[BiturboS4] S4 MAF's

Al Adler adlere at sourcecodecorp.com
Wed Nov 12 11:15:04 EST 2003

Adam Schwartz wrote:

> I dont know.. Its really hard to say from a few people who have had
> issues. My car has been pretty good. the problem with buying a used
> car, is that you have no idea how it was treated before you had had
> it. Was it an off lease car? Did the previous owner beat the snot out
> of it?

    I agree on the used front - you never know what you're getting. In
my case the car was dealer maintained at the recommended intervals - but
by a dealer that I wouldn't recommend to my worst enemy(HBL of Tyson's,
VA). Their service rep admitted to me they don't take the time to
actually fix things they find on cars under warranty unless the owner
knows about it and reports it - and how many owners look at their tie
rods and suspension up close until there are serious problems? The tie
rods on this car were a safety issue that the dealer should have found
and fixed, not let out because they were busy.
    Other than the dealer, I don't see any signs that the owner ever
tracked or modified the car, and since I'm modifying it I'm looking in
all those places. From what I can tell he didn't garage it or clean it
much though. From the condition of the wheels it look like he did a lot
of parallel parking, and not too well.
    My issue with the quality and reliability is fairly straight
forward. The MAF is an excellent example. We have a component here that
has no moving or wearing parts. In most cars they seem to last for
100k+, which makes sense in that if they're built properly they don' t
have any reason to fail. Yet the average for the 2000 S4 MAF seems to be
about 40k, which is ludicrous for a $250 part. From what I've read I
think this is a Hitachi part and they switched back to Bosch the next
year because of the problems. An ethical company would have recalled
these defective parts and put in ones that work for a more reasonable
period of time. Hell, these days some manufacturers will run spark plugs
for 100k; I don't think thats unreasonable to expect of a MAF. VAG seems
to be having a lot of quality problems with engine parts all around - at
least the S4's aren't part of the huge coil pack  recall. It seems they
don't test these things very well (or at all) during the development
    As for the engineering they seem to be designed to keep their parts
suppliers and dealerships in business. An good example here is the front
forward control arm. In order to replace it you have to remove the whole
shock and spring assembly to get at the bolt to remove the control arm.
To get the lower shock bolt out you have to pop the rear lower control
arm out of the hub, which is almost impossible to do with most tools
without  damaging the ball joint boot which would result in having to
replace another $200 control arm. If they had just put the lower shock
bolt in from the front of the car instead of from the rear you wouldn't
have to remove that lower control arm mount and risk the ball joint -
the engineer that made that decision should be shot. Furthermore the
quality and location of the upper ball joint boots seems to assure
regular control arm failure unless the car never sees road dirt. I know
it seems like a trivial example but it seems the whole car is put
together with that sort of attitude.
    As for Honda's I agree - my wife has a Pilot which puts me to sleep
or makes me carsick from the mushy suspension.  We've only had it a few
thousand miles so I can't speak to it reliability but it has an
excellent reputation. However something like the Accord V6 coupe or the
new Acura TL compares very favorably in specs with the S4 and I'm sure
wouldn't put me to sleep. I'd bet it wouldn't fall apart in many
expensive ways, either. I'm beginning to think that my dedication to VAG
products needs to be seriously rethought.

> And an S4 is a car that I think probably has a higher than average
> likelihood of being a car that the owner would push it hard.
> Lets see, The problems I have had..
> 1) I lost my MAF
> 2) A hose cracked on the washer pump so all the fluid leaked out
> 3) Lost my TBB - my car is chipped, this was a weak spot anyhow
> 4) Lost my DV - same as with the TBB, a weak spot
> 5) Lost a wheel bearing - too many power slides - I am sure it was my
> fault...
> All in all, not bad in almost 50k miles (my car has almost 70k - i
> bought it used.)
> A Honda WILL be more reliable. They are just really good at that...
> but they are no fun!
>> I'd have to say I have issues with Audi's quality as well. In the 3
>> months since I purchased this S4 that was 3 months out of warranty I've
>> discovered:
>> 1. The MAF that started this thread
>> 2.  2 shot front tie rods(I suspect they failed well before the warranty
>> expired; the dealer just didn't feel like fixing them)
>> 3.  2 shot front control arms
>> 4.  A broken tiptronic switch
>> 5.  A leaking center differential
>> 6.  A oil leak under boost around the right side of the engine
>> All of this from a car with 53k on the clock.  I could defintely see
>> buying Japanese next time; Audi seems to be taking quality lessons from
>> the UAW and engineering lessons from GM.
>> Al
>> Step88 wrote:
>>> Yeah, when I wrote "the only problems", I realized that it way
>>> understated
>>> my disappointment at the time.  Furthermore, the week in between the
>>> two
>>> problems was also when I found out that the company that I purchased my
>>> extended warranty from was going into receivorship and wouldn't
>>> reimburse
>>> me.  I wasn't too happy with the car for a while.
>>> Bob
>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>> From: "Russell Romano" <Russell_Romano at pmc-sierra.com>
>>> To: "BiturboS4" <biturbos4 at audifans.com>
>>> Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2003 4:56 PM
>>> Subject: RE: [BiturboS4] S4 MAF's
>>> Those are the ONLY problems in 1 year.  To me a MAF failure and a
>>> leaking
>>> ABS unit are not "minor" problems in a 3 year old car.
>>> Personally I've been pretty disgusted with Audi's overall
>>> reliability.  But,
>>> I love them enough that I bought another... but I wouldn't own it for a
>>> single day without a warranty :/
>>> I defend their reliability problems as being due to the complexity
>>> of the
>>> systems, but the more I hear about problems people are having the
>>> less I
>>> feel like it is unavoidable.  For the price of these cars they
>>> should be
>>> more reliable.
>>> -Russ
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Step88 [mailto:step88 at kc.rr.com]
>>> Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2003 5:46 PM
>>> To: Al Adler; BiturboS4
>>> Subject: Re: [BiturboS4] S4 MAF's
>>> The MAF went out in my 2000 at about 32k just a few months ago.  The
>>> check
>>> engine light came on when I was on vacation and at high altitude.
>>> Didn't
>>> know if the altitude had anything to do with it, but the car ran
>>> normal and
>>> the light eventually went off for a few days once I returned home.
>>> When it
>>> came back on again, I took it the the dealer and they diagnosed the MAF
>>> (alas, no VAG so I must rely on the dealer).  They replaced it with
>>> stock.
>>> Coincidentally, the very next week after getting the car back, the
>>> anti-lock
>>> brake unit started leaking and had to be replaced.  Expensive
>>> piece.  Those
>>> are the only problems that I've had in a year of ownership.
>>> Bob
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>>> BiturboS4 at audifans.com
>>> http://www.audifans.com/mailman/listinfo/biturbos4
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