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87 90q: Caveat emptor!

Hi all,

Some of you might recall my asking for info on Audi 90 engine codes last
week, as I was looking at a 1987 90 quattro 10v that had the 'SL' engine
code changed into an 'NG'. The original 'SL' engine turned out to be a 2.0
litre 115hp I-5, which had been changed for the more common 2309cc 136hp
item. Not a bad thing.
The car, Dutch license plate JG-BF-80, was a German import for sale at my
local 'exotic car' dealer. today, I inspected it with the help of a good
friend, who's a VAG mechanic. (It can be seen at
http://www.wide.nl/stoutjesdijk BTW, click on 'De collectie')

Cosmetically, this car looked in decent shape for its age. There were a few
scratches on the front wings (fenders), but the black metallic paint looked
OK overall. The H4/H1 headlighs were unmarked and the foglights were OK. On
closer inspection, there was a clearcoat problem below one of the (Treser,
black) taillights, a deep scratch under the paint indicating a respray, and
evidence of rust bubbling (?on a fully galvanised car?) below the passenger
side c-pillar. Hmmmm.
It had the factory lowered suspension (-25mm) and 15" speedlines (repainted
silver, with a fifth speedline painted black metallic in the trunk). The
driver's seat had a hole where the metal seat base had worn through the
side bolster (typical problem, although this car indicated 173k km and my
car at 218k shows no signs of this wear). It was also very heavily 'smoked'
and smelled like an ashtray inside. Beeeurk! Half of the dash lights and
all of the switch lights were out, and the dash light rheostat was missing
its knob. The leather shift knob looked well and truly shagged, as did the
handbrake lever (chewed on?). Closing the driver's door, I noticed from the
hollow sound that it was missing its anti-drum pads. One of the plastic
covers over the inside c-pillar had a few wood screws(!) holding it on,
indicating a bad repair. The 'lights on' warning buzzer was out, and the
passenger front seat belt was stuck. It needed four new tyres (crappy
no-names on the rear and near-slick Fulda Y-2000s on the front).

The car started right away with a few seconds of lifter clatter. It ran
well enough, considering that it had three different types of spark plug
caps fitted, none of them correct, and very iffy plug wires. The engine bay
was quite grubby, with leaks from the valve cover and (!) metal filings
lying around. The oil level was well _above_ max on the dipstick. More
As soon as I drove off, I noticed the noise from the transmission. Yep,
throwout bearing going. After a few hunderd yards, the 'ABS off' light came
on, and stayed on. The righthand turn signal was out, as was its indicator
light on the dash, and even after a few km the temp gauge was still not
moving (even though at the traffic light the cooling fan came on). The car
felt a bit harsher than my 80 over bumps (only to be expected with lowered
suspension and 205 tyres), but it was largely rattle-free (better than my
car after its recent windscreen replacement). The engine pulled strongly
(if with a little hesitation upon flooring the pedal) and sounded OK on the
move. There was quite a bit of sound intrusion though, plus the odd whiff
of oil smell coming in (missing plugs in the firewall?). When braking,
there was a shimmy in the steering and eventually a shudder through the
whole car, indicating (at least) warped discs.

We drove it to the dealership where my mate works, and put it on the bridge.
Even more hmmmm. The car was leaking oil around the sump flange, the
radiator was riddled with very small leaks, the undertray was missing, it
had been bottomed out damaging the sump and exhaust downpipe, one CV joint
rubber was bad, all suspension bushings were _way_ overdue for r/r, the
exhaust was past its best (a few amateur repairs done already), the front
track rods were brand-new (indicating recent collision damage?) and the
exhaust heat shield was hanging on by a thread in a few places. The rear
brake discs looked very rusty on the inside, as if the pads hadn't touched
them for years. The rear diff was caked in oil, but it was very old oil.

...so we drove back to the dealer, and started rattling of this list of
defects. He immediately reduced the $4500 asking price by $1000, but even
at that price I didn't feel like buying this 'running restoration object'.
There's at least $1500 in parts needed to bring this one up to spec, not to
mention hidden crash repair horrors. Conclusion: unless you can get it
almost for free, don't buy JG-BF-80! Many thanks (and a few beers) are due
to my friend Mario, the mechanic wizard, for spotting most of the defects.

Back to square one, ergo. I bought myself the latest edition of AutoTrader
and am currently leafing through that, trying to find another quattro.
Needle in a haystack, anyone?
Thanks for all the suggestions from people who replied to my original
query. I am once more on the lookout for a decent 80 or 90 q or a Coupe q.
Original Dutch-market cars preferred.

My post-test drive gloom was at least somewhat alleviated by the arrival of
'The Audi File', the book containing the complete model history of Audi
(including specs of the racing cars!), which I'd ordered a few weeks ago. A



 Tom Nas                                          Zeist, The Netherlands
 1988 Audi 80 1.8S, mostly Tizianrot metallic, 218,000km

    I don't know anything about music. In my line you don't have to.
                              -- Elvis Presley (1935-1977)