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I've replaced motor and transmission mounts in my S3, to alleviate the thumping taking off in 1st gear. It's better, but still there. I've removed the driveshaft, thinking the bearing carrier is shot, but the rubber doesn't seem much different than a new one. The U-joints seem fine, there is no play and the action is smooth. This car sat unused for nearly 10 years before I got it. Is it possible that the guibo took a set and is the cause of this problem?
 

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I've removed the driveshaft, thinking the bearing carrier is shot, but the rubber doesn't seem much different than a new one. This car sat unused for nearly 10 years before I got it. Is it possible that the guibo took a set and is the cause of this problem?
I don't know if the rubber in a giubo can take a set with lack of use, but I do know that rubber will become hard with age. We know that the rubber in your giubo and bearing carrier is at least 10 years old - it's probably older. Usually when thumping is heard, the rubber is cracked, broken, losing chunks. Apparently yours looks OK visually, but I wonder if it is too hard to function properly. So if you want to experiment, you might try replacing the giubo and bearing carrier while you have things apart - admittedly I don't know that this will solve the problem.

Another possible cause for thumping is worn rubber in the "T arm" that secures the differential laterally. When those bushings fail the diff can move side-to-side and the driveshaft hits the tunnel. Still, if that were the cause, you would probably hear the noise while cornering, rather than while accelerting. Still, it might be worthwhile to push the rear of the car sideways, and observe if there is any movement relative to the back tires.
 
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