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  1. #1
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    S3 buying advice - common problems and colour choice

    Hi everyone,

    I'm currently looking to buy an S3 - ideally like a 2003 with as low as possible mileage - hoping to find one with 50-60k.

    What common problems should I look for? When should a cambelt change have been done? What's the deal with Haldex servicing? Anything else to look out for?

    What does everyone think is the nicest colour - I'm thinking of Nogaro blue, with all black leather interior.

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  3. #2
    scoobyra's Avatar
    It's not f@cking ORANGE!!!!!

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    There's a thread on here somewhere and I'm sure someone will point you in the right direction.
    JAFFASPORT - 2001 Facelift, 218/237/216bhp AMK, Absolute Red, Thrashed to Death, Car Park Dents Everywhere, Kei Flux's, Knackered Shocks, Scuffed Rear Bumper and in need of a good Hoover!!

    BLACK EVO BEATER -2001 Facelift, 349bhp AMK, Ebony Black, Blue Seats, 4 Wheels, Brakes, Exhaust, Headlights, Sh!t loads of boost and up for sale!

    RGV 250N - Bloody fast and loads of fun........I get wet a lot when it rains....

  4. #3
    finesse's Avatar
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    common faults....

    perished hosed around engine bay (boost & vac leaks) like turbo charged cars

    coil packs
    dying mafs
    window clips
    loud volume stero
    broken suspension springs
    dying alarm siren

  5. #4
    Alex C's Avatar
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    if your looking at that mileage you'll be looking at cambelt replacement when you buy it also
    Alex S3 AMK
    Bilstein B8s, H&R Springs, Neuspeed ARBs, Genuine 18" BBS LMs & LCR Brembos

  6. #5
    finesse's Avatar
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    more?

    worn bushes
    perished breather hoses
    dead bosch dv
    broken rear wiper
    broken boot lock
    secondary air system

  7. #6
    Alex C's Avatar
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    lol, you trying to put him off there

    Audi S3 Buying Guide
    Last edited by Alex C; 15th October 2010 at 21:16.
    Alex S3 AMK
    Bilstein B8s, H&R Springs, Neuspeed ARBs, Genuine 18" BBS LMs & LCR Brembos

  8. #7
    Chugger

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    forgot cracked exhaust manifold and rust on roof channels.

    nogaro blue is nice. I would also consider absolute red or silver.
    57 A3 2.0 TDI Sportback (140)

  9. #8
    <tuffty/>'s Avatar
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    ... but other than that S3's are brilliant! LOL


    But seriously, any of the above faults are common across the entire VAG range... lots of pipes that can (and do) split/leak... if you are after a newer lower mileage example then main things to check are the service intervals as most S3's are on AVS (Audi Variable Servicing) and suffer from it as oil changes can be anywhere around the 20k mark which is plain stupid... get it on std 9k/10k intervals and do yourself a favour... make sure the cambelt/tensioner pully/tensioner damper/water pump has been done on anything 60k and upwards... if not then get it done and use it as a haggling point... ignore anyone that says it doesn't need doing as anything over 60/70k and you are playing russian roulette with your engine (IMHO)...

    Usual other checks when buying cars apply but as said before, split pipes tend to be the main thing that goes on these and should show up as a hunting idle, check for slipping clutches, notchy gearchanges (gearbox selector forks can be a problem) and tyre wear on the inside of the rear tyres as it could be a broken spring (pretty common... little pigtail of the rear springs break) or its been lowered and adjustable tie bars not fitted...

    On a 2003 chances are the only mod its likely to have had is a remap... get the car checked for fault codes (a friend with VAGCOM/VCDS would be useful here) and make sure it feels like it performs ok as the MAF sensor commonly goes on these cars (and others it should be mentioned)...

    Good luck. noggy blue is nice (not as nice as silver though LOL!)

    <tuffty/>
    Silver 2001 AMK S3. Silver alcantara interior... now with added powarrrrrrrr, torques. VAGCOM + KII-USB. >> My build thread...

  10. #9
    Reverse Gear

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    Thanks everyone.

    What about the Haldex servicing?

    I've just had a look at that link Cookstein posted and there seems to be so many things that can go wrong! It's kind of off putting for a girl who's not able to do anything mechanical to the car myself! Think I'll have to bring the brother in law to check any I'm really thinking of buying...

  11. #10
    Chugger

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    haldex servicing is generally every 40,000 i think. Basically its just a oil and filter change in the 4wd tranfer box.

    its true they do seem problematic, but alot of these issues are the same on many audis, vw's and seats. Especially as you are looking at what is now a 7 year old car. But if you find one that has been owned by an enthuiast you will find alot of ther issues have already been addressed.

    if you buy one you will definately need to learn a few basic mechanical skills.

    you havent mentioned anything of optional extras, but these are important to look out for, you may want a sunroof (quite uncommon), bose stereo (not that great), cruise control (well worth having, but can be easily installed after). Also seats vary, you get black or cream solid leather, also alcantara and half leather and complete fabric. Electric adjustment is a common option and also heated seats which is nice.
    57 A3 2.0 TDI Sportback (140)

  12. #11
    s3dave's Avatar
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    Yes silver is best, but if you want to go for a lesser colour....(probably slower...) deff bring someone who knows a bit about cars in general....
    Just to add silver would have gone with any make up too.... where blue is dodgy imo ....lol
    Watch for smoke on start up.....try and view the car from overnight cold...
    Are you from Holland?
    Last edited by s3dave; 16th October 2010 at 09:22.

  13. #12
    finesse's Avatar
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    Ces, the S3 is a really good car, just a few niggles. Just take your time when searching.
    The niggles are common with any 10 year old turbo charged car. When you found the one you want, get a VW/Audi expert to check over.

  14. #13
    voorhees's Avatar
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    I've had mine five years and only once did it fail to start and that was because I left the interior light on (schoolboy error) and killed the battery

  15. #14
    The Doctor's Avatar
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    Change Haldex oil every 20k miles and filter every 40k miles. Personally I just change both at the same time.

    Had my 2003 S3 (silver) for 18months now and it's been fantastic. Love everything about it.

  16. #15
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    For all the niggles that these cars have, they are still brilliiant all round cars and as many have said if you buy carefully then you will not regret it, my 1999 S3 is my 9th Audi and I'm loving it, had it 12 months and done 18,000 mile in that time and it's never let me down, would certainly buy another, and am currently at a loss as to what will replace it in 3 years time, it really is a great car. And as many have said, Silver ones are faster!

    Nige
    Last edited by sportquattro; 16th October 2010 at 19:46. Reason: Being a plonker and putting Black, instead of Silver Doh! been a long day.
    1999 Audi S3 Superchips remap, Forge 007p, Phatnoise, Black Diamond Discs & DS2500 pads, N249 Deleted, Badger 5 TIP, Poly dogbone bush, Bilstein B8's and Eibach Springs.

    1986 Audi Coupe Quattro 2.2 restoration project

  17. #16
    voorhees's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sportquattro View Post
    Black ones are faster!

    Nige
    I agree

  18. #17
    finesse's Avatar
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    got a black one, I'd go for blue if I was on ze market

 

 

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