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New 200tqw (was need LA lister and other things)<very long>

Well, I bought it.

89 200tqw 
Lago Blue
75K miles (2/89 build date)
original owner
Full repair history
Never hit (though plenty of dings;-)
roughly $4000 in dealer receipts for past two years (rack, bomb, brakes and
rotors all the way around, AC work, clutch, alternator, battery, belts and
hoses <except timing belt and accordion hose, dang!>

I saw the car in the LA times on Thursday for $7900. I've been looking for a
wagon like this for about six months, so I decide to take a flier
(literally). I talk to the owner and he makes the right noises. I assumed
the car was a SoCal car but no, car is a Missouri car (still registered
there) that spent the past three years in SoCal being driven by his
daughter. She just had surgery on her leg and needed an automatic. So
parents came out for the week to help her recuperate and to sell the car. I
contacted CarFax and got a clean report on the title. Friday I contacted the
service manger for the dealer (Steve Taub Porsche+Audi) that has been
working on the car. He got the owner's permission to tell me about the car,
then pulled the repair history, and we had a long talk. Bottom line: He
thought the car was solid. Has some nicks and dings, but the owner had a
good history of taking care of everything mechanical.

Arriving in LA Saturday morning, I wondered what I had got myself into. I'd
seen a lot of lemon tqs and I wasn't looking forward to heading back to the
airport to buy another 1-way ticket to Seattle. I didn't need to worry. The
car ran well. Body was in good shape. Nice gray interior. Sheepskin seat
covers hiding sport seats. Driver's seat has some wear and some broken
stitching, but seat very comfortable and solid. Obviously hasn't heard of
lexol. Heaters work, all power adjustments work. The engine hadn't been
detailed, so I didn't get the feeling they were trying to hide anything. All
new belts and hoses. Clean oil. All switches and lights work. Decent tires
(though I noticed later that the rears didn't match!), Small crack in marker
light part of headlight, small crack in tail light. Sunroof opens half-way
then stops. Won't close without crank. However, using crank, it's fully
operational. (Could this be a relay? The relay near the motor clicks like
crazy after the sunroof stops). Needs rear liftgate struts. Under the car
looked good. Exhaust solid with minimal corrosion. Same with fuel lines,
etc... Rubber in decent shape/new exhaust hangers. Passed Calif smog
inspection the day before. Driving the car: Good acceleration. Hits 1.4 bar
in 4th and 5th, 1.3 in others. Tracks straight. Doesn't dive or wallow in
braking. Some front wheel shake right at 65. One wheel looks like it has
thrown the balancing weight. Two-year-old repair slip mentions two bent
wheels that should be replaced -- that would explain throwing the weights
(that's ok with me, they are going to be snows, anyway). Fuel pump kind of
noisy, but not bad. AC and heat work (even has a repair slips for heater
flap spring and ac recharge).

I feel don't have much room to negotiate, what with the owner knowing I flew
down from Seattle to buy the car. However, he knocks the price of the dealer
estimate on the sunroof repair off because he forgot to tell me about it
before I came down,  and some more for the headlamp and tail light lens
cracks, and misc others. Turns out to be a pretty fair dealing: I want the
car and he really needs to sell it before heading back to Missouri on
Monday. All in all, a pleasant deal with a pleasant seller. By 1 P.M., I'm
on the road for San Fran, where I'll pick up my wife for the rest of the

The trip in a nutshell? 1000+ miles of driving in about 18 hours. The car
didn't burn a drop of oil. 25.5 mpg. All temps stayed where they were
supposed to be. I really enjoyed driving the beast. It's a much better
freeway cruiser than my 90Q -- at least for someone 6'6" tall. Very few
problems: Fuel pump got much louder in N. California, quieted down, and is
now loud again. I guess I'll be buying a fuel pump soon. The Bose system is
really lame, (it has a 1-y/o reman delta radio, soon to be for sale). The
65mph wobble is really irritating. Luckily, I didn't spend much time at 65.
Car needs Euro lights or PIAAs or XLs or something. It's really pathetic
when you are forced to drive the same speed at the Taurus in the next lane
so you can poach some lumens.

One weird mechanical thing: As I was cresting a pass in N. Calif, the car
seemed to hesitate like fuel was cutting off. The car was in fourth gear,
WOT, at 1.4 bar boost. Is this just an overboost cutout or something really
scary? Maybe related to my mushy accordion hose? Didn't do it anywhere else.

I plan to take care of the basics really soon (timing belt, accordion hose,
wheel balance, fuel pump, full detail, oil change to synthetic, tuneup,
decent stereo <and alarm?>) After that, I plan to start looking at toys like
big wheels (17"?), chip options (hello QLCC!), Eurolights, brake (at least
upgraded pads) and suspension mods. If you have any advice or info on mods,
send 'em my way. If anyone has a Bentley for sale, let me know. If anyone
needs some high-quality gray sheepskins, I've got some for sale. ;=)

I'd like to thank all the listers who responded with tips and offers of
assistance in this lengthy search: Orin Eman (for spending hours checking
out a car for me), paul timmerman, frank bauer, Avi, Greg Johnson, ScottMo,
Mark Nelson, Stephen Jagernauth, Leah Mueller, Robert Hardwick, Doug Rudoff,
Brian Presser, Ralph Poplawsky (I guess I won't be needing you to check out
any cars in Denver), Thompson Smith, Dan Simoes, and anyone else I missed.
This Internet Quattro community is fantastic. I look forward to mooching
lots more info in the future ;-/

Thanks again, 

Tim King
Seattle, WA
1989 200TQW, Lago Blue, 76K miles
1990 90Q20V, <insert some crazy name for burgundy here>, 85K miles