I've been a long time admirer of Audi sedans, and finally decided to move away from my usual 2-door world (Nissan 350Z, Ford Mustang, Porsche 944, Corvette) into a sedan, so I picked up an '01 A8L yesterday. It's different being in a big car after so many years...but I'm sure the kids will enjoy the leg room for once
The one I picked up is in good condition; but I do have some things to do to it before I'm happy (new stereo, good detail job--I'll be doing that this weekend, etc).
Stupid question to get me started...there is no floorboard (carpet or anything) underneath the floor mats. I'm assuming this is not how these cars are made...any idea why they would have cut out. I couldn't figure out why the hell they're like that...but at least it's "clean." Thoughts?
Also, I've read very mixed reviews about the reliability of these cars. So, what's the general consensus here, should I expect to be spending a lot of time working on her, or will the driving-to-garage time ratio be a happy one?
Reliability largely depends on you. If you're not the type to get your hands dirty, and go the extra mile to care for your car, like a parent loving a young child, they can be costly. Most of the problems people have in these cars are electrical things, and the transmission. The motor (the 4.2) is by and large one of the best motors Audi has ever made.
The weak point on the car is the transmission. So, for best reliability, every 50k or so, I'd drop the pan, and change the ATF if it's in good condition. If it's in bad condition (metal, burnt, etc), I'd flush it and run the best ATF you can through it to squeeze life out of the thing.
Hmm.. So yea, my car has 288k on it, it's on its second transmission, and the motor uses oil, but I bought the car with the intention of replacing both.
You might comment to where you're from. If you're in GA (GA cook), then your car may have been a flood car, and the carpet was removed due to mold.
I'm in Arizona, so don't think there's been any flood issues with the car
I beat my kids to keep them in line, so you're saying be abusive to the car? (just kidding on both accounts )
I do most of my own work, so I'll save some pennies there (for instance, my Z just had a recall on the fuel line...dealership wanted to do $3k worth of other minor jobs, that I did myself for under $300--I hate dealerships!). I have read the tranny can have issues. Hopefully, my car was treated well previously...it's had 3 owners before me. It's got 125k on the odometer, so I'll replace the ATF within the next week or 2, along with the oil.
FWIW, my wife drove the car home yesterday (we live about an hour from the dealer, and she can't drive a stick), and when we got home, she tried to claim the car as her own, lol.
Floor mats - these cars use a multi carpet philosophy in their main carpet (like old cars used to do before moulded one piece carpets), so what you think are mats may in fact be the carpet!
How you tell on the front mats is to look at the holding clips near the seats. If the floor studs go straight through the mat clips (ie: the clips have a hole through the middle like a washer or donut), then that's the actual carpet.
Floor mats have a cap on the clip which finishes the floor stud off and covers it quite nicely.
Mats with the correct factory clip/cap are quite readily available aftermarket, or if you want to pay heaps you can go to the dealer!
The "exposed" floor under the carpet is correct.
Reliability wise, like rowingdude said the only real weak point is the tranny (and there's lots of debate as to why and what fails).
The engine is very good, but not perfect.
Oil leaks around the valve covers are common (easy fix with new gaskets).
As is a coolant leak around the oil cooler (it fails externally - so no oil contamination - due to a plastic pipe which ages and fails. Metal aftermarket replacements run about $30 (plus an oil seal kit from Audi), but its a bitch of a job!)
Lately a failing cam adjuster fault has started to appear, which initially sounds like sticky lifters.
About the only other thing to watch out for is the fuel pump. They don't fail unduly early, but the replacement job can be epic!
2001 Audi S8 - Solar Sunroof, heated front and rear seats (just what you need in Australia!) Tinted side and rear glass, RNS-D, XCarLink, Bose, clunky old phone in arm rest!
Sold: 1997 Audi A4 Quattro - 5spd man "Hamilton's Club Sport" - will miss the old girl!
Last edited by twentysevenlitres; 04-21-2014 at 03:53 AM.