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96 2.8 V6 Thermostat Replacement without removing timing belt?

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Old 02-13-2010, 07:39 AM   #1
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Default 96 2.8 V6 Thermostat Replacement without removing timing belt?

V6 without having to remove the timing belt?

I am sure it is still a long drawn out process for a simple service item although I have read on numerous forums that yes someone has done it (2.5 hrs.) but I cannot find any write-ups or any pics. showing the procedure. I want to make sure before I go blindly and end up needing specialized tools and additional replacement parts regarding the timing belt removal and replacement (that I do not need to do but will if I am going to take the stuff off but don't want to add $$ when I do not need to) that it can be done and does save a butt load of time. Any help or advice would be appreciated.
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Old 02-13-2010, 08:59 AM   #2
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what are the symptoms?
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Old 02-13-2010, 09:06 AM   #3
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oops...scrolled a little further down and read your other post.
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Old 02-13-2010, 09:57 AM   #4
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Just to get anyone who cares up to speed
-Purchased nice condition A4 with what was possibly a head gasket problem
-Car was to cheap to pass up
-New rad and thermostat within the last two weeks by previous owner
-Car would run for a few minutes then puke coolant out the overflow
-New expansion tank cap
-By passed oil cooler

Well it now looks like the thermostat was never replaced (previous owner a former mechanic had someone else do the rad and supposedly the t-stat....fleeced by his own kind how poetic) as the previous owner had stated. I checked hoses and the bottom hose stays ice cold while the top slowly warms and pukes coolant out the overflow. Leakdown test showed no signs of any issues when engine was warm and coolant pressure test indicated the same other than what I now imagine is a jammed closed thermostat. The previous owner stated the car first showed these signs on a day when we had a nice cold snap here in the Great White North so it is sounding more plausable all the time. I am hoping someone can point me in the right direction for changing the thermostat without having to remove the timing belt and going through the emotional trauma of re-setting everything???????
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Old 02-13-2010, 10:26 AM   #5
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I recently posted the procedure that I used to change the T-Stat on my '96, which was a shortcut method not using special tools or moving the front end. Once you have the serpentine belt tensioner out (the only part the was somewhat frustrating because it was difficult to maneuver out), and the belt covers, the thermostat housing is right there with two screws holding it on.

I paint-marked everything and took the belt off, but if doing this again, I would turn the crankshaft until there was the most slack on the bottom portion of the belt, in front of the T-stat cover. The belt can (should) turn about 90 degrees, enough I have read to expose the thermostat for removal. You might be able to scoot the belt forward on the passenger-side sprocket to get a little more clearance.

Be sure to dump coolant using the little red valve behind the plastic grill, under the driver's side headlight.
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Old 02-13-2010, 10:33 AM   #6
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on my 30v, you have to remove the accessory belt and the timing belt to remove the cover to the thermostat. There may be a 'trick' to getting it off without that step, but I usually perform the entire waterpump/belt/tensioner/pulley service when I have that stuff apart. Given that you have little faith in the previous work done, that may be advisable.

if not, remember that the bleeder vavle on the t-stat must be at the top.
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Old 02-13-2010, 10:34 AM   #7
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and look here for procedures posted by other folks...

http://www.audiworld.com/tech/eng.html
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Old 02-13-2010, 05:26 PM   #8
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To those that have replied....thank you for your time and advice. Glad I posted on the right forum where there are people that are prepared to give good advice on real problem not just discussing the merits of bolt on go fast/make noise parts and 20" rims. I am getting verklempt....talk amongst yourselves......the topic is...."The Toyota Prius"....it is not green and by no means the first car to ever have a recall......discuss! Hey! speaking of recalls does anyone remeber the "Sudden Acceleration Problem" the 5000 had? What a crock of doo doo that was.
Anyway back to reality....I can tell that the items that were stated as replaced over the past year were actually done and the timing belt looks in good shape however I may aire on the side of caution as it will be my wife that gets this car (why I do this to myself I will never know....should just get her a Camry and be done with it as she never appreciates the cars I have wrenched into existence for her but now I have to factor in kids and safety becomes a big part of the equation). Again thanks for the links and advice I hope I can return the favor.
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Old 12-23-2010, 06:48 PM   #9
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Default Can be done w/o TB removal...

What has to come off FIRST:

-Front bumper
-Lock carrier(radiator support assembly)
-Serpentine tensioner
-Serpentine belt
-Passenger side timing cover
-Center timing cover
-Thermostat housing(replace IF plastic - it will fail!..see pic below)

To get clearance from the timing belt, either GENTLY twist it 90 degrees, or better yet - turn crankshaft w/ 24mm 12-point socket and breaker bar counter-clockwise, while a friend GENTLY pulls TB forward, about 1/2 inch, at the passenger-side cam sprocket and tensioner. BE CAREFUL not to allow belt to come off...or, it's GAME OVER(full TB service mandatory!).

Here is what a 2.7T Audi allroad plastic thermostat housing looks like after 160k in HOT Southern CA(nearly COOKED motor!):

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 12-23-2010, 07:06 PM   #10
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Default Can be done w/o TB removal...

What has to come off FIRST:

-Front bumper
-Lock carrier(radiator support assembly)
-Intercooler(if Turbo) plumbing
-Serpentine tensioner
-Serpentine belt
-Passenger side timing cover
-Center timing cover
-Thermostat housing(replace IF plastic - it will fail!..see pic below)

To get clearance from the timing belt, either GENTLY twist it 90 degrees, or better yet - turn crankshaft w/ 24mm 12-point socket and breaker bar counter-clockwise, while a friend GENTLY pulls TB forward, about 1/2 inch, at the passenger-side cam sprocket and tensioner. BE CAREFUL not to allow belt to come off...or, it's GAME OVER(full TB service mandatory!).

Here is what a 2.7T Audi allroad plastic thermostat housing looks like after 160k in HOT Southern CA(nearly COOKED motor!):

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 12-23-2010, 07:08 PM   #11
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Default Can be done w/o TB removal...

What has to come off FIRST:

-Front bumper
-Lock carrier(radiator support assembly)
-Intercooler(if Turbo) plumbing
-Serpentine tensioner
-Serpentine belt
-Passenger side timing cover
-Center timing cover
-Thermostat housing(replace IF plastic - it will fail!..see pic below)

To get clearance from the timing belt, either GENTLY twist it 90 degrees, or better yet - turn crankshaft w/ 24mm 12-point socket and breaker bar counter-clockwise, while a friend GENTLY pulls TB forward, about 1/2 inch, at the passenger-side cam sprocket and tensioner. BE CAREFUL not to allow belt to come off...or, it's GAME OVER(full TB service mandatory!).

Here is what a 2.7T Audi allroad plastic thermostat housing looks like after 160k/mi in HOT Southern CA(nearly COOKED motor!):

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 12-24-2010, 03:49 AM   #12
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It can be done, but why? If you are going to tear in that far, why not take the opportunity to true up the cam timing?
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Old 12-24-2010, 06:25 AM   #13
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I'll tell you, I heard you could do that so I tried it once on a 96 with the 2.8. By the time I got the stat housing/manifold thing out, I'd scratched up the surface that mates with the stat gasket to the point where I had to head to the junkyard for another one. So.............I just chalked it up to experience and did a full TB service on it.
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Old 12-24-2010, 08:31 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtroxel View Post
I'll tell you, I heard you could do that so I tried it once on a 96 with the 2.8. By the time I got the stat housing/manifold thing out, I'd scratched up the surface that mates with the stat gasket to the point where I had to head to the junkyard for another one. So.............I just chalked it up to experience and did a full TB service on it.
It's really difficult to remove with tension on the belt.

On a 96 SOHC, zip tie the belt to the cam gears and slightly back off the tensioner. Mark it beforehand so you can move it back to the original spot.

It's possible to do it on the DOHC motors but with a lot more zip ties as the cams tend to rotate more.

I only advocate doing this if you are replacing the thermostat due to it being over-looked when the timing belt was recently changed.

I had a local shop do that to me and wanted to charge me another 3-4 hours to replace it.


If it's even close to belt replacement time do the entire job.
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Old 12-24-2010, 09:32 AM   #15
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I've done it, but it was on a 30V 2.8, not sure if the procedure is much different.

I was able to:
remove the front bumper
disconnect the hood release cable
take out the screws for the front subframe and move it forward one hole on the top to gain more working room (didn't have to disconnect everything or swing it out of the way)
Take off the serpentine belt
take off the timing belt covers
carefully slide the timing belt halfway or a little more off the passenger side cam pulley
wrap some zip ties through the pulley and tighten them so that if I bumped it the timing belt wouldn't come any further off the pulley (so I wouldn't ever lose timing)
loosen the thermostat cover bolts and remove the cover
replace the thermostat

Getting the thermostat cover out wasn't a straight shot, it came out sideways towards the passenger side if I remember correctly, but it wasn't that difficult. Getting my fingers in there to break the thermostat loose was the hardest part. I cut myself a little on one of the sharp machined edges of the block, so be careful. And pay attention to the orientation of the thermostat when you pull it out so you don't put the new one in wrong. You'll need some Torx bits and various exgtensions for your socket wrench to get at the thermostat cover bolts. It wasn't terribly difficult, just dive in there and go for it.
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Old 01-17-2012, 11:39 PM   #16
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i just did it the quicker way...

removed the bumper
undid the rad support
pulled it out about half a foot or so to give me some room to work and propped it with some stools.
cooling hoses
drained rad
pulled off various wires that were snagging
put zip ties around the belt and slid it off about 3/4th of the way
unscrewed the housing and played with it gently till i found the way it popped out.

ran into a slight problem with it, just the angle it has to come out. i didn't want to force it since i read that someone else had scratched it, but it does come out, and it is fairly easy. i didn't do the full timing belt because i just had it done 15k miles ago, but that was like 2 years ago.. i barely drive the car besides school since i work from home. all in all it wasn't that bad of a job. i thought it'd be far worse. i threw my friend some money for letting me use his garage and tools and time and whatnot, drank some beers afterwards and left it at that.

anyways, thanks guys for doing it before me lol

anyone done the valve covers and have a decent write up?

http://www.happywrenching.com/guide/audi/

this site has an awesome timing belt writeup, even a fully detailed service position diy... definitely great for a beginner.
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Old 01-17-2012, 11:42 PM   #17
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here's a pic of where i had to get to. it could have been worse.
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Old 01-17-2012, 11:42 PM
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28, 30v, a4, a6, audi, change, changing, direction, housing, procedure, replacement, replacing, thermostat, thermostst, v6


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