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My coming cross country voyage: a thank you and a question.


You are awesome. I did expect to get several replies, but instead of that I
am flooded by responces, offering all kinds of help with planning my trip. I
am touched to the bottom of my heart. That is *Camaraderie* with a capitol C!

Some of you provided very detailed, explicit descriptions of local points of
interest/roads/eateries and how to use a laptop/AOL in order to keep in touch
with you en route. Thank you for your time, gentlemen!

I will sort through the mail with a help of my faithfull Rand Mc'Nally and
once I have an approximate idea of a route to be taken, I'll contact all the
fellow listers, who expressed a desire to get together, via a direct mail.

A funny side note (I have to quote my own line here):

> 3. How adventures am I by planning such a trip on an '89 vintage Audi?
> Granted, it's a bullet-proof 200 in a top notch health, which never breaks
> down on me, but still???

I guess I shouldn't have said this outright blasphemy !!! Evidently I have
finaly made Audi Gods mad.

I always considered myself an *Orthodox Atheist*, when it came to worshiping
the Audi Gods. I have always thought that a heavy duty preventive maintanance
was a ticket for a good night sleep. Not!
We were away in LA for a week and upon arrival home I just drove my wife's
Fox for several days (she does not work at the moment coz her graduation is
only 3mos away). I was too lazy to rotate cars in the morning in order to
pull my 200 out of the garage.  
So yesterday I have tried to start my 200 for the first time in 10 days. It
would not start! I may sound rather cocky, but it happens to me may be only
once in 5 years or so, I am not used to a car refusing to start on me. (I am
what they call an "obsessive compulsive perfectionist" when it comes to a car
maintenance and people usually ask me "whatchasay your car's year was again?"
when they see my '89 200TQ).

I've pulled the plugs and found them black and wet (Bosch Platinums).
Replaced them with the old, worn 3-electrode Bosches and the car started
right up. Since it was raining all day and the car would catch intermittenly
and run on 3 or 4 cylinders and die, I, naturally, figured that the spark was
probably shooting to the GND everywhere the path was wet/dirty. I shut the
lights off (it was about 19:00 at the time) and started watching the engine
bay. Sure enough, the central wire on the distributor cap sparkled like a
Bengali Light on a New Year's Eve. I've shut the engine off and grabbed the
central high tension wire, trying to unclip it from the destributor cup
recepticle. It gave without any resistance as if it were simply laying on
it's top! What used to be the recepticle on the distributor cap and the plug
on the wire both turned into a fluffy carbon powder. 

I am seeking an advice on how to deal with this in the light of a coming
loooooong distance trip to the West Coast:

a) what plugs to buy?(Scott-should I go with those super expensive ones or
can I get away with a new set of Bosch triple electrodes? My car does ping
@20psi on a hot summer day on a race track).

b) should I order a fancy aftermarket wire set (Blue Igniters and such).
Being an Electrical Engineer I am having hard time believing some
manufacturers claimes about alleged performance/fuel economy increase caused
by installing "performance" wires. To me it's binary: either a spark gets
delivered and ignites the mixture, or it does not (multi spark sys excluded.
I appreciated them when I lived in the proximity of the Polar Circle on the
wrong side of the Atlantic. They do help to start a car when it's 
-30C outside!).

c) can I get really cheap and order only a replacement for the burnt high
tension wire connector (Audi sells them separately, according to my fiche). I
do have a replacement distributor cap.

d) should I start putting quarters (instead of a sacrificial lamb) in my
ashtray (a mobile altar) in order to appease the Audi Gods?
Thanks again for your input.

Igor Kessel