGGEST of the bushings last again by observing its orientation and the "nipples" and "ridges" of the mount and the bushing:
9. Install the metal cap and the long bolt that hold things together.
STEP 6 (Reinstalling the dogbone mount):
1. As soon as you try to install the mount back, you will notice that the engine has shifted its position and now the first two green bolts are out of line! Do not be afraid, this is normal!
2. Using the jack, SLOWLY, start lifting the engine on the front end.
3. The engine will move also known as rock on the top engine mounts. Continue to lift the engine at the front till the middle bolt where the third circular mount is located is actually in line.
4. Install the mount by first installing the back two bolts.
5. Align the mount with the middle bolt and screw it in.
6. Finally, screw in the little metal bracket and the front-most bolt.
7. Make sure all bolts are tight!
STEP 7 (Checking work and finalizing):
1. Make sure all bolts are tight
2. Slowly remove the jack that is supporting the engine on the front
3. While still on stands, start the engine in neutral.
4. If its all good then, clean up, grab some beer and read on...
1.The engine started without a problem. As a matter of fact it cranked much faster and easier than before!
2. There is a noticeable vibration at idle, but nothing that can upset you. As far as the 2.0 engines go, the vibrations are negligible and I am positive that they will smooth out, once the mounts are seated and broken in properly.
3. The difference is noticeable when driving. You can actually feel the power going to the wheels. The engine does not rock nearly as much, thus it engages and outputs immediately. This is can be best felt at low rpms (less than 3K)
4. The vibration nearly disappears at engine speeds above 1K rpms.
In my case, there was a NASTY rattle that came from underneath the car. At first, I thought I have done something stupid. It appears that since the new bushings are tougher, and do not compress as much, there is some pressure on the exhaust system.
In my case, the exhaust is definitely vibrating and rubbing on the under-body. Once the exhaust got heated to a working temperature, the nasty rattling disappeared!
So in conclusion:
1. The new bushings are great. They offer completely different driving experience!
2. The vibrations are not as bad as people describe them!
3. I am 99% sure that most of the vibrations are coming from the exhaust pipes, hitting and rubbing the under-body. A visit to the local exhaust shop can easily fix that!
LONGER DRIVE IMPRESSIONS:
Today was the first longer drive with the new bushings and I must say I really like them. I hope they don't go too soft after time.
As for the vibrations, I am now 100% positive that they are coming from the exhaust because this morning when the engine was still cold, the vibrations were much bigger and the rattling was still there.
When the car warmed up to normal working temp, all the rattling noise and most of the vibrations disappeared! I took it to 80 mph on the way to work and it is all fine and dandy.
I am going to see my exhaust shop tomorrow to inverstigate the rattling deal...
I just got back from the exhaust shop. Guess what, no more rattles, no more vibrations. There is this exhaust hanger right in the center of the car (underneath the armrest and the center console) that is completely rusted out. Being completely broken, the exhaust was simply rubbing and bouncing off from the support brace causing NASTY vibration and rattle. The guy tried to weld it back together but it is so rusted out that it did not work. He put two massive rubber pieces for a temp fix and it is all fine and dandy now!
Modified by vasillalov at 11:20 AM 10-4-2004