[V6-12v] Timing Belt Change

The CyberPoet thecyberpoet at cyberpoet.net
Fri Feb 22 21:30:57 PST 2008

Kent already covered a bunch of it in his reply.

Here's what I can add (all general stuff):

(A) Virtually every mechanic's shop on the planet uses one of three  
basic pieces of software to estimate man-hours for projects like this  
-- and they simply click the make, year, model and job & it spits out  
the man-hours (which they then multiply by the shop-rate). The dealer  
uses Audi-specific estimating software; the aftermarket shops  
generally use of one of a couple different offerings that do the  
exact same thing but are designed to cover lots of different brands.  
As a result, you should be able to call any shop and ask what the  
number of hours for the project is and get the same answer pretty  
much everywhere.

(B) It's common to have to remove the radiator and all the stuff in  
the front of the engine to get to the timing belt and water pump;  
whether that list includes the actual body-panels is model-dependent.  
I've owned a few cars over the decades where it was actually cheaper  
to unbolt the engine & tranny and lift it out than to go through the  
hassles of unbuilding the front surrounds, but those cars are  
exceptions rather than the rule (none were Audi's). The act of  
getting at the components (& reassembling everything afterwards) is  
90% of the job.

(C) Timing belt intervals are generally 60k miles through the  
industry, although your particular model may have a different  
interval. The owner's manual should list that interval in it.

(D) Blame the industry for using belts -- timing chains and timing  
gears both work just as well and don't typically ever need  
replacement (although the water-pump in those cars needs to be  
engineered for a different location to compensate for the fact the  
gears/chain don't come off normally).

(D) Most audi engines will self-destruct critical parts if the timing  
belt breaks (interference engines); if your engine is NOT an  
interference engine, there's really no penalty in waiting for it to  
break on it's own as long as you know the water pump is up to snuff.
BUT I doubt you're going to get any dealership to cover an out-of- 
warrantee timing belt repair if it snaps before the estimated  
lifespan -- and they will virtually assuredly not cover secondary  
damages (to valves, pistons, etc).

=-= Marc Glasgow

On Feb 22, 2008, at 9:59 PM, Casimiro Izquierdo wrote:

> I have other questions concerning my 2002 A6 2.7T twin turbo with  
> about 72,000 miles.  A service employee told me today that the  
> timing belt in this car should be changed at about 60,000 miles.   
> The dealer has told me that the mileage for changing the timing  
> belt is between 95,000 and 110,000 miles.  This person also said  
> that in order to change the belt, the entire front part of the car  
> has to come off; including the radiator, the grill, bumpers, etc.  
> He claims that because of this, the job would cost between $2,000  
> and $3,000.  This is the same amount quoted by the dealer.
> My mechanic looked up in his book the amount of labour needed to  
> change the timing belt.  This book said 3 hours.  In light of the  
> above this does not seem reasonable, but, this is the book that is  
> used by mechanics to estimate the man-hours needed to do work about  
> which they are not familiar.
> 1- Does anyone have any idea whether all these parts have to come  
> off this car in order to access and change the timing belt?
> 2- Are the costs cited by the dealer and this service employee  
> reasonable for what needs to be done?
> 3- If the dealer says to change this belt at 100,000 and it fails  
> at 85,000, do you think that the cost of repair would be covered if  
> the car is out of warranty?  Faulty part or manufacture?
> 4- Any first or second hand experiences, as well as anecdotal stories?
> Thank you.
> Casimiro

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