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Help with OIL Warning 2003 A4 Cab 1.8T

Discussion in 'A4/A4 cabriolet/S4 forum(B6 chassis)' started by sebbelcher, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. sebbelcher
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    sebbelcher Member

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    [Mar 30, 2009]
    Hi all,

    I've read quite a few threads on the forum regarding the OIL warning, but my specific problem doesn't seem to add up to any of the standard scenarios. This is my first Audi, bought privately about 3 weeks ago.

    On Friday I drove to Reading from Cheltenham, as I frequently do, about 10 miles into the journey the dash beeped loudly three times and a red warning saying OIL accompanied by a nice animation of an oil can appeared, almost as soon as I registered what it was, it went away again. Then once again about two minutes later it came on for about 10 seconds, then went away. I pulled over and looked in the manual, it said to check the level, which I did and it was fine (on the top end of the marking). In this scenario the manual said not to drive. Now I was in a dilemma, I didn't have breakdown cover (I do now!!) so I made the decision, that as the car felt, sounded and reacted exactly as normal I would continue the journey.

    I got about another 50 miles with no incident and then the warning started intermittently coming on again, after about 5 mins of that, and 8 miles from my destination, the warning came on a stayed on. Not knowing anything about this problem, or even exactly what the warning indicated, combined with not having breakdown cover I decided to drop into the slow lane and complete my journey. Once again, there was no change in the performance of the car.

    As soon as I got to my destination I got on Google and searched the problem, in the process I discovered this forum and read several threads on the issue. Which scared me.

    Now I was faced with a problem, I was 70 odd miles from home with a car I should allegedly not drive (note, at this point I joined the AA! :laugh:). So I spoke to a mechanic friend, he said that if I'd driven the 8 miles that I had with a genuine oil system fault, I'd be the owner of a pile of scrap right now. He suggested a Wynns flush and oil change and see where that left me.

    So I did. Flush, filter and oil change with fully synth 5w40. No sign of the OIL warning throughout the warm-up/Wynns flush cycle. The old oil that came out was in a bad way, thick like tar, black as the night and stuck like glue to any surface. Slightly annoyed as service history showed a full change less than a year ago.

    Anyway, after the oil change I took the car around the block and had no issue, then this morning I drove the 70 miles home, motorway speeds, again no issue.

    So where does that leave me? Should I now, as a precaution take the car in for a sump clean and pickup filter replacement, or is it more likely to be a sensor fault? I don't really want to do it right now as the car is due a cam-belt change later this year and it would be cheaper to do it in one go.

    Another mechanic friend suggested that as the oil was so bad it will probably have coated the inside of the engine with ****, so I should drive on the current oil until it dirties, Wynns flush, drain and then re-fill and Wynns flush using cheap oil, then drain and fill with the good stuff. He reckons that would be the best alternative to a sump service.

    Any advice?

    Thanks.
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  3. murph2002
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    murph2002 New Member

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    [Mar 30, 2009]
    hello,
    you are probably aware that this is quite a common fault with a4's and passat 1.8 turbos. The most likely reason if it's not a dodgy oil pressure sensor is sludge in the sump.
    The reason being that the a4's have a smaller sump capacity than golfs as the engine is mounted differntly and in conjuction with the longlife servicing regime the oil gets a hard life.

    This causes a sludge build up in the sump and chokes the oil pump suction strainer. To try and combat this there is a larger oil filter recommended from the dealer to increase the oil capacity of the car.
    I would recommend you get your mechanic friend to check your oil pressure and test the switch but the best bet is to get the sump dropped and cleaned and replace the suction strainer which is only an £8 part.

    Your car will be due a timing belt change after 5 years or 60k miles so you are probably safer getting it all done at once. Only other advice to always use fully synthetic oil.
    #2
  4. aragorn
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    aragorn "Stick a V8 in it!" Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Mar 30, 2009]
    At the very least you want to do a proper diesel flush on it.

    You might find the oil was changed but they didnt use a proper synth oil, espeically if it wasnt serviced by a audi dealer, or specialist.

    If it was my car, i'd do a diesel flush, then drop the sump off and make sure the strainer is clear/replace the strainer. Do the flush first, that way any **** thats come loose doesnt block up the new strainer.

    To do the flush, you want to drop about half the oil out, and refill with diesel. Then run the engine for 10-15mins, either at fast idle (1500rpm) or at idle, but with increasing the revs to 2000rpm for 30secs or so every few mins. Then drain it all and refill with fresh oil and a new filter.

    The fact the engine DIDNT die isnt indicative of no problem. The pressure warning comes on at quite a high pressure on the A4, about 15psi. Most cars dont come on till about 2-3psi, and yes, had you driven 8 miles with 3psi of oil pressure it would be dead.
    #3
  5. sebbelcher
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    sebbelcher Member

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    [Mar 30, 2009]
    Thanks for the replies.

    This diesel flush, it's something I've never heard of before, is it just as simple as mixing 50/50 oil and diesel? Anything to avoid or watch out for?

    Can you drop the sump on the A4 without hoisting the engine? If not, how much would you expect a workshop to charge for this job?

    Also, does anyone know the part-code of the larger oil filter designed for the A4 1.8T?

    Cheers.
    #4
  6. murph2002
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    murph2002 New Member

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    [Mar 31, 2009]
    The old oil filter number is most likely 06A 115 561 B, The new larger filter number is 068 115 561 F. Side by side there is a large differnce between them.
    #5
  7. aragorn
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    aragorn "Stick a V8 in it!" Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Mar 31, 2009]
    You can run 100% diesel, and while i have flushed a motor (not an audi lump) with 100% diesel before, i was a little scared doing it!

    It didnt seem to do it any harm, that particular engine still runs sweet, but i'd probably run 50/50 to be safe.

    Not sure if you can get the sump off it situ, i THINK it requires the engine to be lifted a little and/or the subframe lowered, but i'm not certain.

    A cheaper option than getting a garage involved for an engine lift, might be to do the diesel flush, then get yourself an oil pressure guage hooked up and see if the pressure is sensible. If it is then you should be fine, just make sure the oil is changed regularly (every 5-8k) and keep an eye on the pressure gauge for any oddness.
    #6
  8. docurley
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    docurley Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    [Apr 1, 2009]
    I read some ware think Audizine that the 2003 model is warranted for the sludge issue so I would check with Audi UK and see what they say.
    #7
  9. murph2002
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    murph2002 New Member

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    [Apr 1, 2009]
    I good garage will only take a couple off hours labour to drop the subframe, remove and clean the sump and replace the oil pump suction strainer. As the subframe has been dropped you will then need to get a wheel alignment check carried out.

    This is a common problem on vag 1.8t that have exceeded service intervals or used cheap mineral oil so a lot of garages will have experience in doing this work, a vag specialist near where I live has done lots of them so he only charges a couple of hours labour.

    The gauze on the strainer is very fine and i suspect will only get worse and will need replaced. At least if you get this done you will haved piece of mind that while you own the car you will never have to worry about it happening again.
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  10. evilscotsman
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    evilscotsman Space Cowboy

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    [Apr 2, 2009]
    Or, you can do a wynns flush and oil / filter 3 times and that should have the motor sparkling like new. I used wynns once after the dreaded mineral oil and sludge issue, with a filter and 4L of full synth. It has been faithful ever since, no breakdowns, or problems.
    #9
  11. sebbelcher
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    sebbelcher Member

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    [Apr 2, 2009]
    Yeah, I was thinking about just flushing it through a few times with Wynns/diesel, but will this actually unclog the pickup pipe filter if it has become sludged?

    I friend also suggested taking the rocker cover off and cleaning the cams with a toothbrush and a bucket of diesel. Sound wise? Easy to do?
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  12. evilscotsman
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    evilscotsman Space Cowboy

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    [Apr 4, 2009]
    not a bad idea, and I guess the strainer would only "flush" backwards, unless you had an agressive oil dissolver in there, but if you get the sludge thin enough thru mixing with hot diesel (due to running) then it should maybe break up and dissolve into the flush.

    Maybe worth flushing until the flush comes out clean...

    Then filling with oil, and checking weekly or whatever, for the oil changing colour then replacing it when it turns brown-ish, before it becomes black.
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  13. sebbelcher
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    sebbelcher Member

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    [Apr 13, 2009]
    Soooo...

    Chapter 2.

    Travelling between Reading and Cheltenham again on Sunday when BEEP BEEP BEEP, on comes the pressure warning light, 2 seconds later, off it goes. Fast-forward 3 miles and on it comes again, this time it looks like it's staying on.

    Not taking any chances this time, pull straight over and call the AA. Luckily a clued up AA man attended, knew about the problems with the engine and knew that it should not be run at any cost so immediately gave me a tow to the Audi dealership. Checked the oil when we arrived and it was still nice and clean (after I changed it a fortnight ago).

    Car is sitting on their forecourt awaiting someone to discover it tomorrow.

    So, 600 miles after the flush, oil still clean and the problem comes back, what do we think? Definitely a sludgy pick-up filter problem? Possibly a sensor fault? Maybe dodgy oil pump?
    #12
  14. Broken Byzan
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    Broken Byzan Photographic Moderator Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Apr 13, 2009]
    Sludgey pick up, get them to swap the pump while they are in there as the labour once the sump is off is almost nothing. One of the problems with the AVS on later models.
    #13
  15. landopanda
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    landopanda Member

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    [Apr 14, 2009]
    I had the exact same problem, the 3 beeps and the light so i stopped and got it towed, the garage said they cant find a problem and the light is out. should i just have the sump off and cleaned anyway?
    #14
  16. sebbelcher
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    sebbelcher Member

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    [Apr 14, 2009]
    I'd recommend it. I thought I had solved the problem with a flush and new oil, but it seems the sludge on the pickup filter is pretty tough to remove.

    I've tried the cheap option, but now I just want the piece of mind!
    #15
  17. sebbelcher
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    sebbelcher Member

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    [Apr 14, 2009]
    Audi have quoted £800 all in for:

    Sump removal, clean and refit, new oil pump and filter (£471).
    Cambelt & tensioners. (£329 with Audi offer)

    All done by tomorrow afternoon. Sound all right?
    #16
  18. murph2002
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    murph2002 New Member

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    [Apr 15, 2009]
    If you are getting the cambelt done be sure to get the water pump changed as well. Also clarify that Audi are changing the tensioner and not inspecting it. Finally ensure that a wheel alignment check will be performed after the work is completed.
    #17
  19. sebbelcher
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    sebbelcher Member

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    [Apr 15, 2009]
    Is changing the water pump strictly needed? I suggested this when I spoke to Audi, but they said their standard proceedure is to inspect the pump for wear and only replace if required.

    They want another £95 to do the pump on top.
    #18
  20. quattrojames
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    quattrojames Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    [Apr 15, 2009]
    It's a judgement call really, it may be fine at the time, but if it's not fine 5000 miles down the road then the whole front will need to come off again and it will be a lot more than £95!

    It's a preventative measure, but I think you will find most peoples opinion is to do it.
    #19
  21. docurley
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    docurley Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    [Apr 15, 2009]
    Get a specalist to do it
    #20
  22. evilscotsman
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    evilscotsman Space Cowboy

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    [Apr 16, 2009]
    the oem water pump is a crappy plastic job, and if it falls apart (common) then you will have to pay for a whole new cam belt job plus the pump, so you will be paying once for the pump but twice for the timing belt work....ouch... :asskicking:
    #21

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