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Turbocharger replacement Audi A3

I’ve finally got around to replacing the Turbocharger in my Audi A3, and happy to report the performance is now back on my car, lots of turbo pulling again. Whilst this isn’t a full article, I’ve took some pictures and added some comments to help others who are contemplating doing this job.

It took me 17 hours to do over 2 days, because I didn’t know how to disassemble everything, and was doing it slowly. If you’re a competent mechanic however, it’s probably doable in around 5 or 6 hours I’d say. Half that with access to a lift. I recommend studying guides / manuals for advice before doing this job, make sure you have ALL the tools before hand. Finding out you don’t have one part way through will demoralise you. I was lucky I had a lot of spare sockets for the driveshaft

Please note this article relating to Turbocharger replacement is related to the BKD engine for the Audi A3 sportback (2007), it should also be compatible with the VW Golf MK5 BKD platform

Please look through this article, and feel free to ask questions. I’ll fill in where I can. Also read the hints at the bottom, they work in conjuction with the pictures below. Will help give you some pointers.

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Tools needed to replace the Audi A3 Turbocharger

Please note, this information is as much as I can remember about replacing the A3 turbocharger for the BKD engine. It’s not a guide, I’m writing these details to try and help others doing it themselves, although I have included a quick “Guide” on what you are required to do below to give you some hints

  • Vehicle Jack + Axle Stands (do not mess with your safety, use axle stands you’re going to be under a long time)
  • Spring hose pliers (MAF Sensor, Intake Pipe, Turbo Couplings)
  • Screwdrivers
    • Phillips (Air Filter box)
    • Flat (Spring clips on pipes)
  • Sockets (assorted sizes – see below)
    • 10mm (EGR cooler pipe, EGR feed pipe)
    • 12mm (Exhaust manifold, Turbo heatshield nuts – I think)
    • 13mm (Turbo support bracket, exhaust flex pipe)
    • 14mm (Banjo fitting turbo – Darkside) I think not 100% sure
    • 16mm (Turbo support bracket, lower control arm nuts)
    • 17mm or 18mm (Exhaust to Gearbox support) (Banjo fitting – Oil housing – Darkside) – I think not sure
    • 19mm (Oil sump plug)
    • 21mm (Wheel nuts)
    • 22mm or 24mm (Oil pressure sensor – I think it’s 24mm from memory)
    • 32mm (Oil filter housing)
    • 10mm Triple Square (Gearbox – Driveshaft, EGR Cooler Pipe
    • T20 Torx (air filter front of engine, wheel arch liner)
    • T30 Torx (Intake pipe, Turbo outlet pipe to intercooler, battery box, Oil return pipe (this may be an allen, can’t remember)
    • 24mm Multipoint (for Driveshaft) – This is the type of socket I used and it worked fine
    • 4mm or 5mm Allen Socket – (Releasing the clamp on the Turbo exhaust, oil return pipe)
  • Spanners (assorted – see below)
    • 10mm (Battery)
    • 17mm (I used two for the Turbo feed pipe – one to lock off the banjo, the other to turn the connector)
    • 22mm (Oil Return Pipe)
  • Pliers (for pinching clips)
  • Assorted tools (Universal joints, extension bars, etc)

The above list is everything I can remember that was needed, I may have missed some off, but recommend you have a good toolkit before you tackle this job. I use the Halfords 200 piece toolkit, and it had everything I needed bar the multipoint sockets

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QUICK DIY guide for replacing the Turbocharger on AUDI A3 BKD (No pictures sorry)

This is just a quick one from what I remember – I hope it helps you replace the turbocharger on your car. I’m sorry if it’s not fully detailed, because I’m writing this from memory. As a note, as long as you make sure you disconnect all the air pipes, I “think” you should be able to remove the Turbo and leave them in place (less to remove then).

ADDITIONAL COMMENT : If I get around to it, I’ll create a video pointing out the areas related to this “guide”.

UPDATE, now added

  1. Drain engine oil (Shouldn’t be needed as oil should drain back to pan). A fluid change doing turbo probably worth it
  2. Disconnect battery and remove it and the housing
  3. Disconnect air intake system (front –> charge pipe)
  4. Disconnect top charge pipe (2 x T30 – one at rear, the other from underneath)
  5. Undo the oil pressure sensor plug, and remove (24mm IIRC)
  6. Lock off the pipe and undo the oil feed pipe (17mm), it has a 10mm nut holding it on too. Replacement of this pipe is RECOMMENDED, they’re prone to twisting and blocking easily. The darkside pipe is cheaper than OEM
  7. Remove wheel arch liner (T20 I think), and pull the small plug round thing holding in place
  8. Remove the charge pipe lower (2 x T30), disconnect the clamps at turbo (they’re spring clips)
  9. Use hose clamp pliers for all the spring clamps on the Turbo
  10. Loosen wheel nuts (21mm), and driveshaft socket (24mm), jack up car, loosen control arm nuts (16mm)
  11. Remove the driveshaft (6 x M10 Triple Square)
  12. Remove the oil return pipe (Allen / Torx and 22mm spanner)
  13. Disconnect turbo support bracket (13mm / 16mm)
  14. Disconnect the exhaust support bracket (17/18mm?)
  15. Disconnect the rear exhaust supports (behind the steering rack (2 x 13mm)
  16. Remove the heatshield from the exhaust (feel around for it – 2 x nuts) – 12mm I think
  17. Remove the EGR pipe on top of the turbo (2 x 10mm, or 2 x 12mm)
  18. Remove the exhaust manifold nuts (8 x 12mm)
  19. Disconnect the turbo from the exhaust (4 or 5mm allen screw) – You may need to chisel it apart with screwdriver
  20. Remove the turbocharger between the steering rack and oil pan (it will come out, you may have to rotate it). I didn’t bother removing the oil feed pipe, it was awkward. I just fiddled it out from between the rack and engine
  21. The new turbo just goes straight in, go slowly and turn / rotate as needed. It fits very easily if you take your time. I can’t stress this bit enough, there is PLENTY of room for it to fit. Whilst there’s room to probably rotate it, I fitted mine with the exhaust manifold going in sideways iirc. As long as you have the driveshaft out, just take your time and slowly guide it up and rotate as needed. You don’t need to dismantle the turbo one bit
  22. Replace all gaskets (EGR, Exhaust, Exhaust manifold, Oil Return)
  23. Reassemble all, make sure all unions tight
  24. Fill with engine oil, idle for 5 mins, turn off engine and recheck
  25. Recalibrate the steering system (Full lock Left, Right, Centre + Drive), then you should be good.

After this your system and Turbocharger should be completely done. Hope this helps

Browse eBay to buy rebuild kits, new CHRA cores, new Turbos, or Turbo parts [ AFFILIATE LINK – OPENS IN NEW WINDOW ]

Pictures speak a thousand words

Sorry for the dimensions, of these pictures, some are from my phone, some from my Digicam

Screw organisation for Automotive repairs
Find a way to organise your screws
Pre-filling turbo charger oil inlet
Don’t forget to do this, rotate the turbo whilst filling until it comes out
Car jacked up to be repaired
Tools galore, my 200 piece toolkit, bucket of sockets and assorted
Oil inlet brimmed off
When turbocharger oil inlet reaches this level, you’re good
The cause of the boost leak / black smoke on my Audi A3
Split intercooler charge pipe
Turbocharger replacement in Audi A3
Finished turbocharger replacement. I used a new silicone hose for the vacuum pipe to make it more visible
Motul Specific engine oil
Good brand of engine oil required
Oil sensor holder vw
Oil level sensor holder, remove this so you don’t cut your hands and arms. It just clips in. Just refit after repairing
Old turbocharger and new turbocharger
Old vs New GT1749V turbocharger for Audi A3 BKD
Audi A3 Turbocharger Oil Return pipe
Oil return pipe and “Banjo”, the pipe is £75 at VW, cheaper at Darkside Developments
Oil return pipe gasket
Use a new gasket for the Oil return pipe
The cause of the oil spray on my intercooler
Split hose, black smoke, overfuelling, oil spray in engine bay
Check for oil leaks
Always check for oil leaks
EGR leaky
Leaky EGR as you can see. I need to remove and replace all gaskets
View from undercar of Turbocharger
Turbocharger up angle
Charge pipe T30 Torx Audi A3
Charge pipes on Audi A3
Oil Spray from Split intercooler hose
Intercooler hose was split from the Turbo passing oil and overboosting, it covered my engine bay, resulting in black smoke, performance issues and “misfire” feeling
Turbocharger pipe cover
Turbocharger with pipe cover
Exhaust gasket, turbo removed Audi A3
This is the view with Turbo removed, the middle 2 screws are a nightmare to fit with the EGR pipe fitted
Parts transferred over on Turbo
Turbocharger parts transfer
Easier access to control arm nuts
Find an easier way to lower the control arm
Lowering control arms with ease
My method I figured out for holding down the control arm to position the driveshaft and nuts


Handy tips for replacing BKD turbocharger in the Audi A3

  • When refitting the Turbo fit the EGR cooler pipes AFTER (it gives access to two nuts – I had to use a 1/4″ Ratchet)
  • Remove the little metal piece on the steering rack mount that holds the cable for the oil sensor, it will stop you scratching your hands
  • Pre-fill the turbocharger (CRITICALLY IMPORTANT – not doing this can cause the Turbo to fail) – DON’T SKIP THIS STEP; my turbo did seem to be prefilled already, but it’s not worth the hassle relying on it. All the guides I find recommended prefilling until oil runs out the top so I did this. You know it has it then. Also when pre-filling, you’re meant to turn the compressor blade (counter clockwise btw)
  • Loosen the driveshaft nut with the wheels on the floor if your impact gun sucks
  • Find a way to organise screws (freezer bags, food bags, etc) – Make life easier to identify
  • Remove the driveshaft, I’d say it’s impossible to get the Turbo replaced with it in
  • Wear safety glasses, the amount of crap that falls in your ears and eyes is annoying
  • The turbo clamp may be a tight fit after removing the nut, may need to chisel it loose using screwdriver
  • Using a pry bar and locking into the tie rod / drop link you can hold it down, makes it easier to move hub
  • Consider a magnetic tray underneath things when removing nuts, I lost a gasket and nuts because they fell
  • Consider a pillow for your neck, it will ache if you don’t support it.
  • Consider buying some copper washers / spare washers (if you’re using the Darkside Oil Kit), I lost one when fitting, had a spare. Also the Turbocharger mounting bracket was off centre slightly for me, so I increased it’s width with a washer to mount it again
  • Remember to transfer parts, you will need to transfer hose clip on old turbo, and oulet pipe from old turbo
  • The recommended time is to leave engine running for 5 mins and check for leaks, if OK, you should be good
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How much did this all cost to replace the BKD turbo on my Audi A3?

  1. Turbo (£630), Oil Return Pipe (£57), Braided Oil Line (£60)
  2. Engine Oil (£48.29), Oil Filter (£4.58), Sump Plug (£3.75) – Delivery fees / VAT ! – (£17.32) – From Opieoils

TOTAL : £823.94

These are the “essential” items I’d recommend buying if you’re doing the same route as me. I actually spent approx £150 more buying various connectors, hoses, etc. Some I used, some I didn’t. Maybe budget an extra £100 for necessary items. I’d also recommend making sure you have a supply of nuts, gaskets, etc. As you will need to replace all the gaskets you use.

The Darkside kit comes with Exhaust Manifold Gasket, EGR Gasket, Oil Return Gasket, Exhaust Gasket

Don’t bother buying parts from Audi / VW if you have to. They’re expensive. The Oil Return pipe is £75, and doesn’t come with the Gasket, the Banjo fitting, or new screws. These are all seperate. The Banjo fitting is ~£20 iirc, and they’re also special order, and the Screws / Gasket would be ~£10. I purchased the OEM pipe from Darkside, and it came with screws and gasket. I bought a replacement Banjo fitting seperately, but ended up never using it. I retained the old one.

I also didn’t buy the Turbo feed pipe from VW because it’s no doubt in the region of £80 or £90, plus whenever I use the Darkside kit, it’s resuable through the design. The VW pipe twists constantly and you need a new one each time. The Darkside kit has banjo fittings, and cheaper. Plus it also uses copper washers which can be replaced easily. If it’s good enough for their tuned cars, it’s good enough for my 140HP car.

As a note, if you want to purchase a Banjo Fitting (Part number N90916501 – 7A in this Diagram), you will either need to order directly from Audi / VW or search an alternative. I managed to find what looked like an alternative part number on Deutscheparts so purchased it as a chance as it was only £7.78. I never fitted it, but kept it as a backup if needed

As a note it’s sizes are A12XM18X1,5 which also fitted Forklift trucks, so you may be able to find one through suppliers here.


What else is left?

From driving I noticed two things

  • The Turbo feels like it’s pulling hard from around 2500rpm. I’m assuming the Turbo is configured correctly as it was built my Garrett themselves, but I’ll need to log with VCDS to check this. Been a while so can’t remember how the cars drive and at what RPM they’re meant to kick in. Worst case I need to adjust the actuator rod, but I feel it’s working correctly. It could also be the pipework I’ve introduced. Either way, it drives.
  • My car is still making black smoke on boost. Although I believe this is more down to old oil in the pipes / exhaust being cleared out when I drive. Eventually it will disappear. Also my EGR / Intake manifold need cleaning which doesn’t exactly help this. So when I get new gaskets I’ll be cleaing out the EGR and intake pipes a bit better. Seems fine now, air filter wasn’t tight, and probably clearing out old oil in pipes from previous failure, a good horsing cleared out the engine. Also my EGR readiness is now “passed”, it used to be always Incomplete. I believe in order for it to pass, it has to be fully WOT in the gears 3rd or 4th
  • Gaskets, I need to replace them on the EGR system. I dropped one, and only had 1 spare. They’re fiddly as hell. They’re just little weekend jobs though. I’ll be using a magnetic tray when doing this.
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