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New Buyer looking for advice

Discussion in 'A4/S4 forum(B5 Chassis)' started by andyhud, Jul 18, 2006.

  1. andyhud
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    andyhud New Member

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    [Jul 18, 2006]
    Morning All,

    Well I'll get straight to the point. 9 months ago I moved jobs (and had a company VW Golf) and now I commute to work by train to London which is fine. I thought I could get away with not needing a car, but it seems the time has come where I can't take it anymore so I'm on the lookout. I've probably spent the best part of 3 months "looking" for a car on the internet/local papers but never got much further.

    My heart has pretty much set on an Audi A4 1.8T Sport as it can come with a good elec pack, nice styling and relatively quick. I've done lots of research (as well as just read the first 10 pages of the A4 forum here!) and have a couple of questions on an A4 I went to look at last night near me.

    It is a 1997 Audi A4 1.8T Sport in Silver with 98K on the clock. The cambelt was done at 80,000 and has had a service (by Audi) every 10,000 miles or thereabouts. Paperwork was very good, V5, MOT, Tax all there.

    Bodywork and wheels were fantastic for a 9 year old car, no dents at all and the wheels had no curbing at all. Interior was again clean, no rips, smoker free and very clean. Nice stereo with 6 CD changer, Climate Control (which I really want) and all the other usuals... Its a manual by the way.

    2 downsides. 1, the Airbag light is ALWAYS on. The guy said it could be nothing, but then I said it could be everything. The second problem is the computer display on the instrument panel (that shows MPG/TEMP etc etc). It works, but is very dull. Its like the lights arent fully working behind it (though I think its LED's).

    Lastly, the screen also says "Service INSP" which I'm assuming just means it needs a service. It runs very well, is nippy and agile and all in all seems well looked after.

    I've looked around and seen I can get a VAG-COM to connect to the car? to tell me fault codes etc and I've also bought an A4 mechanical/Dealer techincal manual off ebay for £4. (One of those ones that tell you every nut and bolt etc)

    He wanted £3K for it, but so far I've pushed him down to £2800, but my concern is the airbag light and the computer dash lights/LEDS which I'd like working.

    Just wondering what my options are. I can only see the following

    1. Buy the car, take it to Audi and try and find the fault with the Airbag light and/or fault Lights/LEDS on the computer dash. Fork out the cash to get it fixed.

    2. Buy the car, and dont fix either of the 2 issues... It WILL annoy me as its not right.

    3. Don't buy the car and walk away

    4. Buy a VAG-COM lead (USB), take my laptop, hook it upto his car and try and find the problem with the AIRBAG light before I buy it. I'd prob want the lead anyway. Downside to that is I have no idea how to work the VAG-COM software but I'm sure I could figure the fault code reading out. I would also need to ensure I download the right software for a 97 Audi A4 1.8T Sport and get the right lead to connect to the ECU.

    I appreciate some of this may of already been covered but I'm hoping someone can offer some advice on a hopefully happy owner of a new Audi very soon.

    All the best

    Andy

    p.s. Link to car I looked at: http://tinyurl.com/qf5sr
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  3. icenutter
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    icenutter Member

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    [Jul 18, 2006]
    How about
    5. Get a quote from for how much it will take to fix? Then you make an more informed decision.
    #2
  4. Mart
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    Mart Active Member

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    [Jul 18, 2006]
    How many cars have you looked at??
    #3
  5. andyhud
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    andyhud New Member

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    [Jul 18, 2006]
    If I'm honest... 1st one... I've been put off by others by HPI checks I've done, or this that and the other... I'm fully aware I can wait around for another one... there is no major hurry.

    I rung 4 audi branches just now to get a price on "worst case" scenario on a faulty airbag system. 3 haven't got back to me, and 1 said "Worst Case is £800". But even he said it could just be a loose wire...

    I'm currently looking on ebay for a VAG-COM lead for a 97 Audi A4 (as that is the age I want to go for approx), so I'll want one anyway for my own personal use. Problem is, I'm not 100% certain what lead I need...

    Can anyone assist?

    I've also read all 35 pages of the A4 Forum and come to the conclusion a DIS with dodgy lights/LED's is a known fault... I migth have a go at a scrappy and take the LEDS off one and move to mine if it got to that...

    Cheers

    Andy
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  6. Daveiow
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    Daveiow Member

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    [Jul 18, 2006]
    #5
  7. andyhud
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    andyhud New Member

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    [Jul 18, 2006]
    That is VERY nice... I'm liking that a lot, unfortunately my budget is really topping out at £3K and I have to add the missus on the insurance, and I wouldnt want to add her onto that!

    Thats the other thing.. if anyone is parting with an Audi A4 1.8T Sport around the £3K region.. I'm your man!

    Cheers

    Andy
    #6
  8. Daveiow
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    Daveiow Member

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    [Jul 18, 2006]
    Hmm now theres a thought ...lol
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  9. docurley
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    docurley Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    [Jul 19, 2006]
    The clocks will not be the LED's but the screen it self that is a fault.

    The air bag could be an issue but you can always put it in to find the fault then get the part from the breakers.

    Control arms are the next issue and would prob need replacing not unless they are done.
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  10. AndyMac
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    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    [Jul 19, 2006]
    The airbag light will remain on if any of the airbags have been disconnected and then reconnected. Needs to be reset by VAGCOM. So it could be nothing, but if they remain on after a reset then as you say a bit of a worry. The DIS fading is a common fault on older cars and unfortunately around £450 for a new display, or cheaper if you trawl the breakers.
    #9
  11. andyhud
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    andyhud New Member

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    [Jul 19, 2006]
    Cheers for the input guys, I'm still not 100% sure on the car yet. I might be going back to look at it tonight.

    For the sake of argument, assuming I found a replacement DIS at a breakers/ebay/wherever, can it literally just be swapped (as a whole unit?) or do you just swap the DIS part on its own? I thought the mileage is recorded within the instrument cluster so changing it would mean the mileage would change too?

    As for the Airbags.. yep, my thoughts too.. could be nothing. I've ordered a VAG-COM lead and got the software so hopefully if that turns up I could take it with my tonight to find the fault code?

    Sorry for the questions.. but control arms... what are they? Sounds mechanical to me.

    I'm also veering towards a A4 2.8 Quattro now I've seen.. but the MPG is far worse! I think I'd still prefer the 1.8T Sport.

    Cheers... (phew its hot!)

    Andy
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  12. Daveiow
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    Daveiow Member

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    [Jul 19, 2006]
    the 2.8 is nice but not as tuneable as the 1.8T. Look for a 1.8T Quattro!!
    #11
  13. andyhud
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    andyhud New Member

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    [Jul 19, 2006]
    I did a brief search for them, but am I right in thinking they didnt appear on the market till 1999?
    #12
  14. docurley
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    docurley Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    [Jul 19, 2006]
    Control arm are part of the suspension and for another £1.5k you could by my 2.8 Supercharged A4 :0)
    #13

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