[V8] More adventures of the Black Mariah....or what I do for a
utility car when I have no V8....
Roger M. Woodbury
rmwoodbury at downeast.net
Tue May 17 20:17:43 EDT 2005
Well, the Black Mariah (1991 20valve Avant project) is well worked in to the
routine. As a daily driver it is really pretty good, with about five
hundred miles and a bit more covered since I retrieved the car from the
wrench's last Friday.
I resolved the missing electrical functions...trip computer, radio, interior
lights by putting fuse back into the slot...my mechanic has NO idea how the
fuse got removed, but it might have been done during the trouble shooting
for the erratic to non-functioning speedometer/odometer. Now all is well.
The speedometer/odometer malfunction is largely resolved. There is still a
tad of pulsing sometimes, but it usually goes away after the car is
thoroughly warmed up. Regardless, the speedometer and odometer/trip
odometer are fully functioning, even when the speedo pulses.
The only thing not working at the moment, is the cruise control. We'll
tackle that in a couple of weeks when the car goes back to the wrench's for
four wheel alignment.
The car is very, very fast. Out on Pinkham's Flat the other morning, I saw
2.4 bar on the digital dash readout. That just might be all that there is,
but I got a bit nervous as the car did not have a current inspection sticker
at that moment, and if I happened across a humorless trooper, it would have
gone less than well. So I got "off it" before I tried to run it up very
high in third. The car has 143,000 showing, and pushing 2.4 bar or more on
the engine might not play well with the insides...I am satisfied that it has
On the road. Effortless in fifth gear. Climbing the long hills through
Lucerne on the way to Bangor, the car just flows in fifth, with no sense of
struggle. Acceleration going up hill? Why, sure. Just put the throttle
down and the car makes like it has eight cylinders under the hood. Really.
So, I will continue to drive and debate whether or not to plan on the
cosmetic restoration....mechanically so far it is a good candidate.
Now, the minuses. Strange to say, but I would be just as happy with this
car with an automatic transmission. Second gear in the Audi five speed at
this time in its life is a bit notchy, although the rest of the gear change
is smooth and unobtrusive. Still and all, I really liked the ZF automatic
in my '93 V8, and the same transmission coupled with the chipped 20valve in
the Avant would be smoother, and just as fast, I think.
So, so far, my thirst for yet another V8 is only being fueled by this
20valve....I'm not done yet!
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