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Need help identifying part leaking oil...

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Old 11-16-2017, 04:49 AM
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Default Need help identifying part leaking oil...

The leak is going down the driver side engine block about an inch away from where it meets the transmission. There is a good amount of oil a bit lower where it seems to puddle. My A4 had a oil cooler leak and it was known to start engine fires, so I want to take care of this if it is a problem.

Saturday I found oil dripping down to the oil pan from above. My wife had time to take it to our indy mechanic yesterday only to be told they could only find a drop of oil and they had no clue where it was coming from. They said it could be the secondary oil separator but couldn't be sure with such a small amount of oil. Looking a little harder I think I found the source but have no clue what this part is, it does not look like the pics of the secondary oil separator I found. I think the oil separator is in the bottom of the pic below, the part I suspect is more on the back of the engine and there appears to be hole or chip missing right were the oil starts.

What is this part? Is this nothing to be concerned with?


Last edited by jiggysmb; 11-16-2017 at 07:28 AM.
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Old 11-16-2017, 08:55 AM
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Looking at a parts diagram, I believe this is the water pump belt cover on the back of engine? My indy shop told me the cover itself is not sealed but there is a bearing/seal inside that if that fails the Q5 is known to cause engine failure?! Can anyone provide insight as I don't see this issue anywhere. The indy said to go directly to the dealer but it would be $1000-1500.

Last edited by jiggysmb; 11-16-2017 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 11-16-2017, 06:32 PM
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Well you could have the dealer diagnose the problem first and not proceed to fix it until you understand what is leaking and the severity of the problem..
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Old 11-17-2017, 04:40 AM
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Originally Posted by arter View Post
Well you could have the dealer diagnose the problem first and not proceed to fix it until you understand what is leaking and the severity of the problem..
Thanks arter, if you take a look at my second post the cause is explained. Oil leaking from shaft that drives water pump on back of engine.
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Old 11-17-2017, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by jiggysmb View Post
Thanks arter, if you take a look at my second post the cause is explained. Oil leaking from shaft that drives water pump on back of engine.
Sorry, I have only seen belt driven water pumps ( that leak coolant).
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Old 11-17-2017, 10:58 AM
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Unless the oil is dripping on your exhaust system (manifold, converter, etc.) I wouldn't expect it could cause a fire. But puddles under the car and excess oil consumption still are a nuisance. Whether that leak can leak to mechanical failure, I just don't know. I'm not familiar with shaft-driven water pumps and what else might get involved there.

The big question being, if you ask the service advisor "How much will it cost to replace the water pump shaft oil seal? And how critical is that?"

If they say $1500, or you can just add a can of oil every 3000 miles...Maybe it is time for a different car, maybe it is worth the expense.
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Old 11-17-2017, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Redd View Post
Unless the oil is dripping on your exhaust system (manifold, converter, etc.) I wouldn't expect it could cause a fire. But puddles under the car and excess oil consumption still are a nuisance. Whether that leak can leak to mechanical failure, I just don't know. I'm not familiar with shaft-driven water pumps and what else might get involved there.

The big question being, if you ask the service advisor "How much will it cost to replace the water pump shaft oil seal? And how critical is that?"

If they say $1500, or you can just add a can of oil every 3000 miles...Maybe it is time for a different car, maybe it is worth the expense.
Redd, dealer said $1600 to drop transmission to investigate. They said there was no reason oil would be in that area and they have never seen anything like it...
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Old 11-17-2017, 03:52 PM
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Sorry, jiggy. Apparently I grossly misread you.
If things are that uncertain, then start with a clean slate and do it old school:
Steam clean the engine bay, you can do that with a hot water or steam gun at a car wash or radiator shop if need be. (Yes, due care for electrics and intake and such.)
Run the engine till it is dry again. Spray some rust preventive or light oily spray on anything that might start to form surface rust, i.e. bolts.
Now talc the engine. Plain unscented talcum powder, dust it up. Anything that leaks will leave tracks in the talc coating.

At that point, you can just drive the car for a day or two, and then examine carefully to find the tracks. The oil may be coming down from somewhere else and just running to that area.

If you want to make life even easier, find out if UV dye in the oil would be a problem for Audi. (Because of the turbo, etc.) Plain air conditioning dye tracer is fluorescent dye in mineral oil, it is also sold in auto machine shops. You pour maybe an ounce into the engine, let it circulate and run for two days. Then you pull the car into a dark place, and hit the engine with a UV tracer light, same thing used for AC and oil both. Anyplace the oil has been running, should leave a bright UV track back to the source. And if it has been making tracks through that light talc coating...all the easier to spot.

It may be hard to get clear word from Audi as to whether that's a problem for these cars, but I suspect that using it, and then doing an oil change afterwards, would be safe enough.
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Old 11-19-2017, 01:40 PM
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Are you sure that it is oil and not coolant? Some of these new coolants are dark colored. What is the color of the coolant in your coolant overflow tank?

That is the water pump belt cover and is easy to remove. Once the cover is off you can get a better look to see if it is oil coming from the belt drive gear area or indeed just a leaking water pump.
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Old 11-20-2017, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Bob Petruska View Post
Are you sure that it is oil and not coolant? Some of these new coolants are dark colored. What is the color of the coolant in your coolant overflow tank?

That is the water pump belt cover and is easy to remove. Once the cover is off you can get a better look to see if it is oil coming from the belt drive gear area or indeed just a leaking water pump.
Bob, I think you are right that it is coolant. The puddle on the block must have rusted a bit making it look dark brown when I wiped it with a white towel. I sprayed the area with carb cleaner and dried with compressed air this weekend. I immediately noticed a white powdery residue on the engine block like you see on the bottom of your coolant tank cap. I guess that is a common issue with the Q5? It seems hard to get at as a DIY job, do you happen to know cost for a shop to swap the pump?

Redd, Thanks for the tip to start with the clean slate. I was going crazy between oil consumption and thinking this was a blown out engine seal leaking oil. Just shows the quality of VW/Audi techs in the area...

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