Need Alignment After Steering Knuckle R&R?

Discussion in 'Mk5 VW Jetta, Sportwagen, and Audi A3 TDI forum' started by mattredmond, Jul 6, 2017.

  1. mattredmond

    mattredmond New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    Messages:
    21
    Car:
    2006 Jetta TDI
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    Hi Folks,

    I was attempting to replace my driver's side hub/bearing and managed to strip out one of the triple-square screws holding the hub on. Those screws are round-headed and countersunk so neither grabbing it with vice-grips nor grinding the head off is going to get me fixed. I am either going to have to drill through the head and then punch the screw shaft out or weld a nut to the head to facilitate removal. Either will be much easier done if I pull the steering knuckle off of the car.

    Pulling the steering knuckle looks fairly straightforward - unbolt lower control arm, that other arm/rod, and unbolt from strut. My question is - does the steering knuckle bolt back to the strut just by bottoming the strut out in the knuckle and letting the tie rod control its rotational position on the strut? Or is more complex than that? Will I need an alignment after this and if so, will it be safe to drive the car a few miles to an alignment shop?

    Also, if anyone happens to know, are there any always-replace fasteners involved in steering knuckle replacement?

    Thanks!
     
  2. ncsteinb

    ncsteinb New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2013
    Messages:
    22
    Car:
    2006 BRM Jetta Manual, 2002 ALH Jetta Manual, 1997 318ti w/turbo 6cyl (M50) swap
    Location:
    Saginaw, MI
    Mods:
    Koni Yellow adjustable dampers, H&R Sport Springs, ECS Tuning Dogbone insert, ECS Single Mass Flywheel (both), EGR delete (both), Malone tune (both), BMW-> All of the mods!
    The damper is simply bottomed out in the knuckle, but you'll need a special tool to spread the knuckle so you can get the damper out. There should be a tab on the damper that goes into the slot on the knuckle, this provides a good starting point for the alignment, but also since the knuckle grabs the damper tube, everything should be co-linear, and shouldn't warrant an alignment afterwards. When you replace the damper back into the knuckle, put a light coating a molydisulfide (wet or dry) on the damper tube. This helps get it out immensely next time you replace a damper. :panic

    My vote would be to weld a nut on the bolt, hit the threads with a good penetrating lube (my favorite libation is MolyKote High-Performance Penetrating Lubricant) if you can find it. That should do the trick. Also, shock the threads by hitting the fastener with a hammer a few times or a rivet gun. Be careful with the knuckle, as it is cast iron and can be brittle.

    There's a writeup on replacing those components, but I usually replace the lower 3 bolts for the ball joint (with nut assembly). I don't replace the damper clamping bolts unless they are all jacked up.

    Good luck!
     
  3. mattredmond

    mattredmond New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    Messages:
    21
    Car:
    2006 Jetta TDI
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    Thanks a ton for the reply @ncsteinb!

    I read it just in time (with 28 minutes to go) to order the spreader tool from Amazon with same-day delivery - means I can get started first thing in the A.M.
     
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  4. mattredmond

    mattredmond New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    Messages:
    21
    Car:
    2006 Jetta TDI
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    @ncsteinb Got it all done today. Pulled the knuckle and welded a nut - that screw spun right out. I'm embarrassed to say that I stripped the very same screw on the other side (got to make SURE those drivers are bottomed out in those rather shallow screws). I was even doing it with hand tools. Triple-square takes about a nanosecond to get galled enough that the driver won't fit in. Hammering the driver in just makes it worse. That one I opted to drill out using Cobalt drills. That went well too.

    So all done. Thanks again. Couldn't have done it without the knuckle spreader tool.
     
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