Help with decision making!! (89 quattro 100)

Doyt W. Echelberger Doyt at
Wed Jun 12 17:59:50 EDT 2002

Hello Nick.....I can give you some facts and a few suggestions to help you
make your decision. Hope you read the whole thing.

The chassis of that car is double-side galvanized EVERYWHERE. It has an
estimated body lifetime of over 20 years....and it may never rust out to
any significant degree, anywhere...unless it is damaged and improperly

It's 5 cylinder naturally-aspirated engine is one of the most reliable and
long-lived designs ever built by any manufacturer. Many of them are running
just fine at 300k miles and using maybe a quart of oil in 3,000-5,000
miles. The basic engine was designed to run in commercial truck service,
and it is rebuildable over and over.

In good condition, that model handles so well in daily driving that you may
never be satisfied with anything else for the rest of your life. And the
turbocharged models (not the one you are looking at) are very capable of
eye-popping performance with some minor adjustments. I have a 1987 turbo
quattro and can't imagine being any happier.

I put about 20k miles on my car every year. Lots of it is pleasure driving,
since I am retired. Doing so costs me about $1,200 a year in repairs and
maintenance, and I do about half of the jobs that need done. I have no
garage, and I work on the car outside, in my driveway, and seldom in the
winter. But I do have time to do the work, and an interest in learning what
I need to know.  That $1,200 figure includes tires but not fuel or oil
changes or insurance or registration or speeding tickets. I bought my model
5000 in January, 1998, at 125k miles, and paid a premium for it because it
was showroom condition "mint/needs nothing" (it had been owned by a
maintenance fanatic.) He had records on the car dating back to the day it
was built. It was always garaged and given everything it needed and then
some. I gladly gave him $5k when average cars of that kind were selling for
$3,500-$4,200. I could _probably_ sell it today for 2 or 3 thousand, at
240k miles. It still needs nothing and may run forever. It still has total
records documenting every action on the car's behalf. I have no intention
of selling it.  The car is an INCREDIBLE bargain to me in terms of fun and

The example you are considering sounds like it might be priced fairly or
even a little low, if anything, considering the nearly 100k miles on the
odometer(if true.) It is low if the car has been maintained according to
manufacturers recommendations (with documentation.) My experience and my
records tell me that you will be spending around a thousand a year keeping
it in top shape (if it is already that way, and if you do lots of your own

If it ISN'T in top shape, and if you can't do lots of your own work, then
it may not be a bargain or desirable for your needs at school. You say you
are poor. You don't mention your mechanical talents or motivation. Perhaps
you mean that you can't spend a thousand a year on maintenance. With this
car, you might be required to spend that much, or more. It is a top-of-the
line luxury model with nearly every convenience, and they are all over 12
years old. Rubber items last about 5 years and go rapidly downhill
thereafter. The car is loaded with hoses and boots and o-rings and rubber
items galore, as well as dozens of electrical and electronic devices and
sensors. They are sometimes costly.

Actually, the car could be harboring neglected repair and maintenance items
in any of it's systems. Each system could cost a thousand dollars, or three
times that much, to bring back into specification. SO.... I'd look for
evidence that the car had been GENEROUSLY cared for, with maybe some of the
really expensive big jobs already done, like new fuel lines; new tires; new
brakes all around including emergency brake cables calipers, rotors and
master cylinder; wheelbearings/springs/shocks/bushings/radiator/climate
control/heater core/and even new mounts for the motor and transmission; and
possibly a new clutch. An exhaust system could be as high as a thousand
dollars, or as inexpensive as 2 or 3 hundred, depending on what you demand
in terms of lifetime....stainless steel vs aluminized steel.

Some people do not withhold such necessary maintenance, and their used cars
are like new in many ways. Other owners run a car into the ground and give
it almost nothing, or just let it sit, unused, year after year.....and all
the rubber items deteriorate and are ready to fail. Try to avoid such a
car. It may be better to buy a car that is in daily use, with a documented
record of maintenance and repairs. The little old lady schoolteacher car
that has been run around town a few thousand miles a year may be full of
hidden repair costs just waiting to happen when you put it on the
road.  Before you buy it, find out how this car has been used and
maintained, or roll your dice and live with the consequences if you can
afford taking a risk like that.

Many owners spend maybe a few thousand dollars a year up front, for keeping
their cars in top shape. Such cars ARE out there. Many people on this list
own them. Try The Market Place at  and see some examples
of real maintenance FANATICS who are selling their cars. Compare the one
you are considering with some of those being offered.

In closing, I will mention that experienced Audi mechanics get at least $50
an hour for their labor. And some things take 8-10 hours at their going
rate. Then, the parts are usually expensive also. If you do your own labor
and scrounge for good used parts, you can keep the costs WAY down
sometimes. Most of us on this list do it that way.

So, try to quantify just how poor you are, in terms of how much mechanical
work you can expect to do, and how much time you can spend scrounging up
parts and doing your own work. Do you have a PLACE to work on the car? It
will need attention.

Doyt Echelberger
1987 model 5000 turbo quattro
At 03:13 PM 6/12/2002 -0400, you wrote:

>Hi all!
>         I need help with making a decision, I am a poor student looking
> to buy a
>used car and someone locally is selling an 89 quattro 100  (manual tranny)
>with 98.5k on it for ~$2000... is it worth it or am I in for it. ANY and
>all help will be appreciated!!
>Nick K.

More information about the quattro mailing list