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Audi Allroad - the Dad Wagon.


djim

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When I bought the C220 estate, I seriously considered one of these. I hate driving in the snow and my job was going to mean I couldn’t use that as an excuse. A 4wd and winter tyres would be the order of the day.

Sadly, when I looked at the running costs, the tax being twice what my insurance was, I had to concede.

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OK, so time for a quick update on the fun bus. 

It turns out to absolutely noones surprise that it has a leaking front air shock which is probably the root cause, and the valve block which controls the whole thing is definitely acting up as sometimes it won't lift the car at all and other times it is fine, then the fun one is when the pump gets really noisy and then shudders to a stop with a hiss which can apparently happen when the valve block is not letting the air from the pump through to the accumulator. 

Off I went to eBay and spent £200+ on 2 new chinesium air shocks, a valve block, and new bolts for the suspension.  I have no doubt that the shocks are worse quality than OEM but they have a 2 year guarantee and the whole bottom of the car might have rusted off by then so worth a go. 

today was the day so I tried to attack the leaking strut first after watching a few videos that made it look like a walk in the park. 

With the wheel off I soaked all the bolts down with WD40 special penetrant and immediately fucked it by managing to snap the head off the top pinch bolt. 

Bugger. 

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I tried various attempts to get it moving including locking nuts together to try and turn it and drifting it through with a BFO hammer but no dice. 

Off to youtube again and apparently I had overlooked that this was 99% certain to happen as this is a notoriously corroded bolt, common to loads of VAG models and they are almost always stuck. Some part of me had figured out that i would definitely break something as I'd got replacement bolts so not the end of the world, I just had to get it out.

Two methods came up, heat, and using spacers to draw it through using the end nut. 

I didn't have a blow torch but my Special Lady Friend has a pastry torch, pretty much the same right? 

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The spacer method (I used an oversize nut) work a treat once it was hot. 

SUCCESS!

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By this point I'd spent several hours and familial duties were calling. I wonder how many things I can break tomorrow? 

 

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Heh, don't knock the pastry torch, it made all the difference.😉

Some more action from this morning. I couldn't face the front shock again today and I didn't have much time so it was valve block replacement.

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Although I know the front strut is leaking now, there has been some very odd behaviour with odd noises from the pump, the car refusing to raise but then being fine next time and my now lack of trust of the system. I've rebuilt the pump so along with the shock this is next. 

Firstly get the car up on stands and well supported as the air system will be emptied and the car will completely drop otherwise. 

The valve block is under the boot next to the pump and I think surprisingly, unprotected. 

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Honestly it is so rusty under here I think it must have been used for beach races or something.

Pretty easy to remove, just the 2 bolts in the middle, 10mm spanner for the fittings and then it lifts out.

Here it is next to the replacement. 

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They are completely sealed units filled with resin so I can't see how it works or easily test it, but it comes with new fittings. 

Back in with new fittings on the pipes. 

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I'm a little worried about the brown pipe. it is the feed from the pump and there is plenty of slack on the others but that one is tighter and gets a lot of jiggling from the pump when it runs. I'll test it with soapy water when I get time but I've put new pipe on the list, I can't imagine it is very expensive. 

Slammed Yo. 

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No pictures of it up and running but so far it seems to work well and happily goes up and down. it stayed up all day on level 3 but at level 2 it dropped in a couple of hours. 

Once the front shocks are replaced we should be in business. 

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Right, I am "working from home" today so I decided to spend a couple of hours and see if I could install the front strut.

The top bolts were my worry as I knew they were steel into alu, but they came off OK as did the bottom strut bolt which put up more of a fight. 

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Next, the top ball joints had to come apart again and disconnect the air line. 

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SUCCESS!

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Old and busted vs new hotness. 

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The quality seems really good for an eBay special, I wasn't sure what to expect buying the cheapest I could find but it is really decent and branded 'Maxpeedingrods' which seems to be a US supplier of tuning parts. 

Swap over the cap with control arms etc. The new one came with a fresh rubber o-ring and new air fitting, you just clean up the cap, align the air inlet with the outer point of the triangle and on it goes. 

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And here it is all back in place. Looks like the car has recently had new disks and pads on the front too which is nice. 

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And that is that. So far I've checked it all goes up and down OK and gone for a short spin but I think we are good, no sign of droppage yet. 

Here is the old bag, looking a bit perished, I'm not surprised it was leaking. 

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All in all, including the pinch bolt on Saturday I think this has taken me about 4-5 hours to do just this side but the first 3 hours was all removing the pinch bolt, it was plain sailing after that. I didn't think so at the time but I was actually pretty lucky with the pinch bolt removal. There are loads of horror stories and videos of them being super difficult and basically a mechanics nightmare.

I still have the other side to do; if it isn't leaking now it will be soon if it is the same condition as this one. I think I'm going to hit the pinch bolt with penetrant every day for a few days and work it a bit in the hope it loosens up then I could probably do the whole lot in 2 hours if I don't break anything else. 

Now hopefully I can drive it for a bit before anything else goes wrong :)

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On 6/26/2023 at 4:24 PM, djim said:

Now hopefully I can drive it for a bit before anything else goes wrong :)

 

Well that didn't last long. Since the other day the headliner has dropped across the front drivers quarter of the car, if that makes sense, and the rear washer, always a bit feeble, now fills the tailgate with water rather than spraying on the window. 

Frankly it needs to sort its attitude out. 

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A minor update this week but I've managed to do a few bits to the old heap to try and keep on top of things. 

The old aerial looked mank so a new stubby one was procured.

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to 

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That's got to be at least 2 more HP's right there. 

New cabin filter. 

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The old one weighed significantly more than the new, I think it has had a good innings. 

Finally a new rear washer hose

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No other pictures as it was raining and I was in a hurry. That was a delight to install as I broke 2 more of the remaining clips on the boot trim. I'm still on the lookout for a replacement but given how flimsy this one is I have to assume that getting one that doesn't have broken clips will be basically impossible now they are all 20 years old. 

On a positive note I've now run a couple of tanks of redex diesel system cleaner through it and whether it is that, doing some decent miles, or just in my head, the engine feels smoother and pulls harder now. 

Next up, headliner I think as the kids keep poking at it. 

 

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This is great! I've been following closely as if you remember I purchased an Allroad around the same time? Well, I've now ended up with another one. Fully working 2.5TDI, had £10,000 spent and invoices to prove, full Recaro electrically adjustable seats with front heating and a £600 Pioneer Sat Nav and Dav system installed. I got the entire car for £550 as the MOT was about to expire. It needs a drive side control arm. 

I've got a new set of front and rear discs and pads on their way, and a load of engine flush, new oil, filters etc. I'll do glow plugs and I might run the injectors through the ultrasonic cleaner.

I have a new set of Arnott airbags on the other Allroad, so I'll sponge them onto this one!

Absolutely stunning car, and like yours, it's rare in green! 

I think i'll be setting up a thread just like you've done.

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Yes! With 2 Allroads you can be winning all day, even when one is being difficult!

Seriously, that sounds like a proper bargain, looking forward to seeing it, you should definitely start a thread. Is the interior green too?

5 or 6 years ago I had the lust for a v8 auto allroad C5 that was for sale near me, met green with full green leather interior. I ended up getting an outback but I still feel like that was one that got away. 

 

 

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Well I know we like to celebrate the mundane on here so here is an extremely dull update. After sorting the rear washer last week I still wasn't happy with it so I checked the spray nozzle for blockage and it looks to me like the jet itself is tiny. 

New one ordered from eBay with what looked to be a bigger jet (actually I ordered 2 as the first one I managed to break in a ham fisted way when fitting it moments after it arrived.)

old on the left, new on the right. You can just about see past the blurriness that the old one is definitely a smaller jet. 

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Fitted it and now the rear window gets a good soaking when required. 

I've been putting off the other bigger jobs due to time constraints (driver door lock, headliner droop, left air shock replacement, new radio) but I'm pleased to report that things have otherwise been working fine and it has been coping well with 300 or so miles per week and returning an (indicated) 36 mpgs in mixed rural driving which I'm happy with. 

Also worth noting that my partner and eldest have decided they prefer my other car (Seat EXEO) because it has heated seats and auto folding wing mirrors so there you go, it is all about priorities I guess. 

 

 

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Renault gave it a go too, my laguna 2 estate had it's rear wiper through the glass. 

I remember the hours it took me to carefully prise the mechanism out of it so I could strip and clean it without slipping and shattering the boot glass 😬

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On 7/4/2023 at 3:42 PM, richdcoll said:

This is great! I've been following closely as if you remember I purchased an Allroad around the same time? Well, I've now ended up with another one. Fully working 2.5TDI, had £10,000 spent and invoices to prove, full Recaro electrically adjustable seats with front heating and a £600 Pioneer Sat Nav and Dav system installed. I got the entire car for £550 as the MOT was about to expire. It needs a drive side control arm. 

I've got a new set of front and rear discs and pads on their way, and a load of engine flush, new oil, filters etc. I'll do glow plugs and I might run the injectors through the ultrasonic cleaner.

I have a new set of Arnott airbags on the other Allroad, so I'll sponge them onto this one!

Absolutely stunning car, and like yours, it's rare in green! 

I think i'll be setting up a thread just like you've done.

PICS NEEDED

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/11/2023 at 8:16 AM, bezzabsa said:

PICS NEEDED

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Here ya go! I swapped the steering wheel over to a 3 spoke sport wheel I restored a little. Feels much nicer whilst driving.

I took off the front shock and airbag (Arnott) from another Allroad I have, for it to pass the MOT. It needed a CV boot also.

£550 for the car, £20 for the boot... Everything works! Included a pic of the level 4 ride height. I've since discovered the Pioneer headunit was worth £750!!!

My plan is to get the silver Allroad running for some light green laning duties, and this green one becomes the family wagon, towing car, mountain biking bus!

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Mine has been mostly fine, I've not had a chance to do much recently apart from drive it but I took it to Cambridge and back yesterday to drop the kids off with their grandparents and this afternoon it had the dreaded sag, this time on the passenger side.

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I've been meaning to replace this shock anyway and now with the kids away for a few days, tonight seemed like the perfect time. 

Wheel off and time to attack the dreaded pinch bolt. 

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I was fairly confident this time round after doing the other side. I've watched about 20 Youtube vids of different techniques for removing it, and learned that the uprights on this are the older steel versions not the alu ones with really stick. Also, I've been spraying it with WD40 every week or so which I hoped would do something. 

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Not looking too gnarly. This airbag looks better than the other side did too but it is getting replaced anyway. 

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Step 1, loosen it off and then pound on it from various angles in the hope of getting it to move. No dice obvs. 

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Step 2 then. My plan was to snap off the bolt head, same as on the other side and then use the threaded part and some spacers to draw it through. 

Once it became clear it wasn't going to turn or move the bolt head came off OK and I put some spacers in and started winding the bolt on. Initially it started to move and I kept banging the other end for good measure and spraying it with lubricant. 

Then

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bang, fucked. 

The nut end of the bolt snapped off leaving nothing to get purchase on. 

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Now I'm pretty sure it was moving, and I don't think I was really going for it so I have to assume the the bolt was made out of cheese. I'm not a 9st weakling but I'm hardly Geoff Capes either and I was only using a 16mm halfords ring spanner with no extra leverage so I am quite surprised that it was enough to snap the bolt from the tension. 

Anyway, after that I half heartedly hit it with a hammer for a bit and gave up in disgust so now I've effectively immobilised it on the drive until I can figure out how to sort this. 

Various options really. 

1- keep lubing it and smashing it with bigger hammers until something hopefully gives. 

2- get it recovered to the garage and let a real mechanic have a go with an air hammer, though if that doesn't work, unless they have a special tool to press it out it might need to be drilled I think. I'll probably be looking at new top arms too at that point and possibly a replacement upright/knuckle thing. 

3 - buy something like this at great expense in the hope that I can sell it on for not too much of a loss after so some other poor VAG owner. 

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What fun, if anyone else has any suggestions I'm all ears.

Still, once this is done that only leaves the rear shocks and it will basically have all new air suspension so we will get there in the end. 

 

 

 

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Balls. Have been admiring this thread and the car within from afar, enjoying the have-a-go efforts that are actually-quite-pro.

Bolting horses and stable doors and all that, but I don't really rate WD40 - a mix of acetone and ATF seems to work better than any other penetrating fluid ever has for me.

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I think @Dave_Q is right. It would be much easier this way, and you wouldn't be restricted by the wheel arch space. That said, I also understand the need to rush these jobs with having kids and 'an afternoon' to get these jobs done. 

My pinch bolt head snapped too, but luckily my threaded end didn't so I was able to pull it out with the method you used.

I've been using Liqui Moly's Rostloser. It's great!

The Arnott bags are lifetime warranty, if you're feeling frivilous.

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On 7/5/2023 at 6:40 PM, djim said:

Yes! With 2 Allroads you can be winning all day, even when one is being difficult!

Seriously, that sounds like a proper bargain, looking forward to seeing it, you should definitely start a thread. Is the interior green too?

5 or 6 years ago I had the lust for a v8 auto allroad C5 that was for sale near me, met green with full green leather interior. I ended up getting an outback but I still feel like that was one that got away. 

 

 

The plan is to keep the green one (pictured above) as my daily/family wagon/MTB hauler and caravan tower. The silver one which needs a fuel pump (which I have!) will then become a green laning car. I'll do the 402 mod, and probably add those nifty little 3D printed adapters for the level sensors to give it a bit more lift. I think 25mm extra on level 4. I'll stick some mud tyres on it, and I challenge it to some of the many green lanes and Roman roads in Wales.

The V6 engine is a great towing powerplant, and we have a caravan, two dogs, two kids and lots of bikes. My A4 B6 1.9TDI Avant Quattro was great, but struggled slightly when fully loaded up. I also plan to purchase a car trailer one day, so this is a nice vehicle for recovering sad and neglected Autoshite shitboxes :D

Edited by richdcoll
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  • 2 months later...

So, it has been a while since I've done an update on the wagon of all woe(d).

After the broken pinch bolt situation I had a few goes at it over a couple of weeks to get it out and failed completely. At the same time it was pretty hot and the roof liner dropped completely and the rear boot interior lights also stopped working. At that point I lost my mojo with it and left it parked up while the summer holidays happened, we went on holiday, and generally didn't spend time under a wheel arch hitting things with hammers.

Eventually I dropped it off at my local garage and they did it with real tools by getting a proper torch on it along with an air chisel so it is now back up and running. 2 hours labour including fitting a new engine snub nose mount I asked them to do. Look after your professionals kids. 

I'm now driving it daily again and starting to get back in to the swing of things but I needed a quick win. Enter the great lads of Aliexpress who sent me a pack of stickers which enabled me to change this

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Into this

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The sticker was wrong for the arrow swooping round an A button so I left that but I'm not sure what it is anyway. (re-circ but with aircon? but I'm pretty sure the top re-circ button keeps aircon on. anyway I'm to lazy to look it up).

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I'm quite pleased with it and it looks good in the car, perhaps this will become a keeper after all. 

I'm also trying to install a double din Carplay headset which is thwarting me at every turn because bose but I'm making progress. if the parts arrive it should be fixed tomorrow and I'll show you the horrendous chain of bulky dongles required to make it happen. It sounds really good already but is also horribly flawed so a mixed bag 🤣

 

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OK, another tick in the Win column for the Al Weird, I've successfully updated the stereo! It was a right old to do and my partner and kids have made it very clear they don't want to hear about it so Im going to share the tedious tale here. 

The car came with a double-din symphony with cd and tape but as all I really do these days is play music and podcasts off my phone I needed a way to do that. I got a bluetooth dongle that pretends to be a CD changer but I couldn't get the symphony to recognise it. This might have been possible with VCDS to tell it that there was a CD changer in the boot but I couldn't figure it out / it wouldn't work. 

Around that time one of the fine shitters of this parish offered up a sony head unit with apple carplay for a good price so i got that and then started to find out what was required to fit it. Iv'e fitted a few stereos in the past but that was in the 90's and mainly involved joining a bunch of wires together with bullet connectors to an inadvisable homemade mdf bass box so I was hoping it would be a lot more straightforward and I could just buy a patch cable, and that was mostly the case. Because the Audi has a Bose sound system I needed to get a special one to work with the amp, and then I also decided it would be nice if my steering wheel controls also worked so I found a Connects2 box that can be configured to work with the stereo to do this too, along with various other gubbins, fascia replacements, phone cable etc. 

I pulled out the old symphony, and connected everything up. it took a while as I needed to route the microphone so I could use the new unit to make calls and I also 'modded' the ashtray by removing the pop up lighter socket so it would be a place to keep the phone cable when not in use. 

Wired it all up and it worked but something was clearly not right, the speakers would all POP loudly whenever I did anything, change channel, change track, adjust a setting. It was painful to hear and I was worried I would blow a speaker. Back on the internet on various forums this seems to be a common issue. the Bose amp is quite tightly tied in to the OEM stereo and just feeding it the raw line level inputs was upsetting it without the head unit doing whatever it does to manage the situation. There is a lot of very mixed advice about different things people have tried with their different setups, get a different harness, run the speaker output from the head unit through a separate conversion to line level rather than use the built in line outputs, replace all grounds, ground the wires better, pull the whole lot out and replace with a complete new system, but in the end I loaded the parts cannon at another dongle. This one is a filter that is designed to remove ground loop interference and it takes line level input and sanitises it before it goes to the amp. 

The result, success! 

The harness now looks like this. 

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This rats nest includes 2 sizeable boxes and about a mile of various cables but thankfully the head unit is single din size so much of it can go below in the bottom half of the double-din slot. Without that there is no way it would fit. 

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Winner! so far it mostly works apart from the DAB radio which doesn't because my arial is shit so that is next on the list, and also I need to update the firmware of the head unit because we live in the future and everything needs regular updates it seems. 

I think I'm starting to get my mojo back with this car, hopefully i can get a few more bits done before winter sets in and working on the drive becomes untenable. 

 

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On 7/28/2023 at 3:53 PM, richdcoll said:

...nifty little 3D printed adapters for the level sensors to give it a bit more lift..

Sounds interesting, do you have any more info? I think i saw something like this on eBay but i can't find it now. 

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