Possible Buy - Need advice.

  #1  
Old 05-22-2005, 11:18 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2
Default Possible Buy - Need advice.

Hey guys and gals!

Okay, I'll post this here as well......
New guy here and I'm looking for a little advice. My current DD is an 88 Jeep Wagoneer XJ, but I want to get something a little more economical as a daily driver while I do a complete restoration to the Jeep.
A friend of mine who owns a car lot has a nice looking 89 Audi 100, inline 5 cyl. with 175K on the clicker and an automatic transmission. I haven't driven it yet since the alternator is being replaced, but from what I see, it looks really good.
There are no oil spots under the car, the interior is excellent (except for the headliner falling down), body is straight and all the glass is good. My questions are as follows:

1. What is the maximum I should spend if it runs out well?
2. What kind of gas mileage can I expect to get?
3. how hard/expensive is the general upkeep (bearing in mind that I do 90% of my own work on my cars)?
4. Are the early 100's known to be problematic? If so, what was wrong with them?

I'd like to hear some experiences from folks that have had these cars or worked on them as well. Please let me know what you think, positive or negative, about the Audi 100. You will help me make my decision, based on what you have to say.

Thanks very much for taking the time for me. I look forward to hearing from all of you!
Have a great week and DON'T work too hard. They don't pay you enough!
 
  #2  
Old 05-23-2005, 12:17 PM
2nd Gear
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Swamplands of NJ
Posts: 761
Default RE: Possible Buy - Need advice.

175K + Automatic = Parts Car.

I do about 99.9% of the work myself and the Audi 100 is not too bad to work on. The heater core is a PITA to change. The rest I would say are common items as with any mileage king.

My general experience as well as the "buzz word " that the Audi Automatic's suck! Unless you have some sort of warrantee or proof that it was recently overhauled. The transmissions are prone to leaks, gear oil and ATF, resulting in failure. There are even several service bulletins to address this. Just because you don't see a puddle don’t assume everything is OK, often the leak is between the ATF and differential.

Another area to check is the cooling system and climate control, make sure that it works. The stupid air box has a tendency to fall/rot apart, as it is very chinsy to start out with. I have never seen one intact at a junkyard. This box deflects enough air to keep things cool. Without it the car quickly runs hot often forcing the cooling fan to cycle more often. Because the pressure cap is 17 – 22psi the plastic sides of the heater core, radiator and expansion box crack and leak from excessive pressure.

The engines themselves are bulletproof and there are many cars on the road with 200K+ or even over 300K miles.
 
  #3  
Old 05-25-2005, 01:46 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: SW PA
Posts: 368
Default RE: Possible Buy - Need advice.

Answerguy7,

89 was the 8th production year for the Model 100, see here: http://www.geocities.com/MotorCity/Garage/9715/faq.html

I think returns from the techs in the field working on them for those years probably dug out a lot of the bugs in the manufacture of them in that period.

I haven't had any tranny problems, per se, on an Audi, except when I changed one due to differential trouble. There was a recall, and free replacement of the same that I read about in 92 or 93, in Consumer Reports, bad differential fluid, ate the gears up. Needless to say, I replaced mine before I found out about it.

You may be able to find out if your prospect was involved in the recall, and if it was repaired by going to Audi.

Actually, I have had very little trouble with any of my Audis, from my first 80 diesel, 79 gas 5 speed, my youngest girl's car, when she was 16, my 82 diesel, my girl's 85 gas auto, my 87 or, now, my 90 100 auto.

I have found them to be reliable. They can be tricky to work on. There is no Haynes manual for the 89-91 model, so it's the Bentley's Shop Manual, the one the dealerships are supposed to be using, so I hear, at 100 or 150 USD per.

I like my 90, but the guy I bought it from has a 92 200 on consignment for under 2500 that I am seriously considering buying.

I may be way off the mark on this, but my 85 Turbo had 5 bolt wheels, presumably because of the higher output of the turbo, and my 90 is 4 bolt, and the 92 200 is 5 bolt, so presume it has a stronger engine than the one I am driving. (Offramp, can you confirm or refute this? I am asking nicely, I simply don't know.)

Just as an aside, once upon a time, at work on the afternoon shift, it got down to near zero. The four of us at work decided to go out to start our cars before the end of the shift, to warm up. Better to burn a gallon or so of gas than to find out we were stranded.

First car, Mercury Sable, I think, took over half an hour to start. Went to the lot where the rest of us were parked, said I'd go try mine, started first crank, warmed up, drove to the other 2, Pontiac Fiero, and Chevrolet Celebrity, damned near another half hour to get them fired up. They quit ragging me about my German car after that.

Used several cans of ether to get them started, too.

I, personally, don't feel 175k is all that high for a 16 year old car. That's 11k per year, less than a lease car allowance, hence less than the average driver puts on.

If the price is right, go for it.

Sorry to ramble so. Bored, I guess.

Cheers,

George

ps: What he said for the heater core, I think they changed the routine for the heater motor, used to have to do the same damned thing to change it, also. MAJOR PITA.

edit: I get slightly over 20 mpg, and all my driving is local.
 
  #4  
Old 05-25-2005, 02:10 PM
2nd Gear
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Swamplands of NJ
Posts: 761
Default RE: Possible Buy - Need advice.

Low mileage alone is not an indicator of good condition. I agree that 175k for a 16 year old car is not a lot but finding a good specimen is hard. On a car this old one can expect frozen rusted bolts, aluminum oxidized and pitted, rubber dry rotted and the plastic parts brittle or cracked. And let’s not forget the myriad of oxidized electrical connectors.

Overall the Audi 3-speed automatics were not bad in terms of design provided you were able to keep it from leaking its bodily fluids. Dry differential was a fairly common problem, seal between transmission and differential often failed and caused cross contamination. The thin ATF did minced meat out of the ring and pinion. Also the bushings on the torque converter were too narrow, wearing out prematurely causing the ATF to leak excessively past the seal. On some transmissions the ATF would be thrown all over the engine compartment, destroying rubber hoses.

The 5 bolt wheels where used on the turbo and V8 cars during the 80's through 91. In 92 a switch to the 5-bolt pattern was made with the only exception being the 80 models.

Last year for the 200 badge was 91, in 92 the “S” models replaced the 200.
 
  #5  
Old 05-27-2005, 05:22 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: SW PA
Posts: 368
Default RE: Possible Buy - Need advice.

Offramp,

I hate to disagree with you on this subject, but the "dry differential" was not "cross contamination". In fact, I don't see any way for the differential fluid to contaminate the tranny.

The tranny is under pressure, some 240 psi, or some such. The differential, with 0.5 litre of fluid, strictly a "dip the ring gear" in it, and lube all the other gears. No way for it to pump gear lube to the tranny.

Whether the front seal will allow the tranny fluid to enter the differential, I don't know, but rather doubt. There is a paper gasket as well as an "O" ring on the "spigot fit", tranny to differential That seals and allows the fluid under pressure to reach the governor. A leak, and you have screwed the system. Pressures are all wrong. Been there, done that, and that was by a "mechanic" who "knew all about VW tranniies".

Where you just might get gear lube dilution is from bad "O" rings on the governor, under the tin cap on the differential, driver's side. That is not under pressure, as the drains are quite large, so no "push" into the differential.

No, Audi did, DID, mind you, admit to a "bad" lube in the differential in those production years, and to their credit, fully warranteed the defective units. It kind of "evaporated", per their terms.

If the damage was minimal, they changed the fluid. If the worm and worm wheel were damaged, they would repair or replace.

Anyone with a Consumer Reports subscription who can go back to, I think, May issue, '92 or '93 and reference it?

I don't know whether you can get all the recalls from Audi. Have joined Audi USA website, but it is more to sell new than to tell you what your probs might be with a used car.

Cheers,

George
 
  #6  
Old 05-27-2005, 12:36 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Swamplands of NJ
Posts: 761
Default RE: Possible Buy - Need advice.

Gmatov,

I think that you have misunderstood the cross contamination and dry differential statement that I have made. Mostly these are two separate problems. I think that the cross contamination is caused by the dry diff. Without gear oil lubrication the differential gets hot and dry causing the oil seal to wear out and/or crack, allowing the ATF to enter. You are right in the sense that gear oil cannot enter the automatic section. But in the next sentence I am talking about ATF entering the differential (TSB ATRATB255).

Did you ever take a 089 or 087 3-speed automatic apart? I have! Three units to be exact. For the fluid to leak into the differential it is quite easy, there is only one seal that separates the two. The VW and Audi transmissions are not similar except on the Passat models, which are the same as Audi. VW's drive train sits transverse where’s in Audi's it sits longitudinally. The Audi Automatic has a very unique design where the Pinion gear/shaft on the differential is hollow so that the torque converter, via turbine shaft, and oil pump drive shaft could go through it to the transmission portion.

I had a 089 differential fail as result of a "evaporated" fluid. It was not fun, it locked up while I was going 60mph on a gentle turn. Subsequent tear down revealed two broken teeth on the spider gears. The two junkyard units also died rather quickly but for different reasons. The last unit actually shifted fine but the torque converter bushing needed to be replaced as it was leaking excessively past the oil seal, spewing oil all over the engine compartment.


[IMG]local://upfiles/1095/0532AF20D42C4E88BA460DD9AE52E74E.gif[/IMG]
 
  #7  
Old 05-27-2005, 07:47 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: SW PA
Posts: 368
Default RE: Possible Buy - Need advice.

Offramp,

Yes, as I mentioned before, I have had to tear down and rebuild the 3 speed auto in my kid's '85 5000 Turbo.

The main reason was as you said above, bad differential. '85 was one of the years under recall for "evaporating" gear lube. When I tore the differential apart, I found the pinion to have razor sharp teeth, about half or less their original thickness. The shock from hammering caused the front bearing fit to open up, heat up, and sieze.

Why I had to open and rebuild the tranny itself, is that I bought a transaxle, complete from a bone yard, with convertor. Foolish me, instead of opening the box and checking it out, simply installed and ran, for 1 day, next day, no reverse. Called the yard, they told me to have it checked at tranny shop, they said it was no good. Got my money back for the tranny, 1/2 the price as I really only wanted the differential, anyway.

PO'd, now, got a local mech to pull the tranny out, put my old 1 back in, which worked well, before. They did so, but couldn't get it to run, said it needed a rebuild, I said at your rates, never happen, took it home and dropped it again myself, after buying a complete rebuild kit, some 130 USD.

When I pulled the tranny from the spigot fit, found that they had left the washers on the studs, automatic 2 mm shims, no sealing effect from the fibre gasket between the faces, no pressure to speak of in the system, massive leak. Took it back to the mech, told him he caused my prob, least he could do, since I'd paid him for the original work, was to use his clean room and tools to do the rebuild for me. He said OK, but, y'know, having a sign saying you are a mechanic doesn't mean you are one. Every time I stopped to see what progress he made, he was even more befuddled, trying to fit a stack a foot and a half high into a foot deep "box". Finally got it together, I reinstalled, ran about a week, pulled it, found he had some friction plates in the wrong order, redid them, flushed it, reinstalled, week later, same thing, went deeper, found more out of order stuff, in the end, the only thing he did right was the oil pump in the rear.

So, yes, I have been inside an Audi tranny, more times than I like to remember.

My second biggest mistake on that car was throwing the parts away when I changed it out. This "new" convertor was obviously as full of crap as the "new" tranny was, kept contaminating the fluid, siezing valves in the valve body. Pull the pan, pull the valve body, dismantle, clean, reinstall, refill. Probably used a drum of fluid in that thing. Clean really counts in an automatic tranny.

Still, depending on the price, I'd not be afraid to buy the car the OP asked about. I did buy an '87 5000 a couple years ago, gave up on it when I couldn't get it started. Have spark, have fuel, have timing on the nut. (Reason I bought it was I thought I knew it all about Audis, he didn't know how to time it, I'd have it running in half an hour. Ha, ha, good one on me. Still sitting here, still not running, 300 bucks worth of scrap iron, some parts I can use, most I can't. So far saved 75 bucks for a headlight from it rather than the boneyard, need the side mirrors, used the hood props, too. Ah, well.)

I like my '90 better, anyway.

Cheers,

George
 
  #8  
Old 05-27-2005, 07:57 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 1,355
Default RE: Possible Buy - Need advice.

Very interesting...

Economical daily driver does not equal 16 year old 175K Audi 100.

Get an Accord or Camary or Civic or something like that.
 
  #9  
Old 05-27-2005, 09:46 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Swamplands of NJ
Posts: 761
Default RE: Possible Buy - Need advice.

Accord or Camry or Civic or something like that.
I had a few Japanese cars, the only problem is that few Asian imports make it to 16+ years. By that time the exterior rusts, the interior falls apart, squeaks and rattles, BUT the power train keeps on running.
 
  #10  
Old 05-27-2005, 10:27 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Swamplands of NJ
Posts: 761
Default RE: Possible Buy - Need advice.

Gmatov,

It does make you wonder what Audi used for gear lube? In my original gear box there wasn't even any significant sludge left! Despite being driven bone dry there wasn’t much wear on the ring and pinion. Gear box #2 had the teeth worn down to almost nothing with gear lube inside. I think that it was just a bad batch gears. Gear box #3 just leaked like sieve 1Q of ATF every 200 miles. I was embarrassed to drive the car as it would leave BIG red puddles.

The 087/089 gear box is actually a piece of cake to work on, even the first time around. I found it much easier than the Chevy Turbo 350.

…having a sign saying you are a mechanic doesn't mean you are one.
One reason why I started to do most of my own work got tired of paying big bucks for somebody to swap parts. I can swap parts myself without having to pay somebody $80/hour.

 

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