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Troublesome s4

cmdrew Jul 13, 2013

  1. cmdrew

    cmdrew New Member

    I recently bought a 2003 S4 and initially it was great fun, just a couple of faults. The airbag light would come on after 9 minutes and the air con wasn't working.

    fixed the airbag light - a new module was needed as the old one would not code to the replacement instrument cluster. Gassed up the air con but it all leaked out again :-(. Seems like I have a leak so replaced all of the o rings at the condenser and pump but still won' t stay pressurised. Looks like a pump is needed at huge expense!

    then noticed that the upper control arms were shot. Easy job I thought but the pinch bolt was well and truly seized. Even heating with oxy torch would not budge them. So I gave in and bought a pair of used uprights and put them on. Trouble is my old wheel bearings were also seized - 3 out of 4 bolts either side came out the other rounded. All put back together so took it to get it tracked - the track rod end is seized in the track arm. So now I have to replace both but of course the track rod will not come away from the rack. To cap it all on a test drive the traction control light keeps flashing and cuts the engine even at low speeds so looks like an abs sensor has been damaged during the swap.

    Getting concerned that this is a problem car and 1 thing will just lead to another...
  2. stu_m

    stu_m Well-Known Member VCDS Map User

    Keep going eventually you will have a brand new car lol
  3. deano1978

    deano1978 different gear

    Poor luck.
    Hope u didnt pay too much for it.
    Whats the mileage?

    Its a tough desision,all depends on what you want or need from the s4.
    All the best.
  4. dualmono21

    dualmono21 Well-Known Member VCDS Map User

    s4,s arent the easiest cars to work on im afraid
    mine is also a 2003 ive had it 7 years and has just done 70,000 and ive decided to replace all the arms and ball joints and the front suspension
    the top arms have just started creaking so its time
    other than that i have had little trouble with it to be honest
  5. Malfuss

    Malfuss Member

    If it's any consolation, I bought mine with coilovers which I changed to Bilstein shocks and Eibach springs, luckily the top arms had been replaced by the previous owner. After that, I discovered I needed both driveshafts and CV joints changing. Got those fixed and discovered I needed both wheel bearings replacing. Replaced those and still wasn't happy with the car, discovered all 4 lower arms needed replacing. Still wasn't happy so as the tyres were almost at the legal limit, I decided to change those. Whilst doing the tracking they discovered that the track rod ends were seized and they weren't able to track and the camber was out by a fair bit. I've just got those replaced along with new front pads and discs and a complete brake fluid exchange. It cost me over 2k but the car now drives like a dream.
  6. AlexGSi2000

    AlexGSi2000 Well-Known Member VCDS Map User

    As stated above, this depends on a few factors;
    1. Is the car worth the work?
    2. How long are you anticipating on keeping the car?

    If the car isnt worth very much, then it may be worth shifting on. If its a good clean example then it will be worth the work.
    If you are only planning on keeping the car a year or so then it may not be worth doing the work - if you are anticipating keeping the car for a while then it will be worth it.

    I was faced with the same scenario 2 months into ownership of my 2.5TDi.
    This was mainly over an engine rebuild that was required (worn camshafts) which cost the best part of £1400.
    I decided I liked the car and was going to stick with it.
    I had the engine work done, since then I have replaced the front suspension arms (my tie rod was seized too, along with both pinch-bolts) and carried out a lot of other work.
    I have spent quite a lot in total, but the car drives like new with 150,000 miles on the clock.
    If I knew what I was going to be spending when I bought the car I wouldn't have touched it - hindsight is a great thing.
  7. cmdrew

    cmdrew New Member

    Well I have finally managed to get the car back on the road - replaced the track rods and track rod ends and put anti-seize on everything. Hopefully if/when it needs to come apart again it will be easier. The 'new' uprights had wheel bearings already fitted but I think mine are better so will be swapping them over if/when I can get the bolts outs as one on each wheel bearing has rounded.

    Seems to drive better but still not happy with the steering so I suspect I will be doing the lower arms as well soon as I still get a bit of a 'clonk'. Next major job is the air con as this doesn't work. I suspect the pump but need to diagnose this better - I know I have a leak but not sure where as replaced the O rings at the condenser, receiver and pump. Odd thing is I have no fault codes logged now (from the HVACS anyway!) but I would swear that the air coming out of the blower is hotter than ambient. I have already checked the 3 flap motors on the passenger side but I have now seen that there is another on the drivers side which is related to the temperature control so I'll take a look at that also.

    Trouble is the car is sooo fast that I want to try and fix the issues. It actually hasn't cost that much so far. It's just the time and frustration involved when one job results in another and then another...
  8. rjm180

    rjm180 Active Member

    It sounds like you are getting there, keep going it will all be worth it. Good luck.

    My air con isnt working either, compressor is kaput, common on our S4's according to the net. Audi wanted £1600 a year ago to replace with a new one, i just drop the window a bit. You can get recon ones fitted by indies a lot cheaper though.
  9. dualmono21

    dualmono21 Well-Known Member VCDS Map User

    as regards the air con
    check underneath the car to see if the driveshaft for the compressor is spinning properly
    its powered directly off one of the sprockets on the timing gear and is designed to fail if theres a problem

    its also common for the actual gearing to wear or strip teeth on the drive gear and the only way to replace this is engine out and replace the entire chain assembly ... very very expensive
  10. cmdrew

    cmdrew New Member


    I've started another thread for the aircon specifically but thought I would reply here also. I think that the shaft is turning - assuming I was looking at the right bit. It was a shaft on the near side bottom front of the engine. I still think that there is another problem though as surely the fan should be on at low speed when-ever the aircon is on. No movement from the aircon fan at all.
  11. dualmono21

    dualmono21 Well-Known Member VCDS Map User

    electrical faults usually come up on the climate control and stop the clutch from engaging the drive
    have you any other fault codes coming up as regards a/c

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