PLS HELP 2002 A4 Quattro 1.8 Turbo needs clutch/tranny 20K mi?

Please help? I'm getting the runaround and am about to lose it. My '02 A4 quattro's clutch suddenly went out going from 2nd to 3rd gear while going over a large bridge during rush hour. My mileage is 20K. (No, I don't ride
the clutch nor drive like a maniac, although I do live in a very hilly area. I've driven manual transmissions for 25 years (VW bug, VW Golf, MG, Opel GT, Mazda RX-7, Jeep and a Dodge Stealth) with no problem.). I was on a bridge when it happened and the gears just froze up. I'd thought I'd felt a very slight slipping of the clutch the previous day, but my husband checked and said he didn't feel anything.
Anyway, the car was flatbed-towed to the nearest Audi dealer. At first I was told it would be covered by warranty. Then I was told I needed a new transmission and it would be covered by warranty, too. Then I was told that because the interior is less than pristine (I have 4 kids and a small catering business), they'd decided to take another look and their field rep decided that neither it nor the clutch would be covered by warranty because of "...negligence, though we're not saying you were negligent." They took me back to the service area and showed me a worn clutch. I asked to see the transmission and they said it wasn't there, that the field rep had it. Then they said the transmission was there but "locked up" and they couldn't show it to me. They told me it would cost $8K for a rebuilt transmission. Upset, we called Audi customer service, who apologized, saying the dealer had made a mistake and assuring us that the repairs would be covered under warranty. They called me again and reiterated this and said they'd call me at noon the next day after they'd told the service manager (he would be out until then in meetings) to cover it. When they didn't call the next day, I called them. The woman who'd assured me so nicely was suddenly M.I.A. and a new rep told me that they'd changed their decision (oops!), and that the repairs wouldn't be covered after all.
So now I'm stuck paying 8K for a rebuilt transmission, plus whatever they're going to nail me for on a new clutch, 3 weeks of car rentals and now a new timing device (I think he said "timing device" or "starter"? Whatever (does it matter at this point?!), the part was added to the list and ordered yesterday...). This car is a lease, which makes the expense doubly upsetting. When all's said and done it will cost more than 10K on a car I don't even own... I want to throw up.
I'd be very grateful for any comments or suggestions? I feel like I'm getting scr!#$% royally here...
Cursichella in California
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Cursichella, I'd latch on to AoA and get them to honour their statement to you that the whole thing would be covered under warranty - you may consider seeking the advice of an attourney as well - and look to postings in Audiworld about how others have dealt with AoA. Cheers! Steve Sears 1987 Audi 5kTQ 1980 Audi 5k 1962 and '64 Auto Union DKW Junior deLuxes (SPAM Blocker NOTE: Remove SHOES to reply)
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Sorry to hear about your car. I strongly suggest getting a lawyer and have the dealership and field rep prove how a messy interior causes a transmission to fail. WTF??? They can only deny warranty if they can prove you, or something you modified, caused the damage. So when they said "we're not saying you were negligent", then they just admitted you didn't do anything wrong. The tranny and clutch assembly is fully encased and underneath the car, how the hell can something from inside the car get into it and cause it to fail.
If you're out of luck, don't let the dealership do the repairs. You can get parts and have a mechanic do it for much cheaper than what the stealership will charge you.
Good luck!

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Mark, It sounds like they're saying "it's probably your 17 y.o. son dragging Hondas down Main Street". Unless they've got proof, it sounds pretty shaky (unless they've got some kind of onboard telemetry recording things like # of times engine hit rev limiter, missed shift, ground gears, power shift, etc. etc.). They'll cave, you just have to be a pitbull and sink your teeth in and don't let go. Calling a lawyer is a good step. After the "handbook engineering" they did to make the A4 timing belts "last longer" in the US, AoA still has some work to do in the Customer Relations department. I think Cursichella might be stuck with dealer service if they are only leasing the car - after this is all sorted out, they should change dealerships. Cheers! Steve Sears 1987 Audi 5kTQ 1980 Audi 5k 1962 and '64 Auto Union DKW Junior deLuxes (SPAM Blocker NOTE: Remove SHOES to reply)

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Hi Steve and Mark,
Right. Guess it may void the warranty (as if the warranty has done me any good)? Anyway, I do appreciate all of your input. Thanks for your messages. An update...the dealer has repaired it (the Mercedes guy, see below, told me to have it repaired there as they were to give me a minor break) and I'm supposed to pick it up Monday. The price came down by 1K, though I'm less than ecstatic with a 7K+ bill. Initially, it was to be ready two weeks ago. They kept calling and saying "probably tomorrow". They were ordering one part at a time?! Should I do the same and let them wait while I ponder picking it up for a few weeks? (I'll withdraw the money to pay them with at their dealer-speed...one dollar a day???) OK, I'll definitely look for a good attorney and put off paying/picking up until I have that in place. Should I be seeking one that specializes in the Lemon Law or auto repair/warranty issues? Does this seem like a Lemon Law item or service-scam type of issue? Who does one go after? This particular dealer or all of Audi??? Would this be a chain of custody issue? Like maybe they messed with the transmission sometime between the tow-in and my first visit?? Ugh...I hate dealing with stuff like this...
Some further explanations/answers...I guess they reason that if a woman's car interior is such a disaster (not very ladylike...), it's a safe bet that her driving style must be a disaster, too? I couldn't take it to my original dealer because this one said all the info on their findings was now in the database so any dealer would deal with it the same way they were. A family friend who's a former Mercedes dealer, still a Master Mechanic (one of two Platinums??) went to the dealer on my behalf. The best he could manage was to get them to split the cost of the rental car (no big deal but it is at least something...). He also has them on tape admitting they'd initially said it would all be covered. (I also have their initial quote of 1 cent estimate.) He got them to agree to speak to their field rep and see if he'd consider splitting the cost of the repair (when he comes to town), though it seems unlikely they'd do anything for me once I've paid for it. (Of course, this "rep" never did go out of town, but now I've learned "he was recently hospitalized...".) Of course, I've asked for his name and was told he didn't know it but (with some enthusiasm said...) he would get it for me. Same answer when I asked for the name of the field rep that initially decided I was the culprit. Oi...for a redhead, I must look REALLY blonde! I'm certainly feeling like one! (With apologies to any blondes out there...)
Thank you so much for your suggestions. It helps me a lot just knowing I have some moral support out there.
----- Original Message -----
Newsgroups: alt.autos.audi Sent: 21 October, 2004 07:26 AM Subject: Re: PLS HELP 2002 A4 Quattro 1.8 Turbo needs clutch/tranny 20K mi?

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Four months later the problem has been somewhat resolved. My attorney hired a automotive crash specialist who inspected the car and took a million photographs. Apparently, my clutch was faulty and it literally exploded. The seals were intact on my transmission so it looks as if the dealer never even looked at it. Either the clutch did something to damage the transmission or the dealer was just looking to ream me. Anyway, last week I got my car back at no charge, the dealer has agreed to pay my attorney's fees and the rental car bill. They can take it up with AoA. Perhaps they'll have better luck with them than I do. Thanks for all of your input. It helped me to keep my sanity during this nightmare. cursichella

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Cursichella, No probs - now make sure that they'll stand behind the repairs that they did and anything that might have been damaged as a consequence of the clutch failure. Then find a dealer who'll be more helpful - they're not going to change. Ask around on Audiworld for a recommendation. Glad to hear it turned out ok. Cheers! Steve Sears 1987 Audi 5kTQ 1980 Audi 5k 1962 and '64 Auto Union DKW Junior deLuxes (SPAM Blocker NOTE: Remove SHOES to reply)

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