1998-2000 passat lower control arm recall

We got a recall letter from VWoA about 1998-2000 Passats, wear on the front suspension lower control arms, check and possibly replace them.
Says they can be worn even if rubber boots are not damaged, then if rubber boots are damaged, blah, blah,.... Anyone have any experience with that? Thanks.
Frank
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Thanks for posting this request; my parents received this letter, too and didn't know what to do. And I'm curious, too. Before you take your car in for work, you should consider that there's something very fishy about this "recall".
First of all, you may have noticed the other stuff in the envelope included a "reimbursement" form. If you read the recall letter and this form carefully, you will see that you are going to be expected to pay for the repair work, for which you will be reimbursed (later, after having sent in the form) only if you can prove that you have rigorously maintained the car according to VW's service schedule. You must have saved all receipts, and they must be for exactly the recommended services (or maybe more service, presumably), or you'll get nothing. My parents more than the required number of services, though not at the specified intervals. It would be very easy to say they didn't meet the reimbursement requirements.
My understanding is that work for legitimate vehicle safety recalls is always free, so right off the bat, I'm suspicious. But to add to my suspicion, I could find no mention of this problem on either consumerreports.org or the NHSTA web site (there were four Passat recalls listed, all of them fairly old, and none of them matching the description in this letter). There was no safety recall information of any kind available on the VW web site (they just don't seem to make this available).
I have not called VW to ask about this letter, but I strongly suspect that (1) it's at most voluntary, and (2) it's somewhat of a scam to make some money. If there were a legitimate safety issue, they could not handle it this way (i.e., by requiring up-front payment with stringent conditions for reimbursement).
If anyone gets around to finding out more about this, please let us know. Until then, I've advised my parents to save the letter, but do nothing.
Rose
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OK, here's some more info: Of the recalls shown on the NHSTA web site, two involve tie-rod wear, and although they are old, could be the ones referred to in this letter. They are 99V248000 and 00V414000.
However, according to the info on the NHSTA web site, VW is required to replace the tie rods for free. I don't believe that you would have to prove that you had regular service in order to get reimbursed.
There's a number to call at VW (1-800-822-8987) and another to call at the NHSTA if you can't get what you need from VW (1-888-327-4236).
Hope this helps.
Rose
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OK, final post.
Called DOT NHTSA: recalls are free. There's no way they should get charged for required work.
Called VW: the recall is legitimate. They will inspect lower tie rods and replace for free if there's too much wear. However, they will charge if the owner can't produce a maintenance receipt for the service where they would've inspected the tie rods after the recall was issued.
Frankly, I can't see how they can charge. I mean, I really don't understand the logic, here. If anyone believes they understand how VW can require you to pay if you can't prove you had it inspected, please let me know.
Rose
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The reimbursement form is for those who already paid to have the work done before the recall was issued.
I.
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That's how I read it too. It looks like owners got the notice before the dealers did.
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OK, I have more information (from both VW and NHTSA).
First, the reimbursement form is, as you say, if you already paid to have the work done. You need the maintenance records to get reimbursed.
However, VW stated that you will still have to pay for the work if you can't produce maintenance records. The reason they can have this requirement is that this in not, technically, a safety recall. A safety recall is mandated by the NHTSA. This is a "Campaign", voluntarily initiated by VW, and therefore (according to VW) not subject to the strict consumer-never-pays rules of a safety recall. You must still prove that you had the car serviced according to the maintenance schedule, or you will have to pay for the work. The NHTSA advised me that I could file a complaint about this, but there was no guarantee it would be resolved in my favor.
If you don't have the maintenance records, the dealer where you had the work done will have them (assuming they are still in business).
So good luck.
Rose
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In rec.autos.makers.vw.watercooled, Rose Faex wrote:

As in "sales campaign"?

<:-^> that seems reasonable; if you don't change your oil or air filter regularly, your lower control arm could be damaged as a result. </:-^> [to translate, that last group of symbols was to indicate tongue-in-cheek mode is back off]
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done
I guess that begs the question of "Why wouldnt you have the service records?" ANd the only answer that makes sense is you may not be the original owner.
As with just about every manufacturer, if you dont take care of the car as specified on the maintenance schedule, all bets are off as to what is and what should be covered under warranty as the case now falls under abuse/negligence.
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A lot of people are a bit disorganized (or, as in the case of my parents, old and forgetful), and while they might have the maintenance done, they might not keep the receipts (or be able to find them in the mess).
But if this were a NHTSA-mandated safety recall, it wouldn't matter whether they drove the car through sandstorms and never changed the oil. If it's a safety defect that shouldn't happen and requires rework, and that could result in injury or death, you don't pay, no matter what. The situation, here, is that manufacturers can avoid this obligation (and, presumably, some liability) by voluntarily initiating a "campaign".
Rose
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Unless you move around alot, your VW dealer should have all the maintenance records provided you were consistent.
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Dealers sometimes go out of business and don't transfer maintenance records.
Or, in the case of my parents, they had their car serviced at dealers in different locations, and getting all the records will not be trivial.
Rose
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There are 2 Passats(both 99's) in our family and so far I only got one notice.

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Audi issued the same for some of their own cars and so far we have replaced very few control arms. It may be different in other parts of the US depending on climate.

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I just received the Audi letter dated Nov 2004, it covers 96-00 A4 and A8 cars and the 2000 S4.
This should have been a mandatory recall considering what could happen at highway speeds should this part fail. These cars are getting affordable by kids that won't have a clue about this type maintenance, until a wheel falls off!
I've had the arms replaced on my 97 A4Q twice before 90,000 miles. The original went about 60K and the Audi replacements lasted about half as long. My local shop tells me that 30-50K is typical and they have replaced many.
The last time I used the replacement arms made by MOOG with a lifetime warranty. Just google for it and you will find dozens of them.
BTW, its' all the control arms that wear. I've had top and bottom front arms replaced. Plus the rear arms replaced too. And I don't drive hard, typically 50 to 100 mile trips on mostly interstate highway. The car is 8 years old now and just turned 104,000 miles.
I love the car, it is the best thing I've ever driven in these Michigan winters -- but seems to have excessive maintenence/repairs required. Between the control arms, the expensive brakes, tire wear/noise, rubber door trim that rusts off, EGR, etc...
I have had it with Audi -- never again.
Woodchuck wrote:

replaced
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Yes, Audi's do require a ton of cash to keep going. I had a 1990 20v Quattro for about 6 years. Great car but I got tired of things breaking. That's why I now own a 99 GLX Passat.

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99 Passat and 99 A4 shared the same chassis. 2000 Audi went their own way. So watch those control arms.
Did you have the fuel guage sender recall done? How about your stopping power on the stock 195s. And the front rotors don't have splash guards and the windshield rain gutter empties on the battery!
Tony Had 99 Passat GLX too. Couldn't wait for the lease to run out.

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That was 4-motion only.
How about your stopping
No issues here

I run 205's
And the front rotors don't have splash guards No issues here
and

So, my battery gets washed everytime it rains!
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Do you have a copy of the letter you received about this recall? I just called my dealer about my 2000 S4, and they said that there was an Audi recall for lower control arms on some other cars, but none for my S4 yet. Too bad alt.autos.audi isn't very active!
Vik vxd9661<>cs.rit.edu

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Our 1999 Passat (wagon) was checked by the local dealer (Howard Cooper, Ann Arbor, MI) and found to not need new control arms, so I didn't get as far as the "must have all maintenance records to be replaced for no charge" point.
They did replace one of the rear wheel housing liners under another recall.
Frank
Frank wrote:

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