GeneralA4 3.0 Timing belt snapped

Ahh the timing belt, I decided to write this article because there is a lot of information out there on timing belts especially for Audi’s. My goal is to make this a complete resource for anything Audi timing belt related. I will continue to build and add on to this article as time goes on with information I think will be beneficial to help anybody understand the timing system of their Audi.

 

What a Timing Belt Does

A timing belt synchronizes the rotation of the crankshaft and camshaft. This allows the valves in the cylinder head to open and close at the times needed to create compression and power. In a standard 4 stroke engine the camshaft rotates twice to every rotation of the crankshaft. Some cars use a timing chain to accomplish this. Timing chains are usually more durable and require less maintenance.

 

Audi Timing Belt Service Intervals

Here is a quick list of service intervals I have found. Please be aware that Audi may have released some TSBs (Technical Service Bulletin) that could have changed these intervals. Please use this list as a reference only, (it should be accurate or at least close). Call your dealer for a truly accurate interval for your specific Audi.

Audi A3

  • 8P 2.0T FSI – 75,000 Miles

Audi A4

  • B5 / B6 1.8T – 105,000 Miles
  • B5 2.8 V6 – 105,000 Miles
  • B6 3.0 V6 – 105,000 Miles
  • B7 2.0T FSI – 75,000 Miles

Audi A6 / Allroad

  • C4 / C5 2.8 V6 – 105,000 Miles
  • C5 2.7 Bi-Turbo – 105,000 Miles
  • C5 3.0 V6 – 105,000 Miles
  • C5 4.2 V8 – 105,000 Miles
  • C5 S6 4.2 V8 – 80,000 Miles
  • C5 RS6 4.2 V8 – 80,000 Miles

Audi A8

  • D2 3.7 V8 – 105,000 Miles
  • D2 4.2 V8 – 105,000 Miles
  • D3 4.2 V8 – 105,000 Miles

Audi TT

  • MK1 1.8T – 105,000 Miles
  • MK2 2.0T FSI – 75,000 Miles

 

Timing Belt vs Timing Chain

You may be wondering what the difference is between a timing chain and timing belt. Timing chains usually last a lot longer than belts do in most cases (Damn you B6 S4!). Most of the time they last the life of the vehicle (At least they are suppose to).

Timing Chain

Pros:

  • Less maintenance required
  • Usually can last the life of the vehicle
  • Usually doesn’t drive other components (like the water pump)

Cons:

  • Slightly louder than a belt
  • Tensioners are almost always controlled by oil pressure / hydraulic
  • Frequent oil changes using the correct oil is critical with chain driven engines since oil actuated tensioners are very sensitive to any sludge build up
  • Usually has multiple tensioners and chains especially in V configured engines
  • Parts are more expensive
  • Labor for a timing chain job is more expensive. On some Audi’s the engine has to be pulled as the chains are located in the rear of the engine between the transmission and block.

Timing Belt

Pros:

  • Quieter than chains
  • Simpler in design and less components to the system
  • Relatively simple replacement compared to timing chains
  • Parts are usually cheaper
  • Labor is usually cheaper. Timing belts are always in the front of the engine.
  • Tensioners are stand alone and do not rely on engine oil pressure

Cons:

  • Usually requires more frequent replacement compared to timing chains. (60k-100k miles)

With this being said most newer Audi’s are switching to timing chains and the technology is getting more refined with less issues being reported on newer models.

 

How to Tell if it’s Time to Replace the Timing Belt on your Audi?

I hear this question a lot and I have some bad news for people asking this. The majority of the time you will not be able to tell by just looking at the timing belt if it needs to be replaced. This is why it is important to replace it at the recommended service intervals. If you purchased your Audi used and the miles are over the recommended interval I would replace it just to be safe, unless you have proof the previous owner replaced it and you know the miles on the car it was replaced.

There are some signs you can look for if your belt is really bad.

Timing Belt Glazing

  • If your timing belt looks really glossy or shiny it may be time to replace it.

Timing Belt Cracking

  • If you see any signs of cracking the belt needs to be replaced as soon as possible. Most of the time this cracking will show up on the toothed side of the belt.

Timing Belt Abrasion

  • If you see abrasion or uneven wear along the edges of the timing belt. Sometimes you will even see some filaments or fraying of the belt. This is a good indicator that the pulleys or tensioners are worn out and becoming sloppy and not truly rotating. If you notice any of these things it’s another sign to get a timing belt job done ASAP.

Tooth Wear

  • Tooth wear is another thing you can possibly check. All teeth on the belt should be uniformly shaped. Any misshaped teeth is definitely a sign to do a replacement.

Engine Misfire

  • If your timing belt has stretched out or even skipped a tooth on the pulley it will likely cause some severe engine misfire or possibly a no start condition. This is caused by the crank and cam not being synchronized as they should which in turn messes up your timing / valves not opening and closing when they should. With this being said an engine misfire is usually caused by a host of other conditions. It is pretty rare for a timing belt to skip a tooth and cause misfire. Please check all other possibilities before assuming its the timing belt causing your misfire.

Engine Will Not Start

  • This is usually a really bad sign if your timing belt is causing this issue. If your engine is sounding differently while cranking over it could mean the timing belt has broken and the engine is not able to generate any compression. If this is the case you will usually only hear the starter turning and not the normal “Chugging” sound of the engine before it starts.

 

Why is it Bad if a Timing Belt Breaks?

Most newer engines today are of an interference design. This means when a valve is open, the piston at TDC (Top Dead Center) are at its highest point will take up the same space as the valve. Without the valves opening at the exact right time during the pistons travel, the piston will smash into the valve. Usually causing catastrophic damage to the engine. This is why it is absolutely critical you replace your timing belt before it breaks and causes severe, and sometimes un-repairable engine damage.

 

What does it Cost to Fix a Broken Timing Belt?

If you are lucky and only bend some valves in your cylinder head and cause no other damage. You will need to either purchase a replacement cylinder head (Used – $600-$1200) or have yours rebuilt ($300-$600) per cylinder head. If you are not so lucky and a valve actually breaks off from being hit by the piston. You will most likely need a replacement engine. The average cost I am seeing for a USED Audi engine is from $800-$4000 depending on what engine you need. Labor to install an engine is around 7-12 hours at $120 an hour. So really the price of letting your timing belt break will cost you anywhere from $1300, if you are very lucky and have a cheaper engine (1.8T), up to about $6000 and weeks without your car. To me it just seems like a better idea to replace the belt before it breaks.

 

What does it Cost to Replace an Audi Timing Belt?

Here is a list I have made with the average labor times a shop should charge you for a timing belt replacement job. This is just the labor time not the cost of parts.

ModelYears (Engine Code)HoursCost ($120/hr)
Audi V8 Quattro1992-1994 4.2L V8 (ABH)4.6$552
Audi 801992 2.3L 5cyl (NG)2.1$252
Audi 901993-1994 2.8L V6 (AAH)
1995 2.8L V6 (AAH)
1995 2.8L V6 (AFC)
3.2
2.6
1.8
$384
$312
$216
Audi 1001992-1994 2.8L V6 (AAH)3.2$384
Audi Cabriolet1994-1995 2.8L V6 (AAH)
1995-1998 2.8L V6 (AFC)
3.2
3.2
$384
$384
Audi A32006-2008 2.0T L4 (BPY)4.6$552
Audi A41996 2.8L V6 (AFC)
1997 2.8L V6 (ACK)
1997-1999 1.8T L4 (AEB)
1998-1999 2.8L V6 (AHA)
2000 1.8T L4 (ATW)
2000-2001 2.8L V6 (ATQ)
2001 1.8T L4 (AWM)
2002-2006 1.8T L4 (AMB)
2002-2004 3.0L V6 (AVK)
2005-2006 3.0L V6 (BGN)
2005-2006 2.0T L4 (BPG)
2007-2009 2.0T L4 (BWT)
4.2
5.2
5.3
5.2
5.3
6.3
5.3
6.1
7.0
7.0
4.1
4.1
$504
$624
$636
$624
$636
$756
$636
$732
$840
$840
$492
$492
Audi S41992-1994 2.2L 5cyl Turbo (AAN)
2000-2002 2.7T V6 (APB)
3.4
5.6
$408
$672
Audi A61995 2.8L V6 (AAH)
1995-1997 2.8L V6 (AFC)
1998-1999 2.8L V6 (AHA)
2000-2002 2.7T V6 (APB)
2000-2001 2.8L V6 (ATQ)
2000 4.2L V6 (ART)
2001-2004 4.2L V6 (AWN)
2002-2004 3.0L V6 (AVK)
2003-2004 2.7T V6 (BEL)
5.0
5.0
5.0
5.7
5.0
5.9
5.9
6.3
5.7
$600
$600
$600
$684
$600
$708
$708
$756
$684
Audi A6 Allroad2001-2002 2.7T V6 (APB)
2003-2005 2.7T V6 (BEL)
5.3
5.3
$636
$636
Audi S61995 2.2L 5cyl Turbo (AAN)
2002-2004 4.2L V6 (BBD)
3.4
5.9
$408
$708
Audi A81997-1999 4.2L V8 (ABZ)
1997-1999 3.7L V8 (AEW)
2000-2003 4.2L V8 (AKB)
2001-2003 4.2L V8 (AUX)
2004-2005 4.2L V8 (BFM)
2006 4.2L V8 (BGK)
5.9
5.9
5.9
5.9
6.1
6.1
$708
$708
$708
$708
$732
$732
Audi S82001-2003 4.2L V8 (AYS)5.9$708
Audi TT2000-2002 1.8T L4 (AMU)
2000-2001 1.8T L4 (ATC)
2001-2006 1.8T L4 (AWP)
2003-2006 1.8T L4 (BEA)
2008-2009 2.0T L4 (BPY)
3.5
3.5
3.5
3.5
5.1
$420
$420
$420
$420
$612

 

Do I Need Special Tools or Skill?

This is totally dependent on the engine you are working on. As far as skill is concerned, if you have a good set of instructions and the correct tools for your specific vehicle, I think almost anybody could do most timing belt jobs. Patience and documentation are the key. Take pictures and write down anything you think you will want to know as you are taking stuff apart so you can put it back together correctly. Remember, it’s only one bolt at a time. Now for the special tools. Below is a list I have gathered that should cover most Audi engines with the tools required to complete a timing belt job. This list is just the “Special” Audi / VW tools. You will still need a good set of standard tools as well as some other non-standard tools such as a torque wrench, etc.

EngineEngine Code(s)Tools Required
2.0T FSIBWT
BPG
T10020(Tensioner Pin Wrench)
T40098(Locking Tool)
2.0T FSIBPYT10020(Tensioner Pin Wrench)
T10060A(Locking Tool)
1.8TAWMT10092(Tensioning Bolt)
T40011(Locking Pin)
3387(Tensioner Pin Wrench)
T10008(Tensioner Locking Plate)
1.8TAMU
ATC
AWP
BEA
10222A(Engine Support Bridge)
T10092(Tensioning Bolt)
T40011(Locking Pin)
1.8TAMB1331(Torque Wrench)
3387(Pin Wrench)
T10008(Tensioner Locking Plate)
1332(Torque Wrench)
1.8TAEBV/159(Tensioner Pin Wrench)
1.8TATWT40011(Locking Pin)
4.2L V8AKB
ART
AWN
AYS
BBD
BFM
T40009(Tensioner Pin Spanner)
3242(Crankshaft Locking Bolt)
1783(Torque Wrench)
6234(Torque Wrench)
T40001 with T40001/2(Cam Sprocket Puller with Jaws)
T40005(Camshaft Lock)
T40011(Locking Pin)
3212(Fan Pulley Holding Tool)
3204(Drift)
4.2L V8ABZ3312(Fan Wrench)
3197(Crankshaft Locking Tool)
3036(Timing Pulley Holding Tool)
3341(Camshaft Locking Tool)
2.7 Bi-TurboAPB
BEL
3036(Timing Pulley Holding Tool)
3212(Fan Pulley Holding Tool)
3242(Crankshaft Locking Bolt)
3391(Camshaft Locking Tool)
T40001 with T40001/2(Cam Sprocket Puller with Jaws)
T40011(Locking Pin)
2.8 V6 12vAAH
AFC
3242(Crankshaft Locking Bolt)
Small 2 Arm Puller
3203(Crankshaft Oil Seal Puller)
3202(Seal Installer)
2.8 V6 30vAHA
ATQ
3036(Timing Pulley Holding Tool)
3242(Crankshaft Locking Bolt)
3391(Camshaft Locking Tool)
T40001 with T40001/2(Cam Sprocket Puller with Jaws)
T40011(Locking Pin)
3202(Seal Installer)
3203(Crankshaft Oil Seal Puller)
3265
3.0 V6 NAAVK
BGN
ASN
3212(Fan Pulley Holding Tool)
3387(Pin Wrench)
T40011(Locking Pin)
T40026(Crankshaft Locking Bolt)
T40028(Camshaft Adjusting Socket)
T40030(Camshaft Holder Tool)
T40039(Ignition Coil Puller)

 

Replace Just the Timing Belt?

A timing belt usually requires you to remove a lot of other components from your vehicle before you can reach the actual belt. Therefore it makes a lot of sense to replace any common wear items you are removing or have better access to along the way. The labor cost to replace these items is minimal since chances are it will already be removed from the car during the Timing belt job. Some of the common items include the serpentine / drive belt, water pump, drive / serpentine belt tensioner, camshaft seals, crankshaft seal, and valve cover gaskets. At the very least I would recommend replacing the water pump during this time as it is usually driven by the timing belt and a water pump failure will likely cause catastrophic timing belt failure as well.

 

OEM or Aftermarket Parts?

You always want the correct part for the job. Audi’s usually make more power per displacement than most other car brands so in turn more stress is put on the timing components. It really makes sense to trust the well being of your engine in the hands of manufacturers that Audi trusted to make these components to begin with. Parts made from OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) have been tested by Audi to meet the standards they set and make it to the service intervals they have set. I would only put genuine Audi or OEM timing belt components into my Audi.

I am sure if you’ve done work on your own car you have purchased some parts from the “Local Big Box” auto part stores and have likely found they don’t last nearly as long as the part you are replacing. In my own experience I have purchased “House Brand” brake pads and rotors from these auto part stores to replace some worn out brakes in my car at 60k miles. Only 6k miles later the rotors were warped so badly and needed to be replaced again! To me it’s worth it to spend a little more on parts and not work on my cars as often. I have one more experience I would like to share. This happened after I decided only to use name brand / OEM parts in my cars. I was younger, in school full time and on a serious budget. I decided to buy a timing belt kit for my Audi A4 3.0L and it was labeled as OEM but was cheaper than any other kit I could find online. I thought I just found a really good deal. Turns out the belt itself was OEM but the water pump was not. After less than 2,000 miles while going down the highway 50 miles from home my check engine lights starts blinking (meaning the car is misfiring badly). All of a sudden the car dies! I try to start it again, but I know something is wrong as I don’t hear the standard “Chugging” sound of an engine turning over, I only hear the starter spinning. Long story short, the water pump pulley sheared off and completely destroyed the timing belt and engine! Boy was this rough; talk about destroying my budget! Moral of the story, only use parts made by OEM manufacturers. I know I will not make that mistake again. Here are some pictures of the carnage!

 

I don’t want to be pushing our parts too much as I want this article to be mostly informative and not a sales pitch but I do want to mention we offer a full line of timing belts for your Audi or Volkswagen. All of the kits we sell include OEM parts and come with water pumps. Here is the list:

Late B5, B6 A4 – 1.8T Timing Belt Kit
B7 A4, 8P A3, MK1, MK2 TT – 2.0T FSI Timing Belt Kit
Early C5 A6, D2 A8 – 4.2L V8 Timing Belt Kit
C5 A6 – 2.8L V6 Timing Belt Kit
Late C5 A6 / S6 / RS6, Late D2 A8 / S8 – 4.2L V8 Timing Belt Kit
Early B5 A4 – 1.8T TIming Belt Kit
B5 S4, C5 A6 / Allroad – 2.7 Bi-Turbo Timing Belt Kit
B6 A4, C5 A6 – 3.0L V6 Timing Belt Kit
MK1 TT – 1.8T Timing Belt Kit

 

Please let me know what you think of this article or if you think I should include any other information in it. Comment below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment