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Thread: I bought a B5 S4, among other things.

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    Default I bought a B5 S4, among other things.

    So I bought a B5 S4 Avant!
    I, like many before me have promised that I would do a build thread right from the start when they get their next car so this time I’m actually doing it.

    For many reasons I ended up with the S4, having a new family and needing an estate (wagon), wanting something ‘interesting’ (that pretty much rules out most newer cars to my old brain), something with potential to be pretty fast, and something that I could really get obsessed by – but in a non-threatening kind of way, something fairly reliable to daily, and something I can actually buy mods for rather than spend any ‘car time’ on failing to solve unfathomable issues… Enter Exhibit A:





    This was supposed to be all of the above things 3 years ago - my 2001 BMW E39 530i M-Sport (manual) – but because I bought this car sight unseen from under a tree in Wales (uk), covered in moss with flat tyres and an interior that required a shower after every drive (plus I genuinely believed would give me tetanus) I spent the last 3 years just making it a nice car again and hardly doing anything I really wanted to do with it.
    Then a nice little old guy who wasn’t paying attention behind me in traffic drove into the back of it. Over £2k of damage later and the insurance company were signing a check for me that in no way represented the cars rarity and worth – So that was the end of that.

    ‘’SO! This time I’ll get it right!’’ I said to myself ‘’this time I’ll make sure that I don’t have to do any boring shit, and can get straight into the good stuff! – I’ll get a good base car that doesn’t have everything broken, cracked bumpers and rust and VAC leaks and mould and STDs.’’
    So I fixed up nthe damage myself and sold the written off E39 to a really nice guy from London who really fell for the car and could appreciate all the work that went into it, I gave him all my spare parts and anything else that I could find just to help him out and went on the look for its replacement.

    I’d been looking at B5 S4 2.7 twin turbo V6s for a while and had my eye on a particular example on the bay of E. It was a facelift 2000 with 120K miles which was one of the lowest I could find without being silly expensive, black on silver interior (now dirt brown), VERY good service history and it looked pretty much standard. Plus it was really cheap. Which made me very suspicious - plus it was located in an ‘undesirable' let’s say, suburb of Liverpool….. It made everyone else very suspicious as well because no one bought it. Everyday I’d check my newly listed – then saved searches and there it was every day for a month; staring at me like a puppy in a house full of children under 10 – begging me to take it home.

    Then one day it wasn’t! I checked to make sure it hadn’t been relisted and it hadn’t. I was actually gutted; like id missed out on MY car. So much so that I messaged the owner let’s call him Dave, to ask it had really gone – He assured me that it hadn’t and was just sick of people offering him some magic beans and a stolen moped for the car, he wasn’t that desperate to sell it anyway so had removed the ad.

    So told Dave I was very interested and wanted to view the car – No sight unseen junk from under a tree for me this time – This time I’d do it right – This time I would: Meet the guy at a service station off a junction of the motorway, at night, in the rain, without a torch….. Why do I do this to myself?!
    I told Dave that id know within a minute if I liked the car or not so he offered to meet me halfway as he worked not far from where i lived. Which was nice.

    …So I knew within less than a minute that I wanted the car, in fact i knew as soon as the car pulled onto the forecourt – It looked a bit neglected, like it had seen some shit that it didn’t want to talk about. But the bones of a nice car were there. Dave was defiantly a car guy, he has a VW caddy and an E24 in his garage at home and was only selling the S4 because he’d never got round to doing anything with it, basically it had just sat for 2 years. We chatted for a bit about other stuff then I offered Dave less than the asking price and said i'd come to his to pick it up at the weekend. He agreed and I was happy!
    Then I started google stalking the little suburb outside Liverpool to see if I could discern how badly the car had been treated-



    This photo was taken this year. The place is so bad they don’t have colour… or electricity… the kind of place where it’s always raining even when it isn’t and you need good knife skills to survive.
    Needless to say I went to that little town, with all the doors locked and a breaker bar within grabbing range; and bought the car as fast as possible- which i hindsight may not have been the best idea.
    The drive home was a bit iffy. There was no ‘’what the fuck have I done’’ moment, but there were exclamations of ‘’hmm?’’ with some head scratching. Like the car felt down on power for 260bhp and it pulled to the left – badly. Plus it went through fuel like my Mother in-Law on a bottle of Pinot.

    First job before I showed my new purchase to my lovely lady wife was to wash 2 years of misery off the car, its in desperate need of a full detail and paint correction, interior scrub down and proper going over just to get it remotely clean but I just had time to pressure wash the big chunks off it and here’s how it stood last week.



    Disclaimer: the photography will get better!

    All in all not as bad as it could be, considering. The car had no mods except for an eBay special exhaust, which sounds like an old man farting on a snare drum – so that’s going away as soon as humanly possible. It looks like it’s had a respray and not a particularly good one at that at some point that needs wet sanding and polishing properly and a few other touch ups. If I hadn’t viewed the car in the dark and in the rain I would have picked up on this sooner… Doh! Unlike the E39, everything is there, nothing is really broken... I actually got pretty lucky which if you add everything up - is astonishing!

    So the day after it went to my local friendly mechanic (also called Dave), he’s damn good at what he does and I asked him to give it a full diagnosis and health check. Even though I’ll be working on the car myself mostly, I don’t have the resources he does. He even smoke checks for vac leaks... Most garages in this country don’t know what that is!

    I got the call a couple days later to tell me one of the Turbos was non-operational……. Wait, what?!!
    This was my worst nightmare in a single sentence, doing research on the S4 revealed that the turbos failing is a big deal and by big i mean expensive, at some point i will upgrade the K03s to hybrids or even K04s but right now that's not an option as most of my spare cash went on the cars purchase price.
    I was at work and just sat down on the floor expecting the knockout blow of: New turbos required, engine out job, may as well do a clutch, need to do the timing belt while i'm here – £2K - you fucked up Jim!

    .... But no… It turns out that the vac tube to the left bank turbo had split clean in half. That tube was now replaced and the car was fine! Compression was great, emissions were pretty much perfect! After that the car definitely felt more spritely. I really sidestepped that landmine, new pair of pants ordered. Thanks Dave.

    So that’s where I am now. The car is still with Dave at DMS having the rocker cover gaskets done and he’s also fixing the binding brake that was making the car pull left. Which means that I’ve been without it for longer than I’ve owned it, however this also means that I have been blindly buying parts of all kinds for the car, and when it comes home on Saturday I’ll post more pics – especially after I’ve cleaned properly. The build isn’t going to be earth shattering, I’m not going to turn the Audi game on its head, and it’s not going to be big money, but if there’s ever a car that deserves a bit of love it’s this one: Remember the Puppy analogy.
    Last edited by J1mjitsu; 11-15-2019 at 04:01 PM.

  2. #2
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    Photos not working.. Hang on, ill fix it. ... I forgot all about image hosting and stuff, ill figure it out tonight. Anyone got a recommended photo-host?
    Last edited by J1mjitsu; 11-15-2019 at 08:44 AM.

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    Try imgur for hosting

    Btw nice writeup, I love to read funny stories almost more than watching pics

    FB: @DumbassCarCrew - IG: @fruttolo_dumbasscrew

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    Thanks man, i used imgur

    Somehow i always manage to end up with funny stories.. I'm working my way up to 'life changing.'
    Last edited by J1mjitsu; 11-15-2019 at 04:05 PM.

  5. #5
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    The E39 looked gorgeous, can't wait to see what you do with the Avant!

    I had a B5 1.8T Quattro (albeit a sedan) and have always had a soft spot for the platform


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    Quote Originally Posted by 19birel View Post
    The E39 looked gorgeous, can't wait to see what you do with the Avant!

    I had a B5 1.8T Quattro (albeit a sedan) and have always had a soft spot for the platform
    Thanks man, funnily enough I came pretty close to dropping the hammer on a black 1.8t quattro avant in pretty much the same state as your A4 and I actually remembered your build. The intention would have been to do a full on restoration like you did. Then I found this and threw caution to the wind

    Dont take life too seriously - you'll never get out alive.

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    Ok so today was going to be the day that the S4 came home and i could finally start to have a bit of a play with it, i was going to make the car a little bit more fit for human habitation and maybe start applying some of the small stash of parts i accrued over the last couple of weeks for the car..... However...

    The call came in this morning at 10am from Dave the Magical Mechanical Wizard to let me know that the car was ready for collection whenever i'm ready, they usually close at 1pm but they were going to be there till late today so swing by in the afternoon.
    In all honesty i was a bit like kid at Christmas with so many questions running though my head: What would it be like to drive now? Would it feel quicker? will it idle properly? was i right about the vac leaks causing the lumpy idle? How do they know the taste of dog food is new and improved? I wouldn't be able to get the car until after 1 though because of family things so id just have to pace the house like a normal person.
    1pm came.

    What a lovely day for a walk. DMS is literally 2 minutes away from my front door so i could have sprinted the whole way without having a coronary but i thought 'No Jim enjoy this walk, it'll make driving back all the better.'
    So i stopped and pondered life for a while. Really taking in how beautiful England is in the Autumn and even though its cold its not too cold to enjoy the scenery. I meandered along, taking pictures of the weird and wonderful creatures that inhabit our fare isle. Hardly being able to contain my excitement.




    A Vauxhall Mokka... Very weird.

    .... And when i reached the garage .... they were fucking closed!!!!!

    (I did not take a picture of this as i was too busy swearing at inanimate objects, people, dogs (those fucking dogs), trees, the sky. Everything... I walked home.)

    Dave had not indicated to me that they would close during the day (bad Dave) so he would get a piece of my mind over the phone, but Dave was not answering his phone. He did not answer his phone for the further 12 times that i called him in quick succession.
    (bad Dave). I was due to go out with the family for a couple of hours so my only chance at getting the car back before Monday would be to hope that he'd just come back to the garage at random. So I packed up the wife and child and headed out in her car to drive past Daves place in the hope he would be back... He wasn't. So very dejected, miserable and bitter we all went out for happy family time and i would have to hope that he was back at 5 on our way back otherwise the car would stay there until Monday morning and i would be terrible to live with.

    5pm came.



    (Very bad Dave)

    I waited for a couple minutes knocking on the door, hoping that Dave had simply passed out from inhaling too much exhaust gas and would now miraculously wake up and give me my car back, but no. My wife and baby stared at me from the windows of her Polo like i was a crazy person and they were just seeing it for the first time.
    But Then....



    Miracle of miracles, a black shitty van pulled in to the car park, driven in a way that only god would drive.. Dave had returned! (good Dave)

    (I did not take pictures of this as i was too busy with leathery calloused hand shakes)

    As it turns out Dave the Wizard had merely been on a callout to VW Tiguan with a stuck on electric handbrake and neglected to take his phone, and even though he was going to go straight home, he had swung by the garage to call me and apologize (awww).
    as i was there he opened up the place and let me take the S4. Yay!






    The fine man in the background is the legend Dave himself.


    Disclaimer: The pictures are no better.

    So after getting the key back and waving goodbye to a balding leather man with more enthusiasm than he was comfortable with - I took the car out for my first real drive since i took the long drive back from the cesspit i bought it from. That drive was full of pessimism and worry with the smell of burning oil (rocker cover gaskets) and other unidentifiable interior odors (shit) burning in my nostrils.
    This drive i dared to stretch the old S4s legs a bit just to see what the difference was and honestly it was like night and day. The car pulled well from a standing start, the hesitation had gone and the dip in power that i had attributed to the air/fuel ratios being all over the place from the vac leaks were gone. Now with both turbos and a sealed motor once again the car felt like the boot had been emptied of bricks and it could be the car it used to be once again. I was as chuffed for the car as i was for myself to be honest, and when the turbos spooled up for the first time on a nice straight bit of road - we both made happy happy noises.

    So to ramble shambolic-ally to a close for today - I did manage to make one mod:



    And another splendid Bloke Jadbiel from Ebay sent me an update picture on something he has been working on for me:



    So all is well with the world
    Last edited by J1mjitsu; 11-16-2019 at 05:00 PM.

    Dont take life too seriously - you'll never get out alive.

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    This update had me chuckling, glad to hear she's running like a top now! Very jealous of that steering wheel, I remember drooling over those on ebay when I had my B5.


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    Haha thanks again man. She's unfortunately back with Dave as I had a low oil pressure warning then a weird situation with there being waaay too much oil showing on the dipstick. Either somone else had overfilled the oil or the S4 is making its own now. I've done a couple of jobs on the car that really perked the old girl up again but then I got the oil warning. Ill do another update on it when I get the car back (again) ��

    Dont take life too seriously - you'll never get out alive.

  10. #10
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    Sounds a lot like an Audi, nice story so far.

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