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Re: Not a Quattro but...

Leah Mueller wrote:
> Dear Listers,
> The car is not a Quattro but seems to good to pass up as an excellent family
> car. Original owner with all the service records is offering an 86 5000s
> with five speed for sale.  There are no leaks.  The two things that concern
> me is the obvious check brake pad light and an original radio with no power.
> The radio is apparently in need of an inner fuse.  The brakes were last done
> in 91.  Would a good brake job normally fix the problem indicated by the
> light?  Is the inner fuse a costly deal to fix? We are very close to buying
> this car, but I need a some of your experience in these two areas. Thanks.
> David

1. The brake light is probably nothing. You need new pads, maybe 
rotors, but in the grand scheme this can be done relatively 
2. The radio... screw it. go to a junkyard and buy another. The radio 
is far from wonderful on this car to begin with.
3. Test sun visors and headrests for normal motion.
4. Run the car at idle for as long as it takes for the radiator fan to 
come on. If it seems that it comes on at a high speed, before it comes 
on at a lower speed, you may need a $100-$200 repair. Hard to 
understand, I know, but if it really huMMMMMMs, it's on high.
5. Make sure you can get heat from all vents.
6. crank steering wheel, do circles (clock and counterclockwise), make 
sure you get no CLUNKLUNKLUNKLUNK.
7. check cruise control.
8. triple check all functions regulated by the switch (4 switches) on 
the steering column.
9. be sure that the driver's door, when closed, can lock and unlock 
all doors.
10. make sure all windows work (if power, make sure all switches work)
11. double and triple check for leaks.
12. check back-up lights.
13. Triple and quadruple check the sunroof.

I know some of this is common sense. 

I have an '86 5000s. Bought it 2 years ago. My first car. Many things 
were broken on it when I bought it. I knew of about 2/3-- found the 
other 1/3 in time.

idea how to effectively, safely and inexpensively repair and maintain 
his car. Kudos to this list and other people-- I have learned a great 
deal. Most importantly, this car is inexpensive to care for. Many 
repairs are easy, parts can be had cheaply (with a little ingenuity), 
and I, at age 22, drive a nicer car than either of my parents. If some 
of the above things don't work, a fix may be surprisingly inexpensive 
if you shop around-- for example, I fixed #4-9 and #12 for under $400 

Perhaps this reply isn't exactly what you looked for, and I'm sure 
that you know what you're doing, but every flaw or fault betters your 
end of the bargaining table. If you like the car, buy it. I'm 
certainly glad that I did. The usual disclaimers, of course, apply.

Good luck!

--Ted Harlan