Monster MotorsportJMB Retrofits
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  1. #1
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    Newcomer to the VAG world.

    Well I had to see what all the fuss was about (and needed something more practical than my trackday car for day to day stuff) so stepped away from my usual brand of car and got myself an A4 Avant Quattro 2.8.

    So seems OK so far apart from having what seems like all the usual problems.

    Got a few specific questions if anyone has the will to reply.

    Central dash display.. yes the usual issues. I'm going to try the re-solder of the ribbon cable approach first and see how that goes. Will let you know.

    Lower door trim is falling off.

    Occasionally has a fit as it goes into gear/kicks down. clunks as it engages. (auto/tiptronic transmission).

    Has what looks like an amber 'car' warning light (in the tacho) sometimes when you first turn on the ignition. When this shows it is hard to start. Once started there is no problem.
    But have no idea what most of the symbols are as have no manual.


    I have no idea of it's service history at all so will probably give it a full service soon. Once I've found a service schedule or the like. Might drag out Autodata for that one. It's done 121k miles.


    and now on to the more pressing/serious problem.
    As speed increases you get a vibration through the steering wheel, what is most like a wheel balance problem. But as speed increases it gets worse, this may still be wheel imbalance as I'm not used to the 4wd system etc.. but it's not what I've experienced in dozens of other cars.
    When trying to remove the lockign wheel bolts (without the key) I noticed the front upper control arm is not as it should be.
    Now the question...
    Is this ball joint a possible cause for the vibration/wheel shake I'm getting.
    I'm replacing it tomorrow once I locate a new pinch bolt for it (yes I've already discovered that it is siezed solid).
    Also is there a quick/easy method for changing the upper control arm or does the suspension have to come out?

    Cheers for now.
    Last edited by Jonion; 19th May 2010 at 19:12.

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  3. #2
    "Stick a V8 in it!"

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    The "Car" light is the immobiliser. If you stick the key in and turn the ignition on, it should go out after 2-3seconds. If it doesnt go out, the ECU will cut the engine. As you dont normally wait 2-3secs before starting the car, what usually results is you turn key, engine starts, then stalls.

    It could be a dodgy pickup coil round the ignition barrel, a dodgy key, or theres rumored to be a problem with the wiring loom that causes interference. If its giving you trouble wait for the light to go off before starting.

    The vibration could well be the arms, ours were a bit worn and i replaced them with cheap ebay ****. 4 months later i had a really bad vibration at speed, but unlike the usual balancing, you couldnt pull thru it. If you went faster it got worse, and by 90 it felt like the wheels were about to fall off. Inspection showed that all four upper arms had worn out even more than the original ones. It also wore my tyres egg shaped, as the vibration you can feel is the wheels toe/camber oscillating back and forward between the extremes of movement on the balljoint.

    To do the upper control arms you need to remove the top mounting plate, and to get that out you need to unbolt the shock from the bottom arm, then remove the three bolts in the engine bay, which then drops it all out.

    If the pinch bolt snaps then you'll probably have to pull the whole upright and use proper tools to get it out. I had to drill one of mine out on a pillar drill it was that siezed.

    2000 A4 1.8T Sport Quattro Avant, Berry Pearl
    2000 A4 1.8T Sport Quattro Saloon, Black-ish
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  4. #3
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    Thanks aragorn.
    I'm off to fetch some new nails as you seem to have hit mine on their heads.

    The car starting is exactly as you say. It starts then cuts out.
    My problem could be worse though... I only have one key and I'm not sure the immobiliser is active as such. The key does not activate the LED by the door lock.

    Also the vibration is exactly the same, you can't drive through it like normal wheel balance issues. My main car is very sensitive to this so I know all about it and this seems different as you say.
    Got a new one at my local motor factors. It will do for now as I need to eliminate any problems first before I decide if I'm keeping it or not.

    The pinch blt didn't snap but it took a lot of 'effort' to get it to move. It should come out now with a bit of brute force and ignorance.
    I'm guessing that the bolts are dealer only. I have an Audi & a VW dealers near me so hopefulyl one of them will have one in stock.

    The display fixing attempt was mixed, it's a little better but not much. Need to dig out my fine tip for the iron to do it properly though.

  5. #4
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    I think Aragorn has answered all of your questions (as he usually does very eloquently!)

    My pixels in the dash are strange though... if the car's cold, they're there in full brightness. If the car gets warm, or the sun's out - they fade away. Really strange!

    Hope you enjoy your new purchase!
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  6. #5
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    Well the starting issue hasn't happened at all today.

    Got the upper control arm changed. Had to drill the pinch bolt enough to make it let go though.
    And the vibration was only slightly better. Got the wheel balance checked, both fronts were out a little so sorted that but one front wheel has a bit of a buckle (so does the spare so that won't help).
    Tempted to bite the bullet and get a new(other) set of wheels but would be spitting feathers if I spent yet more on my cheap runaround only to find that doesn't sure it either.

    Hopefully I can get it sorted so I have the chance to enjoy it rather than be left with a bitter taste.

  7. #6
    "Stick a V8 in it!"

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    Theres two upper control arms... you did change both didnt you?

    Dawns old fiesta had a buckled wheel, and it did similar, vibration at high speed that wouldnt go away.

    The control arm vibration i had was a proper death wobble. Whole car started shaking and it felt bloody scary.

    2000 A4 1.8T Sport Quattro Avant, Berry Pearl
    2000 A4 1.8T Sport Quattro Saloon, Black-ish
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  8. #7
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    No I only changed one.
    The other is fine for now. Trust me, I work with cars, just specialise in certain makes so the Audi foibles could be new ones to me.

    Which is why I'm trying to stay away from the idea that it could be a driveshaft issue, the last few times I've felt a vibration like this was on Mk2 Escorts & the Aston Martins I'm familiar with.
    Once I get chance I'll have to stick it on the lift and see what the underneath has in store for me!
    I suppose it may be a driveshaft joint or housing/bearing/carrier (whatever these have).

    Still eyeing up some new wheels anyway so with any luck....

    Cheers for the input.

  9. #8
    "Stick a V8 in it!"

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    Ah fair enough, i just figure if ones died, the other wont be far behind it, and for the price of the arms i couldnt be arsed pulling it all apart again in a few months when the other one packs up.

    Try swapping the wheels around and see if you can get the vibration to change? Might help narrow it down to the rims or car?

    2000 A4 1.8T Sport Quattro Avant, Berry Pearl
    2000 A4 1.8T Sport Quattro Saloon, Black-ish
    1997 S4 - PPC £999 Challenge Track Car Build
    TD5 Land Rover Defender build


  10. #9
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    Oh I totally agree, I'm just trying to do as little as possible (time & money) to get the car at least near right before deciding whether to keep it or not.
    Don't want to kep doing things that don't cure it then find it's something bad.

    I have found some good wheels so will swap them over at the weekend and see what happens.
    The ones I have now, at least two are a little buckled so might not help moving them around.

  11. #10
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    Well so far my plan of not spending any money on this thing has well and truly gone down the pan.

    So I picked up a really good set of Speedline wheels. 7.5Jx17" with good Conti sport2 tyres on .. 225/50.
    bit of a tight fit but with a 3mm spacer on th4e fronst and 5mm spacer on the rears they are on and OK.
    Again once decided I will get hubcentric 10mm for the rear. and maybe 5s for the front.
    But while they reduced the vibration it's still there.

    So had it properly 4 wheel aligned. It was out on most things. Now running fully in spec apart from a touch more neg camber up front. (1.3 degrees).

    But still the vibration persists.
    But it's not scarily bad now, more annoying.
    Sometimes it almsot goes, then comes back again. Seems worse at around 80-90mph (on my private road or autobahn).
    I do also have an occasional knock/rattle at low speeds over bumps/speedhumps coming from the front.
    And a grumble when turning with full lock on.


    I've also decided that getting a car with temperamental air-con was possibly not the best idea.

    Any input is most welcome.

  12. #11
    "Stick a V8 in it!"

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    You just need to be methodical.

    Have you had the new rims balanced?

    If the wheels are balanced then look at the suspension, check all the wheel bearings, and all the suspension arms. Might even be worthwhile asking your local MOT place to stick it on their ATL to give the front arms a really good kicking and see if you can see any movement?

    If its still there after that, it leaves a CV joint or Propshaft UJ?

    2000 A4 1.8T Sport Quattro Avant, Berry Pearl
    2000 A4 1.8T Sport Quattro Saloon, Black-ish
    1997 S4 - PPC £999 Challenge Track Car Build
    TD5 Land Rover Defender build


  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by aragorn View Post
    Have you had the new rims balanced?
    No, I was thinking along those lines but I know the car they were on was perfect so draws me away from that.
    The place that did the alignment was adamant all the arms/bearings etc seemed fine to them, and on my usual checks on them they do seem OK.
    That's not to say that it couldn't be a cumulative effect.

    We only have one place near with a 'shakey' machine. I will ask them but they're the grumpy & expensive type.

    Might be able to get it on our lift at the weekend and take a damn good look over (or rather under) it.

    Well at least the glass is now clean and my Aero wipers are on.

 

 

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