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  1. #1
    Active Member Two Rings
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    Need help diagnosing drivetrain (?) noise - 5-speed manual quattro 1.8T

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    Okay folks, I need help diagnosing a noise coming from the front end (I think) in my 2003 A4 1.8T Quattro Avant with a 5-speed manual transmission. It is stock, except it has a South Bend stage 2 Daily clutch with dual mass flywheel, and has a K04 turbo with APR K04 tune and the larger injectors. The noise only recently became noticeable. I don't ever launch the car, but I do drive it with spirit.

    The noise is like a repetitive rubbing noise. What I mean is, it is like a "Nuh, nuh, nuh, nuh." It is NOT a constant whine. It is also NOT a sharp ticking noise. It is speed dependent, and increases in frequency with increasing vehicle speed. But the amplitude (loudness) is fairly constant. It becomes a little more noticeable around 40mph due to the increased frequency, and at around 60mph the frequency of the noise is about 4 times per second. It is very faint, and only really noticeable if you are listening for it or ride in the car for an extended period. But it is ALWAYS there.

    Also, the noise is present regardless of the gear or clutch position. It is the same whether you are in gear or coasting in neutral. Braking also does not affect the noise. It also does not change around turns. The car shifts perfectly and has no other drivetrain noises that I can tell.

    I took it to a shop that my friend owns, who does a lot of european work, but who is not necessarily an Audi expert. They drove it, then put it on a lift and ran the car while using a stethoscope. They said the noise is coming from "inside the transmission" and thought it may need a new transmission, but didn't take the diagnoses any further. They also seemed to rule out the brakes, wheel bearings, and CV drive axles (they said the brakes looked fine and the noise did not change around turns).

    I've read a bunch of threads here about transmission pinion gears, etc, and watched videos of different B6 5-speed noises. However, they all seem to describe noises that are more of a constant whine, not a repetitive noise like I have.

    Any thoughts? I'm really desperate to figure this out, and would be THRILLED if it is not an internal transmission problem!
    Last edited by bobA4; 07-11-2018 at 08:10 AM.

  2. #2
    Active Member Two Rings
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    Jun 05 2017
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    Indiana

    Forgot to mention the car has about 180K miles on it. I bought it with about 160k miles. The previous owner was a tech at a VW dealer and took fairly good care of it.
    Last edited by bobA4; 07-11-2018 at 08:09 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Four Rings q5 dave's Avatar
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    Dec 15 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobA4 View Post
    It is speed dependent, and increases in frequency with increasing vehicle speed. But the amplitude (loudness) is fairly constant. It becomes a little more noticeable around 40mph due to the increased frequency, and at around 60mph....

    Also, the noise is present regardless of the gear or clutch position. It is the same whether you are in gear or coasting in neutral......

    I took it to a shop that my friend owns, who does a lot of european work, but who is not necessarily an Audi expert. They drove it, then put it on a lift and ran the car while using a stethoscope. They said the noise is coming from "inside the transmission" and thought it may need a new transmission, but didn't take the diagnoses any further. They also seemed to rule out the brakes, wheel bearings, and CV drive axles (they said the brakes looked fine and the noise did not change around turns).

    Any thoughts? I'm really desperate to figure this out, and would be THRILLED if it is not an internal transmission problem!
    Lol, I wouldn't trust this guy too much...

    It's the wheel bearings. Was dealing with the same concern on my B5 around 180k, replaced the rear wheel bearings (narrowed down where sound was coming from) and now it's smooth and quiet again. No humming.
    2013 Q5 3.0T Phantom Black
    1998 A4 1.8T Laser Red, Quattro, 5 speed manual

    IG @q5ds

  4. #4
    Active Member Two Rings
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    q5 dave, was your wheel bearing noise a constant hum or was it a repeating noise (nuh, nuh, nuh, nuh) like mine?

  5. #5
    Veteran Member Three Rings 1.8Turbo4me!'s Avatar
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    Jun 10 2009
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    43616
    Location
    S.F, CA --> Houston, TX

    i have the similar 'rubbing noise' but mine is only in 1st when accelerating and gone once I'm out of 1st. 2 Audi shops (friend & mechanic) have said it's the transmission. Mine is also a 5 speed and I'm at 162K.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Four Rings q5 dave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobA4 View Post
    q5 dave, was your wheel bearing noise a constant hum or was it a repeating noise (nuh, nuh, nuh, nuh) like mine?
    Similar to this, becoming a constant hum over 55mph. I did rear wheel bearings, trans+diff fluid in one service. All good after that.
    2013 Q5 3.0T Phantom Black
    1998 A4 1.8T Laser Red, Quattro, 5 speed manual

    IG @q5ds

  7. #7
    Active Member Two Rings
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    Thanks everyone. Anyone else with my same symptoms?

  8. #8
    Veteran Member Four Rings RDA990's Avatar
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    Jan 07 2013
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    Germantown, Maryland

    This does sound like a wheel bearing. When mine fully went out it started to do the same symptoms including a grinding noise every other second or so. Is it possible to get a video/audio of the noise?

    I would do the diagnostics on both front bearings. It's something along the lines of lifting the wheels off the ground, grab the wheel in the 3 and 9 o'clock positions and wiggle it to see if you have play, then the 12 and 6 o'clock. It doesn't always work though.

    Also, try spinning the wheel off of the ground and see if you get the same noise, or even take the wheel off and spin the bearing and see if there is any type of resistance to it spinning.
    Brilliant Red 2004 A4 1.8T quattro Ultrasport
    Frankenturbo F21L | Motoza Tuning | FMIC | Test Pipe | Bosch 550cc | 710n DV | Podi Boost Gauge | 21 PSI

    Dolphin Gray A4 1.8T quattro 2004
    Brilliant Red A4 2.0T quattro 2007
    DIY - A4 B6 Boost Leak Test

  9. #9
    Active Member Two Rings
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    Ok I will try that. The noise is so faint, Iím not sure it will be detectable over the road noise in a video. I will try later today. Thanks!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Three Rings
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    Feb 24 2008
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    USA

    A good way to really pin point if its a wheel bearing is while at speed (and when safe) turn the wheel side to side. If the noise gets louder when the car changes direction one way or the other you know for sure its a wheel bearing.

    With the wheels in the air on a lift/jack grab the wheel at 12 and 6 and try and wiggle it back and forth. Any amount of play would confirm a failed wheel bearing.

  11. #11
    Veteran Member Four Rings EuroxS4's Avatar
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    Jan 24 2010
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    53856
    My Garage
    2003 Atlas Grey A4 Avant 1.8T 6speed manual quattro,2002 GSXR 600
    Location
    Paramus,NJ USA

    Video??Or the noise doesnt exist!!!!
    VW/Audi Immobilizer removal and immobilizer adapting solutions for any and all VAG Vehicles,Odometer matching, SKC/Pin retrieval services.Located in Northern NJ.For inquries pm for details.

  12. #12
    Veteran Member Four Rings MacFady's Avatar
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    330i ZHP
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    Prince Edward Island

    How old are the tires? Otherwise assuming pristine evenly worn tires.

  13. #13
    Active Member Two Rings
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    Tires seem to be in good shape, about 30k miles on them, regularly rotated. It has A6 wheels on it.

  14. #14
    Active Member Two Rings
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    Need help diagnosing drivetrain (?) noise - 5-speed manual quattro 1.8T

    Hereís a video clip. Becomes more apparent near the end. The entire video was taken while coasting in neutral in order to lessen the gearbox sound. The noise in question does not change whether in gear or not.

    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/4feauf8hq...cTACmHCFa?dl=0

  15. #15
    Active Member Two Rings
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    Need help diagnosing drivetrain (?) noise - 5-speed manual quattro 1.8T

    I tried some turns on the road to see if I could tell any differences. It does get a little bit louder when turning hard left at speed.
    Last edited by bobA4; 07-14-2018 at 07:25 AM.

  16. #16
    Active Member Two Rings
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    Is the video link working for you guys?

  17. #17
    Senior Member Two Rings GTA's Avatar
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    Feb 08 2013
    AZ Member #
    109140
    My Garage
    2003 Audi A4 1.8TQ, 5-Spd
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario

    Is the video link working for you guys?
    Nope. Link doesn't work.

    This is very reminiscent of the noises I had in my drivetrain for a couple of years (low rubbing noises that was noticeable at 80-120Km/Hr and increased with speed). I changed the right front wheel bearing (2 day job because it was seized in there - that's another story), brakes, engine / trans mounts, etc. and it was still there. Drove me absolutely nuts and was ready to sell the car but didn't. I had put too much work and money into it (and this unnecessary work added to the money pile).

    Last year, I had decided that my first gen Michelin AS's were near it's service life so I swapped them out for Pirelli P-Zero AS's. I got them at a very good price and $100 back in rebate. Lo and behold, my noises disappeared for good.

    Since I'm in the Great White North, I also have a set of winter tires but the Firestone WinterForce tires are so noisy, it just masked this perpetual noise so that didn't give me any clues that it was the tires. BTW, these Winterforce tires are noisy but perform admirably in winter.

    Is your problem your tires? I don't know but it's simple enough to borrow a set of rubber from another car and try them.
    It's mind over matter. But if you don't have a mind, it really doesn't matter.

  18. #18
    Active Member Two Rings
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    Darn. Did anyone else get the link to work? It works for me, even when I'm logged out of dropbox.

    I'll try rotating the tires and see if that changes anything. Don't think I can get a totally different set of four to try though.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Two Rings GTA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 08 2013
    AZ Member #
    109140
    My Garage
    2003 Audi A4 1.8TQ, 5-Spd
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario

    I'll try rotating the tires and see if that changes anything.
    This may work for you (assuming it's the tires) but rotating the tires made no difference for me. The noise was omni-present in the first place. It was still present no matter which wheel went where on the car. It just shifted the intensity levels but never went away.

    Like I said, it was frustrating to no end. Really p*ssed me off.
    It's mind over matter. But if you don't have a mind, it really doesn't matter.



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