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skatty_01

Mk2/3 suspension How-to guide

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skatty_01

I just typed this up for a dude on e38, god knows why i did it but no-one told me what to do the first time i tried and it was a fucking nightmare. May be handy to pin it, if not no worries but i thought id post it on here too to be helpful :)

Hope it helps someone out anyways!

Suspension doesnt have to be the mission everyone makes it out to be. I've done a few polos with this setup now and the last time i did it in 4 hours start to finish. IF my write-up looks long, its only cause I'm caned and adding too much detail! Some of it may also seem confusing til you actually try it. You will need a second pair of hands at times though. Finally, it helps to soak all relevant nuts with WD40 for a few days in advance while driving the car, as it can help to free them up.

You need a long-ass breaker bar and a 30mm socket, or an airgun if you have one, to crack off the driveshaft outer nut. If you know anyone in the motor trade, get them to loosen it off for you first and then tighten it up, but not to the same degree, to make it easier. If its especially tight i personally use a length of scaffold over a breaker bar to sort it, use your imagination.

With the car still on the ground, loosen but do not remove the front strut top mount bolts. On my suspension setup, i lock the strut in place with an allen key and use a swan-necked 19mm spanner to crack the nut loose. Yours may differ slightly, but they are piss easy either way. You may as well remove the driveshaft nut, it may need to be popped back on briefly later to hold the strut, but thats only a minutes work and its easiest to get it gone now.

Once they're loosened off, jack up the car and remove the front wheels. First unbolt and remove the brake caliper and carrier from the strut, and hang it with cable ties from a suitable point to relieve the pressure on the brake hose and avoid any damage. I use a hole in the inner wing, as long as its not fastened to the strut it doesnt matter. It may help you to remove the disc, but thats only 1 screw.

Undo the inner bolt where the steering arm meets the steering rack, and turn the wheel to pop the arm out of its mount. This avoids messing about with (and likely ruining) the balljoint between steering arm and strut. You can later remove the entire strut with steering arm attached, and its easy to refit too. Just hold the steering arm in place and turn the wheel to pop the rack back into place.

Undo the nut at the bottom of the strut that holds it to the TCA, remove the bolt, and use a crowbar to pop the TCA balljoint out of the bottom of the strut. It may help to prise apart the two sides of the bit that bolt goes through. When using the crowbar, use it as a lever to force the TCA downwards. I tend to put one end against the jacking point on the shell, forcing the bar down on the point where the TCA meets the arb by standing on the other end. You may need to bend the brake shield thing to allow for more clearance, but remember to bend it back in place when you're finished.

Pull out the driveshaft, remove the top bolt holding the strut up, and the whole thing should just pull out of the arch.

Spring compressors come in handy to remove some of the tension from the spring against the top mount while you loosen it off. You will need a castle nut removal tool to undo it, or file down a socket to fit the slots. You will understand once you see it, but the nut removal kits arent much more than a fiver from GSF and well worth hanging onto for future use. Note the order of the parts in the top mount assembly before removing them and the spring.

If you're just swapping the springs, then with the new ones in place "refitting is reverse of removal", to quote haynes. Start with the strut top bolt to hold it in place, insert the driveshaft and then pop in the bottom balljoint to secure the strut in place. It helps to lever the TCA down again to locate it, make sure the balljoint is aligned too or it wont go into the socket. You can now put the steering arm back in and bolt everything back together. Dont forget to put the driveshaft nut back on nice and tight once the car is on the ground.

If you are swapping the shocks too, remove the top mounts and everything else from the strut. New bumpstops might be a good idea if the old ones are shagged. Use mole grips or a vice to remove the cap that holds the shock absorber into the strut, and pull out the shock. Bear in mind its filled with hydraulic fluid, so pour that away into a washing up bowl (that poop stinks so dont get it on anything!) and insert the new shock unit. Some uprated shocks are slightly shorter than the strut housing, meaning they are loose when the cap is back on. This can be cured by dropping a 2p coin down flat inside the strut before inserting the shock absorber.

Then follow the instructions above to fit the springs and re-assemble the strut.

Sounds like a mission, it really isnt anywhere near as bad as people make out if you know what to do. The above is how i have come to do it after doing it on quite a few mk2 and 3's, and as i mentionned previously the last time i did it took no time at all - 4 hours for the whole car, both fronts and rears. It will take longer on your first try but i think my method makes it as simple as it can be. The biggest problems you are likely to face will be loosening bolts which are seized after years of use. If these can be cracked off first with an airgun and then re-tightened with only hand tools, then you shouldnt have any trouble.

Finally, any issues or other questions will have been encountered a million times, clubpolo's magical search function will find you everything you need to know from the technical suspension section.

If I've missed anything or it doesnt make sense please let me know!!

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ollie39mac

Bloody hell, I wish you had written this a few days in advance. I has taken me from tuesday morning to last night to get mine done, it was a right pain.

The rears are easy enough but most of the bolts at the front of the car were seized solid.

I was using a mk1 golf guide, which obviously wasn't very helpful when it came to the front!

I'm sure this will help out a lot of people, my car looks awesome now.

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T168TUK
Bloody hell, I wish you had written this a few days in advance. I has taken me from tuesday morning to last night to get mine done, it was a right pain.

The rears are easy enough but most of the bolts at the front of the car were seized solid.

I was using a mk1 golf guide, which obviously wasn't very helpful when it came to the front!

I'm sure this will help out a lot of people, my car looks awesome now.

I've done the front end on my mark 3 2 days ago, everything he says is gospel, 1 thing i can add is to place an axle stand under the track rod end and lower the weight of the car onto it, this helps to undo the trackrod nuts, bit of heat to melt the nyloc and voila. I realised to do this after cutting the one off, but worked fine on the other side.

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AdrenalinSeeker
Bloody hell, I wish you had written this a few days in advance. I has taken me from tuesday morning to last night to get mine done, it was a right pain.

The rears are easy enough but most of the bolts at the front of the car were seized solid.

I was using a mk1 golf guide, which obviously wasn't very helpful when it came to the front!

I'm sure this will help out a lot of people, my car looks awesome now.

I've done the front end on my mark 3 2 days ago, everything he says is gospel, 1 thing i can add is to place an axle stand under the track rod end and lower the weight of the car onto it, this helps to undo the trackrod nuts, bit of heat to melt the nyloc and voila. I realised to do this after cutting the one off, but worked fine on the other side.

yep good advise i used a block of wood

or you could take the whole rod off if needs be

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ollie39mac

A ball joint splitter was a marvel when taking that bolt on and off.

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polopete
Bloody hell, I wish you had written this a few days in advance. I has taken me from tuesday morning to last night to get mine done, it was a right pain.

The rears are easy enough but most of the bolts at the front of the car were seized solid.

I was using a mk1 golf guide, which obviously wasn't very helpful when it came to the front!

I'm sure this will help out a lot of people, my car looks awesome now.

I've done the front end on my mark 3 2 days ago, everything he says is gospel, 1 thing i can add is to place an axle stand under the track rod end and lower the weight of the car onto it, this helps to undo the trackrod nuts, bit of heat to melt the nyloc and voila. I realised to do this after cutting the one off, but worked fine on the other side.

yep good advise i used a block of wood

or you could take the whole rod off if needs be

i've got the whole process of changing the fronts down to a tee now, i always undo they tie rods at the rack its self, and a zip gun for the top mounts makes the difference between a half hour job, and an hour and a half job.

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Yeti

Nice one. Pinned!

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ollie39mac

Since last night I have encountered a very strange petrol burning problem.

This is just a guess, it could be something else, but I hope not!

It feels as though my rear brakes have slight pressure when the handbrake is off, therefore creating more friction and using more power.

I read somewhere that you have to adjust the rear brake settings because the car is lower, but could anyone explain to me what I have to do on a mk2 Polo.

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polopete

what year is your car? later models dont have it.

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ollie39mac
what year is your car? later models dont have it.

aah... it is '89 which leaves me a bit worried, does this mean that it must be a different problem or there is another way to sort it out?

Edited by ollie39mac

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Oily Fingers

well on the mk3 there is a load valve fitted to to the rear brakes but i am not sure about the mk2 set up.

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popdragin

Should/do the inserts in the struts jus pull out?

Are the oftern rusted in?

benny

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XRrich

I'm having trouble getting the bottem ball joint out at the fronts. any recomendations

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polo d

XR rich if you use a chizel and put it in the slot and tap it in a little it will spread the hole and light pressure on the leaver bar will have that sticky bottom ball joint out in moments :-D

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XRrich
XR rich if you use a chizel and put it in the slot and tap it in a little it will spread the hole and light pressure on the leaver bar will have that sticky bottom ball joint out in moments :-D

inbetween the slot where the bolt goes. i will give it a go tonight cheers mate:)

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XRrich

how does the driveshaft come out. do you pull it out from the disk bit or the other end?

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evans.I
how does the driveshaft come out. do you pull it out from the disk bit or the other end?

With the hub nut wound off the driveshaft enough to just clear the end of it give it a small tap with a copper mallet. This will allow it to move backwards slightly without musrooming the end of the driveshaft. Once thats given way a bit wind the hub nut completely off the end and just pull the strut away from it so its out of the hub completely. So to answer your question, its from the disc side yes :)

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XRrich
how does the driveshaft come out. do you pull it out from the disk bit or the other end?

With the hub nut wound off the driveshaft enough to just clear the end of it give it a small tap with a copper mallet. This will allow it to move backwards slightly without musrooming the end of the driveshaft. Once thats given way a bit wind the hub nut completely off the end and just pull the strut away from it so its out of the hub completely. So to answer your question, its from the disc side yes :)

How can i grip the disc to hold the nut, its not coming off its really tight

cheers

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evans.I
how does the driveshaft come out. do you pull it out from the disk bit or the other end?

With the hub nut wound off the driveshaft enough to just clear the end of it give it a small tap with a copper mallet. This will allow it to move backwards slightly without musrooming the end of the driveshaft. Once thats given way a bit wind the hub nut completely off the end and just pull the strut away from it so its out of the hub completely. So to answer your question, its from the disc side yes :)

How can i grip the disc to hold the nut, its not coming off its really tight

cheers

Ah you havnt already cracked the nut with the car on its wheels......... Your only slight hope in that case is to get a mate hard on the brakes with the car in reverse then use a long breaker bar to loosen the hub nut off, or if you have access, an impact gun. You really should have cracked the nut with the car still on its wheels, tis basically the first step of the entire procedure....

If that fails then put it all back together, drop the car back to its wheels and then get some force into it with the brakes applied.

Sorry dude! hope it works out.

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XRrich

absoulute disaster. brilliant, cheers for the help dude. looks like I'm starting from fressh! ha

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evans.I
absoulute disaster. brilliant, cheers for the help dude. looks like I'm starting from fressh! ha

Ah well, at least you now for next time mate. Hope all goes well. Anymore help just ask :)

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XRrich

Hi, everything is back together now. it was a mission getting the ball joint back in.

How did you guys do it.

Why is it such a mission?

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evans.I
Hi, everything is back together now. it was a mission getting the ball joint back in.

How did you guys do it.

Why is it such a mission?

Its always worth it.

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BettoN

Wondering if anyone can help me, probably a stupid question but, when lowering your car do u NEED a coil compressor?

Cheers.

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Matt Mk3loon
Wondering if anyone can help me, probably a stupid question but, when lowering your car do u NEED a coil compressor?

Cheers.

I would say yes, but you can make some quite easily.

Some friends basically lowered the front of my mk3 for me last night (legends!).

We had some homebrew ones which were just a bolt and two hook shaped nuts on either end of the bolt. (you then obviously tighten each nut to compress the spring)

Also, having an impact gun makes things MUCH easier...

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