Project: Expedition Allroad

#1
After years and years of lurking on here and other various forums, the time has come for me to start a project that warrants its own build thread:



I have scoured the internet for someone to really commit to building an offroading Audi Allroad, and I still haven't found one. I read through every page of the other Allroad build thread on Pirate 4x4, but was disappointed to see that the project was abandoned. It had so much potential! So that's where I come in. Most of my background has been in Wranglers, Cherokees, Toyotas, and a random BMW and 300ZX thrown in there along the way. It's time I return to my off road roots, this time in a less conventional manner.

I had been going back and forth with the previous owner for the past month or so until we finally were able to settle on a price. So finally I was able to swing by with a trailer (with a winch, thankfully) and pick this bad boy up! It was a totally pain in the *** to unload and push up hill into my buddy's carport where he's letting me store it while we get it up and running, but with some ingenuity and a lot of elbow grease, we got it unloaded and in the carport in about two exhausting hours:



So what's wrong with it? Here's the list:

  • It has a blown engine, the timing belt snapped
  • It's an interference motor, so the heads/valves are likely toast, possibly the pistons too
  • Rear air suspension leaks down to nil within ~1.5 to 2 weeks time
  • Minor scrapes and bumps here and there, rip in driver's seat
  • Gauge cluster LCD and much of the switch gear is pretty worn (typical VW/Audi for the era)
  • It's a 15 yr old Audi
  • The 2.7TT is not exactly known for its reliability (insanely tuneable, though)

So what's the good news?

  • Essentially new 29" BFG KO2 All Terrain tires (225 75 R16)
  • Rare manual trans
  • IPP air suspension sensor arms (~1.5-2" lift at max height, ~1" lower on lowest)
  • New-ish front Arnott bags
  • New air suspension compressor
  • Is in pretty decent shape in and out

So what's the plan for the Expedition Allroad?

I'm going to make this a full on expedition vehicle. It's already got the big beefy KO2's, the IPP sensor arms to trick the air suspension into max height, and in my opinion, looks ****ing awesome. Here are the next steps:

  • Already have a replacement 2.7TT lined up from a B5 S4 with lowish miles, as well as some newish turbos from a friend (still stock K03's) and am going to put in a new clutch and replace most all of the major seals and gaskets.
  • Rear bags will be replaced with Arnott lifetime warranty(!) replacements
  • Going to throw a roof rack on top with all the essential expedition goodies: A row of offroad lights, a shovel/axe, gas can, eventually a full size spare
  • Replace the notorious VW/Audi worn interior switch gear and failing gauge cluster LCD screen
  • Downpipe and intake + a mild tune. Going to keep it fairly mild, as I'm really not sure how these CVs will hold up to the big tires
  • Pray to the Audi gods that nothing else goes wrong (it will)
  • Take it out to the desert and the mountains for camping trips and general merriment (until it breaks)

Here are some pictures from the previous owner:








So let me know what you guys think! Yes, I know these are not reliable vehicles, but you have to pay the price somewhere to do something unique, so I'm charging ahead full speed on this and every day something doesn't break I'll count as a win.
 
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#2
Making the arrangements now for the S4 engine, just got a few shots from the guy I'm picking it up from:

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Looks like a big, jumbled headache right now, but the engine is pretty low mileage and is coming with full set of seals and gaskets that I would be replacing anyway, so that's a nice bonus.

There are some differences between this S4 engine and the Allroad 2.7, the biggest of which is that the S4 did not come with secondary air injection and the Allroad did. Adapting it would mean either machining the heads or finding new heads from another Allroad -- neither of which seem like fun options. Luckily, various tuning shops have successfully been able to set the expected airflow to 0 in a tune, so there is definitely a way around this with software. I'll worry about that once I get it up and running though, because from what I read, the worst that will happen is it will just throw a CEL until I fix it. Not a huge deal in the meantime.

The engine is missing a few things, namely turbos and the intake Y-pipe across the top. My buddy who is helping me with this build has extra sets of the stock S4 KO3 turbos, so I'll be buying a nice, low miles set off of him to put on, and most of the other stuff I can salvage from my existing motor.

I ordered an ECS timing belt/waterpump kit to put on, as well as a new clutch. I really can't wait to get this thing on an engine stand and start tearing into it. All of these things will be so much easier to do with the engine out on a stand, and I can take my time and make sure everything gets done right.

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#4
Very sweet! Bravo for being brave enough to undertake such a cool project. I love off road wagons and I've loved these wagons since they first came out. Best of luck and I look forward to your build.
 
#5
Thanks, guys!

Just trying to arrange when I can pick up the engine now. Clutch arrived yesterday, timing belt/water pump kit should be here today or Monday.
 

fugitive

Master of Escape
#6
ExD,

Your ambitious build reminds me of an old cowboy quote-

"Where I come from we don't shoot horses when they get ornery; we tame 'em." — John Drury in "Ride Him, Cowboy" 1932

I've been a wagon fan since my dad picked up a Plymouth Belvedere wagon (circa '65) with a futuristic push-button transmission and a sweet rear facing 3rd row seat. I'll be following this build.

Tame that Audi, TR
 

thisoneguy

Audi Expositioner
#7
Tires.jpg 20557104328_55d00f61f2_z.jpg

Seems your end state is right where I am at - Though I have the 4.2. I like to think it is a great platform.

I will note: I tried the 225 75R 16, and it rubbed a bit to much for my comfort, I ended up with 215 75R 16 (still have the 225s in my garage). My biggest fear was that I would have an airbag failure, then the wheel well would cinch down on the tire and I would be stuck.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
#8
A good friend has one original owner custom ordered 6spd manual etc. He has rebuilt pretty much the entire car at this point. 180K new turbos to avoid failure and engine damage, New air ride system each shock was pretty much putting a body part in hock to get it either replaced or rebuilt etc. Engine is rock solid had some gaskets replaced and timing belt done twice now. Nice car fun to drive and RARE being a 6spd MT.
 
#9
Thanks for the input, guys! Fugitive, I love that quote, that's awesome.

View attachment 368385 View attachment 368386

Seems your end state is right where I am at - Though I have the 4.2. I like to think it is a great platform.

I will note: I tried the 225 75R 16, and it rubbed a bit to much for my comfort, I ended up with 215 75R 16 (still have the 225s in my garage). My biggest fear was that I would have an airbag failure, then the wheel well would cinch down on the tire and I would be stuck.
Very nice! Looks great! How long have you been running that big of tire? Any drivetrain issues with them? I'm not sure if the 4.2 got beefier CVs or not, but that's really my biggest worry, along with the notoriously weak lower control arms.

Mine is running what looks to be about 20-25mm H&R wheel spacers to help with rubbing. At level 2 they rub a bit on tighter turns, level 3 they rub very slightly only at full lock, and level 4 they are free and clear. The previous owner said that once you find the limits, it's pretty easy to avoid, especially since it should automatically put you at level 3 at parking lot speeds anyway, and then you can select level 4 from there.

I have been thinking about if the suspension fails, because I dropped it down just to see how it would sit, and it was sitting with the fender wells resting on the tires. I'm going to try to figure out how to adapt some extended bump stops so that if I do end up with total air bag failure that I'm still able to move it under its own power without totally shredding itself to pieces. If anyone has suggestions on a possible solution for that, I would love to hear ideas.

The clutch and the timing belt/waterpump kit have already arrived, I just am waiting to be able to pick up the engine, as the guy I'm buying it off of is out of town for the week. I was thinking about tearing into the Allroad first and start pulling the engine, but after looking through a guide on that, I think I would rather wait until I get the new engine is rebuilt and refreshed, that way getting the front end back together will still be fresh in my mind.

Being patient is hard.
 

thisoneguy

Audi Expositioner
#10
I have had the bigger tires for about 20,000 miles... Or 20K + about 3% 60mph indicated - GPS says 62. No issues with the tires or drive train so far, and I don't think the 4.2 had anything different... Though, I did to a 6mt swap, and I think in order to make that work he had to use the 2.8 TDI axles - don't know if they are different either. I hear it about the bump stops. I thankfully haven't had many problems, and I have gone further out and away than many. Thats why I went with a size down, no rubbing at all (that I can tell, though the 225s may have just cleared out all that would rub.)


My problem now is that while ~14in clearance is good, really just not good enough. I am working with guy that did the swap to see if there is something more to be done there.
 
#11
Awesome, I'm actually really surprised the speedo wasn't off more. And wow, 14" of ground clearance is damn impressive! Where was that measured from?
 

thisoneguy

Audi Expositioner
#12
That was from the ground to the underside of the frame... Though, come to think of it, that was with the 225s, Guess I need to check with the 215s - I guess It might be almost an 1" less.
 

redthies

Renaissance Redneck
#13
We had an Allroad in the stable a long time ago. It was the bi-turbo manual as well. Lots of fun when it was new, but you know how it goes. A friend insisted on buying it when we traded it in. Remarkably, we are still friends!
 
#14
Making the arrangements now for the S4 engine, just got a few shots from the guy I'm picking it up from:


Looks like a big, jumbled headache right now, but the engine is pretty low mileage and is coming with full set of seals and gaskets that I would be replacing anyway, so that's a nice bonus.

There are some differences between this S4 engine and the Allroad 2.7, the biggest of which is that the S4 did not come with secondary air injection and the Allroad did. Adapting it would mean either machining the heads or finding new heads from another Allroad -- neither of which seem like fun options. Luckily, various tuning shops have successfully been able to set the expected airflow to 0 in a tune, so there is definitely a way around this with software. I'll worry about that once I get it up and running though, because from what I read, the worst that will happen is it will just throw a CEL until I fix it. Not a huge deal in the meantime.

The engine is missing a few things, namely turbos and the intake Y-pipe across the top. My buddy who is helping me with this build has extra sets of the stock S4 KO3 turbos, so I'll be buying a nice, low miles set off of him to put on, and most of the other stuff I can salvage from my existing motor.

I ordered an ECS timing belt/waterpump kit to put on, as well as a new clutch. I really can't wait to get this thing on an engine stand and start tearing into it. All of these things will be so much easier to do with the engine out on a stand, and I can take my time and make sure everything gets done right.
If your replacement engine has more than 60K on it replace the V/C gaskets and replace or reseal the chain tensioners while the covers are off. If they aren't leaking now, they will be soon. Much easier to do with the engine on a stand. Also, there are a bunch of little cooling hoses at the back of the engine for the Turbos. Replace them (engine removal required to replace) ALL as well, age issue not mileage.

If the T-Stat cover is plastic replace it, German plastic sucks. If you can find an aluminum replacement, use that.

GOOD LUCK
YMMV RON