VW Passat & Audi A4 1990-2000

Lower Ball Joint

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Inspection
  1. Raise and safely support the vehicle.
  2.  
  3. On 1990-97 Passat models, allow the control arm to fully extend.
  4.  
  5. On A4 and 1998-00 Passat models;
  6.  
    1. Place a suitable jack under the lower control arm attached to the strut assembly.
    2.  
    3. Lift the arm upward 2 inches (50mm).
    4.  

  7. Carefully grasp the upper and lower portion of the front tires and attempt to rock in and out toward the center of the vehicle.
  8.  
  9. If looseness is felt at the lower portion of the tire proceed as follows:
  10.  
  11. Using a suitable prytool, pry between the steering knuckle and the lower control arm.
  12.  
  13. If looseness is present;
  14.  
    1. On 1990-97 Passat models, remove and replace the ball joint assembly.
    2.  
    3. On A4 and 1998-00 Passat models, replace the control arm assembly of the failed or damaged ball joint.
    4.  




Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. On A4 and 1998-00 Passat models, the lower ball joints are an integral part of the lower control arms

REMOVAL & INSTALLATION
1990-97 Passat models
  1. Note the radio security code and disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2.  
  3. Raise and safely support the vehicle, allowing the front wheels to hang. Remove the front wheels.
  4.  
  5. Remove the ball joint-to-steering knuckle clamping nut and bolt. Note: if the bolt is seized, spray the bolt with a penetrating lubricant, remove the nut, and attempt to rotate the bolt back and forth until it breaks loose. If necessary, sharply rap on the bolt head using a suitable drift and a hammer. Do NOT heat the bolt.
  6.  
  7. Disconnect the sway bar from the lower control arm.
  8.  
  9. Pry the lower control arm downward to remove the ball joint from the steering knuckle.
  10.  
  11. Remove the ball joint-to-lower control arm retaining nuts and bolts or if rivets are used, drill out the rivets with a 1 / 4 inch (6mm) drill, then remove the ball joint.
  12.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Remove the ball joint nut



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Fig. Use a brass drift to remove the pinch nut if it is stuck



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Fig. View of ball joint pinch nut and bolt



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Fig. Remove the ball joint to lower control arm bolts



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Fig. When using a fork style ball joint separator be careful not to tear the boot on the ball joint



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. A short pry tool may be all that is needed to separate the ball joint from the knuckle



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Fig. View of ball joint and lower control arm

To install:

  1. Install the new ball joint in the reverse order of removal. If the ball joint was installed with rivets, use the appropriate fasteners as recommended by the manufacturer.
  2.  
  3. Tighten the fasteners as follows:
  4.  
  5. Ball joint-to-control arm: 26 ft. lbs. (35 Nm)
  6.  
  7. Ball joint-to-steering knuckle: 37 ft. lbs. (50 Nm)
  8.  
  9. Sway bar-to-control arm: 18 ft. lbs. 25 Nm)
  10.  
  11. If no parts were installed other than the ball joint, no camber adjustment should be necessary. Test drive the vehicle and if necessary, check and adjust the alignment.
  12.  

 
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