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'91 200 UFOs, et al

I've recently purchased a 1991 200q sedan, and I really like this car. A
lot. However, lust as with others on this list, I want to improve upon it.

Given unlimited funds, time, and motivation, I'd like to dampen out the body
leans with a better suspension and improve on the UFO brakes. However, I
find myself in an ugly "Catch-22".

My current UFO setup is not working too bad: I get a little shimmy
occasionally, but if I heat them up good and let them cool slowly, they
straighten out for a while. After that, if I treat them nice and easy and
don't pretend to be Nigel Mansell they last that way. Not a problem. The
previous owner replaced the brake rotors not more than 20K miles ago.

However, my dash-mounted brake wear warning came on yesterday and woke me up
to the fact that I can't keep my head in the sand for too much longer. How
far should I go to repairing these brakes?

Most of the aftermarket brakes packages start at $2000, with approximately
$500 in used parts needed to convert the front end. I'm finding that in
order to replace the UFOs with a better braking package, I have to replace
the front strut housings and the front driveshafts.

OK, so while I have the front suspension apart, why not go ahead and replace
the springs and strut inserts to cure The Leans? My preference would be the
Eibach/Bilstein combo about which many have raved. Ok, let's see. About $350
for the springs, and about $450 for the shocks.

And, of course, as long as I'm spending money on the brakes I should buy the
bigger ones. Oops. As much as I DO like the factory BBS wheels on this car,
15" just isn't gonna cut it for the bigger brakes. 17" is just too big for
New England streets, so let's go with a set of 16" wheels. Oh, and of course
a new set of tires to go with it. I'd REALLY like to put a set of BBS RCs on
it, but I'd have to go more budget. A roundabout guess of $1500 for a decent
set of 16" wheels and tires?

Add it all up and it looks like I just spent almost $5000 for a brake
warning lamp! That's a lot of beer... No, I'll have to do this more

My first option is to see simply what kind of replacement brake pads I could
put in this car. The factory ones are certainly a viable option, but
previous owner's receipts show the pad set at about $200 for the front from
the dealer. Ouch. Even more scary is the prices on the front rotors: $300
EACH! Could this be true? Any other sources for reasonably-priced UFO
replacement brake parts?

My second option is to take up an offer from another friend and buy all the
front brake parts he took off from his 1996 S6 at 15K miles. For $1000 he'll
sell me the front brakes complete including a new unused set of Pagid pads,
all four springs, and all four shocks/inserts. I'll have to acquire the two
front driveshafts and two lower strut housings, I'm guessing $500 more? For
$1500 I'll have 1996 S6 brakes and suspension. Another good plus on this
option is that I can do part of the way to the $5K upgrades without having
to shell it out all at once. Unfortunately, I've heard that the braking
performance would be less than what I have now. Anyone else care to offer
any insights as to pros/cons on this option and the plus/minuses of the
performance of the brakes and suspension on my '91 200q?

And the third, and most expensive option, is to go with the complete
changeover package as described at the beginning of this note. Well, frankly
that's just too much money right now. $5K will buy me a 1987 5kcst, or a lot
of upgrades on "My Other Toy The Airplane." This option is pretty much out
of the question.

Here's where I stand, and I'd like to get any relevant thoughts and
experiences from other Q-listers.

Greg Amy
Milford, CT