Monday, 29 December 2014

Replacing Rear Shock Absorbers and Top Mounts on VW Golf MK4

Replacing the rear shock absorbers on a VW Golf MK4 is a pretty simple job to do. There are only 3 bolts that hold the shock absorber in place and as the shock is separate to the springs they can remain untouched while you remove the shock absorber.

When I replaced the shock absorber on my VW Golf MK4 TDI I decided to replace the top mounts as well as the bolts that attach to the axle. As the car has done nearly 250,000 miles it seemed a reasonable time to refresh the suspension.

The lower bolt attaching the shock absorber to the axle was the hardest to remove but thanks to an impact wrench it came off more easily than by hand.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

VW Golf Indicator Continues Clicking Noise After Turning and Indicator Cancelled

The indicator in my VW Golf has started to carry on clicking after the indicator stalk is cancelled and teh car is now longer showing the indicator lights. It appears to occur more when turning the wheel after indicating. The steering wheel in the Golf has the multi-function controls for adjusting the radio as well as the controls for setting and cancelling the cruise control.

It looks like the fault with the indicator clicking noise is a known issue and can be fixed by removing the steering wheel and cleaning the contacts for the indicator stalk - another job for the list!

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Removing Headrests from VW Golf Seats

I've been asked how to remove headrests from the seats in a VW Golf. It's an easy procedure as you can see in this video

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

VW Golf Sunroof Leaking - Rear Drain Hole Locations - How to clear blocked sunroof drain valves

Water has been leaking into my VW Golf MK4 and it appears to be coming from the sunroof where the drain holes are blocked so the water backs up and runs into the headlining.

Where are the Sunroof Drain Hole Locations in a VW Golf?

The front drain nipple locations are easy to find as they are visible when the driver and passenger doors are open just below the hinge. They are the black pipes with flat ends and if you squeeze them then crud and water should come out.

The rear sunroof drain pipes run through the headlining of the car to drain holes behind the rear bumper. It is just about possible to access them from underneath the car but I found it far easier to remove the bumper to access the rear sunroof drain locations. In order to access the bolts to remove the bumper you also need to remove the rear lights but those can be done by removing 3 nuts each side and the bumper can then be removed with 4 bolts and 3 screws in the wheel arch each side.

VW Golf Sunroof Leaking - Drain Hole Locations
VW Golf Sunroof Leaking - Rear Drain Hole Locations

VW Golf MK4 rear bumper removal
VW Golf MK4 rear bumper removal

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Which Oil Spec to Use in a VW PD or DPF Diesel?

It's time to service my VW Golf PD Diesel so I need to look around for suitable oil for the oil change. I found this really useful guide to checking which oil specification is suitable for different Volkswagen diesel cars with PD or DPF engines.

On checking the guide the oil for my PD 150 diesel needs to meet VW spec 505.01, 506.01 or 507.00 depending on the service schedule. 506.01 is for long life servicing but won't harm the engine if use for time and distance service which is what I do as I service the car every 10,000 miles.

Which Oil Spec to Use in a VW PD or DPF Diesel?
Which Oil Spec to Use in a VW PD or DPF Diesel?

Saturday, 1 November 2014

VW Passat B6 Engine Undertray Removal (2005-2010) for Access to Oil Sump drain plug

To change the oil on a VW Passat B6 (2005 - 2010) you need to be able to remove the engine undertray and know the location of the retaining screws that hold the plastic tray in place.

You'll need Torx T20 and T45 screw bits to be able to remove the retaining screws that hold the tray to the car. There are 7 T20 torx screws at the front and side of the tray and 3 T45 screws at the rear. Access is quite hard with the car on the ground so it is much easier if you can jack one side of the car and support it with an axle stand.

Friday, 24 October 2014

When to Change and Fit Winter Tyres to your car?

When should you change to winter tyres?

The advice for fitting and using winter tyres is that they perform best when the temperature is below 7C. This would normally correspond with around October/November in the UK so a suggested idea is to change to fit your winter tyres when the clocks change at the end of October.

So far this year the temperature during October has been much higher than average so I am currently still using the summer tyres on my VW Golf. Another reason for using the summer tyres for as long as possible is that they are on the original alloy wheels but the winter tyres are fitted to tatty steel wheels so the car looks much worse when using them!

When to Change and Fit Winter Tyres to your car? Winter tyres fitted on steel rims
When to Change and Fit Winter Tyres to your car? Winter tyres fitted on steel rims

What is CCM Module in the VW Golf? CCM Part Number 1C0 959 799B

The CCM in a VW Golf is the abbreviation for the Central Convenience module of the Golf. This module is located beneath the steering wheel and can be accessed by removing the trim under the dash and steering wheel. The part number for the Golf CCM is 1C0 959 799B
CCM location in VW Golf

Photo of a CCM module from a VW Golf - Part 1C0 959 799B
Photo of a CCM module from a VW Golf - Part 1C0 959 799B

The CCM controls various "convenience" functions within the car such as the doors, remote central locking and if the CCM module is replaced or changed then the keys will need to be reprogrammed to still open the car remotely. The keys will still work to open the car via the door lock.

What is CCM Module in the VW Golf?
What is CCM Module in the VW Golf?

Monday, 20 October 2014

VW Golf Water Leaking in from Rear Door

After a very heavy shower of rain overnight when I came to use my VW Golf Mk4 this morning I found that there was a pool of water that had leaked in from the rear passenger door.

So far I've not managed to find the source of the water leak coming in the door but I'm assuming from the position that one of the seals around the roof/door frame has failed and needs replacement. Once I find the reason I'll post up the info.

VW Golf Water Leaking in from Rear Door
VW Golf Water Leaking in from Rear Door

VW Golf rear door water Leaking in
VW Golf rear door water Leaking in

Monday, 6 October 2014

Alloys or Steel Wheels for Winter Tyres?

My Golf has a set of both summer and winter tyres. The winter tyres are on old steel wheels but the summer tyres are fitted on the original VW alloys.

Obviously the winter tyres are very handy over the colder months giving much improved grip but the appearance is much less attractive than the alloy wheels on the summer tyres.

VW Golf MK4 MOT Test Pass - Do you get a reminder for an MOT?

When is an MOT due?

In the UK every vehicle over 3 years old has to have an annual test of roadworthyness known as the MOT - for Ministry of Transport - despite that name not having existed since the 1970s!

How early can you get an MOT test done?

My VW Golf TDI was due it's MOT on 31 October 2014 but you can take the car for the MOT test up to one month beforehand and still get the MOT dated from the expiry - so effectively you are getting 13 months MOT on the car.

Despite having 246,000 miles the car sailed through the MOT with no advisories and now has another 12 months before the MOT is due again. We had replaced the front suspension earlier in the year due to the spring failing so this is one item that would have failed if not fixed.

Do you get a reminder for an MOT
Do you get a reminder for an MOT

Do you get a reminder for an MOT?

No, unlike car tax (vehicle excise duty) when you are sent a reminder that it is due there is no reminder set for your MOT so it is useful to mark it in your calendar or set a reminder on your phone for around a month beforehand. You can then get the MOT done along with any required repairs before the MOT expires.

How early can you get an MOT test done?
How early can you get an MOT test done?

Monday, 29 September 2014

VW Golf MK4 Wheel Arch Rusting - Rust on Front Wings - Corrosion Warranty

Rust Through Paint on VW Golf Front Wings

Although the VW Golf MK4 is a very reliable car one common area that is prone to rust are the front wheel arches. Due to the construction and use of padding behind the arch liner water can collect which rusts the wheel arch from the inside as the foam rubs. If you are looking to buy a VW Golf MK4 then this check for rust is a good way to negotiate on price if the front wing is rusting.
Rust corrosion VW Golf Front wings
Rust corrosion VW Golf Front wings

Corrosion warranty claim for VW Golf Front wings rusting
Corrosion warranty claim for VW Golf Front wings rusting

The VW Golf has a 12 year anti-corrosion warranty so some of the later cars are still covered. However unlike the claim I had with my VW Passat for rust on the tailgate VW rufused to accept the claim for the Golf wheel arch, saying that it wasn't a manufacturing defect as it was mechanical fault - the fact the fault was caused by VW poor design didn't seem to cut any ice.

This can show as bubbles of rust on the surface of the wheel arch which has come from the inside. It is possible to remove the rust and repair the section but it will invariably come back so I found the best option was to replace the wheel arch & wing completely. The cost was also very favourable as it only came to £250 for a brand new wing including spraying.

VW Golf MK4 Wheel Arch Rusting
VW Golf MK4 Wheel Arch Rusting

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Removing & Replacing VW Golf Mk4 Bonnet/Hood

How to remove & replace the bonnet on a VW Golf Mk4

More photos to follow shortly.


Tools required 13mm spanner/socket, point tool to unclip bonnet support

Second person to help lift bonnet off car and support during hinge removal


Remove sound deadening material - remove clips around edge
Unclip and remove washer jets
Unhook bonnet support strut
Remove hinges holding bonnet to car (2 person job)
Lift off bonnet from car
Lift new bonnet into place and secure hinges (2 person job)

Removing & Replacing VW Golf Mk4 Bonnet/
Removing & Replacing VW Golf Mk4 Bonnet

Thursday, 4 September 2014

VW Golf Mk4 Bonnet Rust - Corrosion in Seams

When I bought my super high mileage VW Golf MK4 one item that needed attention was the bonnet that was rusting in several places. A couple of the rust patches were on the front as a result of stone chips not being treated and developing into more serious corrosion. Of more concern was rust visible in the rear seam of the bonnet facing the driver. As this was rusting from the seam outwards with no visible external damage it would be far more difficult to resolve.
VW Golf Mk4 Bonnet Rust
VW Golf Mk4 Bonnet Rust
Shortly afterwards I treated the rust and applied some touch up paint to the stone chip corrosion but knew it wasn't a long term solution so I kept an eye out for a replacement bonnet on Ebay and VW Golf forums. I had a successful corrosion warranty repair on my VW Passat to remove the rust on the tailgate but unfortunately was unable to get the same on the Golf as the rust/corrosion had come from stone chops left untreated.

VW Golf Mk4 Bonnet Rust
VW Golf Mk4 Bonnet Rust - Corrosion in seams
Once I found a suitable bonnet along with a selection of other parts thrown in for total of £30 I needed to find a suitable bodyshop to prepare it. Unfortunately the bonnet was about as far from an easy colour to paint as could be possible - both from the colour and the fact that the previous owner had not prepared it prior to painting themselves so the paint was peeling - so needed to be stripped back to bare metal ready for painting correctly.

A local bodyshop Hitech Panel repairs carried out the respray for me and have then refitted the bonnet to the car to avoid any damage in transit.
Photos to follow of the new bonnet shining on the car - the only problem will be the rest of the bodywork being less than perfect!

VW Golf Mk4 Bonnet Rust - replacement bonnet
VW Golf Mk4 Bonnet Rust - replacement bonnet

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Old Tin of Castrolease Graphited Grease

When doing some work on the wheel bearings of my Golf GTI MK2 I needed some grease to apply. Unfortunately I didn't have any suitable at home and the shops were shut so I checked my father's garage and found this piece of history!
Old tin of Castrolease Graphited Grease
Old tin of Castrolease Graphited Grease

It was a tin of Castrolease Graphited Grease which looks like it was from the 1960s or possibly 1950s. The tin shows the Castrol logo and Castrol Limited, London on the front. The rear lists the Castrol greases available:

Castrolease PH
Castrolease Underwater Grease
Castrolease Brake Cable Grease
Castrolease Graphited Grease
Castrolease LM Grease

Old tin of Castrolease Graphited Grease
Old tin of Castrolease Graphited Grease

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Checking Age of Old Tyres UK - How find how old tyres on your car are?

If you buy an old car or set of wheels with tyres on them how can you check the age of the tyres?

Every tyre sold in the UK should have a DOT code which shows the week and year that the tyre was manufactured. So a code of 2511 would mean the tyres were made in week 25 of 2011.

If your tyres are more than 10 years old the recommendation is to replace them. Over 5 years and they should be checked for deterioration.

Checking Age of Old Tyres UK - How find how old tyres on your car are?
Checking Age of Old Tyres UK - How find how old tyres on your car are?

Tyre age codes are shown as 4 digits - 2 for the week and 2 for the year. I was initially worried that the tyres I had bought on these alloys were rather old - the date code showed 2309 so week 23 of 2009. However checking my current car I found that the tyres on that were dated 2008 so the age of the tyre wasn't really an issue at all.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Car Buying Scams - RACInstructions?

Recently came across this scam using the RAC name but clearly nothing to do with them.

Usual trick of the scammers to say they have a car at a bargain price but are out of the country or some such excuse so you need to send the money to them. Nice touch to use the RAC name for RACinstructions scam to make it more believable.

REMEMBER - do not send money for a car you've never seen!

Bank account used for the receipt of the money is as below:

Bank Name: Barclays Bank
Account number/IBAN: 23472191
Sort Code/SWIFT: 20-29-63
Beneficiary: M T Rac
Bank Address: 43 Vanbrugh Park, London SE3 7AB

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Diagnose VW Golf Low Coolant Warning Dashboard - Water Leak

The dashboard warning light came on this week showing that the coolant level was too low. I topped it up but the next day the coolant light came back on again so the car was clearly leaking coolant water somewhere.

This video shows how I diagnosed the problem and which water coolant pipe was leaking. There was a puddle of water underneath the car so the coolant was leaking significantly - it may be harder to spot if the coolant water is leaking less.

The leaking hose appears to be the lower radiator pipe so I will order from VW and replace.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

VW Golf MK4 TDI Coolant Leak (ARL PD150 engine) Water Level Drops

A couple of days ago when leaving work the dashboard warning light came on my VW Golf TDI showing that the coolant level was low. I added some water to top it up and drove home. Next day exactly the same thing happened so clearly there was some form of coolant leak in the system somewhere.

Having searched online there were a few options for the cause, most of them expensive such as head gasket replacement being required. Fortunately there was no sign of oil in the water and there was water under the car after a journey which gave some idea of where to look for the leak.

On closer inspection there was fresh water sitting above the gearbox and a radiator pipe (lower radiator pipe?) that looked in poor condition. I moved the pipe and a jet of water squirted out so that appears to be the culprit. Now I just need to get a replacement hose and fit it so that the pipe can be removed.

The car has done over 240,000 miles so a split radiator hose is one of those things that you expect to happen at some point as parts wear out.

VW Golf MK4 TDI Coolant Leak (ARL PD150 engine) Water Level Drops
Leak from VW Golf TDI - split radiator hose losing coolant

More info on tracing VW Golf coolant leaks here

Friday, 1 August 2014

Cheapest French diesel prices - How Much Does Diesel Cost in France?

The latest price of diesel varies by region of France but the current lowest diesel fuel price as of 1/8/2014 is 1.244 Euros per litre in Dordogne.
The cheapest diesel price in France we've seen is 1.21 Euros per litre in Poitiers which compares very well with the price of diesel in Luxembourg which was meant to be cheapest place to fill up. The photo of the sign at Intermarche shows the prices for petrol and diesel in August 2014
At the current exchange rate that we're getting on credit card transactions (1.26 Euros) this equates to a price of 96p per litre compared to £1.34 per litre in the UK. This shows how much our diesel is taxed in comparison as the base cost of fuel must be the same.
In Luxembourg, we filled up at Remich which cost 1.176 Euro per litre so the price of diesel in France is now very good in comparison.
Cheapest French diesel prices - How Much Does Diesel Cost in France?
Photo of the cheapest French diesel prices in Poitiers at Intermarche - How Much Does Diesel Cost in France?

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

VW Golf PD130 TDI Owner Review

I wrote this blog post several years ago when I owned my PD130 Golf. I kept the car for another couple of years adding 15,000 more miles to it when I sold it at 191,000 for £1700.

In my view and it seems many others, the PD130 is the pick of the MK4 Golfs. It has the perfect balance of economy, reliability and performance and doesn't suffer from some of the turbo lag and reliability issues that can trouble the PD150 engine with it's front mounted intercooler.

My love affair with the VW Golf TDI 130PD Mark 4 diesel continues. We've just had our third MOT since owning the car and again the Golf has sailed through without any issues at a current mileage of 176,000.

The car is in daily use for long journeys and on the most recent fill up with diesel recorded 54mpg. Even brand new cars struggle to reach that consumption and at a much higher annual cost. The car cost £3500 when bought 3 years ago and on worst case giving it a zero valuation that still works out at less than £100 per month. More realistically based on current valuations for a similar mark 4 Golf Tdi PD 130 on Autotrader it would seem reasonable to assume a value of £2500. A total depreciation of £1000 over 3 years is incredibly low and shows the popularity that the VW Golf mark 4 still maintains.

VW Golf TDI 130 Mark 4 Photo
VW Golf TDI 130PD DIesel Mark 4 Photo
The best points about the VW Golf TDI PD 130 diesel are:
  • Fuel economy and VED rates
  • Performance and ease of acceleration
  • Driving position and seat comfort. The seats are extremely supportive and make long journeys a breeze
  • Steering and handling. The steering has great feel and has the perfect weighting
  • Instruments are positioned for good visibility and controls are all well placed
  • Holds value very well with exceptionally low depreciation
  • Handles high mileage amazingly well with little obvious sign of wear
And the negatives about the Golf Diesel TDI130?

The main one is that the front valance below the bumper is quite low and invariably catches on kerbs. On this Golf TDI 130 it has been torn off a couple of times and the same happened on the Golf TDI90 estate that I had previously.
Rear space isn't fantastic but is sufficient for children up to late teens

Friday, 11 July 2014

Removing Tar from Car Paintwork using AutoGlym

Video of my VW Golf Mk4 showing how to remove spots of tar from your car's paintwork without damaging it. Tar can be flicked onto the car bodywork in many ways and this shows how to remove hardened tar from your car. My Golf was covered in tar deposits around the wheel arches and the rear of the car including the rear window.

How to fit Thule roof bars to VW Golf Mk4 Hatchback

How to fit Thule roof bars to VW Golf Mk4 Hatchback. This shows the 5 door hatch but the principle should be the same for the 3 door Golf too. The Thule roof bars fit into tabs on the roof hidden under the door rubbers.

Video of Fitting VW Passat B6 Front Wheel Bearing Replacement (2005-2010 model Passat)

The front wheel bearing on my 2007 model VW Passat B6 had started to become noisy so I decided to replace and fit a new bearing to it. The wheel bearing for the VW Passat is a sealed unit so the hub gets replaced as well as the central bearing too.

I purchased a new bearing unit from the local car spares shop which came to £95. The tricky part was fitting it to the car! The bearing requires the brake disc to be removed and for the old bearing to be removed from the lower arm. Both of these are locations that seem to suffer from significant corrosion making removal rather hard but unsurprising given the road debris and moisture that they are subject to.

Tools you will need for the job:

17mm socket for wheel bolts
27mm socket for central bolt to driveshaft
21mm socket to remove brake caliper
16mm socket to remove lower arm bolts
M18 Spline socket to remove 4 bearing unit bolts
Torx T30

Rubber mallet
Hammer & chisel

Video of Fitting VW Passat B6 Front Wheel Bearing Replacement (2005-2010 model Passat)
Fitting VW Passat B6 Front Wheel Bearing Replacement (2005-2010 model Passat)

VW Passat B6 Front Wheel Bearing Replacement (2005-2010 model Passat) - new bearing assembly
VW Passat B6 Front Wheel Bearing Replacement (2005-2010 model Passat) - new bearing assembly

You may possibly require 24mm socket to fit the new hub bolt - the replacement came with 24mm bolt to replace the original 27mm driveshaft bolt. To remove the brake pads from the caliper requires a 7mm allen key.

The step by step procedure for removing the front wheel bearing on the VW Passat is as follows:

Jack and remove wheel from car
Place axle stand under car for safety
Remove sensor from caliper, separate plug socket
Remove caliper and secure to coil spring to prevent damage to brake pipe
Remove central driveshaft bolt
Remove 16mm lower arm bolts x3 to give access to the 4 bolts to rear of bearing unit
Drop lower arm out of way of hub unit
Remove bearing bolts x 4
Remove brake disc torx screw x1
Remove brake disc
Remove hub unit

Removing the brake disc and hub unit may require force using the mallet for brake disc and the hammer/chisel for the hub unit. Some WD40 may help to loosen the joints.

Refitting Passat wheel bearing is the opposite and a much easier task!

How long does it take to fit Front Wheel Bearing Replacement for VW Passat B6?

The job in total took us around 2 hours. Out of that time around 1.5 hours was spent on removing the original and only 30 minutes to fit the replacement bearing to the car.