VW Passat & Audi A4 1990-2000

Front Bearing Housing (Knuckle)

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NOTE
If the front bearing housing (knuckle) is to be replaced, the hub must pressed out of the housing and the wheel bearing replaced.

REMOVAL & INSTALLATION
1990-97 Passat Models

The upper strut-to-steering knuckle bolt may have an eccentric washer for adjusting wheel camber. Use a wire brush to clean the area and use a cold chisel to mark a fine line on the washer and the strut together. This matchmark may be enough to preserve the front wheel camber adjustment. It will at least be accurate enough to allow driving the vehicle until a proper front wheel alignment can be performed. If there is no eccentric washer, a new bolt and eccentric washer can be substituted. The parts are available through the dealer.

  1. Note the radio security code and disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2.  
  3. Loosen the front lug bolts slightly, but Do NOT remove.
  4.  
  5. Loosen the halfshaft C/V-joint spindle nut slightly but, Do NOT remove.
  6.  


CAUTION
Do NOT remove the drive axle retaining nut if the vehicle is up on jackstands. A significant amount of torque is needed to remove this nut and may cause the vehicle to fall off the stands.

  1. Raise and safely support the vehicle.
  2.  
  3. Remove the front wheel(s).
  4.  
  5. If equipped, disconnect the ABS wheel speed sensor.
  6.  
  7. Remove the brake disc from the hub. If necessary, use a hand impact driver with a No.2 Phillips bit to loosen the rotor retaining screws. These screws must be installed to prevent lug bolt shearing during severe braking.
  8.  
  9. Detach the caliper from the hub assembly.
  10.  
  11. Support the caliper using a piece of mechanic's wire.
  12.  


WARNING
Do NOT allow the caliper to hang from the brake hose. This will lead to premature hose failure.

  1. Remove the tie rod end nut.
  2.  
  3. Use a tie rod end separator to remove the tie rod end from the steering knuckle.
  4.  
  5. Remove the drive axle (halfshaft) retaining nut and its washer, and then press the halfshaft inward slightly, only so far as it will move freely. Do NOT force the axle. It may be necessary to use a suitable drift and hammer or a hub axle press tool. For further information on halfshaft removal refer to the following topics; Drive Train, Halfshaft Removal and Installation.
  6.  
  7. On models with the "Base" suspension, remove the ball joint-to-bearing holder (knuckle) pinch bolt and separate the ball joint from the control arm.
  8.  
  9. On models with the "Plus" suspension, remove the ball joint-to-bearing holder (knuckle) nut and separate the ball joint from the control arm. Use a tie rod end removal tool to release the ball joint if necessary.
  10.  
  11. Move the control arm downward to release the ball joint from the bearing holder (knuckle).
  12.  
  13. Pull outward on the strut assembly while pressing inward on the halfshaft, and slide the halfshaft out of the hub. Support the halfshaft using mechanic's wire.
  14.  
  15. Clean and matchmark the position of the strut-to-steering knuckle bolt.
  16.  
  17. Remove the bolts and carefully remove the steering knuckle downward away from the strut.
  18.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. The halfshaft must be removed from the knuckle-spindle. If it is stuck, use a brass drift and lightly tap it through the knuckle-spindle



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. View of axle shaft nut and washer



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Removal of the bearing holder (knuckle) assembly

To install:

  1. Installation is in reverse order of removal noting the following:
  2.  
  3. Torque the halfshaft spindle nut with the vehicle on the ground.
  4.  
  5. Torque the lug bolts in a crisscross pattern with the vehicle on the ground.
  6.  


CAUTION
Do NOT attempt to torque the axle nut while the vehicle is lifted off the ground. The torque value is great enough the vehicle could become unstable and fall.


NOTE
Replace all self-locking and outer halfshaft spindle nuts that have been removed from the suspension. Nuts of this design were created with a one-time use in mind. They will not stay tight if reused.

  1. During assembly replace and tighten the fasteners as follows:
  2.  
  3. Bearing housing (knuckle)-to-strut: 70 ft. lbs. (95 Nm).
  4.  
  5. Sway bar link-to-control arm nut: 18 ft. lbs. (25 Nm)
  6.  
  7. Brake caliper bracket-to-bearing holder (knuckle): 92 ft. lbs. (125 Nm)
  8.  

Lug bolts:



M12: 81 ft. lbs. (110 Nm)
 
M14: 89 ft. lbs. (120 Nm)
 

Axle nut (replace):



1990-93 Passat 2.0L 9A 16V: 170 ft. lbs. (230 Nm)
 

Passat 2.0L ABA/2.8L AAA:



Step 1: 66 ft. lbs. (90 Nm)
 
Step 2: 45° ( 1 / 8 turn)
 

Ball joint, "Base" suspension:



Ball joint-to-bearing holder (knuckle) pinch bolt and nut: 37 ft. lbs. (50 Nm)
 

Ball joint, "Plus" suspension:



Ball joint-to-bearing holder (knuckle) nut: 33 ft. lbs. (45 Nm)
 

  1. Check and adjust the front wheel alignment as necessary.
  2.  

A4 & 1998-00 Passat Models
  1. Note the radio security code and disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2.  
  3. Remove the wheel trim. If equipped with aluminum wheels, remove the center trim cap with a suitable suction cup such as Tool No. 3208.
  4.  
  5. Remove the hex head halfshaft bolt.
  6.  
  7. Loosen, but Do NOT remove the wheels.
  8.  
  9. Raise and safely support the vehicle.
  10.  
  11. Remove the wheels.
  12.  
  13. Reinstall two of the lug bolts about three turns each.
  14.  
  15. Remove the ABS sensor cable from the brake caliper without disconnecting the electrical connector.
  16.  
  17. Remove the brake caliper mounting bracket bolts and remove the caliper. If necessary press the brake pads in enough to clear the wear ridge on the outside perimeter of the brake rotor. Support the rotor with mechanic's wire making sure to not allow the caliper to hang by the brake hoses.
  18.  
  19. Remove the brake rotor assembly. If corroded in place, leave the two lug bolts installed and rap sharply on the flat surface of the rotor between the lug bolts to "shock" the rotor and release it from the hub.
  20.  
  21. Remove the splash guard fasteners and the splash guard.
  22.  
  23. Remove the ABS sensor from the bearing holder, release the cables from their brackets making sure not to damage them, and place the sensor aside without disconnecting the electrical connectors.
  24.  
  25. Loosen and remove the lower control arm ball joint nuts but leave them installed.
  26.  
  27. Remove the top bolt from the steering tie rod end, then remove the pinch bolt and release the tie rod end (track rod).
  28.  
  29. Using a tie rod end removal tool, disconnect both lower ball joints.
  30.  
  31. Loosen the upper control arm pinch bolt, then using a tie rod end removal tool, remove the tie rod ends from the bearing housing (knuckle).
  32.  


WARNING
Do NOT widen the bearing housing (knuckle) to release the ball joints.

  1. Tilt the bearing housing (knuckle) backward slightly and remove the housing from the halfshaft and front suspension assembly. Note if the halfshaft is bound in place, install the old hex fastener about 10 turns and tap on fastener to drive the halfshaft toward the center of the vehicle to loosen it in the hub.
  2.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Remove the halfshaft hex bolt and slightly loosen the lug bolts before raising the vehicle



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Always loosen and . . .



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. . . . Tighten the axle fastener with the vehicle on the ground. The high torque required could cause the vehicle to fall off a lift or jack stands



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Remove the brake caliper along with the mounting bracket and support it using mechanic's wire. Do NOT allow the caliper to hang by the brake hose



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Remove the ABS sensor, but Do NOT disconnect the electrical connector

To install:

  1. Install the bearing housing (knuckle) onto the lower ball joints, counter hold with a 4mm hex tool and tighten to:
  2.  
  3. Lower support link-to-bearing housing (knuckle): 74 ft. lbs. (100 Nm)
  4.  
  5. Lower guide link-to-bearing housing (knuckle): 74 ft. lbs. (100 Nm)
  6.  


NOTE
Remove any residual thread adhesive and counter hold with a 4mm hex tool if necessary.

  1. Guide the halfshaft through the hub and install a new hex head fastener until it is lightly seated.
  2.  
  3. Install the upper track control arms and tighten to:
  4.  
  5. Upper track control arm-to-bearing housing (knuckle): 30 ft. lbs. (40 Nm)
  6.  
  7. Install the tie rod end (track rod) onto the bearing housing (knuckle) and tighten to:
  8.  

Tie rod end (track rod)-to-bearing housing (knuckle)



Clamping bolt: 33 ft. lbs. (45 Nm)
 
Upper retaining bolt: 62 inch lbs. (7 Nm)
 

  1. Route the ABS sensor wiring through the routing brackets, then coat the sensor with a light film of brake cylinder grease and press the sensor completely into place.
  2.  
  3. Install the brake splash plate, then install the brake caliper along with the mounting bracket and tighten to:
  4.  

Brake caliper bracket-to-bearing housing (knuckle):



1998-00 Passat models: 89 ft. lbs. (120 Nm)
 
A4 models: 92 ft. lbs. (125 Nm)
 

  1. Install the wheels, but Do NOT fully tighten the lug bolts.
  2.  
  3. Carefully lower the vehicle until the tires sufficiently contact the ground and tighten the lug bolts in a crisscross pattern in three steps to:
  4.  
  5. Wheel lug bolts: 89 ft. lbs. (120 Nm)
  6.  
  7. Tighten the hex head halfshaft axle-to-wheel hub bolt to:
  8.  

Halfshaft-to-wheel hub

M14 (replace)



Step 1: 85 ft. lbs. (115 Nm)
 
Step 2: 180° ( 1 / 2 turn)
 

M16 (replace)



Step 1: 140 ft. lbs. (190 Nm)
 
Step 2: 180° ( 1 / 2 turn)
 

  1. Connect the negative battery cable then reset the following electrical components;
  2.  
    1. Enter the anti-theft code for the radio.
    2.  
    3. Operate each window fully closed, fully open and fully closed again and hold the window switch in the closed position for at least one full second to activate the one-touch function.
    4.  
    5. Set the clock to the correct time.
    6.  

  3. After assembly test drive the vehicle and check the steering over bumps. The vehicle should maintain good straight-line stability over bumps without excessive steering input. If necessary, check and adjust the front-end alignment and toe in.
  4.  

 
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