[V8] 20Valve Avant update
rmwoodbury at roadrunner.com
Wed Nov 11 05:18:20 PST 2009
Well, I didn't plan it this way, but my daughter called from Virginia
yesterday and said that a neighbor near her house in Morrill had told her
that he had seen lights inside. So, I went over since my daughter and I had
been in the house on Sunday and were sure that there could have been no
lights on. Lights on could mean that someone was inside and that could be
very, very bad. Off I went leaving here around three for the one hour
Once there, I found....nothing. The house was closed up and there was no
sign that anyone had been inside either the barn or the house. In order for
anyone to get in, they would have had to break something unless they used an
electric garage door opener, and even then, access to the house would have
required a door to be broken down since all access is protected by deadbolt.
Naturally since I was already THERE, I stopped in the yard where the 20Valve
Avant is resting in the back. It was getting toward dusk, and I spoke with
the man of the house. The car is his wife's and she has been trying to sell
it over the past year. She put it on Craig's list (wrong move), and some
months ago, pulled it off. She has bought a Honda shitbox or some sort.
Here's the Good, the Bad and the Ugly:
* 1991 Audi 20V Avant: Glacier Blue (silver blue) with Black
comfort interior. Interior appears to be in very good to very, very good
condition. I couldn't see the floor in the cargo area because there are
studded snow tires living there, and I couldn't clearly see all the
headliner. I do not believe that the headliner is falling anywhere and it
seem remarkably clean inside in general. Replacement CD player of unknown
make. Didn't look like a juke box from a cheap New Orleans Whore house,
* 212,000 miles. This is not terrible, though. This could be a two
or three owner car (the guy wasn't sure), but said that his wife had owned
the car since 2001 or so. From what I could see easily, there appear to be
no dings or dents, hence little city driving and parking.
* Typical old age signs of corrosion in places in the rear, with
some paint bubbling.quite minor.
* Nose is good, but with a few places on the leading edge of the
hood that have corrosion showing from stone bruises.
* All chrome pieces on the nose are in place, and loose in one place
only that I could see. Standard headlights, but general condition of the
nose is very, very good considering the mileage.
* Opened the hood. HELLO! Little brown field mouse was sitting
right on the leading edge blinking at us, and there is a mouse nest on the
top of the intake plenum. Some evidence that the hood pad is being used for
nesting materials. This is not good. The battery was disconnected in the
rear, and I did not want to start the engine as I was not going to allow
myself to appear THAT interested.
The guy said that the car ran really well. The reason that it got put to
pasture was that the brakes were needing replacement and once they looked at
the cost of parts, they decided to move along. The car was old, needed
expensive brakes that pulsed anyway, and thus the woman has a new.well, what
I said above. The guy didn't know how much she had been asking for the car,
which I do not believe. What I think was that he wasn't going to speak for
her, since it was her car. My guess is that she will be asking more for the
car than anyone will pay for it, but I am only guessing.
What I saw was a relatively average mileage Audi Avant.ten or eleven
thousand miles a year up here isn't much, so at 200,000+ miles that appear
to have no damage history, this might be a good restoration project that
could yield a good driver. Here is my arithmetic:
* Purchase price: LESS than $1,000, and preferably about $500.
Mouse nest and mice NOT included.
* Restoration: Start and drive the car. If clutch is weak,
remove the engine
o Engine: Budget: $3000.
* Timing belt service complete
* Replace fuel injection hoses, rubber grommets and gizzies
* Inspect and replace plastic liquid containers if required
* Replace heater control valve
* Compression leak down test and evaluate.
* Probably replace the clutch
* Body: Budget: $2500-3000
Remove roof rack and as much trim as possible. Remove F&R bumpers.
Repair/recover and repaint all corroded areas. Complete repaint and
re-clear coat. The glass looked pretty good as far as I could see. Still
it would be nice to replace the windshield at this point, also.
* Underneath: Ah, yes. The great abyss. The totally unknown. The
really, really ugly.
o Brakes: All four rotors and pads. Brake lines probably.
o I gotta believe that all control arms, bushings, and probably at
least one or two CV joints will need to be replaced. Let's say that
EVERYthing needs to be done here: $2000.
o Exhaust system: I don't want to think about this, but if
necessary, I guess a Stebro could be sourced at a cost of $1800 or so
installed. Otherwise I might be tempted to do something else, but in Maine,
having custom fabrication done is difficult outside of greater Portland.
o Tires: About $500 the set, and not much selection from Tire Rack
at the moment. I am assuming that this car has 15" wheels and I didn't
check, but I think they looked like "normal" BBS wheels for this car.
o I am sure that the rear differential and rear transmission seal
will need to be replaced, and probably, or rather, UNDOUBTEDLY the
driveshaft center bearing will be toast. Allow: $500. these seals must
NOT be weaping to any significant degree because Maine's inspection laws are
very clear about this, and there are fewer and fewer places that will
inspect a vehicle without putting it up on a lift. I don't go to those
places and in fact don't actually know where any are in this part of the
o Shocks and shock mounts and bushings. Probably: $1,000 allowance.
Unknowns but presumed to be evil lurking out there: air conditioning
compressor, receiver, dryer. This will be expensive and I would be very,
very surprised if they are not inop. Heater core and radiator? Well, the
radiator looked OK from what I could see, so nothing obvious. The heater
core? If one of the issues was poor heat you can be guaranteed that it was
a contributor to the car being parked.
The rest of the electrics? I dunno. Your guess is as good as mine.
Switches, interior gizzies like heated seats and so forth? I would assume
that these are all inop although the interior looked more like a 75,000 mile
car from what I could see. the two front seats and the rear seat back. The
rear seat bench was up exposing the battery, and it looked clean underneath
Now, of course if you have the time the space, the tools and the knowledge
to do all of the repairs yourself, then you could easily have a decent
driver, like new, for a lot less than I have shown above. But I am assuming
that John will do all of my work on this car, and I know from experience
what to expect. MOST of the parts will be OEM, wherever possible.
The car would then be set for another 200,000 miles with normal maintenance.
Total Budget: Oh, I'll guess $12-15,000 if everything was done at once.
Would it be worth it? The best thought that I have is: maybe. Here are the
plusses for me:
1. The car is located about 50 miles from me. The cost of getting it and
getting it here is very, very low.
2. There is a certain known history to the car. The people who own it
have owned it for a while. The bad part of that is that the husband has the
Bentley books and has done a lot of work himself. If he kept notes and
records then that would help: I doubt that he has more than his momories.
3. The car might be really, really cheap. So for little front end money,
the cost of the car is restoration and can then be done to whatever degree
is necessary for the intended purpose. What else can you buy for $15 grand?
Nothing like this.
The minuses for me:
1. From time to time there are better cars than this available. The
most that I have seen anyone even THINK of asking for one of these cars is
around $7500. That would be for a car with less than 170,000 miles and
service records intact, although the car would have half a continent or more
distant. There is one in Colorado right now like this.
2. For fifteen grand you can buy a very nice A6 Avant with half the
miles or less. As much as I really like the Type 44 cars, it makes little
sense to buy something like this and pour a lot of money into it. The
savings on excise tax are simply not enough to justify it. Not even for a
So in sum, if it could be bought for a grand or less, this might be a decent
donor car for a V8 five speed conversion, or a general parts car. But as a
restoration candidate, I am afraid for me its time has passed.
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