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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for any damage or injury that may occur as a result of the use of this DIY. Please read all steps carefully, and if you feel that the following is beyond your mechanical ability please consult a qualified VW mechanic / technician to handle your repairs.

This work was done on an '04 24v VR6 GTi, and covers the removal / reinstallation of both drive axles and spindles. Note: Spindles in this DIY already had wheel bearings & hubs installed, this DIY does not go over wheel bearing installation. If possible I recommend purchasing new spindle assemblies with the bearings / hubs already installed for ease of DIY installation.

Tools Needed

  • to remove / replace drive axles:
    • flat head screwdriver
    • torque wrench
    • impact gun OR large breaker bar (with extension if necessary)
    • 30mm 12 point socket OR 14mm / 17mm hex bit socket (dependant on model)
    • 13mm, 16mm sockets / wrenches
    • 12 point M8 OR M10 triple square long reach bits (dependant on model)
    • BFH (Big fuckin hammer)
  • in addition to above, if removing / replacing spindles you'll also need:
    • phillips bit OR T30 torx bit
    • 18mm, 19mm sockets / wrenches
    • 5mm, 7mm hex bits
    • spindle spreader bit / tool, or home made DIY equivalent
    • tie rod & ball joint removal tools
Important - read before continuing:
The following procedure was done with an impact gun. If you don't have one - before jacking up the vehicle first remove the centre cap on your wheels, then loosen (only loosen, don't remove!) the axle nut (or bolt) while the vehicle is on the ground. Once loosened jack up the car and support it safely with jack stands and wheel chocks, then remove both front wheels.

Removing drive axles

Step 1 - Remove 16mm sway bar end link bolts



Step 2 - Insert flat head screw driver in rotor to prevent rotation



Step 3 - Remove drive axle to transmission bolts (M8 or M10 triple square bolts)
Once the bolt is out, remove the screw driver from the rotor, rotate to the next bolt, rinse and repeat.​



Step 4 - Remove 13mm ball joint retainer bolts from control arm
Alternative procedure: You may remove the front control arm bushing bolt instead of the ball joint bolts to shift the spindle and help clear the drive shaft. This allows you to retain your alignment settings, but you will need to replace the control arm bushing bolt as they are single use torque to yield bolts. This DIY follows the Bentley method, which includes removing the ball joint bolts from the control arm.





Step 5 - Remove axle nut / bolt (30mm 12 point / 14mm hex / 17mm hex)
If you don't have an impact gun you should have loosened the axle nut / bolt on the ground BEFORE jacking up the car. DO NOT attempt to remove the axle nut / bolt with a breaker bar while the vehicle is in the air - the nut / bolt is fastened on very tightly and you may topple the vehicle when attempting to remove it.​







Step 6 - Slide out spindle assembly and remove drive axles. Use a block of wood and a BFH if the axle is stuck in the hub. Mine just slid right out, and they were the original 8 yr old axles that came with the car stock.





After all that you should have these on the floor:



If you're only replacing your drive axles then follow all above steps in reverse order and you're done! Torque specs are found at the end of the DIY.

If you need to replace the spindles (like I did) then read on.

Removing spindles

Step 7 - Remove 19mm outer tie rod nut



Step 8 - Remove outer tie rod from spindle with tie rod removal tool.
To do this you basically stick the fork in between the outer tie rod and control arm, then whack away with a BFH until it pops loose.​





Step 9 - Remove caliper retaining clip with flathead screwdriver



Step 10 - Remove plastic cap covering the 7mm hex caliper guide pins, then remove guide pins and caliper from rotor.
Rest caliper aside and be sure to support it / tie it up out of the way so the brake line doesn't get damaged.​



Step 11 - Remove 18mm brake carrier bolts and remove brake carrier.
An impact gun is really nice here because these bolts are torqued very tight. A few blips with the gun and these bolts came right out.​



Step 12 - Remove phillips or T30 torx rotor retaining screw and remove rotor from hub.
You may need to use an impact driver to get the screw loose.​



Step 13 - Unclip ABS sensor with flathead screwdriver





Step 14 - Remove top 18mm spindle bolt & nut that secures the shock body to the spindle.
Counter hold the bolt with an 18mm wrench, then remove the nut from the other side.​





Step 15 - Using your spindle spreader tool, insert and turn with a ratchet to spread the spindle and release the shock body.
Use caution as the spindle will be free at this point.​





 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
You end up with this (more or less):



Step 16 - transfer original ball joint and ABS sensor to new spindle
I had new ball joints and new ABS sensors so I didn't have to deal with removing them. Removing the ball joint (with the proper tool) is easy enough, but good luck trying to remove the ABS sensors without breaking them if they've been there for a while. Normally I suggest grabbing new ABS sensors if you will be replacing the spindles.

To remove the balljoint you first remove the 19mm nut securing the ball joint to the spindle, then stick the ball joint "fork" tool (similar to the tie rod end removal tool, but slightly smaller - $10-$20 usually at auto parts stores) between the ball joint and spindle and give it a few whacks with a BFH.... it'll pop right out.

I have no advice on removing the ABS sensors..... once it's seized in there it's next to impossible to remove without breaking them. Save yourself the hassle and grab a couple new sensors for your new spindles.​



Follow reverse order to install your new parts and then have a beer (or five)!

Torque specs:

ABS speed sensor hex bolt: 89 in-lb
Ball joint to wheel bearing housing 19mm (always replace): 33 ft-lb
Nut & bolt that secure shock body to spindle 18mm (always replace): 44 ft-lb + 90
Rotor retainer screw: 35 in-lb
Brake carrier bolts 18mm (use blue thread lock if not replacing): 92 ft-lb
Brake caliper guide pins 7mm hex (use blue thread lock if not replacing): 21 ft-lb
Outer tie rod nut 19mm (always replace): 33 ft-lb
Ball joint bolts to control arm 13mm (always replace): 15 ft-lb + 90
CV joint to drive flange on transmission (always replace, tighten diagonally): M8 = 30 ft-lb, M10 = 52 ft-lb

As for the axle nuts (or bolts) a licensed VW tech who specifically only works on high performance track built VW / Audi has told me time and time again that the best way to torque your axle nuts is to just go and torque them up to 250 ft/lbs and call it a day.

If you want to follow the repair manual procedure I've included that below as well. It's your dub so I leave the choice to you.

 

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getting ready to replace my inner cv boot. got to go my the triple square bolt tools. dont think i have them.
 

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If you don't have an impact that axel nut is a pain. Make sure you got a long pipe to put on the end of your breaker bar.

Nice write up, why were you replacing your spindles?
 

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Great write-up! I'm about to do an axle replacement for a Passat B6 (passenger side) and i'm curious about step 4 and the possible effects on the alignment (which i've read elsewhere). It's not clear how those 3 bolts once tightened could affect the geometry of the balljoint. Are the holes bigger than the screws and that gives it some play?
 

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Is there a cheaper option for upgrading spindles haha. Like r32 or TT

I need to buy them for my trans swap anyway. I don't mind a couple extra bucks to grab a set with better low geometry.
 

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MK4 & MK5 Owner
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8,443 Posts
Great write-up! I'm about to do an axle replacement for a Passat B6 (passenger side) and i'm curious about step 4 and the possible effects on the alignment (which i've read elsewhere). It's not clear how those 3 bolts once tightened could affect the geometry of the balljoint. Are the holes bigger than the screws and that gives it some play?
yes there is a little adjustment.

Is there a cheaper option for upgrading spindles haha. Like r32 or TT

I need to buy them for my trans swap anyway. I don't mind a couple extra bucks to grab a set with better low geometry.
TT spindles are a good way to go and is getting really common.
 
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