Major Engine Failure

shibs100shibs100 Member Posts: 8
edited March 2014 in Audi
I have a 1998 A4 Quattro. 67,000 miles. when i was driving it a couple of days ago i heard a bang and the engine stopped. the dealer says my timing belt didn't break, the oil pump works, there is oil in the car, but there was a MECHANICAL FAILURE. My engine seized up. I need a new engine. Cost = $11 grand. The car is not even worth that much!!! What should i do? isn't this a defect. I followed the maintainance schedule. how should i react, please help.


  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    if you need to keep driving it, I'd have the local junkyard pulse the network for a used engine, and have that dropped in. can't be any worse than a seized one.

    if there is aftermarket or factory warranty left, get it repaired or replaced. you may get some adjustment from VW if you ask for it, but with 67 thousand, I would not be expecting it.

    IMHO an engine should go for at least 150,000 miles with normal maintenance, but that is not an offer of warranty to anybody for anything.

    it stinks. but stuff happens and then you die... hopefully not tonight, and not from this.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    $11K? Really? Sounds a bit hyperbolic to me. I could build a Porsche engine for that.

    I really don't think you have a prayer at 67K other than perhaps some magnanimous goodwill gesture on VW's part. Warranty is up, that's the end of the ballgame.

    As for coping with this most unfortunate circumstance, I think the used engine route is a good one. Car is certainly worth keeping, as it is worth very little as is.

    Don't make a quick decision on this. Explore the alternatives. I'm sure you can get it fixed much muich cheaper that the prices quoted. Sounds like someone is trying to scare you and steal your car.
  • gearhead10gearhead10 Member Posts: 84
    Donate it to one of those charities that claim to give you full retail blue book for your car, running or not. Heard a radio ad recently about this where they claimed to take a car with a blown tranny. I'll leave it up to you what you think is blue book value...
  • chaseboychaseboy Member Posts: 30
    This is the kind of post that worries me. I have a 2001 Audi A4 quattro, and after reading so many quality/reliability posts by other owners, i am scared silly. i mean, my audi only has 16,000 and is almost 2 years old. i absolutely love the car, and it is so much more fun to drive than any other car i have own or do own, including a Lexus and an Acura. However, i am very worried about out-of-warranty repairs after my car reaches 50k. i would be interested in an extended warranty, but don't know who to really go with for such a purchase. i don't want to be cheated, and i expect exceptional service from whoever underwrites the extended warranty. as far as your dilemma, i am truly sorry that your engine blew like that, but i would also look into a used engine, get it working, and then get rid of it somehow. i hate to say that, but i am the type of person that have had cars last to at least 150k before i sold/traded it in. but with an engine blowout at only 65k, i would try to get rid of the vehicle before anything else comes up, like the transmission or something of the like. just my thoughts.
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    You need to have it torn down to see the exact cause of failure, preferably by an unbiased recognized shop or the dealer if they could be trusted to give a fair opinion. Then you would know whether a rebuild is a possibility as well as whether there was simply a bad component that failed.
  • shibs100shibs100 Member Posts: 8
    When I took it in the dealer said they couldn't crank it manually. They said they needed $600 to find out what the problem was. When they called me the next day all they said was that the oil pump worked and the timing chain was not broken, but i needed a new engine. when i pressed him for information on what happened, he said he needed $1700 more to take off the heads and look at the interior of the engine. He would not give me a reason the engine failed except there was a mechanical failure in the engine and I needed a new one. When I told him the car wasn't even worth $11K, he said i could trade it in and since they can fix it cheaper than i can, they would give me some value for it. I'm not happy with this guy right now. I want to know what happened to my engine before i do anything.

    Does anyone know how much a used 2.8 V6 engine would cost? Thanks for the advice everyone.
  • cutehumorcutehumor Member Posts: 137
    I had a 183k mile 87 corolla back in 1/00 I was at the dealer to get a tuneup done because the car was quitting at idle. I brought it to the toyota dealer. service advisor said that one of the spark plugs wouldn't come off and if I signed a paper they would keep trying. I signed, but the tech ended up breaking a spark plug off. then they were trying to push me to get the engine rebuilt for $2000 bucks. I said "the car isn't even worth $2k") service advisor said that one of his techs is interested in my car and wanted to buy it. I declined engine rebuild and offer to buy. After charging me 90 bucks for "trying to get the broken spark plug off", when I disputed it. the service advisor adamantly said "my guy tried to get it out for 1.5 hours" He tried to get me to sell the car again. "sell the car to the tech and let him eat the 90 dollar cost" I said no and paid the 90 bucks so my car can get released. I took the car back to my house running on 3 cylcinders. Strangely enough my battery died from being on the lot for 5-6 days. it was an autozone duralast gold 7 yr battery that was in the car for only 2.5 years. autozone tested said the battery was fine. I wonder if they switched parts out of my car like the alternator without my knowledge since the tech wanted my car so bad.

    this happened when I was 22 and dumb about cars. I've researched this over the years.

    A) why didn't they use a helicoil kit to repair the thread?
    B) after having another idle problem like that in another car, I did research and I used an old toothbrush and a car of carb cleaner in throttle body that cured it. I wonder if it would have fixed the idle problem in my toyota as well. thus avoiding the broken spark plug.

    here's my two cents regarding your audi. I wouldn't give the dealer any money to investigate especially if they are chargin you almost 2 grand to just to look at it. I would put a used engine. you can go about this two ways: engine from junkyard or get a remanufactured engine from jasper engines. junkyard engine is most likely the cheaper way. I wouldn't let the dealer do the R & R; I'm sure there are independent audi specialists out there that can R & R an engine cheaper.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    How exactly do they test an oil pump on a seized engine?

    At this point it doesn't much matter why it failed. If you don't have extended warranty you have to face the facts that this is your baby now, sad to say.

    I'd guess you could have a used engine installed for around $3,500-$4,000, anticipating all the "extras". But I don't know the shop rate in your area and most of this work is labor. I'd guess where I am it would be maybe 25 hours + $1,500 for an engine, but you know it's been a while since I've explored these prices. I'm really only guessing and could be off.

    Anyone else have more concrete info?
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    (near Woodstock) that do nothing but Audis (salvage/rebuild/parts):

    They have everything you need. Your profile doesn't show what state you're in, but a great idea would be to follow Shifty's advice and have a shop do the job (private Audi/VW place, preferably) - contact Shokan - they ship nationwide, or if you're in NY, tow it to them and have them do the work.

    I've been to their place - impressive.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,338
    Eleven Thousand Dollars??

    I can't believe what things cost these days!

    I wouldn't pay them to tear an engine apart when they know it's shot anyway.

    And I would probably go the used engine route. After that, I would dump the car.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    this is head versus heart here, but the general direction of audi discussions I have lurked in runs to, "drives great" and "$$^*&%&^$^ broke again."

    if "drives great" spins your wheels, run it until you figure you made a profit on the deal, and trade.

    most junkyards will pull another one for you within something between 30 and 90 days for free if your major part fails, be sure to ask for it though.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Yeah but you pay the labor twice.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    there is always a catch. when something does not perform to expectations, you always feel cheated and pay more.

    to some extent, warranty is a feel-good extended to buyers to make them secure in their decision to buy something. always has been. but as the price goes up, it takes on a little extra meaning.

    shibs100 may or may not be walking right now, but in the end, he is the one who has to decide what price he's going to pay to get the audi back on the road, and how much cuddling and goodwill he needs to justify his decision. all we can do is just offer options and stand back :(
  • q45manq45man Member Posts: 416
    Don't just think a junk yard engine can be dropped in any car. There are R&R expenses: plugs, wires, timing/drive belts,hoses,front and rear main seals, valve cover gaskets, etc. things that need to be changed from just sitting and things that should be changed when its easy for the long guess is just under $5,000 for a decent job with a 12/12k warranty.

    Almost any engine [even imported V8] can be changed in 25 hours by an expert.
    We change at least 1 per month on Lexus and Infiniti but they usually have at least 200,000 miles of use.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,338
    It's not like the "old days" these junkyards...ah, excuse me..."Auto Dismantlers" don't exactly give them away anymore!

    They seem to have a formula where they know just how much they can charge before the customer will just go with a rebuilt.
  • shibs100shibs100 Member Posts: 8
    I called the dealer back. he said they had taken off the heads and found the cylinder(s) had filled with fuel. since liquid cannot be compressed the engine "hydrolocked" and couldn't be cranked. The engine block was not damaged :):) but some valves were unseated. he wasn't positive what caused this (injector, computer, fuel regulator) but said the repairs would be significantly cheaper. hopefully I can get out of this relatively unscathed. he's going to call me tomorrow morning w/ an update.

    I found a used engine with 22k on it for $2,500. There is local shop that can have it installed for $1,600. I added $400 for extra parts/charges. $4,500. unless the dealer charges me out of the azz im probably going to go ahead and let them fix it. a whole lot less hassle.

    thanks everyone for their advice, i'll give an update of the situation when i get it.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    if it hydrolocked on fuel, and it was my car, the repairs would have to also include replacement of all fuel delivery items that could have caused it, or else they would have to warrant the work for a year.

    none of that stuff would be replaced if a crate /or/ a junkyard engine was dropped in, either. "stuff" referring to fuel pump and/or pressure regulator, engine computer. other injectors would presumably come with a full crate engine or a junkyard pull, not on a short block, and you would keep your own if the engine was rebuilt locally.

    just my two cents worth. but I'd like to see 'em fix the delivery issues with the block open on your existing engine before putting another in.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastMember Posts: 1,712
    1998 Audi A4 Quattro Sedan V6-2771cc 2.8L DOHC (AHA)
    Part OEM Part Price
    Engine Short Block 078100103SX $3438.00
            Includes: Crankshaft, Pistons, Oil Pump & Oil Pan.
    Engine Replace
          Complete Assembly Without Transfer of Parts B 10.5
                Does Not Include: Transfer Of Any Part Or Engine Or Replacement Of Optional Equipment.
          Complete Assembly With Transfer of Parts B 12.8
                Includes: Transfer All Fuel & Electrical Units. Does Not Include: Transfer Of Optional Equipment.
          Long Block B 16.8
                Includes: R&I Engine And Transfer All Necessary Components Not Supplied With Long Block.
       Overhaul/Rebuild A 30.8
            Includes: Disassemble & Clean Engine, Ridge Ream & Hone Cylinders. Inspect & Replace All Necessary Components, R&I Engine, Grind Valves & Tune-Up.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Hmmm...I'm still not quite buying this. It hydrolocked while RUNNING? How is that possible?

    Now, it could have been running like a wet dog and the excessive fuel could have washed the cylinders dry and then seized them. But I can't imagine the engine taking in that much fuel while the piston and valves are working away in there at high speed. It couldn't pump it fast enough.

    So this is not a correct diagnosis in my opinion.

    Either the cylinders did seize from having no oil on the walls, or the car hydrolocked while being started up, after the fuel actually had time to fill up the cylinders.

    I suppose it is possible that you did the damage by a partial hydrolock when you started up, and then drove the car with valves bent, etc. until it gave up. That's seems plausible.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,338
    And if this were the case, think how it would have been running!

    Something seems funny here...
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    stereotypical guesswork from the service advisor...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I'll bet that engine is fried inside, washed clean of lubrication, causing a seizure.

    the only way an engine could hydrolock while under full speed would be running through a deep puddle or creek and having a huge amount of liquid sucked into the air intake...we are talking gallons per second here.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
  • shibs100shibs100 Member Posts: 8
    the problems started with a bad battery. I was exiting the freeway and the engine died. I started it while still moving but it died again. I stopped and the second time i tried to start it I revved the engine when i cranked it. that's when i heard the bang. I don't know if starting it multiple times caused the cylinder to flood. yea, its possible the engine seized and then flooded. I hope not.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,338
    Is not a good thing.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Well then it didn't hydrolock, so that's not what happened.

    If excess fuel washed the cylinders clean, then we would find a very high reading on the dipstick.
  • dunkmydonutdunkmydonut Member Posts: 35
    Hi shibs,

    I was just curious as to whether or not any CEL or oil warning lights came on before the engine blew. Also I would imagine in an upsetting situation like that, it woud be easy to over rev the engine in an attempt to keep it running.

    I also question as to how they knew the oil pump was ok in a blown engine.

    Also 11 grand for an engine? It must be the gold series in made out of solid gold.

    If you put in another engine, Hope it works out for you.

    I must say that I long for the good old carb and ignition points days, as I read more and more horror stories in these forums.

    Good luck with what you do.
  • shibs100shibs100 Member Posts: 8
    cost - $3,800
    They said some valves were bent and needed to be replaced. They checked the pistons, they were OK. They also recommended replacing the water pump and timing belt while they were messing around in there

    dunk, no warning lights came on when I was trying to restart it. It's possible I overevved, but I don't think I did. they told me they took off the oil pump and were able to spin it. If it didn't hydrolock, I'm not sure what caused the valves to bend.

    I guess i'll go ahead, bite the bullet and let them fix it. Its really the only way I can restore value in my car. In the next couple of months, I'll scratch a little money up, trade the car in and get something else. I don't trust my car anymore, even though it will probably be set up to run great for a little while. I think i'll get the BMW I wanted in the first place.
  • shibs100shibs100 Member Posts: 8
    thanks for everyone's advice. great knowledge on the board, and most of all emotional support.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Okay then if the pistons and rods are okay, it didn't hydrolock, it was over-revved perhaps.

    Hydro-locking can't bend valves, at least I dont think so unless someone can explain how.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    the definition of hydrolock is you try to compress the (essentially) incompressible -- liquid -- and the compressing stuff breaks. which means the valves have to be sealed.

    shop has some more 'splainin' left to do.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Right, if the valves are open nothing can bend and if the valves are closed up into the head, how can you possibly bend them? It's the connecting rods that bend in hydro-lock, not the valves.

    the hydro-lock diagnosis is, in this x case, apparently bogus.

    Hydrolock (as opposed to just a seizure) often results in the total destruction of the rods. They are the only thing that can "give" a little. A piston isn't going to flatten and a crankshaft isn't going to bend (probably not).
  • q45manq45man Member Posts: 416
    "Hydro-locking can't bend valves, at least I dont think so unless someone can explain how"

    On some interference engines the piston's have fly cuts and the MARGIN is only 20-30 degrees of timing [2 teeth on cam gear]rotation, the extreme pressure of hydro [gasoline or water]locking can cause the chain or belt to slip/jump enough so after/during/just before the rod bends the valves may hit the piston. 99% of the time bent valves mean timing slips.

    We see lots of timing belts installed wrong [by independents or brothers in law] where timing is off 10 degrees [1 tooth].....whether they slipped after or just didn't do it correctly?]......the safety margin gets diminished.

    Double whammy.........seen this on a few early Q45 [90-93] but the mileage was above 100k and the guides and tensioners were not in good shape.

    I have a collection of bent rods from owners thinking their cars were boats [many with aftermarket cold air cone intake filters] and a few from independent shops not understanding to release the fuel rail pressure before changing a sidefeed injector.

    55 cc of space can't accomidiate 56 cc [2 ounces of fluids]of non compressible fluids.
  • shibs100shibs100 Member Posts: 8
    So, the engine hydrolocked, the timing belt slipped and then the valves were damaged after that. That sounds possible. But how did that engine get hydrolocked in the first place? Over-revving maybe. If that happened, is there a good chance the connecting rods are damaged/weakened? That makes me real nervous.

    Also, maybe there was no hydrolock at all. The timing belt could of slipped during revving, the valves bent and then the cylinder filled with fuel afterward. That seems possible too.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Well the engine can't hydrolock while it is running unless you run through a creek or unless it has filled up with fuel or water overnight. You need a large volume of liquid to hydro-lock.

    So did you run through a creek, or did you turn the key in the morning and hear a CLUNK and that was it? If neither of those scenarios, you didn't hydrolock, seems to me.

    If your engine truly "hydro-locked", that is, was stopped dead by liquid in the cylinders, then the rods are almost definitely bent.

    RE: valves bent--it still doesn't make sense.

    If the engine truly "hydro-locks" the pistons aren't moving. They can't hit the valves even if the timing belt slips from the sudden seizure of the engine.

    But I understand that the hydrolocking of an engine is a dramatic and unpredictable event, so maybe in a rare case the pistons could travel enough to just catch the valves if the timing belt slips a fraction of a second before seizure. It seems like a string of unlikely co-incidences, but stranger things have happened.

    You'd think, though, that the slippage of the belt would relieve the pressure in the cylinders.

    So how about this? Engine starts to hydrolock--the sudden deceleration of the pistons causes the timing belt to slip, the pressure is relieved on the pistons so the rods DON'T bend, engine doesn't seize, but valves are smacked by runaway pistons?

    But if the engine came into the shop locked tight, then the rods almost have to be bent, otherwise there is no explanation for the seizure other than oil starvation---which means a totally lunched engine.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,338
    Most modern car have RPM limiters that kick in at redline don't they?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Yep but not on downshifting...that's when most over-rev damage happens anyway. You accidentally slam the gearbox into 2nd gear at 75 mph and on most cars that's it for the engine if you don't catch it in time, or compression brake into a tree.
  • cyberpmgcyberpmg Member Posts: 83
    I agree that there are RPM limiters when upshifting, but with the Tiptronic transmission, there are also limiters when downshifting as well. When in Tip mode, I cannot downshift if it would take the RPM beyond the redline. I would have to slow the RPM down in the current gear before it would allow the downshift.

    I don't know if shibs100 has a manual or Tiptronic transmission. I didn't see anything mentioned in this thread.
  • shibs100shibs100 Member Posts: 8
    I have a manual. When I heard the clunk i was in neutral. I just started the car , revved it, and "bang" it died.

    The dealer called me again. They fixed the engine but when they put it together they found the a/c compressor was locked up. It won't turn. I need a new one. $1200. Could that have been the problem all along. I'm getting really frustrated. This is gonna cost me over 5K now. I don't know if i trust the dealership. Does what they are telling me and what happened to my car make sense?
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    with the a/c compressor locked, you will spend a lot of HP burning up the serpentine belt, but that won't stop the car cold.

    it might keep you from starting, because the starter motor is not as powerful as the one that burns gas.

    but the a/c won't hydrolock you or spin the rod bearings, the only link is through the rubber drive belt.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,338
    That the A/C compressor just happened to sieze at the same time the engine blew...
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    let all the smoke out of the a/c pipes, and we all know if the magic smoke goes away, stuff breaks. more to the point, if the charge is lost, the oil goes with it, and that is going to doom the compressor real fast.

    it would be even more peculiar if the left taillight bulb also went dark at the same time. (cue spooky theremin music.)

    but it's not specifically ruled out by Murphy's Law of Not Directly Connected Stuff
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