April 8

2015 Audi Q5, Water Pump



Mark: Hi, it's Mark Bossert and I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver's best auto service experience. And we're talking cars. How are you doing, Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well. 

Mark: Today's victim is a 2015 Audi Q5, had a water pump issue. What was going on with this vehicle? 

Bernie: Yeah, so the vehicle was brought to our shop. The owner's complaint was that there was a coolant leak and he was told the water pump was leaking. So that was the issue.

Mark: So what sort of testing and diagnosis do you do? Because the water pump's in a little bit of a different place than we would expect, isn't it? 

Bernie: Yeah, it is in an odd spot. We'll look at some pictures in a few minutes, but basically our primary test with coolant leaks is first a visual inspection to look for the leak see what we find. We were told it was a water pump. So, of course, we're going to look in that vicinity. We also do a cooling system pressure test where we put the system under pressure and any marginal leaks will show up. And then we'll know where it's leaking from. So we did do those tests and verified the water pump in fact, was leaking. 

Mark: So did you use the dye this time and ultraviolet lights to find where that was leaking or just visual inspection? 

Bernie: Yeah, we don't use dye for coolant leaks. I mean, you can, but it's not something we ever do because coolant leaks are just usually very obvious. So we use dye a lot for oil leaks and air conditioning leaks, but not for coolant leaks because they just tend to show themselves quite easily.

Mark: So what's involved in replacing the water pump on the Q5? 

Bernie: Well, it's a bit of an interesting water pump. So this water pump is driven by its own little tooth belt. Sits sort of near the rear of the engine on the side of the engine, which is sort of an unusual spot. So it's kind of a modular water pump, all self contained unit.

So we're looking at the top of the engine here with the engine cover removed. So at the top sort of area in the middle is the engine there. And we move closer, that sort of shiny object is the intake manifold. And below that, where the arrow is pointing, is the location of the water pump. So you can see it's buried below the intake manifold. And there's quite a few items that need to be removed. You can remove the manifold, but we are able to do it without removing the manifold. 

2015 Audi Q5, Water Pump

Mark: And this plastic piece up here, this is the radiator. 

Bernie: That is the radiator at the front, yup. 

Mark: And this is the firewall, so this is the rear of the engine.

Bernie: This is the rear of the engine, yeah. This is a longitudinally mounted engine, so it means it's basically the front of the engine is at the front of the car and the rear is at the back, as opposed to a transverse mounted, which is sideways. 

So this picture here just again, points a little closer to, to the water pump. We've removed the throttle body from the vehicle now. So we're looking underneath the intake manifold and the arrows pointing to the actual water pump down there. So there's a number of wires and connectors and things that need to be moved out of the way to get to the water pump.

2015 Audi Q5, Water Pump

This is a picture of the water pump removed. That arrow is pointing to the belt. Now it's not really very clear in this picture, but if you can see sort of an orangey appearance, sort of just to the left of the arrow right there. That's the belt. So it's a very small little tooth belt. And it's driven on an auxiliary shaft that runs along the side of the engine. So the water pump is out in this particular picture, and then we can have a look at the water pump itself. 

2015 Audi Q5, Water Pump

So this is the new water pump we put in. You can see the cog on the right side where that little yellow piece is. That's just a protective cover. But that's the belt drive for the water pump. 

2015 Audi Q5, Water Pump

And this is the pump we took out of there. You notice this one's made of plastic. The replacement one's made of aluminum. You can put a plastic one back in, but plastic parts tend to fail a lot easier than aluminum ones do, so we prefer to use the aluminum replacement part.

2015 Audi Q5, Water Pump

Mark: So, boo, yay. 

Bernie: Yeah . Exactly.

Mark: So, why is plastic being used?

Bernie: Weight. Lightweight. There's some reasons why plastic is used for certain items where you can get a shape out of plastic. You can mold it in such a way that you probably can't do that with aluminum or steel, but really it's about weight.

 It's amazing a lot of these cars, European cars, they use aluminum bolts, believe it or not. They weigh nothing. It's so bizarre. You put one in your hand, you go, it has no weight to it. Whereas, you know, a conventional steel bolt, has weight to it, but they're only good for one time use.

And they don't use them obviously on things like connecting rods or crankshaft main bearing bolts or cylinder head bolts, but they use it for things like valve covers where it doesn't, you know, it just is a slight amount of torque and aluminum work, but it's all about weight. So I guess they can put an aluminum water pump, say about an ounce or two here and there that it all adds up.

Mark: So is there any downside to replacing a plastic pump with an aluminum water pump? 

Bernie: I'd say zero. I think it's all an upside. And you probably never even I don't know, maybe you might lose a certain amount of fuel mileage because it's a little extra weight. But you know, that sort of depends on what you ate for breakfast. You know, whether you pop in your car and drive it with a full stomach or an empty stomach, you know, it's really very minimal. So I think there's no downside whatsoever.

Mark: So pretty complicated repair. How did it all work after the replacement with the new part?

Bernie: Yeah, it's all good. Yeah, no further leaks. We replaced the belt too. Belts, we've never actually seen a belt fail on these things. They're not under a tremendous amount of stress, but you know, it's good to change the belt anyways, because you don't certainly don't want it to fail. 

Mark: Is this a common repair on Audis?

Bernie: It is. And certain Volkswagen engines. This engine's shared with a number of Volkswagens as well. So it's a common repair. The water pumps do leak, especially the plastic ones. I mean, the aluminum ones do have a seal between the two housing. So eventually over time something will leak, but plastic tends to warp over time. It's a more common failure. But if you keep the vehicle long enough, it'll happen. I'm just sort of looking at my notes here. This vehicle did have 173,000 kilometres. So it's had pretty good usage for a car you know, it's only what, eight years old. So it's been used a lot. So that's a pretty you know, respectable time.

Mark: And how reliable are 2015 Audi Q5s? 

Bernie: They're fairly good. There are a number of issues that do happen with them though, and they are expensive to fix, so you know, they're a little more complex and, you know, what can I say? It's a German vehicle. More tends to go wrong. 

Mark: If you're looking for service for your Audi or VW product in Vancouver, the guys, the experts to see are at Pawlik Automotive. You can book online at pawlikautomotive.com. They'll call you back, they'll get ready for your appointment. Or you can phone and book. Although they're not always able to answer the phone, they will call you back. It's always busy. (604) 327-7112 is the number to call. Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Thanks for watching and listening. Thanks, Bernie. 

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

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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