Passat Rear Wheel Alignment


rp2813
07-30-2004, 01:22 PM
I have a 97 Passat GLX Wagon with 104K miles on it. The alignment on the rear wheels is off and the tire dealer says there's no adjustment that can fix it, that the rear alignment was actually engineered this way and that BMW's and other makes have similar issues--even worse than on my car. They suggested some kind of after market shim but then said that wasn't possible with rear disc brakes. This problem wore out a set of Dunlop SP Sport 5000's which have otherwise been really nice tires. I went through my records and the alignment has been off & unfixable for about 70K miles but this is the first set of tires that it has wrecked due to uneven wear. Is there a fix for this problem? The tire guy said the Dunlops were too soft but choices are limited for this car. He said a lower performance tire could help (Dunlop GT Qualifier is what I've considered) but I don't want to buy new tires and/or sacrifice performance if there might be a way to fix the rear alignment first. Can you advise?

santoluzbel
07-30-2004, 04:18 PM
rp2813: I had a similar problem with my 1997 Passat GLX VR6 sedan: the dealer inspected the rear axle and said it was out of factory alignment prameters. The really bad news -according to the dealer and then verified by an independent but VW certified mechanic- is that it is not possible to align the axle once it has strayed too far from the specs as the alignment is done by computer programming, the result being that the entire axle has to be replaced. Not sure about the cost, but it is around one thousand dollars.

00Psst
07-30-2004, 04:50 PM
I have the same problem on my 1999 Passat - apparently its the toe-in that is set from the factory and there isn't any other fix but the shims but they aren't available on the B5 platform but apparently are for the B4.

boschmann
07-31-2004, 05:50 PM
Specialty Products makes shims for the B4 & B5. The B4 is pretty straight forward to install and any shop can put them in. For the B5 you have to use their software & a dual angle type shim then use special shims for the calipers on disc brake models. B5 AWD models are factory adjustable. If you have a B5 look for someone that uses their system. You might get some names after you find your local distributor, who you can find @ 1-800-525-6505.

http://www.specprod.com/PROD_DIR/PROD_PASSCAR.HTML

rp2813
08-02-2004, 06:46 PM
Specialty Products makes shims for the B4 & B5. The B4 is pretty straight forward to install and any shop can put them in. For the B5 you have to use their software & a dual angle type shim then use special shims for the calipers on disc brake models. B5 AWD models are factory adjustable. If you have a B5 look for someone that uses their system. You might get some names after you find your local distributor, who you can find @ 1-800-525-6505.

http://www.specprod.com/PROD_DIR/PROD_PASSCAR.HTML

Thanks for the advice. I called and got info for a local shop--turns out it's the same one that told me the shims wouldn't work with rear disc brakes. But the distributor didn't know of any limitations around rear discs and the guy I spoke with at the tire shop this time didn't either, so maybe I'll have some luck getting this fixed so I can continue to put decent tires on this car.

boschmann
08-05-2004, 07:32 PM
Not all shops that use Specialty shims use their dual angle shim & software system needed for the B5 rear disc brake model. If you look in their on-line catalog you can see the shims & system needed. There are also special shims needed to keep the brake caliper aligned when you make an alignment change to the wheel.

Rammstein
08-31-2004, 06:32 PM
Shims have nothing to do with rear disks or drums: they go under the spindle!!! :screwy:

If a shop doesn't wanna align your car, go somewhere else and don't forget to tell them they are incompetent. :evillol: :grinno:

It takes a lot of time to do rear wheel alignment on VW's.

On passat's the only way to re align the rear is to shim it.

You shim it until it's perfect.

It'll cost you a few hours of labour plus the shims, but it's worth it.

I have 1 rear wheel that is 1 degree out of alignment.

The tire on that wheel wears evenly, but one day I'll get the rear aligned together with new spindles and bearings. :smile:

boschmann
08-31-2004, 09:01 PM
[QUOTE=Rammstein]Shims have nothing to do with rear disks or drums: they go under the spindle!!! :screwy:

The B5 Passat with rear disc brakes requires you to use special shims for moving the rotor back into position after making the shim adjustment to the spindle. Most places, including the dealerships, will tell you rear alignment cannot be done because of this. Check out the link.

Rammstein
09-01-2004, 01:03 AM
The original question was for B4's, that's why I gave this answer.

dwcls
01-09-2006, 12:45 PM
Would rear alignment cause the rear end of the car to get "jumpy" at speed over 80mph?

I have a '99 passat v6 with 100k miles and right now at exactly 80 mph the car starts to vibrate badly in the rear. My guesses where bad shocks and at 80 the resonance of the vibration matches up with the springs and causes severe jumping... or after reading this thread, the alignment was off? I didn't even know the alignment could go bad in the read end.

Thanks for any thoughts on the topic

rp2813
01-09-2006, 12:58 PM
Re: vibration at 80mph, I have driven my '97 Passat regularly for the past few years at +/- 80mph on my commute to work and even though the rear alignment is permanently out of whack I've never had any vibration as was described. I don't think rear alignment would cause the bounce and vibration.

And PS, I've currently got a set of Continental "Extreme Contact" tires on the car and they seem to be doing well without any shim work. The aspect ratio is 55 instead of 50, but I haven't noticed that much of a difference in handling and the price was right, especially if these tires do end up wearing out due to the rear alignment issue and I need to replace them early like the Dunlops. But I feel pretty sure they're going to last longer than the Dunlops did.

santoluzbel
03-29-2006, 03:13 PM
rp2813: It's been a while, but am wondering how you solved this problem about the alignment.
As to low-end tires, I found satisfying replacements for the Dunlop 5000 in the KUMHO ECSTA 711, a bit harder but efficient and OK for overall driving. Definitely not as gripping as the Dunlops, however.

rp2813
03-29-2006, 04:36 PM
Hey Santo, my entry above still stands. The Continentals are holding up fine after nearly 2 years. With nearly 120K on this car, I can't see spending the $ on shim work. Plus I'd have to seek out a specialist who knew what I was talking about because I wouldn't trust my local tire store monkies to do the job, if they even knew about the shim solution in the first place. I'm hoping that if my next car turns out to be a VW or Audi, that they have fixed this problem with rear alignment.

santoluzbel
03-31-2006, 04:44 PM
Hey, rp2813, I'll look for those tires when I need to change next. Thanks for the heads up.
I have a very good mechanic, have had him work on my Passat for 5 years and have never had a complaint. Just in case you want to make the trip to the East Bay, here is his info:

Eddie Delgado
AVS Specialists
2210 San Pablo Ave
Berkeley, CA 94710
510 981 1837

Good luck and see you here again sometime.

S

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