Avant Roadtrip

I’ve already been posting about this Brilliant Black Avant, but have not yet given the back story on how it arrived and what the state of the S4 is.

Brilliant Black Audi B5 S4 Avant

As mentioned before, the experience of working on the Nogaro sedan prompted me to begin looking for a home for that car’s engine.  I was keeping an eye out for B5 S4’s that were up for sale and in need of some attention to the engine.  On a B5 S4 forum a Black 2001 Avant came up for sale that was eerily similar to the Santorin S4 that I had ordered soon after the 2001 model year S4’s became available – no sunroof and the Silver Alcantara Sport Interior.  It also lacked heated seats, just the way I had ordered my first S4.

The car has a handful of modifications, most notably Silly Rabbit Motorsport SMIC’s, Achtuning OCK, an APR Bipipe, AMD K03 tune, Stasis Streetsport coilovers, Neuspeed RSB, and an AMD exhaust.  Also the Audi Fat Fives wheels.

Brilliant Black Audi B5 S4 Avant
On the road early

The Avant had 287,000 miles when it was up for sale, a number to have concern about, but it also had a stack of papers documenting all the parts that had been replaced over the years, to the point that not much of the original wear components were left, most notably the exceptions being the engine and transmission.  There is some exhaust gas making its way into the coolant, a sign of a potential head gasket failure or crack in the head or block, but with a spare 91,000 mile engine and transmission already in my garage, I had a path forward to address the contamination of the coolant.

The Avant was located in Seattle, so I took a flight out and was picked up at the airport in the new (to me) B5 S4 Avant.  With a trip in excess of 2,000 miles ahead of me getting on the road quickly was on my mind.

Brilliant Black Audi B5 S4 Avant
Entering the Badlands

I had some concerns about the coolant situation starting out on the long trip, but raised coolant temperatures were never an issue.

Brilliant Black Audi B5 S4 Avant
Drive through Badlands

Over the course of the nearly three-day trip the Avant averaged an impressive 28.5 mpg, even with a set of studded snow tires stowed in the back and a fuel tank that rarely was allowed to go below three-quarters of a tank full.

Brilliant Black Audi B5 S4 Avant

The trip proved to be almost without any issues.  On the second night though while switching between high beams and normal headlamps the driver side headlamp went out.  This led to me stop the evening’s travel a bit sooner than planned.  Thinking the bulb was blown I set out early the following day to take advantage of as much daylight as I could, but to my surprise when I started the car in the morning and turned the headlights on the driver side light illuminated the side of the hotel.

The headlight was the only automotive generated excitement of the drive.