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98a6q answers: mechanical noises and cell phone

Hey fellow quattro-philes,

I wrote some time ago to ask about mysterious mechanical noises and
cell phone options for my 98a6q. Apologies for taking so long to report
back, but I only just recently got my beast into and out of the shop (it
was there for a week; the loaner Jetta ssuuucked). Here are the

- Howling noise from back immediately after starting the engine: a valve
in the gas tank negative vapor pressure system. Replaced. Apparently a
very common problem. 

- Crunch when riding brake downhill after starting engine and putting car
in gear: normal abs self-adjustment. 

- Oil leak in valve cover gasket: replaced. 

- Climate control system displays flashing after starting engine: rebooted
(gotta love all those imbedded systems). The dealer had never seen this
problem so I guess it is not common.

- Rear ash tray would not close: replaced.

- Hood rattle: adjusted.

- Most interesting and complicated: the cell phone. I spent several hours
calling various Audi dealers, the Audi cellular phone center (the place
Audi dealers call when they are stumped), a couple of local Motorola
cellular dealers, etc. to find out ahead of time how well it would
integrate with the car. The few answers I received conflicted, because
nobody seemed to have reliable information past 1997. Motorola would not
sell me what I needed directly (analog model 9200 with special cables)
because of their contract with Audi. Since I have the warm-weather package
(which I love and would not give up--that solar-powered ventilator is the
best), the windows are titanium-plated and therefore mostly impervious to
ir, uv, and ghz radio--including my handheld Sprint/Sony PCS (cdma), which
I did not want to give up, and for which there is no adapter kit. I was
finally driven to be a guinea pig at my local Audi dealer where I bought
the car. What the heck.

So--after using it for a day now I can personally report that the 98a6q
phone is pretty cool. The tranceiver is in the trunk under the cd
changer. The handset is in the center armrest. You open the handrest top,
push a button, and the handset glides up and forward to make it easier to
see the display and dial (not quite far enough forward for long arms to be
entirely comfortable, though). The hands-free full-duplex speaker mode
works reasonably well, although the receiving party says I sound tinny, and
there is a lot of pink noise (alleviated partly by turning off the ac
fan). Sound quality is excellent using the handset. The stereo
automatically mutes when you place or receive a call. I was hoping that
there would be significant integration with the dash or radio display as
well, but they just say "phone" when offhook. Duh.

Anyway, is it worth it? Errr, at roughly $700 (even with the dealer
discount because I bought the car there)--hard to say. I like that the
Audi dealer and a separate phone dealer cannot point fingers at each other
if there is ever a problem.  Also, if it is ever stolen, the insurance
company cannot quibble, it being "factory equipment." But I suppose if one
had a popular handheld (say, a Motorola or Nokia), it would be more
prudent to get a third-party adapter kit (then one would not have to
remember to forward/unforward the handheld, either). Or, one could get the
vanilla Motorola 9200, research and build custom cables to plug into the
armrest and trunk, then research and buy the myriad of other parts
apparently necessary to do the mechanical part of the installation (the
dealer had to run through fiches, update cdroms, and late-breaking
technical bulletins, ordering parts 3 times before they got
everything)--but that seems like a lot of fuss. More than I had time for.

Best regards to all,