Audi A3 3.2 Timing Chain Noise \ Stretched chains

splbound

Registered User
A couple of videos I made regarding timing chain noise.

Before
You should be able to easily hear the rattling noise to the right of the engine cover in the area behind the oil fill cap. Blocks 208 and 209 were reading -6 and -3 when I checked last. The car was not throwing a check engine light yet, but I was in the position do be able to get them changed I went and got it done. I plan on keeping this car long term.

After
This is the engine after the timing chain, guides, tensioners and sprockets were replaced.

The job was carried out by AMD Essex as they were the closest to me and had done a lot of suspension and exhaust work on the car previously.

I did get a quote from VAG Auto Care in Lincoln who came in a little cheaper was well as being highly recommended from a lot of sources. I would have taken it there but AMD was a lot more convenient for me.

While the transmission was out and valve cover open, I had the DMF replaced as well as some Schrick cams fitted. May be a good time to lock at and think of replacing other wear parts to save on labour.
 
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paddy

Registered User
What is the milage ? and what was the cost ?
 

splbound

Registered User
Mileage on the car currently at 96000. Timing chain job + labour cost about £1600+VAT. Give AMD Essex a call or email. They were very thorough with the job.

Other place to quote would be VAG Auto care. Was about £200 cheaper when I got the quote from them last year. Don't recall if it included VAT or not though.

Also note the quotes don't include the cam adjusters. If you're unlucky enough to need them changed as well they are around £400 a piece.

Most of the cost is the labour. If you can do it yourself the parts not including the cam adjusters is about £400.

Gave the car 250miles yesterday. It runs so much smoother.
 

paddy

Registered User
That is an excellent price, back in the day mine went at 45k miles and the bill came to £6k overall. audi did pay half but even so it was a hell of a lot more.
 

splbound

Registered User
45K miles .... so much for a lifetime part. £6K is a stupid amount, glad you got a chunk off back then. Definitely a pricey job but I can understand as its crazy how much work has to be done just to get the valve cover off!

Read over your posts a while back regarding your journey with the 3.2.
The car is definitely a love + hate thing for me. I did miss it when it was away and am excited to have it back all done.
 

paddy

Registered User
TBH as a fun everyday car it was a better bet than my S3. whatever anyone tells you , you cant beat CC's :) If they made an S3 with a V6 i would buy one ..
 
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gokiwi64

Guest
First vid sounds just like FrankenAudi but at 127000 miles warts and all I cannot justify £1600 so unfortunately its going to get driven till it doesnt drive anymore.
 

splbound

Registered User
First vid sounds just like FrankenAudi but at 127000 miles warts and all I cannot justify £1600 so unfortunately its going to get driven till it doesnt drive anymore.

Can totally understand where you are coming from. Bought mine at 90000 and feel she still has a few good years in her. Made a decision that I will stick with her for at least 5 years so wanted to her good enough to last the period hence the change of all the wear parts. I am grateful I have an understanding wife and am in a position financially to do so.

The CEL hadn't come on yet for it yet so I could have pushed it further but didn't want to risk jumping links and a possible larger issue. Sucks that half the engine bay needs to be removed and the trans taken off to do the chains.
 
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gokiwi64

Guest
I have no CEL either, I did have a predictive but that has gone now.
 

splbound

Registered User
No CEL, well she'll be alright then. Probably last longer than you would think. Have you had blocks 208 and 209 scanned? Will have mine scanned, wonder what it is now to see if he readings do have any bearings to chain wear.
 

paddy

Registered User
What i dont understand is why these chains are going at 90k miles. They should last for ever. There was a faulty batch of chains like mine had but they were shot at 50k miles and less, no way they would have got to 100k.
In the US this was a recall and a free fix, it was Audi UK that decided to keep it quiet and wing it.
 
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gokiwi64

Guest
I am showing -3 and -4 but also have a failed O2 sensor now in the mix (idle has become lumpy like its got big cams in it).
 

splbound

Registered User
What i dont understand is why these chains are going at 90k miles. They should last for ever. There was a faulty batch of chains like mine had but they were shot at 50k miles and less, no way they would have got to 100k.
In the US this was a recall and a free fix, it was Audi UK that decided to keep it quiet and wing it.

Audi UK keeping it quiet is pretty underhanded unless they can guarantee that all UK sold cars didn't feature the faulty chains.

Even if your car did not have the faulty batch of chains the metal sprockets and plastic guides still wear eventually which is not exactly helped by Longlife services. I would think it would take quite a lot for a non faulty chain to snap and most likely point of failure would be for the chain jump links if the guides and sprockets are worn through enough so that the tension is not maintained.

Calling them lifetime parts .. yah right, so how long does Audi recognise as a car's lifetime?

How unfortunate that you have to drop the transmission

My advice would be if you are thinking of buying a car with a 32V VR6, budget for chain replacement or buy on that has already been done recently with proof. I would say that most of the cars for sale now would exhibit this rattling feature. You could just also get the car as cheap as you can and drive it till it breaks.

Other thing to lookout for is the DMF as these will wear out eventually and that is a gearbox out £400+ labour proposition.
 
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splbound

Registered User
I am showing -3 and -4 but also have a failed O2 sensor now in the mix (idle has become lumpy like its got big cams in it).

That actually doesn't sound too bad. From what I read I believe anything greater that 8 will throw up the CEL.

I had my passenger side bank pre cat O2 sensor go bad right before I did the chains. The sensor would at times stick to reading lean, my long term fuel term trims maxed out and the the whole bank was being dumped with fuel. When I pulled the plugs they were fouled and black as night. Fuel consumption went through the roof. Had a garage replace the O2 sensor and changed the plugs myself so that solved it.

When I had my sport cats and downpipes fitted they had major trouble removing the pre cat drivers side sensor. They ended up stripping that taking it off and had to purchase another o2 sensor at the time as well.
 
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gokiwi64

Guest
Im facing that issue , drivers side has defied every attempt (short of a gas axe !!), I am slowly coming round to the idea that i'm going to have to do a major strip down just to replace the sensor (and that puts another nail in the coffin for keeping it).
 

splbound

Registered User
Oh man.. the drivers side worst side. Have you got a quote from an exhaust shop to try and get it out, not too sure if you can even access it from underneath? Aside from brute force cutting, dropping the exhaust would be a pig of a job as its one piece all the way from the downpipes to after the front silencers.

If you do go this way be careful handling the exhaust as you don't want to break the flexis.

FYI If you ever need to replace the downpipes and cats or manifolds lucifers should fit. I ended up with a Scorpion branded one on mine but these look the part and a lot cheaper than OEM\Milltek\Scorpion.

http://www.r32oc.com/topic/126986-lucifers-mk5-r32-down-pipes-with-either-sport-cats-or-de-cats/
http://www.r32oc.com/topic/157321-lucifers-mk5-r32-manifolds-with-either-sport-cats-or-de-cats/
 

paddy

Registered User
I am going from memory here and its been 8 years but i seem to remember the Variable can time units compensate for the slack chain for a while till they run out of scope., the rattle is the chain tensioner at its limit. The problem was the manufacturer of the chain stamped his logo too deeply into the side plates which weakened them so they could stretch and alters the pitch of the chain which they wears the sprockets. This problem is not the same as normal wear that makes the rollers slack.
 

splbound

Registered User
I am going from memory here and its been 8 years but i seem to remember the Variable can time units compensate for the slack chain for a while till they run out of scope., the rattle is the chain tensioner at its limit. The problem was the manufacturer of the chain stamped his logo too deeply into the side plates which weakened them so they could stretch and alters the pitch of the chain which they wears the sprockets. This problem is not the same as normal wear that makes the rollers slack.

Thanks Paddy. I forgot to check whether my old chain was one of them defective Sachs stamped chains. In hindsight should have taken all the parts back with me for inspection...haha like I know what I'm doing.

I didn't change over my VVT camshaft adjusters, the existing ones were working fine and they cost so much to replace.
Car's running smooth now so hope the wear on them wasn't to bad. My gut feeling is they should last long enough for me.
 

Korben007

Registered User
in the US here. 150k on original chains. Also boosted since about 60k. making over 600bhp on a stock block.(because yes i agree on the Vr6 over the S3 with out a doubt...not to mention we never had an option of an S3 in the 8p form) The Vr6 is just an amazing simple and reliable engine. My wife had a TT that we ran up to 170k or so before we sold it on original chains. They had gotten a little rattle but the timing was still spot on in the computer.
 

NZWaverider

Registered User
Mine has done 135k and noticed a similar rattle, (it was rattling like a diesel) I asked my mechanic if it is the timing chain he took the car and replaced the oil and said "that will do for now, better than a tear down" Obviously hes using a thicker grade of oil, I just hope that's enough to stop anything serious happening, because it sounds good with a Milltek and induction kit, I've had it since 75k its been awesome and I plan to keep it, even if we get a new car, I want to keep it as a daily. This happened a few months ago and since changing the oil, the rattle has gone and the car runs well, not throwing any codes.
 

paddy

Registered User
Probably just the hydrolic valve lifters rattling and some thicker oil has cheered them up. If it was chain i doubt even thicker oil would make any difference.
 

NZWaverider

Registered User
Thanks Paddy, I was concerned when I first heard the noise, and am still concerned about throwing a chain and destroying the engine, so that's good to know, its not likely the cause.
 

splbound

Registered User
In hindsight my car would have probably been OK if I had waited for the Cel to change the chains. Going from the noise from the car my net was that is wasn't the lifters.

I intend to keep the car for a while so having the chains done was piece of mind for me. Hope to do another 100K if rust doesn't rear its head first.

Car runs smoothly and now it's just cabin squeaks from the dash I have to deal with.

Doing my bit to keep these 3.2's on the road. ;)
 
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tcardio

Registered User
TBH as a fun everyday car it was a better bet than my S3. whatever anyone tells you , you cant beat CC's :) If they made an S3 with a V6 i would buy one ..
They didn't but I did!
IMG_5709.jpeg
IMG_4787.jpeg
IMG_4873.jpeg
 

paddy

Registered User
Thats gotta be the ultimate A3/S3 :)
 
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