Maintenance, spares, and owners

Bill Shaw at
Sun Feb 3 08:01:18 PST 2008

I've had ample time in the past month or so to ponder the current state 
of contemporary Audi parts availability, maintenance requirements,  and 
owner demographics,  and I've come up with a few observations.  I'd be 
interested in hearing what others have to say on the subject who have 
more than my limited exposure to the marque.  I'm specifically talking 
about the the one I have,  the A6QA 30V,  and it's close relatives.  I 
can't help but draw comparisons to the Porsche world,  even though my 
experience there is mostly with the older models. Please don't take any 
of this as a slur against Audi or Audi owners,  I'm just looking for 
some insight and trying to provoke some discussion on the subject.

First,  parts:
I would expect with the vast numbers of these cars produced that there 
would be a huge pool of used parts to pick & choose from when needed,  
but that is not at all what I've found.  The pickings have been slim and 
the offerings of poor quality.  If I asked on Rennlist for pistons for 
my 928 I'd come up with 1/2 dozen offerings.  When I needed pistons for 
an early 4.5L Euro engine I even found a brand new set at a very 
reasonable price.  Not so here in the Audi world.  I did have one very 
generous offer (thank you Craig) but not the outflowing of support I've 
experienced on the p-car list. That leads me into owners & maintenance.

I think (again just mho) there is not the same level of DIY here as in 
the p-car world.  At least not with the newer cars, there seems to be a 
lot more diy in the older Audis.  Note that even though this A6QA is 
almost 10 years old I'm still calling it 'newer'.   Is this due to the 
type of people that buy Audis vs p-cars?  Is it due to the overly 
complex maintenance retirements?  Maybe it's partly due to a 
self-feeding thing where fewer people are doing the heavy mechanical 
work so there's less technical support when needed, so fewer people dare 
to take on the maintenance?  It seems that a much higher percentage of 
the Audi population takes their cars to a mechanic to change a 
thermostat than actually does the work themselves,  which again feeds 
into the general lack of availability of used parts (talking trends 
here,  not just t-stats).  The spares & service seems for the most part 
to be staying in the dealer/professional network and little is trickling 
down to the diy world.  Or am I completely wrong here?

One other observation & theory I'd like to present is the current state 
of my a6qa engine.  At 130k miles it is pretty much used up,  pistons 
beat, cylinders scored,  bearings shot.  I'm told that these engines are 
pretty much bullet proof,  which I would expect after seeing the stout 
manner that the main bearings are fixed in the block.  But there's 
mine,  dead at 130k.  My theory is that this car spent the vast majority 
of its life idling,  never really getting revved,   and that has lead to 
its coking & carboning,  which directly contributed to it's early 
demise.  It was owned by a family of 4,  the mama driving the babies 
around never pushed it,  the dad commuting 50 miles on the highway each 
way to work doing 65 mph not revving past 2k for an hour each way every 
day.  This is another one that until I got it was dealer maintained with 
synthetic oil.   Could this long term gentle use have killed the engine 
well before it's time?  Any other theories?

I'm looking forward to your comments,


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