Big Fat Dog.

As it’s the first No Lemons blog, I guess I should start by saying hi, and if you ended up here, you probably already know what we’re about. We’re all about cars, we love them, we live them, and I personally have an unhealthy relationship with one of them.

Ok, RS4, where should I start…

In 2016, like most of us, I was just scrolling over the local marketplace looking at stuff for sale. Being a JDM fan, my eye was set for something out of Initial D or straight from the Ebisu circuit (not the wall). Considering that I was commuting an hour one way daily, I wanted practicality, so I decided to set my search filter to an estate body type with a bottom line of 300 bhp. Considering the local culture of SUVs, there were minimal results, and none of them was JDM. Desperately scrolling through the minimalistic list of station wagons, I still have no idea why, but my attention was caught by 2014, brilliant black Audi RS4. Understanding that I’m going to the same area where the car is parked, I decided to call the owner and look at the vehicle.

After arriving at the spot and chatting with the owner, he proposed that I take it for a spin. I opened the door, fell into the seat, pushed the start button, and felt a warm, welcoming hug, similar to an old friend you haven’t seen since you both parted ways after the last day in school. Since that day, my life wouldn’t be the same…

Years passed, RS4 B8 prices went down, my budget increased, and in 2019 I was finally able to start shopping for my hero.

By now, I have a history of owning three RS4’s and a bit of knowledge of how to pick the right one and avoid very, very, very (I’m not exaggerating) expensive headaches. Let me share the most common issues and what to look out for.

First and foremost – don’t be a cheapskate, don’t look for a project car, get a clean example with a transparent history and all of the required services completed.

Common problems:

  1. Brake rotors – the biggest problem is that they cost an arm and a leg, and there are not many
    aftermarket options. Make sure that the thickness is still within the approved Audi specs.
  2. High-pressure fuel pumps – they usually go bad around 100k km. To identify a bad fuel pump,
    take the oil cap off and smell it; the pumps are bad if you feel a strong smell of fuel. Replacing
    them will cost you around 700-900 USD per piece (1.5k total + labour).
  3. Timing chain – poor maintenance and abuse might affect the timing chain tensioners. Parts
    are not super expensive, but the labour is. The chain is located in the back of the engine, so
    to replace it, you need to pull down the transmission.
  4. Electronics – just properly read the damn codes. It might say a lot.
  5. Front upper control arms – it’s a small car with a hefty engine with control arms from the basic
    A4. Just replace it with HyperFlex and forget about it.

All of the above might sound scary, but remember, you’re getting a low production wagon planted to the road like a piece of gum under a bar stand.

Jeremy Clarkson called this car a “fat dog”; it might be accurate, but it’s your fat dog that waves the tale, jumps on you and licks your face when you come home.

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