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Questions of an ur-Q Kind: What's Worse than MonkeyLads(tm)

For those of you who were following my recent ur-Q problems, here's an update.

The shop I took it to, who has done good by high-priced work for me in the past,
told me they might need to rebuild the engine (for $2280). I had spoken only to
the service writer, as I had been too busy to drop in at the shop & talk with 
the owner/chief mechanic (ASE-Certified Master Mechanic).

He said it wouldn't start. He said it did spin, but would not start. He said
it did have good spark.

He said it had no compression.

I had it towed back home. I jumped it. It started.

It runs... as badly as before (well, maybe not even quite as bad as before!)
but at least it does run.

Any idea what could cause a Master Mechanic to miss this?

Sheesh!   -dq

-Douglas Hurst Quebbeman (dougq@iglou.com)       [Call me "Doug"]
    QuattroClub USA# 4536     Audi International # 100024
       74 100LS Auto,   77 100LS Auto,   84 Coupe GT 
           83 ur-Q,   86 5Kcstq QLCC 1.8bar  
"The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away."  -Tom Waits