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  1. #1
    S3 Paul's Avatar
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    So... What are the S3's FLAWS and how have people sorted them?

    It seems to be a trend on here for people to...
    Slate the S3 for not basicaly being both a balls out track racer AND failing to be a full blown family car...
    Strange that soo many have bought the car they hate?
    I bought mine because i spun a powerful FWD car into a wall and tree... so probably out of fear went for an AWD car...
    Over time i realised that i was too comfy if that makes sence? The car does the no fuss driving thing well but...
    The brakes need to be better ( what have people found works )?
    Suspension is a bit soft and because of the weight not too much confidence. What are people using?
    R32 roll bars? Rear Tie arms? Coilovers? What size wheels help the handeling?
    Exhausts... until i fitted my 3 inch down pipe and decat i found the miltek system i have was very quiet... what else is there outthere?
    Engine work... Remaped or big power?
    I for one feel the car could handel alot more than i have with the right suspension set up...
    Other than a big turbo... what have people found makes a real diffrence?
    Noggy Blue 2001 S3

    I ask questions because i change my mind so much. If i ask questions you have already covered... just leave it be?

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  3. #2
    superkarl's Avatar
    MAN OF STEEL

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    *flaw

  4. #3
    Alex C's Avatar
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    I tend to put mats over the floors, that sorts em good!
    Alex S3 AMK
    Bilstein B8s, H&R Springs, Neuspeed ARBs, Genuine 18" BBS LMs & LCR Brembos

  5. #4
    S3 Paul's Avatar
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    Comedy club?
    Noggy Blue 2001 S3

    I ask questions because i change my mind so much. If i ask questions you have already covered... just leave it be?

  6. #5
    superkarl's Avatar
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    ok il start.
    i only have one thing to slate my car off and that is its reliability, but of course i wouldn't have known until buying it, but hey ho, what performance car doesnt go tits up now and again eh.
    i bought my car because i wanted a fast little hatch, and amongst other options this seemed the better package, its interior is better than any other hot hatch, its exterior is much more stylish and not ott like others, and its performance is equal if not better than others, and no other apart from an r32 has 4 wheel drive.
    I find the handling really not as bad as some people say, at the ring it seemed quick and stable in the corners. i agree its not light and steering doesnt feel precise and agile but then i definately wouldnt want a twitchy car.
    my car is reasonably standard, only a couple of styling mods and an exhaust and panel with cai to date. but even such small mods made such a difference, the throttle seemed sharper, engine more lively, not to mention the noise too, it really did change the driving experience and made it seem more of a performance car, which i now love.
    i think in terms of improvement and we'l all agree, brakes need upgrading, but then what car similar is going to have big carbon stoppers that wont fade on a track? Of course handling would need improving by means of suspension, arb's, poly bushes, but only IF you want your S3 to be your track car, otherwise all the things that make it great will be comprimised on the road, which would be a shame.
    people are using there car for things far beyond what it was designed for which is leaving them quite dissapointed. i mean the brakes on a day to day basis are fine, they stop on a dime if need be, god knows they've saved me more than once!
    its only when people get to the track, or have been in another car more specific for the track do they find flaws and slate it, but if they got into a prius would they slate that for not having big stoppers that won't let you down, i dont think so.
    i will be putting some handling mods on in future, but this isnt done without sacrificing the comfort and build quality that the car was built for, so il be trying to find a good balance, so that it is improved on track, tighter, more planted, but when im just pottering about it will retain its comfort and luxury.
    Of course when it comes to outright power, who cant get enough of that! their is no car that has 'enough' we'l all lust for more, so no doubt il be looking into that in the future, only in the form of remaps though, as i dont want, and cant afford, the problems that can arise through big power upgrades.

    i think il have the perfect balance when i've done the following;
    remap
    suspension, only lowering a small amount, on comfy (sport) dampers and springs, nothing harsh
    a full tb exhaust
    18 wheels, that look almost OEM german looking,
    and upgraded discs and pads.
    and some new tires as these bridgestone are really not as good as i first thought. falken fk452's next i think

    i think then il have a perfected s3, still comfy and all the things we love, with added go and a little more fun.

  7. #6
    Biggied's Avatar
    They called him mellow yellow.

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    Imo the 8l S3 is a "Jack of all trades but master of none" if you know what I mean.

    Its very common for owners to just start throwing mods at there car without really knowing why they did it & just following the crowd. Another point to keep in mind when trying to improve any car is that just because a full exhaust system may give good power gains on an Impreza dosn't mean the same will apply to the S3.

    If you feel the brakes are poor then upgrade them, if you feel the suspension is poor then upgrade it, so forth and so on. If you have a good search through this site for each specific upgrade you will find alot of good info with tried & tested methods (& a hole mine field of ****e to go with it aswell mind you) Mabey try private mesaging folk who have done the mods to get an opinion on the results.

    Bottom line is do as much research as you can before spending any cash & make an informed/educated choice.

    Cheers Ewan.
    210hp 8L S3 quattro.

  8. #7
    1animal1's Avatar
    The Clar!! it mouves!!!

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    i think this car is wonderful, agree totally with Biggied in that its a jack of all trades..... comfy, faster than a lot of cars and holds the road plenty for road usage.... the brakes have never failed me (touch wood) and they have never faded - but then i tend to use them once then back off as by then i've usually had my fun. Yeah a little bouncy round fast corners but its never failed me in terms of slippage, perhaps i dont push it hard enough....i feel if i push it harder then ill be in the 'silly stakes' which is beyond what i want to use the car for.

    once you have the main issues sorted then its a lovely car if your prepared for the odd running bill now and again, i still fear that the odd S3 owner has scooby syndrome, its a nice car to own but by god have you got to have a wallet when it goes wrong (not quite on same scale but you get me).

    theres plenty you can do to it cheaply and it still has class behind it, for an older car

    still dont know what else i want instead, looking like 8P or another 'RS' Audi of some description - well and truly sold on the marque
    Xbox 360 gamer ID : Timffy

    Black FZ6 - Turbo car 'slapper'
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    2009 8P3 S3 Brilliant Red - Sold
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    1999 Pre F/L Silver A3 1.8T - Sold

  9. #8
    S3 Paul's Avatar
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    Tim...
    To you what are the main issues to you?
    And how did you sort them?
    Noggy Blue 2001 S3

    I ask questions because i change my mind so much. If i ask questions you have already covered... just leave it be?

  10. #9
    finesse's Avatar
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    Just minor niggles here and there, just like every other car. Usual tired sensors and minor electrical issues

    My problem with the car is the MPG. Not great, but manageable (light foot)



    Look on marque forums, things would be put in perspective.

  11. #10
    S3 Paul's Avatar
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    Well when i got my S3 i knew the suspension would want uprating. BUT i had just spent a month an a spinal board so couldnt risk gokart handeling rock hard set ups... So i opted for koni coil overs as i could set the damping as needed ,
    It was an improvement but is missing something ... ARB's maybe?
    The rear wash wipe has never washed since i got the car but... it rains enough for nature to deal with that.
    The engine wise has leaky problems... well it did before replacing everything engine related and i mean everything! The rubber pipe work is useless.
    But once the new hybrid was fitted , good exhaust system and a front mount... i finaly think im starting to turn a corner.!
    Noggy Blue 2001 S3

    I ask questions because i change my mind so much. If i ask questions you have already covered... just leave it be?

  12. #11
    finesse's Avatar
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    I have not other S3 to compare to, I have Koni FSD

  13. #12
    S3 Paul's Avatar
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    Do they actualy do what it says on the tin?
    What diffrence in ride height is there?
    Noggy Blue 2001 S3

    I ask questions because i change my mind so much. If i ask questions you have already covered... just leave it be?

  14. #13
    AARON77's Avatar
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    i absolutley love my s3 and to date have spent a fortune on rebuilding it and modding it at the same time. Imo i think it depends on how you drive it and we all know not every car is the same. I have friends who have a completely different driving style and have a much a more reliable car than myself,I get everything i need from my s3 apart from reliabillity but i do drive like i stole it literlally within an inch of its life and more, and to be fair the engine has been bullett proof. i have had my car for three years and in that time ive done 70,000 hard miles in it so to be fair i can completely justify the mechanical failures that ive had????? ive spent over 13,000 so far on mods and repairs but when you consider the amount off miles ive done and the mods(not just repairs) im quite happy with that and my s3 drives like a dream like a brand new car not like a 170,000 miler!!! In the 1st year i went went through 2 clutches due to my driving style (4 wheel drifts power slides) but since putting in a performance clutch ive had 2 years trouble free although its a pig driving in london traffic, as the pedal is sooooo heavy now!! i also done a big brake upgrade which has saved my life many a time? its also won me many a street race being able to brake on the roundabout instead of approaching it . and you cant go wrong with changing all the bushes and anti roll bars i noticed a major difference when i did this! i havent changed the suspension as yet as i quite like the non bone shaking ride but its only a matter of time before i do??? ive also put a short shift on it to and like it lot! and its had a Revo too which isnt a remap to every1s liking but i love the whiplash u get from the turbo also spent 3500 on a full paint job smoothed bumpers,ariel removed,side repeaters removed and all the grey trim colour coded? not to mention many other bit that ive done I love my s3 and im never getting rid of it just gonna buy another car.
    so many ppl hate there s3 but ive had so many good times in mine? just be prepared to spend but i im sure you will have more highs than lows! at the moment mines off the road needs haldex controller rear diff front diff. gonna put the haldex upgrade on it so all will be good? hope my lil story helps? good luck and have fun

  15. #14
    s3dave's Avatar
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    i love mine and there is nothing out there that could come close imo for the money....i though have been lucky and bought my car quite heavily modified, saving me 1000,s (4.5k)

    i have had mine a year now and it has not failed on one part!!
    i have spent around another 2k on it, just modifications.. so it has been very reliable.
    the only niggle,not a moan, i could say is the 21mpg...but come from an e46 m3 so it was certainly not a shock....
    i have just put the kw v1 on and so i have to learn the new limits...

  16. #15
    S3 Paul's Avatar
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    What are the effects of poly bushing the front and rear suspension bush's?
    Some people ( not S3 owners) say i will regret it if i do.
    does it give alot of noise and bangs through the car? Spoil the ride/ handeling of the car?
    Noggy Blue 2001 S3

    I ask questions because i change my mind so much. If i ask questions you have already covered... just leave it be?

  17. #16
    AARON77's Avatar
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    was real hard for a while but fine now they have worn in??

  18. #17
    1animal1's Avatar
    The Clar!! it mouves!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by S3 Paul View Post
    Tim...
    To you what are the main issues to you?
    And how did you sort them?
    you sound like a school teacher asking open questions like that matey ...... my issues are the mpg and overall running costs for the size of car that it is, thats one of the reasons i was looking for one with Avus on instead of RSTT's, that didnt last long...its all your fault for showing me the dark side!!! my bad is that i hate wasting money on things that dont make a difference to me which is why mine only has a few little bits done to it, silicone TIP, 007p (you know how long it was before i bought that!!) and a few other bits....it wasnt even destined for a map until that chap from Sheffield let me drive his......all things considered im happy with what ive done, still a couple of things to do, but then there always is

    Quote Originally Posted by S3 Paul View Post
    What are the effects of poly bushing the front and rear suspension bush's?
    Some people ( not S3 owners) say i will regret it if i do.
    does it give alot of noise and bangs through the car? Spoil the ride/ handeling of the car?
    i only have the poly dogbone and am gonna remove it when i can be arsed - its doing my nut in and still hasnt settled, sure its a little better on the old teeth chatter but a far cry from OEM - i actually bought the car partly for comfort partly for performance and have too much of the previous ATM
    Xbox 360 gamer ID : Timffy

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    2009 8P3 S3 Brilliant Red - Sold
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    1999 Pre F/L Silver A3 1.8T - Sold

  19. #18
    lloydsta101's Avatar
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    Think I bought a duff, nothing major has gone wrong but I have had a lot of problems in the last year. I've had to disconnect the Secondary Air Pump because of the jumbo jet noise on start-up, have to manually turn my radio off every time I leave the car otherwise it will start playing to itself after I've left and no one knows why, had the front disc brakes changed once and the front pads twice, the clutch started slipping so had to replace that along with the concentric slave cylinder, have a strong petrol smell occasionally and can't seem to find where it's coming from, had to have the air con re-gassed and then replaced the Fan Control Unit due to a split in the board, sometimes the car will go through a phase where it won't start first time on cold start-up, the drive shaft decided to un-bolt itself (twice) while I was driving along which is always fun, the gearbox mount bolt snapped and caused the gearbox to drop and catch on stuff, an engine mount bolt also snapped at another occasion which didn't do a lot of damage but made loads of noise, I've just replaced the ARB's with PowerFlex ones as they were starting to make a lot of noise, it's going in this week to have the track rod replaced... and I'm sure I've missed loads more. Basically, it's been constant trouble and all the money that was meant to be spent on upgrading and modifying has been spent on problems every week.
    Current: 2007 Audi A3 2.0 TDI (Black)
    Previous: 2000 Audi S3 (Silver)
    Previous: 2003 VW Golf R32 (Blue)

  20. #19
    1animal1's Avatar
    The Clar!! it mouves!!!

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    blimey..i can see why some get frustrated - be glad it aint a 10 year old Reault is all i can say
    Xbox 360 gamer ID : Timffy

    Black FZ6 - Turbo car 'slapper'
    Silver BMW 535D Tourer - Fully loaded 340BHP 700NM torque
    2009 8P3 S3 Brilliant Red - Sold
    2001 F/L S3 Dolphin Grey - Sold
    1999 Pre F/L Silver A3 1.8T - Sold

  21. #20
    jojo's Avatar
    S3 Drift King!

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    My S3 is Perfect.


    99' Audi S3(APY) - Brilliant Black Click>>>Going Sideways vid!
    You've got to have a laugh!



  22. #21
    Ian W's Avatar
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    I think I am one of the lucky ones, I just wanted a nice tidy S3.

    Got all my wasting thousands on mods out of my system on my old cars that didn't cost the earth to modify.

    Front end repaint on mine next year to get the front end stonechip free and it'll be great.

    Should put that there are things I don't like about it, awful on fuel around town (but what turbo car isn't?) and its looking like I might have to buy adjustable tie bars to get even tire wear on the rear of my standard car (not happy about this ! )

  23. #22
    lloydsta101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1animal1 View Post
    blimey..i can see why some get frustrated - be glad it aint a 10 year old Reault is all i can say
    Ha ha, well you say that... my first car 6/7 years ago was a 1992 Renault Clio and the only thing I had to change in the whole year I owned it was the wheel bearing.

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    My S3 is Perfect.
    Want to swap?
    Current: 2007 Audi A3 2.0 TDI (Black)
    Previous: 2000 Audi S3 (Silver)
    Previous: 2003 VW Golf R32 (Blue)

  24. #23
    jojo's Avatar
    S3 Drift King!

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    Surely, the reliability of a car isn't a flaw, not an inherited one at least, it's the luck of the draw?

    Quote Originally Posted by lloydsta101 View Post
    Want to swap?
    No! lol


    99' Audi S3(APY) - Brilliant Black Click>>>Going Sideways vid!
    You've got to have a laugh!



  25. #24
    1animal1's Avatar
    The Clar!! it mouves!!!

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    yup luck is all it is..... more stuff to go wrong also works against ya
    Xbox 360 gamer ID : Timffy

    Black FZ6 - Turbo car 'slapper'
    Silver BMW 535D Tourer - Fully loaded 340BHP 700NM torque
    2009 8P3 S3 Brilliant Red - Sold
    2001 F/L S3 Dolphin Grey - Sold
    1999 Pre F/L Silver A3 1.8T - Sold

  26. #25
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    Had my S3 18 month now and i agree with the general consensus that the brakes and suspension are the main things which i would change , but considering i do between 50 and 100 mile a week I can't really justify it at the moment but its something i will consider in the future. Reliability wise the first 12 month threw up a few problems such as a new clutch , broken front spring and a few sensors but since then ive had 6 month of happy motoring . Last week It even healed itself of the knocking rear suspension problem it has had since i bought it ! A stage one remap is enough power for me and with a set of newly refurbed RSTT 's fitted im happy with how it looks.

    Cheers
    Sean.
    S3 Big Turbo

  27. #26
    S3 TAM's Avatar
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    I love my S3 had it 11 & months now. I've spent on it in mods and repairs.
    I've had it fail on me once oil pump which screwed a few things up but hey.
    overall love it, best car i've ever had but be prepered to spend some cash down the line.
    Revo Stage 2 with all the Gear
    BHP = 274 / Torque = 293




  28. #27
    Dane's Avatar
    Faster than a V12 Q7

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    I chose an s3 because I need a smart car to meet clients but I dont want a boring runabout. S3 ticks all the boxes for me, Not overly expensive (mines on 78K with the bits I wanted for 6200), smart, unassuming but still rapid with alot of potential for tuning.

    Most of the reliabilty problems on mine have been a result of my actions as opposed to the car falling apart (the process of learning how to change the brakes etc.) so I have no regrets with having to replace parts. Mine has a fairly comprehensive service history with receipts for the cambelt & waterpump, temp sensors & senders, lamda sensors in the past 2 years which gives a fair amount of peace of mind.

    Ive just changed the dampers and springs to Bilsteins and Eibachs for a subtle difference is stance with new arbs and tie bars planned for the future.

    I was planning on standard calipers with DS2500 and some sort of aftermarket disc but JoJo's brembos and discs etc. came up for sale at a good price so I snapped them up.

    I swapped out the TIP for a Forge one and it's had the all important remap.

    I love my car too, it's the first performance car I've owned and I wont be swapping it for a while, bring on the hybrid!

    The most annoying flaw has to be the clutch pedal snapping, caused no end of problems. But its worth bearing in mind that the RAC had a look, went to TPS, came back, fixed it and I only had to pay for parts.
    Last edited by Dane; 28th September 2010 at 14:06.

  29. #28
    s3gav's Avatar
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    Got my s3 when it had 63k on the clock four and ahalf years on its at 99k and its still going strong,
    best car i have owned by far.
    I have never had a problem with the brakes or suspension
    In the years ive had it its never let me down only things ive had to replace is:
    air mass sensor
    afew split hoses
    and a hazzard switch
    i would definatetly buy another audi in the future after owning this one


    SOLD 2002 S3,full black heated leather, bose, 997 turbo's, lcr splitter, coilovers, superchip, blueflame cat back, k&n, forge dv, forge hoses, forge quickshift, forge rear tie bars and forge fmic

  30. #29
    superkarl's Avatar
    MAN OF STEEL

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    some people are so lucky. or rather, im so unlucky. god hates me

  31. #30
    s3gav's Avatar
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    my s3 is my 15th car mate and its the only one thats been good to me so your not alone with the bad luck lol


    SOLD 2002 S3,full black heated leather, bose, 997 turbo's, lcr splitter, coilovers, superchip, blueflame cat back, k&n, forge dv, forge hoses, forge quickshift, forge rear tie bars and forge fmic

  32. #31
    superkarl's Avatar
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    that makes me feel a little better cheers

  33. #32
    s3gav's Avatar
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    haha no worries
    hope you get some good luck soon


    SOLD 2002 S3,full black heated leather, bose, 997 turbo's, lcr splitter, coilovers, superchip, blueflame cat back, k&n, forge dv, forge hoses, forge quickshift, forge rear tie bars and forge fmic

 

 

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