my "one in a million thing" The Glen

Claus Vegener vegener at
Sat Sep 8 07:24:17 EDT 2007

I had suddenly a noise from my 3B head above 4000 rpm  after a high rew.
(I was listening with a stethoscope for knocking) but
it did not really sound like a hydraulic lifter.
I run plug-on-coils and 034EFI ECU and don't use the gear for distributor.
To-day I would enhance my crankcase ventilation at pulled the valve cover -
and in the corner were the tooth wheel for the distributor. Not fallen off - 
no cam axel had broken.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Phil Rose" <pjrose at>
To: "200q20V mailing list" <200q20v at>
Sent: Wednesday, September 05, 2007 3:24 PM
Subject: my "one in a million thing" The Glen

> 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
> -- 
> 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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