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Problems to look for when buying

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Old 01-20-2014, 10:35 PM   #1
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Default Problems to look for when buying

I'm very seriously looking at getting an 04 to 06 A8 or A8L. I'm aware that these cars are maintenance intensive, and I'm prepared for that as an avid DIYer (I do everything from brakes to transmission rebuilds). I'm wondering what are some common problems with these cars, especially around the 100k mark? What are some things to check out before buying, or things to use when leveraging pricing?
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Old 01-21-2014, 04:15 AM   #2
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Well first off I'll start by saying the A8 is an excellent choice. While yes an 04-06 is a little older now I can honestly say unless i am getting a newer A8 or equivalent merc/bmw series there is not many cars that would have more to offer me than this car doesn't. Get ahold of someone with VCDS/VagCom and scan the car before you buy it, trust me everything will look great until you scan it and realize some sensors are wonky or the 5 billions little motors in the air vents are acting up.

As far as issues here are some common ones,

Air suspension goes bad after about ~10 years, each strut is 1800 to replace, the compressor is another 700, control valve block another 400. When one system fails if you don't fix it quick then its like dominoes and you will have to end up replacing a more parts than needed. This by far is the most common and costly problem with these cars.

The sunroof visor motor is known to make a grinding noise, not a deal breaker but its there.

The flip up screen uses plastic gears that are known to break easily be conscious of that.

The trunk motor tends to go bad quickly.

The clips on the coil packs are known to snap while changing the spark plugs, however there was a TSB or recall cant remember which.....anyways call up a dealer with the vin and they will let you know if it has been replaced or needs replacing as well as any other recalls.

At 100k the timing belt should have been done, if not it way overdo and needs to be done ASAP. this can be costly and generally the water pump and thermostat are done along with it.

When changing the oil there is a smaller coolant pipe that gets in the way and can be easily banged into, this causes it to crack towards the back of the engine causing a slow coolant leak. The O-ring in the oil cooler is also known to go out quickly which can be another source to a coolant leak. These are not deal breakers but should be noted.

I would only pick up an A8 if it has an almost full service history and is proven that it was taken care of. The engines and transmissions on these vehicles are damn near bullet proof and should last a long time as long as the rest of the vehicle is maintained.

If it looks like it was neglected even in the slightest pass on it. These cars take a lot of TLC to keep them in good running order and it will be an investment of time and money.

You should also be somewhat handy, if you cannot do an oil change then this car is not for you. 250 dollars for an oil change at the dealer on this car, do it yourself and it will still set you back ~$100. It is a quattro so you can't buy tires in pairs, you have to buy all four. which is roughly ~$1000. You get a puncture in one tire....there goes another 1000.

Spill soda in the MMI controls there's 2 grand, (cup holder is not great in this car).

Make sure every single little button works. Don't be fooled by dealers and know what options come of the vehicle. Parking sensors were an option on the 04, same with adaptive cruise control. The cold weather package, again, was an option.

There is a known "whoop" noise when switching from 3-4 and back down 4-3 with the transmission, it can be fixed with an expensive 2500 dollar transmission flush at the dealer. As far as I have read this is common and most people just live with it. Once you are at 100k or more miles it is best not to flush the tranny, only horror stories seems to come from that.

Yes this car is high to maintain, but it's a 100k dollar car that you are getting, depreciated yes, but the parts are full price. The parts you are buying are 100k dollar car parts, so expect that.

With all this in mind like I said it is an amazing vehicle, luxury everywhere, features every. Try to find another car under 30k that will give you more in a vehicle and not many will come to mind. While a lot of the things above are circumstantial and will be different from vehicle to vehicle and person to person it is a good generalization of the ownership of an A8.
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Old 01-21-2014, 04:22 AM   #3
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Oh yeah, front upper control arms and bushings as well, this car is heavy and they just chew through those like crazy. Squeaking over bumps due to them is normal though, a lot of people have tried to cure that with little success.
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Old 01-21-2014, 04:26 AM   #4
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Once you are at 100k or more miles it is best not to flush the tranny, only horror stories seems to come from that.
Is this right? Do you mean past 100K actually DON'T change the fluid, or just don't do a generic "flush"?
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Old 01-21-2014, 04:41 AM   #5
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it's recommended to just not change it at high mileage. There is a proper way of doing it but it takes about 3 full flushes with new filters. The issue is you flush it once, and if it has never been done before there will be a lot of deposits breaking down and clogging that filter, once clogged you get transmission trouble. So two to three flushes is generally what it takes to get to a point where there are very little deposits left and the filter is clean and can do it's job effectively. This of course is pricey and since Audi claims the fluid in there is lifetime and a change is never needed, its just best to leave it be if you are in high miles with it never being done before.
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Old 01-21-2014, 04:58 AM   #6
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Is this right? Do you mean past 100K actually DON'T change the fluid, or just don't do a generic "flush"?
I'm just guessing but I think he meant don't do a power flush. In my opinion it should never be done on any car, at any mileage, ever! A simple pull the plug and drain can never hurt your car. Last month I pulled the pan and did the filter too at 123k. Everything looked fine and knowing what I know now I would have just done the fluid only. There was almost no build up on the pan or magnets. I do feel better knowing it isn't full of metal shavings so I guess it was relatively cheap peace of mind. I do plan on draining the fluid again after 5,000 miles just to get more of it out. I think I had about 50% drain.
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Old 01-21-2014, 05:05 AM   #7
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Default A6 Audio/Bluetooth Problems

I bought a 2006 (56 plate) Audi A6 middle of last and everything was working great in it until recently. The phone was connecting perfectly to the MMI system but all of a sudden the phone no longer connected and the radio/cd keeps cutting out for a second or two every 30 seconds or so. Would anyone know the solution to this problem. I've called my local Audi Dealer who wants to bring it in and book it in to be checked over with a cost of 140.00 and then they could let me know what's wrong but if it is a new module it could be a couple of thousand pounds to be sorted. Any help greatly appreciated
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Old 01-21-2014, 05:52 AM   #8
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I bought a 2006 (56 plate) Audi A6 middle of last and everything was working great in it until recently. The phone was connecting perfectly to the MMI system but all of a sudden the phone no longer connected and the radio/cd keeps cutting out for a second or two every 30 seconds or so. Would anyone know the solution to this problem. I've called my local Audi Dealer who wants to bring it in and book it in to be checked over with a cost of 140.00 and then they could let me know what's wrong but if it is a new module it could be a couple of thousand pounds to be sorted. Any help greatly appreciated
I'd make a new thread in the A8 forum dedicated to your issue, might get more responses.
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Old 01-21-2014, 07:09 AM   #9
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Air suspension goes bad after about ~10 years, each strut is 1800 to replace, the compressor is another 700, control valve block another 400.
Your list of potential problems is good but you exaggerated here and there. Strut is $1500 new and $700 rebuilt. Compressor $400 new.

Quote:
The flip up screen uses plastic gears that are known to break easily be conscious of that.
Easy and cheap to fix.

Quote:
It is a quattro so you can't buy tires in pairs, you have to buy all four. which is roughly ~$1000. You get a puncture in one tire....there goes another 1000.
This part is not true at all. You can change and combine tires as much as you like. They just should be same nominal size.

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Spill soda in the MMI controls there's 2 grand, (cup holder is not great in this car).
New module is $500. Replacing takes 15 minutes if you do it first time.

Quote:
There is a known "whoop" noise when switching from 3-4 and back down 4-3 with the transmission, it can be fixed with an expensive 2500 dollar transmission flush at the dealer. As far as I have read this is common and most people just live with it. Once you are at 100k or more miles it is best not to flush the tranny, only horror stories seems to come from that.
Wrong again. It is easy fixable by just simple ATF change. 5-6 liters at $16 and no hoot at all. No need for a pan drop or filter at all. No deposits of any kind.

Part about 100K+ is just plain wrong.

Quote:
Yes this car is high to maintain, but it's a 100k dollar car that you are getting, depreciated yes, but the parts are full price. The parts you are buying are 100k dollar car parts, so expect that.
You are quite right here, but you forgot growing market of used parts. Nobody would use them on a $100K car, but on a $15K car why not.

At the end I can add electric/electronic gremlins, 2004/05 special. Most of them caused by a week contacts. Easy to fix if you can find it.
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Old 01-21-2014, 07:14 AM   #10
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I thought the hoot was fixed by switching to the new purple fluid instead of the gold which is more costly? Also, can you link the compressor at 400 new cheapest I could find was 700 and I need a new one :/
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Old 01-21-2014, 08:10 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by mishar View Post
Your list of potential problems is good but you exaggerated here and there. Strut is $1500 new and $700 rebuilt. Compressor $400 new.



Easy and cheap to fix.



This part is not true at all. You can change and combine tires as much as you like. They just should be same nominal size.



New module is $500. Replacing takes 15 minutes if you do it first time.



Wrong again. It is easy fixable by just simple ATF change. 5-6 liters at $16 and no hoot at all. No need for a pan drop or filter at all. No deposits of any kind.

Part about 100K+ is just plain wrong.



You are quite right here, but you forgot growing market of used parts. Nobody would use them on a $100K car, but on a $15K car why not.

At the end I can add electric/electronic gremlins, 2004/05 special. Most of them caused by a week contacts. Easy to fix if you can find it.
Agreed. Also, your "horror stories" of ATF flushes at higher mileage are just an old wive's tale. If you change the ATF and then your gearbox blows up, it was on its way out in the first place. If I bought one that was at 100k, and it hand't been changed, that'd be one of the first things I did, along with the diffs.

As Mishar pointed out, you don't need to bend over and give $2500 to the dealer for fresh ATF. Few hours of your time if you know what you're doing, and a few hundred bucks for fluid and filter.

Certainly be aware that upper control arm bushings are a major wear point on these cars, as they are grossly undersized. Many opt for urethane bushings, which last forever and feel great when driving, but will require frequent greasing to keep them quiet.

Mishar, did you ever get anywhere with the spherical bushing idea?
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Old 01-21-2014, 08:37 AM   #12
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Well I stand corrected

Still would like a link to that $400 new compressor though.
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Old 01-21-2014, 09:37 AM   #13
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Well I stand corrected

Still would like a link to that $400 new compressor though.
I've spotted rebuild kits for far less than that. It seems like most failures are worn piston ring, unglued motor magnet, or an overheat tripping something. I think I would get awfully creative before forking over that much cash.
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Old 01-21-2014, 09:44 AM   #14
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I appreciate all of the information. I'm leaning more and more towards the audi, as the common faults on my bimmer seem to include every component on the car, even with extensive dealer records. Every single suspension component seems to wear out every 75k, every single one (bushings, ball joints, struts, strut mounts, control arms, etc). Plus cooling system, timing chain nonsense, and transmission. At least the audi seems more reasonable. I'm figuring I'll have a vag-com for my mom's touareg before hunting for an Audi
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Old 01-21-2014, 09:47 AM   #15
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It sure is refreshing to see someone doing so much research before hand instead of thinking they 'got a deal' and crying later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RocketSurgeon View Post
I think I would get awfully creative before forking over that much cash.
That perspective combined with DIY skills, VCDS and the hive mind here will make you a happy owner
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Old 01-21-2014, 09:51 AM   #16
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It sure is refreshing to see someone doing so much research before hand instead of thinking they 'got a deal' and crying later.



That perspective combined with DIY skills, VCDS and the hive mind here will make you a happy owner
Very true.
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Old 01-21-2014, 10:00 AM   #17
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Default If you pick the right one... Don't have to do much... just enjoy

I got mine 06 A8L in March 2013, besides all the mods, the car hasn't given me any problems, yet... I haven't even changed the oil yet 14k miles already. Will do in the next few weeks. Doesn't even burn oil. Solid car.
Got all the parts, but the car still performs so well, hate to fix something that work... :-) Spark plugs, air filter, oil filter, oil extractor, rear brake pads...

Cheers,

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Old 01-21-2014, 11:00 AM   #18
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Here's another question. On my bimmer several things have gone bad that would leave me stranded like alternator, cooling system, transmission. I'm fine with fixing things as needed, as long as the car isn't constantly leaving me on the side of the road. Are the Audi issues usually the type that I can get myself back home to fix myself?
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Old 01-21-2014, 11:05 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by RocketSurgeon View Post
Here's another question. On my bimmer several things have gone bad that would leave me stranded like alternator, cooling system, transmission. I'm fine with fixing things as needed, as long as the car isn't constantly leaving me on the side of the road. Are the Audi issues usually the type that I can get myself back home to fix myself?
Let me guess 7 series? I'm an ex 745Li owner... I haven't read about anyone getting stuck, but I could have missed it.
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Old 01-21-2014, 01:21 PM   #20
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I'm just guessing but I think he meant don't do a power flush. In my opinion it should never be done on any car, at any mileage, ever! A simple pull the plug and drain can never hurt your car. Last month I pulled the pan and did the filter too at 123k. Everything looked fine and knowing what I know now I would have just done the fluid only. There was almost no build up on the pan or magnets. I do feel better knowing it isn't full of metal shavings so I guess it was relatively cheap peace of mind. I do plan on draining the fluid again after 5,000 miles just to get more of it out. I think I had about 50% drain.
Only way to do a power flush would be to make custom connection that would be hooked instead of ATF cooler.

I agree with you on that simple ATF change. Twice even better.
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Old 01-21-2014, 01:21 PM
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