Lock carrier-service position and front bumper removal - B5 Passat
How to put the lock carrier in the service position or remove the front bumper on a B5.5 VW Passat
Many service items require the front bumper to be removed and/or the lock carrier to be put in the service position. The first step is front bumper removal so this article lists that procedure first.difficulty: 2/5
This DIY also applies to the Audi A4 and Audi A6. Although it make look intimidating, sliding it forward is actually pretty easy - you only have to remove it completely for big jobs like removing the engine. The lock carrier is the front assembly supported by the frame rails/bumper. This includes the headlights, radiator/radiator support, and front bumper. The service position is when the lock carrier is disconnected and slid forward for clearance on special support bolts. You can also pivot it to the side but you have to disconnect one side and support it with a jack. While it does take time to put the lock carrier into the service position, you save time because maintenance is much easier with it out of the way. Some maintenance procedures require it.
Do you have any additional tips? Please comment in the forums or edit this article.
non marring body tool or thin screwdriver wrapped in a rag
VW tool# 3411 - lock carrier support tool or equivalent M8 x 1.25 x 120mm long bolts (or 5-6" long)
T25, T30, T45 torx screwdrivers/bits
10mm socket and wrench
Lock carrier service position procedure
The steps in blue are for lock carrier removal only. All other steps are for both removal and service position.
Remove the foglight grilles by pinching them down at the clip circled and pulling it out.
If you can reach the foglight plug release switch (it's on the far side, picture below is after foglight removal) then release the foglight plug. If not, remove the 3x phillips screws to release the foglight and get easy access to the plug.
Remove the 3x phillips screws holding the air intake snorkel and remove it. While you are there, remove the T30 torx screw holding the chrome grille and the T30 torx screw holding the corner of the lock carrier. Repeat for the other side. Note: some Passat have a blocked off screen in front of the air snorkel, some don't. The car will still get plenty of air with a blocked screen but if it bothers you, dremel holes in the grille in front of the air intake snorkel. See 1000q: air intake grille mod for more details.
Underneath the car, remove the engine bay plastic lower cover (3 fasteners at the front, 3 at the rear, and 2 in each wheel well). You really only need to loosen the front but if you're removing the lock carrier then you're probably working on the engine - removing the splash shield will make getting dropped bolts much easier. Note: the TDI has a rear splash shield and uses different fasteners vs. the gasser Passat. See 1000q: splash shield removal and fastener list for more details.
On each front wheel well, remove the 3x horizontal T-25 torx screws in the wheel well and 1x vertical T-25 holding the plastic bumper to the metal fender as shown by the yellow arrows. Repeat for the other side. Pictured below are the screw locations after bumper removal for easier illustration. The bolts circled in white is for releasing the lock carrier and you can't see it yet (it will be removed in a later step). The silver stuff on the inside of the plastic wheel well liner is some soundproofing mat to reduce road noise.
Release the chrome grille. First release the hood release trim (yellow arrow).
If you are removing the lock carrier I suggest flipping it upside down and snipping a slot in the lower half. You never see the underside and the flexible plastic will let you easily remove/replace it. During installation, use a dab of glue to hold it. If you don't want to snip it, try heating it with a heat gun.
If you are removing the lock carrier, remove the 2x 10mm bolts holding the hood release assembly on and set aside or unhook the release cable. Also remove the switch and the 10mm bolt on the radiator support. Having this free will also give you more range of motion to release the hood release trim.
Use a plastic pry or non marring auto body clip tool to push the clips at the bottom of the grille towards the rear of the car so that you can pull the grille up and out. There's also one at the top. If the hook gets caught under the bumper skin, try to catch the lip to push it in. You can cut a notch in the bumper skin to help get a pry in there easier in the future. The notch will not be seen since it's covered by the grille.
Now remove the T-30 torx bolts (white arrows) holding the plastic bumper skin to the metal bumper.
If you are completely removing the lock carrier the grille has to be removed. If you are moving it to the service position, just rotate the grille to get access to the T-30 bolts.
Slide the bumper towards the front on each side. This releases the tabs on the sides. As it comes out, move to the side and pull out the side marker lights.
Putting the lock carrier in the service position
First put some tape on the front edges of the fender (the horn part and the front edge) to avoid scratches and damage.
Remove the fender-carrier brace bolts (2x T30 bolts on the driver's side pictured below, 1x T30 bolt circled in white in a previous picture, pic #4 from the top). It's best to avoid loosening the T25 torx screws on the brace because it helps bumper alignment.
In this pic you can see how the plastic bumper latches onto the fenders and should be slid forward during removal.
Unplug the car horn plugs on each side and pull the bottom of the intercooler ducting towards you - the top should come down and off. Remove the power steering fluid cooler loop (2x 10mm bolts) with the temp sensor attached.
Unclamp the front ATF line support pictured below (red arrow on the left, ignore the red arrow on the right) to get more play to move the transmission fluid lines.
If you have a turbo engine, pull the turbo and intercooler spring clips halfway down to separate the turbo and intercooler hoses from the lock carrier.
For lock carrier removal on automatic transmission cars - includes all Passat TDI - picture below was taken after removal for illustration. You must disconnect the automatic transmission fluid line at either the passenger side radiator (1x 10mm bolt per line, yellow circles below) or the hose union on the driver's side (yellow arrow below). Either will drain some ATF so have a catch bucket ready.
Here is the rear view of the ATF lines still attached, 10mm bolt circled in yellow.
For lock carrier removal: Drain the radiator (phillips screw on the radiator drain) and disconnect the upper/lower coolant hoses on the driver's side.
Disconnect the green plug on the lower pass side, behind the radiator, and any other connectors. You may have to also unplug the AC sensor pictured below. On the driver's side, unclamp the headlight and other plugs. You don't have to remove them, just release them from the clamp so that there's room to move.
For lock carrier removal: Unplug the headlights and wire harness by the driver's side headlight and any other plugs/wires on the lock carrier. Remove the AC condenser so that it doesn't have to be discharged and recharged. See 1000q: AC condenser removal for tips.
Remove one of the T45 torx bolts on the frame rail as shown below and screw in VW tool# 3411. You can also use M8 x 1.25 x 120mm long bolts (about 5-6" long).
The tool/bolt lets you slide the lock carrier about 4 inches forward to the service position. Now remove the rest of the T45 bolts and slowly slide the lock carrier forward. *NOTE: there are 3 bolts on the driver's side and 4 bolts on the passenger side.
Below are some pics showing how far it can come out (pic is of a gasser V6)
Pictured below is the back of the lock carrier after removal. You could also somewhat pivot it by removing the items for lock carrier removal on one side and supporting the entire assembly with a jack. Either the coolant lines and ATF lines have to be removed to let the driver's side swing out or the AC condenser has to be removed to let the pass side swing out.
If you remove it, tilt it to avoid spilling ATF everywhere. I found that the coolant flange on the radiator was stuck so I just removed the coolant hoses at the thermostat flange and coolant reservoir.
Lock carrier installation notes and tips
You can install one of the T45 bolts temporally to hold the lock carrier, front snub mount support/air tube, and bumper in place.
Check clearance and alignment of the headlights against the fender and hood. Excess rubbing will cause rust.
Make sure all wiring is replaced and secure. Use zip ties if needed.
If you removed the coolant lines or ATF lines check for leaks afterwards. During lock carrier installation, make sure to not pinch the ATF line brace on the bottom backside. To top off the ATF, see 1000q: VW Passat automatic transmission fluid top off.
If you have a VW Passat TDI, normal diesel vibration can cause the headlights to shake. This is most noticeable at a stop when you can see the headlight beams on the car in front of you. Refer to 1000q: Passat headlight shake fix for the solution.
Here's a video showing this on an Audi A6, a similar procedure applies to your VW Passat
ATF lines at radiator: push the line in by hand, then tighten 10mm bolt to 4 ft-lb
power steering cooling loop: snug but not tight since both the radiator and cooling loop bracket are plastic!
T25 and T30 torx bolts: between 2-5 ft-lb or snug but not tight
T45 bumper support bolts: 37 ft-lb