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Finally the old girl stretches her legs..

I purchased the old S4 Avant just prior to the dreaded lockdown early this year. So although some 8 months have now passed, I have been able to use her very little indeed. Well finally last week we managed to get 3 days off and so I prepared the S4 (checked the tyre pressures and fluids, all ok) and we set off.

Our destination was the wonderful thermal baths at Bacoli, have a look here:

The place is truly magic! Only people who are resident in the area can enter, that is extended to anyone who stays in a nearby hotel as they gain temporary residence. We stayed in a wonderful local hotel, Villa Luisa and walked to the baths, then we ate at the nearby Pizzeria Lucrino

Here she is on the way, the car performed great and returned an average of about 9km/litre which for the Brits is about 25mpg. On the motorway it creeps up towards 10/28 but on the smaller roads this dives….


Well I just bought a bike, but blimey WHAT a bike..

I was not looking for another bike, cos I have a few. But recently I was reading an Italian motorcycle magazine and an article about a special edition of the Yamaha R1M being prepared by Yamaha Austria caught my eye. Well I clicked for more information and then I read more about the bike and then I clicked again and well, I ordered one.

I had a long phone call with Manfred (Mandy) Kainz, the founder and owner of Yamaha Austria Racing Team, and he told me all about the project and about the bike. Basically the base is the stunning R1M and YART are assembling only 46 of these bikes. The idea is that next year a certain Mr V Rossi will ride what is likely to be his last year in Moto GP with the Petronas Team, as his official works bike has already been contracted to a younger rider (the Italo/French rider Fabio Quartararo).

The specification of this bike is truly amazing and it will be track only, as the spec and performance will not allow it to be homologated for road use, certainly not as they will only make 46. And the price is (a mere) 46k Euro which is more or less twice the price of a standard R1M but not too unreasonable if you consider that the Ducati production bike equivalent costs from 30k pounds upwards.

Have a look here: WHAT a stunner!!

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This car certainly keeps me on my toes..never a dull moment part 2…

Blimey. What a challenge. I love this S4 V8 to death BUT she is very demanding. Only two months ago I was really enjoying her after the lockdown and then the steering suddenly became very heavy indeed, I needed Charles Atlas to help me to turn the wheel. Ah I thought, the hydraulic oil needs topping up, so I topped her up. But the new oil finished on the floor below the car. Mmmm.

When my trusty mechanic had a look at the car he again topped up the oil. That new oil was almost immediately thrown on the floor so he understood that there was a leakage problem. Upon further investigation he discovered that the high pressure pipe which takes the oil from the steering pump was split, so of course needed replacing. I was sent to order the parts plus 3L of Audi hydraulic oil, all arrived a few days later.

Well long story short, the rat took more than 6 weeks to sort out the dusty Audi and only when I issued some serious threats he finally “got round” to the poor neglected S4. Almost as a favour, cos he only wanted 100 Euro for the work, I paid directly for the parts and they were about 200 Euro. So the old S4 and I are back on the road and the steering feels WONDERFUL again. But I still need to sort out an electrical problem cos the new battery discharged in only a few weeks grrrrrrr.

More to follow, for sure…..but the car is lovely!!! Like a mature lady she gets better with age BUT needs loads of tlc for sure. This weekend FINALLY I am taking her away for a weekend so fingers crossed hehe.

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Some important new activities soon to be ready…..

Ok so its about time to change up a gear or two. We have recently made three VERY significant purchases so Service is getting ready to sprint. Here we go with a quick description of what we will very soon be offering:

Carbon engine clean device. From Epoch in South Korea. Arrived at last!!! The company in Seoul basically invented this very special device which cleans an engine from inside WITHOUT the need to dismantle anything! I contacted them many months ago and they sold me a device which is I think the FIRST and so far only one in Italy. See for more info, plus the photo above. The first tests will be made on my two engines, diesel V6 TDI Mercedes and then my old Audi V8 petrol 4.2.

Exhaust gas analyser. From Capelec France and this arrived within 30 minutes of the Carbon clean system, amazing, having ordered them about 6 weeks apart. The idea here is to measure and record the exhaust gases before and then after the cleaning process so I can clearly show the (hopefully) positive results and so show the difference.

Industrial steam cleaning machine. From Menikini in the north of Italy. JUST arrived. The manufacturer is one of the best in Europe and specialised in these devices and especially important in these COVID19 times.


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I found a new car-wash and the S4 finally starts to looks like the elegant car she is….

We have been locked-down at home since early March and it is just now starting to be eased, 3 months later. So the old S4 has been locked in the garage gathering dust and looking rather sad and sorry for herself. Now finally I have been able to take her out for a drive and wow she goes great!

I guess that she no longer has all of the starting 350 ish horses as she has more than 190k kms under her wheels, but she still goes very well indeed. (I have a plan for an engine carbon clean, more to follow). As I drove recently to buy some wine at our favourite winemaker (see I saw a car wash which was open and in operation, so I stopped for a chat with the owners.

Well the Audi was second in the wash queue and for 15 Euro they cleaned her very thoroughly inside and out, happy days indeed. Here follow a few pics to show just how good she now looks: In the coming few days the wheel centres will be painted and refitted too.

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Some bits and pieces for sale…just a few thousand!

I work part time for a lovely bloke Luigi Cioffi, at Auto Cioffi Ravello. He is a vehicle bodywork genius, he has been repairing cars and vans for the last 50 years and for the last 45 years in his amazing premises at Pontone near Ravello, which was previously a paper manufacturing factory.

This man (and his staff) have been working in this premises for some 45 years and the workload has always been heavy, he had many employees in the past all working to repair and repaint cars, vans, motorbikes and almost everything else. Last week we saw a BMW motorbike plus 3 cars repainted and each job is unique, but in general involve changing several parts as well as then repairing, sometimes straightening, and then repainting.

This means that we have a stock of used wheels, tyres, headlights, car panels, doors etc etc etc as you can imagine and we are now trying to put things into some kind of order and to sell some of these parts, to clear some space!! As you can imagine alot of the bits are Fiat, but we have a selection from almost all of the European car brands plus Japanese and almost everything inbetween.

If anyone is interested please contact me, we could surely fill a container and we are near to the port of Salerno so we could also export these parts very easily.



Finally the old S4 leaves the starting blocks, yessssss……

Wow, things that would normally take a few days are now taking months, cos here in Italy we are under lockdown and we have been since early March. Here things are taken VERY seriously and if you do not have a valid reason to travel then the Police will stop you and send you home with a fine. Even more so anyone who has a vehicle with foreign plates, cos they are terrified that tourists may arrive and bring the dreaded lurgy.

So when I first bought the S4 in Feb all was good, but after only a week she started to run the engine fans all the time and they stayed on even when I parked the car even before she was up to operating temperature!! That evening the fans must have run until the car battery was dead and when I charged and then changed the battery for a new one the problem continued. So I did some research and found A8parts in the UK and I asked their opinion about the part I needed to change to resolve this disaster.

Well, long story shortish they despatched the ECU (about 100 Quid for a used part) and finally I managed to get the car to my local INDI and onto his ramp. He removed the front bumper and guess what, we found TWO ECUs which appeared identical. So which one do we change?? We decided to change the easiest of the two, the one inside the front bumper, and then restarted the car and YESSSSS the fans did not start up!!!!!

A few pics below and yes, I am a happy bunny!!! So far so good, in the meantime I have purchased some more stuff for the car so we will be fitting them soon I hope…..

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One or two jobs done and the old girl starts to feel better….updated!

So during the dreaded lockdown I have been able to make very limited progress with the S4. Firstly I replaced the car battery as I noticed that the one on the car was too small (physically it did not fill the battery space, which is on the front bulkhead, as well as charge wise it was only 75Ah whereas the orignal is 95Ah) so I ordered a new Varta. Coincidentally I then discovered that the battery is identical to the one on my Vito van which I had replaced recently, so I managed to get one trade for “only” 130 Euro.

Next problem, the car started to leave the fans running when I switched off the engine, which flattened the battery overnight. Hmmmm. I then discovered, having tried to removed various fuses, that this car has side radiators as well as the usual front ones and no fuse would stop these fans, I had to disconnect the battery terminal every time I parked the car, hardly ideal.

So I got into contact with the nice guys at a8parts in the UK and they agreed that this was likely a failed ECU thingy which, being located under the car, will often fail on these cars ‘cos they are exposed to all the worst of the weather and road grit. So one of those arrived and I hope to get it fitted this week so news to follow, I sure hope that this will sort this problem!!

Next, the wheels. The lovely Audi 18″ alloys were looking a bit tired, not suprising with almost 200k kms under her belt. So I took the 4 wheels up to a local place, they removed the old tyres and rubbed down and painted the wheels in a lovely grey, which is called Gun Metal Grey from the Fiat paint range. In the meantime I ordered 4 new Conti tyres, and this week I had the new tyres fitted onto the new-looking wheels and then refitted them to the car. Wow, progress.

I finally managed to start the car up today and take her out of her 10 week garage/prison (covered in dust of course), up to my local car expert. Tomorrow he should fit the ECU to sort out the fans that won’t stop, and then I also gave him a full set of new Brembo discs and pads so I truly hope that I will soon have a great car!!

UPDATE today we managed to fit the ECU and YESSSSSSS the problem seems to be resolved and the fans no longer run all the time, at last!!

Some work in progress pictures follow:

Here is the electronic thing to be replaced on the car
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Well, the S4 requires some good ol’ TLC…

As previously reported, I recently took delivery of a 2005 B6 Audi S4 with that wonderful V8 4.2L engine and the Audi Quattro 4WD system. She has been very well looked after and has a full Audi service history (Audi Switzerland) so I could not ask for more and I think that the dreaded timing chain problem has also been sorted, that is a killer cos to change the chain requires the engine to come out of the car!!

The car arrived just before the dreaded virus lockdown so I have not yet been able to drive the car almost at all, just one very quick motorway trip up to Roma and back to flex her muscles. Since then she has been shut in a garage and even walking or cycling the 400m between house and garage has been difficult as the Police patrolled the town centre. So I have been visiting the car as and when I can, and I have taken a few photos just to show what I have been up to.

The car is 15 years old, she looks really good and everything seems to work from the lovely electric sunroof to the satnav to the memory seats (Audi in this case showing very good build quality, like my previous A5) BUT as she has spent most of her life between Switzerland and the UK then I assumed that the underside of the car would show some signs of the dreaded rust, which cars here in sunny Italy tend not to have until they are much older. Plus, I noted that the car battery was not the correct one (much smaller) so that needed changing, and I also saw that the alloy wheels had some scars so I planned to have them refurbished and found a local place that would do that.

When I removed the wheels my theory was proved half right and the wheel arches, suspension, brakes and all did have some signs of corrosion but not as much as I had feared, so far so good. I don’t have a ramp available so I removed the wheels one at a time and put axle stands under the car while I took the wheels away to be reworked. Some pics follow to show you the work in progress, loads more work to do but this lockdown slows deliveries down to a crawl…….UPDATE pics of my wheels being repainted just added…and a new set of Continental Sport tyres just arrived too, plus Brembo discs and pads all round!!

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What a wonderful experience at Porsche Padova…thanks guys!!

I visited the lovely Porsche dealership in Padova in Febuary, have a look at this place / I was there with a mate who was looking to purchase a Macan S, either a new or almost new ex demo car, and looking to buy on leasing. Well he is a financial guy and so covers the leasing side but as he is not really a car man having been given a free company car for almost all of his working life, he asked me to come along to offer some car knowledge and moral support.

The premises and this company are owned directly by the Porsche company, as are the 2 largest ones in the country so that they can handle their cars and customers as they wish without relying on the goodwill of an Italian Arfur Daley, so to speak. We were greeted as we entered the lovely premises and asked to sit down in reception with a lovely coffee while they called the sales guy who was going to look after us.

In short we were treated with a great deal of kindness and respect, and taken out in the demo car by a young guy who chatted to us in excellent English and turned out to be a semi pro racing driver so he really showed us how the car went and stopped! AMAZING experience. I of course spent most of the visit drooling over the stunning 911s and telling John that these were real cars, not the bloody van he was looking at, but hey each to his own and he purchased the lovely demo Macan S which made him a very happy bunny.

Beautiful place, folks, cars and experience, thank guys!