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Ack! Questions about pro maintenance...

In message <199712292220.OAA03869@bach.marimba.com> ben@marimba.com writes:

> I went to Tahoe for a week, and the battery duly died.  I went to 
> German Motors (George Richey's shop) near Tahoe City.  He impressed 
> me.  He does almost nothing but Audis and some VWs now, and he seems 
> to really know what he is about.  He spent quite a while after closing 
> time explaining things to me.  Anyway, he replaced the battery.  It 
> was down to half its normal fluid level.  He claims that this kind of 
> problem could not happen over a short timespan without making the 
> cabin stink to high heaven.  Why didn't Reitmeir's catch this problem 
> on their numerous battery checks?

Have you asked Reitmeir's?

> He reported that the brake fluid was "black", although Reitmeir's 
> claimed that they replaced it recently, and there doesn't seem to be a 
> leak.

Another question for Reitmeir's.

> George called my attention to the fact that if the timing belt is in 
> the shape that the other belts are in, I could be in big trouble (is 
> this really a turbo interference engine?  He said it is).  I don't see 
> any timing belt replacement in the service records (after 126500 
> miles) but I could have missed something.  I sure hope so!

The belt will last for the life of the engine.  No - that's wrong.

The engine will last for the life of the belt.  

> The fuel pump is making quite a loud whine.  George said that it's 
> probably OK for now (it's been replaced once).  His assertion is that 
> the fuel pump can die if you just let it suck on air for a short while 
> (running the tank empty, or even running on a quarter tank if you go 
> over really steep hills, because the fuel can slosh away from the 
> intake).  Is this really true?  It seems inconceivable that anyone 
> could design something so ridiculous as a car that self-destructs if 
> it runs out of gas.

An old pump _might_ be pushed over the edge by being run dry.

> So, my question is this: should I try to find a better mechanic?  Has 
> Reitmeir's been lying to me and to the previous owner?  Everyone who 
> knows the shop at all says good things about Joe and his son Jeff.  
> Perhaps they're just not good at hiring help?  Honest mistakes?  No 
> mistakes at all, but simply old information, perhaps?  Could the 
> battery have suddenly lost half its juice all at once?  Could the 
> brake fluid he put in be _meant_ to be black?

I'd be cautious.

> More and more I get the impression that if you want something done 
> right you really have to do it yourself.  Does anyone know if I really 
> have to spend  $169.95 for the Bentley manuals?  Can I get them for 
> less?  I don't suppose that there's much of a secondhand market for 
> them...

No, you generally have to pay.  Those who've advertised secondhand manuals
on this list have seen dozens of enquiries.
 Phil Payne
 Committee Member, UK Audi [ur-]quattro Owners Club