1984 Volkswagen Rabbit Is it a bad CV joint?

Tiny
GHELLER
  • MEMBER
  • 1984 VOLKSWAGEN RABBIT
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • MANUAL
  • 160,000 MILES
Hello,

My VW has started wobbling and recently it has gotten worse where I am now afraid to drive it. The symptoms seem the same as when I lost a CV joint on my '93 Geo Metro. It zigzags when I try to turn, for instance. However, when I replaced the joint on my Geo it was easy to tell it had gone bad. When I removed it the joint came apart in my hand. The one on my VW isn't that bad. Yet. In fact, I cannot be sure, now that I have the axle apart, that there is anything wrong with it. It is leaking a little grease, but I cannot (at least with my hands) get it to do anything that would suggest it is in fact bad. It won't come apart or catch or turn to an angle that it shouldn't. I have noticed a great deal of corrosion damage to the nearby control arm. Is it possible this could be causing the symptoms, and that that CV joint is still good? Is there a way I can determine this (other than putting it all back together and driving the car backward in tight circles until something fails completely)?

Thanks,

--Gabe Heller
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Sunday, June 7th, 2009 AT 8:33 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
DR LOOT
  • EXPERT
Is it the right, or the left CV?
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Friday, October 30th, 2009 AT 7:23 PM
Tiny
GHELLER
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It's the right CV joint. It appears to be working fine. I had a good look at the control arm on that side and found it was rusty and bent, so I replaced it instead and the car has gone another couple thousand miles since. Still, I noticed a lot of rust on the frame while I was down there. If anyone knows of a reasonably reliable underemployed welder in the Twin Cities area who would have some time to weld some nice strong pieces of steel over the old rusting ones in key places, let me know, please! The engine on this car was rebuilt right before I bought it and I'd very much like to use it until the new engine gives out!
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Saturday, October 31st, 2009 AT 6:40 AM
Tiny
DR LOOT
  • EXPERT
Maybe you want to start looking for another rabbit with a bad engine and a good body to put your engine in, or you can paint the right over the Rust with Por-15.
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Sunday, November 1st, 2009 AT 12:00 AM
Tiny
GHELLER
  • MEMBER
Up in Minnesota it's pretty hard to find a 30-year old car that has little enough rust I'd expect it to last as long as the engine. These old VW diesels can go for 300,000 miles. Likewise, I'd have a hard time believing any rust-proofing paint will last that long. In fact, if the control arm I replaced is an example, I'm afraid that just cleaning the rust off in preparation for the rust treatment is liable to leave me with iron that looks like swiss cheese. I'm pretty sure it's going to need some welding. I had some done to my old Geo before that lasted until the engine died, but it was by a shop that charged $100/hr and told me it took 10 hours. That was fine when I was fully employed, but now. If I had $1000, I'd buy the gear and learn to do it myself. So, like I said, I'm looking for some other underemployed guy who has his own welding equipment already and who would likely charge substantially less than $100/hr.

--Gabe
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Monday, November 2nd, 2009 AT 8:04 AM
Tiny
DR LOOT
  • EXPERT
I didn't realize we were working on a diesel rabbit, that was my very first diesel car back in 1981, I still have 3 turbo diesel Jetta's, and one rabbit that I sold the engine out of and I believe it's rust free, it's in a 1983, you are welcome to all the parts is that you may need. When I was working in South America, all of the cars down there were heavily rusted, what they would do is lay fiber glass over the rusted areas until they reconstructed the area that was rusted away, eventually the whole car at one point in its life would become completely fiberglass on the body and where the suspension bolts on to the body. Just giving you another idea how to fix. I used POR-15 (www. Por15. Com) all the time, it is one of the most advanced paint available for rust treatment, it is very expensive $44, a qt. But well worth it. Good luck
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Monday, November 2nd, 2009 AT 9:23 AM

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