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Help!! - In dire need of advice... engine misfire

Raspeir Jun 21, 2007

  1. Raspeir

    Raspeir New Member

    Hey All,

    I’m coming here very much cap-in-hand to ask for advice. I’m at my wits end to tell the truth. I can fix computers, I can fix cameras… but cars are new territory for me. This is a bit of a long one, but it’s been a bit of a saga so I figure it’s best to tell all!

    Two months ago I bought a 2001 A3 1.6 from an auction. At very first it seemed to be running okay, though we had noticed the EMS light was on. On the drive home it started getting pretty lumpy, to the point where it was misfiring constantly. The problem started initially to only show up when the car was hot (when it was cold it was fine)

    I took it to an electrical and injection specialists due to the EMS light. They ran some tests and found that the compression was down on cylinder 1, and that there was an air leak around the injectors, there was also a constant misfire on the cylinder. They thought it was a mechanical fault and thought the head gasket might be suspect.

    Took it to a mechanic to get the head-gasket taken off and replaced, and the pistons looked at, but he was convinced it was something else. He did some more tests, opened the engine up and replaced:
    The injector seals (which were damaged)
    A cracked inlet manifold
    The ignition coil

    The engine was still missing. However he claims he managed to get the falt to move from number 1 to number 4 by swapping injectors over. He then says that he swapped the injectors between 3 and 4 to confirm this, however the problem remained on number 4.

    After this I decided to bite the bullet and take it to Audi. Their report also started that the problem was now on number 4 cylinder. They believed it was an ignition problem and replaced:
    The breather cap,
    The crank case breather pipe,
    The oil separator
    Gave it new oil and filter
    One new spark plug

    They then returned it to me saying it was okay. After 300 yards even I could tell it blatantly wasn’t. The EMS came back on and the misfire was still present, though less constant than before. I took it straight back and they performed the same tests. They then stated that it was misfiring on number1:
    This time they replaced:
    HT Leads
    Spark Plugs

    I drove it away. It was gorgeous, purred like a kitten and flew around like nobodies business… for abut 30 miles. Then same problem. Idling in traffic and it started to misfire again, got gradually worse to the point where I was worrying if it was going to make it home. Next morning I started it up to take it back to the garage and it sounded absolutely fine again. However the problem re-arose much more quickly and after about 20 miles was again ever present. Misfire on number 1.

    They took it back in, changed one spark plug and returned it. I wasn’t convinced it was right from the off, and was proven right when the problem arose again after a day or so.

    Audi had it a 4th time. Said the same thing again and this time:
    Cleaned the plugs
    Replaced a couple of torn seals (I think on the valves or the inlet manifold)
    Cleaned the injector valves and swapped the ones on one and 4 (they haven’t done this before)

    This time it drove okay. They had kept it overnight and got the quality control manager to do 100miles in it (to his home and back) to see how it fared. It made it there and back fine. I picked it up and within 10 miles it had gone again. Audi took it back and said they can’t do anymore without asking for £1000 worth of permission for a strip down. No chance!

    To add to my worries, the bearings have gone in one wheel. so now I can’t even hear the engine!

    If anyone has any ideas/advice/suggestions, I’d be incredibly grateful to hear them… After around 8 trips to various garages and hundreds and hundreds of pounds I’m willing to try whatever it takes.

    Possible theories at the moment are:
    Sticky Piston Ring
    Sticking injector valve.
    MAF sensor
    EMS system (though audi have said electrics are fine)

    Personal observations:
    I swear I keep hearing a gurgling noise from the engine, like water moving. Though I’m not sure if this is just me imagining things.
    From what I’ve read about/searched up, it sounds like a lot of people have had similar problems caused by a MAF sensor. Is it worth me giving it a try changing this?

    Thanks in advance


  2. Tastyterrier

    Tastyterrier Monkey Trainer

    Can't see it being the MAF sensor with what you described with the problem moving from cylinder to cylinder. However you can check it by disconnecting the MAF and driving it around for a couple of miles to see if it runs any better.
  3. Dave_Bayern

    Dave_Bayern Slipping at 3.5Krpm

    Do the 2001 cars have the coil pack controllers built into the coil packs? The only problem I've ever seen like this was on a 98 A3 which has a seperate coil pack controller. Replaced this and all was well.

    It's intermittent working meant various misfiring and running and whatever cylinders it felt like.

    However, if you have the newer style controllers, I have NO idea whats going on there...
  4. simch

    simch Active Member

    What does a vag come check show when it misfires?

    I would suggest taking to to a specialistwho has vag come and can plug their laptop in and go for a drive. See what is going on in there real time.

    I'd be surprised if its fuel related to be hnest, far more likely ignition. it seems as though something is "breaking down" under load or heat....?
  5. Raspeir

    Raspeir New Member

    the problem with the ignition issue is that (as far as i know) everything in the ignition has been replaced.. Coil, HT leads, Plugs... The only thing that might cause a similar issue in the ignition, from what i've heard and read, might be the distributor.. but I can't see why that would cause a problem that would gradually worsen as this is doing.. Do you think it's worth changing the distributor?

    I'm having a go at getting it on a vag.com rig asap so i'll try and report back the findings to people on here soon as I can :)

    thanks again for your help all
  6. dan_a3

    dan_a3 Member

    I didnt think they had a distributor, thought they had a coil pack?

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