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C6 allroad air suspension replacement

Discussion in 'A6/S6/Allroad forum (C6 Chassis)' started by Duggy72, Nov 2, 2013.

  1. Duggy72
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    Duggy72 New Member

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    [Nov 2, 2013]
    Hi all,

    I am we'll aware of the C5 allroad's notorious reputation for airbag failure but I was wondering if anyone is aware if this affects the C6. Has anyone here experienced this issue?

    I have a C6 57 plate allroad, I just read an update on Honest John's car reviews. There is a new update stating that 6 year old cars are now starting to see airbag failure. It's getting me a bit concerned.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Cheers
    #1
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  3. ozallroader
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    ozallroader New Member

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    [Dec 8, 2013]
    Hi Duggy72,

    My Australian January 2008 delivered 4FH allroad 3.0TDI with 84 000km on the odometer has just experienced the dreaded front strut droop, in my case on the right side. First symptom was a ride height reduction on that corner overnight of about 20mm. Returned to normal on start and did this for about a month. Over the next week, the strut was on the stops only an hour after shutdown and the compressor was not able to inflate it beyond half-way.

    Ran the VCDS scan which said:
    1 Fault Found
    02646 - Plausibility of Level Control System
    008 - Implausible Signal

    Not much found on all the blogs I searched for that DTC, and Ross-Tech has no expansion on that one, either.

    The problem was to identify the source of the leak. Was it the strut itself with a leaking bag, a failed air line or fitting, an electronic level control problem, the compressor or what?

    As we all know, the rubber front strut bag was the C5's Achilles' Heel, and I had hoped Audi had re-engineered this weak point so that C6 owners wouldn't be repeating the complaints of their C5 predecessors. So I looked first at all the simpler, read cheaper, areas that might become a new blog topic. Alas, nothing was obvious, so I removed the strut for a leak check.

    There are 3 drain holes around the bottom of the rubber bellows. I taped them all off, leaving only a pin hole in one piece of tape centred over the drain hole. Inflated the strut to about 50psi then brushed soapy water over the pin hole and was disappointed to see bubbles appear. My wallet twitched in sympathy.

    So, figuring if one had failed, it wouldn't be long before the other followed, also noting that the biggest supplier of aftermarket air suspension in the US for the C5 sold his replacements in pairs, I pulled both sides.

    While the front end is apart, I'm replacing the control arms as well, with splits starting in the upper rubber bushes.

    Since the C6 allroad wasn't sold in the US, suspension replacement parts are not thick on the ground but I found a German refurbisher who offered the best deal. He shipped immediately, removing the German VAT, Danke Schön, and I now have two freshened struts with a 2 year warranty ready to go in after the lower control arms arrive, also from Germany.

    So, to answer your query, I can confirm that at least one 6-year old C6 allroad has inherited the worst of its father's bad genes. I don't expect the rear bags will present a problem, their operation far less taxing than the fronts which have to go through some serious contortions to do their job. Looking at the number of bag fold cycles the fronts must have gone through in 80k km, nearly all in Comfort mode, it's a wonder they last as long as they do.

    Not disturbed by this too greatly, since every one of the 50 000km I have put on my allroad has been an absolute delight. It tows a 1600kg trailer load without any grumbles and is a superb long-distance cruiser. And it just sips diesel.

    There will be a C7 version in my garage one day.

    May the Vorsprung be with you.
    #2
  4. Duggy72
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    Duggy72 New Member

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    [Dec 8, 2013]
    Oz,

    Very kind of you to come back to me with such a comprehensive reply.

    i must say that my 2007 C6 allroad is a joy to drive. I like it so much that I do intend to keep it for at least anther 5 years. My reason for doing this research is to be prepared for when the inevitable occurs. I had already contacted Arnott industries in the US but they informed me that they do not do any replacement parts for the C6.

    would you kindly either pm me or reply to this thread with both the German companies that sold you the replacement parts?

    many thanks for this. I had almost given up all hope for a reply to my query.
    #3
  5. ozallroader
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    ozallroader New Member

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    [Dec 8, 2013]
    Duggy,

    Just sent you a PM.

    Cheers,
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  6. Duggy72
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    Duggy72 New Member

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    [Dec 9, 2013]
    Hi Oz,

    I have tried replying to you but my sent messages do not display my reply.

    Please advise me if you received it.
    #5
  7. ozallroader
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    ozallroader New Member

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    [Dec 9, 2013]
    Duggy,

    Two separate PMs received, thank you.

    Oz.
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  8. Dscotty
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    Dscotty New Member

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    [Dec 10, 2013]
    Hi guys,
    the near side rear on my C6 Allroad is dropping overnight, and over the last two weeks, the orange fault light comes on within 5 miles of home. It is a 2006 model with 120k on the clock, so has lasted fairly well. Ozallroader, could you PM the German companies details please?
    Also, could you let me know how difficult it is to strip them out and test them?
    many thanks in advance, Darren
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  9. ozallroader
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    ozallroader New Member

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    [Dec 10, 2013]
    Hi Darren,

    First, run a scan and see what that reveals. There can be reasons for strut collapse other than a ruptured air bag. If the problem is definitely a leaking bag, what follows will be pertinent.

    So, with more interest in C6 air suspension parts emerging, I'll put up the info here for anyone who might be facing impending failure.

    Audi only sells a few hundred allroads a year in Australia, so there isn't any non-factory aftermarket parts support to speak of when it comes to air suspension. Thus, my research and reason for buying from Germany is based on comparison with Australian premium pricing. It is fair to say that whether it's computer software, or anything automotive, both the cars themselves and spares, we are gouged in this country. It may be different for those of you in the UK or Europe.

    I went to www.ebay.de and found Air Suspension Shop selling refurbished struts. A listing for a right strut was there a week or so ago at

    http://www.ebay.de/itm/Audi-A6-C6-4F...item5d4286b696

    When I looked last, there was a note to say there were none available until January 2014.

    In your case, enter Audi A6 C6 4F Luftfeder Luftfederung 4F0616001 Niveauregulierung in the ebay.de search panel and you'll find the same seller with rear units on sale.

    I looked for his website and found it at:

    http://www.air-suspension-shop.com

    The same rear bag is EUR20 cheaper buying directly from the factory.

    After I receive the EUR400 deposit back when I send him my dead front struts, I will have been able to replace both sides for the price of one new side had I bought from Audi in Australia. No core deposit is required for the rears.

    While the front end is apart, I'm replacing control arms as well, with the rubber bushes showing signs of age.

    For these, I have found Rexbo in Germany well-priced. I have bought parts for my other cars there, BMW among them, and use them for their very reasonable freight charges (the tyranny of distance) and for the wide choice of OEM parts. I am happy with Febi bits but have no problem with Lemförder or TRW.

    Go here for rexbo: www.rexbo.de

    For those not domiciled in an EU country, both suppliers remove the German VAT, (also called MwSt or USt) for export sales, thus reducing prices by 19%.

    For the brave, there are myriad sellers of almost anything Audi in China.

    Audi A6 Air Suspension Air Spring, Audi A6 Air Suspension Air Spring Products, Audi A6 Air Suspension Air Spring Suppliers and Manufacturers at Alibaba.com

    I priced my front strut with one and they offered the part at USD400 with USD160 shipping to Australia. I know Audi does manufacture there, however...

    Sorry to say I have no experience with rear bags but suspect that soapy water may be your best friend assuming your bag can retain pressure long enough for it to be able to exhibit a leak. What I would do if I suspected a leak in the rear would be to paint the whole unit with a thick-ish dish washing detergent mix with the strut still holding air and look hard and long for bubbles. Apply it to any runs of air line and associated connectors while you are under there.

    I know ozone is bad for rubber and maybe proximity to the sea is as bad for air bag material as it used to be for tyres before the chemists added some magic ingredient. Just a thought.

    Regards,

    oz.
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  10. Duggy72
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    Duggy72 New Member

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    [Dec 10, 2013]
    Oz,

    once again thanks for such a comprehensive reply. No doubt this will be a wealth of information for C6 allroad owners around the globe. I think a mod should make it a sticky as there is such little information on this subject available.
    #9
  11. Dscotty
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    Dscotty New Member

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    [Dec 14, 2013]
    Thank you so much for all the info Oz. Bit of a mystery as to what is going on. The front antiroll bar links were in poor shape, so we have changed them and this appears to have cured the orange light problem, presumably as there is a height sensor on it?There are no fault codes showing at present, and we have spent 8 hours with the car at level 1, spraying very soapy water on and around the bags, connections etc. with no leaks found.Thursday night, we parked it on level 1 and the rear nearside corner dropped. Last night I parked it in level 4 and it has not gone down at all!On start up, the green light comes on, it lifts quickly to level, and if you ask for 4, it takes no more than about 20 secs. Whilst driving, it changes levels automatically quickly and without any delays.Obviously there is a leak, just a very very slow one. Perhaps need to live with it for a few weeks until it gets bad enough to detect. I was tempted to take it to Audi and see if they have 'special kit' to detect leaks? Just a little bit afraid of the bill they might deliver without diagnosis! If I cannot find it, why should they!Thanks again, Darren.
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  12. Duggy72
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    Duggy72 New Member

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    [Dec 14, 2013]
    Darren,From reading many post relating to the C5 it would appear that they do not drop when left on the higher settings. I think they drop on level 1and 2.try leaving it overnight on level 2 comfort or auto.
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  13. Duggy72
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    Duggy72 New Member

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    [Dec 14, 2013]
    Let us know how you get on. If you have got a leak you need it sorted ASAP otherwise the compressor will overheat and burn out, smashing your wallet even more!
    #12
  14. ozallroader
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    ozallroader New Member

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    [Dec 14, 2013]
    Well Darren, looking on the bright side, at the very least you will have a clean nearside rear unit when it comes time to change it. Sorry to hear nothing showed up. As Duggy says, the droop can set in earlier or later, or seemingly not at all, depending on just where the ride height was at the time you parked the car and shut down for the night. Because of the way the rubber bladder goes through a 180º fold as the thing extends and retracts, if the crack or hole is at the point of the fold line, it can open up more easily than if it were in a position either side. (Since my first post, I now realise the rears work the same way as the fronts.) I endorse also Duggy's caveat about making the compressor work overtime keeping up with the air loss from the leak. There is a temp sensor on the compressor that is supposed to shut it down when it senses an overheat, but the replacement pump market is large enough to suggest they can die because of overwork due leaks in the bags. There is some good basic suspension info in the second of these two files that make up a service training guide on the A6:http://www.volkspage.net/technik/ssp/ssp/SSP_344_d1.pdf http://www.volkspage.net/technik/ssp/ssp/SSP_344_d2.pdf Thanks for the contribution and keep us in the loop.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2013
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