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HELP! 2+ hours to remove crankshaft access plug, CAN'T put in special tool...

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Old 01-10-2014, 08:01 PM   #1
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Default HELP! 2+ hours to remove crankshaft access plug, CAN'T put in special tool...

Ok, so I'm STILL working on my timing belt job on my 2002 A6 with a 2.7t. I FINALLY got the crankshaft access plug out using the longest metal pick I could find and squishing my hand up from under the car. I can't actually get my hand between all the pipes/hoses and it's IMPOSSIBLE to fit the crankshaft access plug special tool in there. The tool is just too damn big to fit in this spot with the angle that the treads are on the engine block. How the HELL do you get this plug in? If you go from ABOVE the car I can't figure out where to squish my hand in down around the engine (and honestly I can't actually get it down more then above three inches or so) and there seem to be NO guides on if you can remove something to make life easier. I think the people with the 2.8L engines go from under the car but they don't have the big fat pipe from the intercooler to the turbo charger to deal with, and that seems to be what is stopping me from being able to force this special bolt into the position.
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Old 01-10-2014, 08:15 PM   #2
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So in the one picture you can see the access plug open (circled in green) and two different pipes or cross members going horizontal across the car blocking access. In blue is what I believe is a pipe from then bottom of the driver side intercooler and going/coming from/to the turbo charger. Because of that I can get the special bolt at the proper angle for the threads to match up. (Let alone the fact it takes about 10 minutes to shoe-horn the damn thing UP there in the first place each time I try)

In the other picture it's looking down on the drivers side of the engine from the engine bay. Do I stuff my hand down where the yellow arrow is? That seems towards the back of the engine BUT I can't get my hand down there far enough and there's some sheet metal shield or something just to the right (right under the hoses coming from the expansion tank) that really makes it too tight to get my hand in there and I doubt the ~3 inch special locking bolt)

Or, do I try to stuff my hand back at the bottom of the engine where the red arrow is? I can only get it about two or three inches back from that oil filter and I'm not sure if that's far enough back, OR far enough left to actually be touching the engine block. I just run into some rubber feeling stuff and what feels like the charge pipe again from the intercooler...
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Old 01-11-2014, 04:21 AM   #3
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This part is always a bit of a pain at first. I don't know how you removed the plug with a pick, because the two 2.7Ts I've worked on have screws that hold them in place....

You need to removed the intercooler piping that is in the way. There are a couple of hex-head bolts that you can use a hex socket to remove, and a long flat tip screw driver will remove the band clamps. Removing will be a little easier than re-installing and you will be swearing a bit. Be ready for SOME oil to come out of the hoses when you open them.

Once you have the intercooler pipes removed, use a couple of long extentions through the wheel well, and a 10 MM socket to screw the plug in. You can reach up by hand at this point too and get it started - but I like to get it in firmly without cranking hard on it.
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Old 01-11-2014, 09:10 AM   #4
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And thats why I dont use the worthless crank pin.....Just line the balencer up with the mark and just do the freakin timing belt already....you would be done driving your car by now. Pullies loose, put the cam bar on, remove the pin and tension the belt, then put the lower cover and crank pulley on, make sure the marks lined up and tighten the cam pullies, done put it back together and be done already. iv done over a hundred of these 2.8/2.7T belts and used the crank pin once, it pissed me off with the huge waste of time and never used it again.
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Last edited by Prospeeder; 01-11-2014 at 09:13 AM.
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Old 01-11-2014, 11:56 AM   #5
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Prospeeder has much more experience than I, which is probably why I feel this way, but I really like knowing that pin is in place. It removes a possible error from the hands of someone who, in my case, has only done this 3-4 times. If something does go wrong, it is just one more part that you have to worry about getting right if the pin isn't lined up. Plus, if you are pulling the crank seal, it would take longer to get that all back together correctly, in my mind.
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Old 01-11-2014, 01:04 PM   #6
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I don't know your level of expertise in automotive repair but, IMO it is in your best interest to lock the crank with that pin. It maybe a pain, I have 4.2, never worked on 2.7T (at least not this type of work anyway) but would it be possible to try to reach from driver side wheel well?
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Old 01-11-2014, 01:58 PM   #7
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I don't know your level of expertise in automotive repair but, IMO it is in your best interest to lock the crank with that pin. It maybe a pain, I have 4.2, never worked on 2.7T (at least not this type of work anyway) but would it be possible to try to reach from driver side wheel well?
First time doing the timing belt. I think I would feel a lot safer having that pin in... I can't reach in with my hands at all. From below I have two metal hoses (coolant?) running across the engine bay and sway bar? From the wheel well I can reach it with a 18" extension BUT I can't get the pin threaded in at all. I think it's the turbo pipe that is keeping me from getting the right angle. Now that I'm hearing that you need to remove the turbo pipe (or at least loosen it from the metal bracket and the hose clamp near the intercooler) I have renewed faith.

I really want this pin in because I do want to remove the crank & replace the seal and I think with my level or know how, this is the only way to do that and ensure things stay lined up...

Should I remove the turbo pipe all the way, or just the metal bracket on the oil pan and the hose clamp near the intercooler? I don't even know if/how to loosen or remove it's connection to the turbo charger. From under the car or from engine bay?
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Old 01-11-2014, 02:03 PM   #8
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This part is always a bit of a pain at first. I don't know how you removed the plug with a pick, because the two 2.7Ts I've worked on have screws that hold them in place....

You need to removed the intercooler piping that is in the way. There are a couple of hex-head bolts that you can use a hex socket to remove, and a long flat tip screw driver will remove the band clamps. Removing will be a little easier than re-installing and you will be swearing a bit. Be ready for SOME oil to come out of the hoses when you open them.

Once you have the intercooler pipes removed, use a couple of long extentions through the wheel well, and a 10 MM socket to screw the plug in. You can reach up by hand at this point too and get it started - but I like to get it in firmly without cranking hard on it.
After much fighting I was able to squize a socket up there and remove the 10mm bolt that was holding it which almost fell on my face BUT the plug was still firmly in place... Since I couldn't fit my hand up there I had to use the longest and smallest pick I had and fight for about 30 min trying to loosen and pull the plastic plug out. That's what I meant. This thing is in a HORRIBLE location and the Blau instructions AND Bently are WORTHLESS on this step as they just gloss over HOW to reach this or if you need to remove anything and instead just say "insert crank locking pin"
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Old 01-11-2014, 02:42 PM   #9
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Yes, I know. You have to remove the pipes for the intercooler. It's just how it is. There are two allen socket bolts attaching one of the pipes to the bottom of the oil pan. I usually use gentle force to squeeze a hex socket in between the two coolant pipes that go over one of the bolts. Taking 20 minutes to remove the necessary parts will save you hours of frustration in trying to do something that is near impossible.
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Old 01-11-2014, 06:11 PM   #10
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Yes, I know. You have to remove the pipes for the intercooler. It's just how it is. There are two allen socket bolts attaching one of the pipes to the bottom of the oil pan. I usually use gentle force to squeeze a hex socket in between the two coolant pipes that go over one of the bolts. Taking 20 minutes to remove the necessary parts will save you hours of frustration in trying to do something that is near impossible.

I've removed those two hex bolts, should I removed/loosen the hose clamp where the metal pipe connects to the rubber one near the intercooler? Do I actually remove the pipe completely, or just push it aside or something? I can figure out where any other clamps/bolts are for the pipe near the TURBO side... Or how to access that area.
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Old 01-11-2014, 10:15 PM   #11
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Yes, I know. You have to remove the pipes for the intercooler. It's just how it is. There are two allen socket bolts attaching one of the pipes to the bottom of the oil pan. I usually use gentle force to squeeze a hex socket in between the two coolant pipes that go over one of the bolts. Taking 20 minutes to remove the necessary parts will save you hours of frustration in trying to do something that is near impossible.
HOW THE **** DO YOU GET THIS DAMN PIN IN?! I removed the hose clamp & two bolts for the pipe to the intercooler and can shift that maybe half an inch side to side and up or down but there is still NO WAY to squize my hand between the coolent pipes running to the passenger side and what I think is a sway bar. I still can't get a socket aligned to get this bolt in, I'm worried I'm going to strip it because I really have to put a lot of force on it the first two or three turns... Then I stop because I'm worried. This has got to be the worst designed thing in the world. I spent 9pm to 2am last night fighting with it and now two hours tonight. I'm almost to the point of towing the god damn car to the dealer & maxing out my card for $3000 for this service...

Or anyone want $200 near 99354 to come over and put this god damn bolt in?
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Old 01-12-2014, 03:23 AM   #12
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Is it possible to try it with a long extension with a "flex" or universal joint and 10mm socket? that's what I did on my 4.2. Search the forums, maybe someone already posted on how they did it on your engine...

I just checked, the manuals are useless on this. I am still thinking driver side wheel well maybe an option... doesn't help not being in front of it.. to guide you any better.
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Old 01-12-2014, 04:02 AM   #13
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Is it possible to try it with a long extension with a "flex" or universal joint and 10mm socket? that's what I did on my 4.2. Search the forums, maybe someone already posted on how they did it on your engine...

I just checked, the manuals are useless on this. I am still thinking driver side wheel well maybe an option... doesn't help not being in front of it.. to guide you any better.
I finally got it after I "made" and extension for a mirror and an old toothbrush to clean the socket as good as I could. Then using like a 18 inch extension with a swivel socket I went in through the wheel well (which I had been doing all night last night) and pulled the turbo pipe down as much as I could while trying to drive in the tool. This helped get JUST to the angle I needed to get the tool to seat even a little info the threads. Then I got out from under the car and leaned hard as heck on it and drove it in. Scary as heck because every two or three turns it got REALLY tight but I kept driving it (hoping I wasn't stripping it because well I don't think there is fixing that...) and finally it bottomed out about three threads from being all the way in.

Checked the crank and it wouldn't even rock back and forth... Though the arrow is no longer perfectly lined up with the notch on the pully. Looked down directly on top it looks lined up, BUT that little arrow is offset to the drivers side by like an inch or something and if you shift your head to look directly over the arrow, then you can tell it shifted a little bit. Both the big circles on the sprockets still look perfectly level and pointing inward so I'm hoping it's just a fluke or something... Either way tomorrow morning I use the breaker bar to get to that seal behind there...

If the damn access plug wasn't at a slight angle then it wouldn't have been so horrible from the wheel well, but the fact that by going in the wheel well puts you almost level with the access hole BUT it's angled down and you can't get the socket at the right angle because the Fing turbo pipe is in the way!!

I jammed it in with a straight socket, VERY gently pulled that out (after about 75 times of the tool falling right back out) then super gently fed in the swivel socket, backed it out a tread or two and tried to let gravity and the swivel drop it to the right angle... Gosh this is a horrible step!
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Old 01-12-2014, 04:25 AM   #14
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I still think it's a horrible design and horrible service guide. They should say how long of an extension you need and where to access it. Also, how hard would it have been to engineer a kind of guide that would ensure you were at the right angle?! Just one hole at the wheel well and one hole in a bracket near the engine so even if you're doing it blind (which you almost have too) you'll be lined up perfectly...
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Old 01-12-2014, 04:48 AM   #15
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I am sorry I didn't see this last night - I would have pulled the piping out completely to get it out of the way. Then a couple of straight extensions through the wheel well, if you find the right angle, will go straight to that hole. It also helps to slide further under the car than you think you need to, to get behind the frame, and look at it from another angle. You can get your hand in there and screw it in to get it started if the pipes are removed and you find the angle. You just have to slide under the car more than you think.
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Old 01-12-2014, 04:49 AM   #16
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How do you remove the bolt for the crank so you can replace the front seal, without locking the crank?
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Old 01-12-2014, 04:54 AM   #17
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I am sorry I didn't see this last night - I would have pulled the piping out completely to get it out of the way. Then a couple of straight extensions through the wheel well, if you find the right angle, will go straight to that hole. It also helps to slide further under the car than you think you need to, to get behind the frame, and look at it from another angle. You can get your hand in there and screw it in to get it started if the pipes are removed and you find the angle. You just have to slide under the car more than you think.
How do you remove the pipe completely? I can't even see where the turbo is from below the car and I can't follow the pipe more then an inch or two above and away from the oil pan... I was worried it would be impossible to actually connect the pipe again if I completely removed it but I couldn't even figure out how. I just removed the two bolts from the oil pan and the hose clamp near the intercooler (where the metal pipe connects to the rubber one)
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Old 01-12-2014, 04:56 AM   #18
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How do you remove the bolt for the crank so you can replace the front seal, without locking the crank?
Beats me, that's why I spent hours fighting with this, especially when I saw a bit of oil seep out the first time I turned the crank by hand a full revolution or two :-/
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Old 01-12-2014, 06:03 AM   #19
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It's the nature of the beast with engines shoehorned into spaces smaller than an F150 pickup.
Same with intercooler plumbing.
There is no premium or user benefit associated with maintainability…Ford tried it with the Maverick in the 70's and guess how that worked out! User/owner serviceability is a joke. Today's driver's want automatics, electronic connectivity, and apparently automatic driving so they can text and yap without the music of a V12 engine in their ears. I speak from the standpoint of an graduate engineer in maintainability engineering with the (former) US Army Materiel Command…maintainability is a driver in acquisition cost, yet not as prime a driver as performance.

You have a relatively high performance twin turbocharged dual overhead cam 4 valve per cylinder V6….arguably the epitome of engine development for the masses…a relatively high initial cost and high maintenance cost vehicle with almost 100hp/L (even though that's low these days for a forced induction engine) and 10+ years old.

It is what it is.
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Old 01-12-2014, 06:05 AM   #20
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How do you remove the pipe completely? I can't even see where the turbo is from below the car and I can't follow the pipe more then an inch or two above and away from the oil pan... I was worried it would be impossible to actually connect the pipe again if I completely removed it but I couldn't even figure out how. I just removed the two bolts from the oil pan and the hose clamp near the intercooler (where the metal pipe connects to the rubber one)
You need to slide under the car more and see it all from different angles. You can follow the metal tube back to a rubber hose that connects to the turbo with a band clamp. You can use a long screwdriver to unscrew the band clamp (It may have to be spun around to get access, which will take force, pry with the screwdriver carefully). It will then pop off. Putting it back on is a bit tricky and will cause some swearing in many situations.

My hands are fairly large, but not huge and I can reach up in there no problem ...but it isn't from the position you think. Normally I have my chest almost directly under the subframe when I reach in.

I've done this on an 01 and an 04, and while it is a bit of a pain, it isn't a multiple hour job by any means (maybe adds 30-45 minutes to the break down and reassembly if you have problems) - it is pretty smooth once you realize what you have to do.

I have been at your level of frustration before with these cars, so I know how stupid these engineers are looking to you right now - but I also know that sometimes if I take a long break and come back to the car, what once was hard becomes easy once I was rested, fresh and had a clear mind. I've spent hours on so many things on this car before just to come back the next day or a week later and have it take me 10 minutes with little effort.
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Old 01-12-2014, 06:05 AM
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