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5ktq opinions (summary of replies)

Dear Q-heads,

I solicited the collective wisdom of this group
a couple of weeks ago on what seems to be one
of the (old ?) favourites here - the 5kCSTQ. Steve B
suggested that I summarize the replies I received
so that Dan S could possibly include it in the 
(perennially nascent :) FAQ. 

The depth of the replies I received is quite amazing
and should definitely help anyone in the market for
a 5kTQ. 

For the moment, I've sort of slinked away from considering 
the car. Don't get me wrong - I think it's one of the
best cars I have driven, to say nothing of being one 
of the best values for the money in terms of the sheer
technological sophistication it represents. However, the
"little (and not so little) things that go wrong" seem
to add up to quite a massive number over a year - something
that I dread to undertake on a graduate student stipend.

Thanks once again for your replies, and I sure hope the
following helps someone :

Murari Srinivasan
1985 VW Scirocco


Date: Mon, 19 May 1997 16:39:16 -0700
From: steveb@falcon.kla.com (Steven Buchholz)
Subject: Re: Questions on the 5kCSTQ

> I've been debating owning a 5kTQ for a while now, and will 
> be looking at an 88 TQ this weekend. The car has ... SNIP!
> 1. How would I be able to detect any problems with 
>    the steering rack ? Would any leakage in the rack

Not too likely IMHO.  Ask the owner if they are needing to 
add fluid to the hydraulic oil tank (just to the right of 
the brake M/C against the firewall, right is as viewed from 
the driver's seat).  IMHO, this is one of the biggests risks 
for the car.  I've noticed that the boot that goes over the 
steering rack tends to disintegrate on the side that faces 
the firewall ... the part you can see may look great. 
> 2. How would I check if the turbo were on its last legs ?

I wouldn't worry too much about the turbo ... you might want to 
check the afterrun cooling pump functionality.  After you shut 
down the engine when the engine is fairly warm within a couple 
of minutes the radiator fan should come on and the aux cooling 
pump for the turbo should as well.  You can probably feel the 
pump vibrating at this time.  On my '88 5k I had to replace the 
pump because the hose fittings were broken, and on the '87 5k 
someone had removed the pump from the circuit completely because 
the pump housing was busted.  They didn't take the time to dis-
connect the electrical connector, sou you could watch the 
impeller spin ... perhaps I can loan it to you as a tester ... ;-)

> 3. Are there any ways to check if the CC solenoids
>    all work fine ? 

Try the CC in all modes and make sure that air will come out of all 
the vents.  You might want to try running the temperature from max 
cold to max hot as well.  There is a little grate mounted on the
dash ... this is for sensing the interior temperature.  When you 
change the settings you should hear a slight hissing sound from 
this area for a second or two.  The last thing to do is to check the 
recirculate door to see that it is working.  Above the passenger's 
footwell you will notice the door that allows air from the interior 
of the car to recirculate through the climate control.  For most 
cases this door should be closed, but if you set the CC to A/C and 
the temp to "LO" the door should open.  If it is open at other 
times or never moves then you have a problem with the spring or 
actuator mount.  This is also a fairly common problem, and there 
is a kit you can get from the dealer to fix it.  The main problem 
this can cause is in the winter if the system is always in recirc-
ulate mode the inside of the windshield will fog up ...
> 4. The owner seemed to know nothing about the Pressure
>    Accumulator. Am I correct in understanding that the 
>    PA maintains power steering and brake assist if/when

The PA does not provide steering boost when the engine stops ... it 
only supplies the brakes.  

When you're driving the car try a couple panic stops.  If the brake 
warning light comes on with a red triangle you've got a problem.  It
may be true that the pressure sensor is disconnected ... it is located
behind the brake master cylinder and servo and it is on the opposite 
side from the fender [same side as the hyd fluid reservoir above] and 
you have to look in the right place to see it.  It should be pretty 
obvious if the wires are disconnected.  The other thing you might 
notice that would indicate a failure of the PA is when you tested the 
panic stop if you found that you had to press really hard on the pedal 
to get the car to slow down quickly, but as time progressed you had to 
let up on the pedal to keep the wheels from locking up [turn off the 
ABS!] this indicates that the PA is not providing that needed reserve.  

> 5. Is there anything else that is a usual/major source
>    of problems on these cars that I should be looking out for ?
- - Look for holes in the exhaust system.

- - Ask the owner when the last time the timing belt & water pump have 
   been replaced.  

- - Make sure that all of the windows work, both from the driver's door
   and the individual switches.  It may be true that one switch works 
   while the other does not, that probably means a switch ... if it 
   doesn't work from either switch, or goes only in one direction you 
   may have a problem with either the motor or the wiring being flexed   
   in the door hinge area.  Test the sunroof too.  

> Finally, the owner wants $4500/bo for the car - what would
> be a reasonable offer to make ?

... you never said how many miles the car has.  $4500 for an '88 
probably isn't that far off ... I usually check the Kelley BB before
even going to see a car.  

* Note : The car had about 110k miles on it. 
* From the Kelly BB :
* Suggested Retail = $6330
* The Kelley BB seems consistently on the higher side
* at least in this region (Washington DC)

Good luck!
Steve Buchholz
San Jose, CA (USA)