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A8 / S8 (D2 Platform) Discussion Discussion forum for the D2 Audi A8 and S8 produced from 1994-2002

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Old 01-30-2014, 06:43 AM   #1
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Default Purchasing a used A8L.. Help me out!

Hello All! I'm new to the forums. I'm looking into purchasing a 2003 A8L. It has 138,000 miles, appears to be mostly dealer maintained according to carfax, clean title, and is pretty nice inside. One of the xenon headlights has yellowed and needs to be replaced, could use some new tires, brakes, but mechanically appears pretty sound. I've read about some transmission issues on these, is that something I should be worried about? Anything in particular I should keep an eye for/be looking at replacing soon? Any input/help would be appreciated!
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Old 01-30-2014, 10:07 AM   #2
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First of all, welcome. The D2 is a very well built car, but of course it has its quirks.

Definitely plan on a transmission rebuild at some point and plan on spending at least $4k. Will it happen at 140k miles or 180k miles? No one knows. Search for any evidence of a fluid change in its past. Most will suggest doing that every 30k-60k miles. I did my first trans oil change at 72k thereabouts.

Also, check out:

http://www.audipages.com/usedA8.html
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Old 02-10-2014, 06:08 AM   #3
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Hello, the '03 is a good choice. Check for evidence of timing belt service. As for the transmission I replaced mine at 120k miles. If you are planing on keeping the car a replacement of the tranny should be budgeted.

Good luck.
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Old 03-03-2014, 12:59 PM   #4
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Not to hijack this thread, but

"Plan on a trans rebuild"?

Are they that bad?

I put on about 40k miles a year. All highway of course. Looking at a 99 with 162KM on it (I'm in Canada) . The major service (timing belt), brakes, tie rod ends, control arms all replaced at about 148km with rec'ts from the Audi dealer.

I need the car to last me 120k more miles, then it can explode all it wants. I cannot justify a $4000 job on a car this old with this many miles considering its only a $4000 car.


I think you just talked me out of an A8. (Well, Audi all together. Was looking at allroad as well and transmission horror stories and crazy maintenance turned me off those too)


What are the failure points on these trannies? Other than changing fluid frequently, any other tips to increasing the service life?
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Old 03-03-2014, 01:48 PM   #5
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Gorfllub,

I know what you mean with regards to a point of diminished return - you'll have to make that call, but IMHO if your prospective A8 is pretty clean and in otherwise good condition it may still be worth it.

I can't speak for the tranny - I did my own fair amount of research, read a lot of gripes about most everything on the car, but I really think those are the exceptions and not the norm. With the mileage the one you are considering has (~100K miles), provided it has been taken care of, it should last a long time. FWIW, I hope to take mine to over 200K (over 300K kilometers) if possible - it such a great car.

Sure, I've fixed a number if minor things on mine, which I would not consider abnormal given it's age. One thing I don't read much about is the motor, they seem to be pretty solid (although I'm thinking I'll have to replace my cam chain adjusters at some point in the future). When I hit 100K I plan on servicing the tranny along with the timing belt, so we'll see how the fluid it then (it was done when I bought it at 70K miles).

One last thought - I can't think of a much better ride to put a lot of miles on than an A8 - it's the king of the highway.

My $0.02 (USD

Eric
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Old 03-03-2014, 01:52 PM   #6
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Mine's been pretty trouble free for the 5 years I've owned it. I'll trade a rebuild at some point in the future to never have a car payment. Nothing drives quite like an 8 series Audi.

It's not guaranteed the transmission will go bad either, but it's likely on a higher mileage one (possibly more likely if never serviced). I believe my DIY savings to date will more than cover the cost of a fresh transmission. That's the way I see it.

With a rebuild in mind, what are the superior options for $8k? Toyota Camry??? No offense meant whatsoever, but I'm just wondering what could have more bang for the buck. My S8 was $78.5k new (and Audi lost $ on every S8 built) and still drives like it cost that.

Last edited by S8ilver; 03-03-2014 at 01:54 PM.
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Old 03-03-2014, 04:30 PM   #7
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For $8k there is actually a lot available that would suit my needs. I have owned a little of everything over the years and nothing has made me as nervous as audi. (Ok well maybe the 750il. Sold that quick after I heard of major failures and expensive maintenance. It was an unbelievable deal though.)

Alternates in this $4k (awd luxury) budget would be lesser cars, but more likely to not need $5000 in maintenance over 2 years would be things like:

Mercedes ml / e class. I haven't seen awd s class in that price range yet.

Infiniti qx4


I have an ml now for the wife. I see them for sale with 500,000 km on then still running. I don't see many audi over 300 km.

The Infiniti drive train is good forever however the truck rusts to pieces long before that.

I have never had an audi and the a8 hits all the points except maintenance/repair costs.

If I can get 3 years and bring the car to 300 km without spending more than about $1500 in maintenance/repairs I would be happy. (Not including oil changes, tires )




Quote:
Originally Posted by S8ilver View Post
Mine's been pretty trouble free for the 5 years I've owned it. I'll trade a rebuild at some point in the future to never have a car payment. Nothing drives quite like an 8 series Audi.

It's not guaranteed the transmission will go bad either, but it's likely on a higher mileage one (possibly more likely if never serviced). I believe my DIY savings to date will more than cover the cost of a fresh transmission. That's the way I see it.

With a rebuild in mind, what are the superior options for $8k? Toyota Camry??? No offense meant whatsoever, but I'm just wondering what could have more bang for the buck. My S8 was $78.5k new (and Audi lost $ on every S8 built) and still drives like it cost that.
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Old 03-04-2014, 05:36 AM   #8
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I try not to worry about what could happen. I've spent less maintaining my S8 than I have keeping my old Bronco running. Of course there will be extremes on both ends, and if I didn't do the majority of my own work, I wouldn't own a D2. $500/year? Perhaps, but that sure is cheap isn't it? Keep in mind you're still maintaining a +$50,000 car. Just because it cost 1/10 of that to buy it these days, doesn't mean it requires less $ to run it.

I'll agree with the older MB options (as far as a quality product), if you go the non air/hydraulic suspension routes. Comparing the D2 to two SUVs is hardly a comparison. Drive what you like, like what you drive. To each their own my friend.

YOLO
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Old 03-04-2014, 06:59 AM   #9
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I agree the SUV's are in a different category, but EVERYTHING is a different category to the A8. An S8 would have a little more reason to fix up a trans, but I would hope that by the time this A8 needs a $4000 trans job, I can pick up another (newer / D3) one for $4K again.

There just isnt much in a luxury brand that is a large sedan or wagon with AWD for that price. 7 series AWD? S Class AWD? Not on my current budget.

Sure lots of Subaru Legacy's but that's not quite in that Lux category. I only spend about $500 a year right now on the ML and on my Alpina when I was driving it daily. (Tires, Fluids not included)

But I do a lot of my own stuff too. I just wouldnt be doing a transmission R&R nor am I interested in that timing belt job. I like jobs that I can do in under 2 hours or that are not critical to vehicle operation. (The ML's all have door lock motor problems. Although its a bit of a pain, I don't "have" to fix a lock motor.

I just got a maintenance invoice from the PO.

$5K for a ton of stuff. Granted one item was a windshield which I dont count as maintenance. That was in 2012 and the car has only gone about 15,000km since all that work.

Scary stuff!
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Old 03-04-2014, 09:16 AM   #10
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Like everyone says it take some big ***** to own one of these cars! That's why you mainly see a bunch of dentists and old farts driving them $$$$$$ - you gotta have a good private mechanic, money for a tranny rebuilt and know its quirks or don't come to the party! But if you do you'll see why we love these cars. This was a $70k car so multiply the maintenance by 4x compared to a 20k Camry. You can also be lucky and get one that will just run ....

Just know what you are getting into I looked at the receipts for my car in 2006 when I got it for $12k - probably $10k's worth on a car with 130k on the clock .... yikes but she's been not too bad and yes I had to put in a tranny but insurance paid for that If they didn't she'd be in knackers yard in 2009.
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Old 03-04-2014, 09:16 AM
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