my "one in a million thing" The Glen

Phil Rose pjrose at
Wed Sep 5 09:24:54 EDT 2007

Last Tuesday my car's engine quit suddenly and silently at Watkins 
Glen during a run session. The car (my Lago Blue '91 200q)) had been 
running smoothly and normally the previous day. Then, on day 2 during 
my first run session,  I did 4 or 5 normal laps; in the next lap I 
powered through the "bus stop" and tracked out under medium throttle. 
Cruising around the "carousel" I eased toward the downhill apex and 
squeezed on full throttle as I passed the apex. But there was 
absolutely nothing smoke...the 
sound of one hand clapping? I was able to coast the car past the 
cones and onto the unused "NASCAR" straight/bypass in order to get 
off the track. After several attempts to get the engine restarted, I 
got a tow back to the garage.

The engine turned over normally, but there was there was no spark. I 
diagnosed the problem as a broken plastic distributor gear--a good 
possibility given the fact that I carried Bernie's beautiful metal 
gear around (as a good luck charm I guess) but had never gotten 
around to installing it. Art Mayhew agreed that it would fit the 
symptoms, and I decided against trying to replace the gear at the 
track. With the help of a friend--Chet Burton--and his trailer, we 
transported the car to Salisbury Motor Car and left it on the lot at 
9 PM that night.  The metal distributor gear was in a box on the 
front seat and a note (to shop owner Art Mayhew): "Please Fix Me!"

Well, this morning I got a call from Art to "update" me on what they 
had encountered. Art said I was right in my diagnosis of a 
non-turning distributor, but that the reason for it was "a one in a 
million thing". They found that the distributor's plastic gear was 
actually intact, but the problem was caused by the fact that...THE 
END OF THE CAMSHAFT (i.e., the cam's distributor drive) had snapped 
off! Art had never encountered this nor had he even heard of it 
happening. He's in the process of locating a replacement camshaft.

Has anyone here ever heard of this type of failure on the 20-valve 
engine? Anyone have a spare camshaft to offer? Is  it  the same cam 
as on the 7A engine?



Phil Rose.....Rochester, NY USA
'06 A3q 3.2 V6 (5K, silver)
'91 200q	(160K, Lago blue)
Gone to Audi Valhalla:
'91 200q   (Tornado red)
'89 100 (Bamboo gold)

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