Engine refresh – Day 8

Valve covers went back on today.

A little gasket maker into the corners.

All the seals are done, so it’s time for the valve covers to go back on. After double-checking the torque on all the bolts I applied gasket sealer to the recommended corners, put on fresh gaskets and then put the valve covers back on.

Timing belt waiting for crank bolt.

Moving from the top of the engine to the front I put on the new timing belt tensioner and idler roller. I’ll confess, getting the timing belt back on was much more of a chore than expected. There is not much space around the shroud, so the belt has to slide in perfectly straight or it binds up. There is no slack in a new belt so it was a struggle to get in. I’m not sure I would have been able to do this with the engine in the car.

Stretchy (new bolt is on left)

Along with putting in the timing belt I replaced the crank bolt. I found it fascinating that the bolt actually stretches from the torque applied to it during it’s time in the engine.

If you are doing your own timing belt, I found the ECS guide was an excellent reference. Print it out and have it on hand to supplement whatever manual you are using.

To close out the day turned my attention to the passenger side turbo and loosened the exhaust manifold.

Time invested: 4 hours.

 

Preparing for new brakes – Day 7

I took a day off working on the engine today and focused on brakes (sort of).

It could be argued that the brakes on the B6 A4 are undersized for normal duties. They will stop the car, no problem, but warping is common. For my upgrade I will be going with a set of Brembo 6 piston calipers which require more wheel clearance than the stock setup. To make room I’ll need to order some wheel spacers and I want to get the spacing correct. I used some cheap spacers to test fit the wheels and make sure they would stay inside the fenders.

At the same time I put in some temporary hub adapters to scale down the bore of the B8 wheels to match my B6 hub. It was totally worth the $20 I spent on the set, it cured the vibration I was getting on the highway (see Day 6).

Time invested, a couple hours of jacking the car up, putting it down and then jacking it up again to add spacers.

Engine refresh – day 6

Today I spent a couple hours at the shop, but not all of it was on the engine.

I started off by measuring the bore on my new wheels. I’ve been getting a little vibration on the highway and I suspect it might because I bought B8 generation wheels for my B6. The B8 has a larger hub size and so the wheels may not be precisely centered. I’ve ordered some spacers that I hope will cure that problem.

And now, on to the engine work. Today’s task was to replace the cam chain tensioner seal on the passenger side of the engine. This side of the engine was worlds easier. On the driver’s side I had to loosen the camshaft as well as compress the chain tensioner. On the passenger side compressing the chain tensioner was all that was needed. Turns out the passenger side was much worse off than the driver’s side. The shiny gunk you can see on the gasket is not sealer, it’s oil that was working it’s way through.

Cam tensioner seal with oil on it

Since the seal on the passenger side was so much easier I had some more time in the evening’s budget, so I also replaced the cam shaft cap on the passenger side. Since the valve cover was off I decided to replace the cap by pulling the top bracket off (I’m sure it has a real name) and clean the area well. I’m pretty sure that was a good decision because I found one of the oil channels was completely blocked by some hardened crud. I cleaned that up and put it back together with a fresh cap.

Top cap for the camshaft, channels for the oil visible on either side of the arch.
Look closely at the far side of the camshaft, that’s a sold bit of hardened oil

Today was 2 hours, an hour on measuring the wheel and doing research and another hour on the passenger side of the motor.

Engine refresh – day 5

Still have my hands under the valve covers today, this time at the front edge of the driver’s side replacing the timing chain gasket. The timing chain cover made this a real pain to get to (that and I couldn’t get enough slack in the timing chain).

What should have be at most a 30 minute task took 90 minutes and a couple sets of hands.

Once we were able to get the gasket clear of the guide pins I pulled the half-moon seal, scraped the surfaces and put in a new seal and gasket.