Audi A4 timing belt

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I own a 1998 A4 Quattro that has ~83,000 miles on it. I'm bringing it in for service and the mechanic says that the timing belt and water pump should be replaced. He says that the belt manufacturer suggests
replacing the belt at 60,000 miles even though the Audi owner's manual says 90,000 miles. Is this true or is the mechanic trying to rip me off?
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On 20 Aug 2003 11:56:04 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@atelo.com (Audi A4 owner) wrote:

If you believe everything you read here, you have experienced a miracle. Congratulations.
A bit more seriously: now that you've mentioned this in public, you are officially Playing With The Forces Of Nature. Not good.
Replace the pump, idler, tensioner, and belts NOW, and feel good that you cheated engine death to this point...
/daytripper '00 s4 6spd
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No, he is probably right, you are most likely overdue. 90.000 miles sound far too much to me anyway. I changed mine at 90.000 kilometres, and that cannot be too far from your present 60.000 miles. So, a change now sounds quite right to me. My best advice to you is therefore to change your timing belt ASAP. Maybe you have understood or read it wrong: Maybe it is 90.000 kilometres, and not miles? That sounds a bit more right to me anyway. It is quite easy to confuse and mix kilometres and miles. Anyway, good luck. Replace your timing belt now, to avoid likely serious future damage. The change is absolutely due now.
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On Wed, 20 Aug 2003 22:46:32 +0200, "Inger Skramstad J๘rstad"

He *is* at 83000 miles, and the service interval *is* 90000 miles...
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No, he's right. Audi's recommended interval (at least in the US) for the timing belt is 90K miles for that model year. What's even more scary is that for 2001, Audi extended it even further to 120K miles (that's almost 200K kilometers) for the 1.8T engine, and 105K miles for the 2.8 engine. And they did that knowing that these things tend to fail much much sooner. :-(
Cheers,
Pete
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Since Audi doesn't warrant past 50,000 miles, I guess they're free to extend the change interval to whatever they want! ;-) I have a '98 as well with 62,000 miles and will be getting it done sometime in the next couple of months. Changing water pump and other bits and pieces at the same time is a good idea.
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For those who've had it done, what does this service cost? At a dealer and/or a privite shop?
-- Matt
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snipped-for-privacy@atelo.com (Audi A4 owner) wrote in message

It is true. The manual does indeed say 90k. In addition, (IIRC) the lastest TSB from Audi says 75k. I understand that sometimes the waterpump can freeze up and kill the belt, which then kills the motor. The wisdom in this ng is change it at 60k. So, do the whole mess, right away. Idlers, water pump, belt - and you're good for another 60k.
Keep that mechanic - he's a good one.
Spider
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There's been reported cases when a perfectly working water pump started leaking immediately after TB replacement. Something to do with a slightly different tension or whatever. The bottom line, WP should be replaced as well.
General recomendation - buy parts on your own on the internet and have your mechanic install them. That should save you about half of your parts cost.
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your
cost.
I did not have any problems getting 2 quotes from half a dozen of mechanics - one quote just for labor and another one for parts and labor. They were absolutely fine with installing parts I provided. This will not work with dealers though. Chances are they will refuse to install customer's parts.
The real downside of this approach is that if there is a problem with the car later on, the mechanic will blame it on parts and the manufacturer will blame it on the mechanic. So I guess it's a matter of preference, but it sure worked for me (the dealer and independent mechanic both quoted $500 in parts, I paid $240 including shipping for those same brand new EOM parts on the internet).
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Exactly.
Your shop made at least $260 less that day than it would have if you had purchased the parts through them. Some shops get annoyed by that. Other shops simply don't want to deal with strange parts from unknown sources.
If it didn't bother any of the mechanics that you spoke with, great.
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May I remind you that you are a mechanic, not an auto parts store. You make a living by selling your labor, not parts. Isn't that what you tell your customers anyway? If there is not enough money for you in this business - raise your hourly rate. But you won't do that, cause you'll lose the few customers you still have. Instead you are running a little scam on the side, double/tripple charging parts to your ignorant customers. And just because everybody does it does not make it right. And if you do believe it's right, tell your customer tomorrow - "I am going to charge you $170 for WP. It's a list price. You can get exactly the same WP on the internet for $70, I pay $70 for it but I'll charge you $170, cause there is not enough money in this business". Tell this to your customer, see what happens.

Talk about attitude problems. Who gives a damn. There is another shop across the street and they are as good as you are, likely better. You do not do nobody no stinking favor, do you understand that at least? If I come to your shop to get my car fixed - I am hiring you and I am willing to pay the rate you charge for your labor. It is your right not to want to be hired on my terms, but please remember, you are not doing anybody any favors, shops like yours are a dime a dozen, and with this kind of attitude no wonder there is not enough money for you in the business.

I am sure it does happen occasionally, customers do come with parts that are wrong, missing and/or questionable quality. And you are absolutely justified to charge the customer for the time it took you to figure it all out, order it and fix all the mess. But I am sure that in majority of cases people intelligent enough to know that they can get their own parts also know what parts they need, where to order them how much they cost and other details.
And you know what, you yourself know what parts they need. Why don't you tell your customers what parts they should get. It'd take you 5 minutes to write down the part numbers and I am sure your customers would be happy to pay for your time and be delighted with your approach. I mean you called me a cheapstake so you've got to be Mr. Generosity, right? Why don't you do it to your customers, after all my mechanic did it for me. But calling me a cheapstake I do not think you would move your finger for free. How much do you charge to reset an error code with vag-com, $50 or $90?
> Then, there's the responsibility issue. Lets say the belt falls off

Generally speaking I agree with you regarding the responsibility issue and this is a trade off one takes. If it's a couple of bucks as you say, you might as well pay them, but I was talking about $200-300 difference. Quite an expensive warranty, isn't it?
I'd also be hard-pressed to find a mechanic standing behind his work half a year down the road (unless it's a dealership). I may be wrong but 1-3 months and/or 500-1000 miles is pretty much tops. Never mind the fact, that if there is a problem, 99.9% of mechanics (and people in any other business) will try their best to weasel out of their responsibilities and blame it on other parts, the customer or whatever they can come up with.
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Buy doing what exactly in addition to being a mechanic? By calling a parts dealer, ordering parts from him and double charging the client? That's a lot of hard work involved of course :-) . Is it illegal? Not really, but the fact that not only do they not advertise this activity as does every reputable business, but do their best to cover it up and make sure customer does not realize that he gets double charged on parts - this alone betrays shady side of the transaction.

Cut the crap. What are you in a second grade with arguments like that? Go tell your customers what the parts really cost you and see for yourself if they do not care.

For your information any scam is a voluntary transaction between consenting adults as well, but it is still a scam. And if a car has a loose wire and the mechanic "fixes" it by replacing half the engine - it is still a voluntary business transaction too. I am not saying that the situation with parts is a scam or illegal, all I am saying that consumers can be better off with getting their own parts.

across
Then stop whining that there is not enough money in the business.

I did not say that. One wants to rip you off on parts, the other is quite happy to charge his hourly labor rate, I think it's a better distinsion between them.

Yep. The mechanic sure makes more money when he overcharges for parts. He also makes more money when he recommends unnecessary repairs, overbills for his hours, uses rebuilt parts charging you for new ones, deliberately breakes something so that he could profit by fixing it, lots of other things. Do you truly believe that as a consumer I should be sympathetic to all or any of this?

Yep, you are right again. It's about 30 seconds to reset the code, but if the customer has no idea, why not charge him $90. That may well be justified from the business point of view, this is indeed how the business works. I am looking at it from the consumer's perspective, my original post was a recommendation to a consumer to buy his own parts and not let the business take advantage of him. Likewise it makes sense to buy your own vag-com adapter for $70 and read/reset the codes for free.

Absurd statement, you are way off base indeed. So if there is no violence, than it's fine, right? This would justify any scam, any fraud, let alone "immoral" and "unscrupulous" but otherwise legal activity. You seem to be quite ripe to get job in telemarketing.

WP $70 vs $170 TB $40 vs $80 TB Pulley $40 Vs $100 TB Roller $30 vs $60 Serp Belt - do not remember Thermostat - do not remember, but saved about $20 i think The numbers are aproximate, some may be totally wrong but you got the idea.

six months. No it does not. Warranty price is supposed to be a small fraction of the merchandise price, not 30-60% of it, more like 5-10%. At any rate as I said before I've not seen repair warranties lasting for 6+months (other then from dealerships).
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Hitting machine with hammer: $20 Knowing where to hit it: $2480

You're seeing a conspiracy where there simply isn't one. Ask any business person what their cost is on one of their products, and they're tell you to kiss off.

I start second grade in the fall, thank you for asking.

The customers are aware that the mechanic is making money on the parts. They're willing to pay that because they have lack the time, expertise, and resources to determine which part they need and where to buy it.
Most people want to take the car into the shop, say "it's making a noise", and pick it up fixed a couple of hours later. Go ahead and tell them about the markup on the parts, and watch them shrug.
Remember, regular people aren't like car people. They're vaguely aware that there's an engine under there, but that's about the limit of their knowledge.

You're saying that standard markup - and "double the wholesale" is standard markup in a lot of retail industries - is the same thing as fraud? Come on.

There's the point. Tie a red flag to it so you don't miss it next time. If you cut into the mechanic's revenues by taking away his parts profit, there's not enough money for him to continue to operate his business.

Again, standard markup is not synonymous with fraud. The mechanic is charging what the market will bear for the item. The customer is free to decline to purchase goods and services from the mechanic. That's how the system works.
I get the impression that you're being deliberately obtuse. You should stop that.

Because the machine to reset the code, the bay to park the car in while you're reseting the code, the insurance on the bay, and the listing in the yellow pages that brought the customer in to begin with are not free.
We covered this in first grade. Are you not there yet?

QED.
The consumer's perspective is that he or she is free to find another mechanic if he or she is unsatisfied with the policies or the current mechanic.

Operative word "let". I'm glad to see that you're catching on.

Really? Wow, I'm glad you caught that. You are indeed an astute one. You should go on Jeopardy or something.

Asked and answered.

Ad hominem. Not even a good one.
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You know, I do agree with some of what you say especially regarding the way businesses operate. I have no idea how I got dragged into this whole stupid argument and I am not going to provide a line by line response. Here is the essense of what I am saying though:
Most of the customers do come to get a noise fixed and happy to leave the shop with the noise gone. I never said it was illegal or scam or fraud to mark up parts and a doubling the price is indeed normal. We are not talking about double mark up though, the internet store selling me the same WP for $70 does make a profit too, probably the same double markup, and unlike shops they have to order them, stock them, ship them etc - really lots of work involved. In this example the true cost of the part is likely about $35, so charging $170 for it is OUTRAGEOUS).
Anyway, they may be happy that there is no noise, but lots of them do grumble that it cost them a small fortune to get it fixed. That's especially applicable to Audis and other german cars which are notoriously expensive in repair/maintenance.
All I did was suggested that an educated consumer can invest a little time, do a little research and save a significant amount of money on parts. And it's not that hard, really. I am NOT a car man, but I did it twice successfully and plan to do it again. (My first time was with rear brakes pads/rotors, dealer quoted $220 for parts plus tax, I got EOM pads and rotors for $100 on the internet including shipping). BTW stealer quoted 2 hours of labor for brakes at $90 hr, my non-audi mechanic did it in one hour at $55. Total dealer quote - $400+tax = $425, I paid $160 for the same job.
Yes, you are right, the dealership did not make (take) extra $265 from me, do you really think I am supposed to be upset about it. HAHAHAHAHA. I am delighted to be an educated consumer and will spend MY money on MY kids. As an extra bonus I learned a lot about cars in the process, so it's going to be harder for mechanics to rip me off in the future.
And if a shop/mechanic is unhappy with customer bringing their own parts, who cares? There are lots of equally qualified mechanics without attitudes willing to do the job.
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D O G - I hate to break it to you, but 4x marks on Cost of Goods Sold is typical business practice for retailers. Of course, that is after the tier-one and tier-two distributors get their share. For higher quality parts or designs, the retail mark can go to 10x. So, a $35 part selling at $170 is a 4.85x mark...not really outrageous.

Then buy a friggin' GM. If you can't afford to maintain it, then maybe you shouldn't own it.

It never hurts to shop around, but you seem to be of the typical consumer mindset that price is everything and value is nothing. Good business behavior is based on a "win-win" basis. No business man likes a customer that constantly tries to squeeze his margins for the same level of service.

Correction. You are a mis-educated consumer, most likely a graduate of the Wal-Mart University. Cheaper is better - this is a poor person's mindset. Experience and quality comes at a cost and is worth paying for. Why did you buy an Audi to begin with?!

There won't be enough mechanics if everyone starts doing what you do. If you make it hard to make a living at something, then that trade will become more rare as vendors exit. Rarity eventually drives the price right back up...and you are forced to deal with the very thing you were trying to avoid. They may perform the job, but I'm sure they remember exactly who you were. Don't expect any favors or any preferential treatment because you do not behave like a good business partner, so why should they behave that way? Give the small business owner a break...eh?
Elroy 2000 S4

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You're kidding, right? Do you understand the expertise required? Modern cars, and Audis especially, are very complicated with many interdependent systems. Diagnosing (properly) a problem is 90% of what you are buying. Any monkey can replace parts until they luck upon the right one.

What's a reasonable mark-up? From wholesale, most places will up-charge 100% of the wholesale price. But *you* can't get the wholesale price, so what are you complaining about? If JPF is charging $6 for a Mahle filter, and you can get them for $3.75, maybe you should just change your own oil. But if he can replace a waterpump in 2 hours (for example) that would take you all day, or that the dealer would charge a book of 3.5hrs (or whatever) are you going to begrudge him the extra $30 you save by buying the very same part on-line?

And you feel cheated, why? If the work is hard, and you're willing to pay someone else to do it, why not help him stay in business? I do a lot of my own stuff. I save a ton of money by doing a lot of simple maintenence tasks on my own. Even some repairs - ones that don't require a computer hook-up to diagnose. So when my guy charges me $40 extra on a part, I'm not too upset, considering that to buy a computer and the software, I might be out 2 orders of magnitude more cash. Or three. :)
Plus, he gets it done while I am doing other things. Like playing with my kids.

Stop right there. The answer is, in fact, "no."
It's perfectly legal.

What's the markup on a shirt from, oh, Macy's? Don't know? I guess all businesses DON'T tell you the mark-up, huh? Like "none."

Oh, please. If I can get some specific spark plugs from www.audiquattroparts.com for $5 each, and JPF is selling them at $8, I am not getting ripped off. If he is selling them at $20 each, and doing that for all of his parts, then I really have to weigh how much his expertise is worth. As do you, or any other informed consumer. And if you don't like the way he does it, go find a mechanic whose practices you do like. If JPF's business practices alienate enough customers, he'll not be in business any more - that's the way capitalism works.
Spider
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Did you actually read where this whole conversation started? I was not talking about a $2 markup. I was talking about a water pump, which is sold for $170 by dealerships but is available (exactly same OEM WP) for $70 on the internet. I was talking about parts for the whole TB/WP job, for which they charge $500, but which can cost you $250 if you buy them on your own (And I assure you, I am talking about exactly same brand new EOM or better parts).
I presume that the internet store is making a nice profit on the purchase as well. Yeah, I do consider $170 for WP a rip-off. And when JPF states, that he would not accept a customer with his own parts, cause it would deprive him of his extra "hidden" profit all I can say is that it is absolutely up to him and his customers, but there are lots of qualified machanics out there willing to do the job for their hourly labor rates.
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Profit. Bad word.
Marx is dead. He and his stupid idea was DOA and killed millions in the process of learning that profit is good.
Bad DOG. Sit. Sit. Down. Stay. And shut up. Your barking is bothersome.
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Yes. And if you weren't a complete moron, you'd have known that JPF and I have discussed this very topic before.
Now, get down off your high horse and listen up:

And when you take this to the stealership, they say "hey, fine - and not only that, we'll put our most experienced tech on it, and only charge you the time he works on it!"
Uhhh, no. If you're going to install it yourself, fine. If not, don't take it to JPF's place. If he charges exactly what the dealer does, then WTF is the problem? Do you think he gets free shipping? Is the storage free? His time to order it? His knowledge on how to get it as fast as possible? Isn't that worth something?

And if you do the job yourself, congratulations - you saved a big chunk of money. Hey, maybe you missed a minor detail that'll blow up your motor later, but hey *you saved $250!*
Well done!
I'm not sure why you're whining about JPF's business practices. It's his place to do whatever he wants, and if you don't like it - tough shit. Get over it already.

Or maybe they are making a minimal profit. How in the hell do you know?

Fine. Buy your own and install it yourself. No big deal.

Right. So all your bitching about JPF's policy is exact what? And does exactly what?
Nothing.
Spider
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