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What year of Allroad to buy?

Discussion in 'A6/S6/Allroad forum (C5 Chassis)' started by Mudplugger, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. Mudplugger
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    Mudplugger Member

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    [Mar 2, 2010]
    Hi all, this is my first post here so please me gentle with me...

    After much pondering as to what car would best suit my needs, and a few test drives, I'm looking to buy a used Audi Allroad on the C5 chassis. I like the bottom-end torque from diesels, much preferring them to 'cammy' petrol engines, so I'm after a 2.5 Tdi. I also like power though, so it's likely that I'll chip whatever I buy (easy increase from 180bhp to 230bhp apparently?) and maybe fit a bigger/second intercooler too if the design allows.

    But that's later, first I need to buy myself an Allroad.

    On average I cover around 30,000 miles every year, so I'll be looking to buy a car with 60k-100k miles on it and keep it until it starts to become a problem (around 200k based on what I have read?). Most of my miles are easy motorway, but I also do some towing (sometimes heavy) and the odd-bit off-road (I used to run a Land Rover with ARB air-lockers etc., so don't just mean a grassy car-park).

    One thing I definitely want on my Allroad is the optional-extra low-range gearbox that was apparently available only on the manual models, but seemingly not on the tiptronic (why not? automatics can work brilliantly off-road)! In that respect my decision is made ...I'll be buying a manual car.

    The problem though, is what model year to buy?

    From various forums and reviews it appears that the early (2000-2002) 2.5 Tdi engines had problems with camshaft design in that either the lobes were pressed onto hollow shafts (and can ultimately slip and thus wreck the engine) or the cast ones suffer horrible wear (up to 1.5mm wear off the lobes) due to not being properly manufactured in the first place.

    Seemingly the 2.5Tdi engine build quality improved in 2003 when Audi introduced a better material for the camshafts, so on the face of it that (or later) is the model year to go for. However, it's also the year when a lower-powered (160bhp) 2.5 diesel was introduced to run alongside the by-now 'standard' 180bhp 2.5 diesel, and all of the lower-powered ones were manual...

    I definitely want a 180bhp engine, so how can I tell them apart (preferably remotely to avoid wasted trips to view)?
    With that hopefully sorted my only problem remains the optional low-ratio gearbox which, according to this site - http://www.parkers.co.uk/cars/equipm...px?deriv=19029 - ceased to be available in October 2001! However, there's a lot of other stuff on that site that appears wrong, so...

    Can anybody confirm whether the low-ratio gearbox was still available in 2003, or later?

    If not, is it possible to buy a used low-ratio gearbox and retro-fit it to a later car that left the factory without one, or are there fundamental differences in e.g. wiring loom, gearbox casing, cross-members or mounts that make this a bad idea?

    I'm mechanically able, having built and run various rally-cars and 4x4 racers over the years, and fully prepared to have to fix problems with the air-suspension shortly after purchase if necessary! I do the vast majority of work on my cars myself, but would prefer to avoid a complete engine rebuild if possible.

    Any and all advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,

    Andrew
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  3. Fox
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    Fox Member

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    [Mar 2, 2010]
    I was going to say, you should consider the 2.7t. But as you do 30k a year that would be a large fuel bill.
    In saying that, I know a couple of guys with the 2.5 TDi Passats and the economy isnt that great. So I imagine it would be worse in the far heavier and 4 wheel drive Allroad?

    I think you might struggle to find a manual one. I couldnt find a manual A6 2.7t avant for love nor money when I was looking. Had to settle for a saloon :)
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  4. Mudplugger
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    Mudplugger Member

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    [Mar 2, 2010]
    Hi Fox,

    I could consider a 2.7T but then I'd need to fit LPG, which would introduce both extra purchase cost and potential unreliability: e.g. how long will the valves/seats last running on LPG before I need an engine rebuild?

    Plus, I like diesels.

    I need an estate because, amongst other things, I have a large dog to carry.

    Thanks,

    Andrew
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  5. adamss24
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    adamss24 Well-Known Member

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    [Mar 2, 2010]
    Hi Mudplugger, the rumours about chocolate cams is not funded, its mostly cars on longlife service intervals wich suffer cam failures. If you after the 180Bhp, then AKE is the engine to go for and that will have rocker arms(fingers). Depending on usage, they will return 40Mpg+ on a long run and low 30Mpg in town. Look for faulty self leveling suspenssion and be prepared for a shock if the compressor is on its way out due to over-running. Dont know about lower geared gearbox but, every v6 tdi quattro i've driven had very low 1st and 2nd gears. If you want a stronger engine, then the later BAU,BDU engines had cam rollers so its quite easy to transplant one in your early engine. The heads were much much stronger on these. Oh, if you wanna do real Off-roading in it, then i would keep the money and buy a Freelander instead. The allroad will go ok in a few muddy fields but, the lack of lockable diffs will make it very painfull when you get stuck and need to call for help !
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2010
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  6. Mudplugger
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    Mudplugger Member

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    [Mar 2, 2010]
    Hi Adamss24,

    Many thanks for your reply.

    If I am understanding you correctly then the AKE engine delivers 180bhp, but the later BAU/BDU engines are stronger? Do the BAU/BDU engines also deliver less than 180bhp, i.e. are they both the 160bhp models?

    Is the engine number easy to find on the engine itself? Presumably I can also ask the vendor to quote it from log-book / VIN plate before I go to look at the car?

    Were the various engines produced concurrently, or at different times? If different times, do you happen to know roughly when the cut-over date was?

    From looking on the US forums I have discovered that there is a MB compressor that is a direct replacement for the Allroad one, but at roughly half the cost (in the US anyway): seemingly all that needs doing is to cut off the MB wiring connector, attach the Audi one, and bolt it on to the car.

    I thought the Allroad had electronic diff-locks (EDL) in both front and rear axles? I'm also led to believe that the Audi Allroad is the only 'car' to have successfully completed Land Rover's test track, so is actually reasonably capable? In any event the Freelander is out for me because of its on-road manners and fuel consumption, leaving the Volvo XC70 as the only other real competition ...and I think the Audi Allroad beats than in every department.

    Andrew
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  7. Shane TDI
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    Shane TDI New Member

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    [Mar 31, 2010]
    Hi Andrew,

    I have recently done exactly as you are planning and can offer some assistance.
    Towing, I bought mine to tow a 1600kg boat and trailer but unfortunately have not towed it yet, sorry. Expecting very good results though. My 130 passat struggled somewhat !!

    I love the car (01 tdi, 180hp AKE, 80k) but be very careful and expect issues and greasy fingernails. I have the car 3 mths and am working my way through a long list.

    Timing belt was a big job.

    Here is a link to a pump for very reasonable money, springs too if you need them..... mine is waiting for me in the garage. (worked fine on test drive_)
    http://www.arnottindustries.com/part_AUDI_Air_Suspension_Parts_yid17_pid124.html

    Clunk on gearchange - unresolved. bushes ok, rear diff replaced.
    Would not heat up. Thermostat changed (Its behind the timing belt !!!!). - Resolved
    Started like a tractor, all heater plugs replaced -€100, none of the old ones working, very nearly broke two of them. do it on a stone cold head. - Resolved.
    Brakes siezed, new discs and pads allround - resolved (but later ones have newer type A8 calipers) mine has old type 4 pads per side in front. - resolved €300

    Fuel not good too. Expected mid 30s but getting 26-32, does not seem to matter how I drive, infact I would say the heavier the foot the better the economy (could be just mine though).

    Would not rule out the 2.7T as feul is not good on the diesel and it could use more power. Handles very well though.
    Not as fast as 2.0tdi 140 A4 Sline (my previous car)


    Hope this helps and good luck with the hunt.
    Shane
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  8. Watty
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    Watty ..... (_!_) Sarah's A3s #1 Fan

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    [Apr 2, 2010]
    Hi there,

    I would just like to add, that having an AKE for 18 months and covered around 26,000 miles with 146,000 now on the clock, I have had zero issue's (touch wood).

    The MPG is 35 avearge over the last 6 months doing a mixture of driving and have returned 45 MPG on a long trip (400 miles).

    I got an ST3 box from chipped uk which gives me the option of 3 maps (including original, fast road & economy).

    Love it to bits.........
    #7
  9. Mudplugger
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    Mudplugger Member

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    [Apr 25, 2010]
    My old car failed its MoT quite spectacularly last Tuesday, so on Wednesday I nipped down the auction house to buy myself an Allroad. This wasn't quite the careful selection process I had planned, but at least I took action: there were two available, and my plan was to come home with one! The result is that I am now the proud owner of a 2003/53 2.5TDi Allroad with 120,000 miles on the clock for a fraction over half the price that is been asked for similar vehicles in trade sales on certain websites.

    It has a BAU engine, so I'm hoping that doesn't prove to be a problem with all the advice given here about AKE engines?

    And it's a multi-tronic; I really wanted a manual but none were available, so I got what I could. Aside from the infamous "tip-lag" (which seems to be avoidable just by moving the selector from D to S) it doesn't seem too bad, and when I use the manual overide there's sufficient control to make me happy. It remains to be seen what effect the autobox has on the fuel consumption, of course!

    The equipment level is impressive: with a cruise control that wasn't mentioned on the sales-sheet; a sat-nav that I didn't know was fitted until I was driving home; and rear parking sensors that I only discovered when parking once back home. All in all, something of a bargain and I'm very happy with my new purchase.

    Problems? There are some of course: The trim is missing from the cup-holder; the lid is broken on the arm-rest; and the sat-nav can't find any satellites so I'm still using TomTom! Also a few scratches and stone-chips, but I have a tin of touch-up paint on order from the dealer to fix that.

    I'm already loving the adjustable air-suspension with it set right down for good handling on twist roads, and right up (and with ESP off) for some impromptu off-roading yesterday. The problem there is that I seem to have dislodged one of the rear mudflaps whilst reversing up a steep muddy bank to park yesterday, so I clearly need to be more aware of the departure angle (as that's the attack angle when I'm reversing), and will be needing to take the rear wheel off for access and then investigate what's happened behind the trim there :(

    Oh, and the official service history ends at 80k miles with 120k currently shown, so I suspect that it will be a good idea for me to change the cambelt in fairly short order?

    All in though, it's a great car and I'm really happy with it. No doubt you'll be hearing a lot more from me on this forum as I seek advice, and hopefully eventually become able to contribute too.
    #8
  10. vwlt
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    vwlt New Member

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    [Nov 5, 2010]
    Mudplugger,

    Apologies for dragging up an old thread, but I am also looking for a manual allroad with the low range box, but finding it extremely dfficult to source.

    I'd be interested to hear how you or others have got on without the low box, I primarily want mine to tow ski boats out of slipways and I also live reasonably remote and would like to get an idea of how they hadle snow in general.

    Again, apologies for dragging up an old thread, but would be interested in hearing how people find their allroad's

    Thanks
    #9
  11. adamss24
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    adamss24 Well-Known Member

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    [Nov 5, 2010]
    If its an avant then most likely will have a low range gearbox as they are designed to take much more load than the saloon. I do not know why but the gearbox in me a6 avant quattro feels nothing like the one in me a4 avant quattro, both manual though !
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  12. Mudplugger
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    Mudplugger Member

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    [Nov 5, 2010]
    Hi VWLT, as you can see from my earlier post http://www.audi-sport.net/vb/a6-s6-...s/90839-what-year-allroad-buy.html#post971473 I now have an automatic, and it doesn't have a low-range gearbox.

    I can't honestly say that the auto-box and I are good friends when I'm trying to press on round twisty roads, because we're not, and even in sport mode it's always a gear too high for the instant response that I want when accelerating out of a corner. In all other daily use it's pretty-much OK, other than an occasional tendancy to hold a lower gear longer than is necessary on a steep hill (so I use the manual override to knock it up and it stays there).

    That manual override appears to work best for low traction conditions and towing though, when the extra control is useful. I'm getting around the lack of a low range gearbox by simply asking the clutches in the auto-box to work harder. This obviously heats up the oil and damages it, so I need to change it sometime soon. It's already got 130k miles on it, so it's passed its best! This may also explain why it holds onto lower gears occasionally as the governor may be getting clogged.

    If I was making a habit of this then I'd be kinder to my transmission by:
    1) Actually replacing the oil rather than merely posting about it :yes: ; and
    2) While I have the gearbox in need of a refill, fit an auxiliary thermostatically controlled transmission cooler to help when needed (see Mocal Welcome to the home of Mocal oil coolers and components - Think Auto ).

    As to snow specifically, I know from past-experience with Land Rovers that tyre choice, pressure and condition will play a big part. So don't expect miracles from Quattro if everything else in the drive-train is shot or otherwise unsuitable! Do make sure you buy a car with 17" rims as there's a far better tyre choice available for those, especially for 'proper work' like snow, than the 18" (or bigger) rims that some people seem to favour for posing or whatever.

    But I've put 10k miles on my Allroad in the last 3 months, and I only have two noteworthy problems at present:
    * Xenon headlights aren't self-aligning due to electrical problem with NSF suspension sensor
    * Emissions light caused by clogged EGR valve

    Fuel consumption isn't brilliant with an average of about 30mpg, rising to 35mpg on a motorway run. That said, it's a 2+ tonne 4x4 with an autobox, and my Discovery struggled to get much past half that MPG figure!

    Bottom line is that this car suits me well (and I'd rather have the later BAU engine than a low-ratio box, if I can't have both). I have no immediate plans to sell it, but chances are high that when I do I'll probably buy a newer 3.0 TDi Allroad. And that's about as good a recommendation as I can give for any car.

    If you're buying other than at auction - i.e. you get a test drive - then take along a laptop running VCDS Ross-Tech: VCDS Tour and a suitable cable VCDS (VAG-COM) USB PC diagnostics package for VW, Audi, Seat, Skoda cars (1996-2010) When you've bought your Allroad you'll find it invaluable, so you may as well invest sooner rather than later and run a full diagnostic check before you buy.

    Any more questions, feel free to ask away.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2010
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  13. vwlt
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    vwlt New Member

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    [Nov 5, 2010]
    Thanks a million for the reply. I have an A4 Quattro avant sport at the moment and think it is excellent and if I could afford it would buy a new A6 or A4 allroad, but unfortuantely, I can't justify it at the moment. Sounds like you are impressed with the overall car, if not by the auto. I will definitely be getting a manual, but I reckon it will be pure luck if I end up with a low range box as they seem to be liek hens teeth.

    Thanks again for the reply, and it is always good to get someone else's opinion of a car !!!
    #12
  14. Mudplugger
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    Mudplugger Member

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    [Nov 6, 2010]
    Always happy to help; sharing knowledge and experience is what makes this forum work...

    Like you I would have bought a manual if I'd had the time to search one out, but the reality of my predicament was that I had to rapidly buy whatever was available, at auction, the following day. I also have a Lotus Elise as a 'toy', which should give you a further clue as to my driving style and preferences.

    That said, I may have been unnecessarily down on the auto box in my last post. Regretably the vast majority of my driving is not done hussling the car around twisty country roads, which would be fun and is where a manual gearbox would shine, but is spent on motorways where (fuel consumption aside - and any A6 Quattro is a bad choice if that's your main concern!) it doesn't matter what gearbox I have as it never changes out of top, or in the town and city centres at the ends of those motorways where the autobox is a positive advantage.

    And as autoboxes go, I don't think it's a bad one.
    #13
  15. Fraser
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    Fraser Member

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    [Nov 10, 2010]
    if you can find the option code for the low range box then you would be able to match up that code to the sticker in the owners service book - you can ask people when ringing up, saves time travelling to see one that will not have it
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  16. adamss24
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    adamss24 Well-Known Member

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    [Nov 11, 2010]
    Both me a6 quattro and "new" allroad have the same gearbox/diffs code wich are: ENX and EHT. Both manuals and feel wery low ratios, both have factory fitted towbars wich may explain the good way they tow.
    #15
  17. adamss24
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    adamss24 Well-Known Member

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    [Feb 13, 2011]
    Towed a 730d LWB this week on me Iffor Williams trailer and the Allroad copped admirably, did not break a sweat ! Nearly 3 tonnes gross weight (trailer + car on tow) and no drama. I bought my allroad just for towing and it starts to grow on me, will soon look like this:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    At the moment it looks like this but it will go in the bodyshop for a spot of colour codding:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    #16
  18. aragorn
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    aragorn "Stick a V8 in it!" Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Feb 13, 2011]
    You need to watch what your doing, that Allroad has a max towing capacity of just over 2 tonnes, get pulled with 3 tonnes of trailer on the back and you'll be having a very bad day.
    #17
  19. adamss24
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    adamss24 Well-Known Member

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    [Feb 13, 2011]
    I know mate, that was for a brief period of time and only from east london to N. london ! For anything more than 2 tonnes i am using the T4 van but it was fully loaded at the time and did not fancy offloading it ! The allroad has about 2.9 tonnes max. towing weight, the max gross weight is 4840kg (figures taken off the car weights sticker) and the weight of the car itself is 1884kg.
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  20. aragorn
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    aragorn "Stick a V8 in it!" Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Feb 13, 2011]
    You sure? Max gross minus kerb weight doesnt equal its maximum towing weight.

    Check the handbook, Audi have a specified max towing weight (2100kgs afaik)
    #19

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