View Full Version : Just a small fire

01-18-2008, 07:02 PM
My wife parks her A4 2.8Q outside while at work. Usually, no big deal. Tonight, it was around -5F and she let the car warm up for a minute or 2 before taking off for home.
She called me just before she got on the Interstate, "Something smells like it is burning." So I told her to keep on trucking. She called at a light about 1 mile from home, "It is smoking from the engine." Keep on coming and I will meet you in the garage...
As she pulled in, I could see this red/yellow flame under the car, just behind the driver's front wheel. Shut the engine off, and open the hood. Not a massive flame, but still burning. I blew between the leftside of the block and the overflow bottle, the flame went out!!
I just came back in half frozen. There is a large puddle of oil on the floor. Driver's side, just forward of the axle. The problem is, there is no space to look up and see where it is coming from. There must be an oil line up there somewhere...
God, I hate it when oil drips on my neck.

Any suggestions before I call AAA and have it towed to the $ealer?


01-18-2008, 07:43 PM
wait until tomorrow and see if you can see it better

01-19-2008, 01:00 AM
next time dont put out the flame... problem fixed, lol.... jk. try in the morning and see if you can see something. it would have to be something hot enough to catch fire... with oil... maybe something sparked, cause the block is super hot, but not really hot enough to catch fire from spilt oil...

01-19-2008, 02:22 AM
its sounds like your rear cam seal leaking on to the downpipe they are known to leak

01-19-2008, 03:15 AM
its sounds like your rear cam seal leaking on to the downpipe they are known to leak


01-19-2008, 06:55 AM
Well, I think this is a blessing in disguise.

Maybe you can push it off a cliff and claim insurance, then get something with a 1.8T or a VRT swap?

01-19-2008, 07:06 AM
Yikes that could have ended much worse!! Glad she made it home safe and good luck finding out the issue!!!


01-19-2008, 09:39 AM
Cuss, cuss, moan groan. It is down right chilly on the garage floor. I buttoned everything back up and had AAA tow it to the $ealer.
You are probably right about the cam seal, it leaked way up on the left side of the block. But only just under 2 quarts. What a mess!

The "fire" was on the small wire bundle that is down by the steering column. It looks to be OK, just the tape was melted. I imagine that the oil caught fire at the converter and traveled forward when she slowed down for the garage.
Little drops of oil from the street all the way to the garage. It stopped leaking, but not dripping, as soon as the engine was turned off. Boy, is my wife bummed! She really likes the A4.

You guys are probably right. I should look at one with a 2.0T and see about chipping it! That should improve her gas mileage and her 0-60 time :)


01-21-2008, 07:01 AM
The $ealer called me this AM with the bad news. The oil breather system was clogged and both cam seal were leaking, the exhaust cam seal actually popped out! $1200 to fix...
There was also a leaky PS seal, which contributed to the fire, $350. Not so bad.

I guess I don't have to worry about rust proofing the underside of the car for a while :)

Moral to the story, get your oil breather systems cleaned or replaced. This car has less than 60K miles on it and I use Mobile 1, so I wouldn't have thought that would be an issue. Except my wife seldom gets the rpm over 3,000 and the oil never heats up (acording to the gauge).

After looking at the new A4 2.0T with a price tag of over $40,000, it is much cheaper to get it fixed than get a new commuter car.

Thanks guys,