July 9th 2015
A dealer called another GTI owner July apparently with an update on his vehicle suspension issues. VW Technical had just rung the dealer to say that newly modified shock absorbers were now being produced in the factory for retro fitting to “all cars like his” and these will now be fitted to all new builds. It is a guess that “all cars like his” means GTi’s and GTD’s or others fitted with multi-link suspension.
The new shock absorbers were apparently arriving in the UK hub on the following Friday/Saturday and his car will be the first one in the UK to have these fitted, either Saturday or Monday next week. The shock absorbers had apparently been modified due to a trigger point being reached for “similar” problems.
I immediately wrote to my dealer and the executive office firstname.lastname@example.org and asked for confirmation of whether this statement by a dealer is correct.
The reply from my dealer was as follows,
"I am unaware of any change or improvements to the shock absorbers currently supplied by Volkswagen and I have not received any notification of any imminent changes or improvements. I cannot comment on the case illustrated in your e-mail below".
There was no reply from the executive office so did this one particular dealer know something that others didn't know or was it just wishful thinking on the dealers part. The customer that I had been in contact with was going to contact me in due course so I should know the truth within a few days. That other owner was fobbed-off as much as I was by VWUK.
Received from the VW Executive Office
I cannot pass comment on what a retailer is alleged to have said, nor am I prepared to discuss another customer’s case. However, I can confirm that that we have been advised by our Technical Department that we are shortly due to receive a new set of shock absorbers to be fitted to one UK customer’s vehicle. We await the outcome of fitment of those new parts with great interest.
Volkswagen Germany had been made aware that we have a number of customers who have remained dissatisfied with the replacements previously fitted, so I am unsurprised that a further change may be being considered. Over the life of every model within the Volkswagen range, continual product development takes place on many components and this particular one is no exception.
I will be in contact again following trial of the replacement set in question. I must note, however, that should the test prove successful, there is no question of any “recall (being) on the cards”, as this is not a Safety matter. However, where we have customers who still remain dissatisfied, such cases will be reviewed on an individual basis.
Customer Relations Manager
Volkswagen UK Executive Office
Tel: 0333 003 7199
So there you have it - just one set of revised shock absorbers to be tested in the UK. Its unbelievable when so many have reported this issue. Given the amount of effort and time I have put in to raising this issue I was not even considered for a set to try. It just goes to show what little faith they have in the new shock absorber. Did I ever believe VW were sending one set of shock absorber to be tested - NO. This was total nonsense.
So for all other owners who had this problem, how long would they have to wait before they could have a car that doesn’t have a rear suspension rattle?
VWUK were really full of bullshit so it appears
In my previous posts and emails I wrote that VW were bringing "new" shock absorbers over to the UK for fitting to several cars, including at least 2 Golf GTI models. The first person to receive them was told two weeks in succession that the parts had been mislaid and on the 3rd week that 3 sets had been mispicked including a set for me.
My personal view is that was a lie and I stand by that.
I had received an email from my dealer with an extract from an email from Mr Brian Kattenberg (very obstructive person) of the VWUK Executive Office, and this after 6 weeks of waiting is what he now came out with - unbelievable!
Subject: RE: Shock absorber availability date
“Thank you for your emails of 3 February 2015 (he doesn’t even know what date it is). We have now received further information from Germany which I would like to share with you.
The delay in fitting shock absorbers recently was not due to incorrect part numbers having been sent, but because we had wanted parts from the latest production week. As previously advised to you, we understood changes to have been made as part of Volkswagen‘s continual product improvement process.
We have now been advised that the change recently made was not for the Golf GTI shock absorber but another vehicle in the Golf range. There is therefore no point in fitting the latest shock absorbers currently used in production as we believe this would make no difference to the noise you find so distressing when driving your vehicle in the manner you do over certain road surfaces.
We do not deny, nor have ever denied that a noise is audible in certain conditions, but this is a noise, not a vehicle fault. I have expressed our apologies in previous correspondence that you find the noise such an intense source of irritation, but I must again stress that we do not regard this as a fault. All vehicles from all manufacturers have their own unique characteristics, including suspension and body noises, and the Golf is no different in this regard”.
Yes folks, it only took them 6 weeks to come out with this story. It sounded very much like a bunch of incompetents worked in this so-called executive office, or perhaps VWUK is full of them. Not even a sincere apology for keeping a number of owners dangling on a hook with expectations that our rattle would be cured. You simply could never make up this story.
If you are a director of Volkswagen UK reading this then I suggest you start employing people who actually care about the customer and who have something between their ears that doesn't end with the letter T.
If you are still one of the unfortunates that has rear shock absorber issues then I suggest you e-mail the Managing Director of Volkswagen Cars email@example.com as I am sure he would be pleased to hear from you.
If you have recently purchased a Volkswagen Golf with multi-link suspension and you have this issue and are concerned, then take it back and get your money back, as VW have no further intention of resolving it. Only buy a Golf fitted with DCC as that way you will not have this noise or simply replace the shock absorbers with the likes of Bilstein or Koni - anything but the VW parts.
If the dealer or VWUK Customer Services show surprise or tell you that they have never heard of this issue then either they are lying or its that persons first day on the job. Refer them to the Forum or to this website.
Do be aware that VWUK staff appear brainwashed into telling you that the noise is a characteristic of the model. Well, not according to the Financial Ombudsman’s conclusion in a case against Volkswagen Financial Services where another customer complained of rear shock absorber noise. The Ombudsman clearly states that it was the result of a manufacturing fault. See report
Bilstein Rear Shock Absorbers to be trialled
Due to the total lack of interest by Volkswagen UK in resolving the rear shock absorber problems I was determined to find my own solution and that was to fit Bilstein B4 Model 19-230559 rear shock absorbers. These are OEM replacements and apparently as close to the originals as you can get. I had to order these through Demon Tweeks here in the UK and they had to be shipped in from Germany. My Dealer refunded me £150 toward the Bilstein replacements but they would not fit them. I had them fitted by a local servicing company. After 12-months of rattles I drove away in compartive silence. You cannot beleive how happy I was as I felt like I was in a completely different car.
I reported to VW, the Forum group and to many others who had been in touch with me that the Bilstein Rear Shock Absorbers were a success
Update following the fitting of the Bilstein rear shock absorbers on the 20/08/2015.
The “rolling log” noise was eliminated.
The ride appeared smoother on less than perfect roads.
The rear of the car was less jiggly over patches of uneven roads at low speeds. For example when turning into a side road that has a poor surface, the rear does not bounce around as was the case previously.
The sound from the rear was now a muted thump which is expected.
The car appeared quieter overall.
Nothing appeared loose as how I would have described the previous VW parts.
There was no rattle from the actual barrel of the shock absorber when given a thump with the car on ground. This was not case with the original Sachs's parts.
Overall I found the ride comfort very acceptable and given the chance to have one with DCC I would stick with what I have.
I had now driven well over 300 miles over a variety of road surfaces with a few very bad roads and apart from the dull thump that you can expect with this kind of car, there was absolutely no sign of the rattle. One thing I can say, that each time VW fitted shock absorbers I could still detect something was not right within the first 5 minutes of leaving the dealer and then of course it became worse very quickly; in fact it did so within 24-hours. Now with these Bilsteins there was absolutely no indication of a similar sound.
Fitting time was 2-hours and so just over £100 with VAT though you could do this work yourself if you have a mind to do that. The car shop that fitted these checked top mounts, top nut on the existing shocks and had a general look around and nothing obvious was seen that could contribute to the noise problem other than the shock absorbers.
For the very first time in 11 months of ownership I could at last say that I was a very happy GTI owner and now I was having a really great driving experience. To anyone who has this issue and who has had more than one set of replacements fitted with no success, then I would simply say fit Bilsteins as I have done or the Koni Actives. Its cost effective and works.
Just out of interest, I retained the original shock absorbers and I could actually see a lateral movement of the piston rod and hear a knocking sound from within the barrel and that was something that was not present on the Bilsteins. I offered these to VW so I could prove my point but they were naturally not interested as they knew what the problem was.
I had proven that you didn't have to live with this irritation from what VW call a “characteristic of the model”. Just change their poorly designed or poorly manufactured part for another make.
It beggars belief that VW created a situation that was so easily solvable, but of course they would never admit this was an issue as they would be faced with changing parts on thousands of vehicles and they would clearly never do that. Instead they have faffed around with customers for two years or so, creating so much dissatisfaction and arrogantly believing, especially at the VWUK executive office, that this noise was what we should expect to live with.
If you have a rattle or odd noise from your Golf MK7 rear suspension then don’t live with it as there is a cure but sadly it will not come from VW.
After nearly 5 months and a few thousand miles later I reported that the replacement Bilstein B4 rear shock absorbers fitted to my Golf GTI were still proving successful. Over many months and now many years I received and still receive many e-mails from owners around the world that have experienced the knocking noise from the original Sachs rubbish that Volkswagen fitted as standard. My advice was simply change the factory fitted parts for Bilstein or indeed any OEM replacement. Reports from many owners who have fitted the Bilstein’s proved that the original VW shock absorbers were the source of the noise that plagued so many people.
16,000 miles and almost 2-years since fitting Bilstein B4 rear shock absorbers and the rear suspension is prefect with no rattles.
21000 miles and rattle free.
The accident & now a VW MK7.5 Face-lifted Model
Well sadly my beloved GTI has gone to the scrap yard due to Mr White Van Man an idiot Portuguese middle-age driver in Southern Portugal in March 208 who slammed into the rear of my car while it was parked on a 7M wide quiet urban road and wrote it off - very sad indeed. Unfortunately he didn’t even break a finger doing it or his mobile phone that he had in his hand at that time!
After the insurance pay-out I decided to purchase a new MK7.5 Face lifted 1.5TSI Evo GT 150bhp rather than a GTI but after purchase I had far more cabin noise than on my GTI and I believe other example of this model have a similar issue. It sounded like a wheel bearing and the MD and senior tech at the dealer agreed it was very noisy as they drove the car. A rear wheel bearing was replaced but it made no difference in the noise. Unbelievably after a few days with the car I also could hear the rattle from the shock absorbers and so I purchased a set of Koni Active shock absorbers, had these fitted and as expected I had no more rattles. I thought the cabin whining noise was now from the tyres and so foolishly replaced the tyres but still a horrible whine existed. Neither myself or my wife could tolerate this noise on a long run - for example into Europe etc.
I also tested another 1.5TSI at the local dealer for comparison and this loud hollow whining noise also was very evident on that car which leads me to believe that the problem was across the MK7.5 range
Due the due to intolerable cabin noise issue on this 1.5TSI I rejected the car under the 30-day exchange deal with the dealer.This was unfortunate as the 1.5TSI was a great car for me in many respects with enough power, excellent fuel economy and a more comfortable ride than a GTI. I was left with no choice as I did not want another 1.5TSI and so I had to return to a GTI and fortunately the dealer had one to the spec I required. The car was a 2018 Mk7.5 face-lifted model.
Now before I rejected the 1.5TSI I removed the Koni shock absorbers and re-fitted the originals. I also switched tyres back over so I could sell the new ones I had purchased. I would say at this point that the Koni shock absorbers in my view did not suit the 1.5 and I think would have benefited from the B4 Bilsteins. The Konis on the GTI are great as they are quiet and give very good comfort over a variety of surfaces.
After the initial excitement of getting back into a new GTI I quickly became aware of the rear shock absorber rattle. Unbelievable that after many years and on a 2018 model that VW had not been able to resolve this problem. I fitted my Koni Actives and problem solved and improved ride comfort. I also replaced the Potenza S001 tyres for Goodyear Eagle F1. Again a big difference in ride comfort as the Potenzas have a very hard side-wall.
Now for the overall cabin noise issue.
August 8th 2020 - Cabin Noise & How to Reduce it
Since owning the 2018 GTI for almost 2-years I have no problems at all from shock absorbers but I did have a hollow whining/droning noise, not to the extent I witnessed in the 1.5TSI but it was there and was annoying. Even on smooth surfaces it was irritating. Changing from different surfaces would bring about a booming resonance. What had VW done to these face lifted models? Scrimped on sound deadening I believe. Should a 30K car sound like this - I think not.
My first step was to insulate all 4 wheel-arches from underneath the car. Then I fitted sound deadening under the rear seat, over the rear wheel arches and in the wheel-well, where bare metal could be seen. Under the boot boot floor I fitted a foam type insulation and that I also fitted under the parcel shelf. Whether the foam helped I have no idea but its done.
Having completed long runs from UK to Spain & southern Portugal I was tired of this sound and was at the point of changing the car, swearing never to have another VW, but then I was contacted by a member of the VW Golf MK7 Forum. This gentleman from Scotland goes under the name of GolfDave. He wrote to me and gave details of a rear sub-frame damper that was fitted on the Audi A3. He told me this would reduce cabin noise as it reduces the resonance from the subframe. This little device weighing 1.8kgs fits into pre-drilled holes on the golf. I was sceptical on whether this was a waste of time & money, but the more I read, the more I was keen to try it.
The cost was about £60 and the part can be sourced from Audi Dealers.
I had this fitted back in March this year but due to covid I rarely used the car, but I could detect a change in cabin noise. However, once we were able to travel distances where I would drive over different road surfaces, motorways, A roads etc I then could not believe the difference in sound levels. Gone was the booming resonance sound over coarse surfaces. I could hold a conversation at high speed. I was not irritated by the hollow whining any longer.The difference was remarkable as the cabin became very quiet. It will never be silent of coarse but the whole tone has changed. On good surfaces it is very quiet and on super-smooth tarmac its unbelievable. The car is now so relaxing to drive. I am so grateful to GolfDave as I have absolutely no desire to change this car.
If you do nothing else to your car then just fit this damper. Here is how its fitted. You can do it yourself, or as I did ask a local service shop to do it and the cost was £25 and it took about 15 minutes to fit. This is short video I made relating to this part.
I should not have to fit new shock absorbers or sound deadening or fit this damper but if you have any issues as I and others have experienced then you now know what to do and it will be worth every penny doing it.
If you are considering a MK7.5 new or used or a used MK7 pre face-lft then I advise you to really consider what I have written, take the car for a 48-hour test drive and concentrate on the cabin sound levels over a variety of road surfaces at a range of speeds to be sure you like what you hear. I have many emails from around the world where frustrated owners have purchased used MK7's only to find they have the shock absorber rattle and where they cannot get the issue rectified. I have not driven a MK8 but I would certainly be looking out for similar issues on multi-link models. Given the choice I would opt for DCC.