aluminuium weld needed on rear top strut mount area

Doug S

Member
Earlier in the year I had my 1.4 TDI in local garage to have all the suspension replaced, shocks, springs, bump stops, mounts etc, etc. When they did the work the garage informed me there was an 'issue' with the rear driver side and they had to weld the top mount in place. I assumed they know what they were doing, and that they know the chassis was aluminium. But a quick test drive that evening after the work was done had the top strut break off and the car slumped down making terrible noises.
Went back to the garage and they quizzed the guy that did the work and the car being aluminium…. he then had a eureka moment and said "I wondered why there was a green flame coming of the torch".
So, the boss arranged for a fix to be done.
I was still trusting at this stage and had not seen any of the work as it was all hidden behind the plastic wheel arch covers when done, and I just don't have the time to do a lot of this work myself.
So job done by end of that day and after about a week the new suspension settled down to its ride height , but over the last few months I have noticed the 'problem corner' sitting just a bit lower. I've been living with it for a while now but eventually took it to another garage to get it looked at for a second opinion and also to get an annoying squeak sorted that might be wheel bearings starting to go.
They looked at the mount first and called me by lunch time and said they don't want to work on the car any more and had me pop in to take a look at the pictures they took. They said that they would not drive the car themselves and if they knew it was there if in for an MOT they would fail it.

In the picture attached (sorry its poor quality as took a shot from his laptop screen) you can see the holes created by the welding and you can see the steel block/sheet they have put in behind that part of the chassis to now support the bolt at the back so that if can compress against something when done up. looks like they have had to do that as the area of aluminium that supports the mount is weakened by holes and welding heat I suspect.

So I am stuck in a rut now with what to do. There was some original issue that the garage found when they were fitting the mount, and with good intention to try and fix/get around, the mistake they made was welding without TIG, so its hard to tell what damage was there prior to them compounding the issue. The current 2nd fix could potentially be good enough to last a long time, but potentially also fail tomorrow, I just don't know and that's the opinion of the new garage folks had as well. I'd like it to be sorted though.

Does anyone have any experience with the sort of damage that the garage originally encountered with fitting the new top strut mount in the rear wheel arch? I have never seen any threads or heard of a common issue around this area, I haven't spoken to the old garage yet, but will be doing so tomorrow so I wanted to be forearmed with information if there is some common issue where the mount sits in the chassis (before they did their welding mess). Any help/advice/experience on that would be appreciated. my fear is that this critically important area the supports the shock might mean a write off if no welding can be done to correct it.

Ive spent the money on the suspension and new turbo (chipped turbine blades in old turbo you can see below) and so i'm into the car for more than its worth really, although that's not a problem as my plan was to slowly bring back to a very good quality over time as the A2 bug has take hold of me. If anyone knows an aluminium welder or service that is in Scotland and more specifically in Fife region I'd be glad to hear. otherwise I might try some of the garages geared towards motorsports that may have the capability to try and create a patch over this area.

Cheers, Douglas.
 

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Valpen

Member
Sorry, but I am located in Norway, so I can't help you get your A2 repaired.
But I am rather curious regarding what the original "issue with the rear driver side" was....????
I can't think of any possible "issue", as what they were supposed to be doing is straight forward...

Aluminum welding is not common in automotive repair/service, but more common in boat/marine/offshore or airplanes. An offshore-oriented light engineering firm may be able to help you with the welding, but fabricating the original dimensions/specs may be an issue unless they do a mirror copy of the other side. The cost may be significant, is the original garage going to pay for the repair??
 

cheechy

Member
Out of interest (as I'm near you) who has destroyed the car?

I chose my words carefully btw. Aluminium welding on cars is very specialist and this garage obviously were completely clueless initially, then butchered the car well enough to then let you drive away knowing the work they completed was not even remotely up to scratch.

Shocking lack of awareness and professional pride for me :(
 

Andrew

A2OC Donor
Don't know much about it but the steel back plate is screaming galvanic corrosion at me, doomed long term, probably never entered anybodies head.

Andy
 

murdo

Admin Team
That's terrible. Never heard of welding needing done other than for the purpose of accident damage. The only aluminum car repair shop I know of in Scotland is Glasgow Audi in Hillington although a quick Google shows a place in Aberdeen too. Neither very close I'm afraid.
 
As you say that picture isn't great. Please get in there and get a fresh picture.
The issue they have had I would guess to be that they have sheared the bolt off for the top mount. Certainly looks to be mounted lower than it should which is the adverse to your view of that corner sitting lower.

From the current evidence I would suggest the first garage have 'written off' your car. That is an awful repair on a critical suspension mounting point.

I have attached pictures of what an aluminium weld repair should look like on these vehicles.
 

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Darren C

Admin Team
I genuinely feel for you. That is very much a horrific discovery to find on your prized A2. Wishing you the best of good fortune in saving it.
 

spike

Member
Not sure if it's feasible but the guys breaking cars for spares usually scrap off the bodyshells. May be a source for a repair panel cut from the shell with a disc grinder. If needed it may be possible for the repair panel to incorporate the threaded inserts for the top shock mounting

Found this welding company on the web who offer aluminium welding and car chassis repairs though they may have never incorporated both together before - https://varlowe.co.uk/mobile-welding/?msclkid=bc63da7b62e015ed2e7786813df35381

No idea how good they are but worth checking out if they are not too far away

Cheers Spike
 

Catnip64

Member
Agree this is shocking (certainly no pun intended).
You need to remove the top mount to see what they have done behind, it looks as though they have fitted studs as the photo shows nyloc nuts securing the mounting and the original bolt appears to be visible above. One wonders what the studs have been fastened to?
If they have fitted the top of the shock absorber lower then it won't affect the ride height, this can only change if the top spring mount has been altered. Are you able to get better photos of the spring and shock absorber?
 
When searching for aluminium welders, make sure you also check anyone that prepares motorsport vehicles. That's who did the welding on mine, they didn't bat an eyelid in taking it on. As long as it is just the shock mounting it will not effect axle geometry and location at our road vehicle limits that much.
 

Doug S

Member
Thanks all for the replies. It’s not looking promising from all views. I will be going back to the garage on Monday to ‘discuss’. I will ask the garage I had it in for second opinion to sent me the photos they took rather than the photo I have from their laptop. The comment for galvanic corrosion is a good point as well if I decided just to run the car as it. It my every day car and use it for trips to my work head office in oxford a few times a year but no way I can use it for that now. If the garage don’t offer some sort of compensation or to repair them I will have to write it off as can’t morally sell it onto someone else knowing the bodge they did. I now have a bad car with new turbo, new wishbones, full new suspension all round and many other new items picked up from the forums corrected. Not sure I’d want to start all that again in new A2, as you all know we invest quite a lot of time on them, my last big improvement was to be the timing chain and tensioner for piece of mind.... seems ironic now.
 

damadgeruk

A2OC Donor
Sorry to hear about this, hopefully it can be resolved as your repairs must have been expensive. As you'll know, the original garage is liable for the costs incurred in fixing their mistake.
 

steve_c

Member
As you'll know, the original garage is liable for the costs incurred in fixing their mistake.
If only life were that simple! Garages in England and Wales (and almost certainly in Scotland too) provide a service on terms of trade to which the car owner agrees by leaving the car for repair. Those terms of trade are probably displayed on a wall somewhere at the garage. There is likely to be a limit to the amount of compensation that can be claimed, and that's assuming that the garage concerned admit liability.
The worst case scenario here is that the garage deny all liability, saying that Doug should have flagged up the unusual aluminium construction before they started work, and that they weren't to know.
I certainly hope that Doug gets a satisfactory solution to this mess (it will likely depend on the view taken by the garage's insurers). The work (if the car isn't written off) needs to be done by an aluminium specialist, rather than letting the local garage carry on bodging.
If Doug's insurance includes cover for legal advice, he may want to call on that.
 

terrywindy1

Member
I am an aircraft aluminium welder
The main problems you will have are you need to remove ALL of previous repairs attempts, because this would have contaminated the metal and also remove ALL paint and grease up to an inch from weld area. Clean metal is crucial for welding Ally.
If you can find a workshop and hire a A/C tig welding plant with argon gas bottle, I'd is happy to help.
Only problem is. I am near Bristol!
 

Cenick

A2OC Donor
Great offer there!

Off subject, but that’s 3 forum members from Dursley that I now know of, are there more in hiding?
 

cheechy

Member
I am an aircraft aluminium welder
The main problems you will have are you need to remove ALL of previous repairs attempts, because this would have contaminated the metal and also remove ALL paint and grease up to an inch from weld area. Clean metal is crucial for welding Ally.
If you can find a workshop and hire a A/C tig welding plant with argon gas bottle, I'd is happy to help.
Only problem is. I am near Bristol!
Yes agreed great offer indeed even from fife its worthwhile trip given it will most likely mean the difference between saving or scrapping
 

dieselfan

A2OC Donor
Yes agreed great offer indeed even from fife its worthwhile trip given it will most likely mean the difference between saving or scrapping
This is one very scary workshop experience.... how did this actually end?
Cheers
dieselfan
 
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