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.


Engine refresh – day 4

Day 4 was the flip side of day 2: I took off the driver’s side valve cover, removed the seals and prepared it for new gaskets.


Not terribly exciting, but another hour of work down.


Engine refresh – day 3

Today was all about the front crankshaft seal. It wasn’t leaking, but it was accessible with the engine out, so why not? Well… one could argue: don’t fix it if it ain’t broke, that’s why not.

First step was to get the crankshaft harmonic balancer bolt out. This bolt is torqued to 150 lb/ft… and then turned another 180 degrees. It’s in there tight… so tight that the force actually stretches the bolt. Getting the bolt out took me about ten minutes of straining, spraying penetrating oil and an air impact gun.


Since it wasn’t leaking it was a bit of a pain to pull out. By the time I realized I should have left well enough alone, I had already beat up the front of the seal, so it had to come out. With John’s help the seal finally came loose. Putting the new seal in was simply a matter of finding the right tool to seat the seal (which, when you don’t have a seal tool, the right tool is a 36mm Craftsman socket).



Engine refresh – day 2

On the second day I pulled the passenger side valve cover and scraped the surfaces to prepare them for new seals. Before I can complete the valve covers I’m going to replace the camshaft seals, so I won’t be buttoning it down quite yet (but am keeping it covered to keep debris out).

Audi camshafts

Spent about an hour carefully cleaning up the gasket surfaces.


Engine refresh – day 1

After the slow pace we were forced to take with the engine extraction, working on the engine is going much more quickly (having it on a stand helps tremendously).


I started the day’s work by pulling the shrouds of the front of the timing belt circuit. About an hour of pushing, pulling, tugging and grunting I had the front end mostly disassembled.

Audi engine repair

In addition to replacing the timing belt, there are several seals that might as well be replaced too. Before we pulled the engine we found oil in cylinder one (as well as high compression). With the hope that it’s a leak in the valve cover gaskets, I’ll be replacing those. I’ll also check the main crank seal and camshaft seals. The engine is out of the car, so it’s the easiest time to get to the parts.

Audi engine with replaced parts

Day one I removed the timing belt, water pump, thermostat, and thermostat housing. After cleaning grease and oil off the engine front, I installed a new water pump, thermostat and thermostat housing. The first block of work was about 4 hours.


A6 Deconstruction

At the time we pulled the engine out of the A6 I wasn’t yet taking careful notes on the project. I’m guessing we spent 36-48 hours total on pulling the engine.

Getting the engine out was a struggle as we worked to access bolts that were buried deep in the engine bay. In retrospect we should have dropped the entire front end, it would have saved us a lot of headaches. We’re certain to do that for pulling the engine out of the A4.

John and I worked for hours trying to get the engine out. When I dropped out for a bit with a sinus infection, John took the job the last few miles and got the engine out of the A6 and onto an engine stand. I’m lucky to have a great friend like John.

Audi engine on a stand

The A6, now thoroughly emasculated, looks dejected in the corner of the garage.

A6 with no engine


Audi build log

I’m not sure how detailed I’ll get, but I’m going to document my steps along the path to putting a bit of spunk into my little wagon.

The focus of all this attention.
The focus of all the attention.
The donor
The donor
The organ transplant
The organ transplant

Jeremy, do you approve?

Jeremy Clarkson animated gif Power!!

Dogs Travel

I made a new friend

I wanted to take her home, but she, unfortunately, belongs to the Spoiled Dog Winery.

I rate all wineries by two key metrics:

  1. Paula’s oppinion of the wine
  2. The amount of time I spend sitting on the floor petting a dog

Spoiled Dog Winery gets two thumbs up in my book.


My willpower doesn’t need to last all day

It just has to last long enough for my coworkers to eat the pie.