So I have this great car, a 2002 Audi A6 Quattro (2.7L Bi-Turbo). Not the one pictured on the right, but close enough. My car and I have this special relationship. One day I’ll tell you all how it started, but not today. Today, you see, I’m telling you how it’s likely to end. So we’ve got this special relationship. It drives me to school and I fix it up when it breaks. Lately, there’s a lot of the latter and not much of the former.
- It all started going downhill last year when I noticed that it literally spewed out any gas over 3/4 full in the fuel tank. Since this job didn’t qualify as a DIY, I took it to the dealership. $2,600 later and the tank fills just fine. Luckily, later that year Audi decided to fix this defect in the whole line of cars, and thus refunded me that expense.
- Then I got this check engine light (CEL) … the computer/scanner tells me that the engine is running too lean, meaning it’s got too much oxygen coming in to the combustion chamber. After a few weeks of hunting down cracked and broken vacuum hoses throughout the engine bay, the code now stays off and the engine runs great.
- A few months later, I notice that during a heavy rain the rack that holds the battery, along with the brake boosters, master cylinder, and ECM module filled completely with rain water. Audi didn’t think to remove a plastic cap that drains this out … Sadly, by the time I fixed it, the brake fluid reservoir and brake boosters got water in them, then rusted. So I flush it as best I can, but now my brake booster squeaks like nails on a chalkboard every time I pump them.
- In the course of flushing my brake fluid, I figured I might as well replace the brake disc rotors and pads. This is about a month ago. While midst replacement, I notice that a CV joint boot that holds in axel grease and protects the joint had recently obliterated itself. The clue to this issue was the lack of axel grease on the front drive axel, yet everywhere else around it, such as the wheel well, brake rotors, brake calipers, suspension linkage, yeah … all that crap had lots of axel grease when there shouldn’t be any. Funny how that happens. I replaced the front drive axel (which comes with the CV boots) and all was well…
- Then I got another CEL … this one told me that I have a stuck valve in my torque converter. I had seen this particular code come up once before about a year ago, but it went away. Looking online, folks said this generally comes on when the Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) is too low. Odd, given that my friend/neighbor and I had changed the ATF and transmission filter about a year ago. Interesting. When I approach the Audi dealer about doing another ATF change, thinking I must have done it wrong, the Audi dealer refuses, saying the fluid is good for the life of the car … I call horseshit. This leads me to my latest …
- I take the car, which now is showing some symptoms of transmission issues, to a european transmission rebuilder, hoping that a proper fluid change will fix my problems. Sadly, after several days on the lift, they inform me that the low fluid was due to a leak. They fixed the leak, but the damage was already done. Clutch plates had burned. The torque converter is in serious trouble. My trusty old ZF 5HP19FLA transmission isn’t so trusty anymore. The estimated fix for this one? Between $2,800 and $3,400 US dollars. Holy shit.
- I’m thinking that I should just drive it until the transmission collapses in a whimper or calamitous implosion. But that might happen in the next couple of months. I’m not really set up to spend $3,400 on a transmission rebuild, but then again I’m not set up to buy another car when this one completely fails, either.
- Oh yeah, I almost forgot. When you drive the car above 60 mph, the whole thing shakes like your granny’s false teeth in a blizzard. Looks like some control arm bushings need a little love, too.
- I love my car.