[Biturbos4] Extended Warranty Buy

Keman keman at interwolf.net
Wed Jan 7 20:01:50 EST 2004

So what is the highest mileage S4 on this list?

I just ticked off 78000 tonight. No warranty unfortunately.

My rear view mirror suffered a very rare failure recently .. some of the
self dimming area became non-active .. no longer dimming. I replaced it with
an '03 unit that had a compass. Piece of cake to install, true plug and
play. Got it off ebay but now wish I'd held out for an '04 unit. The compass
has a more blended in appearance with the mirror on 04's.

When I first started pricing out replacement mirrors, you can bet I suddenly
wished I had a warranty left .. they are definitely useful for these cars,
as a few random things are likely to fail before 100k miles. Nothing

Here's what I project based on historical evidence:

Cam chain tensioners starting to leak oil. Very small leak, back of pass.
head and in front of drivers side head. 90% probability by 80k miles. Parts
price: $10. Labor: $600 for both. Can a do-it-yourselfer fix this? Not
without the help of someone who has done it before. Possibility of damage
due to mistakes? Severe. Long method involves removing the camshafts. Quick
method involves risking droping tiny critical pieces of metal into engine.
Any time I want some easy warranty pay I just look here. These things ALL
leak. On the 4 cylinder engines, the 2.8's, the 2.7's. But it's a slow leak.
Starts out -very- minor ... and gradually gets worse with time.

Valve cover gaskets. Slight leak. 75% probability by 70k. Parts price: $40.
Labor: $180 for both. DIY? Definitely. Easy. Possibility of damage due to
mistakes? Well. don't drop anything in there. It's a long way down to the
oilpan through a lot of small holes.

Evap Purge Solenoid Valve. 60% probability of failure by 90k miles. Parts
price: under $100. DIY? Easy. You can't screw this one up.

Battery. 100% probability of failure within 4 years if it's made by MOLL.
Some of this is because almost noone checks their electrolyte level and tops
it off appropriately with distilled water. The rest is because it's a piece
of junk battery. Mine had shorted cells recently and I kissed it goodbye.
Luckily our battery tray has provisions for several different sizes of
batteries via different hold-downs. Ask your dealer about upsizing or
downsizing your battery. I took a battery that was 10 lbs lighter but had
the same output capacity. The stock size is very hard to get. Audi does not
use MOLL any longer.

Primary O2 sensor failure. 50% probability of failure by 100k miles. Parts
price: $360 or $44, depending on if you use exact or near exact
replacements. DIY? Moderate. Labor: $350 for both. Possibility of damage due
to mistakes? Unlikely.

HVAC Blower motor bearing failure. 60% probability before 80k miles. Parts
price: $80 or free if you just lube the bearing. Labor: $40. DIY?
Definitely. Possibility of damage? Only if you get the flamethrower out.

Automatic transmission output shaft seal. 80% probability of failure by 90k
miles. Parts price: $45. Labor: $250. DIY? Easy if you have access to a
lift. PITA if you gotta do it crawling under the car. Possibility of damage
due to mistakes? Not much.

Bypass valves. Yes. Use the new ones from VW and they likely will not fail.

That's the bad news. Here's the good news. Things fail on a bell curve when
they are designed properly but manufactured improperly (ie: with defects).
That is to say.. if it's defective, it will be prominant quickly, usually
before your warranty runs out. After that period, you see a very low rate of
failure until physical wear MTBF end of lifes the part. Then there is a high
rate of failures.

Oil pan gasket: never seen one leaking on a 2.7.
Manual transmission output shaft seal: never seen one leaking.
Manual transmission mechanical failure: after you hit 75k miles
successfully, they last a LONG long time. 200k - 300k miles.
Turbocharger mechanical failure: same as above.
Engine mechanical failure: same as above
Air Conditioning failure: same as above.

So the REAL expensive things .. stuff that sends our cars to the wrecker
because it just isn't cost effective to fix.. show a good value of german
engineering. It's definitely designed well.

Just my .02

- Keman

>> Bob Stephenson
>> 2000 S4 (36,000 miles and out of warranty)

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