Audi TT car help

I was wondering if someone is able to help. I don’t have any experience with cars but I hope that someone can make a few suggestions.

I have an Audi TT which is just over five years old and is coming up to 50,000 miles on the clock.
The car was losing a lot of coolant and was burning up oil and the emission light finally came on in the car.
I took the car to a garage who said that it was a cylinder head gasket and that they would need to remove this and send it to get skimmed. The garage done the required work and have handed me the car back.

On the way home the emission light came back on so I took the car back to the garage who said they checked the compressions and everything looks ok and that they think it is possibly some gunk in the exhaust system and that I should take it for a long run.  

I done as they suggested and went for a long drive but this did not fix the issue so the car went in again to get checked and they are now not sure what the problem is.

I have noticed when the car is moving I don’t seem to get any smoke but when the car is idling for about five minutes smoke starts to come out of the exhaust along with a burning smell. The smoke itself is dark in colour but not black. I thought that this is odd for the smoke to only appear when the car seems to be idling such as when stuck in traffic.

One of the mechanics said that the block could be cracked and that if this is the case I should get rid of it. How can this be checked?

As I said I don’t really know a lot about cars and any ideas would be a great help.


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I'm only an armchair/weekend mechanic but perhaps this advice will be useful...

You can have a block checked for cracks and blown gaskets by compression testing which is a fairly simple procedure.  What you have described so far is fishy, I think you might want to bring your car to a different mechanic for proper diagnosis; I'm not sure why they wanted to machine your head just to replace the gasket except and the rest of their process seems less-than-expert, maybe.

Good luck

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dhsindyRetired considering supplemental income.Commented:
It sounds like the car was seriously neglected for these kinds of problems to develop in only 50,000 miles.

I would check with a dealer and see if you have any warranty coverage.  Engine work is very expensive.  You may need an overhaul (rebuild of engine) or a new rebuilt engine.  Sounds to me like the engine is wore out because of improper maintenance.
My guess is the catalytic converter may be plugged.Do you notice the smell when your sitting in drivers seat?
Also check make sure they connected all vacuum lines and check for damage.
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Is it possible that the original problem with loss of coolant and burning oil fouled the catalytic converter and that's what's causing this smoking issue when the car idles for an extended period?  The cat converter gets very hot when the car is idling for a long time.
Your catalytic converter is full of gunk from when the head gasket was leaking, which may as advised clean itself after "a long run".

How long??? depends on how long the head gasket was leaking and how much it leaked???
It may never come clean and thus you will need a new catalytic converter, but dont give up too soon.

Getting the head skimmed was probably needed, and is recommended if you blow a head gasket.

How to Check for Cracks in an Engine Block
You need to have it tested by a knowledgeable mechanic.

If the block is cracked you would be getting pressure build up in the radiator, just run the engine from cold to hot with no radiator cap and periodically look for air build up in the radiator water ( air bubbling out )

Run it some more before considering a new catalytic converter.

Hope this helps.
On side note, You can always remove the exaust from the end of the extractors, or before the Catalytic converter and run it for 5 to 10 mins at idle and see if you get smoke,

It will be a little loud, but there will be no hard to the engine, just don't rev it hard.

ross13Author Commented:
I got the car out yesterday again after it had another cylinder head gasket replaced.
The garage thought that the new gasket they got possibly had a problem and replaced it. This unfortunately has not fixed the issue. The car now seems to reliably smoke when the car is idling after a minute or so. The smoke is white / grey. I can’t see any blue at all in the smoke.
I have been doing some reading / research on the internet and have noticed a few other people having problems with smoke when idling due to the turbo?
I have gone for a long drive today and it does not look like the coolant has gone down at all now but I will take it for another run tomorrow.
I did have to top the oil up today on the car which was surprising as I had an oil and filter change done a couple of weeks ago.
The other thing I read when trying to find out what the issue could be is someone mentioned removing the oil cap and feeling the pressure from the car engine. I done this and it felt like the same amount of pressure from the exhaust. I don’t know if this is normal or not. Or what this means.
I don’t know what the chances of the cylinder head gasket and the turbo going at the same time on the car?
The garage said to me yesterday that if what they have done does not resolve the issue that they think I have a cracked block and I should be looking at getting a new engine.

Well I doubt you have a cracked block.
Do you have a compression tester?You can get one from parts store for about 30 bucks then follow the directions in your service manual to do compression test then post results here.
To do compression check you will need a partner to help you out and you will need to pull each spark plug out,dissconnect coil also,hen with the compression tool start at #1 make sure tool is in nice and snug then have parterner crank enging 8-10 times but not to start then record readings.Repeat for remainding cylinders.
If your not sure how to do it have a shop do it and get the results from them ON PAPER.I would bring it to Audi to get it done.
ross13Author Commented:
I took the car to another garage and he thinks that the smoke is oil burning up. He thinks that the problem could possibly be with a valve seal. I am going to take the car back to the garage on Monday.
Burning oil, blowing head gaskets after a having the head skimmed can mean that the block is also in need of a skim (very expensive)
You may have broken piston rings which a simple compression test will varify.
The garage that skimmed the head should have noticed any problems concerning the valves, so that is an unlikely cause.
I think it is time to find a dependable garage that is not just wanting to take you on an expensive ride.
Have a compression test first don't let him/her guess.
ross13Author Commented:
Found out that the turbo had gone on the car. Currently having this replaced as well.

Thanks for everyone's help.


Ross what determined that it was the turbo?There are very distinct signs of turbo failure that you would have noticed and the problems you were having are nothing to do with turbo.
A turbos function is to inject a greater amount of air to the intake of the car.
I strongly feel that your getting the run around.Where are you taking the car to?Have you researched the mechanic for complaints etc....?
dhsindyRetired considering supplemental income.Commented:
Just ran across information in Wikipedia "Audi TT" subject that there have been class action lawsuits against Audi in the USA for premature engine belt failures.  Regretably, they may be already settled.  Might be worth checking on to see if you can recover some of your expense.
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