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Thread: Access to rear strut top mount bolts???

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  1. Access to rear strut top mount bolts??? 
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    I am thinking of taking the newish struts off the back of my SORN'd 1.8 non-Quattro '96 A4 saloon (fixed rear seat back) - and putting them on my current car (1.8 non-Quattro '99 A4 saloon, which has folding split rear seats). When I renewed the struts on the old car, the top bolts were accessed from above the wheelarch, by removing the rear seat back. Looking at the later car, the upper end of the strut is boxed-in on all sides by the body/chassis. I can only imagine that if the same topmount is used - ie bolts going down from above - that the parcel shelf needs to come out to get sight of them. Would be glad if anyone can confirm one way or t'other... Thanks
     
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  2. Re: Access to rear strut top mount bolts??? 
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    It may not be much help, but I just replaced the rear struts on my 1996 B5 Avant with split folding rear seats, which may be completely different from your car. It was different from what was described in the Haynes manual, but was covered in detail by Bentley.

    Access to the top bolts was from the side, inside the car, as the seat belt guides are above them. This meant removing the side trim panels, which are fixed with a combination of screws and clips, and cover the whole side area to the rear of the loading space.

    To get the side trim panels out I had to first remove the rear seat squab, fold down the seats (which go lower with the squab removed), and remove the bolsters on each side of the seat backs. The bolsters are held by metal tongues, part of the bodywork, which have to be bent upwards, after which they are lifted up and pulled and juggled out of their retaining clips.

    The rubber seal around the rear door frame, and the horizontal cover clipped onto the rear sill, have to be removed next, which allows the side panels to be pulled off. Apart from a couple of screws, they are held by spring clips which are captive in the plastic panels - until the retaining bits of plastic snap off, after which they can be glued back in a half ar*ed way - I used blobs of a thick adhesive I have for pvc wall panels. I think the plastic snaps more easily in cold weather, or maybe because it's getting old.

    When removing the panels I managed to pull some areas away sufficiently to see the clips behind and prise them free with a long flat blade screwdriver. I now have a cheap endoscope on the way which might make this sort of job easier.

    Getting the new struts clipped into the plastic doofers at the top was a bit awkward, as they are fairly heavy when held in the correct position, probably easier from a pit or with the car on a ramp.

    While I had the side panels off and had access to the mounting bolts, I removed the rear bumper and fitted a towbar, which I had not done sooner due to having to remove the side panels to fit it.
    1996 A4 Avant 1.8T engine code AEB automatic with 55,000 kms - 35,000 miles.
    VW T25 Camper, Alfa 33 1.4 ie, Alfa Sprint 1.5 QV, 2 Alfa 33's for parts.
     
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  3. Re: Access to rear strut top mount bolts??? 
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    Thanks for that. Whilst the folding seat details do sound similar, my struts are definitely boxed-in all the way around. I have seen some YouTube videos where the wheelarch liner has to be removed to gain access from below, though I think that those may have been B6's. Though in that case, if the struts could not be swapped over in their entirety, I will not bother trying to change them over. Quite a lot of the "good" stuff from my old car - things like injectors - have proved to be non-transferable so far...
     
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  4. Re: Access to rear strut top mount bolts??? 
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    Maybe I didn't explain very well.

    My struts are also boxed-in all the way around. The access to the mounting bolts is inside, on the top of the wheel arch, where the top of the strut fits into a nylon mounlding which locates it correctly and supports it until the bolts are fitted. The top of the strut goes into the moulding, between locating lugs, and a quarter-turn holds it in.

    One bolt head can be reached with a socket from above (once the trim is removed), but the other requires an open ended spanner or flattish ring spanner (not too much offset) to reach under the seatbelt guide above it.
    1996 A4 Avant 1.8T engine code AEB automatic with 55,000 kms - 35,000 miles.
    VW T25 Camper, Alfa 33 1.4 ie, Alfa Sprint 1.5 QV, 2 Alfa 33's for parts.
     
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  5. Re: Access to rear strut top mount bolts??? 
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    I will take another look in the vicinity of the seatbelt mountings when I get time & the light is better. I feel loathe to remove the parcel shelf and mess with the rear brake light, speaker connections and doubtless other very breakable, clips unless I'm fairly sure that it's required. Like I say, I have culled most of the recent parts off the old car, with the exception of awkward to get to stuff like the starter motor, or anything that will render the old car immobile, as it needs to stay driveable in order to get it to where it can eventually be craned away. I see your Avant has 32k on it, which must be pretty rare for a '96. A few short months after I'd put my old car out to grass, (oil-burning at 180k) I was surprised to see that one of the fuel tank straps had rusted clean through and was sticking down, so that might be something to keep an eye on with the early cars... Thanks again for the clarification.
     
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