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Hey all, fairly new to this forum but long time Audi/VW forum user. Cross posting this from AZ as there’s probably more TDI gurus here. Had a fun go-round with my ‘13 Q7 last night.


Wife was getting on the interstate last night and heard a “new noise” shortly before a “loud noise” then the steering went out. She managed to pull off safely and when I arrived here’s what I found:



So we got her towed and I’m now trying to assess the damage.



All pulley wheels spin freely, which rules out something seizing up. But there’s a lot of liquid on the front of the engine. A side/back story is a mysterious coolant leak that I can smell but can’t track down, potentially in the valley.

Here’s a couple attempts at capturing what it looks like:




Upon inspection of the water pump, there’s a slight amount of play and I’m wondering if it’s leaking out the pulley shaft.

Looking for any opinions on where to start. The liquid appears to be oil based on the color. I checked the oil level last week and didn’t show signs of any major loss but that doesn’t rule out a new leak. The water pump is also suspect and I’m not sure how old it is - might be worth replacing either way.

I also made the mistake of getting it towed to a local shop I trust but just remembered they don’t work on TDIs. It’s about 5 minutes away from another shop or my condo and wondering if I can risk driving it or need to get it towed again.

Thanks in advance!
 

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Hi, it might leak from any gasket where you can’t reach to check so just keep trying maybe you’ll succeed, anyway in front of engine leak is engine oil and you can forget power steering fluid and transmission. If you checked all the pulleys and all of them are good it can be just oil dripping on one of the pulleys and it snapped your belt because They forget to tighten my filter cap on my 14 Mercedes during oil change and I drove 2 days then realized it was badly leaking from top of the engine And everything was just in oil.. I had really good serpentine belt installed 2 weeks before this loose cap and it snapped after in a week because of this, my pulleys was good and still good just changed belt again and running with same pulleys already second year. What I’m saying here is that if oil touches belt it will snap.
 

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Might want to consider the EGR cooler is leaking into the air intake valley and down the front of the engine. Mine also had that look. The water pump was replaced, because that's what they guessed was wrong with coolant loss and staining, but then the EGR cooler assembly and all gaskets replaced a year later when the leaking did not stop. It takes a while for the valley to fill enough to overflow and dribble down the front of the engine under braking.
How many miles on that serpentine belt? I would have thought it was a seized pulley from that picture, but you say they are free spinning.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies. Based on where the power steering pump is, I am ruling that out, doesn’t seem to be wet over there.

I’ll try and take a closer look at any gaskets I can see. I might have to clean it up, put a belt on and visually inspect until I see something weeping.

Not sure on the belt mileage. Bought the car off a used car lot in April w/o any records. It was dealer maintained in CA before I got it so I would imagine it’s not super old (when is the scheduled replacement?) Audi dealer might be able to tell me I suppose.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Update: shop ordered a new belt and tensioner and got the car mobile. They started tracking down the leak and after a quick road test they believe it’s the oil thermostat (if I understood the service guy that called me). I’ll know more on Monday but hopefully that takes care of it.

 
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