2004 Audi S4 4.2 V8 from North America
V8, 6 speed, quattro: best drivetrain ever!
The check engine light came on at 92,000 miles for a small vacuum leak. Turned out it was the purge valve. Replaced myself with one from O'Reillys for $39: Doorman brand part # 911-800. No problems since.
The starter went out at 95,000 miles. Replaced myself with help from the S4 shop manual on Bentley Publishers DVD ROM. When it started to go out, it wouldn't start on cold days. If I held the starter switch for 10 seconds in the start position, it would finally turn over. On a -10 degree day at a hotel it wouldn't start at all, and so I filled the ice bucket from the hotel with hot water, then poured it on the passenger side valve cover near the firewall and let the hot water flow down to the starter solenoid. That warmed it up after about a minute and it started right up. That was the last straw for me, and I replaced it the next weekend with an original Valeo unit from Rockauto for like $205, but now I see JHMotorsports.com has Valeo starters for less.
Start up chain rattle started at 91,000 miles. It only lasts a second and has been doing it for 5000 miles now with no other effects. It is normal for these chain tensioners to lose oil pressure after sitting over night, and take a second to pump up when starting, and so the chain slaps against the guides causing a rattle. I will put in a new tensioner and guides this summer, and get the parts from JHMotorsports.com. I've heard that the updated parts will help chain rattle for a while, but it can come back and is just part of owning the S4, so I have to live with it, or get an Accusump kit to maintain oil pressure when the engine is off.
Dry rotted brittle hoses for the windshield washer squirters and headlight squirters at 95,000 miles. Took out the headlights and replaced the "T" fitting with a brass tee from Menards for PEX plumping. Replaced the rubber elbow fitting on the ends of the windshield squirters with new ones from my vacuum pump kit assortment from O'Reillys.
Love this S4. I have the V8, 6 speed, quattro. The engine sounds great. I took the mufflers off for a week once and it sounded very Ferrari like, but the drone at low RPM is unbearable so I can't leave it that way for long. It now has a Milltek exhaust and sounds very nice. I have to say the V8 is what brought me to Audi and I'm very impressed. The RS4 would be even better, but I may go with a JHM supercharger some day and have more power than an RS4. Besides, I love the body on the B6 S4.
The 6 speed shifter is excellent bone stock, I see no need to put an aftermarket one in, and I've had a Hurst shifter in a 5.0 Mustang, so compared to that it's still quite good. I love 1st gear and 2nd gear. 6th gear is still good for acceleration and passing. I drive 12 miles round trip to work and see no problem with 3000 RPM at 75 mph in 6th, but I assume most people would like a lower RPM at 75 to get better gas mileage, but I just love it the way it is.
The paint is Nogaro blue, with white leather and I really love the combination. The Recaro seats are the best seats I've ever had. The heated seats will roast your buns very well.
I like the courtesy blinkers, nice feature. I also like the rear sunshade; it's a nice luxury feature. I have the OnStar system too and I like that.
Lots of snow this winter and I thought about buying Blizzaks for it, but it gets around fine on all season tires. The ESP and traction control kick in a lot when accelerating on snow, and keep me going straight and get me merged into traffic quickly with no crazy fish tailing. This car really would be amazing with Blizzaks though, and I'm going to buy some for next year.
Burnouts: I have done one just to see if it would, and it did a 4 wheel burnout. Turn the ESP off first. I guess that Audi doesn't see loss of traction as a sign of performance, but it's fun nonetheless.
To sum up, if you want this drive train combo: V8, 6 speed, AWD, then this is the only game in town. No other manufacture on earth builds this combo. It's the best feeling to have AWD in winter. If the Mustang or the Corvette or even the Cadillac CTS V had AWD, they'd have me drooling, but they don't for some strange reason, so I'll keep my S4 forever.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 22nd February, 2014
Warm start chain rattle problem has been solved on the S4!
Link to DIY:
Chain rattle: Oil check valves cause it. The oil drains out of the heads because the spring in the oil check valves sticks open, allowing the oil to drain back into the pan, so no oil on start up for the chain tensioners, causing chain slap on the chain guides.
To stop chain rattle, just take off the intake manifold and replace the two oil check valves and oil squirter and a few gaskets. If you still have chain rattle, get new mechanical cam adjusters from jhmotorsports.com.
Obviously, replace your plastic chain guides if you have over 90,000 miles, because the chain rattle has probably cracked them.
2 x Oil check valves - 079103175C
1 x Oil spray jet - 079115540A
1 x Valley pan gasket - 079103161D
1 x Oil filter housing O ring (double D) - 079115111A
1 x Oil filter housing O ring (single O) - N90959701