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View Full Version : Starting to look for a B5 A4 to pull long commuter duty . . .



SquiddyB6S4
08-03-2010, 08:58 AM
So I picked up my '04 S4 last December, and have been very happy with it. My girlfriend is going back to school, and she has two really good schools to choose from; one is about 100mi each way, and the other is about 200-250mi. I don't want to put an ungodly number of miles on my S4, mostly for maintenance reasons but also for value and general wear and tear. But I like the comfort, the quality feel, and the Quattro rain attitude: the "what rain?" attitude [:d]

I have taken a few looks around, and I'm seeing $5k-$7k to be the going price. I want the 4-cyl, auto, Quattro model, for fuel economy, traffic, and rain, respectively. Is there anything to avoid? Other than CVT of course [;)] I'm a good mechanic, and my best friend is a tech at the local dealership, and we'll both check the car out. I'm just looking for real tell-tales of significant work upcoming, major weak points (like knowing before buying a B6/7 S4 that the A/C compressors are a wear item and take a full day to replace!), any options to avoid like the plague, etc. I just want something I can put a LOT of miles on, and not require much maintenance. If I'm barking up the wrong tree, please let me know, but it's my understanding that the 1.8T is like the godfather of cheap and easy and care-free, at least in stock form.

Thank you all; I appreciate any help you might bestow on me.

trbosqrl
08-03-2010, 09:04 AM
A car is made to drive why are u treating ur s4 like a classic car

somebody5788
08-03-2010, 09:49 AM
A car is made to drive why are u treating ur s4 like a classic car

It matters when your car doesnt have 160k miles lol.

I'd get a B6 op. The B5 is a little high maintenance for that. And it's an Audi so it will not be care free lmao

turbo_bootin
08-03-2010, 09:52 AM
CVT wasn't available on the B5. I would see if the timing belt/water pump has been done. If you're not against doing the work yourself, ask for a lower price on one that hasn't had the TB/WP changed. I would also watch out for bad control arms, wheel bearings, and coilpacks as they are common failures on the B5.

I woudn't say the 1.8t is the godfather of "care-free", as it will require little things here and there (MAF, O2, etc.), but if you pay attention to it's condition it'll be reliable.

coolgraymemo
08-03-2010, 09:58 AM
watch out for a winding turbo.

Goldfran
08-03-2010, 10:08 AM
Dude instead of looking for a car i would look at apartments. Get a cheap apt down the street from whichever school. Then you have to only drive on the weekends and that would be a sweet cruise in the s4. Or a sweet little 01 2.5 rs.

black99.5a4
08-03-2010, 10:14 AM
If you look at 01 A4's, then make sure the cam chain tensioner isnt bad or going bad (will sound like a diesel), other then that year (as its not very common for the non VVT's to go bad), timing belt and water pumps. Also oil leaks at the valve cover, busted vacuum lines or burnt check valves (do a boost leak test on one if you can), see when the clutch was last replaced. Anything over 100k on original clutch, you'll prob need one at some close point. Wining turbo... a buddy of mine's turbo is bad, but doesnt smoke or blow oil. it sounds like the bearing was ran dry and it screeches, boosts fine, but you know its about to go.. even though its not smoking it could still be bad.

Take VAG Com and scan it for anything stored.

Enjoy the car!

I bought mine with 163k on it, it had 209 when i ripped it apart. at about 180, it started to push oil past the top compression ring.

So maybe a compression check will be in order as well.

oldskoolaudi
08-03-2010, 10:59 AM
Having owned two Audi's, one being an 04 s4 and a 98 a4 quattro. Don't buy a b5 for commuting and low maintenance. Although they are nice and cheap they are way too much maintenance compared to everything else out there and all the problems they have with oil leaks, abs module's, sensors and check engine lights coming on as frequently as you fill up this would be a mistake imo. Keep the s4 as a low mileage fun car and get something other than a vw/audi for low maintenance.

black99.5a4
08-03-2010, 11:09 AM
^^ it really depends how well it was taken care of before he buys something... I have only seen my CEL once in 40k miles. That was when my coilpack died. My car was rode hard and put away wet and still never any problems.

buy one that has solid maintenance records

Scotty@Advanced
08-03-2010, 11:40 AM
So I picked up my '04 S4 last December, and have been very happy with it. My girlfriend is going back to school, and she has two really good schools to choose from; one is about 100mi each way, and the other is about 200-250mi. I don't want to put an ungodly number of miles on my S4, mostly for maintenance reasons but also for value and general wear and tear. But I like the comfort, the quality feel, and the Quattro rain attitude: the "what rain?" attitude [:d]

I have taken a few looks around, and I'm seeing $5k-$7k to be the going price. I want the 4-cyl, auto, Quattro model, for fuel economy, traffic, and rain, respectively. Is there anything to avoid? Other than CVT of course [;)] I'm a good mechanic, and my best friend is a tech at the local dealership, and we'll both check the car out. I'm just looking for real tell-tales of significant work upcoming, major weak points (like knowing before buying a B6/7 S4 that the A/C compressors are a wear item and take a full day to replace!), any options to avoid like the plague, etc. I just want something I can put a LOT of miles on, and not require much maintenance. If I'm barking up the wrong tree, please let me know, but it's my understanding that the 1.8T is like the godfather of cheap and easy and care-free, at least in stock form.

Thank you all; I appreciate any help you might bestow on me.

I'd reconsider your requirements quattro is awesome but I've owned both a 1.8 quattro automatic and a 1.8 FWD, and the 1.8 fwd got about 6 MPG more overall, and felt like a much peppier car than the quattro. if all the usual suspects are addressed (control arms, timing belt, PCV hoses, trans service, etc) it should last you a long time with little maintenance.

Unless you have the time/money to invest in repairing all the common stuff I'd avoid some of the examples on the lower end of the cost spectrum, and pay a little more and get something with lower miles (~100K) and service records.

Seerlah
08-03-2010, 12:50 PM
So I picked up my '04 S4 last December, and have been very happy with it. My girlfriend is going back to school, and she has two really good schools to choose from; one is about 100mi each way, and the other is about 200-250mi. I don't want to put an ungodly number of miles on my S4, mostly for maintenance reasons but also for value and general wear and tear. But I like the comfort, the quality feel, and the Quattro rain attitude: the "what rain?" attitude [:d]

I have taken a few looks around, and I'm seeing $5k-$7k to be the going price. I want the 4-cyl, auto, Quattro model, for fuel economy, traffic, and rain, respectively. Is there anything to avoid? Other than CVT of course [;)] I'm a good mechanic, and my best friend is a tech at the local dealership, and we'll both check the car out. I'm just looking for real tell-tales of significant work upcoming, major weak points (like knowing before buying a B6/7 S4 that the A/C compressors are a wear item and take a full day to replace!), any options to avoid like the plague, etc. I just want something I can put a LOT of miles on, and not require much maintenance. If I'm barking up the wrong tree, please let me know, but it's my understanding that the 1.8T is like the godfather of cheap and easy and care-free, at least in stock form.

Thank you all; I appreciate any help you might bestow on me.

See what's writen in bold. well, the B5 is not the car if that is what you are looking for. Knowing the little quirks Audi has in general, the B5 could very much be on the top of the list. Don't get me wrong, if treated well these cars will treat you well. But, you will have to treat these cars well. Mine is very trouble free, because I keep up to date on it. Does not mean that it does not act the b*tch when she wants. It means I check my car maybe once a month (longer intervals now that my job occupies most my time and I hardly drive the car) and fix small issues before they become big ones. You should just know what you are getting yourself into. Not trying to deter you or anything, but a quick Google search on reviews of this vehicle will quickly sway your opinion. But for the modderes, this vehicle is a joy...........most times anyways.

SquiddyB6S4
08-03-2010, 01:54 PM
Right, thanks all. I am most definitely looking for the tip top cream of the crop for this application. I'd much rather spend a full $7k on a very clean, bone-stock car with a full dealership service history than save a little cash on something with a lot of miles or some turbo mods or whatever.

I am most definitely going to do the maintenance myself. It's a longitudinal 4-cyl; I wouldn't believe anyone who told me it was that hard. Not after my S4 [;)]

And as for "Man, drive the S4" . . . if you knew what maintenance is like on these cars, you'd understand. And I am NOT moving: I live NEXT to my office. I can open the front door of my apartment and throw a rock (really hard) and hit the roof of my office building. I do drive the S4; I make sure to drive it once or twice a week, and not for just a couple miles, but by the time this car hits 100k miles, I will likely have paid what a B5 costs in maintenance (or be close to it - the BHF is a very sturdy engine, but doesn't have the longevity I would like - see piston swell and timing chain failures). Plus, if anything goes wrong with the B5, I still have the S to drive. I currently have a motorcycle as my second vehicle, and I love the combo of S4 + sportbike, but the sportbike won't be comfortable for hours, at night on the highways when it's late and I'm tired, in crappy weather on the highway for hours, etc. I'll be selling my bike once I pick up a car. And I'm not going to spend $7k+ per year for an apartment when I could buy a car for that, and then I have a car. She'll have her dorm room, so I'm not worried. And I always have free nights racked up at hotels all over the place, too.

I don't expect it to be like a well-maintained Honda, but it sounds like it can be close, with the right car. I mean, yes, turbo will eventually go, and I probably would do the TB myself, but a top notch car will probably already have it done. Control arms, wheel bearings, gaskets, and coil packs are kinda standard for most Audis, and are generally pretty inexpensive and easy to diagnose, so I'm not worried about it, but I appreciate the note. If I can find one that cuts the mustard to both mine and my buddy's satisfaction (and we'll probably gather the techs and scour it [:p] ), then I'll be eager to jump on it. Otherwise, I'll have to start looking elsewhere, like somebody said an unmolested WRX, perhaps. But I'd love to have another Audi to love.

Thanks again, AZers!

onemoremile
08-03-2010, 02:14 PM
It is easier to make a subaru nice than it is to make an audi reliable. just sayin.

Seerlah
08-03-2010, 06:18 PM
If an great AWD application is what you are really looking for, Subaru or Audi is the way to go. But if you factor in looks, comfort, personal standards of luxury and so forth, then the variables come into play. I for one adore my B5. But that is only because I came accustomed to it. If I owned another vehicle, I am sure I would say the same thing about that vehicle. But if you are dead set on the 1.8t, then by all means search for a B5 (or even a B6) in immaculate condition. They are out there. And you already being an Audi owner with mechanical inclination should have no problems owning one of these cars. Just don't get mad when the girlfreind calls you up because of an issue with the vehicle. Because, more than likely it is going to happen on more than one occasion.

Thi
08-03-2010, 06:26 PM
You should make a drive over to Louisiana and pick up my Avant. Everything you want (no b.s.) except its better.... manual tranny. I've done everything short of replacing my motor & trans. I've owned this car since Nov 09 and planned to keep her until she dies, then I plan to do a v8 swap and give her a second life (no joke). All control arms, fluids, radiator coming tomorrow... new koni coilovers 2 weeks ago.... complete suede interior coming in a week or two... list goes on. I'm still on the fence about selling her but I'm starting a new business and really need a truck (I hate trucks).

SquiddyB6S4
08-04-2010, 03:58 AM
I'd contemplate flying out to pick up a car and driving it back if it was THAT good. I don't think I'd go that far now, but as the time draws nearer I'll be looking harder and harder. I figure I'm quite fortunate to have the opportunity to look for a car for the next several months before needing one, rather than, say, being in an accident and having a week to find a car.