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Re: This is perverse, but ...

Phil asks:

> Not a rattle or a puff of smoke between the three.  Do Audi engines
> _need_ a good thrashing to survive?

In my experience, yes.  I suspect they also need the kind of care and
attention that people like us will spend on them after giving them
regular thrashings, but I think that either without the other won't
result in the kind of performance we'd like out of them.

And I think Paul is right about why, too.  When I bought my '83 Coupe
(no turbo, only one diff) a year ago, it had spent most of its time
sitting in a parking lot, as the "spare car" of a good friend.  It had
the wrong fuel pump relay in it (which has the rev limiter built into
it), so it had not seen higher than 4800 RPM or so in several years. 
And although the hard stuff had all been done professionally (CV joints,
struts, timing belt) shortly before I purchased it, the little things
were starting to gum up from disuse.

So I drove the *hell* out of the car for a year, while putting it right
piece by piece.  Got the correct 5-cylinder relay, and now it'll pull
past 6000 -- but not for a month or two after I got the relay, at least
not without pinging.  Too much sludge in the injectors, I'm guessing;
months of Chevron gas and a couple bottles of Techron took care of
that.  It's still rarely worth holding it over 5500 RPM with the stock
head, but I've seen 6300 RPM once or twice in the lower gears.  And oil
consumption is down, too, after a few changes with fresh Castrol to get
the crud out of the passages and help seal the valve stems (I presume).  

Last fix -- rear brakes (drums on this car, remember).  The right rear
shoes were worn down to the rivets; replacing them made a staggering
difference in brake-pedal feel as well as effectiveness.  The front pads
were replaced 9 months or so ago, and I flushed out all the fluid at the
same time, using new Castrol LMA.  

So yes, I've used all the car's performance in as many axes of travel as
I could, for about a year now, and it's running so very much better than
it has in years that I'm convinced driving it that hard is good for it.

And the new parts, fluids, adjustments and system cleanings can't hurt