Common Golf R/Audi S3 issues… what to look for?
We often get asked questions about specific vehicles, their common issues and problems to look out for. Customers get a new vehicle and the first thing they want to do is know exactly what potential issues they could face, and rightly so! If you know what to look out for you can spot problems before they properly develop and potentially cause other issues in the vehicle!
We thought it would be a good idea to blog each month a case study of a different popular vehicle! This way you can easily find information from us regarding specific models within the VAG.
So what am I looking for?
This month’s blog we are going to focus on the Golf R and the Audi S3. Both have the EA888 engine which means they carry the same niggly issues. The most common problem people have is with the Haldex, mainly because people do not know it needs to be serviced. Off the back of the Haldex not being serviced the 4WD becomes non-existent and the vehicle essentially becomes FWD. The rear Diff then could need replacing, which would be a much more costly repair! This could be avoided by just having your Haldex serviced at the correct intervals. We recommend Gen 1&2 every 38,000 miles and Gen 4&5 every 20,000 miles.
The next issue we come across is the IS38 Turbo charger having issues. This turbo employs a ‘zero tolerance’ compressor design. There is virtually no clearance between the compressor wheel and housing. Improving efficiency and contributing to the incredible performance of the turbo. The compressor housing is lined with a Teflon insert, as the compressor wheel meets it in normal operation.
The issue is that batches of the turbo have not been balanced properly. Several turbos have been stripped and examined, only to find the balancing is out by a very large margin on a few turbos. This causes the compressor wheel to move off centre slightly. On a “normal” turbo this would not be an issue, but on the IS38 the compressor wheel is hitting the Teflon insert. Digging in and snapping the shaft instantly. Therefore, we would advise before tuning (if that is a route you would want to go down) having an inspection to try reducing the likelihood of it failing.
The Clutches in the manual gearboxes also show some issues. The clutches are weak and show signs of slipping early on in age and miles! You will notice your clutch slipping if you are having trouble changing gears, the clutch pedal sticking, vibrating or appearing to feel spongey or loose; or Momentary loss of acceleration caused by a feeling of a ‘slipping’ clutch. The main problem with the clutches is that they are the same that are used in the Golf GTI’s. It has around 70HP less and is only 2WD. With the added traction of the Golf R and the added horsepower this then massively reduces the lifespan. Anybody tuning their car even at stage 1 level would have to consider replacing the clutch for reliability.
To ensure you get the most out of the vehicle make sure you keep up with your regular servicing intervals and keep an eye on the quality of your driving. Harsh acceleration and lots of start stop driving will do the clutch no favours.
Other common issues on the EA888 engines include piston and piston ring issues and Water pump issues. Squeaking front suspension arms is another concern. Golf R owners also complain of a defunct battery which needs replacing within the first two years of the vehicle’s life.
Hopefully, this gives you a quick overview of what to look out for if you are a Golf R/Audi S3 owner. Or if you are considering buying one in the future you can look at the pros and the con’s, every car has them! You can get in touch with us on 01642 613852 if you are wanting vehicle inspection. We carry out a full report on the vehicle which you can also keep for your records!