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Audi TT wading depth

Nick Jones

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It's wet here.  Not quite to "United Islands of Somerset" levels (yet!), but there are some flooded sections in the lanes and some very big puddles.

I got a phone call from Senior Management yesterday to say that her TT had steamed up inside whilst driving and wouldn't clear so she was parked up because she couldn't see!  A bit of close questioning revealed that this happened immediately after 50m of wading through "quite deep" water...…. oh, and a lorry came the other way at speed and it's bow-wave went right over the car....  Presumably some of the bow wave got in the HVAC intake!  Car was still running fine and the steam did eventually clear.

Then this morning, we left for work at almost the same time and I came out of the house to the sound of grinding gears.  Not sure why it was necessary to keep trying when it was plainly unhappy - going to have to change the gear oil pronto now (yes, it was that bad).  "It won't go into reverse...… or any other gear"  Nor would it.... until the engine was switched off, when it would.  Clutch still felt like a clutch to my left foot, so I stuck it in 4th, yanked the handbrake on firmly and started it again - twitch and a thump and the clutch freed off - having rusted to the flywheel...……... overnight!! :ohmy: Seems unreasonably quick!

Seems to be ok now and long may that continue as clutch swap on a TT is well up my list of jobs to avoid!

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yep modern cars are wonderful and amazing and fast until they go wrong and then they are a complete pain in the arse.... Rusted/stuck clutch after  a few hours that's bad....

Took the Herald out today down the A14 around Cambridge, rain, fog, spray and just shitty weather. Not ideal for the Herald but she managed but does feel very small compared to all the other vehicles even with LED lights  There are times when I do feel vulnerable in a 1950's design car... :(


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6 hours ago, PaulAA said:

Perhaps you could delegate maintenance of the TT to a mechanic with more... enthusiasm:

Well, with her to encourage me, maybe my enthusiasm could recover....... though I see the her TT was also being difficult.  Ours appears to be ok.  I hope......

27 minutes ago, mpbarrett said:

Rusted/stuck clutch after  a few hours that's bad....

It's downright amazing and hopefully it won't repeat the trick tonight!

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:huh: Ermmm.... might work on the TT....... the other would probably lead to personal injury..... :ph34r:

Clutch seems ok.  She's complaining about the starter now...... it's sounded rough ever since we got the car (Stupid VAG support bush in the bell housing is knacked as they mostly are after 50k), but rougher now and turning slow - so it didn't like it's bath either!  Joy......

I note that Paul's mate Sarah is having a 'mare with her TT - crappy access, hell to work on - and every time she fixes something it eats something else....

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So, saga continues.......

Monday morning she left the house to go to work but was back very shortly saying, " the lights come on but it does nothing else - noise at all......."

I wasn't due to go to work so handed over the keys to the Sootmonster.  Only after she'd left did it occur to me that my jump leads were in the Sootmonster and the Vitesse is in bits......

Testing revealed exactly what she'd said.  Normal ignition lights came on but nothing happened when turning the key to start beyond the faint click from the ignition relief relay. Battery voltage was lowish at 12.2v, but that should have been enough for to least engage the starter.
The faint click from the ignition relief relay suggested that the ignition switch was probably ok (Common VAG fault)

All of which tended to point at the starter itself.......  I wanted to put a hot wire direct from the battery to the exciter terminal and I wanted to give the solenoid a whack....... but first I had to find the thing!


The internet suggested that access is "easy".  It's under the battery tray..... which is under the battery....... which is under the auxiliary fuse box..... which is under the plastic cover on the bottom right of the pic.

First tool needed is a posidrive screwdriver to release the three screws holding the cover on.  I'd already got this far to measure the voltage.
Then a 10mm spanner to release the battery terminals.
Next a flat-bladed screwdrive to spring the catch that holds the auxiliary fuse box down.  It then hinges up to allow the battery to come out....
...... but not until you've released the battery foot clamp with a 13mm socket on the end of two wobble bars.  It's 400mm down in a crevice at an odd angle....... manage not to drop the bolt which is good as I'd have to take the undertray off to retrieve it (16 fasteners).  Retrieve the clamp witha magnet on a stick.  
Haul the battery out and put it on charge bringing the garage slave battery out for further tests.

Still can't see the starter though.  Battery tray is held down with a 4 x T25 Torx screws and ancilliary plastic planels are held in with 3 x 10mm bolts.  The bolts are cunningly positioned to encourage dropping into the depths but I manage to avoid this.  Even with all the obvious fasteners removed things still have to be unclipped and cables eased aside before the battery tray can be wriggled out.  

Now I can see the starter


I'll just pop off the  exciter wire plug (one of the more obnoxiously stubborn mini-timer types) to a) confirm we get voltage when the key is turned and b). try a wire direct from battery +ve to the starter side to see what it does...... 

.......ah, battery..... now out..... along with it's tray.  So balance the smaller spare battery on the chassis leg and confirm a = yes and b = spark, but no click so solenoid probably stuck. Clout solenoid and retry.  Now clicks.  Reattach starter wire and try on the key.  Engine turns over.  Try again..... silence.  Whack solenoid and retry..... turns over.

It's going to have to come out.......

Only two bolts but they are both what VW call multi-purpose bolts.  This means they are mostly a 200mm long M10 bolt that holds the starter to bell-housing and then go on to hold the bell housing to the engine, but also have a short M8 stub sticking out of the head to secure random bracketry to.  In this case the top bolt holds a marvellously complex cable tidy thingy to stop various bits of wiring getting friendly with the gear linkage.  You can't see this but you can get a finger tip to it.  We hunt through our tool collection to find a combination of extensions that is long enough to reach the nut but short enough to fit in the available space.  The PAS cooling loop is sharing the same space and getting in the way.  Find one eventually and nut comes off easily.  I manage not to drop it.... The cable tidy is very happy where it is and does not want to leave but is cursed until it does.  The hunt is then on for a combination of deep 17mm socket and extensions that reach but fit in the space.  The PAS cooling loop is still in the way...... and this bolt is really tight. :pinch: Break out the breaker bar...... which needs a different combination of extensions :mad:.  Finally it cracks off and has the grace to wind out easily.

Second bolt is underneath and can neither be seen nor touched without removing the under-tray (16 fasteners).  I poke the same socket/extension combination in what I hope is it's general direction and am rewarded with a bite after a couple of attempts.  Also damn tight, but comes easily once cracked off.

Starter now free to be hauled out and taken to the bench for a stern talking to.......





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Starter motor is a Bosch permanent-magnet thing with internal epicyclic reduction gear.


All seemed basically ok so just gave it a good clean and re-grease plus cleaning up the commutator, taking care to get the carbon dust out of the slots between the segments.

This was the problem


Solenoid shuttle rusty as a rusty thing and sticking in the bore.  Gave it and the bore a good clean/polish.  I think it originally had some kind of coating but that's long gone so just gave it a rub over with oil.    Reassembly was fairly straight forward.

We then wrestled it back into the car, which was also fairly straightforward apart from the cable tidy and the sheer number of parts.  I did balance a battery in there to do a test before putting all the plastic tat back..... worked fine and sounded much happier than it has for a while.  Hopefully this will continue.....  Oddly enough I was given a brand new Bosch solenoid and shuttle by a friend yesterday which will almost certainly fit though it has a Mercedes part number.  Hoping it won't be needed any time soon though!

I've now noticed that the undertray has shed some of its 16 fasteners and is hanging low on one side so that will have to be sorted.  It's due an oil and filter change so that can be done at the same time...... Joy!

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1 hour ago, AB|W said:

Reads as if the car has reached its sell by date.

Only done 84k....... about 1/4 of of the A6.  It'll be fine if she'll stop driving through floods!  I've changed the oil and filter now (due on mileage) and repaired the under tray and side panels which I think were damaged by the bow wave.....  

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  • 3 months later...

So, with more time than usual on my hands and the TT actually sat in the drive...........  Time to try new plugs to see if they cure a ragged idle.  Don't think I've ever changed them so they've done at least 22k.

Turned out to be NGK platinum tipped things, looking fairly well used and with this strange wear pattern (or more like deposition pattern) on the earth electrode.  Maybe typical for these - but I've never seen it before.  Bosch quad electrode ones fitted instead.


Of course, there was mission creep...... 3 out of 4 plugs were half submerged in oil..... which means time for a new cam cover gasket.  Luckily I had one on hand as I already knew there was an external leak.


Not the worst job (on this car) though things are a bit tight in the rear right corner.  There were a bit of cussing and some skin loss, but no worse than an oil filter change (not a laughing matter on this car!).  This also brought the discovery that the main breather pipe (strange Y shaped object on the right of the cover) has all the structural integrity of an under-cooked omelette and had a rip in the bottom of it.  Possibly I did it, possibly it was there already and the reason for the ragged idle.  Gobbed up the hole with silicone as a stop gap........ new one ordered.


Old gaskets.  Forgot to take a pic with the cover off - mildly interesting as 20 valves for 4 cylinders.  Lot of lobes on the inlet cam!

Does seem to run better, though whether this is the plugs of blocking the hole I have no idea!


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So, as the genuine replacement breather hose is 50 quid...... and the £5 ebay ones reputedly last only weeks I found a silicone version priced about halfway.  Still way expensive but supposedly a permanent fix.

This turned up fairly promptly and I could find no excuse not to fit it.......

Old in situ with new beside it.  They don't look much alike!


Access to the rearmost connection was poor..... very poor.  But I won in the end.  The old one even came off in one piece which was unexpected as the rubber has gone very strange.....

It may look intact but it can barely hold it's shape under its own weight and has a couple of holes gobbed with silicone (Guilty m'lud).  Dig the (mercifully fairly minimal) crusty gak out of the pipe stubs and fit new part.  It does mostly fit.....

Hopefully I can leave the little monster alone for a while now......

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  • 10 months later...

So, MoT time again. Pre-test checks revealed a split CV joint gaiter and split gaiters on the arb drop link. On opposite sides obviously.

The front suspension isn’t too horrific to work on and very similar to Chris’s Skoda so I’ve learned some of the tricks.

Also discovered is that the plastic breather pipe that goes to the rubber Y I renewed in the last post had crumbled. Access to the lower end is grisly and blood sacrifice was made. Mine unfortunately :pinch:

We were rewarded with a pass.

Great, I can go back to ignoring the little sod for a while.......


........ Wrong!

A variation on the “something bad has happened “ theme, I got a missed call then a text from SM about 10 minutes after she left for work. Just long enough for her to have got there.

“Car is making a bad noise. It went bang when I went over a speed bump and now it makes funny noises when turning...... help!”

So I went up there and drove it around the car park. Basically whenever the steering wheel was turned more than half a turn either way there was a very clear “boooiing” from the front left corner. Suspected a busted spring but as far as I could see it wasn’t. So I got a pair of top swivels assuming one had seized.

Of course, as soon as I started dismantling it became clear my first thought was right after all.......


Best order a pair of springs then..... no, they weren’t in stock. Apparently there are 19 variations listed.... 

I’ve done the broken side. The other can wait until it’s not raining or freezing. Unless it breaks first, which is entirely possible!

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  • 1 year later...

Been a while since I reported on this wee horror. It’s been mostly behaving. Bits of the switch gear are falling apart and the ignition switch is occasionally very stiff (they all do that sir). I’m ignoring it as far as possible.

MoT due shortly. At the last one we were advised that the back brakes were marginal. The discs did indeed look a bit rough, and much worse once removed…..


completely rusted on the inside. Even though the calipers were not seized. I think the problem is that it does mostly very short local journeys and is not spanked nearly enough….,

Couldn’t find anything else wrong with it. Hopefully MoT man won’t either.  Advisories for exhaust blow the last two years but I can’t find it…

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17 hours ago, Nick Jones said:

The discs did indeed look a bit rough, and much worse once removed…..

Easy, cheap fix. Or did some wazzok in the Audi Tower of Babel decide that 19 variations of rear disc would be a good idea too? :blink:

As for the minor exhaust leak it may well reveal itself on the drive to the MOT station.

May good fortune walk with your endeavours...

Edited by Escadrille Ecosse
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Back brakes are easy. Shared with much other VAG tat.

The exhaust…. If it’s anything it’s the flexible joints between turbo and cat. Part of the cat section of the exhaust, thus fiercely expensive, though the option of chopping it out and welding new flexi in there exists. Probably the route I would take. Though would VERY much prefer to avoid as the bolts all look very crusty and access is horrible…..

Fingers firmly crossed!

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  • 2 months later...

Never updated this. MoT was passed with only the “minor exhaust blow” advisory. Though when questioned he did reveal that this is actually at the front of the back box. He’s quite right. There’s an arc above the weld where the pipe goes into the box where it’s either cracked or the HAZ has corroded. 

I would take it off and weld it up but of course the is one of these cunning Audi exhausts that is all in one piece from the cat back and is fitted before the rear axle beam is installed. Meaning that to remove it you either have to cut the pipe or drop the rear axle….. Sod that!

Changed the oil and filter and ignored the exhaust. Job for Ron….

It’s got a little road trip coming up as SM is taking the MiL to the Netherlands next week. I’m not completely comfortable with the idea of a car that does almost exclusively short runs suddenly doing a few days of really long ones but there’s nothing obviously wrong with it…..:confused:

Don't need any “something bad happened” calls from the across the channel!

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Pleased to hear it passed.

1 hour ago, Nick Jones said:

I would take it off and weld it up but of course the is one of these cunning Audi exhausts that is all in one piece from the cat back and is fitted before the rear axle beam is installed. Meaning that to remove it you either have to cut the pipe or drop the rear axle….. Sod that!

Nice of them to do that.

Gun gum bodge meantime?

1 hour ago, Nick Jones said:

I’m not completely comfortable with the idea of a car that does almost exclusively short runs suddenly doing a few days of really long ones but there’s nothing obviously wrong with it…..:confused:

Hmmm. Fingers crossed on that.

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  • 9 months later...

Little bastard is playing up again. Suddenly a very long brake pedal, then ok again. First time with me driving (unusually), second time, a couple weeks later with SM driving. It’s loosing one of the dual circuits. No visible external leaks, no fluid loss. Still stops surprisingly well, just a funny little twitch to the left just before the ABS cuts in, because front right isn’t doing much. 

I had a nasty feeling it’s the m/c. But that is a howling bitch of a job…. So today I checked everything else and did a (probably overdue) fluid change. The effect of which has been to switch it from intermittent to fully broken.:wallbash: Not entirely unexpected, but unwelcome.


You can just about see the little sod. Removal involves opening both coolant and fuel systems (maybe pas too) just to gain very minimal access.

Might pay someone else to do it. Life is too short for this shit.


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  • 4 weeks later...

Brakes recovered overnight without further input from me and have been faultless ever since. Discussions with a VAG tech I know suggested that the symptoms could be MC as I suspected …… or a sticking valve in the ABS valve block. Impossible to diagnose when working!

Meanwhile, with MoT looming, I reconsidered my options on the leaky exhaust (rusty crack where the rear silencer can meets the incoming pipe), and stuffed it full of repair paste.

Pass. No advisories. Win (for now). It’s due an oil and filter change - though it seems to be adopting a policy of changing its own, or at least making it disappear so I have to tip more in……

Apparently buying her a Honda Jazz would be grounds for divorce…


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