Audi 2.8L V6 Timing Belt

Everything you need to know about Audi timing belt replacement on A4 & A6 2.8 liter 30 valve; which was used in the following Audi models:

  • 1998-2001 Audi A4 (US) B5 chassis
  • 1998-2001 Audi A6 (US) C5 chassis

The 2.8 liter 30 valve V6 engine is driven by a timing belt system that links the cylinder heads, camshafts, and crankshaft to run in sync. The Audi A6 or Audi A4 timing belt system consists of a wear-resistant, high strength, corded/molded rubber timing belt (a.k.a. toothed belt). There's also an assortment of tensioners and idler rollers to guide and tension the 2.8L Audi timing belt.

It's very important to service your 2.8L Audi A4 or Audi A6 timing belt. The timing belt, tensioner, and idler components eventually reach the end of their recommended service life. The 2.8L 30V is an interference engine (a.k.a. non-clearance engine). If the Audi timing belt fails, the timing belt system that links the cylinder heads, camshafts, and crankshaft no longer runs in sync. Close tolerance engine designs allow for the cylinder head valves to hit the top side of the pistons. Audi timing belt failure on these engines usually results in catastrophic engine damage (i.e. bent valves and in some cases cracked pistons).

This page discusses many different Audi timing belt replacement topics, such as:

  • What is the recommended timing belt change interval for Audi A4 and Audi A6 2.8 liter 30 valve models?
  • What affects the intended life expectancy of timing belt parts?
  • How much does it cost to replace the Audi timing belt on the 2.8L 30 valve? How long does it take to change the timing belt on an Audi A4 or A6 2.8L 30V?
  • Looking to buy a used Audi A4 or A6 and wondering about timing belt replacement?
  • What to replace while changing the Audi timing belt on the 2.8L engine. Can I just replace the basics?
  • Do I need special tools? Can I do it without the tools?

Audi Timing Belt Service Change Interval

Audi A4 A6 timing belt Change IntervalWhat is the recommended Audi timing belt change interval on the 2.8L 30 valve engine?

The most recent recommend interval is 75,000 miles.

Some older scheduled Maintenance Service booklets reference a 105,000-mile timing belt service schedule interval. However, according to the most current manufacturer service schedule information, the interval has been updated to 75,000 miles.

What does Blauparts recommend? When dealing with crucial timing belt service, err on the side of caution and change your Audi A4 or Audi A6 timing belt every 75,000 miles. It is our recommendation to closely inspect all timing belt components before the recommended interval. Play it safe, changing your timing belt may seem expensive. However, choosing to exceed your timing belt service interval is risky and can lead to unknown repair costs that will far exceed typical timing belt replacement service costs.

Intended Life-Expectancy of Timing Belt Components

In our service facility, we've seen a few original timing belts last over 100,000 miles and others ready to break before 75,000 miles. In addition to mileage, other factors age the timing belt and related components. The following are some reasons why you see the difference in how long an Audi A4 A6 timing belt and related components last: (1) un-logged engine idle times and sitting in traffic; (2) warm-up time in cold weather; (3) environmental climate factors; (4) related engine maintenance that may have been overlooked.

How long do Audi A4 A6 timing belt parts last?Keys to the long life of your new timing belt components after timing belt replacement. Make your new parts last! You can expect your new BLAU INA OEM components to last the specified 75,000-mile interval if the following important steps were taken:

1) Timing belt service was performed using BLAU INA OEM components. The same timing belt and timing belt tensioner(s) that were fitted on your Audi 2.8L from the factory, are engineered to meet factory interval requirements.

2) Timing belt service was performed by an experienced competent ASE-certified Audi mechanic who is familiar with your specific 2.8L 30 valve engine.

3) Factory service procedures must be strictly followed. Even if installing the best parts, using improper procedures can shorten their life span. Incorrect installation or missteps during timing belt service are often done without intent and aren't noticed until further down the road. Fortunately, some common mishaps are noticed after re-assembly and during the final engine rotational timing sequences.

Common Missteps: Incorrect tensioner washer and spacer stack. Incorrectly / quickly compressing the hydraulic tensioner damper causing irreversible damage.

Audi A4 & A6 Timing Belt Replacement Cost for 2.8L 30 Valve Models

How much does it cost to replace the Audi A4 A6 timing belt on the 2.8 liter 30 valve? How long does it take to change the timing belt on an Audi 2.8 liter 30 valve? How much will the parts cost? How much will the labor cost? Thinking of buying an Audi 2.8L and wondering about timing belt replacement?

How Long Does It Take?

How long does Audi A4 A6 timing belt replacement takeHow long does it take to replace the Audi A4 A6 timing belt on the 2.8 liter 30 valve? The average timing belt service labor time for this engine is around 6-8 hours depending on the technician's experience and the amount of timing belt parts being replaced.

How Much Does It Cost?

2.8L Audi A4 A6 timing belt Labor CostThe average shop labor rate is $75 - $200 per hour. The lesser amount is often found in smaller cities and the more expensive labor rate seems to align itself with larger cities. Depending on shop rate, technician's experience, and the amount of timing belt parts being replaced it can cost approximately $600-$1,600. This is just the labor cost (not including parts).

How Much Do The Parts Cost?

It depends. Some choose to source the parts themselves, while others get the parts through their repair shop. Some repair shops prefer to supply the parts themselves. This allows for cost margins and potential profits on the parts. Also, they can control the type of parts used, reducing the potential problem of having customers come back with part issues.

You won't have to worry about this with our INA Gen II BLAU Timing Belt Kits for 2.8L ranging from $240.00 to $350.00 and include the same INA OEM parts that came on your car, just without the genuine logo. This is a huge savings vs retail dealer cost, which is approximately $800 - $1,100. Have your mechanic call us!

Looking to Buy a Used Audi 2.8L 30V and Wondering About Timing Belt Replacement?

Many people who are looking to buy a used Audi A6 or A4 2.8L 30 valve start researching the cost of replacing the timing belt. It's best to purchase a car that comes with service history records from the previous owner. Owners who value their car and took care of it will have a record of all service history, an indication of the vehicle's overall shape and reliability. The importance of service records is indisputable. A seller without any service records, is looking to take advantage of the "inexperienced" buyer, making more money at their expense.

Inspecting a timing belt that "seems fine" isn't enough. You'll also want to confirm when the last timing belt service was performed with the appropriate documentation. Don't just take the word of a seller saying "Oh, I think I changed it around 30,000 miles ago." Assumptions and no documents means RISK. Calculate the cost of timing belt replacement into your purchase price if they don't have the records.Audi A4 A6 timing belt Replacement Service Records

Example of Negotiation:
1999 Audi A4 2.8L 30V - 120,000 Miles - Asking Price: $4,500
Buyer: "When was the timing belt done last."
Seller: "Oh, I just did it. I think it was about 30,000 miles ago."
Buyer: "Do you have the paperwork?"
Seller: "No, I don't."
Buyer: "Well with no documentation, I'll have to get it replaced to establish a guarantee baseline. That will cost me around $800-$1,500. Are you willing to take $800 to $1,500 off the purchase price?"

What to Replace When Changing the Audi Timing Belt on the 2.8L 30 Valve Engine

Audi 2.8L Timing Belt Replacement DiagramIMAGE DESCRIPTION: Apart from the timing belt itself the Audi A4 and Audi A6 2.8L 30 valve engine's timing belt system consists of 5 serviceable timing belt components. One is the water pump that is driven by the timing belt. Second is the fixed idler bearing, located on the driver side of the engine block. Third is the timing belt tensioner system, where components work in sync with each other to guide and provide variable tension to the timing belt. This system consists of a tensioner, tensioner lever, and a hydraulic tensioner damper.

Before going through the significant work of taking your car apart for timing belt replacement, please consider the following:

Looking To Save Money... "Can I Just Replace the Timing Belt?" Simply changing the timing belt isn't enough. Why? Around the 75,000 mile timing belt service interval, due to age the integrity of the tensioners, damper, water pump, and other seals and o-rings are at the end or very near the end of their service life. Some individuals make the mistake of only replacing the timing belt. Then, 10,000-20,000 miles later, their new timing belt fails due to tensioner, idler bearing, or water pump failure.


Why replace your Audi 2.8L timing belt tensioners during timing belt service? Just as the timing belt has a designated service life and subsequent change interval, so do the tensioners and idler bearings. It's true that timing belts can get old, begin to crack, and eventually fail. However, it is just as common for the timing belt tensioners and/or idler bearings to fail, thus causing timing belt failure.

How can the tensioners cause a timing belt to fail? Most tensioner bearings contain a set amount of grease behind the seal. This grease provides ample lubrication and ensures tensioner reliability for the designated life span (75,000 miles). During engine operation, constant thermal temperature fluctuations eventually cause the bearing's grease to breakdown and loose it's lubricating properties. Over time, this results in unwanted bearing play and eventual seizure. If a timing belt tensioner has too much play or seizes, the timing belt can become misaligned, or begin to 'burn up' and shred, causing engine failure. Thermal temperatures also affect the timing belt causing the material composition of the belt to change and accelerates it's life span, often resulting in premature failure.

Water Pump

Why replace your Audi 2.8L water pump during timing belt service? It makes sense from a labor standpoint since timing belt dis-assembly is required for water pump replacement. The water pump is driven by the timing belt and contains an internal sealed bearing that has a life span similar to the timing belt, tensioner, and idler bearings. The internal bearing and seals of an Audi water pump can weaken and is the primary reason why a water pump eventually fails.


Why replace your Audi 2.8L thermostat during timing belt service? The thermostat and housing is located behind the timing belt on the passenger side of the engine. It makes sense from a labor standpoint, since timing belt dis-assembly is required for thermostat replacement. The engine temperature is controlled by the thermostat. Near the end of it's designated service life the thermostat spring temper changes. This causes the thermostat to open too much allowing the engine to run cooler, resulting in poor fuel optimization, decreased fuel economy, and less horsepower.

Audi A4 A6 Valve Cover Gasket Replacement Kit

Valve Cover Gaskets & Cam Chain Tensioner Gaskets

Why replace your Audi 2.8L valve cover gaskets and cam chain tensioner gaskets during timing belt service?

Oil leaks are very common on Audi A4 and Audi A6 2.8L 30 valve models and are often noticed around 75,000-90,000 miles. Leaking cam chain tensioner gaskets are the most common, producing a foul burning oil smell in your interior. It makes sense from a labor standpoint to replace them during timing belt service, since timing belt dis-assembly is required for proper cam chain tensioner gasket replacement. Replacing them together will save you precious time and hundreds of $$$ of costly labor charges.

Special Tools for Audi A4 & A6 Timing Belt Replacement on 2.8L Models

Please Note: Our timing belt tool rental kits are no longer available for rent. All tool rental kits are available for sale in good used condition in our online catalog.

Do I need special tools? Can I do it without the tools?

When replacing the Audi A4 or Audi A6 timing belt on my 2.8L model, do I need the special tools? On older single-cam Audi engines it is possible to achieve general timing without the special tools. However, on modern (double overhead cam) interference Audi engines this is very risky. Special tools were designed for a reason. They maintain proper timing relationship between the camshafts and the crankshaft position. Slight variations in timing or orientation can result in catastrophic engine damage (e.g. bent valves).

This isn't the area of vehicle maintenance to cut corners or try to save time. For example, most new vehicles have tapered camshaft sprocket(s). On these Audi models, in order to achieve 100% proper cam to crankshaft timing, special tools are absolutely necessary. When the timing is off just a degree or two the check engine light could appear and a lack of performance is often noticed. Remember, you're performing a crucial maintenance repair. If done incorrectly, catastrophic engine damage will result.Special Audi A4 A6 Timing Belt Tools

Basic Descriptions of Essential Audi A4 A6 2.8L Timing Belt Tools:

  • 3369 - Radiator valance tools used for bumper removal and putting the vehicle in timing belt service position.
  • 3391 - Cam lock bar.
  • 3242 - Crankshaft locking lock pin.
  • 3312 - Viscous clutch fan wrench.
  • 3212 - Spanner wrench for the viscous clutch.
  • T40001 - Camshaft sprocket puller.

NOTE: The following tools are used depending on the depth of Audi timing belt service that you're performing and if you've chosen to change the cam or crank seals.

  • T400011 (aka 2024A) - Timing belt tensioner damper locking pin. When purchasing a new damper, this pin is already installed.
  • 3204 - Serpentine belt locking pin.
  • 3240 - Camshaft seal remover tool.
  • 3241/1 - Camshaft seal installer tool.
  • 3203 - Crankshaft seal remover.
  • 3265 - Crankshaft seal installer.