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Audi A8...... again

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As the A6 is needing a bit of love, I thought I’d get a winter banger.  I was looking for something small, cheap and petrol but failed to find anything I was prepared to own at a price I was prepared to pay. I was also a bit surprised how high the tax costs have got, even for smallish, 1.6 engined slugs.

So there was a bit of mission creep..... It is petrol powered, and the road tax is actually less than some of the aforementioned 1.6 slugs. Small though, it is not.....


My second A8. 1999 D2 facelift in 2.8 2wd form. The economy model.

Today is its first day on duty as daily transport having swapped the insurance over. Bizarrely enough compared to the A6 the insurance cost was reduced..... by a whole 37p!

Its not mint but it is mostly fairly tidy. Some laquer peel and a couple of small areas of bubbling typical of these all aluminium cars.

Seems to run well. Biggest irritation is that the Odo and clock displays are dim and pixelated when cold and go missing completely after 20 - 30 minutes. But if that remains the biggest irritation, I’ve done ok.

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Good choice, Nick

These are extraordinarily nice cars.  I had a client in Kiev a good twelve or thirteen years ago who ran a D3 model with (natch...) the W12.  One of my abiding moments of utter terror was his driver taking me back to the airport on a wintery February afternoon along whitetop (snow clearance is just not done in Ukraine) at a steady 180kph.

I digress. The real point of interest was that the car's 'start' button was a fingerprint ready.  The driver was a big guy, but there were others who looked bigger and I mulled over (between my moments of terror) on how long the fingerprint on a severed finger would remain readable...


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  • 2 weeks later...

One for our electronics specialists.......

No post “golden era” Audi tale would be complete without electrical frustrations.

My main one at present (and its a first world problem really) is that the Odo/trip and clock/date displays are barely legible when cold and rapidly fade into total obscurity as things warm.

Seems to be a problem with the actual display panels which are transmissive LCDs.

I reckon I could change them if I could locate new ones, but although the larger central displays are readily available, the small ones are not.  I’ve spoken to a couple of the dash fixit companies who reckon it’s an unusual failure (not in the A8 world it isn’t) but “will have a go” for three figure sums if I send it to them.

I’m not very fond of that idea as the cluster includes part of the security system and the car doesn’t work without it. For the same reason getting another used cluster (which could easily be equally bad or have other issues), while not an impossible task, requires specialist tools/help and is a world of pain I prefer not to visit.....

Possibly similar enough displays could be salvaged from a slightly newer A4 as it seems to be related to a duff batch of displays around 99/2000. Probably I shouldn’t swipe them from the one that often sits in my drive....:ph34r:


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52 minutes ago, RedRooster said:

Just drive it in daylight hours, problem solved.

Less visible in daylight if anything.....

Thanks Steve.  Couple of the A8 forum guys tried them without success.  I've had the most interest from "Totaltronics" (Patryk seems like a very good guy -certainly gets consistently great reviews  and his communications are 1st class).  He reckons he could probably do it while I wait but Rugby is about a 6 hour round trip from here.....

Going to take a look in the cluster when I get the chance to see what I'm up against, and then maybe get a cluster from  a B6/B7 A4, which seem to use the same displays and can maybe transplant.....

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  • 6 months later...

I ended up getting another cluster (it was cheap) and paying someone to code it to the car.  It was partially successful.  Both the offending displays work when cold but irritatingly the Time/date one starts to fade from one side when it warms up.  The ODO/trip seems ok though which was my main want.

Other works have including changing breather pipes and cam covers due to whiffs of "engine breath" and also whiffs of burning oil from the exhaust manifolds.  In normal Audi fashion, long on complexity and short on access......

There was cussing..... and blood was shed.  Mine unfortunately.....

Usual heap of plastics removed to gain access

Engine unclothed. 2.8L V6 petrol with 30 valves


Loads of cam lobes


Rubber gaskets had gone like bakelite.  Surprisingly not much oil in the plug tubes, which is good as it's hard to get out.  Unfortunately I also had to go digging in that dark hole between engine and bulkhead for one of the legs of the breather system.  It was in a shocking state and had been horribly bodged.  Apparently the PO had had to have a new throttle body fitted (his wallet was still smarting at the memory!) which looks like it would have been a bitch of a job, but why the garage (alleged VAG specialist) didn't  renew the breather pipes which access was easy is a mystery to me.  The breather pipe cost is trivial - especially in the context of a fly-by-wire throttle body!!  Anyway, something in there bit me and quite a large blod sacrifice was made.  I did win in the end, which was a result of sorts as most say it is impossible without removing the throttle body.....  I have to agree it's pretty difficult!


The offending pipes.  New on the left in two sections, old on the right in several pieces plus many cracks/splits.

Also a bit snotty.  Too many short lockdown runs to the baker.


Finally I'm delighted to report a fail from the Audi design team.  The aux belt can be changed in about two minutes using nothing more sophisticated than an adjustable spanner.  They must be gutted......


Cheered me up though.  Pity the one-way clutch on the alternator pulley is solid.....  Symptoms are minor on this silky smooth 6 though, so I'm ignoring it!

Have to confess I haven't yet done the other cam cover.  I'd run out of cusses, and was getting frostbite (did this in Feb), so we still have the occasional burning oil whiff.  Engine breath is gone though and, as an unexpected bonus, the autobox light throttle behaviour has altered for the better.  It's only moderately deranged now - which is apparently normal.


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More recently.......

Ever since I got the car, the rear parking sensors have been iffy.  Recently they've been completely non-functional and just make a deeply irritating continuous beep while reversing.  Plugged my box of tricks in to ask what ailed it and rather bizarrely it said the rear beeper was broken.....  To be fair, the annoying noises were coming from the front.  Seems that when the rear beeper is dead, its mate at the front shouts to let you know.

Couldn't find the rear beeper..... asked on the A8 forum.   Not good news...... to get at this £ 10 part (which is a small speaker, nothing more) you have to remove the complete back seat, which is quite a mission, and also involves unplugging heated seat wires and airbag related stuff.  Then you have to climb into the boot  (it's huge, you could get many bodies in there) and remove a whole bunch of plastic trim to gain access to the parcel shelf speaker screws so you can remove the speakers to remove the parcel shelf trim board.  Why this bloody beeper is sandwiched between the aluminium structure of the parcel shelf and the trim in such a way that it can't be accessed from below is a mystery. It could easily have been done. I guess the designers hate mechanics.....

Swapped it out.  Reassembled the bloody trim panel, speakers and seat again, making sure to securely re-plug and clip all the cables..  Found £1.40 in coins under the seat, though the £1 is an old one.  Beeper now works - parking sensor system happy and functional.  Yay! 

But wait.....


bloody airbag light is now on......  Plug in my box of tricks... which can't read the airbag ECU for some reason.  Nor can my other device, though both can read everything else.  Bugger.  Seems that the airbag ECU on these is a bit of a prima donna and will only speak to "proper tools".  No ebay knock-offs allowed.  Bugger again....!  Apparently if I'd disconnected the battery before unplugging everything and not reconnected before replugging everything, the light wouldn't have been triggered.... unless one of the connections isn't good (common).  Arse.  Fortunately I know someone with the real kit who will let me borrow it for a donation to the workshop bun fund.....  But why do things have to be so damn complex?!




Arrow marks the lair of the beeper.  FFS, why there?!

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Finally, and very recently, It seemed like time for an oil change.  Book says it was done about a year ago.  Not many miles since but plenty of short runs (evidence, the snot in the breathers).

This means visiting with the undertray.  Yippee..... my favourite.  Not.  Actually, not the worst one I've encountered.  13 fasteners, of which only 5 remain.  That's the distant plasticky clattering explained then.  My first impression was that it was unexpectedly heavy.  This turned out to be because it had about 2 kg of oily crud on it, pretty widely distributed.  This is years, if not decades, of accumulation on a car that's been "professionally" serviced regularly.  Idle sods.  I scraped it off.  Took about 10 minutes.   Would have been all of 30 seconds with a pressure washer/steam cleaner......  I have ordered new fasteners.

Oil was still reasonably clean though, and the filter a good quality "2 year" one, so I left that.  

While crawling around underneath I gave the exhaust a bit of a shake as there's a slight blow somewhere and I'd noted the twin tail stubs were no longer horizontal.  Turned out that the front and centre sections were not really attached to each other, but merely traveling in formation.......


Ah ha......!  They're goosed alright.  All 4 of the actual clamp band rusted right through, releasing the tension.  Actual sections of exhaust are crusty but sound.  This is good as the clampy-things are cheap and the rest of the system really is not!  Easy fix.  More concerning is that still seems to be a blow from further forward.... about where the flexi-section at the RH manifold joint is.....  I might ignore that for a bit!


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12 hours ago, Nick Jones said:

Finally I'm delighted to report a fail from the Audi design team.  The aux belt can be changed in about two minutes using nothing more sophisticated than an adjustable spanner.  They must be gutted......

This made me laugh. Reading of your travails makes me feel better about not owning a modern... (realise that's not an option for most).

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Visited my friends with the proper tool today and the airbag light was reset without incident. While in (temporary) possession of the proper tool I also did an “adaption”, basically a self calibration on the throttle body and, acting on a tip from the helpful folks on the A8Parts forum, changed the software setting for the auto box so it no longer tries to auto adapt to my driving style (which it is utterly crap at). 
One of the two things, the auto-box software I think, has made a huge difference and the box now behaves about how I would expect. Result!

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