1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Disaster! A3 Cam belt failed but not snapped

Discussion in 'A3/S3 Forum (8L Chassis)' started by Fandango80, Jan 17, 2007.

  1. Fandango80
    Offline

    Fandango80 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    0
    Its what everyone dreads- cruising along the m271, slowing down for the last junction and like someone has cut your ham strings, whack! my poor engine falls over. I pull over and join the RAC who kindly took me home. Tried starting the engine but no compresion at all. Starting to panic at the thought of a major engine failure i check oil and water, neither of which had mixed so i ruled out head gasket. I prise back the cover a little, look at the cam belt and it appears to be tight on the upper pully so now im confused. RAC man turns up and i turn the engine over while he looks at the top of the cambelt and it doesnt move a bit. He told me that it has most likely not snapped but stripped the teeth off the belt where the crank pulley is so the crank is moving but not turning the belt.

    Looking at my service history the belt had been changed at 58k and the car had now done 98k. this leaves the belt with 20k of life before it needs changing. It was done by southampton audi.

    What could have caused this? Im thinking that maybe the garage had used the wrong oil at my last service, 6 months ago? Or maybe Audi had not changed the idler pully when replacing the cam belt? Maybe the water pump seized? Either way its buggered now and i need to know who to phone up first as im sure this could have been avoided if it had either been checked at the last service or the belt was faulty or something else.

    Have any of you guys heard of this kind of failure. Your help would be really appreciated. Also have any of you got a spare S3 engine kicking about which you would like to sell to me? (or if your feeling sorry for me, give to me!!?? hehehehe)

    Cheers for now

    Dave with a broken A3 qts
    #1
  2. rodenal
    Offline

    rodenal Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2006
    Messages:
    1,992
    Likes Received:
    0
    If the belt has been stripped, not snapped, and all the pulleys are intact then surely it hasnt damaged any other components, and should be a fairly straightforward fix, as opposed to new engine time!

    There are probably any number of things that could have caused it, tensioners etc - unfortunately sometimes things do just happen too.
    #2
  3. Fandango80
    Offline

    Fandango80 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trouble is, if the cams stop moving and the crank and pistons keep moving, the valves can be left open in a vunerable position so the pistons will hit em and make valve strganoff on my top end. Yes things can just go which is a bummer- im hoping it's more of a conspiracy so i can get it repaired by someone else. hehehe. Cheers for ya comments though rodenal. Hows it out there in outer mongolia then? ;-)
    #3
  4. claudefrog
    Offline

    claudefrog Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2006
    Messages:
    372
    Likes Received:
    1
    i dont think you will get anywhere trying to blame mechanics.

    its just unfortunate, but these things do happen, and the oil that you got 6 months ago will have absolutely f all to do with the timing belt failing.

    on the last service did you request it be checked? when checking a belt its a few hours job sometimes to get the covers off etc.. so you may as well have had the belt changed.

    i think you shoudl just source a new engine, no point in trying to blame anyone.

    how old is your car? what year was the belt last changed?
    #4
  5. Fandango80
    Offline

    Fandango80 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeah i thought it was a standard thing for them to check the belt for a service but i see ya point about the hassle factor of getting to it. I Bought a vectra off a bloke on ebay a few years ago with a broken cam belt. The reason it had snapped was because the oil had basically got so thick that the oil way to the cam bearings blocked, seizing one of the cams and snapping the belt. Now i dont know if this was due to the oil being an incorrect thickness or that maybe it hadnt been changed. This is all im basing my idea on as its what i have seen but the oil in my audi is supposeed to be castrol gtx magnatech so i cant imagine that breaking down in the same way. I didnt ask for a cambelt check so i figure im outta luck on that one. Im a bit bitter because the garage ripped me off rotton for my last service- they charged me 60 quid for the oil, claming thats what their supplier charges them for it. Ive bought it in halfords for half that so it would have been nice to be able to blame them.

    Its a Vreg and the belt was changed in 2002. I cant see how it could just fail on its own accord at only two thirds of its way through its life? il strip it down and see if there is anything seized under there. Do the belts come with any kind of guarentee?
    #5
  6. S2Avant
    Offline

    S2Avant Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2006
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    0
    Could your water pump have seized, stripping the teeth of the belt?
    I've seen it before on other engines, and the water pumps aren't too clever on the A3s from what I have read.
    #6
  7. Tallpaul
    Offline

    Tallpaul Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    835
    Likes Received:
    0
    Have you got a full audi service history? preferably with the same dealership?

    If so, i'd be going back to them and asking about good will contributions...

    Thing is, you're gonna need the head off to see how many valves have bent etc, and that's gonna cost labour. You don't want be to paying stealer rates if they/Audi UK aren't gonna stump up anything.

    If a tensioner or the water pump failed and Audi didn't replace them with the cambelt then i think you've got a pretty strong case. If it's all been serviced by the numbers then it's a little trickier due to the age of the car.

    Still, don't ask, don't get. Good luck.
    #7
  8. claudefrog
    Offline

    claudefrog Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2006
    Messages:
    372
    Likes Received:
    1
    its supposed to be changed every 60k or 5 years, which ever comes first, seems like you were just unlucky, hitting the 5 year mark and it let go.
    #8
  9. AndyMac
    Offline

    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Messages:
    9,833
    Likes Received:
    30
    Definately sounds like the water pump seized if the belt itself is still intact.
    Southampton Audi didn't change my water pump when they clobbered me with an £800 bill for the cambelt on my 2.8Q. What a surprise 20k miles later the pump started to seize up, luckily managed to catch it before it stripped the belt as it was leaking and causing the car to stall at traffic lights.
    Luckily by then I'd found a VAG specialist who did the job properly replacing belts/tensioners and pump for £450.
    When the pump only costs £40 and the labour is £600 it is just madness not to change it at the same time as a matter of course.
    Hope you get it sorted.
    #9
  10. Caesium
    Offline

    Caesium My BM is fixed!

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Messages:
    4,879
    Likes Received:
    4
    I have an A4 and I changed my belt recently, I also changed the waterpump as it was only about 25 quid, the old one was really showing signs of wear, there was quite a lot of movement on the bearings. My car is only 26 months old and has covered 59k.
    #10
  11. Fandango80
    Offline

    Fandango80 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    0
    The audi services stopped about 2 years ago unfortunately so looks like im outta luck on that one. Sounds lilke the water pump is the culprate on this one then- Im pretty suprised they power em off the timing belt though but its a pretty big unit so maybe they had to do it for a space reasons- I know Vauxhall used to put em on the timing belt on their ecotec engines.
    So is the water pump a standard thing to change when replacing the belt?

    If all fails and they refuse to help me out, i was thinking of making the most of a bad situation and install some tweaks while the head is off- any reccomendations on what would be a good upgrade- i was thinking of injectors and maybe replace the clutch with a beefy one as its gonna be due soon and i like to revo at some point in the near future. Im not too familure on head upgrades so some suggesgions would be great.

    Thanks to you all for your help so far. Working abroard right now so il give em a call when im back and il let you kanow what they say.
    #11
  12. simch
    Offline

    simch Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2004
    Messages:
    2,028
    Likes Received:
    1
    You know, my mk4 when I got it had done 83k, and had apparently (according to the history which I verified with local dealer) had its belt an tensioners done at 77k, 9 months before i got it. Bill for £690 in my fiel at home......everything changed including the waterpump...........APPARENTLY!)

    well what do you know........at 98k miles, on the way to heathrow for a plane I was late for, I begin to notice the performance is droppin off a bit, still flyin (140+!!) but not right, pulled into Hraow car park, funny noise form motor.....eeek! park up clear off to Hong Kong for two weeks.
    call the rescue from HK, arrange to be picked up at Hrow, all works perfect, start car, bad noise, onto transporter and home, via local garage.

    Go over next day, they get the car in (drive it in) funny noise, all working though, take off cam cover.......holy ****! there was over 2 inches (measured!) defelction on the belt.........stripped it down and the tensioner had collapsed, all bearings lying on the case around the bottom pulley.
    Furter investigation PROVED the work was NEVER doen by the dealer, still the original factory paint marks on the torqued up tensioner and other bolts on the motor, all photo'd before strip down, PLUS the water pump was the original style one, not the uprated one that was the only one available for a year before it was cupposedly changed. Also, remeber I had a two year warranty on the parts as original vw, and work was "done" only 21 months before!!

    Got aboslutely NOWHERE with VW or dealer........!! I accused them and showed them the evidence and report form other garage that work was not done. they disputed it, so when I claimed parts under warrnaty, they siad, but YOU say they are original parts.........!!! WTF, I had a receipt for 690 quid.......!
    so they wanted it both ways and in the end I gave up.

    Lessen now is if I want the cambelt doin on a car, i do it myself, or stay and physically watch the garage do it. No leave it and take a shopping trip.
    I bet you when its stripped down you can see the same, original parts, original paint marks unbroken seals etc.

    Rip of dealers!

    (Oh and as for the unamed dealer.....yep, I got my revenge, cost em lot more than the repair would have done!!!!) A holes!

    I was mightly impressed at the AGU motor for still running with the play it had. And now done 125k running sweet as (touch wood!)

    I changed everything when I replaced it, waterpump and all. You can get metal impeller ones now.
    #12
  13. Fandango80
    Offline

    Fandango80 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sounds like you were pretty lucky there mate. Il have a check and see if the marks are still on the parts. I see ya point though. Whats the agu motor?
    #13
  14. Fandango80
    Offline

    Fandango80 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well... Got it repaired for just under 1000 smackers. Water pump had not seized, Cams had not seized, infact the only thing that was damaged was the belt. teeth stripped around the crank pulley. The belt looked like it had never been replaced. The bolts to the lower cam cover still had the original thread lock on em and showed no signs of being removed in the past. The belt was brittle and shiney. The teeth were worn into a square profile. You could actually peel them from the belt. the belt it's self was about half the thickness of the new one and was hard and had lost all of it's pliable feel. This was the original belt, Im sure.

    Something to consider before taking your pride and joy to Southampton Audi for a service, im sure.

    Cheers for all your help guys. She sounds lovely and quiet now too. Oh and the dammage was all 8 exhaust valves bent.
    #14
  15. FrankScorpio
    Offline

    FrankScorpio Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    0
    Wow, you sound very calm after discovering that, I'd be bouncing off the walls!
    Certainly sounds like it's on the original one from that description - shocking.

    Glad you're sorted even though it was expensive.
    #15
  16. simch
    Offline

    simch Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2004
    Messages:
    2,028
    Likes Received:
    1
    I reckon they never changed it. Like the scumbags at VW that "did" mine.

    AGU motor is the engine code of the early 1.8Ts. Large port head model.

    Gald you got it sorted, sounds like you were maybe quite lucky too!
    #16
  17. AndyMac
    Offline

    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Messages:
    9,833
    Likes Received:
    30
    Yep Southampton Audi strike again! I took it up with them when my pump seized 12 months after they shafted me for a cambelt change and they said they inspect the pump, but don't automatically replace it.
    Unbelievable! They know it has a life of around 90k and it's a £40 part with a plastic impeller which falls apart. Luckily had it done properly at a specialist who used the metal impeller pump as well and only charged £450 for everything, including another new belt & tensioner.
    Southampton Audi are a joke.
    #17
  18. S3 NIK
    Offline

    S3 NIK Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2007
    Messages:
    190
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thats exactly what happened to me once. In a Ford, water pump seized and stripped the belt. Fortunately i was going slow, realised something big was about to happen so hit the floor with the clutch pedal and pulled over straight away. Completely got away with it, only needing to replace the belt and pump.
    A lesson learnt so i never take such things to chance.
    Nik.

    #18
  19. foolish3uk
    Offline

    foolish3uk Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Messages:
    455
    Likes Received:
    0
    all main dealer services and the service sheet state that when service is being carried out the belt must be checked except Lube services!

    now the problem is when ever someone asks me if their cambelt is ok i almost always tell them if they have to ask me that question then they should replace it anyway, reson being is that a cam belt is a ticking clock, you just cannot tell when it is going to break, audi state no change interval for the 2.8 v6 cambelt on certain range cars stupid i know but that is the way it goes, the best thing i can advise you to do is have it change 5-10k early, the audi kits come with cambelt, idler, and tensioner and some come with the damper for the tensioner where necessary!

    as for water pumps, thats a very gray area for main dealers, a little while ago i started advising customers that when their cambelt was due it would be advisable to replace the water pump as it only took an extra 20mins to replace and bleed ontop of the cambelt change, the answers i was getting were basicly-

    "NO!!!. WHY DOES MY PUMP NEED CHANGING HAS IT FAILED!"

    i tried but they refused on one 5k later the pump failed and he was trying it on, "why did you not replace it on service, all the forums say it should be replaced when doing cambelt", old invoices and job cards get dug up and we point out that he refused the extra work! then we get the "but if you new it would fail you should have told me that" so we dont tend to sell them on now unless there is play in the pump or it has been requested, high insight is a lovely thing that none of us have!!
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    #19
  20. AndyMac
    Offline

    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Messages:
    9,833
    Likes Received:
    30
    If your customers actually trusted main dealers then they would take your advise. Unfortunately main dealers (not just Audi) have such a bad reputation they just assume you're trying to fleece them for another £100.
    Why do you change the idler & tensioner as part of the cambelt change? Are they broken? No. So why is the water pump treated differently?
    Audi need to change the cambelt kit to include the water pump as a matter of course, then you won't get so many unhappy customers and you won't have to have the discussion at all.
    High insight is based on experience, something everyone should have in their chosen field of expertise. Very worrying (if not surprising) that you admit you don't have it!
    #20
  21. FrankScorpio
    Offline

    FrankScorpio Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think he meant hind sight... ;)
    #21
  22. Mo-S3
    Offline

    Mo-S3 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    708
    Likes Received:
    0
    Garages have a habit of charging customers for work they havent done. Quite a while ago i gave my old Honda Accord in for service to the main dealers. Before doing so i marked all the service components with a marker. £350 later i get the car home and check the parts and lo and behold they havent been changed!
    Rang the dealer and asked them what they were playing at for charging me for work they havent done, Long conversation later; full service done again and a full refund.
    Bunch of cheating Twats if you ask me !
    #22
  23. Fandango80
    Offline

    Fandango80 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gonna be on the phone to southampton audi tomorrow but the supposed belt change was done before i had the car, so im not holding out. Worth a pop though.
    Any of you guys got some suggestions for 'ammo' I can use to shake em up a bit? Customer services dont seem to offer much of a service any more, ie, they cant give two sh1ts so il have to come up with something good to get their attention.

    Cheers
    #23
  24. AndyMac
    Offline

    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Messages:
    9,833
    Likes Received:
    30
    "I think he meant hind sight... "
    Either way, when it happens time & time again you don't actually need the benefit of hindsight to correct the issue, just common sense.

    Good Luck Fandango, I doubt you'll get anywhere though, same dealer kanckered my alternator at 54k miles and then wanted £380 to fit a new one. I argued that an alternators bearings shouldn't fail that early unless the belt had been adjusted too tight and all they offered me was a half price alternator, which only bought it down to the actual street price for the same part. The car was also just 2 weeks out of warranty (of course).
    #24
  25. jojo
    Online

    jojo S3 Drift King! Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Messages:
    25,975
    Likes Received:
    1,576
    I just got my cambelt changed along with the waterpump, mileage at 53k, so changed it as a precaution, as it's 7 years old already. Original belt was in good nick suprisingly, but the waterpump, thought had no play and spun nicely, had developed a slight leak, so got me a GSF item with metal impellor :)
    #25
  26. Spacecowboy
    Offline

    Spacecowboy Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    0
  27. Gti Jazz Blue
    Offline

    Gti Jazz Blue Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Messages:
    1,655
    Likes Received:
    6
    To be fair when we changed the belt on my 99 Golf GTi 1.8T (AGU) at 82K the idler bearings were shot.

    The other thing is that if you are unsure about your dealer ask them to leave any replaced parts in the boot in a box, well except for the old oil and filter.

    So unless they are realy crooked and leave you someone elses parts, you can see what they have changed.

    Paul
    #27
  28. simch
    Offline

    simch Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2004
    Messages:
    2,028
    Likes Received:
    1

    well its all well and good saying that now.............?? :)
    #28
  29. StaffsS3
    Offline

    StaffsS3 Flat Out

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2007
    Messages:
    122
    Likes Received:
    0
    I cannot believe the **** standard of the Stealers!!
    I bought a late 2001 51 plate S3 with 51k and FASH only a couple of weeks back. The main attraction was that at 49k a £900.00 service had been done (cambelt and brakes). However on closer inspection now the Water pump was not replaced as it's not listed with the parts!!
    So now I have no choice, especially after a remap, to get it done for piece of mind!!!!! Any idea how much the metal impellar ones are? I'm going to ask a specialist to do the work, I don't think I would ever touch the main dealers..........
    #29
  30. Spacecowboy
    Offline

    Spacecowboy Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    0
    This whole issue is really concerning me:

    I picked up my 2002 S3 (57k) just over a week ago from a trader. I requested that they changed the cam belt and, made the mistake of assuming they would do the water pump at the same time. When I went to pick up the car, I looked through the paperwork and discovered they had not done the pump.

    The trader originally said the work was to be done at Audi but the invoice says otherwise. I argued with them trying to point out that it was critical they changed it at the same time and the potential for damage should it go. Eventually, they agreed to warranty the pump if it should fail. I also have full 3 yr warranty on the car close to Audi standard.
    #30
  31. Spacecowboy
    Offline

    Spacecowboy Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    0
    When I spoke to an Audi dealer in the West Mids (where I am based) on the day they did confirmed they would not change a cam belt without doing pump. This was also confirmed by a specialist. Audi Maidstone on the other hand said that they only advise (so a bit more consistency would be nice).

    What I really want to do is get the pump changed – I just hope it leaks first so I can get it done under warranty. A specialist told me that they would not just do the pump they would have to do the whole lot as they would be messing with someone else’s work which is fair enough. Anyone got any suggestions on what to do next? Any garages out there want to ‘work’ with me on this one?!
    #31
  32. AndyMac
    Offline

    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Messages:
    9,833
    Likes Received:
    30
    Good call, they're about £25 from GSF

    Nice one Simch LOL!
    #32
  33. jojo
    Online

    jojo S3 Drift King! Staff Member Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Messages:
    25,975
    Likes Received:
    1,576
    £25.26 to be exact :p
    #33
  34. jawadh007
    Offline

    jawadh007 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    does the 25.26 include VAT?:think:
    #34

Share This Page