Car Buying Advice

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I am looking to give up my 86 Volvo GL wagon and am trying to decide whether I should stick with another Volvo or if I should change makers. I am planning on buying a used car somewhere in the 1998-2000 year
range, and would like to spend no more than about $8500. I'd also love a manual transmission, although, here in Los Angeles they're a little harder to come by. Please tell me about Audis that fall in that date/price range...are they reliable, what models are best, are they terribly expensive to maintain? Thanks for your advice.
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Audis are not reliable and are expensive to maintain/repair, however, the quattros are a joy to drive.
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Well, THAT'S a pretty sweeping statement, Dennis....!
I would probably phrase it more like - a well-maintained Audi would be as reliable as any other car of the same complexity and year range..... The GL is a fairly straightforward car with minimal electronics. Moving to a '98 - '00 Audi will get you a car that is significantly more advanced in terms of systems - drivetrain, computers, interior electronics, etc.... The problem is, you probably won't be able to find a good one in the price range that you mention.... A quick look at Kelly Blue Book suggests that a '98 A4 with 1.8T engine, 5-speed manual and quattro, with average mileage, would retail for over $11k in excellent condition...
Maintenance would be no more expensive than a BMW or Mercedes of the same vintage.
Dan D '04 A4 1.8Tq MT-6 Central NJ USA
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Sweeping, but true. Had a MB E class for over 10 years, then switched to an A4. In one year the A4 had repairs that exceeded the repair costs for 10 years of MB. The famous Audi external lubrication system is one huge fault. Cam adjuster seals that leak oil onto the exhaust system. A rubber cam belt that requires removal of the complete front end of car. Same for water pump-Remove bumper and front body. If the cam belt goes- so does the engine. I could go on....but my experience is that the switch to Audi was an expensive mistake, but it's great in the snow.
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<HTML><HEAD> <META http-equiv=Content-Type content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1"><META content="MSHTML 6.00.2800.1400" name=GENERATOR></HEAD> <BODY style="MARGIN: 4px 4px 1px; FONT: 10pt Tahoma"> <DIV>Sweeping, but true. Had a MB E class for over 10 years, then switched to an A4. In one year the A4 had repairs that exceeded the repair costs for 10 years of MB. </DIV> <DIV>The famous Audi external lubrication system is one huge fault. Cam adjuster seals that leak oil onto the exhaust system. </DIV> <DIV>A rubber cam belt that requires removal of the complete front end of car. Same for water pump-Remove bumper and front body. If the cam belt goes- so does the engine.</DIV> <DIV>I could go on....but my experience is that the switch to Audi was an expensive mistake, but it's great in the snow.</DIV> <DIV>&nbsp;</DIV></BODY></HTML>
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So the reality is that you bought a lemon. Your Audi was unreliable. That doesn't justify badmouthing the entire brand.
Troll. Sweeping, but true. Had a MB E class for over 10 years, then switched to an A4. In one year the A4 had repairs that exceeded the repair costs for 10 years of MB. The famous Audi external lubrication system is one huge fault. Cam adjuster seals that leak oil onto the exhaust system. A rubber cam belt that requires removal of the complete front end of car. Same for water pump-Remove bumper and front body. If the cam belt goes- so does the engine. I could go on....but my experience is that the switch to Audi was an expensive mistake, but it's great in the snow.
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Cam belt and seals are a common Audi problem. Very common!
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Dennis W wrote:

People who change out the belts on schedule don't have problems. And seals? Seal leaks are not limited to just Audi. LOTS of car makers have seal issues.
BTW, none of my Audis has ever had a seal or cam belt issue. But hey, I guess that means we can just generalize to the entire population, hmmm?
E.P.
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The wife's Renault has a leaky crankshaft seal which I'll have to attend to soon. Oddly, my 250,000 mile A100 hasn't.
--
Skipweasel
Si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes.
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The cost of the cam belt change on the A4 IS a problem.
And

Pehaps, but not many have the seal problem at 50,000 to 60,000 miles that the A4 30 valve 2.8 V6 does.

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Ian S wrote:

It doesn't cost any more than a comparable car, and cost less than some.

This "problem" is hardly above what you'd expect from the volume of cars produced.
But hey, when you have an axe to grind, one example constitutes a "fatal flaw."
But really, there's a great solution: don't buy an Audi. That way, you can be sure that you'll never have to deal with anything as poorly-designed as an Audi. You can smugly assure all listeners that you know.
Just ignore the man behind the curtain.
E.P.
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Really? For which cars, does a TB change typically run over US$1000?

What a crock! I've NEVER had a car's cam seals leak oil at 50,000 miles like my A4 did. And I'm not alone - just check over at audiworld.com.

Works for me. After 20 years of Audi ownership, I WON'T be buying another.
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Ian S wrote:

Not many, UNLESS you go to a stealership. Then it's "most of them."
The "typical" A4 TB change is not $1000.

What, ten people complain at Audiworld, and it's an endemic problem?
No. Go to other fora and read for yourself that seals do leak in other makes.

Great. I'll keep on picking them up, because these problems don't seem to happen to my Audis. Maybe you're just making it all up?
;)
E.P.
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Hardly. Google and you'll find the typical cost even for something like a Lexus is under $500. And yes, that's at a dealer.

Sez you. I have a receipt showing over $800 for mine done at an independent German car shop NOT at a dealer. The dealer will charge well over $1000.

Not at 50,000 miles they don't.

Your attitude gives me great reason to hope there'll be some idiot willing to pay me top dollar for my A4 when the time comes for me to sell it.

and maybe you're the Queen of D'Nile

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Ian S wrote:

Last time I checked, $800 is not equal to $1000.
So, a "typical" TB change is not $1000. Just admit you were exaggerating and be done with it.

Yes, they do. On a minority of cars (exactly like Audi), but such examples exist.

And after you've fixed it's relatively minor problems, someone is going to get a decent deal on a car that will last a long time. Everybody wins! Well, except you. You get to suck up all the depreciation. Thanks!

I don't have to exaggerate to make my point.
E.P.
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Except I'm not typical. I was planning to do it myself as I have the expertise but, due to time constraints, shopped around to find an independent garage that specialized in Audis. The typical A4 owner would have it done at the dealer and pay at least $1,000.
The fact of the matter is that the A4 suffers from a variety of problems including TB failure (even a class-action lawsuit), control arm failure, oil leaks, cooling system problems, coil problems - the list is long and the repairs fairly costly. Some like the coil fiasco have been rectified and newer models may not suffer from the ailments of the previous models.
I notice that nowhere have you claimed to actually own an A4 so perhaps we should take your pontificating about the A4's reliability with the proverbial grain of salt.
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Ian S wrote:

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Dennis W wrote:

So true, what?
E.P.
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Ian S wrote:

This is different for Mercedes and BMW, how?
Lexus and Infiniti also have this sort of charge for TB replacement.

LOL. Yeah, pick some variety of faults, the same sorts and spectrum as every other manufacturer, and claim somehow that Audi is different. Good one.

2001 S4. Never so much as a hiccup. A fine car, and I'd own another. Sold it for more than I purchased it for, in fact.
How's that crow taste, Ian?
E.P.
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Ah, no. $400 for a Lexus LS 400 according to this http://tinyurl.com/9jzuf

What modern car, pray tell, has had problems with control arm failure within 60,000 miles? Or the notorious coil problem? Even Hyundai now has a better reliability rating than Audi.

Oh yeah, you loved it so much you got rid of it. LOL! So I take it you don't own an A4. I do; bought it new and have put over 80,000 miles on it. I am fully aware of its pros and cons.

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Ian S wrote:

Not around here, they don't. It's about the same for all the high-end cars (within $100 or so).
And that didn't look like an official offer - it looked like a claim from some guy.

Transmission hassles in Hondas, etc, etc. No modern maker is flawless, and self-selected polls are worthless as real data. Sorry, I'm not buying your line of "reasoning."

Uhh, are you talking out of your ass again? Why, yes you are! I didn't sell it because it had a problem, or because I didn't like it. I had other reasons that had nothing at all to do with the car itself.

But I did. And it was flawless in it's function. Now, take another fork-full of crow.
E.P.
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