head gasket problems


Old 12-07-02, 06:52 AM
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head gasket problems

I have a 1987 Audi 4000S,2wd,4-cyl, and it has blown 3 head gaskets in the past two years. The first time was May'00 and I
replaced the gasket only.I didn't have the head checked because
thr car didn't run hot. No problems until September of this year when the gasket blew again.

Oil was coming out of the coolant reservior,but no white smoke out of the exhaust pipe. I removed the head and took it to a machine shop. Everything checked out fine.

I had to replace the oil cooler because oil still getting into the coolant. I also replaced the water,thermostat, thermostat seal and put in new head bolts. The was torqued to the specs in the repair manual.

Because of time and other issues, I just got the car back on the road this past week. The car drove fine for two days. The temp needle stayed right in the middle. It had good power and drivability,but the timing is a little off.

I took the car on a 100-mile round trip on Wednesday. Everything was normal until I was almost back home. Suddenly,the temp needle starting rising and smoke was coming from under the hood. I pulled into a service station and noticed white smoke and
water coming out of the exhaust pipe. Another blown head gasket!!

Please help!! This is getting frustrating!!

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Old 12-07-02, 02:25 PM
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Warped head more than likely. It should have been checked by the machine shop the FIRST time the gasket was done. It is always, always, always proper procedure to have any aluminum (or even cast iron) head checked for cracks, flatness and burned valves when you do a head job.

Or else, you do it twice, or three times .

If the Audi is in so-so shape, a new or rebuilt head may exceed the value of the vehicle. An Audi 4000 is a bottom rate, bottom quality vehicle unfortunately. They were never very good.
Old 12-07-02, 02:56 PM
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the topic of how to torque a head down could be long, heres my thought

you need to retorque it to specs after X many miles/ hours. Unless its a torque- to-yield in which case throw those studs away and get ARP ones. -Josh
Old 12-08-02, 06:41 AM
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Thanks for your reply. The head was reconditioned by the machine shop back in September. It checked out fine. This head uses torque-to-yield bolts and new one were used.

And to Joe Cool: I take exception to your comments about the quality of the 4000. This is the only major problem I have with this car. It has been very dependable. The fit,finish and interior have held up very well for a 16 year old vehicle.You must be thinking of the 5000.

Old 12-08-02, 02:34 PM
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You may want to try a higher quality head gasket.
Old 12-08-02, 05:46 PM
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4000 and 5000 are both lackluster in quality. 16 years is nothing on a vehicle---cars with iron heads such as older GM- never had to touch the heads on any of them, well over 100k on a few of them . The average Japanese car in 1986 was light years ahead of the Audi in quality, fit and finish or any other category.

If you check Alldata.com, most Audi models have had MANY of them.

In fact, Consumer Reports has always rated Audi as problematic with cooling system issues. Not to mention that most Audi models of this vintage are problematic, expensive to fix and lackluster at best.

4000 or 5000, birds of the same feather and they cannot fly to save their lives . Agreed, the Audi 5000 was probably slightly worse---the single cause of Audi's market share drop in the US (due to the self acceleration snafu)

Someone missed something somewhere on your repairs....a vehicle should not blow three head gaskets in 3 years, something is being missed in the repairs or checking.
Old 12-08-02, 09:43 PM
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i think torque to yield studs are crap. check out ARP. they make 195,000 psi tensile studs for virtually any car, if they dont have it, im sure they can make it for similar cost of tty ones. Plus re-usable. Racers of A series engines cant bust ARP studs. THats saying alot. -Josh
Old 12-09-02, 02:51 PM
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I took the head off the car this weekend and discovered that the
#1 and #2 pistons were pretty beat up. And the area on the head around the valves is scarred and scratched up. Apparently
these pistons were coming in contact with the head. The #3 and
#4 pistons don't have any damage. Also,the valves don't appear to be damaged.

Its appears that the ragged edges of the pistons tore up the head gasket thus causing it to blow. I talked to a mechanic friend
today and he speculated that incorrect timing might have caused this to happen. I think I mentioned in my first post that the timing
was a bit.

What's my next? My thought is to replace all the pistons and related components. All comments and suggestions are welcomed.

And to Joe Cool: I appreciate your input and opinion on the Audi,but I respectfully disagree.

Old 12-09-02, 03:43 PM
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Location: corona Ca.
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Mr Whatley:

Unfortunetly you don't have but two options

1. Junk it
2. Fix it.

Unfortunetly its age and value make it not worth fixing, regardless of the condit of the body. I would honestly suggest to get rid of it for a newer vehicle.

If you are dead set on fixing it, I would suggest COMPLETE rebuild on the entire engine. While you can get a used one, you don't want to put that time and $$ into something that may do the same thing. If you don't do the rebuild yourself, it could cost up to $2500 or so so.
Old 12-10-02, 03:42 AM
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I agree with Jeremy...time for a rebuilt engine. If you really like it, go for it. My opinion--donate it, take the tax write off and move on.

I knew something was missed here . The severe overheating probably wiped out the bottom end too...no car should blow that many gaskets in its lifetime!

You could have installed the timing belt wrong or the overheating could have wiped out the bottom end. Coolant is not a good lubricant!

Call up Audi or another reliable reman engine source (ATK North America, Jasper, etc) and get a rebuild to install if you want to hold onto it.

We can disagree about what we like/dislike respectfully and still get along.

Facts are facts though: Audi's quality in the 80's was terrible. Their own CEO admitted that to the Center of Auto Safety at that time .
Old 12-10-02, 11:12 AM
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I really appreciate this forum. It has been a big help to me. Thanks to everyone one responded to my questions.


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