Water pump replacement


My wife’s audio quattro 1999 model A6 2.8 litre has a water leakage problem. Main suspect is the waterpump although a engine cylinder crack cannot be ruled out. However the car has run for the past 5 months with water/coolant being topped every day. My mechanic tells me best is to open and replace timing belt, other belts, tensioners, thermostat and waterpump. He says he can do this for 1000.00. I think is good price. What else needs to be replaced when he is there? PS belt, AC belt??? any other belts on this car?? what if its not water pump?? what then???

thats too much in my opinion.

Assuming that he’s already diagnosed the leak and determined it to be at the water pump location, he’s giving you good advice.
Your PS belt and AC belt (if they’re seperate belts) would both be changed as a part of the process. Ask him if they’re included in the quote to be sure.

" what if its not water pump?? what then??? "

Exactly !

The cooling systom needs to be pressure tested, first. You need to find an external or internal coolant leak (or both) and then figure out wht repairs to make, not make repairs and then figure it out.

If you’re adding coolant daily and not seeing leaks, the engine could be consuming coolant, internally. That’s not a good thing for daily operation.


The engine was pressure tested and he found to leak 5 months ago. What he could not diagnose was if it’s the pump seal or engine cylinder leak. Most of the coolant comes out - there is a puddle under the engine and he found water leaking under the timing belt cover etc. His suggestion is that he take out the timing belt cover, and check the water pump. if it’s the engine that is busted it costs me $300 for labor of removing the timing belt cover etc. If not engine and its pump the he said he will change timing belt, tensioners (two types), thermostat, water pump. Now I need to include (based on suggestion above) AC and PS belt.

I don’t believe its water leaking into the engine since if that was the case there should be loud popping noises coming from engine when water interferes with combustion. I stopped adding any coolant. Everyday its a litre of water that goes in. City driving results in more drain. If pure highway driving then water drain is low. Thoughts??

Let me share a few data points when my mechanic tested for the problem. After the car engine was stopped and the car had cooled a little bit my mechanic attached a pressure device on to the opening of the coolant reservoir. He basically screwed the pump with a meter and pumped in pressure to see if the leak would happen. We waited for 15 mins. We did not see any drips. ( I was there.) He then started the car and raised the engine (speed and temp) the drips were noticed from the timing belt and water pump housing area.

He suspects the water pump more but he also added that it could be a crack in engine block but cannot confirm until he opens up the housing. That’s going to cost 1100 (opening plus replacement of parts).

I am trying to independently confirm and rule of the engine block crack. It does not seem to leak when the engine is cold. It does leak when the engine is running. Which seems to suggest seal in the water pump etc. What do you all think?

He said he will replace all belts (What are the belts on this engine - timing belt, AC belt, PS belt?_ all tensioners (what are the tensioners on this engine?), and waterpump. All initially for 1150 (7hr). I broughtt it him down to 1000.00. I need to make sure the list is accurate.

The price is similar to what it would cost on a Honda Accord. That would make it a very good price for an Audi.

For $300 you’ll find out. What have you got to lose? Its not good now to be putting in just water so I’d do this pretty soon.

@shannondarst It is not too much in my opinion.

Unless I am SERIOUSLY mistaken, the entire front clip has to be removed to to the job (bumper, radiator, condenser, etc.). When I worked at the Benz dealership, Audi was also on the same lot. Every time those guys worked on the engine, the front clip was removed. Guys were stumbling over front clips all the time! I kid you not.

Check out this link. It shows the job on a 2001 Passat 2.8 V6. Very similar layout. I believe the engine may be identical to OP’s engine.


@ramikumi make sure he replaces the camshaft seals and the crankshaft seals. This is the time to do it.

i will ask him what it costs to replace camshaft seals and crankshaft seals. The car has 163K miles. With this if it makes it last then its okay.

Because of the amount of work required to get to all of that stuff, I would recommend replacing everything, even if some things look okay. You would hate to have a leaky crank seal 1 year later.

Guys; I still don’t understand how a mechanic cannot confirm if its engine block or waterpump after I have been driving for 5 months and there is only water loss and the car drives great. If the engine block had cracked and water was coming out there why would there be a difference between city driving and highway driving? Same goes for water pump? Is there a diagnostics in this that we are missing??

that is a very good price i feel its also the water pump and its time to do it and the front clip does come off there is no room in there to work with.

He wanted 1100 but utalked him down to 1000. Did u make him mad? I am a tech, my book says 1100. Customer offers less? Did u offer to trade a few chickens or maybe a goat?

The water pump should be making noise if it was leaking for 5 months unless it is a gasket leak. It is common for water pump shaft seals to go bad, causing coolant to wash through the bearing on it’s way out the weep hole. The bearing oil gets washed out and the bearing goes bad, which is easy to determine. 5 months, and there shouldn’t be much bearing left.

I’d spend the $300 for exploratory as long as he is willing to finish the job for the total of $1000 if it is the pump or other seal easily fixed.

Every comment has been helpful including the suggestion to try chickens/goat. I had not thought of it but have to give it a try. (I laughed so hard reading it.:slight_smile: I take it that no one on this reader list is suspecting the engine block??? am I right???

I would not suspect the block unless it were overheated at any time. I’d be more worried about things like gaskets, seals, and even rotten freeze plugs.

Stock engine blocks cracking are very rare unless they’ve been seriously overheated or frozen. But your symptoms, as caused by a leaky water pump, are fairly common. That’s whay so many people suggest checking the water pump with every timing belt change.

The mechanic cannot tell for absolute certainty until he does some disassembly, just as you cannot tell for certain who rang your door bell until you open the door. He’s simply advising you that there are no guarantees that your problem will be normal until he actually poens up the area.

It sounds to me like he’s doing a good and fair job. I say work with him.

i called my mechanic yesterday and we agreed on the following to be done on the car.

  1. Remove the timing belt cover and front end clip to inspect the engine. If engine block is leaking he will put everything back and it will cost me $300.00
  2. If engine not the issue and water pump the issue he will replace timing belt , serpentine belt (AC and PS), tension fastener roller, fastener,tension fastener lever, thermostat, water-pump all for $1000.00.
    3.If engine not the issue and thermo stat holder seals are leaking water he will replace timing belt , serpentine belt (AC and PS), tension fastener roller, fastener,tension fastener lever, thermostat, water-pump, all for $1000 plus cost of thermostat holder which is estimated to be $200.

I hope it ends up being option 2.

I asked him to replace camshaft seals and crankshaft seals when he is there and he told me he is not going to touch it if it does not leak. He wants to leave those seals alone if they are working.