[Biturbos4] Turbos Reliability & Replacement Cost (was: 2000 S4 Running Hot)

Grant gfl1 at optonline.net
Tue Aug 30 21:09:59 EDT 2005

Wow did we kick up a storm.  I get back from Boston to 60 messages :-)


1.) I'd assume that on average well maintained turbos go 120-150k 
miles, not 55.  That's a fluke.
2.) I have never replaced an audi clutch. My last two cars went > 200k 
before I sold them.
3.) ergo, you are being way too conservative/paranoid.

As to your deeper question re 03 vs 04 turbos: spool up time is the 
only answer.  but its obviously a trade off you make.

On Aug 30, 2005, at 10:57 AM, Quincy Chiang wrote:

> Hi Grant, JY and all,
> This has been an interesting and informative discussion.  From what 
> I've read and heard on these list and AW forums, it seems like luck 
> has more to do with the turbos failing than anything else.  Obviously 
> chipping kills them a lot sooner, and people they have chipped their 
> 2.7t should realize that, but even non-chipped car are not safe from 
> it either.  Someone on this list 2 weeks ago (sorry I forgot who) had 
> his turbos bit the dust at the tender age of 52k miles, and he 
> supposedly followed all the usual procedures like proper warmup, 
> cooldown and uses synthetic oil, and his car wasn't chipped.
> So we've established how and why the turbos fail (ok maybe not, it 
> still seems more like a black art), my next question is how many 
> owners are actually willing to shell out $7500 Cdn ($6000 USD) to 
> replace those pesky K03s when they meet their maker?
> Based on the above and maybe one other recent failure cases (both cars 
> not chipped), lets say the turbos die at somewhere around 55,000 miles 
> (~88,500km), right now I'm more than half way there, and I expect to 
> get there within 3 years.  At that mileage, I'd definitely have the 
> timing belt job done while the engine's out, and perhaps replace the 
> clutch as well, so that'd bring the total to nearly $10,000 Cdn ($8000 
> USD).  But here's the kicker, why would you put in K03s and you can 
> get K04s for just a little more money?  It makes sense from the 
> reliability perspective, and I'm not one to refuse some extra power.  
> But once you do that, it quickly snowballs into other things to get a 
> decent stage 3- setup, like K03 chip/software, higher fuel pressure 
> regulator, MBC, exhaust and maybe downpipes.  Then you'll need some 
> custom tuning with a VAG-COM, which can be fun and/or frustrating at 
> the same time.
> The thing is that once the turbos die, you now must replace them just 
> to get the car running, otherwise the car's worthless, can't even sell 
> it.  And once you've committed to turbo swap (either straight K03s or 
> a stage 3- setup), you better keep the car for a long long time to 
> recoup the cost.
> So now with all that in perspective, how many here thinks they have no 
> problem going down this road in say 2-3 years?  Personally I'm having 
> a tough time justifying this potentially hugh expense, especically 
> when I expect to get my own place in a year's time.  I'd like to hear 
> your opinions and comments.
> Quincy
> '01.5 S4 - keep or sell?
> '90 CoupeQ - not going anywhere
> '05 MCS - sitting at the dealer's lot calling my name...
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Grant <gfl1 at optonline.net>
> Date: Tuesday, August 30, 2005 4:00 am
> Subject: Re: [Biturbos4] 2000 S4 Running Hot
>> This is probably very good info, but nothing is that clear-cut.
>> ALL turbos are delicate and fail.  S4 engine bays run hot.  Oil
>> cokes
>> at turbo temperatures.  QED.
>> Its not only the early ones, although I do understand that the oil
>> feed/drain plumbing was undersized and thus jy is (to the best of
>> my
>> limited knowledge, I dont have the statistics - no one does)
>> largely
>> correct.
>> Grant
>> On Aug 29, 2005, at 11:41 PM, j y wrote:
>>> R,
>>> I mentioned in my msg to you last night - ONLY THE EARLY S4s
>> (like
>>> mine) had the risk of catastrophic turbo failure. It had NOTHING
>> to do
>>> with the TYPE OF OIL USED - It had to do with a POOR turbo
>> design (the
>>> oil inlets and ducts were too small thus restricting oil flow
>> and its
>>> cooling ability) that was corrected in the MY 01.5 (2001.5) S4s.
>> So,
>>> early S4s that experienced catastrophic turbo failure under, or
>> just
>>> beyond the warranty period, were given UPGRADED (K03)
>> replacements by
>>> AOA.
>> should be
>>> on the side of the driver door. The build date on my S4 was
>> 11/99. It
>>> was sold as a MY 2000 S4. I CLEARLY own an EARLY S4. There is no
>> need
>>> for you to purchase K04s unless you plan to siginificantly
>> modify the
>>> power, like I said in my msg to you. I hope this helps clear
>> things up
>>> for you.
>>> r harout <carrera3_2 at yahoo.com> wrote:
>>>> so let me ask a question (nervoulsy)
>>>> How likely is it that I was have catastrophic turbo
>>>> failure if the car has only run with regular oil--but
>>>> chnaged frequently?
>>>> Inevitable? What are the signs? I will use Mobil 1
>>>> moving forward, but the owners before me did not.
>>>> Maybe I should order the K04s now so I get them in
>>>> time for failure!
>>>> --- Grant wrote:
>>>>> Agreed. Cool is actually not good. The only
>>>>> regular failures I know
>>>>> of are turbo-related failures in which the oil
>>>>> coked. Coking takes
>>>>> place WAY above 200deg. If you find differently,
>>>>> please contact the
>>>>> steel industry - they want your technology badly.
>>>>> As to "how hot"?
>>>>> the flash point for mobil1 is >400deg (F).
>>>>> Admittedly, the hot underhood temperatures
>>>>> contribute to this, but I'm
>>>>> nto sure how much it improves things to extract the
>>>>> heat to the
>>>>> radiator, which then blows the heat through the
>>>>> engine bay, which .....
>>>>> So who's had a turbo failure that ran synthetic,
>>>>> cooled down after hard
>>>>> runs, and warmed up in the cold?
>>>>> Anyone?
>>>>> And who's had a ring job under ANY circumstances.
>>>>> Anyone?
>>>>> Grant
>>>>> On Aug 29, 2005, at 2:53 PM, costco wrote:
>>>>>> A lot of research has been performed with regards
>>>>> to cylinder wear vs.
>>>>>> coolant temperature in the 70's and 80's amongst
>>>>> the automakers.
>>>>>> 192 degrees F is actually optimal in most engines.
>>>>> More or less is
>>>>>> application specific. I would never put a 160
>>>>> degree thermostat into an
>>>>>> engine that prior had a 180 degree thermostat. In
>>>>> many EFI systems that
>>>>>> alone could cause the engine to run in open-loop
>>>>> "warm up" mode,
>>>>>> running
>>>>>> excessively rich and ignoring the oxygen sensors
>>>>> for short and long
>>>>>> term
>>>>>> fuel maps.
>>>>>> I know the biturbos run 'hot' but IMO effort would
>>>>> be better spent
>>>>>> finding
>>>>>> a way to get more hot air out of the engine bay
>>>>> than trying to get the
>>>>>> thermostat to open earlier. The biturbo RS4 has an
>>>>> extended bellypan
>>>>>> that
>>>>>> covers some of the transmission-- this bellypan
>>>>> section is obtainable
>>>>>> from
>>>>>> the dealer for around $120. It wouldn't take much
>>>>> to get it to bolt up
>>>>>> behind the stock bellypan, and I would definitely
>>>>> give it a try as I
>>>>>> wanted to before getting rid of my B5. I never got
>>>>> around to doing it.
>>>>>> The low pressure area there will probably greatly
>>>>> help pull air through
>>>>>> behind the front tires.
>>>>>> If you have a little more money to toss around I'd
>>>>> consider
>>>>>> retrofitting
>>>>>> the RS4 oil cooler into the system.
>>>>>> Next I'd eliminate the foglights, elongate the
>>>>> slits in the front
>>>>>> wheelwells to promote more air through the
>>>>> intercoolers, and replace
>>>>>> some
>>>>>> of the front lower center grill area with
>>>>> something freer flowing yet
>>>>>> would still provide some protection from rocks
>>>>> hitting the a/c
>>>>>> condenser.
>>>>>> - Keman
>>>>>> On Mon, 29 Aug 2005, Greg Amy wrote:
>>>>>>> efficient. After all, we're not talking about
>>>>> mid-60's
>>>>>>> muscle cars here; these things run fine on 180F
>>>>>>> thermostats.
>>>>>>> GregA
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