Hello, kind sirs. How's everybody doing?
Inaugural post since purchasing my A3. Over from the MkIII forums. I've owned my '95 MkIII GLX for 17 years now. Bought it off my older brother when I was a senior in high school. Still have her. VR still runs like a top. Clutch went. Have the full clutch kit to go in, but wanted to do the chains and main seals while I was there, and simply hadn't had the time to do it. She sits and waits. Eventually... Any way. My apologies, I digress.
The VR holds a special place in my heart. For all this time, I hadn't known they put 3.2's in the A3. Once I was informed of this, and I was looking for another ride about a year ago, the research and search began. Unfortunately, I kept coming across literature on transmission issues for the 3.2. Just as I was about to start looking in alternate directions, I came across these premium+, S-Line, Quattro, facelift models. Started researching these. Non 3.2, but Quattro with enough specialty appeal to perk my interest. One finally pops up in my state. Black Optics package, leather and perforated suede LeMans seats, the 9's. Thing was sitting on a Hoffman Audi lot for almost a year. Mileage of 95k, and too old for any type of warranty. Never sold there, and it moved to a mah and pah shop. Sales pictures on Car Gurus were horrible. Figured the car was beat, but wanted to take a look just to get a good baseline on this model.
When I walked up, I was blown away. Thing was tight. All original, untouched. Wasn't quiet adding up for the price they were asking. What's the catch? Inspected the whole thing and test drove it. Thing shook violently at 70+ mph. Took the gamble, knowing I have the mechanical capabilities, and went for it. Some droning of a front wheel bearing. Took care of both front hubs and grabbed an alignment. Still shook violently. Oh, boy. What did I get into? More research. Upon that, recentered the subframe with the CTS subframe centering shims/spacers and some ARP bolts. Shake gone. It was a scary point, but now sorted.
Now, for the rest. All in the span of this year... Waterpump goes. Luckily had already ordered one knowing they're potential issues. Grabbed a full aluminum one from USP, but hadn't planned on doing it until this winter. Turned into a summer job. Took care of walnut blasting the intake valves and grabbed a catch can while I was there, to sort this direct injection fallout. Figured the waterpump was going to be easier to do with the intake manifold removed, and wanted to take care of carbon buildup anyway. All in all, really not that bad of a job. Thing is to label everything, take note of steps and orientation of things, take your time, and just have the confidence to push forward.
With a little extra money saved, and thinking it's mechanically sorted, I grabbed the ECS performance engine/trans/dog-bone mounts, BC Racing fully adjustable coilovers, and some wheel spacers. Make it my own. Wasn't going to do much more beyond that and called it done. I'm happy. Well, maybe extra engine vibrations from the race mounts developed the next problem. Major oil leaks started to form.
Accessory built got covered in oil and started getting chewed. One thing led to another while I was in there. Upper timing cover, lower timing cover, front main seal, crank pulley, turbo oil feed line attached at the block, oil pan, accessory belt and tensioner. Saw how blow-back covered the intake pipe to turbo was, so grabbed the APR stage 2 intake pipe and kept the factory air box. Figure the air turbulence is created passing the MAF sensor and accordion anyway. Smooth air flow there on out to the turbo, so why spend more money for the box. Took care of the other turbo pipes that were covered in blow-back too. CTS outlet pipe, Spulen throttle pipe. Grabbed what design I liked and made most mechanical sense, instead of staying with one brand.
Beyond that, with the engine hoisted and the timing covers off the motor, figured I'd do the chains. Would be stupid to be that far into this project and not take care of them. Wouldn't you know, what the dealership told me about the chains being done was true. The chain tensioner was already updated and literally only had 2 visible notches sticking out of the tensioner collar. So no chain stretch or worn chain guides were present. Best Christmas present I could've asked for this year. Funds getting low, and the headaches were beginning to get unmanageable.
All back together running like an absolute sewing machine. All that time and work, and it was still leaking. Found it trailing down the front of the block. Leaking from the oil filter housing/alternator bracket/AC bracket. Grabbed all the gaskets from a nearby dealer and went at it once again. Tone of cleanup on mating surfaces, old gasket material, etc. Just finally finished a few weeks ago. She's officially oil leak free now, and running better than ever.
Think someone less patient would've washed their hands of it a while ago. She's sorted, and I absolutely love the car. Nothing like hopping in that thing and letting it breath. Needless to say, we've developed a bit of a relationship over the last year. Worth it? I could definitively say, yes. Apologize on the book of a post, boys and girls. First post here since ownership, and as you've read, there was quiet a bit to cover as far as stuff going wrong...
Looking forward to getting to know all of you, and helping when I can.