I've been quoted AUD $950 to replace 2 Front Control Arm Bushes as they have cracks (from NRMA motorserve). My questions:
- do these really need to be replaced?
- price seems very high - possibly more than double what it should be - do you agree?
If the bushes are worn or cracked then yes they need replacing. It is a common failure . In most cases garages replace the entire arm. Labour costs should be no more than 1 to 1.5 hours at least this is my opinion. If you look on YouTube for VW golf Mark 5 or VW Jetta front control arm replacement you can judge for yourself the work involved. These VW group models have essentially the same front suspension as the EOS but more videos are available !
Aftermarket price for a L/R pair of control arms with bushes are about AUD $48 on Fleabay and I pay more than that for oil! There are some aftermarket equivalents sold with polyurethane bushes, but I don't know if they are better or last longer?
Suspension work can take longer than you think if bolts are seized. They also have to factor in replacing some bolts which are 'use once only' and they may be using the more expensive genuine OE parts? IMHO AUD $950 seems about right, unless you are prepared to buy the parts, have all the tools (including a torque wrench) and do everything yourself?
Are you talking about the rear consul bushes on the lower arms if so they are easy to remove and replace and not to expensive. It’s just a matter of removing the bolts that hold the alloy housing on the rear lower arm, then lever the arm down a bit and knock them off with a hammer and as long as there in the right position just drift them back on. It takes less than 30 minutes a side but you will need to get the steering geometry done on the car afterwards.
Please see above link. Fairly comprehensively details the work involved I think?
New bolts are also required for the rear bushes, as they are single use. These come as a kit which needs to be purchased in addition to just the bush (or the complete arm) as chosen by the installer . Sorry I don't know the torque setting for these!
Garages use pins to locate these bushes and maintain original alignment before removal i.e. remove one bolt fit one locating pin remove second bolt fit second locating pin.
In any event alignment check is needed.
Got to be honest never used any locating pins (didn't see any in the video either.) I have done hundreds of these bushes over the years as I don't like ripping customers off for a complete arm if it only needs the rear bush IMHO. a link on how to change the consul bushes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6TGnnAFTnU
Thank you all for your replies - much appreciated.
When you say "Are you talking about the rear consul bushes on the lower arms if so they are easy to remove and replace and not to expensive.", are you referring to the bushes on the front of the vehicle? Are there other bushes on the front apart from the ones you mentioned?
Yes there is a bush on the front of the arm which doesn’t tend to give to much problem but it isn’t replaceable AFAIK. There is also a ball joint fitted which is also prone to wear, this is bolt on but will definitely need steering geometry doing as it is adjustable.
I replaced the left and right front control arm rear (consul) bushes and ball joints a few years ago but didn't in the end replace the front bushes as at the time they were ok. The ball joints were a bit of a pain to get off in my case!
I then took the car to a VW specialist ( not a dealer!) to have the alignment checked. Because I didn't own any pins I didn't use any to hold the position for the rear (consul) bushes and it didn't seem to matter.
From memory I think to change the front bushes ( after removing the complete arm(s) ) you need a press to remove and then refit the front bushes and freeze the new ones to aid insertion. I still have the front bushes in stock!
As I mentioned before some owners / garages replace the entire control arm as I believe this comes complete with front and rear bushes and the ball joint.
I tend to have a local specialist do all these tasks these days as I don't like lying on the floor! Also my automotive experience is really limited to building rally cars in the 1980s .
I've met 'press fit' assembly of parts in the past and unless you have the right fixtures for the fly press or can make them, they will be a pain just to save a few £s over buying a ready assembled part. If you think you can bodge up something and use a hammer or vise, I haven't found that always works and cold shrinking is iffy unless you have some liquid nitrogen or CO2 around? Chances are going this route you end up getting the pressed on part stuck part way as it wasn't pushed down square or the temperature rose too quickly. Then you have to try and cut it off with an angle grinder.