Admittedly, most winter beaters aren't as nice as this 2009 B8 Audi A4 2.0T quattro. However, it had covered almost 100k miles, had a blown turbo, worn brakes and sloppy suspension when we found it. And having a relatively rare manual transmission, it sat unwanted for too long, so we made an offer that couldn't be refused and we were happy to pay. Let's just say it was under $10k...
So having stolen the A4 2.0Tq MT cheap enough to cover the cost of repairs, we set about finding the right parts to make our AWD snow queen into the sort of car we could enjoy when the grip levels dropped.
With phone calls made and orders placed, we waited for Audi A4 parts to arrive. But while the car sat, we had a chance to poke around it some more and discovered the high mileage had inflicted a high price on its appearance as well. The front-end was heavily stone-chipped, with road rash peppering the front screen, headlights, grille, hood and apron. Even the B8 front fenders hadn't escaped what appeared to have been several winters on heavily gritted roads.
The front spoiler had also taken a beating from poor parking and contact with foreign objects. Since we bought the car so cheap, we still had some money to invest before we passed the breakeven mark, so decided to make some repairs.
Inevitably, we weren't going to leave the Audi A4 stock. So once we got a cheap painting quote from friends in the business, we decided to upgrade the cosmetics with an authentic Audi Accessories body kit.
You may recall we fitted an Audi body kit to our TT project car (which also continues in this issue), so we knew the quality was superb and fitting was simple (saving labor costs). All we had to do was order it from our local Audi dealer and get it painted along with the hood and fenders.
Fitting is a Do-it-yourself proposition if you're relatively competent, but a workshop lift will help, and a body shop will make life simpler. The fitting process should be completed in less than one day but make sure you have friends around to lend a hand with the larger pieces. All the fitting hardware is provided but not the glue. We've listed what we used below but a bodyshop will be able to advise.
The front spoiler comes in four pieces that include two side parts, a larger lower splitter and a center detail to connect everything together.
Installation starts with cleaning the Audi A4bodywork and wiping down with alcohol cleaner to remove any grease or residue (do this to all surfaces receiving the new parts). Then test-fitting the pieces to align them. You can use the supplied pucks to ensure everything is in position and eliminate the guesswork later.
You want to sparsely glue the pucks to the bodywork and see that 30-50% of the puck is away from the bodywork. This makes it easier to remove them once the kit is fastened and minimizes potential damage to the paint.
Once you're happy with the location, sand the groove inside the front spoiler. It takes the glue and, although not specified in the Audi instruction leaflet, sanding helps to improve adhesion for the glue.
With the glue applied in the groove, press the side pieces into place. Use blue tape to secure the parts to the Audi A4 bodywork while the glue cures. Repeat for both sides and the center piece.
Allow the glue to set for 15-30min - the time is weather-dependent, with warm temps giving a shorter curing time.
Once hardened, apply Meguiar's Cleaner Wax liberally around the edge of the new parts and the bodywork. Then take a fine-edged plastic knife and remove the excess glue from the join. The petroleum in the wax reacts with the glue, allowing it to be removed more easily, while also avoiding scratches in the paint as the blade moves across it.
Finally, fit the lower spoiler. It snaps into place but you'll need to wait until the glue has cured on the other pieces before doing so - you don't want to apply pressure and have something move out of kilter before it's properly set.
When ready, apply glue to the interior groove on the spoiler and snap it into place. Be sure to use more painter's tape to hold the lip in place while everything cures overnight.