Checking In for the Lulz

I’d like to take a moment to thank the fucking lord that March is almost over. I hate this month, always have and always will. 31 days of trash. Not knowing whether it’s going to be sunny and 50s, or blizzarding and in the teens. Can never trust this month, but it’s almost over. April is upon us, and for that we should celebrate.

But for real, to the like 2 people that have ever read my ramblings – what’s up? You guys doing well? I’d say I’m doing pretty solid all things considered. Wanted to take a moment this morning to write about two really important topics in my life at this time. Originally it was going to be just one topic, but on my way into work it spawned a second. We’re going to start with this morning’s shenanigans, in the vein of my old Driver’s Ettiquette rants.

So I’m driving into work this morning, lah dee dah, I’ve got The Show playing on the radio, the roads are clear, the world is my god damn oyster. I find myself coming up to a school bus, which usually means I either left the house a little early or the bus is running late. It’s not often I encounter one of these little shit carriers in the morning, but today happened to be one of the times. Normally it’s no big deal, whatever, flashing yellow to flashing red, stop and go a couple times, and they’re on their way. Zero problems with that, gotta get this country’s future generation to school yo!

Well it was about that time I noticed this country’s future generation is bunch of fucktards. Shameless South Park wannabe reference I know, deal with it. So this school bus hit the yellows and I’m like okay. We come to a stop on the main drag, and I see this girl on the sidewalk waiting to seize the day and learn some shit. Well the red lights kick on, we’re stopped, and all of a sudden my mental stopwatch starts counting. This girl is staring directly down at her cell phone, oblivious to literally everything happening around her. One second. Two seconds. Three seconds. I’m starting to talk to myself, which if you have the occasional anger problem while driving, you know what this means…

Alllllllllll-fucking-right kid let’s fucking go! Get off your fucking phone. Get on the big yellow object that’s been waiting a year for you. And get the fuck out of here!

-Adam, circa 2019

I’m starting to turn gray and she finally glances up from her phone, no shit, I swear to god, 10 seconds after we came to a complete and utter earth-shattering stop. At this point I’m shaking my steering wheel, contemplating the inevitable heat death of the universe (I feel like I’ve made that joke before?). Finally, after realizing that she is, in fact, awake and outside, moseys on over to the big yerrow schoo bus and climbs aboard. Hoo-fucking-ray.

Holy shit kids. Is this what our youth has become? I mean I say that like I’m some old fart (fuck you before you make that joke), but come onnnnnn mannnnnn. By staring at your cellular device, you’re holding up the bus driver who probably hates your ass, your classmates who just want off this rollercoaster of life, other peeps on the road like yours truly, and who knows whatever other butterfly-effect-style scenarios could spawn from your distraction.

So that was my morning. I had to rant about it because I haven’t ranted about jack shit in a hot minute. But yeah, fuck kids. Not literally you sick, sick person.

But onwards, to the OG topic at hand. 2019 and 2020 are going to bring some automotive changes to the Bestivus household and we’re here to discuss. The first change coming is this year, being that I’ve had the Fusion for nearly three years. Pretty mind blowing, I won’t lie. From that first engine replacement (no shit) at 3000 miles, to the roadtrip to Nebraska, to doing donuts in the parking lot all winter – it’s been a ride. I love the car, it’s pretty quick, it’s AWD, the sound system is killer, the LED DRLs and headlights are to die for, and it looks pretty fucking good for being a Ford sedan.

However, the lease is nearly up and it’s time to consider my options. Halloween is when the girl goes back to the dealer, so we’re looking at about seven months to go before we need to procure a replacement. So allow me to outline the gameplan…

The month of October is going to be dedicated to finding a cheap winter beater that can at least get me through to the following spring (of 2020). We’re going to take out a loan for say, five grand. That should be plenty to get me into a relatively reliable A4 or similar Audi model. Not really concerned with engine, color, or trim level, but getting a manual transmission with AWD is going to be the priority. I’ve seen 2.0T A4s go for two to four grand depending on the mileage and other miscellaneous dings, so five should get me a pretty solid ride for the winter. Throw some snowshoes on a set of steelies, and we’ll be good.

My end goal? Rock the A4 all winter while the TT is put up, have it paid off in about six months – by spring time – then trade it in, along with a down payment, for a sweet, sweet B7 RS4. Yep. We’re going RS next year kids, there’s no question about it.

At this point a lot of the RS4 marketplace is reaching up into the 100,000 mile range. This is pushing the price down, but these are still relatively rare cars in the US. A 120,000 mile RS4 can be had for $25,000 at the high end. I’m expecting to pay around $30,000 for my unicorn. I’m not fucking around with this purchase either. We’re talking pre-purchase inspections, and a laundry list of must-haves before I pull the trigger.

This is going to be my magnum opus. My pièce de résistance. So I will accept no substitutes. And because I’ll have the A4 completely paid off sitting pretty waiting to be traded in, I can wait for the perfect example to be found without sacrificing. Here’s what we’ll be looking for:

  • Sprint Blue. Without a doubt the best color for an RS4.
  • Full and complete service history. I want to know every oil change performed on the car. I want to be able to hold in my hands every receipt for every bit of work done to it.
  • Low mileage. I’m not expecting 20,000 miles by any stretch, but I’d like to stay as low as I can, even if it means paying a bit of a premium for the peace of mind.
  • No accidents, obviously.
  • Either well-maintained factory suspension or aftermarket coilovers. The factory suspension offered what’s called Dynamic Ride Control (DRC), which over the years inevitably starts leaking and is an expensive replacement item. Most of the time it makes more sense to swap some coilovers in and never have to worry about them leaking again.
  • Relatively spotless external paint and interior. These cars are over 11 years old now, and finding an example that’s well maintained beyond the powertrain is going to be necessary.

So we’ve got a solid starting list. I’m not going to be limited by range on this one. If my perfect RS4 is in Cali, we’re going to Cali. But I won’t be afraid to walk away if anything seems out of place. I’m going to shoot for pre-purchase third-party inspections for any car I seriously consider. Figure out logistics, but have a garage take a look at the car and see if/what it needs. If they say it’s square, then we proceed, etc. This car will stay in the family for the rest of it’s life if all goes well, so I won’t be making any sacrifices.

It’s an exciting prospect. 420 BHP out of a naturally aspirated V8 with an 8250 RPM redline? Don’t mind if I fucking do. It’ll be the daily driver, with the TT being the weekend/summer/nice weather ride she was always intended to be.

Now the kicker, is I’m contemplating blogging or even streaming the whole endeavor. I mean obviously we’re gonna blog the shit out of this, but I’m also considering streaming it on YouTube. Posting video updates (I hate the world vlog, but that’s what it’ll be) as we go along, recording the eventual trip to get the car and drive it home, the whole nine yards documented online from start to finish. You could almost say this post here is the very beginning.

So stay tuned kids, this Audi household is going to be getting bigger.

Last Name Best

First name The? I dunno.

So what up kids, it’s been a coon’s age since I’ve blogged and it feels like as good a time as any to put some words to the page. We’re closing out February here in a couple days, and that shit just blows my mind. They don’t tell you when you’re a kid that time speeds up the longer it goes on.

It’s really similar to those flat earth clowns that think gravity is a hoax and the “flat earth” is literally constantly accelerating at an upward velocity which is why things fall down… lolwut.jpg

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And 365 Days Later…

It’s cliche as hell, but a lot can happen in a year.  Profoundly life changing events, changes of habit, moments of happiness, moments of sadness.  I say that despite turning 30 this year, and realizing it’s been 12 years since I graduated high school.  It feels like time has absolutely flown by, and yet when you break down the last 365 days into their individual triumphs and defeats, it feels like the longest time span imaginable.

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A Journey of a Thousand Steps…

Begins by staring at the road in front of you and debating whether you’re dumb or not.

Narrator: “He was definitely dumb.”

So first things first, come to terms with the fact that this very well might be the most involved thing you’re ever going to do to your car.  But come the end of this journey, you’ll be able to laugh at your boys who think doing their own oil changes is worthy of recognition.  Nah brah, I pulled the fucking engine, how you like me now?

You also need to really be dedicated to this shit.  Too many times you’ll see project cars for sale with the engine out – because Joe Blow Shadetree Mechanic thought it would be a walk in the park and got halfway done, gave up, couldn’t afford it, etc, and just decided to dump the car to some other unlucky schmuck.

Okay.  Got yourself psyched up?  Good.  Let’s do dis.

Jack up the car, blah blah blah.  Always worth mentioning, use jack stands son.  The car might be up there for a few hours days weeks, so make sure its stable.  Next step is pulling the bumper, which is pretty easy:

The hardest ones to get to are the ones in blue because the TT’s intercoolers are in the way just enough to make things hard.

Once the bumper is free from the car, make duly sure you’ve already started labeling and taking pictures.  This process is long, and it will help immensely to have documentation of what you’ve done so far.  You’re also going to want to disconnect the “aliens” or headlight washers from the reservoir.  You’ll probably lose a bit of windshield washer fluid.  I should give credit to the thread I got the above diagram from as well:

https://www.audiworld.com/forums/tt-mk1-discussion-9/front-bumper-removal-gurus-1924615/

You’ll come to find that just about anything you’re doing to this car, there’s forum threads out there for it.  Unfortunately, not many include photos, and some aren’t as detailed as we’d hope.  So now your car is looking like the above pic.  Nice!  The next step is to remove the crash bar – that silver thing across the front.  Couple bolts later, good to go.

While you’re at it, pull the headlights as well.  Three bolts apiece, unclip the wiring harness, and out they come.  Now for our next trick, the front lock carrier:

Picture care of ECS Tuning, this is the frontal support that holds your radiator, AC condenser coil, headlights, basically everything.  Why it’s called the “front lock carrier” I’m not sure, but this has gotta come out since we’re pulling the engine out the front of the car.

This was fairly straightforward.  Two “triple square” bolts up top, three bolts around the crash bar supports, and two more bolts around the sides.  There’s a video that helped me do this part, so I’ll link it below:

If you follow the vid, you’ll notice he unbolts the radiator and leaves all that jazz in place.  You can do it that way, or you can unhook and drain the radiator and disconnect the AC condenser then pull everything as one single piece.  Doing it this way requires you to discharge the AC system, which is probably illegal to atmosphere, but take that with a grain of salt.  Once the radiator, AC condenser and front lock carrier are off, we can get to the funnest part!

DISCONNECTING THE WIRING HARNESS

Yep, That’s The Engine

So a couple months ago, two words that every petrol head fears was in the back of my head.

Head.  Gasket.

Consider me triggered, fam.  For those of you reading this without a single mechanical inclining in your body – the head gasket is a thin piece of metal sandwiched between the block and the head of the engine.  It seals those two important parts of said engine, to prevent stuff from leaking out or between each other.  Simple enough, yeah?  Well, when that thin piece of metal breaks or begins leaking, it’s bad for everyone involved.

Especially one’s mental stability.

Long story short, I did some testing and determined yes, the head gasket in the TT is probably shot.  Smell of coolant outside on cold starts, slow loss of coolant from the reservoir, brownish deposits in the coolant, inability to hold pressure when a vacuum is applied, etc.  I was in denial for a while till I ran a sniff test, which sealed the deal for my psyche.

Air from the coolant reservoir is pulled through a special liquid that reacts to exhaust gases (hydrocarbons, to be exact).  In the presence of exhaust, the liquid changes color from blue to green or yellow.  I ran the test twice and both times the liquid turned bright yellow.  No bueno.

So from there, the decision came down to this:

Do I fucking send it for the next 1.5 years, and hope the leak doesn’t get worse?  Or do I pull the engine, fix the head gasket, and have a fun project for Winter 2018?

Obviously the choice was to pull the engine.  I’ll try to blog the steps taken, with pictures, of the entire process.  There’s no real how-to on the internet for pulling an engine.  It seems daunting when looking at the mess of pipework, vacuum lines, and components, but I’m finding that by focusing on one thing at a time it’s not too bad.

A lot of internet gatekeepers will try to say, “If you need instructions on how to pull the engine, you shouldn’t be pulling the engine.”  I say fuck that, everyone needs to start somewhere.  Prior to doing the timing belt on the TT, I had never done a timing belt before.  Prior to doing the exhaust, I had never replace an exhaust system before.  So fuck the haters, and their inability to help the noobs.  By all means, use these coming posts as a starting point for your engine pull.  It’ll be more than I’ve got currently.