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Looking to buy an S3 - General Advice needed

Discussion in 'A3/S3/Sportback (8P Chassis)' started by geekcroft, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. geekcroft
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    geekcroft New Member

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    [Jan 13, 2014]
    Hi all,

    First of all hi! New to the forum, though I have been lurking for about a month now :)

    I am looking to trade up from my Cooper S to an S3 - and am looking for some advice.

    I have seen a few I like - they are all '59 plate (Late 2009 builds) with 30-60k on the clock.

    First off - is the BOSE upgrade worth it? My largest complaint (aside from the repair/running costs and BMW's lack of enthusiasm to Mini owners in general) is the lack of quality in the default Mini stereo. It is lacking in every way - from how shoddy it sounds to how little I can turn it up! How fares the Audi default? I have been looking mainly at BOSE fitted S3's - but this is just because I am slightly put off "Defaults" from my current setup. I am not looking to do a post-purchase ICE installation, and I am no 18 year old needing shattering volumes around the estate - but if I want to crank it up whilst cruising down the M6 then I feel I should be able to. I have read nothing but good things about the BOSE, but dropping that looks to open up options in terms of what I can get for my budget.

    Nextly - Transmissions. Whereas I have no preference over Manual/Automatic I would not mind Cruise Control. I have only seen Cruise control versions on Automatic gearboxes - is this the norm? Either way, how does the auto box fare in terms of reliability and lifetime? The car will quickly become a "high mileage car" (I do 30,000+ miles a year typically) is it going to cope with that sort of miles being piled onto it?

    Now, onto general reliability - is there anything I need to be aware of, especially given that I am looking up to 50/60k starting mileage and then taking it (hopefully) well over 100k? Timing belt replacement for instance?

    Lastly - I have driving a "generic S3" and yes, I want one. However there seems to be few for sale in the UK, even less within a comfortable driving range for multiple visits. I will need to buy from a garage as I will be looking to finance it - so would you recommend seeing the car before pulling the trigger (i.e. is there anything notable to check out), or is it suffice to make the call on the day I turn up to pick the car up and drive home?

    Cheers for the help!

    Stephen aka Geekcroft
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  3. S3Alex
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    S3Alex Rarely neutral

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    [Jan 13, 2014]
    Hi.

    There are quite a few threads on what to look for,but basically,FSH is essential.

    Don't be afraid of mapped or modified cars as long as it's been done by someone reputable,and the history and bills are all available as well.

    Make sure that any essentials such as cam follower,oil changes,haldex service etc,have been done if due.

    Reliability,if treated well,is superb.

    Mine has covered 60 000 miles,half of which is at Stg3 or above(i.e.440-500bhp),and whilst a LOT of work has been done to get it to that,the car itself has been totally reliable.
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  4. sliced
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    sliced Drive safe, stay alive.

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    [Jan 13, 2014]
    -Bose audio is nothing to write home about, however it is a step up from most cars audio systems. The standard audio system isn't too bad either, but the best i'd say in the audi range is the bang & olufsen setup found in A4 black editions.
    - S Tronic is pretty awesome, personal preference when it comes to auto vs manual, but auto is very very smooth and rapid gear changes, you can always put it in semi manual when you feel like blasting around on country roads.
    -for 2009ish ones with 30-60k make sure its had the correct services done at the correct intervals, haldex and gearbox services near the 40k mark/4years.
    -personally I'd test the car first, go over imperfections and get them sorted by the garage before taking delivery.
    #3
  5. MrLapou
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    MrLapou Well-Known Member

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    [Jan 13, 2014]
    Just Audi Lincoln have, what looks like mint silver one...
    Parts for Cruise Control can be had for about £110, however you need VCDS and a knowledge of how to install and handle airbags.
    Forum members on here are professional installers. I'd suggest having them do it.
    #4
  6. batch
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    batch Active Member

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    [Jan 13, 2014]
    Mine's manual and has cruise, so they are fairly common. I bought new so a lot of your questions I couldn't help with, all I will say is as above - take the time and effort to choose carefully, but you really won't be disappointed once you do! Good luck Stephen.
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  7. geekcroft
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    geekcroft New Member

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    [Jan 13, 2014]
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  8. crunchie
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    crunchie Active Member

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    [Jan 13, 2014]
    Seems pretty steep to me. Is it an SB you're after?
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  9. geekcroft
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    geekcroft New Member

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  10. geekcroft
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    geekcroft New Member

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    [Jan 13, 2014]
    Oooo Sprint Blue.

    Had to think about that for a long, long time.

    No - not necessarily. Don't mind Black or another darkish colour (though would prefer Black without the "Privacy Glass"). White is a no-no, as is Red. But I am quite fond of the Blue colour :) Is there a premium to that colour?

    Also - I have been looking for a couple of month's at this now - and I keep landing about that price point. The only time I find them considerably cheaper is when the mileage is high, or when it is a Cat D car (of which I keep finding ridiculously good cars for cheap prices and going "should I, shouldn't I")
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  11. sliced
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    sliced Drive safe, stay alive.

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    [Jan 13, 2014]
    SB- Sportback (5 door) :thumbsup:
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  12. geekcroft
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    geekcroft New Member

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    [Jan 13, 2014]
    Hahaha I shall see myself out now :)

    5 Door would be preferable - though tbh its the 3 seats in the back that are crucial. Coming from 2 in the Cooper S with kids and its a got to have.

    I haven't actually been specifying anything in particular when I have been doing my Autotrader searches - just Make, Model, Age and "Bose" in "advanced"
    #11
  13. Dave-S3
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    Dave-S3 Active Member

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    [Jan 13, 2014]
    I wouldn't say it was that steep? S tronic S3's are quite rare, especially loaded with options.

    As a guide for you, i bought a 2009 09 S3 S tronic with cruise satnav bose, bucket seats, black edition pack with 27k miles on it back in october last year from Audi for just a smidge under 20k.

    Belts should be done on the car at 5 years old regardless of mileage and as a few people have said, haldex (quattro) services should be done on time, same with the s-tronic boxes (oil change every 40k)

    Happy hunting, it takes a while to find the right S3, as you said theres not that many about in the UK, especially post 58 plate facelifts with a load of options, theres a reason for it though ;)
    #12
  14. MartayMcFly
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    MartayMcFly Well-Known Member Regional Rep VCDS Map User

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    [Jan 13, 2014]
    Don't buy a Cat C/D car. And I'd say always look at a car in the metal before buying - check for general condition that doesn't show in photos, and that you can't always get just from the mileage. I don't think there were any model-wide failures to watch out for... the usual cracked springs, fuel pump failures, alternator issues etc are in-line with, or below occurrence in competing models from other makers. Audis are well put together, but no car is perfect. As long as it's had the appropriate work for the age (belts etc) then seeing the car on collection should be enough.

    Sprint Blue was one of the S3 standard colours (may have been a cost option for metallic), but shouldn't have any price premium over other colours. There are occasionally 'Exclusive' cars for sale, but Sprint isn't one of them. As for BOSE, it may not be absolutely necessary but I'm pretty sure the vast majority of cars has the option ticked. It's pretty good for a factory system. Could maybe do with more bass, if you're into that sort of thing, but I'd say most people find it adequate. Cruise wasn't very popular with manuals, but is certainly possible/available. I'd say look for a car with sat nav too (the Plus model, with the colour screen) and bluetooth.

    S-Tronic is the dual-clutch Audi box, same as DSG etc. I don't know for sure if it was ever available, but the Audi auto/sequential box is called R-Tronic. I'd say a car like the S3 deserves not to have an auto box, but whether you want manual of flappy paddles is up top you.
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  15. buz
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    buz Flat out

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    [Jan 13, 2014]
    I went from a 2007 Cooper S clubman to my 2012 S3 and you would not believe the difference between the standard MINI stereo and the Bose! The Bose is fantastic and performs faultlessly to my varied taste in music?
    Listen to the others regarding servicing/faults etc but I can say its a step up in quality and performance from the MINI, plus the Audi service dept won't see you as a poor cousin as BMW do to MINI owners.
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  16. batch
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    batch Active Member

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    [Jan 13, 2014]
    Stephen - start looking for early Black Edition models. All you need!
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  17. geekcroft
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    geekcroft New Member

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    [Jan 13, 2014]
    Batch - I looked at the Black Edition models. Whereas I am in love with the grey-style alloys, most come with tinted windows which take away a bit of the specialness for me and make it look like a pimped up boy's car :/ Personal Opinion, but I keep looking! Also, most put it over my price range... :(

    Buz - Yes, BMW do treat you like that don't they. I'm a 58 plate S and aside from 6 timing chain replacements I have also had the engine decoked, the clutch replaced, and the boot fixed (though it still leaks water and refuses to shut if I use the keyfob to remotely open it). A mear 10k miles after the decoke its started stalling when in traffic / idle again... Time to get rid!

    McFly - I'm only slightly tempted because of the cost - everything else screams "Don't do it". To be fair, I need the car to be 100% reliable so it would put me off somewhat with that :) As for manual vs automatic - yes I am drawn to the Manual. But as of yet I have not found a manual with the options I want in it - the BOSE and yes, the Sat Nav. Is the 2008 models powered by Google, or have I misread that?

    Dave - if I am buying a 59 plate that makes the 5th anniversary later this year? Is it too much to expect the Timing Belt and Quattro services to be done, or am I going to face that as a first year cost? DSG Oil I would not worry about as the car is 55k (If I remember rightly, checked a few out recently) so I have until about 80k for that :) As for waiting though, I am in a bit of a pickle there. Current car is due for MOT/TAX end of month, and its a bonus month for me. So - I have the cash to either stump up deposit or MOT/TAX the current car (as it will no doubt require some work - you know how these things are) - but not both. Would be another 3 months until I have the cash spare again, and I would rather not wait that long as I expect the Mini will require some expensive work done before hten (Not to mention the fact that its due a service, fuel pump, and probably another decoke :( )

    However, thanks all for your help and advice! I am getting hte impression that no matter what car I buy I will be happy, and I will get treated properly. Will buying from Audi give me more of this than buying from a third party Garage?
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  18. geekcroft
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    geekcroft New Member

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    [Jan 14, 2014]
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  19. Artimus
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    Artimus Short Back

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    [Jan 14, 2014]
    For quality over noise, I'd say you need it to come with Bose! It won't rattle the fillings in your teeth, but it will sound crystal clear when you turn it up on a drive.

    The DSG box is relaxing for high mileage & the paddles work well on a spirited drive! It's a great all-rounder & not like Auto's of old, Most people that drive one agree it's better than manual & won't switch back! but it needs to have it's oil\filter changed every 40k, not 80.

    I think since you're going to pay top dollar for a car, you're better off looking for one from an Audi main dealer, you'll get a warranty second to none on the used car market.
    #18
  20. batch
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    batch Active Member

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    [Jan 14, 2014]
    +1 for BOSE. Although at first glance that grey one looks good even though missing it...
    #19
  21. geekcroft
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    geekcroft New Member

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    [Jan 14, 2014]
    Artimus - do you work for Sales @ Audi? Making me want that DSG Gearbox more and more.... And as for buying from Audi direct, you are not wrong with that - however it bumps the price up a couple of grand which leaves me either over my budget or looking at an older (pre-facelift I beleive) car. Work has restrictions on what I can actually purchase (as they are providing me with a car allowance) and age is one of them.. I could get away with an 08/58 plate care (as I know my boss well), but I would rather it be a 09/59

    Batch/Artimus - Yes, the BOSE is looking like something I would prefer. To be honest, I like the first car I posted up a lot - however when you compare the two you are essentially paying a grand extra for the BOSE, Cruise Control and colour. The blue car is a year older, packs more miles, and a grand more expensive....
    #20
  22. Dave-S3
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    Dave-S3 Active Member

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    [Jan 14, 2014]
    It may do, a 59 plate could also be a 2010 model though but you'd be looking at more than 20k especially a low miler with lots of options and DSG.. if you dont want DSG you might be able to pick a 59/10 plate up for that sort of money with low miles.

    If you buy an 09 one from Audi & its on/almost due its next service i.e within a month or so or belt change you could use that a bargaining tool, id imagine to get a good sale they'l chuck a cambelt & service in since it costs them diddly squat really!!

    Your belt would need doing either way on a 55k miler as within 6 months it will be on 70k and its 75k or 5 years

    Cambelt on an S3 is around £400-500 depending on which centre you use!

    Hope that helps

    Personally i would get one from Audi as for the extra you do have 12 months peace of mind!
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  23. geekcroft
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    geekcroft New Member

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    [Jan 14, 2014]
    Most the third parties will offer 12 months nowadays.

    I will keep digging!
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  24. 147bear
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    147bear Member

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    [Jan 14, 2014]
    If i was you mate i would stick to main Audi dealer for piece of mind for the money they cost ,i bought 1 a few months ago from a garage non Audi and had a nightmare the car ended up going back thankfully i got my money back!! and found a rare S3 seapang blue from Audi by pure chance it came in the day after i got my ££s back and i snapped it up LOVE IT!!!.Piece of mind extra few ££s but worth it warranty and Audi wont touch **** as trade ins so you get the best!!
    #23
  25. Dave-S3
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    Dave-S3 Active Member

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    [Jan 14, 2014]
    12 month 3rd party warranties aren't worth the paper its written on. You want/need an Audi warranty if you want the peace of mind.

    Ive heard some horror stories recently of people buying private/from independent dealers.
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  26. sliced
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    sliced Drive safe, stay alive.

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    [Jan 14, 2014]
    If you are looking at prefacelift cars you wont be able to get a 5door, or an automatic, AFAIK all pre-facelift S3's were 3dr Manuals.
    #25
  27. geekcroft
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    geekcroft New Member

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    [Jan 14, 2014]
    I would rather go to Audi direct - but there seems to be a steep premium and its a trade off between mileage and a cost. I am considering all options still, as if I can find a car 5k cheaper than I can at Audi then for me its a no brainer because short of an entire engine re-fit I cant see where I could spend the 5k in the first year :)
    #26
  28. Dave-S3
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    Dave-S3 Active Member

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    [Jan 14, 2014]
    Totally agree with you, however with the spec you want, even indy dealers are asking high prices because the car will sell for it.

    Good example was a 2009 40k mile sprint blue 5door stronic with a few extras that someone off here bought from an indy for very similar cash to what i got my 2009 27k mile 3door stronic for with wingback RS4 style bucket seats (a very expensive and desirable option on any audi!) from Audi themselves
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  29. geekcroft
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    geekcroft New Member

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    [Jan 15, 2014]
    Dave-S3 - you are right there is not much in it. A few cars I find at "indy's" that are a few grand cheaper - but on the whole much of them are the same.

    My search continues - going viewing/driving one tomorrow (Along with an A3 2.0 TSFI - I have to satisfy my curiosity that it is more that just 0-60 speed between the two cars :p) and although I dont plan on buying that one (It's white - which I am not too fond of, and not hte spec/price I want)

    Cheers for all your help guys - much appreciated!
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  30. nluk100
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    nluk100 Active Member

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    [Jan 15, 2014]
    Try and get the optional bucket seats if you can as they make a bigger difference to the whole package (not just looks!)

    Also, stuff like cruise, RNSE and bluetooth can be added later at minimal cost, but BOSE is not something most ppl would attempt to retrofit.

    HTH
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  31. geekcroft
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    geekcroft New Member

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    [Jan 15, 2014]
    Not sure I like the Bucket Seats - its not the front but the plastic at the back. Personal Preference and all....

    Cruise may be a retrofit - but I think if I do get the BOSE up front I will be happier long term :) Thanks nluk100!
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  32. Dave-S3
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    Dave-S3 Active Member

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    [Jan 15, 2014]
    Buckets would certainly make the car more desirable when selling but as you say it is personal. Personally i love mine, theres a guy with an R8 at work, parked next to him the other day & even his doesnt have buckets, they look like standard s-line leather seats!
    #31
  33. geekcroft
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    geekcroft New Member

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    [Jan 15, 2014]
    I know I know, but the 30 year old in me (with 5 kids and wife) says that I'm too old for buckets in a car.... :p
    #32
  34. Dave-S3
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    Dave-S3 Active Member

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    [Jan 15, 2014]
    To be honest i think you would be hard pressed to find a facelift model with buckets and s-tronic, i only know of one.... and thats mine
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  35. geekcroft
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    geekcroft New Member

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    [Jan 15, 2014]
    You sellin'?

    :p
    #34
  36. S3Alex
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    S3Alex Rarely neutral

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    [Jan 15, 2014]
    Trust me...you aren't.


    And I'm a lot older....
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  37. Dave-S3
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    Dave-S3 Active Member

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    [Jan 15, 2014]
    as much as it would actually make sense to at the moment with moving house, i can't part with it, I've only had it since beginning of october, i love it to bits! Keep looking you will find one!
    #36
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