The new "Unintended Acceleration"....?

Brett Dikeman brett at
Mon Sep 20 20:38:16 EDT 2004

At 3:21 PM -0700 9/20/04, Dan DiBiase wrote:
>While certainly sorry to hear about this gentleman's accident, I 
>wonder if any 5000 owners can comment on the likelihoood of this 
>happening or what might have caused it....?

Unbelievable bullshit.  Dangerous and defective car?

"There's absolutely no warnings in the car or in the owner's manual 
that if you don't follow various precautions that this could happen.""

The manual most certainly does- both the owner's manual and the 
factory repair manual, I believe- though I don't have a 5000 manual 
handy to check.  Further, the cover on the factory battery is bright 
orange and warns the cover MUST be in place or the seat will contact 
the battery terminal.  Even though I didn't have the factory battery 
in mine- the factory cover was right there, snapped over the "+" 
terminal, with a VAG part number on it and the warning molded into 
the shape.

The design isn't just in every 5000- count all the C4-body cars (at 
least the s-cars) and all the V8's.  The number isn't "thousands" of 
cars, it's a few hundred thousand cars.  VERY few cars have had this 
problem, and in all cases, it's been improper installation.

Further- the design is inherently safer.  Why?  The battery enjoys 
the full protection of the passenger area in the event of a crash. 
Helps a little with weight distribution, and mounted very low.  It's 
also a better design for other reasons - the battery is protected 
from temperature extremes.

In Jarvis' case it is believed that the fire started in part because 
the person who sold Jarvis the car had improperly reinstalled the 

  "But it's our contention that is somewhat inherent in the way it's 
designed," Baruh said.

FACT: it is IMPOSSIBLE to secure the two screws that hold the seat 
front down if the seat has not been properly installed.  They just 
won't line up or even reach.  It's actually VERY inherent that it 
can't be fully assembled "the wrong way".  Furthermore, it's not 
obvious looking at the seat that if you don't put in properly, the 
metal might contact the + terminal?  What's next, warning symbols on 
electric sockets warning you not to stick a fork in it?  It's 
inherent in the way it's designed that certain forks will fit!

Why didn't he pull up on the door lock?  The pump getting burned up 
has nothing to do with being able to unlock the doors.  In fact, if 
the pump was burned up quickly, that would actually make it 
impossible for the pump to fight you(and with the pump going, yes, 
it's pretty difficult to get the door unlocked).

Why didn't the fire department smash the window, cut the belt, and 
pull him out?

-Didn't notice"?  The fumes and smoke should have been a clue.

AoA will probably claim they're not responsible for:

-prior owner's actions, maintenance, and repair on a TWENTY YEAR OLD well as lack of due diligence on the part of the buyer to 
have it inspected by a mechanic- who no doubt would have noticed the 
seat not properly installed

-ineptitude of bystanders and rescue personnel.  They were able to 
put out the flames- which means at least one of the windows were open 
or were smashed- but they couldn't smash the window with the fire 
extinguisher(or a rock) , cut the belt, and haul him out?  Smashing 
the window also would have given access to the door lock.  Smashing 
the windows also would have vented all the fumes.

It is possible to jam the door lock mechanism while it's being 
unlocked- I've had impatient friends who, when I had my 5000, would 
try to open the door while the system unlocked.  The mechanism jams 
sometimes- requiring you to push the lock button down (PING! is 
heard) and then pull up again.

Honestly, the family should be suing the previous owner and FD - but 
I bet they found the PO has no assets, and suing fire departments is 
rather unpopular, not to mention somewhat protected(as are, in some 
states, "good samaritans".

Sorry folks- Audis' completely not responsible here, and this seems 
like an extremely easy defense on their part.  The sad part is that 
the jury will probably end up giving them the money simply because 
they feel sorry for the family- which is no basis for deciding such 
as case.  Thankfully the judge can usually override them...

"They that give up essential liberty to obtain temporary
safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Ben Franklin

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