...sometimes you don’t.

Same car, minus the projector headlights

A few months ago, I had several projects running, the RX-8 needed some bodywork (only esthetics), the Pajero was on its way to become a (soft) overland vehicle, and the 505, my daily driver, has been on the waiting list for an engine rebuild and rust repair for nearly a decade now (it runs well, bu it burns some oil).

With this in mind, at the end of last year, I decided to buy a newer, reliable car, with a decent fuel economy and hat wouldn’t depreciate too much in the time I would get the 505 on the road again.

I hesitated a bit on what to get. The candidates were the Audi A4 (B7), A6 (C6) or A8 (D3), or a Lexus IS220D (strange cross shopping, I know).

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I have had an A4 in the past and it found it was a really nice car. I had traded it for a Megane II RS I was trying to sell, figuring a diesel would be easier to sell. Since I didn’t see the benefit of an A4 over the 505 versus the cost of ownership, I sold it after 2 months.

The A6 would have been to have a bit more room for the rear passengers, the A8 would have been to try the depreciated 10 year old luxury sedan experience. The Lexus was to stand out, since Lexi are a bit rarer in Europe, but I would have struggled to resell it.

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After a bit of research, I found a low mileage 2006 A4 1.9 TDI that seemed interesting. I went to check it out with my father. It had some minor defaults, it was missing a key, the lift, some interior trim was broken, and the rear bumper had been repainted and you could see a slight difference in color. All in all, it was a bit worse than I imagined, but was able to push the price down and I didn’t want to go home empty handed.

Wrong decision.

The car had been driven by a retired man who drove it for about 7000km per year. I started driving it 1000km a week. It didn’t like the change.
After a few weeks, I noticed a little sound when the engine was idling. but couldn’t identify where it came from. So I continued driving. I had put around 12.000km when the engine suddenly started shaking while driving. I stopped the car, towed it home, and started looking for a solution.

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It seemed to be running on 3 cylinders. so we checked the compression to see if something had broken. Compression was OK. I was recommended to take it to a guy that used to work at a VW dealership and knew the problems those engines can have. I had the car there for 4 weeks before getting it back untouched.

I checked online what the usual suspect were on these engines: pump injection elements (each injector has its own little pump), hydraulic tappets, and the 2 mass flywheel. I took the injectors to the Bosch service to get them checked. They were way out of tolerance, nice, we have our culprit. So I had them rebuild them, installed them, put the engine together, started, and... no change, the car was still shaking. I then tested the tappets. You could easily squeeze them, when they should have been firm, also, the camshaft bearings were heavily worn. okay, there’s our problem. Bought new ones, and new bearings, installed them, started, and again, the whole car wiggled on the lift like my dog when I come home late.

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Finally, we took out the starter motor to see there was some visible damage to the flywheel. When the starter was out, we saw torn metal and lots of grease. We turned the flywheel a bit to see a gaping hole in it and springs hanging out of it. I have never seen anything like this before, I have no idea what happened.

The flywheel

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The adapter plate between the engine and the transmission

I ordered a new flywheel and a new clutch. I expect them to arrive on the beginning of next week. I hope this will end the problems on this turd.

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It’s been the third time i bought a car even though I wasn’t entirely sure about it, each time I regretted it later.
New rule: never buy a car when you’re not absolutely sure about it.

That’s why I didn’t buy the 1960 Impala I checked out yesterday. Success, yay!