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The Current Driveway... 323 progress(?!) update.


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Bit of maintenance on  the big Audi today, although not the afore-mentioned 'pinch bolt o' doom' control arm bushes... my front end vibes seem to have fixed themselves (t'was very slight anyway tbh), so that's for another day.

I had three jobs planned ,and managed two.  Oil change first.  I had been reading up on the oil required on these engines and talked myself into changing it out for the specified 5w30.  I had put 10w40 in last time as  I found it burned a bit of the thin stuff...  The timing belt tensioners are hydraulic, and can clatter on start-up.  This is a bit of TADTS apparently, and something I have noticed on occasion.  I don't like the thought of it, and the thicker oil isn't likely to help, so that's another 7.5 litres of Mobil's finest down the hatch.  Did a proper job, engine flush first and drained out the sump plug rather than the vacuum pump.  First time I've seen the magplug on this car and it was good to see it was spotless.  

Next job was to put the front wheels on the back, and vice-versa.  The expensive Pirelli winter grips it came with were new-looking when I bought the car, but running it all summer has not been kind to the fronts...  big heavy thing I suppose and it does like a corner.  Hopefully they'll all wear down together now, and be ready for a matching set of sporty summer jobs in the spring.  It was a really pro job, with a scissor jack under each end (trolley jack is currently otherwise engaged holding up the jeeps arse end, really must finish that as well...), which led to a nervously quick wheel change, while praying that the wind/kids/earth tremors didn't knock over my lovely jam jar.

One thing that confused me while two wheels were free to spin...  if you turned the back, the front spun in the opposite direction, not that weird I suppose, but it was in 'Park'?  Spent a wee while trying to figure it out, not likely.

Last job I wanted to do was the exhaust...  I ran over what I thought was an ex-pheasant the other morning, turns out it was a pre-squished deer, which resulted in an almighty thump on the bottom of the car, and a blowing exhaust.  It had taken out the flexi, resulting in a decidedly (and not wholly unpleasant) 'murican engine note.  Autodoc have duly provided the clamp-in replacement section, but on diving under there, I didn't much fancy the job.  Not a lot of room even on the ramps, and it has been previously changed and welded in by Stevie Wonder...  the garage can have that one methinks.  

So life with the high-liabilty Audi continues on, and nothing else to report fleet-wise.  Getting itchy for a buy, badly wanted JB's Toyota... self-discipline is hard!

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  • TrabbieRonnie changed the title to The Current Driveway... Boring Maintenance Update.

Really enjoyed reading through your posts. You have an interesting selection of cars. Of course I now want a Hilux surf, an Audi coupe and an A8! I think it's great that you take your son's out for driving lessons. I've done the same with my 13 year old and our 1997 Micra but I find it difficult to find places near Leicester. Not so many open places as you have up there.

Will look forward to future updates on the fleet... 👍

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1 hour ago, stripped fred said:

Really enjoyed reading through your posts. You have an interesting selection of cars. Of course I now want a Hilux surf, an Audi coupe and an A8! I think it's great that you take your son's out for driving lessons. I've done the same with my 13 year old and our 1997 Micra but I find it difficult to find places near Leicester. Not so many open places as you have up there.

Will look forward to future updates on the fleet... 👍

Cheers Fred!  Think I'd struggle living in the town now tbf!  Good luck with the lessons, it's our duty to bring up the next generation of Shiters!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Speyside was pretty this morning, took the back road to see how the big beast handled a bit of weather...


Quattro is different to the Subaru AWD, bit less fluid somehow, but really bites into the snow under power.  


I think you could have a lot of fun if you wanted, but at sensible speeds/throttle inputs it was rock solid.


Was good to find something these tyres are good at too, as they're pretty disappointing in all other respects (Pirelli P Zero winter jobs, no fault of theirs that they let go too easy in the summer!)

Screenwash pressure seems low, and it uses a lot as it does the headlamps every time as well, maybe a leak somewhere...  Otherwise all good.  

Cheers peeps.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey all,

After many months of chipping off rust and thoroughly coating the aft end with a waxoily brew...  the old girl is ready for the road again.


Turned into a bit of a labour of love, but she is now protected from the back to just in front of the rear axle... doesn't sound much, but there's a lot of nooks and crannies under there!  As you can see, the satin black Rustloleum is spreading, she will never be concourse spec.


New springs and anti roll bar bushes/mounts have tightened up the rear, I still have a new steering idler box to fit, but she rolls along quite well anyway.  Brakes had seized on a bit due to the length of time sat on my truck, when they let go the thing just about leapt off, which made for an interesting (and lucky) dismount.  I'd forgotten that I had crawled up there in 4wd low range, I reckon that so configured, her 0-10 mph time would shame a few sports cars!


A thorough wash tomorrow, and some more bike-carrying duties await.  The forward half of the chassis was never as bad, so that will get done in sections as time goes on.

All in all, we're just really glad to have her back, the wee Mazda 323 is up on the truck now for a similar (hopefully less- involved) treatment, to include a rear wheel bearing that has recently begun to grumble.  Joys of a 90's fleet!

Cheers all.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi all,

Mixed fortunes here at Trabbi Towers this week...  Mrs' Outback is to meet its maker after a pretty bad pre-mot inspection. 

Plenty of corroded bits and bobs underneath, and not just body work (rear shocks, driveshaft couplings, front cross member).  The past year has obviously not been kind to it, just about every bush is knackered too. 

Abs sensor fault, and an exhaust leak were expected, but no longer high on my to-do list!  Been praising it up lately as well, really does go well in the wintry weather...  Will post on here for scrap money, however, lockdown makes it pretty unlikely anyone can come and get it anyway! 

Been wanting to reduce the fleet a bit, didn't really think the 'modern' would be first out the door!

In other OMGSNOWKAOS news, big jeep came out to play...




The tyres fitted (Kuhmo Road Ventures) are really blocky, and brilliant at this sort of stuff, but starting to feel really rough on road.  I paid £100 for the set (on the wheels) a couple of years ago, and by the date stamp they're now 13/14 years old, so I can't complain.  A new set are on their way from Camskill, so will be fitted in time for the test.





Much rear-wheel-drive fun was had by my two, taking their Gran Turismo drift 'skillz' out into the wild...

The old car love has been well and truly passed on....


Cheers all.






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  • TrabbieRonnie changed the title to The Current Driveway... One Out!
On 12/4/2020 at 9:28 AM, TrabbieRonnie said:

Screenwash pressure seems low, and it uses a lot as it does the headlamps every time as well, maybe a leak somewhere... 

Headlamp washers should be programmable with a VCDS how often they get done. Iirc default is usually after every 4th screen wash. 

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  • 1 month later...

Hi all,

Big Audi let me down this morning, decided I'd better take it a run after it had sat for a couple of weeks... it sits down on its haunches as the air suspenders lose the will, makes me look bad. 

Anyway, walk out, press the button, nothing... not even a flash of the lights!  Oh f*"k! says I, and off to work I trundle in the old faithful Surf.  

Upon returning home tonight, with the last slivers of daylight, I decided to investigate.  I opened the door with the key, whereupon the interior lit up in its usual luxurious fashion.  Moreover, the engine rumbled to life as normal too!  The 'power management' screen informed me that I had carelessly let the battery juices fall to 25%, but it did start rising pretty quick.  

The dash informed of the -10 degrees outside temperature, so that could explain why the big beast was a bit tetchy... It has been really, really cold here for a while, but the ol' jeep does not inform me of the outside ambience, and just, well... goes.

Another festive light on the Audi's dash told me that it was too low, and sure enough, the offside rear bag had failed to rise to the occasion.  I ran it around Ballindalloch for half an hour, bumping around, but to no avail.  Stopped at home, turned it off, and wondered how much they come in at for a wee minute.  Then, hoping for a miracle, turned her back on, and (after a not too good sounding clunk in the back), she rose majestically into 'lift', the highest available setting!  Up and down we went, in celebration of the needless over-engineering of it all, hurrah!


Don't leave an old A8 alone too long, they can be a cruel mistress.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

BIG LIABILITY AUDI UPDATE... fixed for pennies!

The frozen up suspension mentioned in the last post had not entirely sorted itself out after all, she's been driving fine, but sinking down on the same corner after only a night lately.  My wallet has been jittery...

Anyway, today was the first one in ages that I wasn't at work/on call, and wasn't bitterly cold, so I set about seeing what the damage was.



Wheel arch liner removal revealed this...


It's a wee accumulator for that strut, the blue line is the air from the control unit up front.  As you can see from my application of soapy water, there was a leak at the union.  

Here is the offending article removed for inspection...


I didn't have the correct o-ring to change it, but it wasn't damaged and tbh was only on just over finger-tight.  I cleaned it up, applied a couple of layers of PTFE tape, and stuck it all back together.  Interestingly (or not, I suppose!), The rest of the car did not sink at all, and only a very small amount of air was released during the disconnection...

Anyway, all fitted and leak checked... Great Success!


Flushed with a very cheap victory, I decided to protect the rusty looking accumulator a wee bit, out with my very favourite thing in the world... Denso tape!


I know... lovely stuff.

This all a few hours ago now, and so far so good.  That's us had the A8 a year now, and it has been great overall.  Fuel economy is fine for what it is, the driving experience is worth it.  Edit... just realised looking at this pic that I've somehow racked up 16,000 miles already!


I am no longer worried about expensive failures, there's a lot of info out there, and every time I'm under it I think I'd rather it's myriad complexities to deal with than a rusty body!  Even the subframes are aloominum...


Think I'll give her a proper clean up and paint up the struts in the summer.  Next job is tyres, I'm ordering replacements today as the ridiculously bad road conditions this winter have done for the current rubber.  

Anyway, Ronnie out, cheers all.




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  • TrabbieRonnie changed the title to The Current Driveway... Audi Suspension Sort.

So, this looks familiar...


Wee Mazda getting its undercrackers protected prior to it hitting the road proper in a month or so.  Pretty good under there (amazing for its age), and we'd like to keep it that way!  


Bumper will be off next, and the rear lights for drying out/resealing.  We also got the grumbly rear wheel bearing out, so will start scouting about for that later on.  

Loving the good weather after the last few weeks!

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Glorious weather in the tropical North again.  'No car stuff' day, waiting for wee Mazda's wheel bearing from Autodoc.


Have new tyres here for the A8, but can't get them fitted till Thursday.  I've gone for Uniroyal Rainsport 5's, they're supposed to have stiffer sidewalls these days for better handling.  It's standing water that really bothers me most on my commute, so we'll see if they live up to the hype soon.  

Have also ordered anti roll bar bushes and drop links, as the mahoosive potholes that Moray Council seem intent on ignoring completely have resulted in an occasional clunk from that area of the car's undercarriage.  Easy job supposedly.

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Hey all,

Couple of weeks since the suspension fix, and all seems well, going to denso the opposite strut accumulator this weekend and give her a wash.  

I got the tyres fitted yesterday, lovely smooth running things they are too.  With fitting, I've splurged £550 on these Uniroyals, so hopefully they do ok.  As I've mentioned previously, the old tyres were slightly smaller than book, at 245/45/18.  These are 255/45, and do seem to fill the arches out a wee bit better...



...and after...


Turns out also, that these are not the original wheels, being an option on the 6.0l W12 version, and worth a bit on their own apparently.  Which is nice.

While it was in and jacked up with the wheels off, I sneaked under and confirmed the poor state of the anti-roll bar bushes/drop links.  Once Autodoc can muster enough courage for another mission into Broken/Brexit Britain, I'll get em fitted up (they're still in Germany two weeks after ordering).

The Jeep has become Mrs TR's again, although as a teacher she has very little miles to cover just now.  She loved the old Outback, but had forgotten how easy to drive the Surf is.  

Really, really looking forward to getting out and about in the Trab and the Coupe this summer, like everyone else I'm sick of the home-work-home routine.  

This wee thing is bumper less at the mo, took it off to access the chassis rail ends.  We plan to fill 'em with oily goodness this weekend.  Strange, the things that give you pleasure as you get older innit?!


Cheers all.



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Great to see you are having a blast with your D3, I did consider replacing my first D2 S8 with a D3 4.2 A8 for a little, recently I for some reason started liking the D3 S8 a lot more than before. They are great cars, perfect for winter and aside from the air suspension not really that scary liability wise.

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  • TrabbieRonnie changed the title to The Current Driveway... 323 progress(?!) update.

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