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Discussion Starter #1
Hi

I'm new to this forum - I have a query regarding the need for a cambelt change.

I have a 1998 A3 1.8T, which has done 39,000 miles. I only do about 5,000 per annum.

I just had it serviced at an Audi dealer in London and they recommended a cambelt change - they said the belt should be good for 80,000 miles, but recommended I have it done now due to the age of the belt.

Having thought about it, I'm not sure why age itself would be any issue? I'd be grateful for any views.

They quoted £665, so obviously I don't want to get it done if its not necessary, although I know bad things can happen if it fails, so don't want to push my luck.

Thanks in advance for any comments!
 

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Most timing belts are lifed on both mileage and age and as you belt is 7 years old(assuming its not been changed) I would get it changed(my volvo is 80k miles or 8 years for the recomended change and i changed it at 70k and 4.5yrs). I cant find an age for your belt but the mileage is roughly 75k for a change. The engine is an interference engine and if the belt snaps you will have a very expensive repair bill. I would got to an Audi specialist though rather than pay Audi service to do the job that does seem rather expensive.
 

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Yes, definitely get it changed. Even if the milage is low, the belt will deteriorate over time (dries, cracks) and you risk a belt failure with huge repair bills.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for your input and good advice - now have it booked in for the work.

I've now been told they have a recommended life of 5 years, so was pushing it at nearly 8, despite the low mileage.

Incidentally I found quite a range of prices even between franchised dealers in the same area - from £515 up to £748 (both including the water pump). Have booked it in with the former. I would happily go the independent specialist route, but haven't been able to find one in my area (central / SE London - if anyone has a recommendation please let me know), so am sticking with franchised for now.
 

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I bought a 97 A3 1.8T with 42.5k miles on the clock about six months ago. I bought it from my cousin who bought it new. It's in showroom condition and had been looked after really well. The computer showed an average of 39mpg when I got it so you can tell it has been driven at low revs for the past 8 years. I can't average more than 29mpg but I have a much heavier right foot.

It started overheating 10 days ago (off the scale) and after a lot of investigation my step-father (mechanic) had been told by a private Audi specialist that the impeller in the water pump may have broken and alleged this is a common problem as Audi use plastic impellers. (he was right; I have the plastic impeller beside me, broken in two like a polo mint.

Audi quoted a similar fee you were quoted and my step-father agreed a cam belt kit change would be highly recommended at the same time as disturbing a cam belt of 8 years old could be catastophic. (If it snapped there could be possible damage to the cam shaft, almost guaranteed valve damage and a probable engine top end overhaul)

My step-father did this for me and I collected the car 1/2 an hour ago. God I've missed driving it! Looking at the cam belt, the teeth look fine but there is clear smooth and rough wear on the outer part that re-assures me I made the right choice in getting it changed.

Having spoken to a work colleague who got a 5k bill when his A3 cam belt snapped, this further re-assures me I made the right decision.

I've just phoned my step-father and he says he will change your cam belt (including tensioners etc.) for £450. Only problem is we are in Leeds. If you're intersted reply back and he could have it done in a day. You could have a day out in Yorkshire (although it's crap) whilst it's fixed and it only costs about £60 in petrol to do the round trip.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
[
I've just phoned my step-father and he says he will change your cam belt (including tensioners etc.) for £450. Only problem is we are in Leeds. If you're intersted reply back and he could have it done in a day. You could have a day out in Yorkshire (although it's crap) whilst it's fixed and it only costs about £60 in petrol to do the round trip.
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Thanks for the offer - I've spent a happy few years in Yorkshire myself and it's far from crap - but I'm not really sure the £5 saving (£515 vs £450+£60) quite justifies the trip (particularly when the belt goes on the M1)!

Interesting to hear about the condition of the belt - might see if I can get hold of my old one when I have it done.

Hope you've fixed the problem anyway - I've had my A3 for 5 years now and had no problems at all - it's a great car.
 
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