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The Mark 4 Volkswagen is all things to all men. Its simple, serviceable, bulletproof design brings both reliability and driving pleasure to the consumer, all at an affordable price. The chassis design was so good that for a period, almost everything was built on this platform – Golf, Jetta, Beetle, even the Audi TT. These cars are getting old, but parts are still readily available. While your car may not be new anymore, it doesn't cost a lot to make it feel factory-fresh again.

The TT bushings will fit

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Since the chassis was used across so many different models, there are performance versions of parts that fit the same, but provide better handling. The solid control arm bushings from the TT will fit in the control arms of the standard Golf, Jetta, and Beetle, and will transform your car's handling with minimal reductions in noise, vibration, and ride stiffness. Plus, since the parts are available as Genuine Audi, they will fit with no issues.

TT solid bushings are pretty cheap, around $16 each for OEM, and provide the most return on investment for any suspension upgrade, in my opinion. They need to be pressed in though, so be prepared to have to send them to a machine shop if need be. Also, these bushings will fit older Volkswagens – including all Mk3 and Mk2 control arms.

Factory struts will outlast the mounts

Another common suspension wear item are front strut mounts. Over time, they sag, lowering ride height and quality. These can be replaced on their own pretty cheaply, for around $30, but an excellent upgrade is a set of Bilstein Heavy Duty struts. On average, factory front struts will outlast the first set of mounts. When the second pair of mounts is severely worn, it's time to replace the front struts.

Replacing all the struts and shocks is more expensive, but it's absolutely worth it. For less than $300, you'll have a car that feels brand new and will retain a lot more value when you go to sell it on later. If you're doing this yourself, you'll need a special spindle housing tool which is about $30, but again, it's worth it.

mt90The fluid change process is simple on a Mk4

If you're lucky enough to have a manual transmission, your Mk4 will last forever. A simple fluid change will make your transmission feel new again, and you're ready for another eternity of driving bliss. Using a high quality fluid like Red Line MT-90 full synthetic will make gear changes feel crisp and clean, and won't break the bank.

The fluid change process is simple on a Mark 4. Drain and fill, no need to read the dipstick or anything like that. Measure the fluid that comes out, and put the same amount in. Make sure that you have the correct socket (M16 tamper-proof triple square) and that you replace both drain plug seals.

A Mk4 is a difficult thing to kill. Aside from the sometimes excessive oil consumption, these cars will just keep going if you take care of them. For less than $1000, you can completely transform your driving experience, and keep your car happy.


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Written by :
Chris Stovall

Chris is a journeyman mechanic from Berkeley, California, specializing in late model Volkswagens and Audis. A glutton for punishment, his spare time is spent rebuilding every component of his ’83 Rabbit GTI.


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