Same problem with mine. I went and changed out the strut bearings and struts and still have the problem. It's as if something is binding and then breaking free, pisses me off. If you figure it out post it!
Hows it going guys I got an 2003 gli. I have had this pretty loud clunk when going over bumps at a slow speed or cutting my wheel hard when backing up. It sounds like it is coming from the drivers side. I have brought it to 2 different places and no one can seem to figure out what it is. I replaced sway bar bushings and just replaced the control and bushings and upper strut mounts...any ideas what this could be?
Join the club. Bought my '03 GLI new and I started hearing the clunk at around 10k. The dealer and several independent shops have been unable to find anything.
If you search around, you will see a ton of folks with similar symptoms. Yet another annoying characteristic of the Mk4.
To the OP-
When you say you replaced the "sway bar bushings," do you mean the bushings in the sway bar links or the mounts on the body?
My girlfriend's Beetle had a clunk that took a lot of work to find. I replaced the strut mounts, control arm bushings and rear axle bushings. It turned out the clunk was coming from the sway bar bushings where the bar mounts to the body.
A couple other things to check:
-subframe bolts, to see if any are loose or broken
Do you know how to check things like ball joints? It varies by vehicle design, but I believe on this car you can use a pry bar to see if you can get the joint to move.
Another clunk source are your inner tie rods. I had an annoying clunk a while back. Would happen rolling slowly over bumps and when turning the wheel. I couldnt figure it out. I noticed when the car was parked and i rocked the steering wheel back and forth, it would clunk. My left inner tie rod ran out of grease in the ball joint and was the culprit. This is the last place i wouldve ever thought to look.