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Audi S4 Torque Converter Swaps

g35xfung35xfun Member Posts: 7
edited March 2014 in Audi
I am trying to get a sense of for the troubles I've had with my 2001 S4. Specifically, would those of you had to do torque converter swaps on your tiptronic S4 share your experience?

Thank you.


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    s4orcenjs4orcenj Member Posts: 4
    i have a manual s4 and from what i hear on other forums it is on a scale of 1 to 10 on installing yourself its a 7... are you going to install a new one?.. i was unaware they made an upgraded torque converter.. if your talking about center and rear diffs thats a different story.. a center LSD diff and upgraded rear diff is the way to go.. it takes the power output from 50% front and 50% back to 80% back and 20% front, some ppl get the two confused so i was just simply putting in my .02 cents...
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    g35xfung35xfun Member Posts: 7
    I had debated myself for couple of months, now, as to whether to post this or not. I had hoped to see other folks's experience.

    I was once a proud owner of a 2001 S4 and now that love has turned into utter comtemp!!! Thanks to Carousel Audi. I had bet my wife that S4 would outlast her 2002 BMW X5, looks like I'll be eating crow, and it would seems BMW is only German car maker than can still put together a decent car.

    The issues are when you need to get work done on the car. If it weren't for the crappy extended warranty, I wouldn't even have bothered to work with these scum bags for as long as I have. To get started, knowing Audi cars are not the most reliable, I demanded an extended warranty for my 2001 S4 as part of the purchase which they complied when I got the car back in 2001, but not without pulling a quick one on me. The extended warranty was not an Audi warranty but some lousy third party. I wanted 7 years 100,000 miles and they were only willing to do 6 years 72,000 miles, which after much haggling on price and everything else it was what it was.

    A number of things had to be repaired over the duration of the ownership of the S4 which I finally got rid of recently. Luckily most of this was paid for either by warranty or extended warranty. Starting with the most minor
    - glove blox rattle - never really fixed, they pretend they can't hear it
    - turn signal blinkers - twice replaced relays
    - HVAC blower - twice replaced for making noises. the clowns left a screwdriver in the glovebox one time and didn't even properly attach the glove box damper.
    - vacuum hose in the emission controls - twice replaced when below -5 F
    - LCD display in dash - replaced one for missing a whole line of pixels
    - Windshield wiper fluid tank - cracked on the bottom replaced once
    - Leak in the differential plug seal - they had started by asking for $500 to do replacement of differential seals and if I weren't really getting on their case and looking under the car, they probably wouldn't have admitted to being just a plug seal, and still they demanded $125.
    - Leak in the coolant reservoir tank - for the longest time the liars claimed there was no leak, when I noticed a persistent slow vanishing of coolant. To avoid bigger problems I always had to add more coolant every six months. Finally after 4 years of this nonsense the fluid started to cloud up and they finally owned up to it. And then they had the nerve to charge me to do a coolant flush.
    - Oil leak into the intake manifold from the camshaft seal, fouled up Bosch engine solenoid control banks leading to rough idle. All replaced.

    But here is the kicker, the big one. The tiptronic transmission central to the quattro system need to be replaced in september of 2006 at 66,000 miles. They started by claiming that torque converter needs to be replaced. Then after further diagnosis it became that the whole transmission needs to be replaced. And it gets worse given that at this time get to really learn what sort of "quick one" they pulled on the extended warranty. The extended warranty company had preset dollar value in mind and they insisted on doing a used transmission replacement. I retrospect I should have gotten on Carousels case even more, but it was pulling teeth to just to get the bastards to shop for the best used transmission available, one with low miles and in good condition. I ended up doing the shopping and making them go check it out. Talk about the lack of service. And then the clowns had the nerve to claim that they were not transmissions experts and that they can't really judge if a transmission is good or not. All the while they never owned to the fact that Audi torque converters have been known fail (as it has happened on A6, A8 etc.) Had I figure that out at that time, I would have insisted on a new torque converter with a tranmission swap. What they really wanted to do was to sell a refurbished transmission which the extended warranty wasn't going to cover. What happened was that they reused the existing torque converter with an used transmission. And I still had to come up with nearly $1K for incidentals (shipping, taxes, deductible, wear and tear items, etc.)

    If everything went well and didn't have issues again, I probably wouldn't have bothered to post this. But from day one I smelled something burning which they denied saying all transmission swaps leave a bit of fluid to be burned off. In 3 weeks I noticed leaking fluids on the garage floor. Back to the dealer, they said it was the transmission pan seal and some other transmission seal. Replaced seals. 2 months later, more leaks on the floor, back for another transmission pan seal. Seems like that was the last of it. Then in June of 2007 at 73000 miles, the torque converter posts "lock up failure stuck off" code. The dealer now says you need a new torque converter. Damn it that was the problem to start with which they didn't fix right. And then said we replaced your torque converter before when they obviously in past said they reused it. They said it must be miscommunication because you can't do a transmission swap without replacing the torque converter. WTF!?!? Now that I am out warranty of any sort, I call around. The dealers demands $3500 to the work where as there are specialized transmission shops willing to this for $1700. In any case no more Audi VW ever again.
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    rich407rich407 Member Posts: 1

    Thanks for this thread. I am evaluating getting my torque converter replaced. I have a 2001 S4 tiptronic, 62,000 miles. Recently the performance and handling has been degrading. I have also smelled/seen smoke under the hood when idling.

    The dealer suggested the following work:
    -trans pan seal/rings/filter $931
    -cam caps $998

    In addition they told me I need to do soon:
    -ECU reflash $246
    -torque converter & fluid $2928
    -cam adjuster seals $1596
    -timing belt kit $1692
    -tie rod ends $634


    The used value is about $15k - $16k.
    I'm going to shop around some non-audi mechs but my concern is this stuff is so central to performance and the Quattro system as descibed above, it should be done only by Audi, and even then will likely cause future problems... :(

    Any similar experiences/recommendations?

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    g35xfung35xfun Member Posts: 7
    The question to yourself is how much do you love your Audi? Without thinking about what the dollar total of the work is going to be, quantify that "love" into dollar figure, say L.
    Now divide L by the number of years you intend to keep the car and call it M. Rest assured you need to figure the future into your calculation it will cost you about that much every down down the line. Now if all the current work exceeds M, then it is time to unload the car.

    As for work that is to be paid out of pocket by yourself, now that it is out of warranty, you'll do better by staying away from the dealship. You will need to find a stop that specializes in Audi's though. It won't be cheap, but it should be on average 25% less expensive than the dealer rates. Now if this number still exceeds M, then it is really time to unload the car. BTW the dollar figures you the dealers quoted you is pretty typical for the dealer.

    Try posting here:

    There are lot of folks that had to torque converter swaps.

    As for me, I was so relieved to get rid of the stupid thing. Never again VW/Audi, I've learned my lesson to stay away from them.
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