The 32 things right and wrong with your Audi or VW 3.2l V6

This thread will dig down on the 3.2 and help remove myths and BS from people who never owned the cars to first hand experience from those that do.

lets get started.

Recently a few friends and I started to realize that you can get very cheap 3.2L V6 Audi/VW’s. Looking for a good DD and wanting a good platform we started looking deeper into what is really going on. Turns out there seems to be a goldmine waiting for all of us

Lets start with this. The 3.2L is a bit of a sleeper when put in the A5 Q5 and A6. They’re quite detuned when you start to look at them. Just like every NA motor from Audi and VW you just need to know where to go. Who to look for and what’s available.

Tune wise there is a TON of power stored and waiting to be unlocked. Stock the cars are detuned like many Audis to keep them in their place. But Tuned see this CustomCode tuned A5 - My 2008 A5 3.2L project

Bottom line here is you can have a decent 13 second… or faster … Family car… That’s faster than a tuned 2.0T and you’re in line…ish with the 3.0T supercharged stock unit… The NA motor is Tq on demand decent respectable Tq too. More than a tune 2.0T and that’s saying something.

So the 3.2 is worth the buy with real jump in Tq and good fuel mileage available let talk about why the 32 things that need to be fixed are TOTALLY worth fixing.

What really is wrong with your 3.2 and why it’s nothing you should be scared of and why it’s totally the work. I’ll get to the things that are wrong but lets start first with what’s right.

THE WHAT’S RIGHT - The what’s wrong will be the second post.

1 The motor has a strong history and you’ll see many with high mileage.
2 While stock it’s held back quite a bit. There is a nice chunk of Tq and Hp to be unlocked with a tune.
3 The power band even stock is not bad. The power band tuned is actually very impressive.
4 The Audi Valve lift system is part of the untapped power ability.
5 In almost all configurations the motor is easy to work on and things are easy to get to.
6 it’s equipped with the duel stage oil pump control
7 the timing system on the motor now has roller chain drives
8 We got the 3.2l here in the US Eu got the 2.8l both upgrades from the last gen
9 The block is light weight aluminum.
10 The conrods are made from cracked C70 steel.
11 The high-quality steel (C38) forged steel crankshaft is mounted on four bearings
12 New conrods were designed specially for the 3.2l engine.
13 The crankcase ventilation system was redesigned From previous years
14 Aluminium cylinder head
15 Four-valve technology
16 Valve actuation via roller cam followers
17 Intake valve: solid-stem valve,
18 Exhaust valve: chrome-plated solid-stem valve
19 Steel spring retainer
20 Variable intake camshaft timing
21 Variable exhaust camshaft timing
22 oil cooler
23 Variable intake manifold design
24 3rd gen stage HPFP system
25 FSI injection
26 Wide ban primary 02 sensors for better fuel mileage and control
27 better sensor placement for more ability to log and gather data
28 usable high stage cats. This means the cats don’t suck like previous years
29 The OEM exhaust manifolds don’t do the mixed stream flow. They have their own runner
30 The cats are not integrated into the manifold
31 you can use both extraction or drain methods to change the oil
32 The motor requires a reasonable maintenance schedule for plugs oil etc.

Over all it seems the 3.2 is more misunderstood than anything. It’s actually one of the more sleeper motors but it’s so complicated many have been shy to jump on it. While in it’s full stock trim it has a bit to be desired once you get the power unlocked it’s something to enjoy.



Not sure the bad is the correct phrase you would want to use but just like anything else if you don’t know what you need to do to keep the motor happy you’ll run into some issues down the line.

I’ll get to the list in a min. But lets be honest a few of the issues if you search the internet just for fun you’ll find some crazy worrisome blogs or thoughts. Apparently none of these people have ever owned an Audi. From the first days of the 1.8T EVERYONE knew you needed to get the timing belt and tensioner replaced. Most of the time you though in the water pump just for good measure.

This Motor just like the motors after it ALL need either tensioners or guides or both. It’s kinda been an Audi thing from the year 1999 till the B8 A4 in 2013 that still had bad tensioners. So this isn’t a new thing. But we can dig down deeper lets get to the list and start off with the knowns.

1 Timing chain replacement
2 Timing tensioners
3 Timing guides
4 Spark plug replacements at 9k
5 Coil packs need to be replaced.
6 The PCV needs to be monitored and replaced
7 Valve cover gaskets are weak and need to be replaced every few years
8 plastic hoses get weak over time
9 need to replace the fuel filter
10 oil is used for the adjustments so change at 5k
11 Carbon in the intake tract
12 carbon on the valves
13 carbon build up in the combustion chamber
14 carbon damage on the injectors
15 injectors need to be serviced every 75k
16 the motor mounts tend to fail at about 100k
17 The Tq converter tends to fail about 100k
18 SAI system runs too long
19 Long warm up cycles that cost MPG
20 The valve lift system take away too much power
21 untuned the power band isn’t smooth
22 The Tq converter can fail even if you don’t tow alot
23 lots of the other seals are going to need to be replaced.
24 Without being tuned the motor lacks the sporty feel
25 The air box gives no motor noise back to enjoy
26 without maintenance the motor will burn oil
27 motor produces a LOT of heat
28 the plastic fittings can become brittle
29 The transmission is lame without a tune
30 The crank pulley can fail
31 The oil separator system actual consumes oil
32 it’s not a V8 LOL… But the with effort supporting mods and a tune it can feel like one.

The bottom line here is that nothing here is any different than all of the other Audis for the same years. The 2.0T has these issues and you’re going to be looking at a nightmare if you have the 4.2 V8 that motor was great (still have one) But way more of a dumpster fire .

In the next posts I’ll get into a deeper dive into both the Good and bad more in-depth.

Ton of wonderful information in these posts. Thanks Justin for the wonderful posts.