"german transaxle" pricing (type $$ a/t)-long

Aleksander Mierzwa alexaudi at kki.net.pl
Wed Sep 20 16:58:56 EDT 2000

At 04:56 00-09-20 -0700, William Magliocco wrote:

>Yes, the transmission portion is $595...but that is
>_without_ differential.  Add another $1000 for the
>diff and you get $1600.  Add another $400 _minimum_
>for R&R labor and you are now at $2000.

Your calculations are correct provided _both_ the slushbox and the diff are
in need of replacement. While the slushboxes fail frequently, the diff is a
very sturdy unit as long as it is filled with hypoid not the ATF. That's
why I always bring the regular maintenance issue. The number one reason for
failing transmissions on type 44 is hypoid oil and ATF mixing because of
seal failure. If you check both your ATF and diff fluid frequently, you'll
usually see that the fluids are starting to mix before it causes any
damage. If one needs to replace the diff on the 010/087/089 tranny it is
usually either because ATF and hypoid have mixed to the point where it
causes damage to both the diff and the slushbox or because there was a leak
and the diff was run dry. Take note that most owners of 15 y/o cars service
them at "monkey lads" who very often don't have an idea that the diff on an
Audi uses a separate fluid which needs to be checked.

>The story is that the diff is the really bad part of
>the system and requires extreme skill/expertise to fix
>it right.  That is why it costs more to fix than the
>slushbox section.

I tend to disagree here. The seal between the diff and the slushbox is the
problem. The diff is a very strong unit, but it is not designed to run on
ATF. The seal itself costs less than $10 and the job is not more difficult
than replacing clutch on manual transmission car. The key is to notice when
the fluids are starting to mix. Of course, the slushbox occasionally fails.
But most slushboxes do. That's why transmission shops are in business.
There are much less reliable transmissions out there. Take the AXOD on
86-92 Taurus for example. They rarely reach 100k miles and that's with
regular maintenance.

>I am sure that they do excellent work, but the point I
>have to wonder about is...are the 5k (early $$) cars
>worth the money anymore?

I must admit my opinion is biased by the fact that over here (east Europe)
old cars are generally pretty much expensive compared to what they cost in
USA. My '87 5kt in fair, but not excellent condition is still worth $3000.

>I apologize in advance to Alex on this one...you've
>helped me before...but I'm right in the middle of this
>Audi headache, and _I've done my homework_!

I'm not offended, it's actually fun to occasionally disagree with someone ;-)

>In summary, Alex, I agree with that high ball
>estimate.  I just tossed $1100 away on a tranny/diff
>swap that did not last me two months, and I will be
>damned if I do that again on a 15 year old car.  Alas,
>I have seen other $$s abandoned at tranny shops for
>the same reason.  Almost bought an '88 5kt that way
>last year before the little voice said "what ELSE is
>wrong with the car"?

A friend of a friend is a taxi driver and owns an '88 5k (a US spec,
non-turbo car). His slushbox failed leaving him with no forward gears. He
had to drive several miles in reverse in a dense city traffic to get back
to his garage. Anyway, he found a used tranny with "it works when installed
or your money back" warranty for $300. Installed it himself with a help of
his friend and he drives the car happily ever since.

>That's why I'm out looking at a '93 100...but that
>will be on my next post.

I'd love to as well. However, as I said before my '87 5kt is worth $3000. A
'93 100 over here is worth nearly $9000. That's _three_times_ more. Because
people generally tend to abuse cars, the '93 is likely to be in similar if
not worse condition than my '87. I bought my car in 1994 and I can honestly
say that it had more things broken then that it has now. If my slushbox
fails, I'll spend under $1000 on a rebuilt (labor is cheap over here) and
still have a reliable car for some time to come. And I'll know there's very
little else wrong with the car. The way the used car market works is that
if you mantain your car better than average and routinely invest $$$ to
keep it in very good condition, you'll never get your money back. Buyers
choose cars which are in good condition, but aren't likely to pay premium
for them, at least that's my experience. An '87 Audi is an old car, but a
'93 one is "old" as well. Unless I can afford a '97 or newer car, I can't
hope it will be in significantly better condition than my current one. I'd
love to buy an '93 V8. Why? Because it is faster, quieter, has quattro,
ABS, 4sp automatic, newer interior and climate control and is generally
much nicer to drive. But I wouldn't hope it will break less than my 5Kt.

Aleksander Mierzwa
Warsaw, Poland
87 5KT

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