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S4 Buying Advice

Discussion in 'A4/S4 forum(B5 Chassis)' started by sammi, Mar 10, 2010.

  1. sammi
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    sammi Member

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    [Mar 10, 2010]
    Hi All

    I am looking at getting a B5 S4 in a few weeks. I need an avant as I have 3 children. I have to confess I dont know a lot about the cars so wondered if there was anything I should know or look for when buying one.

    I have seen this one which is probably top of my list at the moment, what are your thoughts?

    http://www.autotrader.co.uk/classif...radius/1500/postcode/bh216sl/page/1?logcode=p

    Thanks in Advance

    Sammi :icon_thumright:
    #1
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  3. Matt82
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    Matt82 Active Member

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    [Mar 10, 2010]
    right. that car was up for sale in feb this year with different photos. i have a feeling it could have been bought and being passed on quickly. so id check that and why if i were you.

    first thing to check is the service history early on in its life, specifically how often it had oil changed. theyre crucial on an engine like this. audi had stupid 20k service intervals.

    at that mileage is close to cambelt etc needing to be replaced so check to see if youre about to land a big old bill.

    the chav grill and wheels would put me off
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  4. sammi
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    [Mar 10, 2010]
    Thanks for the advice, I ideally wanted a lower mileage one which is why that one interested me. i will find out how long it has been between owners, looks like a trader has it now. Are they pretty bulletproof cars?
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  5. Matt82
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    Matt82 Active Member

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    [Mar 10, 2010]
    not really sure what youll achieve with lower mileage. these are old cars, there will still be consumables that need to be changed.

    they are pretty bullet proof it seems, provided the oil is kept fresh which will keep the turbos happy.

    at that age youll most likely have a boost leak issue here and there, maybe a dead dump valve. there are plenty of things to go wrong so its not worth paying the premium for a "low mileage" car because that doesnt give you any protection when theyre this age.

    there are a fair few of them with over 200k miles, the interiors wear well. so many good things to say about them, im not really sure why i want rid of mine sometimes.

    as for three kids, the leg room in the back isnt huge but its comfortable nonetheless. you could fit an aircraft carrier in the boot. really practical and the comedy acceleration is the icing on the cake.

    drive a few though as theyre not involving to drive at all
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  6. sammi
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    [Mar 10, 2010]
    OK thanks, I dont mind a reasonable mileage one as long as all the services are up to date and the major wearing parts replaced. Our other car is a skyline so like having a powerful fast car just need something that is more practical.

    When you say they are not involving to drive what do you mean?

    Sorry for all the questions?
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  7. Matt82
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    Matt82 Active Member

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    [Mar 10, 2010]
    i mean its a case of point, shoot, no effort or real driving involved at all. some people like that though.

    buying based on mileage just makes no sense at all. these cars are old so X, Y and Z will need replacing due to its age, therefore to make sure major wearing parts have been taken care of you really want to be looking at receipts rather than the odo. given the wheels and grill on that car in the auto trader ad, i wouldnt want to buy a car owned by someone with such a bad lack of judgement because i wouldnt trust them to be able to look after the car properly
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  8. sammi
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    sammi Member

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    [Mar 10, 2010]
    That is a good point, ok back to the drawing board, things that need to have been replaced to ensure we have a solid reliable car...

    Cambelt + Kit
    Water pump

    Anything else?
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  9. Nez
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    Nez Member

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    [Mar 10, 2010]
    The service history is very improvent so check it very careful and also make sure the timing belt is changed and there is no funny noise from the engine as if something gose wrong with S4 engine then you will have a big bill other then these things the S4 is a great car :)
    #8
  10. Matt82
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    Matt82 Active Member

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    [Mar 10, 2010]
    clutch change times really seem to vary. ive read about loads of them being just after 150k miles

    dampers. the ones on my 115k mile car are still tip top.

    the control arms on the front have already been changed. that was between 90-100k.

    so after 150k, if the clutch has been changed, in theory you have had practically all the important bits done.

    the second cambelt will be due at 10 years, 100k-110k miles ish

    water pump and all the rollers should have been done too unless the owner was mad
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  11. sammi
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    sammi Member

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    [Mar 10, 2010]
    Excellent thanks all... is there anything else, do the trim levels vary? are there more desirable colors of car and trim?
    #10
  12. Blue_Thunder
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    Blue_Thunder Active Member

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    [Mar 10, 2010]
    I would not agree that these cars are bombproof. Far from it in my personal experience.

    In 3 years of ownership I have had to replace turbos, 2 lambda sensors, MAF, DV's, N75 valve, rocker cover gaskets, brake reservoir, various sensors (oil pressure/engine coolant temperature/etc), fix ABS ECU, new radiator, etc. Ok, it's an 11 year old car, but they can take a lot of looking after, and unfortunately problems are rarely cheap to fix. Mine had a FASH when I bought it too, so don't let that fill you with confidence.

    I would also reiterate the point about the rear legroom - It's pathetic! Ever wondered why you never see B5 taxis?
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  13. Matt82
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    Matt82 Active Member

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    [Mar 10, 2010]
    yup, the taxis thing is true.

    as for bullet proof... the lump itself is pretty unburstable. the other bit can die. like you said its an old car... on my old golf im too tired to think which bits are still original lol
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  14. sammi
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    [Mar 10, 2010]
    The kids are small so legroom not important!!! the performance is though.

    Blue_Thunder that is a lot of work to have been done in 3 years, do you think this is the quality and reliability of the parts or how the car has been driven in its life. (no offence on your driving I am referring to previous owners etc)

    I would always rather buy a car from an enthusiast than an average Jo.

    I am used to expensive repair bills owning a skyline but to be honest have spent more money tuning it than fixing it but like all cars they have there problems if not maintained correctly.
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  15. Matt82
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    [Mar 10, 2010]
    classic ones seem to be.

    boost leak occurs. turbos working over time, getting particularly hot, oil is not absolute perfect (original service intervals were 20k miles!) and turbos die

    whilst dying and running leak, an exhaust gas temp sensor is roasted so on things leads to another.

    you need to get the car from an enthusiast as you have more chance of them being on top of preventative maintenance stuff.

    when theyre running right theyre nice thuogh. mine has just been a cruiser between essex and my other half's family place up north. it does loads of miles effortlessly with the comedy acceleration.

    mine would get 28-29mpg on the motorway. 24-25 mpg during the week to and from work and im not shy with the loud pedal
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  16. sammi
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    [Mar 10, 2010]
    Just some info I have just found out on the car I posted the link to.

    I have spoken to my friend at Audi who has given me the service schedule... this makes for interesting reading... read on.

    1st service 3,649 miles
    2nd Service 19,334 miles
    08.11.02 42,857 miles
    04.04.03 52,114 miles
    14.08.03 61,816 miles
    06.05.04 81,309 miles
    19.10.04 90,343 miles


    I have just rang Audi cars and as of today the car is reading 88,000 miles........ seems its lost 3,000 miles in 6 years and hasnt been driven.

    I asked about the cambelt and that was apparently changed at 80,000 miles at Audi.... They didnt have the car at 80,000 miles in Audi!!!

    Also the person selling the car has the current mot and logbook but is still waiting for the history from the previous owner

    CLOCKED CAR OR WORSE!!!!
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  17. sammi
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    [Mar 10, 2010]
    Its now been reported... goes to show how easy it is to clock cars and hide there identity
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  18. Ben_Lucas43
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    Ben_Lucas43 Contemplating trip to the Ring

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    [Mar 10, 2010]
    Thankgod you had it checked out too, there's so many buyers out there buying whatever they can..
    I hate clocked cars..
    #17
  19. adamss24
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    adamss24 Well-Known Member

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    [Mar 10, 2010]
    Clocking cars is soo common now, it is no wonder why crooks do-it, there is a market out there: punters looking for low mileage cars.
    #18
  20. audinary
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    [Mar 10, 2010]
    Also worth noticing about the car you linked to is that it is equipped with a "Trip Copmuter".

    And, frighteningly, "Fist To See Will Buy".
    #19
  21. Matt82
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    [Mar 10, 2010]
    had a feeling that was was no good.... told ya
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  22. sammi
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    [Mar 10, 2010]
    Trading Standards are dealing with it now they are going to contact me with progress I will keep you all posted...
    #21
  23. Blue_Thunder
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    [Mar 10, 2010]
    Forgot to mention a load of new suspension arms, wheel bearing, FPR....

    Don't think it helped that the 3 previous owners all lived on Anglesey. Sea air and racetrack roads. Ahhh... if I could have done things differently!

    But to be honest, a lot of these parts can and will fail on cars of this age. I'd say i've had a worse run of luck than most, but ask any honest S4 owner how much they've spent over 2 years maintaining their car and you may think twice.

    But then again, if you're used to Skyline prices and you want performance, you can't do much better than a B5 S4 for the price!
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  24. jq_quint
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    [Mar 11, 2010]
    Sammi,

    Do you use child seats? Reason I ask is that in Dec I moved from an A6 to a B5 S4 and although I love the car, it really is too small for our family and with the wife now expecting our third it will definately be too small. The child seats move the kids really close to the seats in front...and the is no room for a seat in between either.. I will probably move back to an A6 in the summer time because of this space issue....
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  25. sammi
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    [Mar 11, 2010]
    1 is in a car seat, one in a booster and the other doesnt have anything. Its very rare we have all 3 in the car so it would only be occasional that it would be full. At the moment we have an E46 estate and that is ok for the kids and the A4 is a similar size isnt it? Before that we had a B6 A4 saloon and that was ok just needed the additional boot space.
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  26. sammi
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    [Mar 11, 2010]
    If anyone see's a good one for sale please let me know. We really want an S line B6 but they are out of our price range at the moment. we have about £5k to spend on the S4
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  27. Broken Byzan
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    Broken Byzan Photographic Moderator Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Mar 11, 2010]
    TBH you would do better buying another A6 for that money, could get a very nice one.

    Where 5K will buy you an S4, it's not likely to be as up to scratch as you'd like it to be. It would more likely be a higher mile facelift,maybe needing some work or a perhaps better looked after prefacelift IMHO
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  28. aragorn
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    aragorn "Stick a V8 in it!" Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Mar 11, 2010]
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2010
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  29. CraigG
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    [Mar 11, 2010]
    an e46 has bucket loads more space in the back than a B5 S4... i would, as above consider a V8 A6 (even an S6...) avant.
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  30. sammi
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    [Mar 11, 2010]
    Not keen on the A6 unfortunately, yeah the space would be nice but the car has to look nice.

    Is there anyone who has something good to say about the S4 everyone seems to be trying to put me off them...

    As long as I can get a pushchair in the boot and 3 children in it occasionally then it will be big enough for us.
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  31. Broken Byzan
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    Broken Byzan Photographic Moderator Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Mar 11, 2010]
    Not trying to put you off, but you only have 5 K to spend on a car that could easily need that spending on it just to keep it mobile within a few months if say the cambelt or turbos need doing, there is also the chocolate camshaft issue.

    Don't get me wrong, i would love an S4, but you need to be aware of potential issues, i am able to do my own work so if anything were to happen i wouldnt need to pay labour charges. If i had the 5K i woud buy one tomorrow, but i know now sadly what i can expect.

    Look at this S4 buyers guide below

    http://www.audi-sport.net/vb/showthread.php?t=25697
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2010
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  32. jq_quint
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    [Mar 11, 2010]
    Don't get me wrong I love mine, just prefer the space of my old cars (c5 A6 and E39 5 series)......
    As for price I paid £7.5k for my 59k miler... yes probably too much, but I couldn't find a nice enough example for below £6.5k, then i just got carried away..

    apologise to labour on the space thing, but even just occasionally, not really sure you could get 1 child seat, 1 booster and 1 other child on the back seat? I would trial first, I sent our 3.5 year old loose on the wife's new car (zafira) before we bought it to see if he could get around the seats in the back, ha ha, he decided it was ok..bless...
    #31
  33. S4twiggy
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    S4twiggy Fully Certified Detailer!!

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    [Mar 11, 2010]
    just take all the advice from the us who own an S4, things can get very expensive if things go wrong. since buying mine over a year ago ive spent nearly 1k on it to just keep it on the road. MAF, DV, Lambda, rocker cover gasket, wheel bearing. and thats the cheap stuff mate. if the turbos go then were talking 1k each on a K04(may aswel upgrade for a bit more bucks) so thats 2k without all the other gubbins that go with it and the labour charges you would face. all in all for the car to be K04'd your talking nearly 5-6k. thats without taking into account of brake disks and pads and tyre wear every year. things can get ugly if your heavy footed which you will be with an S4. 5k for an S4 wont get you much if your after a good clean example.

    but hey!!! I LOVE MINE AND ITS WORTH ALL THE MONEY I THROW AT IT LOL
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  34. sammi
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    [Mar 12, 2010]
    You have given me a lot to think about, I have based my budget on the prices of cars advertised on pistonheads and autotrader. In terms of maintenance I own a skyline and they are far from cheap to repair so that I am not too worried about as long as I dont end up with a blown engine or turbos. The car is driven locally and covers very few miles and once a year would be required to take us to France on holiday or maybe to the ring instead of the skyline 1 year.

    I can do basic repairs myself and have a good garage I have been to for years who always work on our cars at a good price.

    I will have to try the children in the car but it is really only ever the odd trip we are all in it together and my other half wont get a people carrier!!!

    All I want is a looked after reasonable mileage example with good history and receipts, I like all the colors that is not an issue and I would preferably like leather but to be honest most cars I have seen have leather. I havent driven one yet I am waiting for my BMW to go.
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  35. bad-vw-boy
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    [Mar 12, 2010]
    Not sure has been said as I have not had time to read through all the posts but thought I would just offer my opinion as I have just bought a s4 avant and it had a full Audi service history and 90 k on the clock good bodywork and I heard a funny noise the other day took the car in to the garage and I am now £1000 lighter in the picket as the lands sensors were shorting out and needed to be replaced as well as both diverted valves the air con compressor and two pullies but I was told by the garage that the car was worth it and it was a good example that I had bought ..... Just good for thought ... I love the car big bill I know but I think it's worth it
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  36. Matt82
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    Matt82 Active Member

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    [Mar 12, 2010]
    and lands sensor?
    #35
  37. aragorn
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    aragorn "Stick a V8 in it!" Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Mar 12, 2010]
    lambda sensor

    The fact you can do work yourself makes a HUGE difference to the affordability.

    If you look at the work badboy had done, the lambdas are about £100 each, diverters are 25 each. The AC compressor, expensive new, but they're the same across a whole range of VAG cars, and i couldnt even sell my spare compressor on ebay for a tenner, not sure why a pully would need replaced, but again its something you can pickup from a breakers for peanuts.
    #36
  38. wayne77
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    [Mar 12, 2010]
    i say go look at a couple and test drive them and then make your mind up. it is a risk when buying any car my old 2004 3.0 b6 was a cracking car didnt cost me a penny in the 3 years of ownership yet my mates 2007 3 series beamer is never out the garage. if you can do the work yourself thats a big bonus but be warned once you test drive one you will be hooked

    good luck with what ever you decide
    #37
  39. sammi
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    [Mar 16, 2010]
    Its a tough decision as I am not able to do loads of the work myself but I do have a very good and reasonably priced garage.. I know I will love them, I like the fact that you dont see them everyday aswell, I like having something different and a bit unique. I think the best thing I can do is go and drive one and check the history against the receipts and look to make sure all the major wearing components have been changed.
    #38
  40. bad-vw-boy
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    bad-vw-boy Member

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    [Mar 16, 2010]
    Mine cost just over 5k and I think it was a good buy .... Yes I do worry about running costs but live for today... The nice thing about these cars is that they have good engines and the 2.7tt is desirable so they should always sell on as long as they have been looked after... And the grin factor makes it all worth while
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  41. Matt82
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    Matt82 Active Member

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    [Mar 16, 2010]
    youre right about not seeing many. since i got mine in october i dont think ive seen more than 3-4 on the road. i see that many S3s every day
    #40

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