UPDATE - install guide below
Note for MkII/MkIII/Corrado/B3/B4/Passat owners:
Yes you can use the R32/Audi TT bushings on your OEM control arms!!! For Passat, you may need to replace the control arm bushing sleeves (part #191407190A)
Background: Why bushings?
# The front suspension lower control arm (LCA) bushings, especially the donut-shaped unit towards the rear of the LCA, wear out over time. This causes the whole front suspension to move around 1/8" to 1/4" under load, thus changing the toe angle and making braking and extreme handling maneuvers less precise.
# To restore your car to factory spec, replace these bushings with OEM units specified in the shop manual. To improve the handling response beyond OEM spec, you can upgrade to the stiffer Audi TT/R32 unit. Folks report that they don't add any harshness but do firm up steering and braking a little bit.
# Polyurethane bushings are not a good choice for an LCA application because of binding issues and lubrication requirements. They do feel stiff for a few months and then wear out much faster than OEM rubber resulting in sloppy handling. They are often brightly colored in red or yellow to attract folks and close the sale. You'll be wise to avoid them for this application.
# For the ultimate in stiff rides or for racing, you don't want a bushing at all. You want a spherical bearing. Generally, these bearings are not suitable for street use because of added noise/vibration and potential maintenance issues. Vendors such as http://www.h2sport.com and http://www.srsvw.com offer bearing kits for your LCA.
Why not just get the R32/Audi TT control arms outright instead of messing with bushings?
# Yes, the Audi TT LCA will fit MkIV cars but...
# You need to modify the LCA (drilling + thread tapping) to use your existing MkIV sway bar. Otherwise, you must get Audi TT-style front struts and the Audi-TT style swaybar+endlinks, or run no front swaybar at all.
# The TT LCA is a few pounds heavier. While this is good for durability and off-road/rally driving, this actually decreases performance potential.
# The TT LCA offers a little more camber adjustment than the standard MkIV LCA. This is good for performance tuning, but most alignment shops don't know about this adjustment and won't adjust it because it is not in their standard book. You have to go to a performance tuner to have them make the proper camber adjustments.
# For upgrades on your R32/TT LCA see http://public.fotki.com/mcphil...stall/
Front bushing description
# This bushing is supposedly OK to replace with poly because binding isn't really an issue, but you won't gain anything since the OEM bushing is already quite stiff. This bushing only needs to be replaced if it is obviously worn or damaged.
# Note that R32 and late-model Audi TT LCA's have an entirely different bushing in this position. See http://public.fotki.com/mcphil...stall/
# The original MY 1998-1999 Audi TT had smaller bushings similar to the GTI, but this setup was replaced in a factory recall that dialed in more understeer and added a rear wing to give more downforce at high speed.
# Part number: 357407182
# Price $5
Another option for Mk1 Audi TT & MkIV R32 folks
Rear bushing aka donut bushing description
# This bushing frequently develops obvious cracks and should be replaced. It is NOT ok to replace with poly due to binding issues.
# Part numbers: 8N0407181
# Price: $15-$25 each
# http://www.ecstuning.com/stage...=3893 (heavy duty? This is actually the same as the Audi TT bushing but manufactured by Meyle instead of Boge. The rubber appears to be softer and smoother than the Boge brand bushing.)
Control arm install write-up for MkIV
# 13mm, 16mm, 17mm, 18mm sockets
# 18mm deep offset wrench (makes getting the nut for the rear-position bushing a LOT easier - $15 at sears)
# floor jack (2nd floor jack may be needed to jack up motor)
# jack stands
# torque wrench
# breaker bar
# ratchet and socket extensions
# Torx T25 screwdriver
# Some cars will require the motor mount removal tools: http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=2357867
Part 1 Uninstall:
# loosen wheel lugs
# Jack up front-end of car and secure with jack stands
# Remove front wheel
# Loosen swaybar link bolt with 16mm socket. There is some pre-load on the bar so be careful when it snaps out. You may use the bottle jack here to position the spindle/balljoint to a better angle.
# Loosen the three 13mm balljoint bolts - don't lose the triangle top nut plate. You may re-use the bolts. The Bentley shop manual says to replace them, the ETKA does not, so its up to you.
# Loosen 18mm rear-position LCA bolt. This one has a LOT of torque on it, so use a long breaker bar. Note that you have to secure the nut on top with a deep offset wrench or similar. Most regular wrenches or ratchets just won't fit! Again, you may re-use the nut and bolt.
# Loosen 18mm front-position LCA bolt. This also has a LOT of torque. Re-use the bolt. (Note there is some risk in performing this step. In some cars, the bolt is rusted into place and when loosened the nutsert welded to the subframe breaks off. If this happens you have to cut a hole into the subframe and weld the nutsert back into place, figure out how to hold he nutsert stationary while tightening the bolt, or replace the subframe outright. This is not an often occurrence but be aware of the risk. Using some penetrating oil overnight *should* reduce this risk.)
# Use the bottle jack to move the spindle up and down until you can slide the ball joint out of the control arm. It helps to have a second pair of hands here. Note that the balljoint can rotate quite a bit, so use that to your advantage.
Part 2: Swap bushings
At this point, you may take your old LCA's and extract the old bushings and replace with new bushings using one of the following methods:
# take control arms to a local machine shop
# If you have a spare set of control arms to swap in, skip to part 3...
Part 3 Re-Install:
# Slide the new control arm into place
# Insert the rear position bolt and fasten it with the nut. Don't torque it down yet.
# Insert the balljoint inside the end of the LCA, and secure with the three bolts and top nut-plate. Don't torque yet.
# Insert the front-position 18mm bolt and torque it to 52 ft-lbs +90°.
# Torque the rear-position 18mm bolt to 52 ft-lbs+90°. Make sure to hold the nut in place with the deep offset wrench again. (This part is difficult on the passenger side because there isn't much clearance.)
# Torque the three 13mm bolts to 15 ft-lbs. To get maximum negative camber, the bolts should be further out towards the edge of the LCA. Pull the spindle+brake rotor to get it in the position you want. There is about 2mm of leeway on the MkIV control arm, and about 5mm leeway on the Audi TT/R32 control arm.
# Position the bottle jack to allow swaybar link to meet up.
# Torque swaybar link 16mm bolt to 33 ft-lbs.
# Remove bottle jack.
# Re-install wheel.
# Remove jack stands and floor jack.
# Torque wheel lug bolts to 89 ft-lbs.
# Get wheel alignment to check camber and toe.
Oilpan/tranny getting in the way?
# The passenger side control arm is a lot harder to get out on the VR6/TDI. You need to raise the motor out of the way to get at the front-position bolt. The VR6/TDI motor has a huge oilpan which completely blocks access to this bolt. You'll need to loosen the motor mount bolts quite a bit to gain access.
# Automatic transmissions block the drivers-side bolt in a similar fashion requiring the removal of the top transmission-mount. See my motor mount guide for tools info: http://forums.vwvortex.com/zerothread?id=2300076
# You also may need to remove the bottom splash guard with a Torx T25 screwdriver bit.
# The exhaust/downpipe shield leaves little clearance for using a ratchet or wrench on the top nut in the rear-position bolt. It is extremely difficult to get this bolt torqued properly without a deep offset wrench. Save yourself hours of aggravation and just buy the right tool for $15 at Sears.
Pic of VR6 problems on passenger side: Note plastic trim piece and oilpan blocking the bolt. Note 2nd jack to raise motor.
Note 18mm deep offset wrench to hold nut for rear position bolt. Note bottle jack to stabilize torque wrench.
# http://www.ecstuning.com - good prices
# http://www.mjmautohaus.com - sells OEM MkIV LCA with HD bushings already pressed in
# http://www.vwgenuineparts.com - Chaplins VW dealer in Bellevue, WA
# http://www.1stvwparts.com - Auburn VW dealer in Auburn, WA