5K Resurrection Party on July 4 (long)

Paul Meyers paul.meyers at citrix.com
Mon Jul 9 20:48:30 EDT 2001

Last July, on a high-speed, high-temperature hillclimb to Snowbird resort, I
lost the heater control valve, silently dumping the coolant and frying my
beloved Gray 5KTQ. Smoke filled the cabin and tears filled my eyes. I had
the beast carried back to my home, where it rested forlornly covered by a
slowly shredding car cover in the middle of my sons' basketball court. Some
suggested, and rightly so, that the car should be retired and become a
source of parts for others. Such was the emotional attachment to this lovely
car that I decided, in the face of reason and economics, to attempt to
repair the damage rather than see this fine vehicle go to the crusher.
Bravely resolved, but not so easy to accomplish.

Of course, the loom is no longer available from Audi, so I asked Chris
Semple to find me a used replacement. By December, a suitable donor car was
located and its loom was excised. I had just completed the installation
during two warmish (38 degree) days when, to my horror, I discovered that
the frying had extended to the ECU harness as well. I was sick! The good
news was that Chris had saved the ECU harness as well from the donor car. By
the time it arrived, though, there was a foot of snow in the back yard and
my enthusiasm for the project disappeared like the waning sunlight.

So, enter Joel Skousen. My buddy, chum, and prime source of infection for my
Audi mania. At last count, Joel owns 8 Audis. Wow. He's over the edge, just
ask his wife. Joel saw my lack of enthusiasm to jam my too big hands back
into too small spaces, and correctly interpreted the problem to a lack of
faith. Wonder of wonders, he volunteered to spend his 4th of July helping me
get the gray car back on its feet. 

We started at 8:30 or so. By 2 PM on the hottest day of the year (105
degrees and no shade), we were about half done. While we were in the house
getting rehydrated, my wife asked if we thought we might get it started
today. I visualized the ridiculous mass of wires hanging from the underside
of the dash, with no steering wheel, instrument cluster, switch cluster,
etc. and dispaired. "Joel, I'll bet you 150 bucks it won't start," says I.
Not to be outdone, Joel, by this time a little less sanguine about our
prospects offers "naw, I"LL bet YOU 250 bucks it won't start!" We each
raised the ante, both on the same side of the bet, until we were both
laughing ourselves silly. The laughter subsided to be replaced by the
sobering prospect of endless cranking or, worse yet, billowing smoke. Back
to work.

By 5:30 the moment of truth arrived. We had each checked the others work
and, honestly, had delayed about as long as we reasonably could. Joel had
noted that there was no coolant in the engine (I had drained out any
leftover coolant to prevent freezup in over the winter). I handed the keys
to Joel. Politely, but firmely, he pushed them back to me. "You do the
honors," he said. Gulp. I hemmed and hawed, but I couldn't put it off any
longer. What if it smokes the replacement harnesses or, more likely, simply
wouldn't catch? What then? I sat down in the wheelless, clusterless driver's
seat, inserted the key and, while holding my breath, twisted it. 

Miracle of miracles, it started right away. There was a rather loud tick
from a stuck lifter and some sort of "thunk" coming from about the middle of
the engine that didn't bode well. But, after the oil warmed up, both noises
went away and the engine settled down to its familiar, lovely idling sound.
I couldn't believe it. The engine was incredibly abused, but, with some help
from synthetic lubricant, sprang to life without any complaint after more
than a year of neglect. 

After spending another day recabling bunches of wire, tying down harnesses
under the hood, chasing several electrical gremlins (the speedo didn't work
and the instrument cluster had no illumination, cruise control on the
fritz), and putting all the rest of the parts back into place, the car
flawlessly passed the Utah safety and emissions inspections! The limit is
220 ppm of CO and the car produced 30, both at idle and at 2500 RPM.

So, thanks to Joel, who never lost faith that we could eventually get this
beautiful car running again, and to Chris Semple who provided the
replacement looms, and to the Audi gods, for allowing us to enjoy bringing
such a special vehicle back to life. What a great week! And no more accusing
stares from the kids about the derelict car on their basketball court!
Life is good.

Paul Meyers 
Gray 87 5KCSTQ 1.8bar 147 kM eurolights fuchs boges everything works! 
Pearl 88 5KCSTQ 1.8bar 128 kM eurolights fuchs bilsteins 2pc-em k24 turbo 
Repainted Pearl 87 5KTQA 1.8bar 203 kM eurolights TT wheels bilsteins daily
Blue 86 5KCSTQ parts car 

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