Sajeev, this is a 2010 Audi A4 Avant that is in like-new COSMETIC condition. It was purchased over my wife’s strong objection, as none of our four prior Audis has made it past 80,000 miles without suffering a complete and total meltdown. This one suffered an oil consumption meltdown at 65,000 and required a new set of pistons and rings – paid for by Audi! It now has 99,378 miles on it and a Blue Book trade value of $6,000.
The other day the check engine light came on. I correctly internet diagnosed a loose bypass valve on the turbocharger and was ready to write a $2,200 check to replace it. Not so fast said the Audi man! To get the light off it requires (1) a new turbo, (2) a new PCV valve, (3) a new cooling fan, (4) and some other new item at the back of the engine. On top of the typical A4 oil consumption and turbo failure issues, the Audi man says it has the third typical A4 issue – carbon valve build-up, which causes it to chug and spew vast amounts of smoke on startup periodically. Finally, it needs all new front end bushings. This is set to cost a grand total of about $6,000.
I’ve had my 2015 Focus ST for 15 months and 14,000 trouble-free miles so far, and I’m really enjoying the car. The car is still 100 percent stock, but I’ll likely contact Torrie for a tune before long.
As much as I like the car, I’m really alarmed to read about the intake valve “gunk” issues with Ecoboost and other direct-injection engines. It seems as if DI engines have a real problem that the manufacturers really aren’t willing to acknowledge or address (if it even can be addressed).
What’s your opinion on oil separators and/or catch cans? Are they a good preventive measure, or should I just resign myself to funding a cleaning via walnut shells or other similar clean-up tactics when gas mileage starts to dip, power drops, or misfires develop?
TTAC commenter Sjalabais writes:
I wrote to you once before about choosing a sensible family beater. In the end, I bought a 2002 Honda Stream, which I have since driven 30,000+ km. It’s a very rare car in Norway; only 147 on the road as of this year.
The Honda has been fairly reliable (lots of brake issues), practical enough (try to beat a ’70s Volvo!) and fairly robust. What I like is that it can take a beating when we go to the mountains.
Over the course of the last year, an odd issue has become an annoyance: Sometimes, the car will start, but not hold revs.
TTAC commentator VolandoBajo writes:
Sajeev, my worthy and esteemed fellow Panther defender,
I acquired my ’97 Mercury Grand Marquis LS about six months ago and have enjoyed everything about it. I’m hoping to find a good source for a dual exhaust that doesn’t cost more than the book value of the car, and to convince my wife that the mileage increase will pay for the mod over time.
But my present problem is baseline fuel economy. I see repeated references to a 20 miles per gallon highway figure, but I can only manage 17 mpg at the best of times.
My new wife brought to the marriage her ’07 fleet-queen Taurus. She’s not a car pamperer by any means, but she does change her oil. This car got flogged like a racehorse in its previous life. Its body tightness is well-nigh gone, it unpredictably emits a strange unidentifiable groan from the depths of the dashboard center on moderate acceleration, the dime-size floormats are practically ground into dust, and the trunk barely agrees to open even when unlatched.
TTAC commentator Felix Hoenikker writes:
Thanks for the post. At the end of March, I bit the bullet and replaced the right cylinder head with a rebuilt one from Advance Auto. With my on line discount and a new head gasket, the total parts cost was under $200 plus a day’s labor.
As a fellow Panther owner, I am seeking advice on the disposition of another Ford product. My 24 year old son just bought a new to him car and returned my 2000 Ford Taurus with the 3L Vulcan overhead valve engine to me. At 206K it runs great, but has one issue. Combustion gases are entering the cooling system and periodically venting through the coolant de-gassing tank.
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