Blown up in Arizona

Mike Arman armanmik at
Fri Jul 22 15:50:42 EDT 2005

>To: "Cat ^. .^ ~" <iceisit at>
>Cc: quattro at
>What model and how old it is ?
>In this state you would not get much $$ for it, however if you try to
>find a good mechanic (recommended by several experienced people) in your
>area and a used engine you might be able to do it perhaps for $2000
>depending on the cost of the engine.  EX: if the engine is an old 5 cyl.
>If the cost ends up being much more than the value of your car (in good
>shape) it's probably not worth repairing.  I say much more because if
>you do get a used car, it's not going to be perfect, unless you are very
>very lucky!  So most probably you will have to spend a bit to get it
>ship shape.
>Most important is to get a way from the dealership and to find a
>reliable and trustworthy mechanic.  I know those mechanics are hard to
>find but the are out there.
>Good luck.
>Cat ^. .^ ~ wrote:
> > I had a problem with my car in Phoenix, which about 2.5 hours away.
> > Having just lost my drivers license/credit I didn't have
> > license/credit cards with me and about $100 cash.   My car started to
> > over heat and it just wouldn't seem to cool down very well.   I called
> > my husband to come and pick me up, as I wanted to leave it at the Audi
> > dealership which was just a few miles away.    He refused and told me
> > to drive home, and no matter how much water I kept adding and how many
> > times I stopped to let the car cool off--it took me from 9 p.m. to 5
> > p.m. to make a two hour drive.   The dealership just called me and
> > said that coolant gets in the pistons after sitting overnight, etc.,
> >
> > I really love this car and with back surgery is the most comfortable
> > car for me to drive.   So of course I cried for an hour when I got the
> > news from the dealership that it will be not $2,200 to fix, as
> > originally thought, but $6,000 or more!!!   I don't know what to do
> > at     I would like to fix the car and am wondering whether putting a
> > used motor in it would be a reasonable choice??
> >
> > Or just take the seats out and try to find another Audi.   Or forget
> > that and just get another car of any sort for now and look for
> > something else later.
> >
> > I absolutely have to have a car with working AC that is half way
> > comfortable as I am a realtor.  The worst part is that I don't have my
> > first closing until sometime in August.    So we are in a position
> > that we are going to have to borrow the funds.    So no  alternative
> > looks good at this point.
> >
> > Suggestions would be most appreciated.

1) The problem, from your description, is that there was some kind of 
coolant leak, and the (unfortunately bad) advice to "bring it on home 
regardless" resulted in a warped cylinder head and/or blown head gasket.

2) From reading your previous e-mails, and I hope you'll pardon me for 
saying this, it seems your husband hates your car. (It may not be your car, 
it could be ALL cars - everyone is different, I presume you didn't marry 
him because you needed an auto mechanic.)

3) While this is not a HUGE job, it is going to be beyond his interest and 
patience, and I think also beyond his skill. (Again, I am not attacking 
your husband, but you are going to have to resolve this problem with the 
resources you have available to you.)

4) The repair would be to remove the cylinder head and replace it with a 
good used one - you'll need to match the exact engine type you have, 
remembering that the same engine is frequently used in different years and 
models of Audis. Once the head is replaced, it will be necessary to locate 
the coolant leak and fix it as well - look at the plastic heater valve body 
(cheap) or the plastic end caps on the radiator (not as cheap). If you 
found a complete engine, you could swap that instead, but that is a bigger 
job (more time and labor than replacing the cylinder head).

5) This job could be done for under $500 in parts, and in a day or two - 
but that assumes some pick and pull junkyard scrounging for the head, 
availability of gaskets/hoses/timing belt (you're there, do it now), and 
some required special tools (crank lock).

6) If you can find an Audi fanatic mechanic - and you tell him that you 
will *not* be calling him every ten minutes asking for your car - you can 
likely get out for under $1,000. You already know the opposite end of the 
price spectrum, at the dealer.

7) From what you tell me, Audi wrenches are few and far between where you 
are - you might want to take a field trip to SoCal or Denver (where Audis 
are more popular) and buy a replacement car of a similar year to yours. 
These have depreciated to the point where you might very well be able to 
buy one that runs well and looks good for less that what it would cost to 
fix yours.

8) Summary - find an inexpensive Audi mechanic, or look for a replacement 
Audi - these are not excellent choices, especially since there are no 
closings due until August, but given what we have to work with, this may be 
the way to go.

9) Find an Audi fanatic who wants a vacation in Phx - and will bring his 
tools along.

Best Regards and best of luck,

Mike Arman
90 V8, not just a car, an ADVENTURE!

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