How many of you have a Mk2 Golf that is lower at the back than at the front? Quite a few I would imagine, especially if you have been used to carrying a load of stuff in the boot most of the time or if you have a large ICE install instead. I noticed that the rear of my Golf had sagged by about an inch, when compared to the front of the car.
On looking under the rear wheel arch on one side, I noticed that the bump stop had broken and dropped down. this in itself is bad news as the suspension will now be bottoming out and causing more where than necessary on the shock absorbers. Looking further up to the top of the strut though, it was noticeable that all was not well.
At the top of the strut it was noticeable that a piece of rubber spacer had "spread". This piece of rubber also keeps the top of the spring in place.
As it had worn, the spring moved to one side and was now not located in the correct place. This had the effect of lowering the rear of the car slightly. Due to the increased pressure on the bump stop, this had also broken up and so the strut was now in a hell of a state, with the suspension geometry put out of line. Going over some bumps and also uneven surfaces you could hear a metalling clack from the rear. This was caused by the coil spring hitting the shock absorber. That's how far out of line it can get!
The picture on the left shows the "spread" rubber spacer at the top of the coil spring
The only solution is to remove the suspension strut completely and replace the rubber spacer and the bump stop.
To do this you have to:
This is 17mm and VERY tight so be careful with the knuckles. You will have to wiggle the unit to get this out as there is nothing holding it up top anymore. Once this is removed the unit should be able to be extracted (you might have to press down on the rear axle carefully to facilitate this).
Now that the unit is away from the car, you can have a good look at the problem. If it's anything like mine it should look loverly (photo left)!
Unfortunately the rubber spacers are only available from Volkswagen dealers, but the good news is that they are only about £4.00 each (p/n: 1HO512149 Packing) . The bump stops (and covers if you have the early bump stops) are available as OE in the after market, but they are still about £12 each (for a bit of foam!)
If anyone is thinking about replacing their suspension, then I would suggest that they get hold of a pair of these rubber spacers, as well as a set of bump stops, and change them at the same time as the suspension units.