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Audi A4 Maintenance and Repair



  • vwdawgvwdawg Posts: 162
    Hey cru: Sounds like a nice rig. You don't state which engine...2.0T or 3.2 V6? Quattro? I'm not real knowledgeable about newer Audis, but particularly with the turbo, I would not consider it unless the seller can verify that only VW/Audi- approved synthetic (Mobil 1 0w-40, etc.) has been used. Are you familiar with engine sludge? Check past Edmunds forum commentary on that. In fact, I would want ALL service records and a Carfax just to see what past problems may have occurred, such as "Check Engine", ABS, or other electronic stuff. I'm not sure of the timing belt spec for your engine, but a belt change might be recommended at 90k. I'm sure this is an "interference" engine...if the belt breaks, the engine is usually toast. Many owners opt for a change at 75-85k...figure at least $900-1,000. Final note...I would recommend bringing it into a trustworthy independent Audi repair shop and have them check all systems (electronics, filters, brakes, tires, fluid leaks, suspension, exhaust, cooling, etc.). You may be amazed to see what 30 minutes of VAG diagnostics and a check underneath will reveal...well worth one or two hundred bucks and may save you a lot of pain or provide an improved negotiating position. Good luck. vwdawg/audiphile1
  • vwdawgvwdawg Posts: 162
    Hi mercops: Thanks for your thorough overview of the sludge issue. My oil pressure seems to be OK, and I did previously do the visual check under the filler cap. I couldn't see anything nasty, but wasn't sure if this was actually a way to check for this problem. I will do an "under the valve cover" inspection to see if there's any problem there. Perhaps I'm worrying more than I need to, but the horror stories out there make me a bit nervous. Thanks again for all the hints, and be well. vwdawg/audiphile1
  • No problem. What you may also consider, to put your mind to rest, is to perform a series of non-routine oil changes if you are handy with changing the oil yourself say at 1,000 mile intervals for the next 3,000 miles then doing normal oil changes after that.

    Cost outlay would only be for the oil (correct synthetic type & API recommendation) and good filtration. I try to stay with Mobil 1 Synthetic as it is a Group IV PAO synthetic oil and is probably one of the best on the market and is comparably priced.

    This process would help to flush any residual non-spec oil out of the engine and help to "clean" the internal parts of the engine.

    Again, one of the things that you can do to ensure you Audi keeps running is "routine" owner maintainance and a good inspection when changing the oil and servicing the car. These are the times to "catch" those small items before they worsen, plus you get to know your car and what is in need of attention.

    Good luck and let us know how you make out.

  • vwdawgvwdawg Posts: 162
    Can any Audi types tell me where I can locate the EGR on the above vehicle? I have a basic manual which provides instructions on cleaning/replacement, but no photos showing location. Thanks, vwdawg/audiphile1
  • vwdawgvwdawg Posts: 162
    Thanks again for the additional info. Yes, I do almost all of my work myself, and I have used only Mobil 1 0w-40 in my Passat since I heard of the sludge problems. You are certainly correct, one does get to know his/her rig when one does the work. I bought my old '97 A4 almost two years ago, AZ car, Sun City condition with 80k. I have owned four V-dubs with fairly good experience, and have been generally happy with the '97. However, not knowing much about Audis, I have replaced four control arms, two tie rod ends and one wheel bearing myself, and had the timing belt done by a good shop. The car APPEARED to be very well maintained, but I discovered that the cooling system and cabin filter were disgustingly filthy, indicating that the prior owned wasn't very diligent. All in all, not too bad of an experience, but I now believe that a diagnostic/inspection prior to buying is a very worthwhile investment. Thanks again. vwdawg/audiphile1
  • Sounds like a guy after my own heart, working on your own car! It's the only way you get to really know it's quirks!

    As for your comment relating to the prior owner not being diligent, Do not blame the owner. I own a 2002 A-4 Quattro that I took to the dealer religiously and I thought it was well maintained. After the car went off of warranty several problems popped up that sort of focused "lack of Dealer attention" to the car when it was in for normal servicing. Most notably, at 51k miles was the "non-service" of the air filter (engine air) that was not changed, (clogged with leaves, dirt & bugs) even though it was logged (at 40k miles) in the paperwork by the dealer that it had. Dealers have been know, especially when "performing" maintenance services during the first 50k to sometimes "pencilwhip" some of the items that need servicing. This is for several reasons...1 they get reimbursed by the parent company (AUDI-USA), 2. Their service dept. is usually understaffed and focusing on big money repairs, not the mundane items. So for the dealer its a win-win, low labor, easy reimbursement and the customer generally never questions it until the warranty runs out...then they are on their own.

    I said it earlier, best to crawl around inside your own car and be familiar with it by doing the routine maintenance yourself. Then you know it was done, it was done correctly, and you can take pride in making it run as it should.
  • I looked in my manuals and did not find any info that relates to a 1997 model. I did however find online a reference to it for the previous model year (1996). Don't know if this helps but here is the website:
  • I've read a few posts about the exterior door trim clips rusting and the trim falling off. I'm having that issue now. Anyone know where I can buy the trim and clips and what is involved in replacement if I do this myself?
  • My son a Marine just back from Afghanistan, has a question. HE is out in Cali. I am in Minnesota. so I I need to explain it to him.He is trying to remove and replace a timing valve cover seal on his audi a4 1.8 ltr. turbo any help would be appreciated.
  • My Parking Brake alarm is going off; 3 beeps every time. Going to get it fixed when I do my scheduled maintenance this week or next. In the meantime is there a fuse I can yank, or anyway to temporarily disable the alarm? Thanks!

  • I've taken my car in on at least 4 occasions now over the last year. Its been going through oil like crazy. They've tried a number of fixes including one last Saturday when they said the oil plug needed replacing. Less than a week after that fix, I get the low oil light coming on and I find I'm about a quart low.

    I didn't see any drips under the car (like I had recently). This oil issue is getting to be a real pain and I'm considering pursuing Lemon Law relief.

    The car is is 2007 A4 2.0. Any advice?
  • vwdawgvwdawg Posts: 162
    2007? Sounds like a warranty item...get it into the dealer immediately and tell them to fix it (your warranty is still valid, right?). vwdawg/audiphile1
  • vwdawgvwdawg Posts: 162
    Hi: You're referring to the "valve cover", right? I just replaced the left side cover gasket on my 2.8 V6, and it was fairly easy. I'm not sure if the 1.8T is as simple, but if your son is a do-it-yourselfer, it would probably be most efficient if he picked up an Edmunds, Haynes or Chilton manual for his vehicle, and follow the step- by- step instructions. vwdawg/audiphile1
  • First off welcome your son home for us and second, thank him for the great job he is doing!

    If you are referring to the "cylinder head cover" that covers the overhead cams, it is fairly straight forward for an A-4 with 1.8 turbo engine.

    Several "useful things to buy (have on hand) before you start:

    1-Several (6-8) 11/4 - 11/2 thin hose clamps to replace any of the original that must be cut or pried off)

    2-Small bunch (8-10) of plastic wire ties for replacing the ingition coil one that must be cut to remove the wires from the "cylinder head cover" and to replace any found broken.

    3-Clean repeat, clean rags

    4-Spray can of brake cleaner for cleaning the cover once removed from the engine

    5-Plastic baggies for the loose nuts, bolts, etc that you remove. As you remove a piece, keep all the associated nuts, bolts, etc with the piece you remove. If things are kept clean and orderly, re-assembly is a quick process. I usually tie the bag of items to the part and place out of the way.

    6-Gasket and sealing ring kit (plus specified gasket adhesive for the 2 cross over gaskets).

    7-Also find a digital camera works well to document each step of the process as you go, so you can refer to where certain nuts, bolts, wires and parts go, should you get confused.

    8. Air filter should you chose to change it while you are in there.

    For model years 2002-2007 engines, here is the process from the manual:


    1-Remove the engine cover (plastic cover with logo & 3 screws)

    2-Remove air cleaner cover, if equipped (plastic shield)

    3-Remove 2 screws that hold air cleaner snorkel to front cowling; disengage EVAP canister purge regulator valve N80 from the air duct (at back of air duct where it attaches to filter box).

    4-Remove air duct snorkel from air cleaner box by pulling unit to the back and pulling up.

    Note: If you want to change the air filter, now is a good time. This is done by: Loosen and disconnect any other hose or adapter that attaches to the air cleaner housing. Loosen the screws that hold the air cleaner halves together and swing the air cleaner half towards the engine while lifting up. this exposes the air filter. (do not be alarmed if you find a lot of dirt, bugs and leaves) Remove the filter, clean the filter case (vacuum works best) and replace filter unit, then reassemble.

    5-Remove crankcase breather line (it attaches to the rear of the "cylinder head cover" and is the top most metal pipe with 2 hose clamps, one on each end.

    6-Remove the heat shield and secondary air combustion (metal pipe located below first metal pipe removed)Remove as each piece separately (heat shield first, metal pipe, second)

    7-Remove the ground wire from the "cylinder head cover" (located between the front 2 spark plug ignition coils)

    8-Disconnect the ignition coil connectors (located on each spark plug coil unit)

    9-Move all wiring clear and pull out ignition coils by grasping firmly and slightly twisting to pull straight up.

    10-Release the 2 retaining clips for the top section of the toothed belt guard; loosen the hose that runs along the front from its retainers; clean the guard before reinstalling as well as clean the exterior of the "cylinder head cover" with a clean rag to remove any dirt or grease.

    11-Loosen (do not remove yet) the 9 nuts holding down the "cylinder head cover" (3 on the top (edge), 3 on the middle (inner) and 3 on the lower end (edge))

    12-Remove the 9 nuts holding the "cylinder head cover" and gently rap thew cover to loosen it with either a rawhide or rubber mallet (or in lieu, rap against a soft piece of wood with a regular hammer. Don't overdo it as the cover is aluminum and can be misformed easily); lift the cover straight up off the studs.

    13- The cover will now be removed. This is when you can clean it (I found "brake cleaner" works best) thoroughly. Remove and discard the gasket and sealing rings.


    1-Install in reverse order, paying attention to the following:

    2-Replace gaskets and sealing rings with new units.

    3-First tighten (snug enough but not over tightened) the inner nuts for the "cylinder head cover" starting in the middle working to the end; then tighten outer nuts in a diagonal sequence.

    4- Ensure the top section of the toothed belt guard is seated correctly.

    5-Tightening Specifications call for torque on "cylinder head cover" to cylinder head torque of 10Nm (you can get lb conversions at:

    Remember, take your time, proceed with direction and refer to your photos as you go and things will work out favorably.

  • On my way home from having my water pump replaced I noticed that my heater was now not working. Well above 2000 RPM it works great but below 2000 RPM it blows out completely cold air. Before the water pump repair the heater had always worked great. I call the repair shop they said that the heat core must be going out or an air bubble in the coolant. Any other possibilities? Audi A4 1.8 70K miles.
  • Yeah probably they didn't bleed the air out properly, or they didn't put enough coolant in.
  • vwdawgvwdawg Posts: 162
    tllmsod: Who did the pump replacement? I suspect it was NOT an Audi specialist. It seems a very strange coincidence that this problem developed right after the pump work was done. The "air bubble" idea is reasonable, but don't get sucked into a heater core replacement ($1,200-1,500!!) until other corrective options are followed. Does this shop know that the one of the heater core hoses (located just forward of the firewall..I think it's the RIGHT side hose) must be pulled back so that the small hole in the hose is off of the nipple. The coolant reservoir must be raised about 4-6" which will cause any air in the core to be bled off. When coolant starts to geyser out of the hole, you will know that the air is out, and the hose must then be pushed back on to the nipple. Also, my understanding is that some Audis have a bleed screw at the front topside of the engine, but not sure which years (my '97 2.8 does NOT). One other sure that they reloaded the system with orange G12 coolant and nothing else. My advice, as always, is to use a trustworthy shop that specializes in German'll be happier in the long run. Let us know what you find out. audiphile/vwdawg
  • sometimes even the sign "german auto specialist" isn't good enough for Audis. The independent shop that works on Mercedes might not have a clue about Audis or Porsches.
  • They definitely did not bleed the air out of the cooling system. This is a very dangerous situation as the engine will most likely also be "starving for coolant".

    If this is a A4 - 1.8 engine, you are also most likely experiencing an erratic reading on the temperature guage, in that it "sticks" and then jumps to a higher temperature. You can bleed most, but not all of the air from the cooling system yourself if you are handy.

    First routine (TAKES TWO PEOPLE, ONE IN THE CAR THE OTHER UNDER THE HOOD) is while the engine is cold, remove the coolant fill cap. Fill the reservoir to the required level (DO NOT OVERFILL). Start the engine and run the engine up to 1500 RPM for several minutes to heat the engine and coolant up to operating temperature, allowing the thermostat to open. Once it opens, the person under the hood should see the coolant level change as coolant is drawn into the engine and air is expelled. Maintain engine RPM's until most air is expelled, while topping off the fluid level. When most air has been expelled replace the coolant cap prior to dropping the engine RPM's to idle. (THIS IS IMPORTANT AS REDUCTION OF ENGINE RPM WITH CAP OFF WILL CAUSE COOLANT TO OVERFLOW THE RESERVOIR!!)

    Additionally, on most model years of A4 1.8 engines there is located under the "plastic engine cover" a coolant pipe that runs from front of the engine to the rear on the side of the engine near the intake manifolds. Located about halfway down is a "allen screw" located on top of the pipe. With the engine in idle, (AND PRIOR PROCESS COMPLETED) you can loosen the allen screw partially (DO NOT REMOVE COMPLETELY!) this will allow any remaining air out of the pipe and the coolant system. You may need to refill the coolant level after this process also.

  • My 2005.5 Audi A4 has been nothing but trouble. I'll enumerate the issues, but first...

    Sadly, I was warned about the lack of quality in Audi vehicles and the unusual nature of the issues that can occur. For a luxury vehicle, the issues that I have experienced should not have occurred. Luxury just doesn't mean quality materials and expensive designs. It is about building a vehicle to a standard in which the owners do not have to spend their time and money on fixes that are on the periphery of the vehicles functionality.

    I am not overly upset, I am disappointed in my purchase. I just feel stupid for ignoring my peers and purchasing an Audi. The quality just isn't there. The ownership and admission of legitimate issues isn't there.

    I know that you hear this a lot, but I don't see myself ever purchasing an Audi again or recommending someone to purchase one. The total cost of repair, the time spent fixing/waiting for repairs to take place seem the trump all positive things that an Audi is.

    When I bought this vehicle I was proud of driving it, but now I see it as one of the worst purchases I have ever made, and I bought my house in 2006 so that should tell you have much I regret this purchase.

    I should have kept my Honda. No ignition coil problems, no fuel intake fan issues, no turbo valve malfunctioning, no air bag indicator light illuminating and no unlatched trunk (and yes, this has all happened in 6 months).

    Audi, quality is not just meeting, but exceeding customer expectations. Whether it is a used or new vehicle, it's your name on that car. It's your reputation whether it was sold by an authorized dealer or Bob down the block. These issues would not have been caught by either. My expectations haven't even been exceeded, let alone met.

    So what are you going to do? What is Audi North America going to do? I am going to suggest that in all likelihood nothing. I am just one customer with a list of complaints/concerns. In a grand scheme of things, this email could easily be forgotten. I hope not. Regardless, it's been rather therapeutic.

    I hope this lands in the hands of someone who cares ; someone that has spent a great deal of money on something and felt slighted; someone with enough guts to do something about my concerns; someone to call, be an honest person and say 'these issues shouldn't be happening.'

    Quality is your legacy. Take Ownership.

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