Buying 2000 Audi a4 quattro 2.8L

Hello all,
I am planning to buy a used 2000 a4 quattro. What are known problems with this vehicle? Does it have high maintenance ?
It has around 70K miles on it. I test drove it and it seems really
good. I am also getting an inspection ($165) from an Audi dealer to be safe.
Any opinions/suggestions ?
Thanks in advance.
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Check and see when/if the control arms in the front suspension were replaced, the B5 A4's were known to have problems in this area. Also, the 2.8 has had issues with oil leaks. Personally, I would get an inspection done by an independent shop. Are you buying it at the dealer that's doing the inspection?
Maintenance is not inexpensive on these cars. If you can find out the service history (regular oil changes, timing belt changes, etc.) you'll be much better off. Don't go into it expecting it to be Camry or Accord-like.
Dan D '04 A4 1.8Tq MT-6 Central NJ USA
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I would echo everything Dan has said. The 2.8 v6 apparently was designed with an external lubrication system patterned after English cars and motorcycles from the 1960's and 1970's ;-). There's a pretty good chance that the A4 you're buying has already had the $400 or so oil leak repair done but if not, then you'll likely be looking at doing that within the next 20K miles. There's also a good chance that you'll need brakework unless it's been done recently. And, as is typical for Audi, if the pads are in need of replacement, likely the rotors will need replacing too - worn Audi rotors are rarely machinable. If you do need pads get a decent aftermarket brand such as Mintex if you want to avoid the massive amounts of brake dust deposited on the wheels by the stock pads.
The other thing you want to make sure of is the cooling system condition. Coolant temperature sensors ($200 or so to repair) are problematic on that vintage (I've replaced two in 80,000 miles on my '98 A4) and if the coolant has not been religiously replaced on schedule, then you could be looking at a radiator replacement soon (at least $600 at the dealer). Be wary of any vehicle where the temperature gauge needle does not settle at the midpoint of the gauge when the car is running and has fully warmed up. As Dan said, this vintage frequently also has control arm problems but an honest inspection should pick that up.
The BIG thing that may be looming for you right now is the timing belt and ancillary items that should be replaced at the same time. You are right at the mileage when that job should be done and if it hasn't, then count on spending right away upwards of $1000 (or significantly more if done at a dealer).
You would also be wise to change the oil and filter religiously according to the Audi recommendations although a serious sludge buildup problem seems to be more associated with the turbocharged 1.8T. You may want to use synthetic oil just to be safe. Oh and use a good filter (e.g. VW/Audi, Mann or Mahle.) If you do buy the car, there's a lot of info at audiworld.com as well as this newsgroup.
Good luck!
Ian
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Ian and Dan,
Thank you so much for your valuable feedback! YOU WERE RIGHT !!!
The inspection revealed that it has two "minor" oil leaks one of which the dealer suggested getting fixed - the one near rear camshaft.. ?? The other is somewhere in the valve gasket. The service mechanic mentioned that it is "minor" because the oil is not hitting the floor.
I am buying from a private party. I only got the inspection done from the dealer. I did not know how to find an independant Audi dealer - How do I find one ? + the car is located 60 miles aways from where I live and so I am not familiar with all the repair shops.
The approximate cost of getting the two things fixed is around $400 each = $800. This is a quote from a dealer which means I can probably get it done cheaper if so how much? Will this problem come back ?
Secondly the coolant was low on the car and the indicator with water and a X shows when it starts up - is that a problem or just the fact that the coolant is low ?
The dealer suggested the timing belt change at 90K. (currently at 70K - the car was last serviced around 55200 miles according to the Carfax report)
The brakes are okay at this point. The rest of the inspection revealed that it needs minor maintenance such "surpentine belts" and brake fluid flush. The report did not say anything about the control arms for the front suspension.
Thanks once again and thanks in advance.
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Mine was "minor" too except that it would every once in awhile reach a hot exhaust part and cause smoke to arise from the engine compartment and stink up the car's interior.

Cost me about $400 at an independent service place. It may be hard to find a good independent - look for a German repair specialist with good reputation and ask if they work on A4's. In my experience, if they don't normally work on Audis they'll tell you.
Will this problem come back ?
it will probably be OK for another 50 to 60,000 miles. I don't know for sure if they've actually improved the design of the gaskets and seals for that vintage of A4.

It could be that the coolant is just low but it could also be due to a leak somewhere.

Audi has an issue with timing belts (http://tinyurl.com/7ab9n ) but it may be more of a problem with the 1.8T than the 2.8. My 1998 manual says 90,000 but that's considered risky since Audi now says 75,000 miles for newer cars. The problem is that other items such as the water pump and the tensioners can fail and take the TB with them. If the timing belt breaks then you are looking at major engine repair costs of at least $4000 and most likely much more. BTW, if that car has not had the oil and filter changed in nearly 15,000 miles then I'd question just how well it's been maintained.

Did the report say anything about the condition of the CV joint boots? A cracked or damaged boot should be replaced before dirt gets in and destroys the CV joint.

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"Ian S"

And what schedule might that be? According to Audi, coolant is lifetime, just like the manual tranny fluid.
Sure, I don't quite buy into this, but just curious how often you replace your coolant.
Cheers,
Pete
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reason, I thought it was every two years. And here I've been blaming myself for my radiator failure since I let the coolant change go longer than three years.
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"Ian S" wrote

The only fluid that I can think of that Audi recommends changing every two years is the brake fluid.
Pete
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OK Since you all probably own / have owned an Audi - Can I get an oil change done at a Jiffy Lube or is it only done at dealerships ? Is it hard to find Independant mechanics ?
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You can, but I'd strongly advise against it. An Audi is a bit more complex/exotic than a typical american car that these grease monkeys are used to seeing. For one, they'll be surprised that in order to get to the oil pan, they need to remove a belly pan cover (protective shield) and they'll most likely lose half the fasteners that are used to secure it. On top of that, they'll install a cheap oil filter and some bulk non-synthetic oil.

Depending on where you live, it may or may not be hard. Head on over to www.audiworld.com and ask on the regional forums there - I'm sure someone will recommend something, unless you live in the total boonies. :) Simple things like an oil change you could do yourself, assuming you have a place to do it.
Good luck.
Pete
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Re: Jiffy Lube - I would NOT go to a 'quick change' place. I have a local garage 10 minutes walk from my house that I have used for years, so I trust them. I buy the OEM filter, bring the Mobil1 0w-40 oil and they do the change. They haven't lost any of the clips yet!
BTW, did you post where you live? If you do that, someone may know a local garage....
Dan D '04 A4 1.8Tq MT-6 Central NJ USA
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Thanks for the info!
I live in Chicago, Illinois
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