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Last summer, I purchased my beloved R8, after dreaming of owning one since they were first available. I was fortunate enough to find a mint condition 2009 with only 14k miles. I've loved every minute I've been in the car since driving it home from Florida. Until, I became aware of what clearly seems to be a major problem with the front frame potentially cracking, and resulting in a totaled car, per many discussions here in the forum.

At first, I was told by a friend highly placed in Audi management to forget about it, his checking said that only cars that were in serious accidents, or were abused and driven into a curb at high speed, or something similar could result in this happening. Flash forward a few months later, and another friend, who had been very highly placed on the Volkswagen end of things called me, and sent me an e-mail about this issue, was very concerned, and said that people he had talked to internally at Audi strongly advised that I get it addressed. Of course, none of them would admit to anything publicly. To Audi this issue doesn't exist. Of course, given the fact that there is an actual Audi part available (though not to the general public), namely the support brackets themselves, this is absurd. Add in the fact that Audi have been welding the additional support brackets into R8 V10's since the latter half of 2010, and R8 V8's, since 2011 makes it even more of a joke.

Recently, there have been reports of R8 owners hitting unseen potholes at perfectly normal rates of speed (55-70mph) and damaging the frames and totalling their cars due to the front frame cracking. I live in Michigan, where we have seriously bad roads, and I've been afraid to even take the car out on the roads after picking it up from storage for the past winter. I did, over the winter, actually manage to acquire the almost unobtanium Audi brackets. Living here in the Detroit metro area, I thought it would be easy to find a shop to do the welding reinforcement for me. Not the case. I have been turned down by no less than twelve local shops. Two of them do substantial work on Audi's, and R8's, so I thought they would be a sure thing. Turns out they have contracts with Audio, and they can only make "Audi authorized repairs". Per the managers, they could have their contract voided for doing this work for me as it is not only unauthorized, but, per Audi, is a problem that doesn't exist. One of them actually spoke to their Audi rep at length about the issue, and eh said before they would even consider allowing the work, even at my expense, my car would have to be subjected a complex chemical testing to specifically verify that any fram cracking existed, at a cost of $6,000.00, minimum!

If you've read any of the discussions here on the forum, you know that there are shops on the East Coast, Houston, LA, and especially in England that have done this repair quickly (generally completed in three hours) for a general price of $1000.00. I have no problem doing that but cannot locate a shop anywhere near me that will take on the work. The welders arent willing to do the necessary R8 disassembly, and the other shops just don't want to touch it. Here is an e-mail I received on Friday night from someone I know, who heads up perhaps the very top collision/upgrade/restoration shop in Michigan. I had sent him pictures of the actual weld area, and a video available here in the forums.

"This job isn’t nearly as simple as the video makes it look, certainly not based on my experience, especially with R8's. These cars have a lot of requirements that must be seen to when welding. It looks like much of the interior and dashboard would have to be removed, as well as some significant mechanical components to insure nothing gets damaged. I am not comfortable just welding brackets on a car without following manufacturers guidelines, especially in a car of this complexity, and, in this case, the manufacturer will not provide any. In the end, done safely, this would be a pretty costly venture; likely in the $6,000.00-$8,000.00 range. And I would only be sure, once I did extensive research into the repair methodology to insure everything was done correctly. I regrettably will have to pass on this work"

I now find myself between a rock and a hard place. I was perfectly willing to spend the $1000.00 to know I was protecting my investment. Now, I cannot find anyone willing to even do the work, and there is also significant information being presented to indicate that it may be a much more difficult job, to do right, and cost many times what was expected. And I realize many of you R8 owners are well heeled, and could afford $6-8k for this work. I simply am not able to. Since purchasing the car less than a year ago, my investments in all new tires, maintenance, and an extended warranty have left the coffers empty. If I can't find a satisfactory, and affordable conclusion, as much as it pains me to even entertain the thought, and type these words, I may have to sell off the car of my dreams. I just don't feel that I can risk my investment by choosing to overlook this issue and drive the car as though it didn't exist. Especially not on the significant portion of potholed, cratered and otherwise compromised Michigan roads.

To anyone with experience in this matter I would greatly appreciate your thoughts.
 

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A friend of mine who repairs light aircraft welded mine, admittedly he is quite old and learnt his trade (airframe fitter) in the Royal Air Force, could try airframe repairers in your area.
 

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The mechanical disassembly isn't too bad. Essentially you remove the frunk (45min job if you've done it before) and pop the front shocks out of the shock towers. And of course you disconnect the battery. If you're super paranoid you can also disconnect the ECU but I never bothered doing that.
 

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First off, while anything CAN happen, it's still very, very, VERY uncommon. Audi absolutely knows about the issue - my R8 technician confirmed that there's a cracked frame car that is (or at least has been in the past) used as part of the technician education program.

I can't begin to explain what the thought process would be for Audi - it's a serious issue IF it happens, but until it reaches a critical mass (if ever), it looks like they're choosing to address it on a case by case basis. Here in Fairfield County CT, my dealer sees many R8s - but in 10 years now, they've never seen a cracked frame. My V10 engine exploded last year - I was happy to hear, as I'm sure most of the owners on this board were, that they've never seen THAT before, either. :) Point being, things DO happen, but it doesn't automatically mean it's going to be widespread or common.

In the case of the cracked frame, if I had to hypothesize, I'd imagine that Audi saw several cases and chose to design the braces as a "better safe than sorry" approach. Given the serious safety implications, that would make sense. But how many cases did they truly see? And what were the root causes of the cracks? It's impossible to know without some inside information on the former and likely nothing concrete on the latter.

Simply put, I wouldn't stress over this. I certainly wouldn't be afraid to take your R8 out and enjoy it. I'm not saying it can't happen to you, but think about the number of R8s out there that have seen their fair share of potholes. Drive it and enjoy it.

In parallel, you can seek out experienced aluminum welders. You're probably best going to a really seasoned independent. I get that the Audi authorized shops won't want to risk their relationship with Audi. I also understand, likely from Audi's perspective, that there's a big liability in altering the frame on the car - was the car already damaged (like Samcrac's R8) and then poorly repaired (like Samcrac's R8), which will lead to a large potential future liability (like Samcrac's R8)? Haha... you probably see where I'm going with that one.
 

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Yup, what Ez said. I wouldn't stress too much about it and just enjoy the car.

I retrofitted my V8 with the plates and can understand the Op's concern.

But I wouldn't sell the car in fear of getting a crack.
 

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I agree with Howie.

Also if the frame does get cracked - you are covered by insurance for a total loss - you may not get what your thinking off, however you are covered.
 

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This has been discussed hugely on the forum over the years and based on how much it's discussed on here, my personal impression is that it seems to be a bigger issue for owners over the pond than it does here in the UK.

Very occasionally is it mentioned on UK car forums (petrol heads) but I've never heard of anyone pulling out or not buying because of it. I hear of the odd owner who has had the welding plates fitted but that is about it. A well known and respected UK R8 tech on here told me he's only ever seen frame damage on three cars, all of which had been involved in an accident.

My personal opinion is that the issue is over-inflated and forums are not the best place to accurately gauge a problem because you never hear from the thousands of owners who never had this issue. I'm not saying there isn't an issue, I'm just echoing Ezmass's comments in that it's very, very, very rare and considering all risk, probably not one you should be over concerned about.
 

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My personal opinion is that the issue is over-inflated and forums are not the best place to accurately gauge a problem because you never hear from the thousands of owners who never had this issue.
I recently bought a 2008 R8 with 26k on it, great condition, no reason to be worried - but after reading on the internet for a day or two I suddenly became incredibly paranoid a out this issue (!) and annoyed with myself for not stripping the front down when I was looking at the car to inspect it! I got so worried that when it was in the garage for a inspection later on I asked them to strip it down and have a look.
Of course, he stripped it down and photographed it for me - nothing there. All welds in perfect condition.

He's a specialist Audi certified repairer and says to hit this with enough power to break that weld, you'd also buckle the wheel quite severely. Essentially it would be a fairly major hit... There I was worrying about drain covers @ 40mph!

Also another very highly experienced R8 engineer (who uses this forum) has told me he has only ever seen three in their time with the frame crack, all of which were involved in front end collisions.

My conclusion is this has been massively over hyped. Someone back in time absolutely thumped their car, the frame broke, and they made a lot of noise to Audi and that has rippled onwards and outwards. My plan is to avoid dreadful B roads - no good for a car like this anyway and it was never designed for them! Would you drive an F1 car down a rally track and complain about the build quality of the car!?

Just enjoy the car, drive it on the roads it was meant for and I'm sure you're car will look like this in years to come (photos of from the recent inspection I had done)

strut.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #11
My frame is not cracked. I was looking at the need to have the frame reinforced as a preventive step. If it was cracked, the car would be totaled.

Thanks to ezmaas, Howie and everyone for their comments above. I feel quite a bit better about just letting go of this concern and going back to driving the car. Your thoughts and perspectives are much appreciated.
 

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My frame is not cracked. I was looking at the need to have the frame reinforced as a preventive step. If it was cracked, the car would be totaled.

Thanks to ezmaas, Howie and everyone for their comments above. I feel quite a bit better about just letting go of this concern and going back to driving the car. Your thoughts and perspectives are much appreciated.
Go drive it like you stole it... but you're still a very considerate thief who'd like to enjoy the car for years to come. :)
 

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You can’t let the paranoia keep you from enjoying life. If it cracks get the parts and I’ll have my buddy fly up and weld them in for you. No big deal.
 

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Like the others stated here. Just enjoy your ride and don’t worry about it! Seriously this “potential” problem has been blown way out of proportion. Mines a 09 and I’ve inspected the areas of concern and like 99% of all R8’s out there built before the reinforcements all is well and the factory did a really good job on the welds in that area.

If on the off chance something did happen it would be because you hit something and your insurance would step in.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It was a beautiful, sunny day here (and we have not had many in the last six weeks) so it seemed the perfect time to take the R8 out for an afternoon road trip through some country back roads. I spent five hours blissfully rolling along in the car, thoroughly enjoying some nice driving roads with extremely minimal traffic of any kind. I put any concerns about isolated and unlikely frame issues out of my my mind and just enjoyed the fact that I somehow have managed to own such a magnificent vehicle. Thanks again to everyone who contributed positive comments to help me get to this place.

JC
 

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It was a beautiful, sunny day here (and we have not had many in the last six weeks) so it seemed the perfect time to take the R8 out for an afternoon road trip through some country back roads. I spent five hours blissfully rolling along in the car, thoroughly enjoying some nice driving roads with extremely minimal traffic of any kind. I put any concerns about isolated and unlikely frame issues out of my my mind and just enjoyed the fact that I somehow have managed to own such a magnificent vehicle. Thanks again to everyone who contributed positive comments to help me get to this place.

JC
Well done. you are doing the right thing and that is to enjoy these magnificent cars for what they are and not get stressed over something that has a very low probability of occuring.
 

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I talked to an audi R8 tech who has been with them for 10+ years. He said the worry is overblown. He has only heard of one happening at another dealer (in a city of over 1,000,000 people). He said it was in a collision.

I decided not to worry about it. Hell is that not what insurance is for?
 

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It was a beautiful, sunny day here (and we have not had many in the last six weeks) so it seemed the perfect time to take the R8 out for an afternoon road trip through some country back roads. I spent five hours blissfully rolling along in the car, thoroughly enjoying some nice driving roads with extremely minimal traffic of any kind. I put any concerns about isolated and unlikely frame issues out of my my mind and just enjoyed the fact that I somehow have managed to own such a magnificent vehicle. Thanks again to everyone who contributed positive comments to help me get to this place.

JC
Awesome!! Cheers!
 

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Sorry for digging up an old discussion, but I don't the following has been asked and answered....
After reading up these forums, I now realize that the frame cracking issue happens very rarely and I'm not too worries about it... I am about to complete a purchase on a car that could be subject to those and will have the frame checked during the PPI. What if we find out that the frame was reinforced? Some here say that the frame might be weakened etc... I'm not even too concerned about that. But assume that the frame cracks after I purchase the car. Assume also that the frame plates were installed as a pretentive measure... Will the insurance company question the quality of the frame plate and could they choose to not cover the loss of the car?

Thank you
 
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