When the car idles, it sounds like a diesel engine. I have had it in the shop (Audi specialists) five times since April 2007. The first time, I was told that it was two screws loose on the cam. It was okay for a bit then the noise started again. They replaced the auxiliary cooling fan. Temporarily okay. Then it started again. They replaced the water pump which had been replaced 15,000 prior. The next time they replaced the serpentine belt. This is the fourth belt on a car that had approximately 115,000 miles on it. Then they added Lucas Stabilizer Oil. Quiet for about a week. Then the noise was back again. I was told they don't know what the problem is.
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it is possible that the chain has broken but as to needing to replace the engine is a bit extreme
it is not listed as an intereference engine which means that the valves should / maynot be damaged
the crank shaft cog is not keyed to the crankshaft so if the pulley/ harmonic balancer was not to specified torque setting , the cog would spin on the shaft indicating a broken chain
there is a second chain that drives 2 balance shafts
the book has the same set up for a3 quattro 2.0l 2009-2012, A4 quattro 2.0 L 2009-2012 A5 quattro 2.0L 2010-2012, Q5 2.0 L 2011--2012 TT turbo 2.0L 2011-2012
engine identifications covered are CBFA--CCTA--CAEB--CETA
I would seek a second opinion from an accredited specialist shop that handles your make of vehicle as what you have been told seems a bit extreme
remember ,talk is cheap but to replace an engine when not necessary can be expensive
Look in area around the top radiator hose on the head/block and the sensor will be square in shape , probably red in colour and have a connection with 2 wires in it.. failing that see the service dealer or a shop that specialises in repairs your vehicle..
Any comparable car should work. Your car is a 98, so you would have to stick with Audi/VW cars that have the 30v V6 (98-01.5). The 97 and earlier years used an older 12v V6 and those aren't compatible. It's unlikely that the 1.8T models would work either. You'd have to look for A4, A6, and Passat cars in the model range I mentioned, and you may find that if you have a quattro model, your replacement would have to come from a quattro (Audi) or 4motion (VW) car as well. Try to find a donor car with your same drivetrain (30v V6, auto/stick - whichever you have, and 2wd/4wd, whichever you have).
To tell at a glance which engine is which, the 30v has black covers on the valve covers that say "5V" (for five valves per cylinder). The older 12v cars I believe actually say "12v" on them.
Depending on the period of time and intensity of the knock ? If it is a rapid short ,loud knock then disappears altogether you may be dealing with a cam chain tensioner that is loosing oil pressure when the car is standing. A loose cambelt tensioner can increase the noise .