Mysterious driveline noise - Audi A5 Forum & Audi S5 Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 20th March 2019, 04:57 AM Thread Starter
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Mysterious driveline noise

So, I have a little problem. A mysterious “wubba wubba” noise coming from somewhere in the front driveline. In fact, there have been several noises, each masking the others. Have managed to track down some of the problems, but this last one is causing both my mechanic and I much head scratching.
Some background: the car (a RHD 2012 2.0l S Line Quattro with 74k kilometres on the clock) was making a faint but growing “wubba wubba” kind of noise from what seemed to be somewhere behind the driver’s side footwell. “Aha”, I thought, “that sounds like a wheel bearing starting to expire”. Which is a bit rubbish - wheel bearings starting to go with 46k miles under the belt seemed a bit soon. Still, the car was due some new tyres, so I thought I’d see how it was after the replacement rubber was fitted.
Post new rubber and full alignment, the “wubba wubba” went to “WUBBA WUBBA” immediately. So, off to the local mechanic for a new wheel bearing.
A quick aside: the local mechanic (and my new best friend!), a guy by the name of Clint Reeder of Motorpro, is a genuine gem. I’d almost given up hope of finding a proper spanner man, knowledgeable on all things Audi, out in regional Victoria, until I found Clint right here, in Ballarat (and only a pleasant 3k stroll away from my place, which is even better). Can’t recommend the guy and his team highly enough.
Replacing one wheel bearing revealed that the other bearing was also on the way out. Yep, shoulda replaced both at the same time, but why would I follow my own advice - always replace wheel bearings, shocks and suspension bushes in pairs - on such things?
Problem solved, right? Err, no. While the noise was vastly diminished, it was still there. Not noticeable when the car is cold, as soon as a little heat gets into the system... wubba wubba. I scratch my head. Clint scratches his head. A “Eureka!” moment (Clint’s, I might add. I was still at the scratching-my-head stage) - it must be the roller bearing on the flanged shaft from the diff to the inner cv joint. Pull down drive shaft, remove flanged shaft, and... Bugger! The roller bearing is fine, feeling as fresh as if it came off the assembly line yesterday.
And that’s kinda where things are at right now. Noise is most noticeable in the 50 - 80kph range, and doesn’t appear until there’s a bit of heat in the system. It may also be present at higher speeds, but unibody construction, all-aluminium suspension and the (in)famous A5 tyre noise makes it hard to tell. There is some small associated vibration seemingly directly under the left foot rest in the footwell, though I wouldn’t swear that was related. Transmission service has been done (not exactly at the 60k mark - ahem - but done), and there’s been no obvious front end issues (certainly while the car has been in my care) that would point to any problem.
So, anybody got any bright ideas, thoughts or suggestions as to possible cause?
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post #2 of 28 Old 20th March 2019, 05:14 AM
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Sorry to be facetious Julian- but isn't 'Wubba Wubba' in Queensland?!
However, as far as the noise goes unfortunately I'm none the wiser- unless it could be one of the undertrays coming loose & starting to flap.. but hopefully someone on here can crack this one..
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post #3 of 28 Old 20th March 2019, 05:49 AM Thread Starter
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I think you mean Wagga Wagga (pronounced as Wogga Wogga for some bizarre reason) in New South Wales. Though, equally bizarre, there’s a Wubba World near Stamford in Connecticut, USA. I don’t want to think about what goes on there!
That’s a nope on the loose shields theory. We checked that (as much out of desperation as anything else), and there’s nothing loose or flapping about.
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post #4 of 28 Old 20th March 2019, 05:54 AM
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Have you checked all the fluid levels in the drive line? There are 4 places to check, gearbox, front diff, centre diff, rear diff.

My Dad had a car that started doing a very similar noise at around 40k miles, then it went in for a service and it disappeared. The car went on to do 215k miles!! On the same clutch!!
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post #5 of 28 Old 20th March 2019, 06:01 AM Thread Starter
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Hmm. I know the gearbox level is good. The diffs... no idea. Certainly worth checking, especially the front one. Thanks for the thought.

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post #6 of 28 Old 20th March 2019, 06:20 AM
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Hmm. I know the gearbox level is good. The diffs... no idea. Certainly worth checking, especially the front one. Thanks for the thought.
In theory the level shouldn't drop as the oil can't be burnt off like in the engine, but the car is 7 years old now and oil mist may get past the seals!? Who knows.

When I changed my diff oils, I did notice that I didn't get the specified amount out, but when filling up to the level plug, I'm sure I put more in! So maybe the level had dropped?

The oil wasn't particularly dirty, slightly browner than new clean oil. But I have changed the rear diff oil on a 5 year old BMW with 50K miles and that was low and brown and dirty!! Might depend on climate and how it's driven!?

The front diff is a pain to get at. It has a tiny Allen key plug up behind the steering rack on the driver's side (RHD car). From memory I think you may have to take the cross brace off too, but when I did mine I was changing the oil and filter in the gearbox, so removed gearbox mounts, cross brace etc. The diff is offset to driver's side (RHD car). Hopefully it is something simple like this!

The only Quattro issue the B8 chassis had was the driveshaft flange wearing an oval hole and becoming sloppy. But this was rectified around 2008. There are chassis numbers to confirm, but around this year. Other than that, it's pretty solid!
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post #7 of 28 Old 20th March 2019, 12:35 PM Thread Starter
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Well, of course getting to the front diff is a challenge! Why make access to such a minor and insignificant mechanism easy and straightforward? Sheesh..... Even with the obstacles, it’s probably still worth checking.
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post #8 of 28 Old 20th March 2019, 01:33 PM
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Whitta....turn up the stereo in till you trade it what with all the extra money you are making as a privateer.

Failing that and I am not suggesting you don't know your arse from your elbow acoustically... But cousin wubba has visited one audi, one ford , one mazda and one volvo in our historic fleet and its always been feathered rear tyres, inner edges, which creates uneven blocks of treads. Cause... Rear wheel alignment.

I know you said the noise was from the front but you are upside down so you may be disoriented.....?
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post #9 of 28 Old 20th March 2019, 03:44 PM Thread Starter
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Turning up the stereo does have its advantages, Racks. It’s certainly a damn sight cheaper than playing this tiresome “hunt the noise” game. Discounted the worn tyres and alignment as the car got brand spanking new rubber and a full alignment (front and rear) done a whole 70 klicks ago, so we’re reasonably confident that’s not the problem.

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post #10 of 28 Old 20th March 2019, 08:21 PM
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JW, you did not mention changing all of the wheel bearings. To my understanding, you just replaced the front pair and the 'Wubba-wubba' sound diminished but is still there. I suspect that the rear ones are worn down as well.
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We’re pretty sure the noise is coming from the front driveline, Plat. Still, we haven’t checked the rear wheel bearings and, given the way the A5 transmits noise, it’s certainly worth doing. Thanks for the suggestion.
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post #12 of 28 Old 20th March 2019, 11:32 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by julianwhitta View Post
Turning up the stereo does have its advantages, Racks. It’s certainly a damn sight cheaper than playing this tiresome “hunt the noise” game. Discounted the worn tyres and alignment as the car got brand spanking new rubber and a full alignment (front and rear) done a whole 70 klicks ago, so we’re reasonably confident that’s not the problem.
Yes, well, I thought the rear alignment had been done, but I’ve just been going over the report from the tyre people and can’t find any mention of rear wheel alignment data, so maybe not. I’ll call them in the morning and ask the question. In the meantime, I’ll add it to the list of possibles. Thanks, Racks.
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post #13 of 28 Old 21st March 2019, 06:39 AM
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We’re pretty sure the noise is coming from the front driveline, Plat. Still, we haven’t checked the rear wheel bearings and, given the way the A5 transmits noise, it’s certainly worth doing. Thanks for the suggestion.
There is one other possibility for the 'wubba-wubba' noise and that is caused by badly worn tires due to bad wheel alignment or suspension parts. But, most 'wubba-wubba' like noises within a speed range are caused by bad wheel bearings. I am placing my bet on the rear wheel bearings.

Good luck hunting down this illusive and deceptive 'wubba-wubba'!
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post #14 of 28 Old 22nd March 2019, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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Here’s a thought. Is it possible that one of the roller bearing outer races (there’s one either side of the diff) has gone off? I was staring vacantly at an exploded diagram of the front diff in the service manual when it occurred to me that one of the two races might be the culprit.
Another possibility is that the lash in the diff, itself, may need adjusting, though I wouldn’t have thought it would make that kind of noise if it was out. More likely the traditional “hum in the bum”.
In related news, I’ve finally had a chance to get some decent mileage on the car with a run to Melbourne yesterday. That’s allowed me to firm up observations on symptoms.
1. Brother Wubba makes his appearance most overtly at between 50 and 80kph, with the “sweet spot” (for certain values of “sweet”) at 60-65.
2. Transmitted road noise and tyre roar make it too difficult to determine how noisy whatever it is is above 80kph.
3. The noise is most obvious under load and going uphill.
4. There’s almost nothing on overrun or coasting.
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post #15 of 28 Old 26th March 2019, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
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Fresh off the presses in today’s Wubba News Update:
Rear wheel bearings have been pulled and... are absolutely fine, damn it! Rear end alignment was NOT done, which oversight has now been rectified. No change to the “wubba wubba”, but, hey - the rear end now tracks properly (not that it was out by much).
While the rear alignment was being done, all the wheels were double-checked for ovality, and the new tyres were checked for any sign of manufacturing fault - out of round, belt damage or misalignment. Everything is straight and round. Rear wheels were swapped for front wheels. All of which cost money but, apart from burning cash, produced no improvement. @&#* it!
It’s now increasingly likely that the culprit is one or the other of the roller bearing races either side of the front diff. Once the Sturaco FM that @Dave Kwatro sent has arrived, we’ll drain and pull the diff to check. The centre and rear diffs will also get some FM love while we’re at it.
Stay tuned for more exciting and high-powered news from Wubba News!
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JW, thanks for the update! Seems I lost that bet on the rear wheel bearings being the culprit.

I am interested to find out if it is indeed the roller bearing races on either side of the front diff.
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post #17 of 28 Old 27th March 2019, 03:35 AM Thread Starter
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You and me, both, plat. Wanna bet that, if it is these bearings, they’re eye-wateringly expensive?
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You and me, both, plat. Wanna bet that, if it is these bearings, they’re eye-wateringly expensive?
The labour to do it might be another eye-watering expense!


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post #19 of 28 Old 27th March 2019, 07:17 AM
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Hopefully the bearings can be changed without removing the gearbox!?

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post #20 of 28 Old 27th March 2019, 04:53 PM Thread Starter
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Okay, this is starting to get weird. Took Herself to the airport today (a 90k trip) and discovered that, travelling two-up, the noise is LESS obvious! At the crucial 60-65kph “sweet spot” there’s less than half as much noise with the SO in the passenger seat as without.
As a temporary fix, this isn’t bad, although the SO’s availability and work commitments mean that I’ll mostly be travelling with a 70kg sack of potatoes in the passenger seat...
Anyway, this latest bit of data really is a bit odd. Anyone got any theories?
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post #21 of 28 Old 28th March 2019, 02:52 AM
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if one woman halves the noise its pretty obvious that two women will stop the noise entirely ( or you wont be able to hear it over their chatter)


so with the SO on a plane sod the sack of spuds....sisters.....

or lesbians....

or lesbian sisters.....

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anyway, problem fixed.

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post #22 of 28 Old 28th March 2019, 03:00 AM
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Ha ha

On a serious note as with some weight in the car, the suspension will be slightly lower! Have to check on a ramp as you need the suspension at the normal height when driving.

Things to look at;
Wheel arch linings
Tyre rubbing
Suspension component
Pipe/wires close to wheel
CV joints as these will be at slight different angle. I have seen CV boot tie's clamp hitting suspension components

Hopefully checking the above will negate the need for a sack of spuds!
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post #23 of 28 Old 28th March 2019, 03:15 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you, Racks! I find your solution to my dilemma both elegant and outrageous. So, of course, I’m all for it! However, the mechanics of implementation may result in the SO surgically removing certain parts of me with a rusty butter knife and no anaesthetic. The resultant and very unmanly shrieking would, come to think of it, also drown out the wubba wubba sound, so there’s that much going for it.
Thank you, Dave. Your suggestions, while rather more prosaic than that of the redoubtable Rackingman, may point to possible solutions that do NOT involve rusty butter knives, anaesthetic-free surgery or unmanly shrieking. Mind you, if the mechanic’s bills keep ratcheting up, there may be a little unmanly sobbing. In any event, I’ll add these to the list for checking when the car goes up on the hoist next.
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post #24 of 28 Old 16th May 2019, 12:40 AM Thread Starter
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So, here we are, nearly two months down the track. Has my “wubba wubba” noise gone away? Yeah, kinda. After eliminating every other possibility (well, almost - see below), we’ve arrived at the unhappy and hideously expensive prospect of duff outer races one side or the other of the front diff.
Short of actually pulling the diff out to inspect it, which involves dropping out the whole gearbox (the hideously expensive bit), we can’t be 100% certain that’s the source of the noise. However, as the application of Dave’s special FM sauce seems to have quietened things off remarkably (thanks, again, Dave - the Sturaco really is pretty amazing stuff), the outer bearings are where the bets are going.
There’s one last thing to do before it all gets expensive, and that’s to replace the carrier bearing on the end of the connecting shaft to the offside driveshaft. When we inspected it, it moved freely, but this wouldn’t be the first time that a bearing problem only showed up under load, so the little sucker is coming out.
Stay tuned for more riveting updates.
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post #25 of 28 Old 16th May 2019, 05:13 AM
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Great the Sturaco does indeed work!

Not so great you little Wubba wubba hasn't completely gone!

So yes, if the diff oil+FM has quietened it down, then it most be something on the inside.

Not sure how this bearing got worn, as there are no known issues with the Quattro drive line, except early ones where the flange could wear abnormally.
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post #26 of 28 Old 16th May 2019, 05:41 AM Thread Starter
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It’s got me foxed, too. Pretty much one of the toughest parts of the car, so you’d expect it to remain trouble-free. Though, to be fair, I am the veteran of THREE broken Salisbury diffs on me old dad’s MkV Jag, so I’ve got form!
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2012 (fl) A5 Coupe 2.0 TFSI Quattro S-line, Lava Grey
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post #27 of 28 Old 16th May 2019, 12:29 PM
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Not at work....

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Sober since 1st January 2016......unfortunately it is now clear to me how fucked up our world is. It's enough to turn a man to drink.....
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post #28 of 28 Old 16th May 2019, 12:45 PM
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Racks solution looks and sounds better as well as possibly less expensive than yours Julian. And if and when her indoors arrives with the rusty knife, at least you can go to meet your maker with a silly smile on yer face..........so who cares???

I guess you also need to eat at Macdonalds to increase yer body weight to reduce the noise.
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Simon
Silver 2008 A5 coupe.
3.2 V6 FSI 2WD auto S line.
19" Y spokes with Pirelli P-Zeros.
178,000km. Full leather interior.
Cobra GPS tracker system.
Wheels refurbished in gunmetal grey, bodywork polished, badges removed. Set of Brembo discs and pads fitted and calipers repainted silver. New carbon mirror covers. Replaced all 4 shocks. Fitted dipstick.

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