Problems common to A4?

TM t44tq at
Tue Sep 4 13:42:51 EDT 2001

Pass on this one- sounds bad.

The whole car sounds like a nightmare- valve cover sludge, soot around the
obvious collision damage.

  -----Original Message-----
  From: quattro-admin at [mailto:quattro-admin at]On
Behalf Of Dan Sinclair
  Sent: Tuesday, September 04, 2001 12:26 PM
  To: 'quattro at'
  Subject: Problems common to A4?

  I've been casually looking at A4 1.8TQs in the 1998-1999 model years.
Three of the A4s that I've examined/test drove had the same caked on oil
sludge around the head, below the valve cover gasket.  Not a tremendous
amount of oil, but a complete coating all the way around the visible portion
of the head.  Is this common on A4 turbos?  The first '98 had only 26,000
miles and had a complete coating of slightly shinny, dirty oil sludge,
another '98 with 55,000 miles, and a '99 with 36,000 miles.  All with the
same issue.

  Another issue, the '98 with 55,000 miles has some significant black carbon
soot around the tail pipe that has also coated about 10 inches each side of
the lower black surround on the bumper cover.  Is that normal for 55k?  I'd
expect some of this on a higher mileage car, but a clean burning 1.8 turbo
with 55k?

  Also, for those of you who like to speculate on used car buys, here's the
scenario on the latter vehicle:  1998 A4 1.8TQ, 55k, bose, CD, sport pkg,
winter pkg, cloth sport seats (rare), red on black.  Mechanicals - look good
minus tail pipe soot, oil around head (above), and forward of the rear diff
there's some slick oil coating that looks like it had run down and collected
at the bottom of the body.  About a 10 inch circle of oil on the underbody.
Also a big yellow grease pencil letter A with a circle written on the rear
diff (is that normal on a factory part?).   Maintenance book hasn't been
stamped once since delivery?  Lazy dealership?  Fleet vehicle?  I'm certain
the right front fender has been replaced and repainted (bolt heads were
chewed, masking tape line on inner hood jam).  Rear bumper/trim around left
tail light has a finger nail width gap (tight), while the right side has a
normal 1/4 inch gap.  Underside looked fine, no welds etc...  Small ding in
right rear fender (door strike in parking lot kind of nick).  Alloys have
some curb rash.  Body and paint look good otherwise.  Wind whistle at
freeway speed inside the car (I know this was a problem on earlier A4s).
Upper left corner of the climate control display also has a little dim area,
looks like the LCD got hit or started to fade?  Car was bought at auction.
Dealer/point of entry stamped Michigan.  Now on the west coast.  Broker is
selling under distress - got a DUI and lost license.  He's looking at career
change due to inability to drive for a year.  Asking $17,695.  Will take

  Anybody want to speculate on the mechanical issues?  Soot, diff oil,
head/valve oil, etc?

  I'm inclined to pass this one up, but the price is decent, and the cloth
sport seat combination is rare.  Drives nice.  Less drive line lash than the
'99 I drove.

  Dan Sinclair
  1990 CQ
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