July 10

2010 Audi A4 V6 Clutch



Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver. Vancouver's best auto service experience, 24 or 25 times maybe, best auto repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers and we're talking cars. How you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. We're still 24 by the way. Working on more.

Mark: So today we're gonna talk about an Audi A4, as I call 'em, the glorified Volkswagen Audi's, the A3, A4. So this is a V6 that needed a clutch replacement. What was happening with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah, so this vehicle, the owner of the vehicle was having a very hard time getting the vehicle into gear. It really wouldn't shift properly. So there was clearly a problem with the clutch and the clutch needed to be replaced. 

Mark: So how did you diagnose this concern? 

Bernie: Well with these kind of issues, a lot of it is with pedal feel. A clutch is pretty much a hidden item. It's hidden between the transmission and the engine and the bell housing area. You can't see anything really. There's a hydraulic system which actuates it. So when you push the pedal, that pushes a clutch master cylinder, which forces fluid down to a slave cylinder.

Kinda works like the brake system, but little different. And that will actuate the clutch. So sometimes you have problems in that area, and it's usually noticeable by either a fluid leak or just a feel of the pedal. But in this case, the pedal felt fine and the clutch just wouldn't disengage properly, causing the transmission to wear.

So we have to remove the transmission, inspect the clutch, and go from there. But we knew that something was worn out or broken in the clutch. 

Mark: So do you have to pull the engine or can it all be done from underneath the car? What's involved in replacing the clutch in this vehicle?

Bernie: On this vehicle it's pull the transmission and it's complicated. It's an all-wheel drive vehicle. So there are front axle shaft, there's a rear drive shaft and there's a lot of stuff in between. It's a complex vehicle, so it's a lot of work to do it. So the first step was basically to pull the transmission out and take the clutch apart and have a look at that.

Mark: Any kind of special procedures involved? 

Bernie: Removing and installing the transmission is sort of normal, like I said, a little extra work compared to some vehicles. But as far as special procedures to actually replace the clutch, It's a little bit of a different design on this vehicle.

We'll just get into some pictures and I'll talk a bit about it. So there's the clutch assembly right there. This is the new pressure plate. The clutch is, you know, generally, three or four pieces. There's your flywheel which is bolted to the engine. 

2010 Audi A4 V6 Clutch

There's the clutch disc, which is basically the frictional material that couples to the transmission shaft. And that sort of wears out. It used to be asbestos, but it's got like a fibrous lining, it's naturally made to wear every time you do it. Of course, it'll last a long time. 

Then there's a pressure plate which locks everything together. And when you push the clutch pedal, there's a release bearing which pushes on the pressure plate in this area. I'm moving my mouse pointer around. The release bearing's, not in this picture. I'll show you that in a minute.

But those are kind of the main components of the clutch. Now this uses a dual mass flywheel, which is common on many vehicles these days. It used to be that a flywheel was just a single hunk of iron machined very smooth and the clutch would bolt up to that. But they found over time that you could reduce some of the vibration and harshness from clutch engagement by putting this item called dual mass flywheel, which is essentially two flywheels sandwiched together with springs in between. Which is great. I mean, it makes for exceptionally smooth feeling operation, but it does add a huge cost if the dual mass flywheel needs to be replaced. In the case of this vehicle, it did. Most of the time it does need to be replaced, but occasionally we do clutch jobs where we don't do it that has dual mass flywheel.

So I'll just go through a few pictures here. So again, this is the assembly. This is sitting on our hydraulic press. You mentioned special procedures. The way this clutch goes together, normally you'd bolt the flywheel up to the engine, but this is kind of designed more like an automatic transmission where there's an actual ring gear with a flex plate and the clutch and this part of the flywheel, this bolts up to the flex plate.

So it's kind of like an automatic transmission. And I think we've seen this in a couple other vehicles. I think the design idea is that, you can interchange this clutch assembly for a torque converter. So it's almost like when the engine is designed, it'll have the same ring gear, and if it's an automatic that just bolts on the same way as a standard transmission.

So from a design perspective, it's kind of interesting. Anyways, I'm kind of rambling on here. Let's get some other pictures.

2010 Audi A4 V6 Clutch

So on the hydraulic press, the procedure is to actually press the pressure plate down, and then bolt the clutch assembly together. There's usually six or more bolts. You go around carefully tighten them, cross tighten them, whereas this one they actually suggest you depressurize the clutch. So we do that on the hydraulic press, set it all up and then bolt it together. So that's kind of an unusual part of this procedure. You don't have a hydraulic press. I guess you could probably use a drill press, but it wouldn't be quite as tough.  

There's a picture of the, that's the new flywheel, the dual mass flywheel sitting on the press. The clutch disc rotate sits in this area here where I'm moving the mouse pointer and then the pressure plate bolts in on top of that. This part here that I'm moving, that bolts up to the engine. 

2010 Audi A4 V6 Clutch

And you can see by this picture here, this is the actual clutch assembly. They actually call it a clutch module, this is actually in the transmission waiting to be installed. After the transmission that just slips into this particular piece here. 

2010 Audi A4 V6 Clutch

Which is the kind of bit of a blurry picture, but this is the ring gear flex plate on the engine. And these bolts have been removed. We need to reinstall 'em. But this bearing here is called a pilot bearing. We replaced that as part of the clutch job. That does tend to wear from time to time too. 

2010 Audi A4 V6 Clutch

The clutch release bearing. So this was a part that was very clearly noticeably worn. Clutch release bearing fits into a fork. And pressure's applied through the slave cylinder, kind of pivots. And this surface here that I'm moving the mouse point around, this is the new bearing sitting in the fork in this proper manner. This pushes against the fingers on the pressure plate. And you can see here it's plastic. I don't know why it's plastic. A lot of 'em are metal, but it's plastic cuz it probably smooths the operation out. But you can see little wear marks in this thing here.

2010 Audi A4 V6 Clutch

Actually they're not just little wear marks. These are deep grooves from the pressure plate fingers. So normally over many years, this would probably be smooth. And then at some point in time it probably kind of started getting sticky. Little wear marks started developing over time, it just started wearing worse and worse and wore these issues in here.

So this is probably a very likely part of the problem why the clutch wouldn't release properly. And it's not even where you can see some of these fingers are deeper grooves than others. So that, again, would indicate to me why the clutch wasn't releasing properly. So again, you know, plastic, sometimes it serves a purpose and it wears out sometimes faster than it should. And I think we're done. 

Mark: So a very complicated clutch job, would you say? 

Bernie: Yeah. It's definitely a lot more complex with the design of this. You know, one thing that's nice and easy about it though is it's often complicated when you put the transmission into say the type where the flywheel's bolted up and the clutch is all bolted. You have to line it up, specifically line up the the disk with the release bearing. And we have tools that do that, but it still adds a bit of complexity. The nice thing about this one is because of the way it's designed where the clutch is actually already on the transmission, it actually slides in, it lines really nicely and easily.

So that is definitely an advantage, but there's a few more steps involved to make that happen. You know, the parts and components on this thing are really expensive. Like, one thing about a dual mass flywheel is that, you know the cheapest dual mass flywheel I can think of is probably a thousand dollars for the flywheel. And this one was a lot more money than that. So they add a huge cost to a clutch replacement. 

I think in the past we've talked about there are kits to replace dual mass with single mass flywheel. 

There are. There's nothing available for this car, but they are available for many cars. For instance, like an older, like a, I was thinking like an 05 Dodge Ram diesel truck uses a dual mass flywheel in their transmissions. And there's kits available where you just toss the dual mass flywheel, you put a solid flywheel in. And you know, you might think, well is there a disadvantage?

 I've done a conversion on a few different vehicles. And it doesn't seem to feel any different, but I'm sure there's gotta be a slight difference because, you know, there's a reason why they put 'em in there. And you know, the one thing about these clutches is they are, if you've driven an Audi like this, it's a very smooth, very nice clutch. The transmission, it's a beautiful piece of engineering for sure. 

Mark: And how did the vehicle work after you replaced the clutch? 

Bernie: Oh, it worked really well. Transmission shifted fine. I mean, it was a little bit of concern that maybe the owner had damaged the transmission, trying to put it into gear, you know, cuz that's always something that can happen, you know, if you try to force something into gear. But it was fine. It worked perfectly. 

Mark: And how are these 2010 Audi A4s for reliability? 

Bernie: Yeah, generally they're pretty good. You know, it's a more complex car, so there's more things that go wrong, but it's a German vehicle. They're finickier and things do tend to happen.

Mark: Yeah. It's a little higher performance with the V6.

Bernie: Oh, yeah definitely, it's a really nice car. But they tend to develop oil leaks and things that, you know, some cars go a little longer, not mentioning other brands, go a little longer without having, but generally it's a good car.

Mark: If you're looking for service for your Audi in Vancouver, BC Canada. The guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can book online at pawlikautomotive.com, or you can call them (604) 327-7112. You have to book ahead. They're always busy. Pawlik Automotive, Vancouver, BC Canada. Thanks Bernie. Thanks for watching and listening. We appreciate it. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark, and thanks for watching.

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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