[A4] Rebuilt 2.8l 12v? Mine is a write-off...

Sean Reifschneider jafo-audifans at tummy.com
Mon Jul 12 05:17:16 EDT 2004

I'm starting to think that the only way we can make any progress with
our '97 A4 2.8 is to replace the engine.  I'm not having much luck with
finding rebuilders that are well regarded.  Any thoughts on that?

We've spent over $6k on the current engine this year, and it's been in
the shop something around 8 weeks so far this year.  In the last 6 weeks
we've had the car a total of 2 days.

It all started back in January with some lifter noise.  Some pictures
are at the bottom of:


I heard it when I started it up, and took it to the mechanic right away.
One totally shot lifter, which also toasted the cam.  In the end I asked
them to replace both cam shafts and all the lifters, because having a
reliable car is a good thing.

Everything was fine until Memorial Day weekend, when the car died in the
middle of Nebraska.  Broken timing belt.  The current belt, water pump,
and idler pulley should have had only 20k on them, or around 3k since
the cam work above.

After the repair, within 10 miles of driving, the car died again, as if
the belt broke.  Apparently, the belt slipped because the idler was bad.
No valves were hurt, the shop replaced the belt and idler at their cost
because he had said the idler was fine when replacing the broken belt.

We got the car back Saturday afternoon, and within about 10 miles the
check engine light came on.  On the way home, within about 20 miles, the
car stalled out at a light.  I was able to get it to re-start, but it
was running really rough, and the lifters are noisy again.  It idled
fine for about a minute, then died out again.  I had it towed back to
the mechanic in question and need to go have a chat with them.

We love the car, but we're pretty sure that any more money going into the
current engine would be a mistake at this point.  I found some
indication that a rebuilt engine could be had for around $2500, and I
figure about another $1500 for related parts to do an engine swap (might
as well do CV boots and clutch at the same time, and there's no way I'm
putting the current water pump and idler on there).

At this point we've spent $6k on the car, and now I'm talking about
another $4k in parts alone to get a car that's worth (at best) $10k
running again.  The Audi is obviously worth more to us running than
anyone else, but at some point we have to stop pouring cash into this
car and just sell it for a fraction of what we've recently put into it.

I'd like to be able to keep the Audi, because we really do like it as a
car (we've had it since something around 12 miles).  There's not a lot
of choice in AWD sedans, particularly of the fit and finish level and
features of the Audi.

I'd appreciate any comments or pointers to rebuilt engines anyone has.

 "The only thing more expensive than hiring a professional is hiring
 an amateur."  -- Red Adair,  Oil Well Fire-Fighter
Sean Reifschneider, Member of Technical Staff <jafo at tummy.com>
tummy.com, ltd. - Linux Consulting since 1995.  Qmail, Python, SysAdmin

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