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Car: Volkswagen | Passat | 3BG (Mk5) | SE | Saloon
Engine: AWX | 1.9 | Inline 4 | (130 PD) | Turbocharged | Diesel

Passat TDi 130 SE to Sport upgrades

A well designed car powered by a smooth & tractable 48MPG TDi engine coupled with a great gearbox, and accompanied by a smooth ride. The ideal workhorse.

Exterior

OEM Sport suspension

Passat TDi 130 Sport suspension

VAG softened the suspension on post B5 chassis cars. The 3BG came in S, SE and Sport guises where the Sport had lowered and stiffened suspension. The rest of the range had what only can be described as 'blancmange'.

Sport suspension struts are easily identified as they are red in colour. The springs also have colour codes, non sport TDi fronts are yellow/brown & rears are green/brown/brown. Sport fronts are grey/light blue & rears are orange/light blue/light blue.

Passat TDi 130 Sport suspension

Fitting of the front struts is relatively simple, requiring only the removal of 7 bolts. The suspension arrangement is shared with the A4 and so the upper control arm pinch bolt can be a cause for trouble (left). Personally I have never had any trouble with it, it may become a problem on high mileage cars. This aside, the suspension strut is a simple bolt-on procedure.

The rear suspension is even simpler to fit. The struts and springs are separate from each other and the springs are held in place by the dampers. Removal of both dampers takes just 6 bolts in total.

Passat TDi 130 Sport suspension

As the car was to be used for a lot of towing, suspension from the estate version was fitted. Estate springs are higher poundage than their saloon counterparts. The rear sport springs are visibly shorter than the non sport version (left) which makes them easier to fit. Again, the rear sport dampers are red in colour.

Once everything was fitted the car was visibly lower by around 1". The ride was still soft, but much more controlled than previously. I am under the distinct impression that the Passat was designed as a motorway car, the ride is still far from 'Sporty' but is extremely comfortable.

OEM 'Road America' 16" Alloy wheels

Passat TDi 130 Sport suspension

SE's come with 15" Wellington alloy wheels and balloon like 205/60/15 tyres. VAG seem to fit small alloy wheels to their cars, and these are no exception as they look lost on the 3BG.

Sport models come with the 16" 'Road America' wheel and 205/55/16 tyres, which help to make the car look a little more 'sporty' and sharpen up the steering. Sport models are hard to find in breakers, but the wheels are a direct bolt on replacement for the originals.

Completed state

© Mark Stewart, Thursday 10th March 2005
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