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Buying a used Audi 80, '86-'94
(Sorry for the less than perfect English, it's not easy translating from
one non native language into another... my technical German is somewhat
Excerpt from AutoBild, 17 Aug 96, translated and edited for relevancy by
CarGarantie AG, of Freiburg, Germany is Germany's largest insurance
corporation for privately bought secondhand cars. On a monthly basis they
deal with about 70,000 cars that are bought and sold. Through this service
they maintain statistics of warranty claims per car type. This article
deals with the Audi 80 series from 1986 to 1994 and is based on CarGarantie
AG (CG AG)'s data.
In 1986 the new generation Audi 80 was introduced. The 86 model came as a
4door saloon only and the galvanised body and aerodynamic styling were its
main features. Discussion centered around luggage space, the uneven boot
floor being one of the most criticised features. From 8/91 this was
rectified. The buyer was also warned for cars being improperly repaired
after a crash: the galvanised bodywork needs to be properly repaired by an
expert, thus preventing invisible rust damage.
The FWD 80s were initially sold with engines ranging from a 54bhp 1.6
diesel through to a 174bhp 2.8E petrol engine. Engines, auto and manual
transmissions are considered extremely solid. Some defective cilinder head
gaskets were found by CG AG. Buyers of 87-89 cars should also ascertain
that the hydraulic lifters have been changed, because defects have been
known to occur. Some warranty claims have been dealt with on noisy fuel
pumps. In Jan88 the fuel pump was modified, thus eliminating this problem.
Two wide doors on each side of the body, extremely well-proprtioned seats.
The upholstery is extremely hard-wearing. Rear legroom can be somewhat
tight for longer limbed people. The controls are ergonomically very good.
The supsension doesn't come in for any criticism. If there's a problem,
it's in the weak engine mounts in older models. These enable the engine
block to move on accel/decel. This is given away by the gear lever moving.
The models until 91 (Audi internal code: 89) and 91-94 (Audi internal code:
B4) are well in demand, and the sales success means there are plenty to
In Germany there is a tax on cars without cat, thus rendering these models
less attractive. This can be corrected with aftermarket parts.
Of 100 cars with pending warranty claims,
24,2% had defects with fuel system: temp sender, noisy fuel pumps, thermostat
19,3% had defects with the engine: hydraulic lifters, cilinder head gaskets.
lifter repairs were DM500-650 ($350-450), head gasket DM850 ($590)
15,6% had defects with the cooling system. Apparently older water pumps are
less dependable, but note that some may just need new gaskets.
13,6% had defects with the electric system. There were no characteristic
Also no characteristic problems were found with:
7,8%: Transmission, final drive
3,5%: Exhaust system
9/86 Introduction Audi 80
7/88 Minor face lift
11/88 Coupe introduction, 136bhp, 170bhp
6/91 Cabriolet introduction, 133bhp
8/91 Face lift, new front end. Introduction of 2.8 V6/174bhp
7/92 Introduction 80 Avant
8/93 Drivers' airbag as standard
11/94 80 production ends, A4 takes over
7/95 80 Avant production ends
12/95 80 Coupe production ends.
Second generation 80's have wider tracks, longer wheelbase, Procon Ten
system, better side impact protection.
Thermostat (defect can lead to head gasket giving in), oil leaks on
transmission, valve cover oil leaks, fuel pump relays, clutch cilinder
leaks (leading to clutch wear), clutch noise, rubber driveshaft boots
becoming porous, water pump leaks, lifters (before 89)
Conclusion: 'Sehr Empfehlenswert', excellent buy.
Tom W. Nas, graphic design firstname.lastname@example.org
DTP Direct bv Voice +31 (55) 5 790 799
Apeldoorn, the Netherlands Fax +31 (55) 5 790 125
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