>From: Deepak Vaidya <email@example.com>
>Now I have another question, since I am getting ready to buy a car can you all
>point out for any places that I should look for rust and what should I look
>for while buying the car.
If you the car is newer than 1986-87 or so, rust would not likely to be
a problem since all Audis since then have double galvanized sheet
metal. Even older 4000s have better paintwork than most other marques,
so unless the car has been subjected to harsh environments it should
not rust easily. Obvious places to look for rust in any car is along
the bottom of each door, in the door jams, trunk lid, rocker panels,
and front/rear valences. Look for signs of accident repairs. Are
there any waves in the body panels or are they perfectly smooth and
straight? If the paint looks good, maybe the car has been repainted.
Does the color of the exterior paint match the door jam and inside the
engine compartment and trunk? Do you see overspray or masking tape
marks in nooks and crannies?
Ask the seller for service records. If the owner cares about the car
he/she should have kept all receipts. You can have a glimpse of the
service history and potential problem areas.
Check the upholstery and it should give you an idea about the general
wear and tear the car's been through.
One slight annoyance in post-1982 4000s is that the chrome trim in the
front and rear windshield weatherstrip would shrink and turn yellow if
the car has been exposed to a lot of sun, leaving a gap in the middle.
Curiously the 80-81 model does not have this problem. My 1980 4000
still looks like new, and that chrome trim is made of metal, but the
newer ones seems like they are just chromed plastic.
Make sure all electricals work. Check the defroster, A/C, heater,
power windows, sunroof and mirror, radio, antenna, all warning lights
and gauges, radiator fan, lights, horn, dash illumination,
wiper/washer, etc. Check the fuse box and look for missing fuses or
relays, and signs of overload, corrosion, or melted plastic due to
heat. Early 4000s have ground problems in the tailight assembly.
Check the connections and make sure they are clean and tight, and all
signals and lights work correctly.
Check the engine compartment. Is it clean or greasy and grimey? Dusty
is okay, but look for oil leaks and coolant leaks. Check the oil and
see if it looks clean, does it have dirty particles suspended in it?
Check the brake fluid and ATF (if automatic). Check the condition of
the hoses and belts. Look at the color of the coolant.
Start the engine, does the engine idle smoothly (at 950rpm for 1980-83
models, around 850rpm for later models)? Listen to the engine, does it
have a lot of valve train noise (tap-tap-tap...)? For 1985 or later
models, the valve train has hydraulic lifters that may take a few
minutes to quiet down, so wait a little while. Does the engine make
other unusual noises? There should be a buzzing sound emanating from
the fuel distributor (the thing with all the shiny braided metal fuel
lines attached to it) in cars equipped with the oxygen sensor system up
to 1983 (This is with the K-Jetronic fuel injection). In 1984 and
later the fuel injection is KE-Jetronic and does not have a frequency
valve that makes the buzzing sound. How does the exhaust sound? Holes
in the muffler or elsewhere? Have someone press on the throttle and
release. Any smoke from the exhaust?
Take a test drive and see if the CV joints make clicking noises as you
make turns. Do the strut bearings clunk when you back up while
turning? Any groaning noises from the wheel bearings? How do the
brakes feel? Any whining sounds from the transmission? Does the engine
accelerate smoothly? What about the condition of the shocks? Does the
car ride like a boat or does it corner deftly.
If all these preliminary checks seem positive, then you should take the
car to an independent mechanic for a thorough inspection (usually cost
around $50-$75), and have them check everything from the engine
compression, do a diagnosis of engine condition based on the spark plug
tip, fuel injection and ignition tests, brakes check, inspection of
other drivetrain components. It'll be worth the trouble. Be sure you
do this before you buy the car.
Good luck on your search. The 4000 is a fine car, and when cared for,
provides years of stylish, reliable enjoyment, and you wouldn't feel
like a clone like you would in a Honda or Toyota.