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Need advice, should I buy this S3?

Discussion in 'A3/S3 Forum (8L Chassis)' started by Dennis Moeller, Nov 12, 2008.

  1. Dennis Moeller
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    Dennis Moeller Member

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    [Nov 12, 2008]
    Hi Guys

    I'm thinking about buying my first S3. Currently have an A3 8P but it's an 1.6 and I'm bored with it so it's up for sale.

    I really need some advice whether to buy this S3 8L or not. ...I'll appreciate any advice!

    The car I'm looking at:

    2001 with 105.000km on the clock and never been chipped. OK inside and out except for: slightly worn Alcantara (but fine leather parts), a small dent on the rear bumper (needs respray) and some minor scratches (can probably be fixed with a polisher).

    It was imported from Italy to Norway by a company 5 years ago...was serviced in Germany one time (according to seller the company who brought it to Norway always have their services done on their import cars because it's cheaper in Germany...)

    The service book is not complete. It had a service in Italy at 15.000km, one at 34.000km and then the next was done in Germany at 60.000km. Then the car was serviced in Norway at 90.000km and as far as I can tell there's missing something, right?

    Seller hasn't changed waterpump and belt and says that Audi Norway told him not to change it before 180.000km...I just laughed and said they were wrong...it's supposed to be changed at 100.000km or within 5 years...And I will pay a lower price for that reason...he accepted.

    Furthermore I asked whether he changed engine oil, tranny oil, haldex filter/oil...he barely knew what I was talking about. I told him how important it is that you look after something like that especially on cars like these...especially if there's holes in the servicebook etc. etc...

    The price will be low(er) and we've come to an agreement that allows me get it all sorted out. I'm going over the car in detail getting the service of it's life done...BUT:

    Is this a risky buy? The car runs perfect (beeing totally standard) and had no VAGcom codes when we checked. The power delivery is smooth and the tranny felt good and firm. Idles perfect. No sounds what so ever from running gear or suspension..except a rattle from an exhaust shield or something...had the same problem on a previous A3...just a small weld and it was all good!

    Long story very short; what do you think...what can I look for / expect?

    Safe or :scared2:
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  3. jojo
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    jojo S3 Drift King! Staff Member Moderator

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    [Nov 12, 2008]
    Without looking at the car, I guess at the right price with you factoring in the cambelt and servicing as part of the deal, it sounds fine to me. You seem to know about cars yourself, so I guess your judgement at the end of the day will be your answer. Will you have problems selling it on with the hole in the history at a later date?
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  4. Clach
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    Clach A3 - 1.8Ts

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    [Nov 12, 2008]
    this foreign story always seems a mare to me...but gut instinct is a wonderful thing, however, i suspect you may be having second thoughts...so be careful...
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  5. Dennis Moeller
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    Dennis Moeller Member

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    [Nov 13, 2008]
    Well the hole in the history concerns me to say the least. I'm sure it will bother a future buyer too. BUT if I can make it right by doing all the right things with the car when I buy it and make a proper S3 out of it, it could mean less further down the road. I already have a lenghty mod list in addition to the obvious service maintenence...What I'm gonna do first is to go over the car once more with a "doctor's ear and knowledge" with some help from a friend who is an "expert" and who currently drive an old RS2..He know what to look for and how to point out flaws. Then make fair and reasonable judgements. Then go with the gut feeling :laugh:

    I will be careful but no one knows what might appear after a lenghty and rough northern winter...It's going to be driven, not shine in the garage. So I have second thoughts and I have been thinking about getting another. But this is CHEAP compared to mint S3's...and it's in near perfect visual condition...just all the mechanical stuff I'm worried about....

    Hmmm....so far I'm all in...let's have fun and regret later right :thumbsup:
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  6. Clach
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    Clach A3 - 1.8Ts

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    [Nov 13, 2008]
    Cheap for a reason.... - what is it? For me, i like all the receipts, shows people really look after a car...but that's me.
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  7. voorhees
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    voorhees Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    [Nov 13, 2008]
    when was it serviced at 90,000?
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  8. Dennis Moeller
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    Dennis Moeller Member

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    [Nov 13, 2008]
    Well it's not that cheap but I've negotiated the price pretty far down already because of the missing history. And a little cheaper because the market for used cars has come to a full stop. Nobody can sell their cars for what they are asking right now...Well that includes me of course, mine is still in the garage...The price was originally around 23.000 sterlings. Prices for pre-facelift is around 20.000 to 21.000 right now...these are usually high milers and of course pre-facelifts. But I managed to get him down to 20.000 and we still haven't disgussed everything. Beauty is he only sells to me, won't bother with ads, people or anything. I have first right in other words, and he believes that I speak the truth regarding the missing service history etc. which I do!

    The service book is not complete. It had a service in Italy at 15.000km, one at 34.000km and then the next was done in Germany at 60.000km. Then the car was serviced in Norway at 90.000km and as far as I can tell there's missing something, right?

    Copied from above...yes last service at 90.000km. Service book states first service at 15K and the next around 30K so no Long life...then a big jump to 60K like it was on a LongLife schedule. Which the 90K also states...

    I don't suppose the S3 should be on LL service...am I wrong? Speedo now is 105K (65000miles)...
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  9. jojo
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    jojo S3 Drift King! Staff Member Moderator

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    [Nov 14, 2008]
    23.000 sterlings as in £23K?! That's like the price of an almost new one over here a few years back! Would it not be cheaper to buy one in the UK or anywhere like Germany and get it shipped to Norway, £5-7K for pre-facelift over here, £7-10K for facelift model in decent condition. Or is it a Tax/Import thing over in Norway that makes car prices expensive?
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  10. voorhees
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    voorhees Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    [Nov 14, 2008]
    what was the date on the 90,000 service?
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  11. Dennis Moeller
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    Dennis Moeller Member

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    [Nov 16, 2008]
    Yup...the worlds richest country...with juicy car prices...Brand new S3 8P cost around £60.000...without Bucket seats or Navi...

    Don't know. Just noticed it had the 90K service.
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  12. Dennis Moeller
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    Dennis Moeller Member

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    [Dec 21, 2008]
    Well I bought it ;-)

    So far I'm satisfied but there's some things that I didn't take into account when I bought it! Like I noticed a chromed thingy in the engine bay which doesn't look OEM and which make a really faint sound...like the rally cars when the turbos exhale...just barely hearable (I didn''t hear it the two times I test drove it). I suspect it's been chipped. Now, I never drove a standard 210hp S3 before so I couldn't compare it really. Just know the car seems fast. It picks up boost quick, it has grunt in the midrange (kicks really nice) and the power continues all the way up to rev limit...Could be standard also. I'm going to hook it to a VagCom but someone said that some chips don't show up when you run a diagnose...

    I don't mind if it's been chipped (seller claimed he didn't know) but I would have liked to know when and who did it. I wouldn't have bought the car if I knew it were chipped and the seller didn't know the details...Well Well...

    I want things to be 100% all over the car. That attitude / sickness (we all recognize) costs $$$ :)

    Here we go...

    The xenon's shot. I did see poor light from them upon testdriving but just figured that some new bulps would do the trick. Guess I wrong. Now I know that they are filled with water, they are foggy and most annoying; the adjustment motor in both headlight are gone. The light just come on but they don adjust them selves...Need I say that Xenon headlights are real expensive...Dunno what to do about this because it won't pass the bi annual control with those headlights. I'm hoping that I can disassembly them and cleen them a little bit and also change the headlight range adjuster / motor. So fa no luck in sourcing such replacement parts...Suggestions are welcome lads.

    What else...the suspension needs a refurbishment with bushes, rods, balls etc. This is no biggie as I can fix this myself and I will upgrade the suspension and ARB at the same time...so looking forward to that.

    Bose stereo has a weird volumecontrol that lives a life on it's own...Going to change the whole headunit, maybe go the double DIN route...

    The drivers seat can't be folded from nearest position, you have to lean in to the coupe and use the other handle on the seat...could be an easy fix?

    Cambelt / Pump / haldex service / big service on the engine / gear oil change are booked for 14.01.09 but this I was aware of if...

    Tinting (windows) are booked right after new year...Also going to order a new steering wheel as it is too shiny and destroyed from fingerrings, parts number if anyone have would be really appriciated.So far I've found a S-line wheel (I will change the badge to S3) but it apparently needs a new horn bracket (which the seller have too) but if I change the bracket the Airbag connector nedds modification (he says...).

    Positive things; nearly mint condition bodywork (99%). Paint has massive swirls, some RDS too but nothing a good lenghty machinepolishing can't fix.

    Engine seems sound and healthy. As I mentioned it could have been chipped.

    No sounds or anything from axles, diff or other drivetrain.

    Interior is nice, just love the seats and the Alcantara.

    Car also feels solid except from bumpy roads etc where you really notice that you're in an 7 year old car. Otherwise quiet and nice to drive along in.

    I have a lot of questions now I've switched to 8L (coming from an 8P) but I will make seperate new threads for those questions :yes:

    Thanks for the advice you gave, I took the plunge and haven't regretted.

    Going to get this S3 up to a 100%...:rockwoot:
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  13. NHN
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    NHN Retrofitter - Audi - VW - Skoda - Seat Site Sponsor VCDS Map User

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    [Dec 21, 2008]
    xenons can be fixed anyway as motors on 8L are seperate parts where the 8P isnt, so you're lucky, also the ballasts are replaceable aswell www.hids4u.co.uk, ian is the man there, but I suspect when cleaned up they will work fine.

    Explain seat issue more please as dont get whats wrong.

    Stereo is common fault on concerts just switch head units about £100, that'll fix that.

    The silver thing is your DV, if its got this changed then its probably been remapped anyway as oem ones are ***** when mapped
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  14. Dennis Moeller
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    Dennis Moeller Member

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    [Dec 21, 2008]
    I was just about to make a seperate thread referring to your excellent explanation on the xenon levelling issus from another thread:

    <<thats not true, the system needs to be set in an mot mode with vagcom then the lights adjusted manually to mot spec then take the headlights out of this mode, also the levelling system also acts as a holder for the lense, if the manual adjustments have been wound to far then it does 2 things it pulls the leveling motor ball joint of the lense thus the lense is actually loose in the housing & 2nd it also pulls the lense of the rubber fixings inside the housing & no matter how much you adjust them you wont get them back on the 2 places without headlight out to get into the light, you cant knock the lense out of position just by changing the sidelights no way as the levelling motors are held in fairly well & the manual adjustments cant be moved without screwdriver, so its another thing, get someone local to you with vagcom to set to mot mode then get adjusted then get set back to auto mode.>>

    So I can take it that what you said in the above clip is that I need new motors no matter what? Shouldn't I try and get them back in to place manually and the reset them with Vagcom? I mean before replacing them with new ones? I will bake the headlights in the oven and disassemble them and clean them, maybe spray the surroundings matte black while I'm at it.

    Do you have parts numbers for the new levelling motors?

    You know when you want to recline the Recaro seat you pull a small lever in the side rest of the driver seat. There's another one on the opposite side of the side too which I have too use. The one nearest to me doesn't work...
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  15. NHN
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    NHN Retrofitter - Audi - VW - Skoda - Seat Site Sponsor VCDS Map User

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    [Dec 21, 2008]
    Ah now get yer, just remove the plastic trim around that side of the seat lever & reposition the lever on the release catch which has a what I would call bicycle wire cable to release the seat back/forth, common aswell, **** design on there, the trim kinda twists round on itself to remove, but you can actually lift it slowly of & maybe get the lever back on without full removal as I did, most times its this thats stopped lever working

    Xenons, if your gonna take apart then use a heat gun to soften the sealant, but tbh take lights out, you can see inside to check the motors are still on the ball joints rail, you will see what I mean, the motors go in at an angle to fit into place then twist round a half turn or so to lock in position, check this after clearing the water out, but if you say there full of water then that worries me a tad tbh, cause water may have shorted the wiring out & also screwed the motors, but check the levelling sensors on the front & rear axles, one sensor on front/back not both sides, if these are broken which they do when suspension worked on or overtime then they wont work anyway, check you are getting power on the plugs of the motors, number of things to check tbh before doing anything major, if the headlights work to a degree then I think you can get sorted anyway & the motors dont go very often if at all tbh as had mine for 7 years not one problem upto the date sold car & still working as far as I know

    motors arent to much but then again we're talking norway huh where I guess parts are as much as the cars, lol, but have seen them on ebay.de & uk fairly cheap from time to time so if they have gone then can get cheap enough

    but thing also to check is when you have made sure the motors are correctly fitted, plug in a headlight that you've removed from the car so its in your hand or whatever & get someone else to start car while you're holding headlights & get them to turn on the headlights & see if you can see the motors move or make a noise for few seconds which they do most times when lights on, this would help you determine if they're working or not, even as they are now try that as you can hear the motors even when fitted in the car

    hope this helps
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  16. Dennis Moeller
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    Dennis Moeller Member

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    [Dec 21, 2008]
    Thanks a lot NHN, I will begin working on the seat and the headlights as soon as X-mas is over and the family returned home ;)

    Really helpful!! Big thanks and a marry christmas to you!!:rockwoot:
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  17. jimbobery
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    jimbobery S3

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    [Dec 21, 2008]
    As NHN says, check that the motors are actually moving first, in my experience they will move for alignment everytime you turn them on and without the engine on I can hear mine whirring.
    Some people unplug the motors as they can randomly decide to point to the floor sometimes. Check that your's haven't been unpluged by the previous owner.

    If they are still getting power and actually move, you could try fixing the motors yourself. I did this to one of mine as it was always pointing the lights to the floor about 1 metre in front of the car. Since giving the motor unit an overhaul about 3 months ago its only pointed to the floor twice, which I'm happy with since it used to do it most journeys. This is a guide I did on how to try and get the motors to behave again:
    http://www.audi-sport.net/vb/showthread.php?t=60250
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  18. NHN
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    [Dec 21, 2008]
    God its been a while since I saw the inside of the motors, takes me back a while thats for sure, probably find the reason they drop is the sensors on the axles acting up not the motors themselves as they are what determines the motors actions & as yours have done since the fix this would further suggest its this aswell, but good guide anyway for him to use if needed, should be a sticky tbh for 8L members
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  19. jimbobery
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    jimbobery S3

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    [Dec 21, 2008]
    I know what you mean, I certainly haven't totally fixed the leveling issue as it has happened again, but when I was having the problem on a regular basis it was very rare that both lights would drop at the same time, and I'm guessing they share the same signal from the sensors on the axles?
    As metioned in the guide, I by no means have any experience with this sort of thing, but I was suspicious of the grey slider in the motor that seems to tell the motor unit what the current position of the lights are? The connections seemed very week too. Whatever the cause, I've improved the motor and I can live it dropping twice every three months!

    Unplugging them works well too, I've done this on the side that I haven't given an overhaul to yet!
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  20. Dennis Moeller
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    Dennis Moeller Member

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    [Dec 22, 2008]
    Cool! Thanks guys. I will give it go over christmas!
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