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RE: 1.8 A4 engine

> (copy of a note I posted on a4.org message boards)
> I know this note sounds like flamebait but it's not.
> I stopped at the local dealer today and walked around the back to the
> shop.  I noticed a tech heavily into an A4 which was on a lift, and I
> chatted with him.  Here is the short version of our discussion:
> - there is a problem with fuel tanks on the A4 leaking.  He sees about
> 1/month.  It usually shows up as a "check engine" light before you
> notice the leak itself.  The faulty tanks have bad seams.
> - he doesn't recommend the 1.8t engine as it's a "VW engine" deep down.
> He says that the 2.8v6 is a far better engine.  He says that shortcuts
> were taken to get power and went into some details about connecting
> rods, oil delivery, etc.  Bottom line is he doesn't think they are
> robust and pointed to a new crated 1.8 that had just arrived from
> Germany, waiting to go into another car.  The bad engine had 40k miles
> on it.  He says the TT is a bit better as far as the oil delivery
> because they use a chain "like american cars".
> I'm not that familiar with the innards of the 1.8 to know if this makes
> sense, but he knew his stuff and had no reason to lie to me.  Likewise,
> as a prospective A4 owner, I have no reason to make this up.

And this is what I posted in response on A4.org.

I know all of you know Audis so take all these questions as retorical.

If there's one thing that can be learned from reading the
Internet(Usenet especially) is that everyone has an opinion and few
are backed up by statistics. Maybe the mechanic is right, I doubt it
but maybe he is. Has he taken a 1.8T or 2.8 apart? Does he have
the credentials and experience to objectively analyze the engine
itself in terms of construction and design? Has he done real
statistical analysis? How many has he worked on with serious

On all of the above, I doubt it. No manufacturer these days is going
to cheap out an engine too much. Especially one that they offer a
100k mile warranty on. The warranty costs will kill them if there's
something seriously wrong with it not to mention what it will do to
their reputation(something neither VW or Audi can afford right now).

Another thing that can be learned from the 'net is that ALL cars
have problems that are outliers on the bell curve. This includes
things like Hondas seizing engines at 20K and Toyotas having
undiagnosable electrical problems.

'He says the TT is a bit better as far as the oil delivery because
they use a chain "like american cars"'. That says it all.


Further comments:  I recently got an APR chip for my car.  When I put it
in I noticed some slight pinging in 2nd gear rolling on the gas hard at 2K.
I also noticed a bit of bucking and surging rolling on the gas hard in 5th
at about 3K.  The latter was obviously the knock sensor cutting in to
prevent detonation.  APR said the 1.8T is susceptible to carbon build up and
that I should get an anti-carbonization service done.

Currently, the APR chip has been sent back for reprogramming to not advance
the ignition as much.  This is the only engine related problem I've come
close to having with my car.  I'm not sure I can even blame this on the
engine or the new chip yet.

Paul Wilson
'98.5 A4 1.8TQSM