[Biturbos4] Buying a 2000 S4

Brent Henry thehenrys at sympatico.ca
Tue Mar 7 23:10:21 EST 2006

Hi Folks,

Well, consider me a full-fledged member now!  The mechanics check was good
and we purchased the car!

Here's an overview of the mechanical review:
- There was no record from either dealer that the previous owner (one-owner)
ever did the timing belt.  However, the Rick (master mechanic at Agincourt)
used a very cool tool (a long magnifying glass tube with a light inside) to
look at the condition of the timing belt, which looked in good condition.
Although, it is not about to rip apart, it is time to do the belt.  I will
be setting something up with my local wrench to get that job done
(apparently quite a big procedure).

- Using that same magnifying glass tube (apparently worth $5K), we peered
into the V of the engine and could clearly see no coolant leaks.

- Battery tested out good.

- Rick tested the diverter valve... all good.  However, he explained that
this valve is used for a slightly different purpose then what Keman
described (although similar).  He said that it is used to reduce turbo lag.
In the condition when you let off on the gas-pedal suddenly, an increased
amount of boost pressure is built-up between the turbo and the intake
manifold.  This diverter valve takes that extra pressure and "diverts" it
back into the turbo's.  This will keep their speed up and thus when called
upon (when you hit the gas again), they will be spinning ready to go!

- No oil leaks.

- Spark plugs looked good.

- Seems like synthetic oil has been used primarily, no brown colouration
inside the oil fill cap.

- Center Dash dot matrix display is toast... looking for a replacement...
does anyone have one... cheap?

- Speakers are all good, put ear up against each one, no rattles... my wife
had her own way to test them... Bon Jovi at 100 decibels!!!

- Stereo, all functions working including CD Changer.

- Rear diff showed no signs of being wet.

- Wheel bearings do not have any noise, but I forgot to ask if they were
originals or not :-(

- O2 sensors had intermittent failures in the VAG code dump.  Cleared codes,
will monitor on my VAG-COM.

- Temp gauge starts at left and warms up to the center position.

- Suspension feels smooth, no clunks over bumps.  All rubber bits look good.

- Rick's thoughts on turbo's were that these early  models had some turbo's
that had manufacturing flaws, and would come apart prematurely even if they
were not driven hard (although driving them hard would shorten that
duration).  He said that the turbo's appeared to be original and in good
operating condition, probably good for another 100K.  We tested the turbo
boost with a portable VAG 1552 and saw it around 1650 mBar.  He also said
that if the car was chipped, it would go above 1800.

- No valet key.

It did not require anything at all for the Safety Certification and the
Emissions test was done by the used-car dealer that I bought it from (they
are good for a year).  So it's certified and already on the road!!!  And
what a blast to drive!  Love it already, my wife is overwhelmed with joy!!!
I think we did good :-).

Thanks again to everyone that helped,

----- 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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