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auto trans experience

I would like to relate my experience with my '88 5K autotrans fluid
swapping fix.  This has been a real adventure.  Old timers, Q obsessed,
and "whats an automatic?" persons should hit delete now, but I wish I
knew this stuff when I bought the car.

At 93K miles I became the owner of this car.  First trip to the
mechanic, and experienced WV/Audi independant shop, he told me about
this problem.  ATF was brown and smelled bad - but not burnt.

We changed both ATF and diff lube at that time and asked for opinions
from the list.  I got lots of advice, including several "do it before it
costs you alot of money" posts from people who did pay a lot.

So, I went to my friend the local independent autotrans shop and asked
his opinion.  He had two other similar cars there (a 5K and a 100) and
told me he did a lot of them.  He said upfront that sometimes there was
a problem on Audis of this age and mileage with external leaks after
getting the internal leaks fixed.  He quoted me $250 labor and $50 seal
kit IF there was nothing bad when they got inside.

I went for it.  It took three days and cost $450.  He said everything
looked great inside, that we had caught it before damage was done.  He
asked that I bring it back in a week to check for leaks.

First highway trip of 70 miles resulted in big smell and smoke.  Took it
to him and be dropped and resealed it.  This was repeated three time
(total of 4 seal jobs) at no additional charge.  Got to ride around with
my wife alot for several weeks.  Finally - no leaks!  Drove it to
Florida and back for Thanksgiving and it was great!  2000 miles and no
small and no smoke.  

Day after I returned I was driving to work and sudden feeling of running
over a cow - then bad smell of sulfer.  Thought that the cat
disintegrated and took it to mechanic.  Bad news - diff bearings failed.

Tow to transmission shop. He replaced three bearings and pinion (input)
shaft.  Got it back after Christmas.  No charge!  I couldn't beleive
it.  It now seems great.

Bottom line - make sure that the shop you choose knows what they are
doing and is willing to stand behind the work and associated damage they
may cause.  You should also note that they finally discovered thayt they
had a box full of bad seal sets - all the audis they did in this time
period had to be reworked.  They found a new source of the seals -
bought mine from the Audi dealer along with the bearings and shaft. 
BTW, we are still friends.  If I had to do it over again, I'd change the
fluids every 3K miles and never take it apart.  YMMV

Sorry for the long message - but it may help some others.