Back on the road: the $60 Audi (long)
tnas at euronet.nl
Thu Nov 2 22:58:41 EST 2000
For those of you who care, I thought I'd give an update of the proceedings.
What happened earlier: 1987 Audi 80 1.8 FWD, bought last Saturday as an
in-between car while I work on the 90q. Owner sold it because the brakes
were shot, his girlfriend wouldn't drive it anymore. While driving to the
pickup point, the exhaust broke off at the joint between downpipe and the
cat. A friend of the owner diagnosed a collapsed engine mount, which had
caused the engine to land on the subframe, crushing the brake pipe and
breaking the exhaust. I was offered the car for the price which the local
scrapyard offered, sight unseen. Having viewed the car in the dark, in a
rainstorm, from the outside (keys were missing) I decided that it would at
least yield $60-worth of spares for the 90, maybe even be made roadworthy
Last Saturday I drove the car home in another downpour. Braking was by
handbrake only, the 'brake' warning light was flashing all the time. It
sounded like a Sherman tank, the exhaust ending just below the gear lever.
With no brakes it seemed a bad idea to drive it around a lot, so I parked
it and waited for the rain to stop so I could check it out more thoroughly.
On Sunday I spent more than five hours cleaning, vacuuming, polishing and
waxing the badly abused car. You don't want to know what I came across.
When putting the best tyres (Firestone M&S) on the front axle, one brake
pad fell out: down to the metal. An almost-empty brake fluid reservoir
explained more of the 'no brakes' phenomenon.
Meanwhile, the engine looks to be in the position the manufacturer intended
it to be in, indeed slightly canted to one side but not more so than
standard (the guy who diagnosed the engine mount problem didn't know too
much about Audis). It is however incredibly grubby, covered in oil from a
bad valve cover gasket.
In went new brake discs and pads, fluid and hey presto- brakes were fine
(if mushy, but the fluid needs changing). The valve cover bolts were for
the most part not even hand tight, and the gasket was nothing but crumbs.
The exhaust, a badly-improvised Bosal welded together by an amateur with a
single muffler instead of the usual two, is nevertheless relatively fresh.
The downpipe was pretty rusty and missing too much metal to be welded
straight onto the cat, so we improvised with an offcut, slit so that it
would slide into both pipes. The welder decided to go on strike after one
small tack, so the exhaust now barely hangs together though it's a lot
quieter. When we get the welder fixed, the car seems OK to be put into service!
Meanwhile, I seem to be happy to run around in a beater, as long as I can
listen to my music. A Sony in-dash CD head unit was installed, along with
160 W 3-way 6x9s in the rear (hey, the holes were there!) and 180 W 2-way
4ins in the front. Nice thick speaker cable in between makes for the best
stereo setup I've had in any car so far, for a modest outlay. As I couldn't
get the drill in to drill holes in the metal bulkhead to properly install
the speakers, I decided on hollow-wall plugs to fix the speakers at least
firmly to the parcel shelf. It seems to have done the trick, as there's
nice, crisp sound from the rear without any strange noises.
Initial purchase: Dfl 150 ($1 = Dfl 2.50)
Brake discs and pads: Dfl 180
Misc fluids and nuts and bolts: Dfl 50
Stereo: you don't want to know.
My conclusion: if you forego quattro, the type 89s are excellent low-cost
cars. Values, though generally higher than what I've paid, are modest and
the simple layout of the 4-cyl engine makes it nice to work on. Power
output is OK, though the 88 hp 1.8S is preferable to the 75 hp 1.8N which I
now have (there was also a 75 hp 1.6 4-speed, best avoided). The galvanised
body means no worries about rust, provided any crash damage is dealt with
properly. The 4-cylinder engines are very durable. Build quality is
excellent, the body is pretty rigid and quiet, especially when compared to
the type 81/85. Fuel economy is vastly improved over previous models by the
aerodynamic body. Because of these traits, I'd recommend it as the ideal
low-cost Audi. As a previous experience with a 1.8S shows that 350k km is
no problem, this engine with 250k km is just starting out.
This opinion is based on European-market cars, as it seems that a lot of
the US-market FWD 80s were automatics. Also, I'm not sure what the market
situation is over there and if the higher equipment level weighs the car
down too much (the European version is 993 kgs, 2190 lbs). Maybe someone
else can comment?
More information about the quattro