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2.0 sport 170 oil / coolant / head gasket question

Discussion in 'A3/S3/Sportback (8P Chassis)' started by ufezta, Dec 20, 2013.

  1. ufezta
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    ufezta New Member

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    [Dec 20, 2013]
    Hi all

    First post so apologise if this has been covered but couldnt find anything when searching. Would appreciate some advice.

    I have wanted an A3 for years, and due to the family Vauxhall Signum beginning to look like a money pit, decided it's time to look for a new car.

    I have been to look at 2006 A3 2.0 170 sport. Has under 50,000 on the clock, full Audi dealer service history, last major service in September just passed, and had cambelt and water pump changed in the last year. This is longer than the 5 years stated by Audi, but is that an issue as it has done under 50,000 so far?

    The car looks pretty tidy, started first time from cold, seemed ok mechanically, BUT I noticed the following

    Oil is jet black, didn't seem lumpy, but jet black

    After taking off the oil cap, there are a few clear "droplets" on the underside of the cap and a light brown ring around the edge of the cap and on the rocker cover (if that's the correct term).

    Finally, the water fluid levels are WAY above the maximum line in the water tank.

    I don't know a great deal about cars, but I am wondering if this a potential head gasket problem, or the gasket on its way out? I have read that gaskets really go on these cars, so is it perhaps something else that is wrong, or is the residue probably just the result of the car sitting without being started for a few days (the dealer stated that he has had it for around 2 weeks). Would the high fluid levels indicate that the dealer is trying to hide something (poorly).

    This is being purchased as a family car, and I intend to take good care of whatever I purchase, but don't want to buy something that I will end up ploughing money into again. There is no dealer warranty and The car is quite far away so getting my mechanic to go look at it will be difficult. I was thinking of paying for an AA vehicle inspection, but the earliest they could book would be the 27th, and I have a feeling that if this car is in good condition, someone will snap it up by then.

    Any advice would be much appreciated, thanks in advance and sorry for the long post.
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  3. mjr901
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    mjr901 S3 Pollution Plus+ Edition

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    [Dec 20, 2013]
    Firstly headgaskets in these a pretty rare to be honest.

    The water droplets will be from either short journeys or prolonged standing time. Probably from being started on a forecourt and left to run without building up any proper heat.

    The ball shaped bottle often gives the mis conception that it needs to be filled. Idiots fill it higher, which generally, are most people without the knowledge of VAG vehicles, or even infact the ability to read.

    So that isn't too much for concern and generally speaking, if the car isnt happy about its level, its gonna spit what it doesn't want out.

    What i'd be more concerned about is the the turbo. Is there any whine from the turbo that isnt normal? Does it sound like a police siren?

    Also has it had its injector recall? (see main dealer) Not all the diesels needed it, but worth checking.

    Have the vehicle read for fault codes, overboost codes mean turbo veins are knackered, stay clear.

    Lastly, diesel oil is ALWAYS jet black. even after a service you'll find by the time your home from the garage, it'll be near as damn it black.

    Faults codes are a useful indicator to a buyer, make sure you 'spring' it on the seller, else he may well clear fault codes before your arrival, so do not say in advance.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
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  4. ufezta
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    ufezta New Member

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    [Dec 20, 2013]
    Thanks for the quick response. Now I am a little concerned though :) the dealer did say that the previous owner did complete short journeys in the car and he cleared a fault code because of it. I have a code reader from my signum, but I'm not sure if it is the same interface in the a3 but I'm guessing it's irrelevant now as he has cleared the codes. If I do go look again I will bring it with me to test. There were no warning lights when the car started up.

    As for the turbo, I am not to sure what would be classed as a whine, the engine sounded like a "normal diesel" but I did notice that when I revved the engine while the car was in neutral, after I took my foot of the accelerator there was a short noise like a loss of air, which I think is normal for a turbo isn't it? Thanks again
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  5. mjr901
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    mjr901 S3 Pollution Plus+ Edition

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    [Dec 20, 2013]
    Its going to be very difficult to diagnose a turbo thats knackered from my sofa, other than saying if its overly loud when driving, and it gives off a whine very much like a siren(when you are on and off the accelerator), then theres not much more i can say.

    Its low mileage, so thats a positive, but definitely not unheard of.

    Your best bet is probably taking the car for a proper drive, really test it, do a couple of junctions on the motorway, loop round the country roads, sit in town for a while.

    Even if this means putting some diesel in, so be it. Scan it after a nice hour test drive session. See if it gives anything strange after a fault code read.

    If the seller is serious, and has nothing to hide, he should have no problem with this, he may insist on coming with you, if so, brilliant.

    The fact that he's mentioned hes cleared the codes, means there probably were codes......which however you'd like to 'cut it', theres faults in the system. How serious they may be is another question..

    (See bold highlighted above) Cars do not generate fault codes because they do short journeys.... lol they have problems that arise from short journeys, like DPF problems for example, little early for the one in question i believe. So there shouldn't be an issue.

    Any OBDII fault code reader should see you out of any potential trouble. If you were to buy a VAG vehicle then VCDS is a useful VAG specific reader/coder.

    Ask for a 3 month parts and labour warranty.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
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  6. Johnny Bravo
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    Johnny Bravo 6+1 Gears

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    [Dec 20, 2013]
    As mjr901 said, if you really want to buy the car than take a full day to test it properly. Go in the morning, when is cold and take it for a LONGER ride.
    Notice how the engine starts when cold. Listen for strange noises when cold and see if they go away when warm. The turbo may be a bit loud when cold, that shouldn't be a problem but if remains loud even when the engine is warm, it may have a problem.
    Also when cold, check the smoke it produces. It should clear in a few minutes. If it still gives much smoke after 5-10 minutes of driving, it is not OK.
    Notice the gearbox, if you can shift trough gears easy. Notice any noises when pulling of, when stopping, when turning. This may mean that some bushes need changing. If it clonks when you turn, the drive shafts may have problems. Usually the CV joints need to be replaced in this case.
    When driving, see if it pulls sideways or is going straight. If it pulls on one side can be for several reasons: bent rim, damaged tire, wrong tire pressure, bad alignment, or worse, was badly hit and repaired. The chassis isn't straight.
    When warm, turn off the engine and start it a few times. Notice if it starts OK or if it struggles or judders. This may signal a bad battery, the starter motor doesn't turn as fast as needed, injection problems.
    Drive it in town and on a motorway.

    After coming back home, immediately check it for errors. If any, save the log and post it here on the forum to help you "translate" it.

    I'll post some more advices latter, if I remember some more.
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  7. c_w
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    c_w Active Member

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    [Dec 20, 2013]
    Similar to what has already been said. Oil in these engines turns black almost immediately, but I would do a fresh oil change anyway to be sure, it does't cost a lot if you do it yourself or a good independent. Make sure they use a VAG 507 oil for DPF engines. Short journies will leave moisture in the oil. The coolant bottle should be clean looking and pink/red coolant.

    On my car sometimes the low coolant light would come on unless the bottle was "over filled" a bit.

    Short journies on a the 170 PD can lead to DPF blockages, or constant DPF light and regeneration. I've had mine nearly 3yrs and only seen it come on a handful of times though, but it is used for a 26mile journey each way through the week, and the usual short trips at weekend. As long as it has a good run up to temp (oil temp) every other day it should be fine.

    Be aware the 170PD often is poor starting when it goes below 5degrees, they often catch and die on the first turn. This is only on first cold start of a morning after being left. Both my 170s I have had did this, however I replaced the starter and fitted a BOSCH S5 battery a few months ago and so far it has now stopped doing it. But if the battery is average and the starter a bit slow it might do it.

    On the 170 PD engine there is a FREE recall at AUDI to replace all the injectors. Check this has been done, if not contact your local dealer with the reg to book it in/make sure you can get it done for free.
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  8. ufezta
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    ufezta New Member

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    [Dec 20, 2013]
    After a discussion with the dealer me thinks its time to move on. He has "lots" of people interested in the car, so is not prepared to give me an extended test drive under any circumstances. He has been a dealer for "10 years" and has never been asked for anything like this before. He did however state that i could arrange an AA inspection if i couldn't get my mechanic over to him. Problem with that is the AA are not available for tests until after Christmas, and i am sure he will probably get a buyer before i can have the test completed. Oh well, plenty more fish in the sea. I have seen a 2.0 140 Sport for around the same money and mileage that i am going to look at instead :). Going to be a family car, so the slightly better fuel consumption and lower tax / insurance etc can only be a good thing.

    Thanks for all your advice, it will definitely help with looking at the next one. Searching the forums has been really helpful so far.
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  9. c_w
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    c_w Active Member

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    [Dec 20, 2013]
    Yes, very annoying when dealers don't let you do a proper test drive. It is bizarre that the main thing you do with a car [drive it] is the last thing many 2nd hand car dealers want you to do. They mainly want you to coo over it and talk finances...most dealers are not interested in cars, have no knowledge of cars and can't see that a test drive will usually give you a good 99% indication of how good a car is. Many of them claim that any faults they will fix, but if won't drive in a straight line or has some annoying faults like drivetrain vibration that isn't going to be easy to fix. I've used a few 2nd hand car dealers who have let me go off in the car alone though so not all bad.

    Doubt he will be selling at this time of year though so I wouldn't worry about that, probably sales BS, it is low mileage though which is fairly rare on the TDI A3s.

    For me the 170 S Line I had was cheaper to insure than a 140 Sport! MPG is not any different, my current 170 always gets about the same 500miles to a tank as my 140, long term average is 47mpg, especially since injector change and an map update I think they dida t the same time to reduce DPF issues. Urban is better on the 140 though. It's a slightly quieter engine and pulls that bit harder. Only thing with the 140s at this age is no DPF to worry about if you are doing a lot of short trips.
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