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Questions on 1987 4k (4ks? 4kcs?)

Warning ... long post (89 lines).  Apologies in advance!

I looked at a silver 1987 4k this evening (after dark, light rain,
Halloween; bad idea, I know).  It has 106K on the odometer, and was one
of the only cars I've seen (various makes) that didn't look like the
odo had been rolled back!  The owner advertised it as a 4000CS, but I'm
not sure what the difference between 4ks and 4kcs is.  The "model" part
of the VIN is "81", which according to what I found means "4ks".

Had I known that it was so much lighter than the 80/90 I would not have
originally become interested in it, but thought that it was "basically
the same" car.  Then I looked it up and found that the 4k weighs only
2300 lbs versus almost 2800 lbs for the '89 80.  That worries me.

When I contacted "Audi America" (or something like that), they were
very pleasant but couldn't give me much in the way of info on safety
design or records of the 4k versus the 80 or 90.  Only that "the cars
improve every year".  The NHTSA didn't crash test the 4k.  Finally,
when I asked whether the "Procon Ten" seatbelts used in later Audis
could be retrofitted to a 4k, Audi America said that they recommend
that safety equipment be left alone, not modified.  Oh, and that "the
questions I was asking were too technical for them, and the engineers
are in Germany, so there's really nobody to talk to" ;-(

Anyhow, I drove the car today, and it's a very nicely handling car.

The questions ...


Are there any known (published) safety comparisons that include the
4k?  Any insurance industry statistics on this car that might help?
I tried asking my insurance company and they were nice but clueless.


The car is not without problems, mechanically.  The seller pointed out
that it needed a new muffler pipe, and some cosmetic stuff like a slightly
pushed in rear bumper on the driver's side.  I noticed some more stuff.

o The automatic transmission seems OK to me.  Engine sounds nice while

o There are electrical gremlins.  With the headlights on, the dashboard
  goes completely dark; with only the parking lights on, the dash lights
  dimly.  With headlights on, when I step on the brake, the dash lights
  dimly also, and when I release the brake, it goes dark again.

o The temperature gauge doesn't move from the lowest position.  I think
  that all the other gauges work.

o When either the left or right turn signal is turned on, both the left
  and right arrows on the dash ( "<- ->", close together) flash.

o The engine is a bit noisy when first started, a bit quieter several
  minutes later.  Presumably noisy lifters or valve noise.  I think this
  is normal for a 4 cylinder engine.

o The alternator whines.

o The handbrake doesn't work at all, can't even pull it up.

o When the brakes are applied lightly at low speeds (under 25 mph), there
  is no noticable vibration, but at higher speeds (around 50 mph), there is
  a definite feeling of vibration.  Maybe the pulsation of warped rotors,
  but it feels slightly different to me than that.  Could it be a front end
  problem of some sort?  Just driving at moderate speeds (50-60 mph) there
  is no shudder and the car handles and steers very nicely.

o The handles on both rear doors are useless ... these doors must be
  opened from inside.  The hinge on the driver's side rear door feels
  extremely stiff -- maybe rust?  Maybe bent?

o The sunroof opens more or less OK, but it closes very, very slowly.

o A couple of lenses on the rear lights are broken and taped over.

o Power windows work.  The seats are cloth covered, manual, not power.

o The car has those Audi rings stenciled in black on the bottoms of the
  doors ;-%  No neon ground effects, though ;-)

Please, any comments would be welcome.  BTW, what might be a reasonable
price, given the above?  And, how much could I expect to spend repairing
what doesn't work?  (Hopefully, I'll be able to do the actual work myself,
except maybe not the muffler ;-)  Thanks!

Ken Bell :: kenbell@panix.com   :: (212) 475-4976 (voice)
======== :: syklb@giss.nasa.gov :: (212) 678-5516 (voice), 678-5552 (fax)