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Old 11-11-2012, 07:08 PM   #16
terry.mc
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Joined: Jul 2003
Location: Denver, CO
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01 A4 Quattro Manual, 114K.

No serious issues. I have a great shop nearby and I take it to them for the hard stuff. They are 3/4 the price of some of the other shops, 1/2 that of the dealership and they do great work. I think knowing a shop like that is a bonus, I travel too much for work to do a lot of the work on the car myself.

I had a high mileage BMW 3 series before this and I loved it as well.

it sure is running better than my brother in laws new-ish Honda civic that just cracked the block due to a know issue (He is getting a complimentary new motor at 60K miles)
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:15 PM   #17
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The lack of service is another issue, Salt Lake would be the closest place to get it fixed,
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:08 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by IDRider View Post
I have owned a 2003 A4 1.8T since new. It now has 169,000 miles on the clock. The car has been great. I have followed the maintenance plan, with 1 exception - oil changes every 5k miles VS 10k miles, I just had new rear brakes done and the hydraulic engine mounts needed to be changed. This and a replacement switch for the drivers side window is all it has needed.

Still have the original front brakes and shocks on the car. This did surprise the service manager.

Car does not rattle, tracks great, great MPG (~32 - 36). Pulls strong. I will buy another when this car id done. I fully expect to run this car until 250,000.

I'd call Audi right away and sell it back to them - see if they could make their second one with so few repairs
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:02 PM   #19
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Junks

I was told by a very reputable Audi technician that '02+ can have some serious electrical issues due to the way Audi programmed the computer system.

My folks and a few other people I know have owned both Passats and A4s of that era. They were so problematic 5+ years ago I couldn't imagine how shitty they are now.
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:14 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by 09Prodigy View Post
The lack of service is another issue...
That really restricts what cars are sensible to own where I live, also-- No Mini's, Smarts, Fiats, Mercedes, etc.
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Old 11-14-2012, 03:41 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by 09Prodigy View Post
The lack of service is another issue, Salt Lake would be the closest place to get it fixed,
I just sold a beautiful 2003 Passat 1.8T after two insanely frustrating years of ownership. Walking away from the deal, with $4K in cash, felt like such a euphoric relief that no words could adequately describe it. The car offers an exceptional driving experience, everything from WOT stick you to your seat acceleration, to an extremely comfortable, refined ride. That said, in the world of modern vehicles, it is an outlier, a spectacular piece of shit. The goal of the German engineering mind seems to be to over-engineer everything, then let the bean counters figure out how to create their visions, using techniques and materials that are several magnitudes less durable that a typical Japanese competitor. I had a great deal of highly qualified free and low cost help from a top notch mechanic who is a good friend. Even with the mechanic, my engineer son and I, we still dumped unbelieveable amounts of time and over $4K keeping the thing running. Some of the shit we went through made me want to tow the car to the local firehouse, and let the smoke eaters burn it for practice.

Here are just a few highlights. A timing belt change requires removing the front of the car. Now it is possible to move the front end out to the "service position" to allow you to reach down into a small gap and do the work by feel, but it's a hell of a lot easier to just remove the entire front end. While you are doing this work, be extremely careful of disturbing any hose or vacuum control device. The wonderful engineering of the fancy engine shrouding, and noise insulation, traps huge amounts of turbocharger heat under the hood. The car has three separate vacuum control systems that are not capable of surviving this intense heat. After a few years every vacuum control dashpot, valve, port or connector is as brittle as a potato chip and waiting to crack in half as soon as you touch it. Now if you damage a valve, it doesn't seem like a big deal. It's a quarter sized piece of plastic, and there are a dozen of them that look the same in the other loops, right? Sorry, but each one is carefully engineered to that specific location and a dealer only item. Good luck getting a new one in less than a week in Wyoming. Here, in heavily the populated Northeast, it takes three days for the local dealer to come up with the right part. Now be prepared to pay at least three times what the part would cost if it was stamped "GM". That's how the game is played, if VW is the only source. The oil fill tube is another plastic piece of shit that boggles the mind. At some point it sucumbs to the heat and turns to dust. One day, you reinsert the dipstick and the top few inches break off. Once you remove it, take it to the bench and lightly tap it with the side of your hand. With zero effort you can quickly pulverize the entire part into a pile of tiny little plastic chips. The part is only $12 at the dealer, but the car isn't going anywhere until you replace it. The flywheel is a "dual-mass" design. It is a heavy stamped steel assembly that has internal parts that provide for a smoother idle. At 80K miles or so, this thing grenades and the car soundss like a Kobota Diesel tractor when it idles. The new flywheel is $800 at the dealer.

There are dozens of examples of inexcusable issues like this, that are absolutely unheard of in the competitors products. They also represent a fraction of everything we went through to keep the car running. The car was sold at 105K miles, and still ran and looked outstanding. That said, two different VW mechanics made the statement that, based on experience, a new turbo and a complete rebuild of the front suspension were just around the corner. An older VW/Audi product is something you own when you want a toy to play with. They are not reliable enough to count on as a daily driver, and owning one is the middle of nowhere guarantees two things. You will be spending a lot of time online, at the enthusiast sites learning how to fix the thing, and you will become real close with your UPS guy, as there will be a lot of boxes of parts heading your way.
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Old 11-14-2012, 03:55 AM   #22
SourKraut
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My 2003 Passat was flawless for the 74K miles I owned it from new but I traded it in on a 2010 Subaru that was a disaster of a lemon. Subaru replaced the 2010 lemon with a 2011 lemon and I went back to VW. You never know what you're going to get....
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:27 AM   #23
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Owned a 96 A6 Quattro wagon for about 5 years.

Drove beautifully, handled the roads and snow like a champ.

Comfortable, good mileage, and solid.

The repair bills were astounding.

Drivetrain seals, timing chain/waterpump, you name it.

It was normal for the bills to be $1,500 to $2,000.

I don't think I'll ever buy another non-certified car of this type, and certainly not one without a comprehensive warranty.
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:30 AM   #24
Retro
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nailhead View Post
That really restricts what cars are sensible to own where I live, also-- No Mini's, Smarts, Fiats, Mercedes, etc.
My wife's on her 2nd mini. Fantastic cars so far with excellent, though really not used warranty coverage.

Very long service intervals as well.
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:33 AM   #25
Retro
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SourKraut View Post
My 2003 Passat was flawless for the 74K miles I owned it from new but I traded it in on a 2010 Subaru that was a disaster of a lemon. Subaru replaced the 2010 lemon with a 2011 lemon and I went back to VW. You never know what you're going to get....
Yeah, well you've got kraut in your name. Cars can sense these things, and the Japanese cars knew your heart belonged to this:



and not this:

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Old 11-14-2012, 07:17 AM   #26
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Yeah, well you've got kraut in your name. Cars can sense these things, and the Japanese cars knew your heart belonged to this:



and not this:
Too true;



I've had incredibly good luck with German cars but I do have some rules.

-No automatic transmissions
-Assembled in Germany
-Buy new so you know the history
-Four cylinder models

Here's the current one meeting those criteria.

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Old 11-14-2012, 08:49 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SourKraut View Post
My 2003 Passat was flawless for the 74K miles I owned it from new but I traded it in on a 2010 Subaru that was a disaster of a lemon. Subaru replaced the 2010 lemon with a 2011 lemon and I went back to VW. You never know what you're going to get....
This is definitely not typical.

I've never personally owned a Subaru but I've had 8 or 9 VWs, the last one was a 96 with <100K 5 or 6 yrs ago and it wasn't nearly as good of a car as my Old 70s and 80s A1 & A2 Golfs and Sciroccos. I definitely agree that the German cars are the way to go, the Mexican ones are real trash, they seem to succumb to rust much faster than the German ones and break down more often. If anyone is shopping used the easiest way to tell is the VIN, WVW = Germany 3VW = Mexico.

I'd still advise anyone looking at any VW or Audi more than 5 years old and with 100K+ on the Odo to take a serious look at something else.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:03 AM   #28
SourKraut
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Originally Posted by Dukeryder View Post
This is definitely not typical.
Trading this German built (Emden) Passat on a new Outback was the biggest automotive mistake I ever made. It was a GL with manual transmission, the absolute base model wagon brought to the US that year. I bought it new in December 2003 when they were clearing out '03 inventory for $21.5K. Oil changes and one set of tires at 55K was all I ever did to it in 74K miles.

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Old 11-14-2012, 02:15 PM   #29
mjydrafter
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I thought briefly about a 03 1.8t Passat (that the owner said needed an oil pump, the dreaded sludge issue).

I found this during my research:


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Old 11-14-2012, 04:39 PM   #30
TooFast
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Originally Posted by SourKraut View Post
My 2003 Passat was flawless for the 74K miles I owned it from new but I traded it in on a 2010 Subaru that was a disaster of a lemon. Subaru replaced the 2010 lemon with a 2011 lemon and I went back to VW. You never know what you're going to get....

So you sold your Passat in it's first 74K miles during it's early use....just in time apparently based on VWs owner's experience

Yes Subies don't have the best reliability history, so what's the point to compare cars with less than average reliability???

The point is most consumers who spend $20-30-40 K on a motor vehicle expect it to be reliable....look at what Lexus/Toyota is capable of.... and they make right if problems do develop

I.E. Mercedes Bend Over recalled every 5 cylinder diesel sedan for crankshaft harmonic dampers failures but never did a recall on the Sprinter vans with the same motor and a higher failure rates

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