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General advice on Timing Belt Service

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Old 09-13-2013, 07:52 AM   #1
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Default General advice on Timing Belt Service

Hi all, thanks for taking the time to read my post.

I just got a 2002 A6 C5 3.0L from an auction with 91K miles. The big question for me is when/if timing belt service was done.

I pulled the car fax and even contacted the old dealerships listed, but nobody has a record of it being done.

I took it to an independent Audi guy and he said the timing belt looked new, but the accessory belt looked pretty old. Then I took it to Audi dealer and they took a deeper dive for me b/c they were doing the ignition coil packs as part of the recall and replacing a seal where the transmission ties into the driveshaft b/c it was leaking pretty good.

Anyway, the tech at the dealer took the covers off the timing belt and said it looked newer. He said its certainly not the original b/c he said the belt will usually wear on the top when it rubs against water pump and this one wasn't worn, and the teeth were in excellent shape and overall the thickness of the belt was very good relative to an old one. I definitely trust the opinion, but I'm still unsure.

So my question for all of you then...If this was your car would you trust that and drive the car and keep an eye on it? Is there anything else I should consider? I want to avoid the dreaded broken timing belt.
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Old 09-13-2013, 08:22 AM   #2
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Visual inspection of a rubber timing belt isn't worth much. Written receipts and services records are.

FWIW, Continental recommends a 6yr (MAX) change interval.

"Sure, the timing has been changed" is right up there with "I promise I'll pull out"...

Is that engine an interference design?

Welcome aboard, Number 1 !!
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Old 09-13-2013, 09:05 AM   #3
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Much appreciate the quick reply and the welcome.

I don't know if its is the interference design, but some quick research suggests that it is. I know its the AVK engine and if the belt snaps, its very very expensive. How can I tell if its interference?

Justin
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Old 09-13-2013, 09:11 AM   #4
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Well, if the repair is very costly when the belt breaks, it's likely an indicator that this is an interference design, as are many VAG products.
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Old 09-13-2013, 09:32 AM   #5
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Change it. Visual inspection is useless. Belts rarely fail; rollers and waterpumps do.
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Old 09-13-2013, 10:25 AM   #6
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Change it. Visual inspection is useless. Belts rarely fail; rollers and waterpumps do.
Thanks for confirming. That's what I figured.
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Old 09-13-2013, 11:27 AM   #7
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Thanks for confirming. That's what I figured.
It's cheaper to do it too often than not often enough.
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Old 09-13-2013, 04:46 PM   #8
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Well said.
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Old 09-13-2013, 08:21 PM   #9
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Well said.
You wanna ask your self how long are you going to keep this Audi?
It's already 10 year old.

I would say you can almost sure get another 10K without changing TB, even if the belt has never been changed. Just drive it gentlely.

if the belt is relative new, I would say you may probably get another 30K, possibly 50K.

But if you wanna keep this car for another 70k-100k, change it now, you will eventually need to do that. No reason for take the risk for delaying.
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Old 09-14-2013, 03:32 AM   #10
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I would say you can almost sure get another 10K without changing TB, even if the belt has never been changed. Just drive it gentlely.
While I agree that the decision of when/if to do a belt service is a risk/value analysis that is different for everyone (I do my belts at 90k), the idea that "driving gently" can prolong life is nonsense. Most belts break on start up or at idle.
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Old 09-14-2013, 06:16 AM   #11
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Agreed. Actually i'd postulate that the highest stress point is starting and stopping.

But you simply take your chances if you don't change it. It may well go 125k. Or, occasionally, 50k. I happen to use 75k as a good interval.

By the way, i do not find a 10 year old car to necessarily be old. Over the past 3 years i've invested in total, and i mean total reworking of the brakes, suspension and a complete "nose job" timing belt/etc service - one major per year. Drives like a new car and will go another 60-70k beautifully. $1500 is 3 payments on anything nice, maybe.

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Old 09-14-2013, 07:02 AM   #12
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It is

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Old 09-14-2013, 07:10 AM   #13
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i do not find a 10 year old car to necessarily be old.
Me either. I have four cars without power steering, three where you have to roll your own windows with a crank handle, one with a carburetor, and one with a manual choke. The youngest car we have is 10 years old!
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Old 09-14-2013, 08:22 AM   #14
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Me either. I have four cars without power steering, three where you have to roll your own windows with a crank handle, one with a carburetor, and one with a manual choke. The youngest car we have is 10 years old!
I also observe that these cars' engines have a 7K redline....and I have been known to bump up against it!!
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Old 09-14-2013, 08:24 AM   #15
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Well, if the repair is very costly when the belt breaks, it's likely an indicator that this is an interference design, as are many VAG products.
If there is ANY repair cost other than belt replacement and tensioner, pulleys, etc., then it's an interference engine.
My old volvo sohc engines were bulletproof except for the belt and tensioner (ok, those were regularly replaced every two belt changes every 140K miles!) . Some people even never changed the belt/tensioner except when they broke. A flatbed is free with AAA and they just felt a one hour plus $100 worth of parts wasn't worth the reliability issue with no engine damage.
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Old 09-14-2013, 08:38 AM   #16
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it's an interference engine for sure, belt broken usually means engine valve rebluid. OP said keep an eye on it. But you cann't keep an eye on it make nonsense. when it broke, your engine is gone.

However, My suggestion is how would you evaluate the "risk". 10 year old is not so old for a car, but for audi, most rubber parts tend to fail here and there. I am sure the car need some serious repair other than the TB at this time.

if you want to keep this audi for another 10 years, do the TB.
however test it for another 10k is not a bad idea. what if you done the TB and find your tranny is going to be replaced?

what i will do is. drive the car for a while, if it doesn't hate you, and you wanna to drive it for a long while. Then do the transmssion fluid change, spark plug change, TB change, suspension swap.

Remember, when doing a TB change, not only change the TB.
change EVERYTHING.... roller, tensioner, thermo, water pump...



Quote:
Originally Posted by SloopJohnB@mac.com View Post
If there is ANY repair cost other than belt replacement and tensioner, pulleys, etc., then it's an interference engine.
My old volvo sohc engines were bulletproof except for the belt and tensioner (ok, those were regularly replaced every two belt changes every 140K miles!) . Some people even never changed the belt/tensioner except when they broke. A flatbed is free with AAA and they just felt a one hour plus $100 worth of parts wasn't worth the reliability issue with no engine damage.
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Old 09-14-2013, 08:42 AM   #17
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While I agree that the decision of when/if to do a belt service is a risk/value analysis that is different for everyone (I do my belts at 90k), the idea that "driving gently" can prolong life is nonsense. Most belts break on start up or at idle.
driving gently does no harm if it not going to prolong the belt.
but it certainly help on other parts. rollers... engines wear...
My idea is don't throw parts on a car you are still not familiar with. if you drive your car for years and you know it. then you can go hard on it. that's fun of driving an audi...
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Old 09-15-2013, 07:41 AM   #18
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it's an interference engine for sure, belt broken usually means engine valve rebluid. OP said keep an eye on it. But you cann't keep an eye on it make nonsense. when it broke, your engine is gone.

However, My suggestion is how would you evaluate the "risk". 10 year old is not so old for a car, but for audi, most rubber parts tend to fail here and there. I am sure the car need some serious repair other than the TB at this time.

if you want to keep this audi for another 10 years, do the TB.
however test it for another 10k is not a bad idea. what if you done the TB and find your tranny is going to be replaced?

what i will do is. drive the car for a while, if it doesn't hate you, and you wanna to drive it for a long while. Then do the transmssion fluid change, spark plug change, TB change, suspension swap.

Remember, when doing a TB change, not only change the TB.
change EVERYTHING.... roller, tensioner, thermo, water pump...
You're exactly right. I took the car for a Sunday drive this morning after changing spark plugs, ignition coils and an oil change last week and gunned it on the highway on ramp...bad idea apparently. Didn't redline it, but got up around 5 or 6K RPMS.

Of course, I got a flashing engine light for about 10 seconds and then it went off. I ran the codes w/ my Vag Com unit ($10 off ebay) and had multiple cylinder misfires, 16687 (P0303), 16689 (P0305) and 16684 (P0300) and a new one.... related to catalytic converter, 16815 (P0431)

When I bought the car (from auction) and ran codes it had a P0305 and P0300 code in there, but not the others. It has a slight rumble at start but it clears up very quick, and then a slight tick coming out of cylinder bank on driver side that increases when the accelerator is pushed. Other than this the car drives awesome. Quick acceleration and solid feel.

My plan is to drive it about 5K miles, then go for the TB service when I do the next oil change and at the same time see what it looks like when the valve covers are off.

I guess the next question would be: What do you recommend for a value approach to swapping suspension? And if there happens to be a bad lifter or worn cam lobe when we pull the valve cover, would you fix that? I am not clear on the long term issue there. Let's face it, the car is 11 or 12 year old, and if it can last another 50K miles with just changing the TB, and then the engine dies I'd be fine with that. By that time it will certainly be at least 15 years old.
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Old 09-15-2013, 09:59 AM   #19
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I guess the next question would be: What do you recommend for a value approach to swapping suspension? And if there happens to be a bad lifter or worn cam lobe when we pull the valve cover, would you fix that? I am not clear on the long term issue there. Let's face it, the car is 11 or 12 year old, and if it can last another 50K miles with just changing the TB, and then the engine dies I'd be fine with that. By that time it will certainly be at least 15 years old.
ok, the front suspension on c5 audi is upper and lower control arm. I suggest you if your control is still oem one. replace only the bad one with oem parts(Lemfoerder or TRW).There is NO proof shows that aftermarket control arm kits(billstein, meyle) are better than the oem.

Check your CV boots worn out or not, usually is the outer boots. I just replace two driveshaft at 90K.

suspension swap is not so hard but some dirty work. but I would put suspension on the bottom of to-do-list. fix the misfire problem first and then do the valve cover gasket and TB.

I suggest do major repair year by year. first priority is small things.

oil change, air filter change, fuel filter change. throw maintainence parts is no brainer to be wrong at 90K.
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Old 09-16-2013, 03:38 AM   #20
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ok, the front suspension on c5 audi is upper and lower control arm. I suggest you if your control is still oem one. replace only the bad one with oem parts(Lemfoerder or TRW).There is NO proof shows that aftermarket control arm kits(billstein, meyle) are better than the oem.

Check your CV boots worn out or not, usually is the outer boots. I just replace two driveshaft at 90K.

suspension swap is not so hard but some dirty work. but I would put suspension on the bottom of to-do-list. fix the misfire problem first and then do the valve cover gasket and TB.

I suggest do major repair year by year. first priority is small things.

oil change, air filter change, fuel filter change. throw maintainence parts is no brainer to be wrong at 90K.
Good stuff Lucio! Thanks.
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