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Re: Ready to buy 200tq

>Year 1991
>Model 200Tq

---> An excellent vintage!

>Mileage 122k 

---> Just broken in.

>Recent maintenance - timing belt at 90k, new brake master cylinder
>New tires all round.

---> Good.  Tires should be 215-60-15.  The wheels on this year only are
15x7.5 and the usual size of 205-60-15 will leave the wheel edges exposed
to even the lightest of curb hits, not to mention causing the speedo to
read a tad too high.

>Mechanical inspection revealed the following:
>Exhaust leak - has to be fixxed to pass the Virginia state inspection 
>- Is an aftermarket exhaust worth the money for performance 
>enhancement or longevity for this class, vintage, age vehicle:

---> Yes, but expensive.  The '91 has the 20valve engine and a unique and
more complex exhaust system... dual exhaust with two catalytic converters
and then two dual inlet/dual outlet mufflers.  A leak shouldn't require a
new system, but it's a great excuse.  Stebro has both front and rear
mufflers; about 350-400 bux... a piece.  The leak might be treatable by a
sole proprieter muffler shop who isn't "programmed" to replace components

>Headlights - failed light emmission (how this is measured is beyond me 
>- but the DOT headlamps failed- so it's pretty bad.)  Are the Euro
headlight >lense  upgrades worth the cash?

---> Not surprised by the low light emissions.  An easy, temporary
workaround might be to install higher wattage bulbs, but be careful. 
Those that are found in the back of car magazines are quite a bit higher
in wattage and will cause wiring problems.  They will usually sell an
upgraded, add-on wiring harness to take the extra draw.  I haven't had
good luck with these on my 200.  On my Coupe it has worked pretty well. 
The correct stock bulbs are 9004.  9007 bulbs can be modified to fit with
a dremel tool to cut new grooves on the sides of the bulb housing.  I
have this in my car right now.  These bulbs are slightly higher wattage
than the 9004's and the filament is oriented vertically instead of
horizontally.  Two of the three wires in the back of the bulb plug have
to be swapped also.  All in all not a difficult mod, but a little
kludgey.  If it well get you past the inspection then you can budget for
the Euro lights...  a 600 dollar or so proposition.  Well worth the
money, but not something everyone can do at the drop of a hat.  There is
a group purchase being put together right now, if you want to jump on the
wagon.  By the way, to go with Euro lights, you have to replace the whole
light unit on each side.  The DOT lenses are not a separate component. 
The Euro lights do have lenses that are replaceable once you've bought
the whole assembly, if they get a rock chip or a crack.

>Warped rotors on front brakes - these have been converted from the UFO 
>style to conventional discs - Anyone know of good aftermarket solution
for this 
>issue - best braking bang for the buck?

---> The warpage _might_ be corrected by going out and getting the brakes
really hot with a few very hard near stops from 80 or so and then some
uninteruppted driving to cool them down.  If they are too far gone for
that, or don't respond to it, the stock discs/pad (converted ones) are
still pretty good.  There are some rather pricey brake upgrades
available, or you can just put in some new rotors with some high-end
pads, which should suffice for just about any driving.

>Rear brake caliper hangs if parking brake is engaged - the fix is very
>expensive (at least the quote for the new rear left caliper was pretty
high)  >ideas???

---> This may be just the parking brake cable.  It usually starts that
way and then the caliper can seize.  Start by replacing both rear brake
cables (if one is gone, the other is not far behind; they corrode
internally with age).  Take out the pads and exercise and lube the
calipers, then drive it for a while.  Then decide if you need a caliper. 
Aftermarket sources are always a better choice than the dealer, unless
you use one that offers a Qlist discount.

>Minor electrical gremlins - side marker light on passenger side needs 
>new fittings, short somewhere in the main board behind the dash, (turn 
>indicators stay on - airbag light aglow (even after recall dealer fix.)

---> The instrument cluster circuit board is prone to having some of the
solder joints crack and cause intermittent warnings in the auto check
system and a faulty speedometer reading.  I have removed the cluster and
reheated the solder joints to fix a bouncy speedo needle (which caused
cruise control and mpg calcs to be inopperative/false).  This procedure
isn't too daunting and can be done without removing the steering wheel
(and airbag).  The airbag light may not be related to the circuit board. 
The airbag system has its own brain and can store fault codes.  It can be
reset by the dealer.  This has cured the problem for at least one lister.

>Finally, and perhaps most importantly, How much useful fun can I 
>expect to get out of this car (rigourous maintance will be done - of 
>course) - is this car on the tail end of it's life, or should I buy the
car, sink the extra >$$ into it and enjoy the heck out of it for the
forseeable future.

---> If these are truly the only problems with the car then I would say
there's lots of life left in it.  The problems you have mentioned are all
fairly common.

>Thanks for the advice.

--->  No problem.  Good luck with it.  If this one doesn't work out,
there are more out there.  Patience is a virtue.

Ed Kellock
Greenville, SC  USA
91 200q Avant
87 Coupe GT

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