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Help: Considering purchase but water in trunk

Audi A8 This full sized Audi A8 sedan offers interior luxury and spaciousness comparable to any car in the full sized luxury sedan class

Help: Considering purchase but water in trunk

Old 09-19-2010, 05:21 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2010
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Default Help: Considering purchase but water in trunk

I'm considering the purchase of a 1997 A8 with 116K on the clock for $5,400. The car seemed to check out ... tranny shifted smoothly ... clean CarFax and a printout of dealer service that says good things including a timing belt change. But when I opened the trunk to look at the spare there was 1.5 inches of water sitting in the tub!

A little Googling seems to show that Volkswagen had a bunch of problems with leaks in both Audi and VW products that even led to a class-action lawsuit. Recent service record indicated that prior owner had a leak checked out, but apparently it wasn't fixed--or it's come back or it was a different leak. Current dealer says he's checked it out and can't find a leak. Interior of car showed no obvious water damage and seats and carpet, front and rear, were dry. Any comments or suggestions?
Old 09-19-2010, 07:55 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 624

The most obvious thing to check first would be the trunk rubber lip seal for any tears or tell-tale water trail, all the way around...esp the upper half of the loop.
If that all looks good, then:

I just recently solved a water in the trunk problem with my '01. I was a little amazed at the source...the rear sunroof drains. Many people think that there are only front ones. '97 models have the same kind and this may be your source.

The connections are behind the side panels in the trunk and drain behind the rear fender liners. I got to mine, partially removing the side panels (flexible carpet-like liner) removing plastic push-rivets holding plastic corner trunk trim...first behind the left side of battery (easiest to get to), accessible with battery in place. A hose from the sunroof plugs into a rubber fitting in the body there and this side happened to be the source of the leak. Even though the hose was firmly planted in the fitting, the fitting itself was clogged with old organic debris and the hose slowly leaked it's fill of water past the fitting into the trunk anyway...followed a channel around the battery and to all parts of the trunk as I drove, so hard to trace at first. Cleared the fitting by pushing a flexible hose (a little smaller than the fitting) down the fitting all the way through to outside (just several inches). Reconnected hose (with a wrap of elec tape to make a tighter seal) and then flushed it out by running a hose over the closed sunroof for a few minutes. If the hose itself is clogged, an old speedo cable (or similar) can be run up the hose toward the sunroof to clear debris...then connect and flush the same way.

The other side has the same connection and probably clogged too. It was harder to get to...removed CD changer and Nav unit first, then side panel the same way...hose connection is tight up against the central locking vacuum unit, but very accessible too. It was clogged, but not leaking into trunk... but had to clear hose and fitting on that side...then flushed again.

No more trunk water.

A8's (and other Audi's and VW's) are prone to all rain drains and inside AC drains clogging , but are all accessible by the amateur mechanic...this is what the class action suit was about, leaks caused by clogged drains...preventable if you check em periodically.

This article covers some drains, but not the rear sunroof drains:


Last edited by silverd2; 09-19-2010 at 10:28 PM.
Old 09-19-2010, 08:06 PM
2nd Gear
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 624

P.S. That price is maybe 500 to 1000 dollars too steep for that year and mileage.
I assume it's a Quattro (?), but even with options, it would have to be near perfect and I would still offer less.

Look at EbayMotors and Autotrader.com for similar A8's to compare prices. Kelly Book says only 4300-4700 (private party...fair price. Don't go by "retail") with AWD and options...they may sell a little higher though.

Last edited by silverd2; 09-19-2010 at 08:12 PM.
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