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An old 5000s loses its teeth (some moody humour)

this case deserves to be nominated for a "Darwin Award in Audi repairs".
If you don't yet know how to break a bullet-proof 10v engine with just a can of
ether-based brake cleaner - read on.

As some of you might remember, I once owned an '85 5000s 5 speed FWD which I
sold to my buddy four years ago (yielded to his persistence) in a better than
perfect condition.

The car has been living a very hard life ever since, being treated rather
ferociously by his half-wit wife, although at 235kmi is still on the original
clutch and fuel pump. Among other things, she wrecked it 4 times (front, rear
and each side), drove home without oil on one occasion and without coolant on
another. The car held up amazingly well up until yesterday.

My buddy has been lately complaining about its poor idle, hard start and
hesitation so naturally I suggested cleaning up the air flow meter funnel/plate
and ISV before doing anything else. It must be noted that the said buddy of mine
is not a car guy and treats this sophisticated piece of German machinery like a
buggy cart. As a consequence the car looks like it has been used for pizza
delivery in Beirut. Worse yet, he never reads his Bently and prefers to call me
at 23:00 rather than open the damn manual (friends don't let lazy friends buy
your old cars. You'll wind up baby-sitting them for life).

So yesterday he phoned me up in a totally terrified voice (I was in my car, mind
you, striving to get home asap, totally exhausted after a brutal filling of the
two lower jaw molars, barely able to move my tongue after a triple dose of
anaesthesia AND rather drunk coz for a number of years I don't dare to set a
foot to a dentist without knocking myself out with a couple of Martinis

-I cleaned that round Aluminium thingy on top of the valve cover with the brake
cleaner, started the car - BANG! - and the engine locked up!!!!
-????? Are you nuts? One has nothing to do with the other.
-Yeah, I must have moved some wires and the engine locked up.
-Can you turn the engine with a ratchet?
-No, it's locked up.
-Remove the starter and all spark plugs, try to turn the engine with the
-Why? I am telling you, I must have moved the wires and the engine has locked
-Just do it, will you! Call me afterwards.

10 min later:
-The bendix housing on the starter is shattered into pieces. The engine turns
fine with the ratchet.
-Go get under the car and examine the flywheel teeth.
-Why? I am telling you, I must have moved the wires and the engine locked up!
-Just do it, will you! Call me afterwards.

Yet 10 more minutes later:
-You were right, two teeth have been freshly broken off.
-No $hit, Sherlock!
-I must have moved the wires and the starter broke the flywheel!
-Arghhhh! Do you know how an internal combustion engine works?!

Later that evening, while brainstorming the possible reasons between him, I and
Mike Zamikhovsky he told us that he was cleaning the ISV on the car without
disconnecting its bottom hose from the IM. He removed only the side hose and ran
about a litre of brake cleaner trough the side opening. After he unscrewed the
#4 and # 5 spark plugs the brake cleaner fontained out of the plug holes.

He tried to start the car with cylinders #4 and #5 being hydro locked! Since
unlike gases, liquids are non-compressable, the starter broke the teeth off the
flywheel AND broke it's own bendix housing and gear in the process.
Now the guy looks at about a grand worth of repair (coz once he drops the tranny
in order to replace the flywheel he should do the clutch at the same time with
such a mileage on the original clutch).

Although I am sure that no Q-Lister is ignorant and lazy enough as not to spend
the measly 2 min on removal of the ISV before cleaning, please take notice of
how violent the hydro lock could be. 

Mike sez that rally cars are known to break crankshafts if driven into the
waterfull bore.

I want to ask a question on behalf of this hapless friend of mine: was anyone
successfull in driving a car with a couple of flywheel teeth missing?
He lost only two, and they are four teeth apart.

What is his chance of a reliable and safe start? He wants to get by on the
damaged flywheel for the time being, up until the clutch finally gives up and he
can justify the tranny removal.

Igor Kessel
Two turbo quattros