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A3 Cam Follower (with additional issues)

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A3 Cam Follower (with additional issues)

Old 08-16-2016, 10:43 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 4
Default A3 Cam Follower (with additional issues)

I know there are a bunch of other threads on this, but here is another experience of the well known cam follower issue.

I have an A3 from early 2008, which still has the 2.0T FSI engine (or however others here want to refer to it as). Back around 2010, I first heard about the cam follower issue from a friend. I did some research into it, and found out there had been an extended warranty for this but, more importantly, according to Audi my car wasn't affected by this because it was a 2008 model year. I did however know, even back then, that the engine model did not change until part way through the 2008 production.

Well, turns out Audi's claim simply isn't true! Three weeks ago, on a Friday afternoon right before a long weekend car started cutting in and out, and then after a few minutes became super down on power (like unable to merge onto a highway at proper speed) and threw a CEL. Due to the holiday I wasn't able to take it in until the following mid-week, and thought it best not to drive it at all (except to the dealer).

So later that day I got a call with the bad news; the follower had worn through and I needed a new HPFP and camshaft. It was kinda funny in that I could tell the dealer was having a hard time trying to explain what had happened, and then before he even said the words "cam follower" I finished his explanation. The next thing I asked was what about the extended warranty for this. He said he was already trying to put it through as warranty, but the system wasn't letting him. After our conversation he called Audi to see if their was anything they would do. Apparently it took several calls, and because I was such a good customer of the past 9 years who gets everything done at the dealer, they finally agreed to pay for the parts only. I guess if there is good news in this, it is that a) they at least agreed to something, and b) I was just over 135,000 km, so I was due for a timing belt change, which I was going to do (at the dealer) at the next service anyways in a couple months. They suggested doing all this work at the same time since it would share some labour, which of course makes sense and I agreed. After it was all done it was still an expensive bill, but not enough more that the original timing job quote to get upset over, so I was happy. Oh, and VERY happy that this didn't happen a few months later just after I'd had the timing job.

So that was it right? Pick the car up and all seemed fine, until about 20 minutes of driving and a CEL comes back. I take it back in the morning, and they look at it, reset it, and say its probably nothing. I head home, and CEL comes back. Next day I take it in, and they have a proper look at it and say everything appears to be working fine, so they replace a sensor and take it for a test drive, only to have the CEL return. I need the car for the weekend so I take it back from them after confirming it is safe to drive, and go for a 2 hour drive. As I'm driving I keep thinking maybe I think maybe I'm being crazy, but it feels like the car sometimes doesn't pull quite right below 3000 rpm.

After the weekend I take it back, and a couple days later finally find out what's wrong now - apparently my cam adjuster is plugged with bits of metal from the cam follower and needs replacing, which isn't covered under any warranty and is going to cost me another decent chunk of money.

My first question here is does anyone else feel this is a little ridiculous? From other posts on these forums, it would seem as though the early '08's like mine have just as bad of issues as the previous years, but Audi refuses to acknowledge that. I've even read a post from someone describing early '08 owners as "screwed" by Audi. It would seem as though they consider all 2008 models to have the newer engine. This whole thing for me and probably most early 2008 owners could have been avoided had Audi simply acknowledged their team of engineers hadn't solved this problem, and suggested replacing the cam follower as part of the maintenance schedule, since it is apparently so easy for them with the proper tools. I don't have the tools or confidence level to do this myself, but would be happy to pay someone to do this while also doing things like spark plugs and ignition coils. I suggest all dealers ignore Audi and start recommending this. After all, isn't that the point of paying extra and taking your car to a dealer? So that these sorts of things get taken care of? They suggest replacing lots of other inexpensive items that aren't broken but will break at some point so why not this?

My second question here is what else is going to happen? Both as a result of this, and unrelated issues in the future. I can't imagine chunks of metal running loose in the engine being okay for other parts. In the past three weeks I have spend thousands of dollars to have a (seemingly properly) working car for 20 minutes. I do like this car, but honest opinion, should I be selling this car? Pretty much every past owner of a VW product as well as most mechanics have nothing but horror stories, and I'm now at the point of believing them. Sure I could buy a new one with the updated engine, but I'm sure that'll just have it's own set of issues. I know I need to spend just over $1000 on new brakes when the light comes on any day now, and I realize that isn't in any way an Audi issue, but it's just more money very soon, although nowhere near what I just spent.

Third question is why did Audi do this extended warranty in the first place? Did they do it out of the kindness of their hearts (doubt it) or because someone with some sort of legal power pressured them to do so? If so, is there any chance of extending this to get the rest of us covered?

I would like to note that I have nothing against the dealer. I am happy with their service, and glad they were willing to help me out with the warranty issue.
Old 08-17-2016, 08:08 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: northwest florida
Posts: 73

pwrOverload, Welcome to the forum. Sorry about your auto issues.
I'm not a mechanic or a "car" guy but I am an A3 owner. I also recently started as a driver at a local auto auction. I'm seeing the car dealers in a different way lately.

Originally Posted by pwrOverload View Post
My first question here is does anyone else feel this is a little ridiculous?
Yes. I think most new car dealers want their customers to be happy, especially return customers. Not sure the auto maker is as invested in the end user after the car leaves the lot.

Originally Posted by pwrOverload View Post
My second question here is what else is going to happen? Both as a result of this, and unrelated issues in the future. I can't imagine chunks of metal running loose in the engine being okay for other parts.
Can't really answer that one but agree that any loose metal bits floating around in the engine is a big concern. I would certainly look at any records from the cam follower work, indicating some flush of the engine, quantity of oil used, new oil filter and such. I would hope they made some attempt to make sure any cam follower debris was removed. As metal bits did cause the cam adjuster issue, what might be next?

Originally Posted by pwrOverload View Post
Third question is why did Audi do this extended warranty in the first place? Did they do it out of the kindness of their hearts (doubt it) or because someone with some sort of legal power pressured them to do so?
Why, because it generates more money for them. At least that is what I'm told by former dealership workers.
Old 08-18-2016, 12:06 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Colorado
Posts: 664

1. I would expect that all owners of the 2.0t FSI should be treated the same way regardless if they have 06,07,08 on the model year. I also think everything should have been covered - including removal of metal debris in the engine (as much as possible). I've read in other forums where people waited until it failed hoping for the free repair but in the end most didn't like it because sooner or later those metal particles go them. This is exactly why I picked up repair manuals, youtube videos and lots of tools. I'm not trusting anyone anymore with my car.
2. The A3 overall only had 2 major issues - one you already just got tackled by and the other is bad AC units. Except for those 2 issues I haven't heard many bad things - just one offs. My wife loves her 2007 and I asked her the same questions. She wants to keep it. So I keep maintaining the car until it completely dies. So far it has been pretty good about things.
3. I'm sure with a proper lawyer you will be able to push this through but by the time you pay him - you could have easily paid for the repairs. It's just a matter of how many people sue and get what they deserve in the first place. Sooner or later the manufacturer usually budges and extends the warranty.
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