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Engine Builders: The AERA Technical Committee reports information regarding cracked valve spring retainers on 1999-2002 Audi/Volkswagen 1.8L turbo AEB and ATC engines. This information is an update to a previously published bulletin as some information has changed.

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It had been reported that exhaust valve retainers have cracked while in service allowing valve keys to unlock a valve while the engine is running. This, of course, causes catastrophic engine damage. It appears this condition may be the result of a product failure as revised retainers are currently available from Audi/ Volkswagen. To date, it has only been exhaust locations that have been affected.

Fortunately at the time, parts identification from a previous and revised retainer was possible through visual inspection. Previously manufactured parts had a portion of the part number 058641B embossed on top of the exhaust retainer as shown in Figure 1, right. At that time, manufactured components did NOT have any numbering on top of the retainer and were available with p/n 058109641B.

Important update: The above information has changed as of early April 2005. It has been reported that the engine manufacturer removed all defective components from dealer inventories and has replaced the defective components with reliable ones. That process, however, may have shortcomings. The part number did not change and the number is again embossed on the retainer top. So, it may still be difficult to determine reliability of used exhaust retainers.


Some engine builders report that it is a good practice to replace all of the exhaust retainers with numbering embossed on the top any time the cylinder head is removed. Some shops also report making visual inspections of possibly affected engines any time the vehicle is in for service work.

Engine Builders: The AERA Technical Committee offers the following information regarding the cylinder head installation for 2002-2005 Subaru 2.0L DOHC EJ20DT engines. This information is somewhat unique and should be referenced any time a cylinder head is re-installed.

This engine requires pre-stressing the cylinder head gasket and then a relaxing procedure when installing the cylinder head. Failure to follow the following procedure (Figure 2,) may result in premature head gasket failure.

Apply a coat of clean engine oil to washers and bolt threads.

  1. Torque all bolts to 22 ft.lbs. (29 Nm, 3.0 kgf-m) in alphabetical sequence.

  2. Torque all bolts to 51 ft.lbs. (69 Nm, 7.0 kgf-m) in alphabetical sequence.

  3. Loosen all bolts in reverse alphabetical sequence 180°.

  4. Loosen all bolts, yet one more time in reverse alphabetical sequence 180°.

  5. Torque all bolts 29 ft.lbs. (39 Nm, 4.0 kgf-m).

  6. Tighten all bolts 80-90° of rotation in alphabetical sequence.

  7. Tighten all bolts 40° to 45° of rotation in alphabetical sequence.
    Caution: Do not tighten the bolts more than 40-45°.

  8. Further tighten only bolts A and B 40° to 45° of rotation in alphabetical sequence.

For information on receiving all of AERA’s regular monthly technical bulletins and other association services and benefits, call toll free 888-326-2372 or send an e-mail to [email protected] AERA’s Web site is

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