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1.8t Issues (incorrect airflow detected) solved now i think!

b00zehound May 3, 2011

  1. b00zehound

    b00zehound Member

    Hi all,

    Had a good time off over the Easter break, doing as is seems what many did, getting those anoying jobs done that got left all winter. Wanted to just post up some of my own findings after spending hours searching forums etc.

    The job was to replace my lower front bumber, due to damage in the winter, and fit a new timing belt. Firstt time pulling the front end off the Audi so was a bit scared! lol Sorry I dont have any pics or procedure but its all out there if you search. I can say that to change the timing gear you dont need to remove to radiator etc, you can just drop the front panel forward and it gives enough room

    Soooo, while i had the front bumber off I had an opertunity to get at the secondary air pump. This I believed has been the source of an engine managment light on and a vagcom code talking about incorrect air flow. Low and behold the pump was full of water, very common it appears. Ahh thats what caused the engine management light I thought. So I pulled if off and started the search for a replacment. While doing this it seemed the best fix was to remove it, and the related secondary air system. after many hours of searching i decided to do it. Just to give a bit of understanding of what this system does...

    There is a large air pump, it draws air from the airbox, after the filter and blows it through a valve at the back off the engine direct into the exhaust chamber before the O2 sensor. This tricks the engine management into thinking the fuel supply is too lean and it adds more fuel, this excess fueling assists in heating the Cat up to operating tempreture faster therefore assisting emmisions

    Sorry thats as much as I could simplify what I found from many different sources.

    Now because this pump injects air into the exhaust flow there must be a way to block the reverse flow when the pump is not in use (it only operates for a very short time when the cat is cold) this is done with a valve, on the BFB engine(Quattro) it sits at the back of the engine just under another black plastic valve. This is operated by a vaccum that is solanoid controled, the operating solanoid sits under the inlet manifold.

    When this valve is faulty it allows hot gas from the exhaust to flow through the secondary air pump, this is how the pump gets full of water as the hot air condenses inside the pump, and into the air intake, crucially after the filter. im sure you can imagine this is not good. Hot exhaust gasses going direct into the MAF. along with all the crud from the now faulty air pump.

    This also was causing other issues that I now realise were caused by this valves failure.
    The engine revs would die down very slowly after releasing the pedal and also seem to blip between gear changes - obvious now as the exhaust was pumping air into the intake

    Sound of the exhaust blowing, and very boomy on the motorway - again there is basicly a hole in the back of the engne letting exhaust gas out!

    So the fix..

    Remove the silver valve off the back of the engine, Tricky as its held by 3 allen head bolts you can only get to with a allen key, remove the vaccum hose from this valve and block it

    Remove the pump and any loose pipes this leaves behind

    You will need to block the hole in the back of the engine where the valve was removed. Forge make a plate just for the job, They charge what seems a ridiculous price for it (£20 plus postage) but is does the job quickly and easily.

    You will also need to block the hole in the airfilter box left from removing the air hose to the air pump. This must be blocked as it is post filter so unfiltered air will be getting drawn in

    There is a lot of discussion in various forums about adding resistors in place of the pump that was removed. And also removing the solenoid valve that operates the valve. I didnt go there and as yet dont have any issue or any engine managment light.

    The car now runs much smoother, much quiter, its quicker and so far has performed about 3-5 mpg better. I have added some images of the parts removed. You can see the black soot inside the valve from the exhaust blowing through it



    Hope this helps someone find an answer. please feel free to ask any questions as I am sure I didnt cover everything.
    Last edited: May 3, 2011
    Northampton_ofn and DrStrange like this.
  2. dope

    dope alcoholic pervert

    I've had this issue since I got my car, so thanks for the write-up boozer.

    I'm a fan of the 'if it doesn't work rip it off' approach.

    What happens to the fault code once you'd ditched the parts and blocked up the holes? And did you do the work on the driveway or did you have to get the car up on ramps?
  3. b00zehound

    b00zehound Member


    I have had the fault code once since I ditched the pump & valve. I cleared it and it hasnt come back yet. If it does I will look at fitting some resistors.
    The work was all done at the roadside, I did have the front bumper off for other reasons so made it a little more easy. I recon you would get to the secondary air pump easily without removing the bumper.
    The valve is removed from the top of the engine and it straightforward enough. Car is running much much better now.

    As i said there is loads of disscussion on different forums about the sai removal.
  4. V6 Quatt

    V6 Quatt Well-Known Member

    Great Post -

    Well written and helpfull as 1.8T owners known for this common irratating fault.
  5. RobinD

    RobinD New Member


    What did you do about the electrical plug for the pump as part of this solution?
  6. HandyAndy

    HandyAndy New Member

    Any MOT issues after this has been done ?
  7. Northampton_ofn

    Northampton_ofn Active Member Team Votex

    Old thread this mate, however i'm tackling this exact project very soon, mainly because i want to put an intercoller where the pump currently sits..

    Anyway, i've been doing some research of my own. To answer your Question; Removing the system shouldn't cause any MOT problem so long as the emissions tests are carried out at operating temps.
  8. QuattroCalum

    QuattroCalum Well-Known Member quattro Audi A4 saloon Team Avus Silver Manual


    The BEX has a different bracket for the SAIP and it also has a side mount intercooler on that side, if you can get the bracket you can keep the SAIP unless you are deleting anyway?

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