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Discussion Starter #1
I noticed a bit of side to side play in the front wheels which I initially tought was the track rod ends but when you 'wiggle' one of the front wheels the other wheel moves as well which looks like play in the steering rack.

Has anyone else come across this and can it be fixed easily or does the rack need to be replaced.

It's been suggested by someone that the rack may just be loose are the bolts for this easily accessible?
 

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It could be the inner tie rods. The steering rack is bolted to the frame so there are no bushings there. It could also be the control arm bushings. The control arms on the Passat are very complicated and if you have high miles, hit a curb, worn bushings, they should be replaced.

Here is how: http://www.myturbodiesel.com/1000q/b5/control-arm-DIY.htm If you look through the FAQ, steering rack replacement is also covered.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I don't think its the control arms as the bushings seem to be ok an theres no vertical play in the wheel.

I suspected the steering rack as when I move one wheel the other one moves exactly the same amount. I imagine if it was tie rod ends both would move but independatly but not the at the same time if I was only moving one wheel. I suspected that the whole rack might be loose I'm not sure how possible this would be.

Is there a FAQ on inner tie rod removal/replacment. Also is there a way to diagnoise inner tie rods, would you recommend replacing the outer ones at the same time.
 

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Outer ones are a common problem. If you separate the tie rod you should be able to feel for play in the system. It's unlikely the entire rack is loose but it's possible. There are no bushings on the rack so if the rack is loose it's the bolts. No FAQ but it's pretty straightforward. One you separate the tie rod end, unscrew, reboot, replace.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I’m trying to get my head around the steering mechanism I’m only a ‘DIY mechanic’ so this is all new to me.

From what I can see from the inner tie rod ends these wouldn’t cause the type or amount of play that I have so I don’t suspect these. If I had wear in my tie rods I would have horizontal play in the wheel but this isn’t the case I seem to have horizontal movement in the entire rack. Hopefully it will be something simply like the mounts are there any other possibilities after that?

When I checked it the car was on a lift. I will try jacking up only one side of the car and see if I still have the play in the wheel.
 

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At about 145k miles the bolts that hold the steering box on my B5 loosened. At first I thought mine were the inner tie rods too. I had horizontal movement in the right side with the right side up in the air and occasional banging coming from the right side when turning when I hit a larger bump in the road. I did not jack the left side up but I would assume there would be play there also. I assume the steering box on the B5.5 is virtually the same as the B5.

I dropped my car off at an indy that works on VWs expecting to have the inner tie rods replaced. They called about two hours later and said all they did was removed the steering box bolts, put loctite on the bolts and torqued them to spec. They said they have seen a few boxes become loose but it was rare. Total charge was $65.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks I'm hoping I'll be able to investigate this weekend and fix it.

Can you confirm if you felt any play in the steering wheel with the wheels on the ground and stationary.
 

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Thanks I'm hoping I'll be able to investigate this weekend and fix it.

Can you confirm if you felt any play in the steering wheel with the wheels on the ground and stationary.
My loose rack happened in 2007 so I can't quite recall what all the symptoms were but for the banging from the right front under certain conditions. I don't recall any play in the steering wheel with the wheels on the ground.

I believe there are 2 bolts in the fresh air plenum area under the battery / battery tray and one bolt underneath the rack (IIRC accessed through the wheel well area) that secure the rack in place.
 
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