Cost Effective Repairs?

This loved Audi A4 3.0 V6 (Year 2002) came from an enquiry last week with a suspect water pump failure.

The customer informed us that he had a garage fit a new timing belt kit (cambelt kit) approximately 3 years ago but had only covered around 15K miles.  This was due to him having numerous vehicles.  He informed us that they had not recommended a replacement water pump at the time of the repair.

Our timing belt Technician replaces, on average, a timing belt kit 2 or 3 times a week. He has the experience and the specialist tools to hand, carrying out the most intricate of timing belt replacements.

When you carry out a repair to a car that has had a previous repair, e.g timing belt replacement, the trained eye focuses on the quality of that last repair.  A nut or bolt not replaced from the kit, retaining studs corroded or threads stripped and nuts rounded off or even missing are all things reviewed and reported.

Our Technician made a note that the rocker cover gaskets had gone “hard” and leaked oil down the rear of engine area.  They looked and felt more than 3 years old and were covered in some form of bonding sealant. The ignition coils had the loom attached by tie wraps.  This was because the locking connectors had been broken on previous removal.  These hold the loom connectors into place on the ignition coils.

With the timing belt covers removed the deterioration of the timing belt was visible.  You can see this clearly in the images, all the fibres from the timing belt left behind the plastic covers.   Note the tipex marks on the right cam shaft sprockets.  This later identified that the camshafts had not been timed up correctly possibly by not using the VAG camshaft clamps.  Further removal of components identified the dampener had not been replaced, this keeps the tension on the belt via a relay roller tensioning dampener.

Timing belt covers removed

Timing belt covers removed

The main cause of the failure was due to the water pump bearing collapsing.  This allowed the timing belt to move outwards towards the front of the car catching the water pump pulley guide, (see image with water pump, centre of picture, black pulley).

Water pump pulley in centre (black)

Water pump pulley in centre (black)

Our Technician replaced the complete timing belt kit with all the necessary moving components.  Specialist tools were used (see main image with clamps holding camshafts).  New rocker cover gaskets were fitted with new seals and “C” clips in the camshaft end cover sprockets.  An original VAG water pump was fitted with the correct G13 antifreeze.

In conclusion, these type of repairs can be quite costly due to the components required and time carrying out the repair. It is paramount that the repair is carried out right first time.  If done correctly it will last to its next replacement date or mileage according to the Manufacturers data.  You should only have to pay once for the job not twice as this customer had.

Poor workmanship is condemned in our workshop.  Cutting corners is not an option.  Not fitting water pumps, gaskets, retaining studs from the timing belt kit on a strip down like this is false economy and escalates costs for the customer long term.

Our Technicians at Autotecnic are proud, trained guys who treat customers and their cars with the respect they deserve.  They understand that your car is probably the second most valuable asset you own!


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