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Hello all, long time lurker here.

I own a 2008 Audi R8. Purchased the car in 2013 with 9k miles on it and have exclusively driven it since then. It now has 57k miles on it. Never been in an accident. Pictures: 41186657_2272197616128473_5374935284980908032_n.jpg
65217399_2737957596219137_3140194686258380800_n.jpg

Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) during a routine brake fluid flush, I asked my mechanic to inspect the frame for signs of damage or cracking, since it would be exposed during the brake flush. (Thanks to you all for bringing this issue to my attention. I would have NEVER known this car was prone to this type of damage without this forum and would have never asked the mechanic to look at the frame. The frame was exposed a few months earlier because of a coilover installation, because, yes you guessed it, mag ride dead and mechanics didn't see anything. I guess I should be happy that the mag rides lasted for 57k miles? Anyway, I can only deduce that the crack had not yet appeared, or the mechanics didn't look at the frame closely enough) Anyway, the brake fluid flush mechanic found the following crack:

I took a photograph of the right passenger side strut tower: IMG_0097.jpg

See anything? Looks like a pretty recent crack based on the color of the silver. I've spoken to several welders regarding this issue. They have told me they are aware of this issue on R8's and some A8's. Even with no accidents involved. I asked, in their opinion is this a DANGEROUS CONDITION?. They advised me that it was very dangerous and to not drive the car further. I've seen several photographs of frame cracking on this forum, and from what I can tell, mine is very new and minor (compared to other pics on this forum) However, I will take their advice and get the car repaired. However, that is not the purpose of this forum post.

I am a licensed attorney in the state of Georgia. The following is not intended to be legal advice. I AM NOT YOUR ATTORNEY.

I believe that this matter is actually a design defect and Audi should be held liable. As we all know, Audi actually changed their manufacturing process of the R8s sometime in 2010 or 2011 and reinforced the frame. I assume they did this because they were in fact, aware of this issue. For more information regarding the reinforcement measures Audi took specifically, see other threads on this forum, this forum has discussed this matter in detail.

The problem is, Audi had a DUTY to warn the public of this defect. They should have, in my opinion, at the VERY LEAST warned owners, and suggested the repair/reinforcement at the OWNERS OWN COST. As you know, Audi created a specific Gusset used to reinforce the frame (if it wasn't already cracked. If it was cracked, and the crack could be welded and Gusset installed. If the crack was too big to weld, I assume the car just got totaled.) For the statute regarding Audi's duty please see O.C.G.A. § 51-1-11(c). I am not here to have a legal debate with anyone. (I don't want to debate you about liability or duty, especially if you aren't even a licensed attorney).

If the mods have any issue with this post, please let me know, and I can alter it accordingly. Further, if the mods would like proof or evidence that I am a licensed attorney to practice law in the State of Georgia, I can provide it.

The reason for this post is simple. I intend to pursue litigation against Audi for #1 the defect and #2 failure to warn. (They don't have a duty to issue a recall, although they probably should have, but they do have a duty to WARN. Good customer service = recall. Illegal activity= failure to warn. See the above statute/law.) This is my opinion and my opinion alone. THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE, I AM NOT YOUR ATTORNEY AND I DO NOT REPRESENT YOU.

However, if you would like to give me information about YOUR car feel free to PM me. (If not against the rules?)

I will update you with additional details in re: action I have taken. For now I am gathering additional information, however I do plan on filing suit in relatively short order.

And who said lawyers are useless? Fact of the matter is, Audi knew about this, knew it could be dangerous, didn't warn anyone, and people could (already have been???) seriously hurt or killed as a result.

I'm sad that I have to take this action. I love the car. It's awesome, aside from the faulty mag rides and the frame cracking issue. :(

Thanks for your attention! Feel free to discuss openly on this thread or PM me. I will be checking back.

Regards.
 

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The action you're taking should have been done years ago, thanks for picking up the sword and going into battle, good luck and of course... keep us posted please.
 

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IIRC there has been similar talk on here previously but I've not seen the talk taken through to action. Additionally the issue has been discussed at length on here too so have a search for information that may be of use.

However good luck in your pursuit of litigation - I think there are many on here, especially in the US, who will follow this thread closely.
 

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Finally, someone with the chops to take on Audi with this frame cracking issue. If you should need additional supporting evidence from the members here affected by the cracked frame, please reach out.

Be mindful Audi is going to claim your frame cracked because you modified your car with an aftermarket suspension. But hopefully this does not release them from warning owners considering they knew about this structural weakness and reinforced it with the plates in the newer cars.

While you are at it, can you also included in your suit the failing mag shocks? These are even more prevalent and SHOULD have a recall as so many R8 owners have been affected by it.

Please keep us updated. Good luck!
 

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I also support what you are doing. At last check I do not have a crack at but I baby the car because I am afraid that a crack could one day just appear. I would love to do some track days with the car but I am afraid to. I have sourced the brackets from the UK but am reluctant to install them because Audi won't even outline a methodology to do the repair or authorize US repair shops to do the work. I hope that you will be able to get some results with AUDI if even just a procedure to make our cars safe.
 

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My welder assumed is was 7 series alloy based on his research, and as he was an airframe mechanic it didn't present him with a problem.

What type of Aluminium is used in cars? The most widely used alloy is 7075. It consists of aluminium, zinc, magnesium and copper. It's the strongest of all aluminium alloys and comparable in that respect with steel, however it weighs only a third of what steel weighs.

As an aside, a lot of specialist regard 7075 as unweldable !!!!!!!!
 

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Audi may have a way out in your case and blame it on the after a market suspension.
Also word of advise if you plan to take legal action I would not post your preliminary finding on a public forum. There are a few threads that have extensive pictures of the failures etc etc use those to your advantage.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Folks -

Good discussion so far. I have several arguments to present in re: after market suspension "causing" the cracking.

I will not discuss them here because I suspect Audi and their lawyers may be/ will be viewing this forum. However, I will say, to promote this discussion further, if you were a lawyer what arguments could you/would you present against Audi to defeat this argument? Think carefully and thoughtfully! :)

Thanks for the responses thus far.

P.S., as I've already stated, I love the car and I don't want to cause harm to Audi or their brand. I just want them to do the right thing. That's all. The right thing could literally be just a letter to all owners informing them of the issue. In my opinion, their duty to warn would be satisfied even without offering to make the appropriate repairs. So, I literally cannot imagine why they wouldn't at least inform owners, other than possible bad press? But even then, I assume all 2008-2009-2010 models have already been sold by the manufacturer, and we know the defect has been "cured" on later models. So their duty to inform wouldn't have even resulted in lost sales. Maybe losing customer goodwill? However, as you all know, the fact Audi won't admit this issue, has really ruined the customer good will for me! I'm really at a loss, but I am still in my initial stages of investigation. So I don't really know what the actual company policy is surrounding this. (Nothing a good deposition won't solve)
 

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Isn't there more of faulty magnetic ride suspension and cracked car frame correlation, rather than anything to with the ride improving coilovers?

I just had all four mag ride shocks replaced because the ride on stock suspension was so hard, the thump sound from the front suspension worried me that soon one of the shocks won't hold the bump in the road and will eventually force the shock absorber to crack the frame.

(I was actually dreading to hear from my mechanic how did my frame looked, since the thump sound could easily have been the loose/cracked frame).

My frame (knocking on wood) is in perfect shape at the moment, but I hope your legal action comes to fruition and the warning message is sent out!
 

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Best wishes with your proposed litigation - I, like many on here, wish you every success. From my previous experience with Porsche ownership and the dreaded IMS failure issue, it would seem that you have far more success in the US than we do here in the UK when it comes to getting manufacturers to own up to their short-falls. Let us hope that this is the case with this issue.
 

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Anytime this issue came up, the general advice is to call the insurance company, get the car totaled, and buy a new one (I agree with the last one :eek:)

I‘ve always wondered why nobody took legal action. We, in the States, are known to go to court for much much smaller things...
 

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It surprises me that Audi, given that this is a halo product intended to lend credibility to the brand, hasn’t dealt with this dangerous flaw as a recall, at least as subsidised work.

In the UK we have a legal expectation for products to be fit for purpose, holding vendors responsible for defects even outside of warranty if there is a reasonable expectation for the product to last that long.

In my opinion, it is not unreasonable to expect a significant area of a car’s structural frame to remain intact through normal use indefinitely. Given that multiple instances of the defect occurring exist, coupled with Audi’s development of a repair and the adaptation of the design for later cars, it is also reasonable to suggest that Audi believes this to be a defect as well, therefore it is a given that Audi should claim responsibility for the premature and catastrophic failure of the structure.

In the UK we also have an expectation for the vendor to demonstrate customer liability, preventing them from passing the blame without evidence onto the customer. I don’t know if that is the same in America.
 

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Sorry to hear this - we've had quite a few threads about frame cracking (one current in this past week, in fact) but much fewer members with an actual incident.

I'm not a lawyer, so I'll take your word regarding their responsibilities (without reading the code, myself!). Many of the discussions we've had, including the most recent, have centered on the braces that Audi began using in later model cars. As you'll see in the most recent thread, there's some active discussion there about how "weldable" the aluminium might actually be (or not). From the quick research I've done on it, it's at-best debatable whether these plates could be safely added without impacting the tensile strength of the metal and potentially even instigating a problem. At worst, some research has suggested it's flat-out impossible without compromising the metal - don't attempt it. So, in my mind, that may explain why Audi has not seemingly supported shops in their requests to add these parts after the fact. Perhaps they hoped that the problem was rare enough that it wasn't worth the risk of instigating the problem at-scale (thousands of owners choosing to do this)?

That's not necessarily an excuse, mind you, for not providing proper warning, as you've said; however, it's perhaps one possible reason why they've avoided it. After you "warn" people of a problem, what exactly do you tell them to do? These braces/plates, from everything I can tell, have ONLY been applied by Audi as part of the frame manufacturing process - meaning, they can safely weld them as they would any other piece, including potentially heat treating the whole structure for proper strength. But, if there's truth to the theory that attempting to weld them after the fact would risk actually weakening the frame, then I'm not sure what they'd recommend as part of addressing the problem. The member in the most recent thread is the FIRST I've heard of on the forum who had a dealer's support in doing this as a "preventative" measure - all others I've heard have been turned away.

Again, not having a recommendation shouldn't be an excuse - I agree Audi should still own up to the problem. The real problem, however, occurs after they yell, "fire" but there are no exits to point out. :) What would be an acceptable remedy? I'm all for ensuring justice, so don't take what I'm about to say in any other way than my idealistic desire would be for justice to be done. However, the REALIST in me has grave concerns. What are the 145M individuals who had their personal data breached with Equifax getting? $125 or free credit monitoring... oh wait, they've now told us the $125 option likely won't be available because there's only enough for around 250k of the impacted individuals to claim THAT prize. :) And even then, would $125 make up for the utter damage of even ONE run-in with a criminal who steals your identity as a result of the breach? No... not even close, as the typical victim of identity theft can easily spend thousands (in actual costs and personal time) trying to rectify it.

So, let's play it out and say Audi owns the problem. A class action lawsuit commences. Great, a "settlement" is reached that puts a boat load of money in the pockets of the lead plaintiff and lawyers... and Audi agrees to pay each pre-2011 R8 owner $1,000 to have "braces" welded to your car. WELL, the Internet then catches wind of the story - Jalopnik, Car and Driver, Motortrend, etc, all have their way with it - advertising the heck out of this problem. It won't sound like a 1/1,000 chance - it'll be made to sound like an utter certainty to occur. Fear sells, after all. Then, as the Internet does, it'll debate the merits of the "fix." Do the braces actually work? Was it just Audi's way of settling and moving on? Are you ACTUALLY weakening the car and increasing the odds of failure with this "fix?" It can be debated all day long. But the result will be simple: DOUBT and FEAR.

So, do I want to be a pre-2011 (non-braced) R8 owner who gets a check for $1,000 as "compensation" from a class action lawsuit in this case? Probably not - because the value of your car is probably a heck of a lot LOWER given it will now have the reputation of almost certainly cracking in-half, braces or not, if you hit a speed bump the wrong way. :) Good luck with that sale!

I hate to be pessimistic about it. For your sake, as you've actually been impacted with this, I do wish you success - you deserve justice here. I believe this is a design flaw, and I believe Audi recognized that and addressed it with an updated design. I don't know anything about the legal obligations, however, Audi may or may not have had as part of that recognition and redesign - as I said, I'll need to take your word for it. But I do question whether most owners would actually benefit or lose out from a case like this, especially as most will never experience the problem (it's extremely rare), but their cars may be considered "untouchable" thanks to the attention it would garner - making any settlement they see likely little condolence.
 

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Agree 1000% ez.

This would be better served for Audi to rectify each issue on a case by case basis.

If they acknowledge it to each car owners VIN that doesn’t have a brace in a letter, stating that this has occurred, but is highly unlikely that it will effect your vehicle. But if it does, Audi will take each vehicle (in warranty or not/for the life of the vehicle) and authorize an R8 repair facility to fix the issue. If it’s unfixable, then they can back any claim to your insurance with their knowledge of the potential problem and help work in your behalf if necessary.

If it’s that uncommon, that should be easy for them to take care of.

That way values aren’t effected on pre-2011 vehicles.

Going class action lawsuit is probably not the way to go. That said, there are a very minimal amount of R8 owners out there that could be affected by this. So it wouldn’t be that many folks to dole out a settlement to.
Then what happens say, if I get a settlement from them at my time of ownership. Then I sell the car on. What about the next owner, etc, etc? That’s where the value drop will be evident.

So I’m with you. Law suit will be horrible for the average R8 owner. They really just need to take care of affected individuals on a case by case basis.
 

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On a side note, I wonder why bonding epoxies have not been considered. Alum (with proper prep) is a perfect substrate.

I have a background in aviation and there are several instances where the FAA will issue and "AD" (airworthiness directive), which is a required fix. There was a condition with a helicopter frame that was subject to cracking at one point. It could not be welded since the entire frame was heat treated.

The fix was to epoxy gussets to the frame. This was 15+ years ago. Since this was issued, there has not been a single frame cracking issue.

Given surface area available, hard to believe a plate with epoxy would not work. Even the existing gussets may provide a suitable area for an epoxy bond that would remedy the situation.

Anyone ever suggested this?
 

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On a side note, I wonder why bonding epoxies have not been considered. Alum (with proper prep) is a perfect substrate.

I have a background in aviation and there are several instances where the FAA will issue and "AD" (airworthiness directive), which is a required fix. There was a condition with a helicopter frame that was subject to cracking at one point. It could not be welded since the entire frame was heat treated.

The fix was to epoxy gussets to the frame. This was 15+ years ago. Since this was issued, there has not been a single frame cracking issue.

Given surface area available, hard to believe a plate with epoxy would not work. Even the existing gussets may provide a suitable area for an epoxy bond that would remedy the situation.

Anyone ever suggested this?
Now that’s an idea I could get behind.
Issue the plates to each VIN that requires them, and have it properly bonded into place at No charge. End of issue.
 

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This is an example of the type of structural adhesive that might be suitable.

This has a shear of 3000 psi. If you figure the entire gusset would be bonded (not just the perimeter as in a conventional weld) you may find the bonded epoxy may exceed the strength of the perimeter weld.

The key is proper surface prep of the alum.

I know an experimental helicopter that uses this same epoxy to bond it's blade skins to the structural leading edge spar. This is pretty amazing stuff.

https://www.3m.com/3M/en_US/company-us/all-3m-products/~/3M-Scotch-Weld-Epoxy-Adhesive-2216/?N=5002385+3293241721&rt=rud

Tech info on adhesive. On just abraded (no chemical etch) alum/alum with the Tan variant is 2300+ psi shear.

Chemical etching should bump that up a touch. Simple acid etching area, then treating for corrosion with alodine.

https://multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/153955O/3mtm-scotch-weldtm-epoxy-adhesive-2216-b-a.pdf
 

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Isn't there more of faulty magnetic ride suspension and cracked car frame correlation, rather than anything to with the ride improving coilovers?

I just had all four mag ride shocks replaced because the ride on stock suspension was so hard, the thump sound from the front suspension worried me that soon one of the shocks won't hold the bump in the road and will eventually force the shock absorber to crack the frame.

(I was actually dreading to hear from my mechanic how did my frame looked, since the thump sound could easily have been the loose/cracked frame).

My frame (knocking on wood) is in perfect shape at the moment, but I hope your legal action comes to fruition and the warning message is sent out!
I was going to point this out, too. My GT has no mag-ride, and the factory-fixed frame (which occured mid-2010 run), however, I absolutely hate it when big companies take advantage of their loyal customers like this. I am not an attorney, licensed or otherwise, but I do currently have four on retainer. I agree with you 100% that "failure to warn" is very negligent, and them condemning anyone who wants to repair it or even fix it pre-emptively is dirty. . .as is them black-listing any shop that does this work. Now is probably the best time to strike, too, post-dieselgate. let 'em have it! I think we're all in your corner here. GOod luck! Mean it!!
 

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This is an example of the type of structural adhesive that might be suitable.

This has a shear of 3000 psi. If you figure the entire gusset would be bonded (not just the perimeter as in a conventional weld) you may find the bonded epoxy may exceed the strength of the perimeter weld.

The key is proper surface prep of the alum.

I know an experimental helicopter that uses this same epoxy to bond it's blade skins to the structural leading edge spar. This is pretty amazing stuff.

https://www.3m.com/3M/en_US/company-us/all-3m-products/~/3M-Scotch-Weld-Epoxy-Adhesive-2216/?N=5002385+3293241721&rt=rud

Tech info on adhesive. On just abraded (no chemical etch) alum/alum with the Tan variant is 2300+ psi shear.

Chemical etching should bump that up a touch. Simple acid etching area, then treating for corrosion with alodine.

https://multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/153955O/3mtm-scotch-weldtm-epoxy-adhesive-2216-b-a.pdf
What an excellent suggestion. Not only are you eliminating the risk of weakening the surrounding material through heat transfer, but also the need to remove other components such as the instument panel.

The use of epoxy adhesive in the manufacture of cars is widely used with Aston Martin, Lotus and Jaguar being among the main car makers to apply this process when bonding aluminium .
 

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What an excellent suggestion. Not only are you eliminating the risk of weakening the surrounding material through heat transfer, but also the need to remove other components such as the instument panel.
I did this first, consulted with CTA Ltd in the U.K.to get the correct bonding agent for aluminium, fixed in place and then to add the finish welded too, maybe overkill but feel that it's now secure!
 
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