Flipping an Audi – Yes, YOU TOO can drive a UNICORN SPACESHIP! (Part One)

This flipping an Audi project started from a simple conversation with some college-age kids, that were convinced that you couldn’t drive something nice these days without a car payment involved.
I beg to differ.

About two weeks after that conversation, an unprecedented opportunity presented itself. Someone that I knew had their old 2005 VW Jetta strand them on the side of the road outside of Washington DC. They were frustrated, upset, and after a long history of disappointment dating back to 2008, they were going to send it to the junkyard! I quickly stepped in and offered to tow the car and pay them the money the scrapyard would offer. $200 for the starting point.

Quite frankly, I don’t understand the problem with the car. It was a 2.0L naturally aspirated model in the final year the mk4 chassis was offered. Yes, it was high mileage at 180,000+ miles, but it served that person well without too much pain and hassle. It is possible that it had something to do with the personal pain that was involved with that car during that time in their life.

With some quick investigation, I found a faulty fuel pump. A few dollars to replace the fuel pump, and that was the last dime I spent within this particular project. Keep that fact in mind.

Over three days of some HEAVY cleaning (I started with detailing cars back in my early years…this car was a challenge) and listing it for sale, I had it sold in a week for $2700 as someone’s first car.

Within a week of that, I had found myself someone’s troublesome Audi A4! Again, last year offered in the particular body, and it was a 2008 A4 2.0T with transmission issues. Most would scream “NO!” and tear off. But looking at the number of service records that were with the car, something didn’t add up. The owner had bought it as a daily driver but didn’t drive it. He had spent around $5000 two months ago for a timing belt and full tune-up.

After a tow home and a quick look at the car, the first thing was first…replace that HPFP cam tappet that goes horribly wrong if left intact. In what took 15 minutes to check, you would think that the shop that charged this guy multiple thousands of dollars would have done this little number first. Especially since the part was worn to the point of having a hairline crack on the tappet! It is possible that if the car were driven home, the tappet would have broken and destroyed the engine by having the tappet break into pieces and getting into who knows what in the engine valve train, but demolishing the camshaft and HPFP in the process. Just an awful day that results in replacing an engine in the worst case or a camshaft, HPFP, another attached bit along with an oil change. A few dollars vs. thousands.

After that, I figured that the shop that did the work did not know these particular cars. It proved right as I found that it was a reputable shop…that dealt primarily with Honda and Acura vehicles! I immediately checked the transmission fluid levels and fount that the car was 2.5 – 3 liters low on fluid! They had even put in the correct spec fluid, which is a very pricey dealer acquired item or my choice of Motul ATF VI that left things shifting quite smoothly. What had happened was an initial fill and fill after startup…the correct procedure for most conventional automatic vehicles in the world. However, Audi has an additional step that involves monitoring the fluid temperature as a valve opens up between 35-40 degrees celsius, requiring the extra fluid. The main takeaway is to know your stuff.

Fortunately, Audi’s transmission was not damaged in the short time the car was driven after the mishap, and I drove it for three months myself to ensure a proper vehicle for the future buyer to be. The next stop proves to be much more rewarding but much more labor-intensive as well. Stay tuned!

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