Bangernomics – ‘cheap’ Audi TT Quattro or…

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  • Bangernomics – ‘cheap’ Audi TT Quattro or…
  • woffle
    Member

    So – just sadly waved goodbye to our much-beloved Mazda campervan and have a couple of 1,000’s for a station car. It’ll be called upon to do a couple of 10-miles each way to the station a week and then light weekend duties. There’s no flex in the budget. What we sold the camper for, that’s the limit.

    Logic / sensible head says find a cheap japanese hatchback for half that and put the rest into an account to cover potential bills. My wife would like us to find something with 4wd (we’re relatively rural, roads are awful and we do get flooded / snowed in etc). Hnce I’m being pointed in the direction of the usual Jimny / HRV / Fiat Panda 4×4 options. Looked at various Terios / Fourtraks but without exception they’re in various states of terminal rot.

    And then I see an Audi TT Quattro, FASH, 100K on the clock. All the major services done etc. Would blow the budget in it’s entirety. I suspect it’d be a lot of fun but I also think I’d always be a short distance away from a hefty bill…

    So, WWSTWD?

    (I’d just buy another Mk1 MX5 myself as I know them inside out and happy to work on them and parts are cheap, but that’s a non-runner by all accounts. I think my wife recognizes the temptation to mess around with it would be too strong)…

    trail_rat
    Member

    nothing to add other than im fairly sure it will not fulfill any of your wifes idea of a 4×4……if shes worried about getting trapped at the house by floods and snow.

    woffle
    Member

    it’s more a case of pushing the 4wd definition as far as I can vs. say, an MX5.

    And then realising anyway that buying an older TT as a station car is probably a daft idea. My heart just sinks at buying something dull and sensible.

    I think it was ‘WhatCar’ website had a piece saying that bargain-bucket TT’s were a great idea. Followed closely by about 10 comments saying very strongly that they typically weren’t – primarily due to a set of what appeared to be common faults…

    Buy a Unimog.

    Everyone wins.

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner
    Subscriber

    The last really nice Audi.

    Yup, I would.

    woffle
    Member

    I suspoect the chances of finding a unimog for under 2K is slim to zero…otherwise I’d think about it!

    I suspect it’d be a lot of fun

    I suspect the Panda 4×4 would be more fun.

    I own a TT.

    Premier Icon smokey_jo
    Subscriber

    Nobody said Subaru yet?

    woffle
    Member

    I suspect the Panda 4×4 would be more fun.

    Hmmm. We had a 2007 one a few years back. It was ok – but very gutless which is a pain (we live in a hilly area and you had to properly give it a run-up if you wanted to get up anything steeper than a gentle slope). It also tended to eat it’s suspension and seemed to be perpetually fogging up all the windows.

    Premier Icon rickmeister
    Subscriber

    Option B
    Cheap any ordinary car and 4 “Winter” tyres?

    woffle
    Member

    Option B
    Cheap any ordinary car and 4 “Winter” tyres?

    that’s the sensible choice. FInd a small, preferrably Japanese, hatchback and stick some decent winter tyres on it.

    it would be nice not to be so bloody dull though.

    Premier Icon bikebouy
    Subscriber

    MK1 TT? Coupe or Roadster?

    I have a MK1 roadster.

    Firstly, it ain’t a 4×4. Its a Fwd with a Haldex transfer box to the rear, pressure and wheel spin bias.

    Gearbox on yours?

    Mines DSG auto. Only major problems with a DSG is the mechtronic shifter mechanism. There was a recall on very early models and it should have been checked if your AFSH Dealer is on the ball. If it’s a manual I’ve got no idea what to look for.

    Clocks & Binnacle. Temperamental middle screen can pixelate meaning you can’t see all the detail, or it glows bright pink meaning the auto dim sensors failed £150 fix from a digital dash company (plenty about, I had mine done by a company in Waterlooville… check what they’ve done, mines been back three times in two years) Also the fuel gauge goes wonky, reads Full when it’s half empty. It’s another oddball fix that needs the clocks taking out – taking the clocks out is easy and the whole lot comes out in 15mins

    AirCon blows hot all the time. This is the heat transfer sensor that sits under the dash near the floor by the passenger grab handle.. it’s a bastard to get out but easily doable with right hand no skin syndrome, New one is £140, can’t buy em S/h. Check that because the fault is intermittent.

    Radiator fans, the small constant one overheats and blows its motor, cheap enough to change at £150.

    Rear callipers/discs. Prone to ceasing, handbrake should run free and work properly.. if it’s stiff the callipers and pads are stuck, £80 per side for the calliper, £50 for two rear discs and pads are free if you buy the set.

    Oil & filter. The engine has a belly pan and the screws cease so dealers don’t bother taking them out so don’t change the oil. Check it’s clear and check the service history. £22 filter, oil to suit.

    Washer bottle. Prone to blocking up and not working properly by no water coming out of the jets. Pump fails and it’s under the passenger wing which means wheel off/arch cover off and new pump (wash the bottle while you are there to get the gunk out) £70 for the pump.

    Alternator. Fails at about 80k, make sure yours is new/working well. It’s a pig to change and about £150 with same labour.

    The cars have 86 sensors dotted all over the car, they’re prone to give false readings and you may get dash lights… 9/10 it’s the sensor and fault code reader is pretty good tool to locate the problem.

    I’ve got the big engined one and I bought it new, all I’ve highlighted ^^ I’ve had problems with at some point in its 14yr life. It’s a fabulous car, utterly engaging and a joy to drive and own. I love mine to bits.

    No doubt some moron will be on to say some disparaging remark about it being “a hairdressers car” mainly because they’ve lost thier Barnet and are jealous.

    They’ve stopped being a cheap run around and prices are on the rise. They bottomed out about 2yrs  ago and mines increased by £1200 since then.

    FSH isn’t a pre-requisite as most work can be done by a home mechanic. Plenty of advice online at the TTForum of you want to research or need help.

    HTHs.

    (we live in a hilly area and you had to properly give it a run-up if you wanted to get up anything steeper than a gentle slope).

    Sounds like 2CV technique! More driver involvement than a TT, right there 😉

    Premier Icon johnnystorm
    Subscriber

    My neighbour is an AA man and has an X5 and a MK1 TT. If it snows he takes the TT out as it’s better than the X5 in the snow. His experience echoes the one above. There are a lot of things that can go wrong which is ok if you are happy to diagnose and fix them yourself.

    Pretty certain the TT would be a better choice long term than a ‘cheap Japanese hatch’.

    Unless you want door pockets that will hold more than a parking ticket and half a packet of peanuts. In which case find a Golf 🙂

    Vader
    Member

    https://www.ebay.it/i/232460230175?chn=ps

    two a penny here in italy. Well, not quite a penny.

    woffle
    Member

    bikebouy – that’s fab – thanks. There’s actually a couple up for sale locally. I’m looking at a larger engined coupe. Just because it’s vaguely more practical…I’ve been made aware of the various fuel gauage / electric pod issues.

    I’m happy to fix stuff myself – it’s just when you’ve got to start plugging things into computers that I lose interest.

    Right – off to check insurance…

    woffle
    Member

    https://www.ebay.it/i/232460230175?chn=ps

    that’s properly ace.

    And it’d mean a road trip to pick it up – but I suspect I might struggle to away with ‘I’ve got to pop out to collect the new car darling. It’s in Italy – I’ll be a couple of days’

    eddiebaby
    Member

    The cars have 86 sensors dotted all over the car, they’re prone to give false readings and you may get dash lights… 9/10 it’s the sensor and fault code reader is pretty good tool to locate the problem.

    This. Big time. Once youve had the first panic and realised its often just a ‘fix the sensor’ problem life is a little less fraught. Until it isn’t the sensor.

    P-Jay
    Member

    A long time ago I realised that if it snows in the UK it’s completely acceptable, nay encouraged to take an impromptu holiday with pay without it effecting your leave days, why fight that? (This might not be the case in parts where snow is more regular).

    If a TT will make you happy and your Wife rests easy under the notion that a lowslung sports coupe with the most rudimentary four wheel drive system will help in snow, why not.

    Newer ‘old’ cars are always a bit of a punt these days, I mean they’re full of gizmos and whatnots that we’re built with a 10 year life in mind and legislation to ensure they won’t work if they play up, even if they’re not fundamental to the workings, but is doesn’t sound like it’s mission cricital to work first time, every time.

    Premier Icon bikebouy
    Subscriber

    Ok, since it’s the 3.2 I have a few more “issues”

    Coil Packs, Audi FOC change and they should be Grey not Black, if Black go to Audi for FOC change (they break down on inner 2&3cyl)

    Plugs last a lifetime, mine are on the third set (£60) but my mates still on his original set.

    The engines big, it doesn’t get loaded so most of its life is in the 1000-2800 range, there can be a “growl” low down and if you’ve got the DSG it’s because the box doesn’t use 1st very often at all. So nothing to worry about if it is a bit of a growler. Generally pulls away in 2nd or 3rd depending on right foot pressure.

    Rear exhaust “flapper” some VW 3.2 owners (and some TT owners) bypass the rear exhaust flapper. It’s a mod that makes the flap open using both exhaust pipes.. it’s a stupid idea because at 50mph there’s a silly low rumble and it echos around the cabin.. my mates done this and he’s an idiot.

    Sport mode (and launch control) Sport will work all through the Rev range and simply holds onto gears longer. It does have an effect on the engine and makes it more “umphy” and the exhaust flapper opens throughout the range to give that “oh, I’m going fast” sound. I’ve never used the launch control and wouldn’t know how to either. I’d suggest you make sure it works, but do it on private land and not the first set of lights you come to (more of that later)

    The main radiator I mentioned above, but the secondary one does similar implosion as the engine gives off a lot of heat, if you are running the air con it kicks in even more so expect tick over at lights to kick in the fan, it’s not noisy but it’s noticeable so make sure it kicks in.. if it doesn’t (even in this weather) it’s pooped. £160 plus labour. If the dad stops working it might not be the motor, check the fuse in the box becuse they fur up and a quick clean will be all you need.

    The gear shifter button (DSG) can stick in. You can’t shift the stick out of gear if it does, just get a screwdriver innit to free it and liberate with lots of WD40 in the gap.

    Rear springs break, yea I know. The tops break and it’s hard to know if it’s happened until MOT time. Most of the weight is on the middle/front of the car but the front ones are well beefy man, but the rears aren’t. And the dampers leak at about 100k so best change the lot £300 incl labour.

    Anti roll bar and rubber bushes on the suspension. Prone to crack like most cars but £50 buys you a set and you can change them all in half a day. Don’t get the nylon bushes becuse you’ll ruin the handling (IMO) my mates done his and it’s horrible and vibrates (IMO) he claims it’s better handling but I disagree 100%.

    If, I mean If, the wipers are slow the motors knackered and is a proper pig to get at, let’s hope they’re fine (mine are BTW)

    Engine again. There’s a silly little rubber pressure sensor tube that runs from the inlet on the injectors to some box way down behind the engine. It splits, it’s a common fault and makes the car run rich on cold start and the car will cut out until warm. £2 for the pipe and no skin or finger nails and two hours swearing… simple enough. Don’t be fooled by mechanics saying “ah, it’ll be Xxxxxxx” it’s this silly pipe thingy. Forgot to mention cam chain, see if it’s been done. Recommended at 100k but I know of cars still on the original at 200k… expensive at £1000 but for piece of mind you should do it.

    You didn’t say if it’s a coupe or roadster? If it’s a roadster (like mine) then the small glass buffer screen housing can break. £140 for replacement and easy to do as it’s all just one big plastic covers thingy.

    Heated drivers seat. The electric wire breaks if you constantly move the drivers seat back and forth…

    Front sidelight bulbs, change them instantly for LED ones otherwise you’ll be changing them every other week becuse they blow if not LED. £10 for four.

    Front light washers. Look like little aliens that pop out for the bumper under water pressure, make sure they pop out and back in again. If not could be indicative of crud in the pivot or more expensive means the water bottle pump is full of crud and about to fail (mentioned ^^)

    Right, the good bits.

    36-38 mpg (I drive like a grandad) smooth and comfortable cruising machine. Plenty of grunt and smooth power delivery across all the range. It will upshift (DSG) even when in sport mode or override mode (flappy paddles) at 6500, redlines at 7. It’s a feature. I often go to Lake Garda in mine, it’ll cruise at whatever you want and is quiet and very comfortable.

    Appart from keeping an eye on the mechanics every so often (I always check it, I’m a nerd) it’s going to last well into 200k and bring a smile to your face.

    Mines going in storage soon. It’ll come out in the summer and I’ll keep it until I die.

    What colour is it?

    woffle
    Member

    There’s two.

    A coupe in the dark blue.
    A roadster in grey.

    Cheers for that lot – I’ll put together a checklist – hopefully we’ll get to test drive and I’ll poke around them both…

    Premier Icon Pik n Mix
    Subscriber

    I suspect the Panda 4×4 would be more fun.

    +1

    Hmmm. We had a 2007 one a few years back. It was ok – but very gutless which is a pain (we live in a hilly area and you had to properly give it a run-up if you wanted to get up anything steeper than a gentle slope). It also tended to eat it’s suspension and seemed to be perpetually fogging up all the windows.

    I’ve got a 13 plate 0.9 Twin Air and gutless it is not, it gets me up and over snowy highland mountains perfectly. I do 70 miles a day in it and my only issue is how light it is so can get buffeted by high winds (but the weight in turn makes it nimble enough to get anywhere off-road)

    Premier Icon bikebouy
    Subscriber

    I posted load on the roadster space a minute ago but the sites slow and lost it… 🤷‍♂️

    Anyway, it’s not small but yeah there’s no space behind the seats unless the roof is up. I’ve had two large travel bags in there and a guitar..

    Boots small’ish. No spare wheel it’s the pump/gunk stuff and the battery is in the boot under the floor.

    You can’t use the storage behind the seats if the roofs down BTW.

    The coupe obvz has more space, you can get a surfboard in and the seats fold flat..

    Is there nothing Subaru that fits the bill?
    I had a wrx Sportwagon and it was bloody ace in the snow!

    P-Jay
    Member

    Didn’t the Fiat Twin-Air engines have a known issue with hills? I seem to recall a consumer programme (might have been a Welsh one) got the original Stig (sans Helmet) to try to drive one up a typically steep AF Welsh Valley street and it couldn’t be done. Fiat fixed it with a software update somehow. Might explain the differences above.

    Premier Icon doomanic
    Subscriber

    Knowing what the budget is might help with suggestions.

    Suzuki Jimney
    Cheap, simple, petrol, Japenese , reliable, cheap to insure , cheap tax.
    Get some big wheels , spot lights and a lift kit , then they are ace . slow.- but ace.

    woffle
    Member

    Knowing what the budget is might help with suggestions.

    2K. On the nose.

    Suzuki Jimney
    Cheap, simple, petrol, Japenese , reliable, cheap to insure , cheap tax.
    Get some big wheels , spot lights and a lift kit , then they are ace . slow.- but ace.

    For under 2K you’ll struggle to find anything that’s not rotten. I’ve run MOT histories on a fair few and there’s a fair amount of underseal being used to disguise all sorts of nasties. I’m buying this on the understanding its a zero-sum game = the first sign of big bills then it’s scrap-time. I can do a fair amount of spannering but welding is beyond me and I’ve no interest in inheriting hundreds of pounds worth of work (even at mates rates).

    See also Daihatsu Terios (Yaris engine), Fourtrak, Suzuki Vitara versions etc etc.

    I’d rather get an HRV or CRV if we’re going down that route. But god it’s dull. We had a CRV for 5 years – a great car and nothing ever went wrong with it. But it’s another variation on the auto-version of beige.

    I’ve got a 13 plate 0.9 Twin Air and gutless it is not, it gets me up and over snowy highland mountains perfectly. I do 70 miles a day in it and my only issue is how light it is so can get buffeted by high winds (but the weight in turn makes it nimble enough to get anywhere off-road)

    I think the Panda 4×4’s within budget are pretty much all the 1.2 petrol and the 4×4 is a fair bit heavier than standard. Our previous Panda 4×4 (the same 1.2 petrol) was fun on the corners but it really would run out of puff halfway up hills – you’d be sticking it down into 2nd to get things moving again. I think quoted 0-60 is around 20 seconds…

    Buy a Panda 100hp. It’s in budget and an absolute hoot to drive.

    Very lightweight and uncomplicated. Like driving a classic Mini but without the grief of owning and running one.

    Hi bangernomics, I bought a TT 225 bhp 02 model a year ago as a fairly cheap but fun way of having a 4×4. Not regretted it a bit. Yes it has a few faults here and there but there is not a single car on the market that won’t have it’s “trade mark” faults. Just go with full Audi service history and check all breather pipes feel right. Shouldn’t feel soft and squishy (techy terms). Those Bam engines on early models are brilliant. 99-06. Great fun to drive, comfy and I can get my kids in the back or put the seats down and put a 150 travel full suspension bike in. Win win

    Premier Icon jimdubleyou
    Subscriber

    I miss my 225 TT Roadster. It was lovely, silver with baseball leather seats.

    Always planted, the only time I ever got it to go sideways was in a gravel car park with the traction control off.

    Had to have the binnacle replaced (Audi paid for it) and a new water pump, this was an X reg, I had it about 10 years ago.

    Saw that they’d started to go for 2k ish, v.tempted.

    phil5556
    Member

    I haven’t read everything but we had a 2004 225 Roadster until last year. I loved it, it’s not the most nimble or sporty thing, but it was good fun, comfortable, pretty quick and great with the roof down.

    Over 4 years and 50k miles it was mostly reliable apart from a few issues.

    1. Drain hoses for the roof had disintegrated when we bought it, rain drained in to the floor of the car rather than out through the rear arches. £50 for new hoses and a day stripping the interior of the car to fit.

    2. Total brake failure 😮 Caused by the pipe from master cylinder to ABS pump rubbing through a coolant pipe. When the cam belt is changed a coolant pipe often gets bent out of the way to allow access, if it’s left like it the movement of the engine will allow the 2 pipes to rub together. Ours went 30k miles before the pipe finally rubbed through and all the brake fluid fell out. <£100 to fix on the drive.

    3. Turbo to exhaust manifold gasket blew. £400 labour to get it replaced.

    4. Injector seals weeping a bit – £pennies.

    5. Fuel gauge had a mind of its own – £25(?) for new stepper motor.

    6. Thermostat. Can’t remember how much but it wasn’t expensive, slightly fiddly job.

    We got rid last year as we were putting 15k miles/year on it since moving and I was getting bored of fixing niggly little things. It was largely easy to work on though and (most) parts weren’t expensive.

    The plan was to fit new wings & sills as they were rusted, it would have 100% smartened it up and if we weren’t doing high mileage would have kept it.

    trail_rat
    Member

    On the rust note.

    Panda rear axles love to rot out …. The spring cups fail and your car drops to the floor.

    Worryingly the car doesn’t even have to be old.

    woffle
    Member

    Panda rear axles love to rot out

    Ours was starting to go, and that was on a four year old car.

    Premier Icon hot_fiat
    Subscriber

    The rear axle beams only fit on the 2wd version which has a torsion beam setup. The 4×4 has fully independent rear suspension with swing arms fastened to an auxiliary subframe. It’ll probably still rot but in an entirely different way as it won’t say “ford” on it.

    Only thing to add about any Haldex equipped VWG car is that the haldex coupling will have to have its fluid changed every 40k. The clutch and pump pack give up if this didn’t get done. The control unit’s electrical connections can also corrode rendering the thing inop. The car won’t tell you this. Scan it with VCDS to check the circuit out. The prop shafts have a flexible rear coupling. These fail every 70-80k. The coupling has to be bought as a balanced unit along with the shaft. Skoda wanted £1300 for the part alone for my yeti! Symptoms are a resonance under light load between 70-80mph.

    trail_rat
    Member

    the brief screams AYGO / C1 / 108 . small for parking at the station , inconspicuous , cheap to run , cheap to buy and good in the snow.

    willard
    Member

    I had a Mk2 3.2 VR6 TT Coupe and it was a hoot to drive. Lots of power, but understeery which I learned to cope with. Yes, it says Quattro, but you can’t think of it as 4WD, it’s just a means of moving a little bit of power to the back under specific conditions. If those are not met, it’s a FWD sports car.

    The 3.2 is thirsty. Any reasonable driving and it drinks fuel and, from the normal sized tank it has, that means stopping a lot. I used mine for commuting and soon getting strange looks for calling my van (40mpg) ‘the economical choice’. Seriously, if I got more than 27mpg out of the TT I was having a good day.

    It’s also pretty cramped in the front, well, for me at least. You should also forget about it being a 2+2 and consider the rear seats to be storage for coats. It also has very wide shoulders, which means that it is difficult to park. Think of it as a slightly less practical Gold R32. That’s pretty much what you’ll be insuring it as.

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