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Audi A8

I’m losing the argument with the lovely bride, so I really need some help.

I bought this lovely machine in June and it has 156,000 miles on it currently. I use it for a long 350 mile commute over the Cascade Range once per week. To say that it is heavenly is a bit of an understatement.

I paid a bit less than $5K for it, spent $2.5K on brakes, tires, and repair to the cruise computer. And then, suddenly, the tranny died. I knew in advance this was the most likely vulnerability.

The dealer says this is an $8500 repair. I found a re-manufactured tranny on-line for $2500 and have a reliable local mechanic to do the installation for a fraction of the dealer’s labor cost.

Can this installation be done by someone other than a dealer? Do re-man trannies do well in these cars (comes with a 2 year guarantee)? Are there other pitfalls in this situation I should be aware of?

And finally, my lovely bride says this car is a dog, will cost an arm and a leg to maintain from here to forever, and we should cut our losses now.

I say we gotta have seen it’s worst now and should be in for a good run. Thoughts?

Oops, forgot to add that it’s a 1998 model.

I would agree with your wife–cut your losses. However, I look at a car for transportation. You obviously want transportation and more. You have no assurances that if you replace the transmsssion that something else won’t fail like a head gasket.

Since you like the car, you should repair the transmission. The cost of a replacement will come off the car in its present condition. Since the dealer is going to charge $8500, you might reasonably expect to get nothing for it; you’ll have to give it away. Is it a Quattro?

In the long run it will be advisable to listen to your wife’s advice…

While the A8 is a gorgeous car and I’m sure it’s a joy to drive, your wife is the sensible one in the family.

This car has “Bottomless Money Pit” written all over it. You’re just getting started.

You’ve had the car three months and you’ve already spent 1/2 the purchase price on repairs. And now you want to spend that much again on a very “iffy” transmission. So then you’re up to $10K, and what’s next? Anything (anything) that goes wrong with this beauty will cost an arm and a leg to repair.

I find it hard to believe that a good transmission for an A8 can be had for $2,500. How do you get this “online” tranny to your mechanic? Shipping it won’t be free. And who is guaranteeing it? Someone a thousand miles away? What’s that guarantee worth?

An Audi A8 is a rich person’s car. You’re not a rich person. If you were, you’d have leased a new one, and you’d know enough to turn it back in before the warranty expired.

The fact that the car was for sale at only $5,000 says a lot. Whoever owned it prior to you got the best there was to be had from this car and sold it knowing what was coming.

You fooled yourself into thinking you could own an A8 for the price of a used Corolla. Now you’re trying to convince yourself the worst is over. Very funny.

Bail out now, before it gets worse.

Cut your losses and RUN.

Yes, Gerry, your lovely bride is rght; your car is a dog. It was a dog the minute it left the factory, as my eye doctor will testify since, he owned one (bougth new) and now drives a Grand Cherokee, which he say says is much more reliable. That tells you something, since the Grand Cherokee is hardly a paragon of reliability itself.

Not only is this car poorly suited to US conditions, it costs an arm and a leg to repair anything on it. It was never a big seller in Germany since the road tax was excruciating, and the company never got the bugs out of it.

I would heed the advice of others, and sell it ASAP. Your bride will love you for it, since almost anything else you buy will cost a lot less to own and operate.

It is not a cheap car to own. I will say a few of my neighbors own them and both state incredible cars while under warranty but they move on somewhere around 150k miles.

I would not worry about a reman. tranny and a new Audi transmission is senseless in a 10 year old car. Also an Audi dealer is also silly if you cannot find a local independent who is versed with Audi.

Just to pile on here, she’s absolutely right. Miled-up 10-year-old Audis are the definition of money pit. That’s why they’re so cheap.

While I don’t agree that the car is sure to be a money pit, it could have more repairs due down the line.

Most repairs for that car are going to cost more than average.

Did you have it inspected before you bought it?

OK, my guess is the prior owner knew about at least some of those repairs were going to be needed, likely in part do to the care or abuse he provided. Likely you got stuck with paying for his abuse of the car. However that means there may be more abuse that has not been uncovered yet.

I would also not suggest you ignore your wife’s opinion. Right or wrong, you need to factor that in as an important issue.

Good Luck

This Car Is A Fixer- Upper For A DIYer. Is That You? It Doesn’t Sound Like It.

Paying labor charges to have all this stuff done on an Audi with 150K+ miles is cost prohibitive. Too bad you don’t have the time and or knowledge to take on most of this yourself. This is project car to tinker with while you drive your regular driver. What are you driving following the death of the transmission?

Are there no good used transmissions from a totalled Audi available, locally?

Do you have a Community College with an Auto Tech Shop in your neck of the woods?


With an eleven-year old Audi, I’m afraid chances are against being “in for a good run” now, so I wouldn’t use that as part of the decision process.

Yeah, I married her cause she has a good head on her shoulders (along with certain other attractive features). Thanks for the advice, all.

Yeah, its a Quattro 4.2L. I went with the repair despite the preponderance of opinion. I’ll drive it while I look for a replacement.

Oh, total repair costs including labor $3500. Found an expert in Michigan who specializes in “ZF” transmissions (Kirt Koller, do a search) and bought tranny from him.

I know I lost money in the deal, but just couldn’t part with the machine.

One more thing…

We’re people, not machines. All of us have unrealistic notions, like which cars we like best. And that’s OK. If you like the A8, drive it and enjoy it. Tell her she’s just lucky you didn’t buy a 12-year old Bentley R.