Back to Tech Articles Menu

This is a guide to removing the rear subframe and replacing any relevant parts while it is off.
On my own car the following parts were replaced during this job: subframe bushes,
rear tie rods, rear anti-roll bar bushes, rear diff mount bushes. In addition all nuts/bolts were
replaced. Note that a full 4 wheel alignment is required after completing this work.

No responsisbilty is accepted for anyone attempting this procedure by following the steps contained in these pages. This is intended as a guide only and all usual precautions should be heeded when attempting work on a motor vehicle. I cannot be held responsible for any damage sustained as a result of using these pages.

The following part numbers will be useful
DescriptionPart Number
Subframe bush (front) x2857 199 419 C
Subframe bush (rear) x2857 199 415 B
Tie Rod x2893 501 499 B
Anti-roll bar bush x2893 511 327 B
Anti-roll bar bracket x2855 411 335 A
Rear diff bush (side) x2857 599 431
Rear diff bush (centre)895 599 125 or 171 199 214*
Subframe bolts x4N 905 569 02 (M10 75mm)
Subframe washers x4823 199 347
Wishbone bolts(combi) x4N 904 893 01 (M10 78mm)
Wishbone nuts x 4N 021 195 5 (M10)
Anti-roll bar bolts x 4N 101 016 03 (M8 18mm)
Tie rod nut (subframe end) x2N 021 191 6 (M12x1.5)
Tie rod nut (strut end) x 2N 011 189 6 (M10x1)
Diff mount bolt (left)N 010 500 2 (M10 110mm)
Diff mount bolt (right)N 010 481 4 (M10 95mm)
Diff mount bolt (centre)N 010 472 11 (M10 85mm)
Diff mount nut x 3N 021 195 5 (M10)
Anti-roll bar drop link nut x2N 021 195 5 (M10)

* Audi list 895 599 125 as the rear diff mount for the centre. This is the metal housing including the bush and costs about 70. As an alternative you can order 171 199 214 which is just a bush. You need to fit this to the existing housing by pressing out the old bush and installing this replacement but is much cheaper.

If you've been reading the diary entry for June 2005 you will know that the reason for the rear subframe overhaul was the anti-roll bar bush bolts shearing off during removal. What should have taken about 30 mins ended up taking over 3 weeks, mainly due to waiting on parts.

The old bolts are arrowed left 1 & 2.
A 13mm spanner is used to undo them if
you're lucky. The tie rod is secured
by a bolt (10mm allen key head)in the
recess (3) and hidden nut (19mm) .

If the bolts for the anti-roll bar bushes do break, you can drill them out in situ or you can remove the subframe. I elected to remove the subframe as one of the threaded pems had broken.

Before starting removal of the subframe release the handbrake and have the car in neutral. Chock the front wheels.

Unclip the handbrake cables from the subframe.
Loosen the four main subframe bolts (18mm) but do not remove. You can see one of the bolts (bottom of pic) in the picture below left.

Use a 17mm spanner / 17mm socket to undo
the bolt/nut combo which secure the side
mounts of the diff to the subframe. The nut
can be seen here in the centre here. The
bolt head (not visible) is accessed from
above. Use the handbrake cable bracket as
a brace for the spanner when undoing the nut.
The bolts/nuts which secure the mounts to the
subframe are also arrowed, although they
are not removed until the subframe is off the car.

Undo each anti-roll bar drop link nut
using a 16mm / 17mm spanner combo.(left)

Remove the 4 wishbone bolt/nut combos (17mm).
Once undone, push the wishbones down out of
the subframe.

Raise each rear wheel slightly off the ground
- I used a jack at each side of the car.
Reason for this is that when you undo the tie
rods from the struts (in the next step), the rear
wheels will move forwards in the arches.

Undo the rear tie rod nuts (17mm) from the strut
ends ( pictured left). If the tie rod shaft starts
(this is common) to spin during removal of the nut,
use a 2 leg puller to push the tie rod down while
still allowing access to the nut. Once undone,
lift up the tie rod at each side carefully. Note
the point above about the wheel moving forwards.

If you are re-using them, do not mix up the sides
to which they were fitted.

Support the rear diff with a jack or similar.
Now remove all 4 subframe bolts with washers and discard.
The subframe will drop but will still be secured to the rear diff by the centre mount.
Remove the centre diff mount nut & bolt (17mm).
Since the diff is supported, the rear subframe
can be removed from the under the car. Note the subframe
is heavy.

While the subframe was off a visual inspection
indicated the rear diff side mounts were damaged
and replacement was required. These are removed
from the subframe by undoing the 13mm nuts seen earlier.

With the subframe removed, it is easy to
replace the centre diff (pictured right). The
four bolts arrowed are all removed with an
8mm allen key.

The replacement was a spare I had from my
previous car. This had only done about 6k
miles and was not worn. The mount only fits
one way to the diff when refitted.

While the subframe was off, it made sense to replace
the subframe bushes, although they did not appear
to be too bad. The mileage was a shade over 87000
and I wasn't planning to remove the subframe again.

An old unwanted 17mm socket was placed against the bush.
Through this I used a 200mm M10 bolt*. The bolt was
directed through the pipe/threaded cap which was placed
over the bush to be removed. On the other side of the
socket I used an old subframe washer and a 17mm nut.
Turning the nut against the socket while securing the
bolt head, pushed the bush out of the subframe.
I had to cut a V-shaped groove in the large threaded pipe
due to the shape of the subframe although it can't be seen here.
* The bolts were obtained from these guys.

The pipe is large enough to cover the bush when it is
pushed through the subframe.
This was a gradual process and required considerable force.
I managed to break several bolts during removal of the 4 bushes.

To fit the new bushes, I covered the rubber area
in washing up liquid. This allows the bush to slide
in to the subframe without tearing the rubber away
from the metal centre. I used the old bush to press
against the new bush head and used another M10 bolt.
This was easy and took less than 10 minutes to do all
4 bushes.
With the bushes replaced, it was time to refit everything to the car.
Refitting is a reversal of removal, although the subframe bolts
must be fitted in the correct order as follows:

Right rear
Left Rear
Right front
Left front

Only the initial torque of 35 Nm should be used at this stage for the subframe bolts.
Refit the remaining nuts/bolts for all components
With everything in place, lower the car to the ground.
Once completed, a full alignment is required.
The following specifications apply:-

DescriptionTightening Torque
Subframe bolts35 Nm + 90 degrees
Wishbone bolts/nuts70 Nm + 90 degress
Anti-roll bar drop link nuts45 Nm
Anti-roll bar bracket bolts25 Nm
Tie rod bolt/ nut (subframe end)75 Nm
Tie Rod nut (strut end)40 Nm
Diff mount nut/bolt (centre)25 Nm
Diff mount nut/bolt (sides)25 Nm