For the very first time since I bought her more than two years ago the lovely old S4 finally let me down. It must be said that I was VERY lucky indeed because I had already covered some 2600 kms without any problems that weekend so it could have happened anywhere whereas the red light on the dashboard indicating low water level came on just before I was planning to stop for fuel at Orte. Orte is for me a favourite stop-off place cos JUST off the motorway you can find a great hotel plus bar plus fuel station, great place.
Well, I reduced my cruising speed down to 120 kph and kept a firm eye on the temperature guage (which did not move) and in Orte town I bought a litre of pre-mixed top up fluid. I opened the bonnet where everything SEEMED to be in order and gently opened the expansion tank and added this litre. Well, the level came back up towards the minimum mark but then er……making some wierd glugging noises, the level went down again and the fluid was gone. I looked under the car but no water to be seen. Goodness.
This process was repeated with another litre and then I realised that all was not in order. So I callled a mate of mine Riccardo who lives nearby and I drove round to his place VERY slowly. He quickly confirmed that all was not well and then we also found where the water was going, from the radiator it was collecting inside the front bumper/spoiler, which is why we could not see it under the car!! Long story short, I left the Audi with him and he lent me his Smart to head down to Roma for my beer appointment.
The next day I drove back to Orte and he dropped me at the railway station, I returned home full of thoughts and yes, fairly worried. The S4 has an aluminium V8 engine and as excellent as it is, if these engines overheat than they can very quickly indeed warp the cylinder heads: Gulp.
I returned to collect the car a few days ago and wowowowow she is now restored to full health. The radiator was more or less crumbled away FROM THE INSIDE. So we can only guess that incorrect fluids or incorrect fluid mixtures have been used in the past which destroyed the radiator. Luckily instead of the original VAG spare we found a pattern one in Germany for 250 Euro instead of the official 850 plus VAT!!!! The car seems GREAT again and I am very relieved, thanks Audi!!! And big thanks to Riccardo, what a mate!