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2013 Audi A3 2.0Tq 2013 Audi TT-S
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Discussion Starter #1
I recently bought an Mk2 TT-S with fairly high miles (185k km or 115k mi), got the car at a good price due to the high miles, buying as-is, and possibly the low demand from covid. It has a CDMA EA113 engine, it's a 2013 MY car.

Despite the high miles the car drives really nice, everything is smooth, DSG is great... I did my homework on the car as well as having an indy mechanic do a PPI, everything looked good at time of purchase. Car needed brakes and CHML (3rd brake light) to pass safety (all done) and everything else was good. I mean it will need some major maint. items done, and it has a lot of stone chips on the front due to the mileage, but I was well aware of all this when I bought it. Mag ride will need to be changed out as well but that's fine with me too. Car is not pristine but I didn't pay for a perfect car either, so not at all regretful.

After purchase I was (and still am) all smiles. The one surprise that did get me was when I drained the oil after purchasing it. Noticed sparkly copper (or brass) specs in the oil filter and then when I looked at the drained oil in the sun it was clearly "glittery" :eek: No big chunks or flakes just very fine "glitter" like particles, a lot of them. Car drove (and still drives) great so there was nothing really to point at any engine issue...there's no noise like rod knock and while the injectors are pretty loud and there's some amount of "sounds like a diesel" going on, I'm quite certain it's not a bottom end noise because rod knock is pretty unmistakable and increases a certain way with RPM such that this does not. Plus I think the mechanic (a VW/Audi specialist would have noticed rod knock as well when the PPI was done).

Still thinking it might be worn rod bearing(s), I started by checking the compression. Found good compression all around--#1 is slightly lower at ~175 while the other three cylinders are between 180-185, but this is both good and within spec for variance. As a side note the spark plugs seemed like they were near new, so I think they were changed not too long ago. Valve cover gasket is leaking a good bit on #1 but that shouldn't affect compression anyway and I'll be changing that soon too.

After the comp test I put each cylinder at TDC and did the "push down" test with a long screwdriver to see if there was any play in the rod bearings. I couldn't get any of the pistons to move down. So it doesn't seem like a rod bearing issue? I have yet to send the oil for UOA but still have it in the bottle I put it in to and got some Blackstone kits recently.

Since then I drove the car daily for a couple months before parking for the winter--no issues and I was more concerned the timing belt might let go since I don't think it was done (I bought all the timing belt stuff including the cam chain and tensioner already but not changed yet). TBH I might not have been as concerned about the copper as I should have been but nothing went wrong knocks on wood. Still it would obviously not be nice to have the engine fail in the near future.

I did a search and found only a couple threads including this one:
Which didn't seem to really come to any conclusion or solution.

Questions:
1. Could it still be rod bearing(s) wear despite not having any play in the pistons?
2. If it is rod bearing wear, can the bearings be changed on this engine without removing the engine?
3. What else could it be? Turbo thrust bearing is brass I know that, but seems like a lot of copper to be that, plus wouldn't I be having turbo/boost issues in that case?
4. Any other ideas? Should I drop the oil pan before driving it next year? I figure the answer is "yes" but maybe someone has other insights...
 

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2013 Golf R, 2013 X5 35D, 1997 E320
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You really only have one choice but to drop the pan to inspect the rod bearings. You could check the turbo for shaft play and if the turbo is toast, maybe you get away with not dropping the pan, but I'd still check to be safe.
 

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2013 Audi A3 2.0Tq 2013 Audi TT-S
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Discussion Starter #4
You really only have one choice but to drop the pan to inspect the rod bearings. You could check the turbo for shaft play and if the turbo is toast, maybe you get away with not dropping the pan, but I'd still check to be safe.
Yeahhh I guess you are right, I think I will have to do that. I guess I could do that before next spring just kind of sucks I'll be throwing away good/2-month-old oil to do it. When you drop the pan you still can't see all the rod bearings on this engine, right? You have to remove the whole balance-shaft assembly and oil pump, right?

But does anyone know if the rod bearings can be replaced without taking the engine out? I believe on some engines it's possible and some it isn't. I've never had to do that job before, though I'm certainly willing to if I don't have to pull the engine out. Actually I'm willing to entertain even that LOL but that's a whole other project which obviously would rather not get into.

The "sounds like a diesel" is just a EA113 feature. Replacing the cam chain and tensioner may alleviate it.
Ha yeah I got the jist of that when I got the car. I also had the evap purge (N80) fail a few wks after I got it, which made even more rattling noise :LOL: though that was an easy fix. Pretty sure the noise is mainly injector noise.

I did buy the complete timing parts--belt, tensioner, pulleys, plus the cam chain, cam chain tensioner. I still have to get the polydrive bit, which seems to be easier said than done in Canada so far :( The mechanic I had do the PPI warned me that polydrive bit is typically seized and breaks/strips even with the right tool. Said I could bypass having to remove it by pulling the cam girdle. Videos I've watched though, people say it can either be super tight or not a problem to remove the polydrive so I might as well give that a shot first. I did put a screwdriver to the cover there and put my ear against it--I honestly don't think the tensioner/chain is making noise there but since I'm doing the timing belt I might as well do that too.


Timing belt interval is ~175k kms and I have no way of knowing if it was done but I shall err on the side of caution and change it. I pulled the belt cover and looked for "new belt markings" (like the part number, etc. printed on it) and I see nothing which leads me to believe it's the original belt.

The real concern though is these copper sparkles :confused:
 

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You can do rod bearings without taking out the engine. The balance shafts are in the way, but you can look into doing a balance shaft delete which is a good idea if you plan on modifying the car and driving it at high rpm.
 

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2013 Audi A3 2.0Tq 2013 Audi TT-S
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Discussion Starter #6
You can do rod bearings without taking out the engine. The balance shafts are in the way, but you can look into doing a balance shaft delete which is a good idea if you plan on modifying the car and driving it at high rpm.
Oh okay cool that's not too bad then. Yeahhh I thought about the balance shaft bit but then I'd really rather have them in there. I know this part will also eventually fail and the cost of it is huge, which means you essentially either have to delete it or use a used one but I'm hoping the one in the car will last and I won't have to worry about it. Car is only going to be driven half the year and will still be a second car (so even that half the year it's not being driven full time as I have my A3 as well). It has a lot of miles on it from the previous owners but I will be putting maybe 5k miles/year on it now.

Anyway at least I will have no shortage of projects to get done between now and the summer (most of which will probably have to wait until spring, but will see what I can get done in the garage over the winter).

I also ordered a downpipe and the Autotech HPFP upgrade, to ready it for a Stage 2 tune heh.
 

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Also check the cam follower, it could be or have been the culprit! Go for the cam girdle if you are going to do timing, that polydrive bolt is a b#$$#, don't mess with it if the car runs fine!

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Discussion Starter #8
Also check the cam follower, it could be or have been the culprit!
Thanks for the suggestion. Yeah I checked the follower, it's definitely not that. The follower is in good condition, the coating is just beginning to wear away so it's not a big concern. Plus I don't think there's any copper in that (?) and certainly wouldn't produce the amount of "sparkles" I saw in the oil--no big chunks as mentioned just a very "glitttery" drain pain and the same fine pieces seen in the filter. As a note I do have a new follower to go along with all the other "maintenance parts"--timing belt, cam chain, fuel pump upgrade, etc.

Go for the cam girdle if you are going to do timing, that polydrive bolt is a b#$$#, don't mess with it if the car runs fine!
It seems the polydrive bolt is hit or miss though--some people have little issue getting it off, other people have a heck of a time. I think I'll get the bit and try the "easy" way first, if that fails to actually be easy enough, take the girdle off. The thing that sucks here though is that you also need to get the tool that "locks" the cams it seems but it also looks like the tool doesn't totally lock the cams and they can still move if you use it? 🤦‍♂️ I mean the timing belt looks quite simple and almost as easy as an accessory belt to change, but seems like the other side is a bit tricky.
 

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I'm not sure if you can swap the cam chain and tensioner without pulling the vvt off the exhaust cam. I did strip the poly drive and I had to pull the cams so I could put the cam in a vise to drill out the bolt. I was later told that applying heat breaks down the thread locker on the bolt. I bought some cheap timing tool that didn't do a great job holding the cams. I'm sure you could do the job without the tool. The lobes at the end (cylinder 4) point towards each other and you'll see the round notches for the timing tool next to those, those should be straight up and down.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm not sure if you can swap the cam chain and tensioner without pulling the vvt off the exhaust cam. I did strip the poly drive and I had to pull the cams so I could put the cam in a vise to drill out the bolt. I was later told that applying heat breaks down the thread locker on the bolt. I bought some cheap timing tool that didn't do a great job holding the cams. I'm sure you could do the job without the tool. The lobes at the end (cylinder 4) point towards each other and you'll see the round notches for the timing tool next to those, those should be straight up and down.
No yeah you 100% have to either take the polydrive bolt out or remove the girdle, no other way to do it--I understand that much. Thanks for the tips :)

Your comment about the heat makes me wonder if the people that had an easier time taking it out, didn't do it with a warm engine...

I think you're right about the cam "lock" tool though--it can be done without it but just have to be very careful and meticulous. The tool (even the official VAS one or whatever) seems to just prevent the cams from going way out, not from going out a little bit, which is kind of dumb TBH. It's interesting that the cam lock tool for the EA888 motors is completely different and really does lock the cams so they can't move a tooth, but of course that's a different design. Still you'd think they'd have figured out a better tool for the EA113 motors.
 

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Also if you do pull the cam girdle make sure you use an anaerobic sealant on the girdle. The VW stuff is quite expensive, but Permatex makes an equivalent for like $13 a tube. If you do end up doing that because you have to drill out the bolt you can pull the cam adjuster apart to clean it out rather than buying a new one. It's a pretty simple design.
 
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