[Biturbos4] Buying a 2000 S4

Brent Henry thehenrys at sympatico.ca
Sun Mar 5 12:27:46 EST 2006

Hi Keman,

Thank you very much for your detailed response, I will review it in detail
and discuss all of those items over with the mechanic this week.

Thanks again,
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Keman" <keman at interwolf.net>
To: "Brent Henry" <thehenrys at sympatico.ca>; <biturbos4 at www.audifans.com>
Sent: Sunday, March 05, 2006 10:26 AM
Subject: Re: [Biturbos4] Buying a 2000 S4

> Hi there Henry. Welcome to the biturbo s4 mailing list.
> i'm one of the lists resident (but somewhat dorment) ex audi techs, and I
> used to have an '01 S4 Avant. I would recommend you check the following:
> 100k issues or points of notice:
> timing belt (and water pump) .. if it's not done now, do it. While I've
> them go 130k, I would do them every 60-80k miles. If it does slip or
> you'll experience the pain of replacing a lot of intake valves on top of
> pulling the engine and turbos, as that's the only way to get the heads
> If noone can tell you if it's been done or not, peer at the belt by prying
> back the timing belt cover a few mm and look at the belt with a
> If it looks fresh and new and black, it's new. If it looks worn and old,
> well.. it's not.
> coolant: Right now it should be fresh and bright pink, not brownish or
> orangish. Don't base it off the coolant overflow bottle, as it will be
> somewhat discolored by now. But, those are only $28 at the dealer and I
> recommend replacing them as they come with a new cap, if/when you do the
> coolant flush. It's long life coolant, but 100k miles is a long time and
> that's when it should be flushed. The only drain is the block drain,
> between the trans and engine directly underneith looking straight up
> the bellhousing. It's an 8mm green hex key bolt, it will be very tight and
> need an 8mm hex driver and breaker bar, and needs a new O-ring (available
> the dealer) once removed. You need a vacuum coolant filler to put coolant
> into these engines properly, so either borrow one or pay the dealer to do
> this job for you.
> Coolant leaks: Inspect for any pink crustys. Particulary look into the V
> the engine from above once the middle engine dress cover is removed,
> in at a 45 degree angle through the small gap below the throttle body. If
> you see any pink in there, your afterrun pump or coolant hardline is
> leaking. Also look in back of the engine on the passenger side. Any pink
> crustys = leak.
> Battery: If it looks old and original, the cells probably need topping off
> with distilled water. It's a maintanence item but few actually know that
> it's supposed to be topped off regularly. Just twist each cell cover off
> there's a little MIN/MAX bar on each one.
> Diverter valves: While looking for coolant leaks, start the engine up and
> reach normal operating temperature. Put your hand on the two black
> looking valves, roughly 3" in diameter that point towards the throttle
> There will be small vacuum lines running to each. If you feel either
> "vibrating" or making fluttering or honking noises at idle, it might be
> shot. To look further, if you pinch off one of the vacuum lines with a
> of pliars and it goes away, that valve is shot. They die often,
> that don't break (they use a piston instead of a diaphram) are available
> a couple hundred bucks. Highly recommended as I ate through about 4 sets
> the updated TT ones by 96k miles. They decrease strain on the turbos when
> you lift off the throttle, so.. when they're dead, well... there's more
> strain = wear and tear.
> Oil leaks: Check the rear passenger and front drivers side of the V of the
> engine. Any wetness would be the legendary timing chain tensioner gaskets.
> They'll almost never leak so bad as to create a steady drip of oil, but
> will start to leak and get wetter and wetter, making some mess as mileage
> goes up. These can be spendy to have replaced, with dealers charging
> 8 hours of labor for both sides. If you've not done it before, I wouldn't
> try it yourself as you can drop tiny bits into the engine. I used to use a
> small magnet to catch them. Valve covers- these start getting wet at 100k
> miles. Loosening all the 10mm nuts that hold them on and then re-torquing
> 115 INCH/lbs working from the center nut outwards in a clockwise pattern,
> slowly but surely, they may stop leaking forever. Or you can just change
> them.
> Spark plugs: Even though they're double platinum the engine still eats
> like candy. Misfire codes are a telltail sign. I'd swap them every 25k
> if you like to get on it.
> Oil: 5W-40 synthetic is a good idea. 0W-40 German Castrol is nice too,
> works alright. Basically, anything synthetic is great for this engine, and
> non synthetic is bad. You can tell what it's had all it's life by looking
> the oil fill cap. Take it off and look inside. If it's shiny metal, it's
> synthetic all it's life. If it's crusty and caked and brown, it's not. The
> more gelatinous cake under the cap, the less synthetic oil it's seen in
> life.
> Interior: The dot matrix display is a common failure. New gauge clusters
> have bugfixed designs that don't drop dots or lines (usually) but fetch a
> high price, $750 or so (remanufactured, which is good cuz it's bugfixed).
> I'm a big fan of Stabilant 22 and CAIG's DeOxit D5, but I've not read of a
> success using it on this problem. It does resemble a connection type of
> problem between the display and the driver board, as mine used to drop a
> line but only when it was really cold out. The gauge cluster comes out
> without touching the rest of the dashboard, it's held in with a couple of
> torx screws accessable by popping the top steering wheel trim off. You'll
> have to reach in behind once the cluster is out a few inches and pop the
> spring-cam-lock connectors (all three) on the back kind of blind to get it
> all the way out.
> Speakers: If they rattle with bass, they're probably in need of
> The Bose Symphony audi system doesn't take kindly to aftermarket
> replacements (it ends up sounding like crap) and the factory replacements
> are around $90 each. In a sedan, the rear speakers are accessed from
> not below. Kind of a pain. The door panels are much easier to remove.
> Stereo: If it changes channels on you, it's posessed. They do that
> sometimes. If it stops working, it'll need replacement. They've gotten
> cheaper last I checked. < $200 at the dealer now for a reman if you
> your old one as the core.
> Rear diff: Sometimes the seals on the output shafts get a little wet.
> Wheel bearings: They'll be either freshly replaced, or needing it soon.
> like to abandon ship at 100k miles. But they do so rather gracefully,
> you 10-15k miles of warning with a steady increase in rattling noise.
> O2 sensors: These don't like to live forever. There are 4. The rear 2 are
> easy. The front 2 ... well. Only easy if you've done them before.
> Coolant temp sensor: These get flakey. They're easy, check out audiworld
> instructions. If the temp display is anything but in the middle at normal
> operating temps, the sensor is toast.
> Suspension arms: If it clunks over bumps, it'll need them. I recommend the
> VW Passat suspension arm kit from the dealer, it's 4 arms for the price of
> audi one, and it's the identical part in every way shape and form,
> the part #. These can be installed without an alignment of any sort.
> If well taken care of, 5k synthetic oil changes religiously, allowed to
> up (one notch up on the oil temp gauge) before you get into the boost
> can take an agonizingly long time], and cooled down (go slow the last
> of miles) when hot, the turbos will last 200k miles. If oil changes get
> skipped, you like to get into the boost while backing out of your driveway
> on wintery mornings, and you drive around in 100 degree heat like a madman
> and arrive at your destination and flick the key off and walk away
> immediately, the turbos won't make it to that point.
> There are failures unfortunately, and when they do fail it's talked about
> very vocally because the price is extreme: $4-5k to have them replaced.
> must be done by the pair. If you chip it, it's going to add another factor
> to this equation (heat) and make it more likely to fail (but not
> so with much care and dilligence).
> I liked to clean my climate control buttons if they got sticky with 70%
> isopropyl alcohol. I'd just spray it on and wipe it off with a cotton
> a minute later, padding gently to soak it up. Repeat until the button
> itself. Someone else mentioned just water, which works too but sometimes
> takes a bit too long to dry and also might not attack the dried out
> Coca-Cola sufficiently well.
> That about sums it up for my sunday morning. Hehehe. They're great cars, I
> miss mine still and I've got an '05 S4 Avant. I had mine for 96k miles
> before FOOLISHLY selling it in prestine condition.
> Oh and just for reference: The car should come with two transmitter key
> fobs, a valet key (it won't unlock the trunk), and a plastic thin wallet
> key. (4 keys total). The radio manual should have the security code
> in it. Don't let the dealer try to tell you that they can't do anything
> about those being missing- they can cut/make/reprogram them all with
> on hand and I wouldn't sign for the car unless they hand you all four.
> Remember: Be picky. It's an Audi. The engineers were picky, there's no
> reason why the customers can't be. :)
> Keman
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Brent Henry" <thehenrys at sympatico.ca>
> To: <biturbos4 at www.audifans.com>
> Sent: Saturday, March 04, 2006 7:35 PM
> Subject: [Biturbos4] Buying a 2000 S4
> >I have put a down payment on a 2000 S4 today.  It has 170,000kms (or just
> >over 100,000 miles), but appears to be in excellent condition... I gave
> >an extremely thorough review inside and out with a lengthy test drive.  I
> >have also scheduled an appointment at the local Audi dealer to run a
> >complete 300 point check on the car before I make my final decision.
> >
> > I would like to hear some feedback on what to look out for in these
> > with regard to electrical or mechanical weakness for cars with this much
> > mileage.
> >
> > The only things that I noticed wrong with the car, was that the
> > trip-computer display was a little scrambled (intermittent)...  I
> > that this could be cured with an application of Stabilant-22 contact
> > enhancer -- on all of the dash connections?  How easy is it to remove
> > dash?  Is there any procedures listed on the web somewhere?  The other
> > thing was that some of the Climate Control button movements were a
> > sticky... I suspect spilled coffee from a poorly placed in-dash cup
> > holder?
> >
> > Thanks for any feedback that you can provide.
> > Brent Henry.

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