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2005 TDI Jetta Wagon, Malone Stage 1.5, 310K
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Discussion Starter #1
4 years ago I had a shop install new Bilstein shocks, struts, new control arm bushings, and a used k frame because he said mine had a problem; can't remember exactly what it was, something about bolt holes becoming elongated. Since then, ONLY during the summer when it's hot outside, at slower speeds while making a turn, particularly to the left, I hear a distinct clunk in the suspension. It appears that during torque, turning, and movement, something is shifting, and then when I turn left it clunks back into place. I'm convinced this is a bushing issue, as it does not do this during the winter when it's cold out. I've checked all the bolts and they are tight. I'm wondering if it's the rear subframe bushings? I can buy a new JP Dansk subframe for $149. Are they any good? It seems like there are a lot of problems with the hidden nuts in them for the control arms, so maybe it's worth getting a new one? I hate just throwing parts at something but not sure exactly how to trouble shoot this. I have a 2005 Mk4 Jetta wagon with 309,000 miles on it.
 

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19 Posts
I don't know the answer, but I have a few ideas, if you haven't already tried them.
  • Put the front securely on jackstands and then start pushing and pulling, starting with the wheels. I found a loose ball joint this way.
  • On a non-rainy day, elevate the front of the car, and then put 3/4" (2cm) masking tape everywhere you can think of that might possibly move. Put the tape at different angles so that if that part moves, at least one of the tapes on it will break. Go for a test drive and make the clunk a couple of times. Then elevate the car again and look for broken tape.
  • You could do a similar thing by marking pieces that might move with paint dots or by putting a burst of spray paint over two pieces that might move.
My 2003 Jetta TDi Wagon has 320K mi, so I'm right there with you. It would have more, except that COVID means everyone is working from home instead of commuting.
 

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Registered
2005 TDI Jetta Wagon, Malone Stage 1.5, 310K
Joined
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2 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I don't know the answer, but I have a few ideas, if you haven't already tried them.
  • Put the front securely on jackstands and then start pushing and pulling, starting with the wheels. I found a loose ball joint this way.
  • On a non-rainy day, elevate the front of the car, and then put 3/4" (2cm) masking tape everywhere you can think of that might possibly move. Put the tape at different angles so that if that part moves, at least one of the tapes on it will break. Go for a test drive and make the clunk a couple of times. Then elevate the car again and look for broken tape.
  • You could do a similar thing by marking pieces that might move with paint dots or by putting a burst of spray paint over two pieces that might move.
My 2003 Jetta TDi Wagon has 320K mi, so I'm right there with you. It would have more, except that COVID means everyone is working from home instead of commuting.
Thanks, I'll try it. I took my skid plate off today and drove it and while it still clunks (and I realized, turning right and left), it's not as noticeable as with the skid plate on. Since the skid plate is secured in the rear to the sub frame, it still makes me think that might be it.
 

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Thanks, I'll try it. I took my skid plate off today and drove it and while it still clunks (and I realized, turning right and left), it's not as noticeable as with the skid plate on. Since the skid plate is secured in the rear to the sub frame, it still makes me think that might be it.
If the clunk isn't as loud with the skidplate off, consider that
  • The skidplate might have been reflecting the sound, thus making it louder. If this was true, no skidplate=softer.
  • With no skidplate, road noise might mask the sound, thus making it softer.
 
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