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1982-96 - 1997 - 1998 - 1999 - 2000 - Story

Jan 1982Audi CoupeWE 2144 cc K-Jetronic CIS
Oct 1993Purchased carIt looked like this, with 141,707 miles
Gobi Beige (=gold),with unknown brand aftermarket wheels
Apr 1995Speedometer120 mph unit (unknown source), reset to match my mileage
Sep 19951980 4kdGrille logo, center vent flap, and a nice leather shift knob
Jan 19961985 4kqGrey leather interior and steering wheel (replaced Feb and Oct 1997)
Sep 19961980 5ktGas charged hood strut and brackets
Oct 1996Drowned engineReplaced with identical unit from Mars Red 82 Coupe, with 133,500 less miles
Oct 19961986 4kqExhaust manifold, downpipe and some hacked pipework to attach it to the stock system
Oct 1996A/C deleteRemove compressor, condenser, drier, evaporator and many awkward hoses!
Nov 19961979 SciroccoVersion One round headlight system (replaced Jan 1999)

1982-96 - 1997 - 1998 - 1999 - 2000 - Story

Jan 19971997 PassatCupholder (new)
Feb 19971985 UrqBrown leather interior
Feb 1997Timing:Advanced to 16 degrees BTDC
Apr 1997Tail lightsAdded jumper wires to good ground
May 1997FoglightsReally cheesy ones! (replaced Oct 1997)
May 1997Pre '85 parts binVersion One side signals (replaced Jan 1999)
Jul 19971981 5kt
1980 5ks
1987 5ks
Power window mechanical regulators, wiring and switches. (replaced Jan 1999)
Sep 19971985 Coupe GTConvert to later style rear spoiler
Oct 19971981 5ktMuffler & some pipe
Oct 1997ExhaustAluminised pipe bending to "finish" system
Oct 1997FoglightsPIAA 959i - finally, some real ones.
Oct 1997HeadlightsHella H4/H1 lenses, and relay system
Oct 19971985,6,7
4kq's and CGT's
Dashboard upgrade and reroute warm air to center vent
Oct 19971987 5ksPower mirror switches mounted in underdash panel
Oct 19971988 80Yet another, nicer, steering wheel
Nov 1997Shift linkageCleaned, painted and replaced all soft parts

1982-96 - 1997 - 1998 - 1999 - 2000 - Story

Mar 1998JamexFront strut tower brace
Mar 1998Shift linkageModified for shorter throw
Mar 1998AlternatorPowder coated bright yellow, stainless steel hardware
Apr 1998EibachLowering springs (1.25" front, 0.75" rear)
Jun 1998Tune way upTiming to 20 degrees BTDC, W7DTC plugs
Jul 199886 4ks5 blade radiator fan and rewire for after run feature
Aug 1998Wheels and tiresBright yellow 15" x 6.5 et 35, w/custom "Audi" center caps, 215-45 rubber
Aug 1998Front suspensionSubframe, control arms & sway bar powder coated bright yellow & black, all new bushings, S/S hardware
Sep 1998AlternatorCustom made bracket arm for toothed style adjustment nut (bright yellow)
Sep 1998Bright yellowRadiator fan housing, heater pipe, hose flanges, support bar; distributor sheild
Sep 1998Fuel supplyBright yellow bracket, new isolation mounts and filters, stainless steel hardware
Oct 19981986 4ksHandbrake lever and boot, with new pull rod
Nov 19981986 4ksColumn switches to add "coast" function to cruise control
Nov 19981987 Coupe GTRear bumper and trim
Nov 1998Rear axleHub to hub rebuild, including: bright yellow rear axle and panhard rod, all new bushings; new rear brakes with white drums & backing plates
Nov 1998BrakesFlush lines and install stainless steel flexible hoses

1982-96 - 1997 - 1998 - 1999 - 2000 - Story

Jan 19991985 4kqFront bumper, trim, and wheel well liners
Jan 19991979 5k
1985 Coupe GT
Version Two round headlights and corner markers/signals, sloping front grille
Jan 1999Front brakesNew 16V Scirocco rotors and 1985-7 style calipers, new shields powder coated white
Jan 19991984 CoupeRust free front doors, trunk lid; install cable type power windows
Jan 1999CatalystCustom built "resonator" type unit (This is legal in NH, on pre 1985 cars, which mine still is, according to the registration anyway!)
Jan 19991987 5ksThird brake light
Jan 1999SteeringRemanufactured rack, flush PS system, new filter
Jan 1999Cruise controlCleaned pedal switches, tested all wiring for 100% functionality!
Feb 19991987 Coupe GTFront fenders and hood
Feb 19991986 4kqCustom tailpipe for victory over "boominess"!
Mar 19991987.5 Coupe GTThrottle body with large secondary butterfly used on all CIS-E cars
Apr 19991981 5ktCamshaft, bright yellow cam cover and timing belt covers
May 19991987.5 Coupe GTIgnition wiring loom
Jun 19991984 CoupeCIS-E conversion and lots of pretty parts...
Jun 19991989-90 90'sExpress power window modules
Aug 1999S2? (new part)Oil pan windage tray, while replacing oil pump gasket
Oct 1999Cylinder head!Replaced valve stem seals
Nov 19991987.5 CoupeNew style tail light harness
Dec 19991985-on (new part)One piece speedometer cable

1982-96 - 1997 - 1998 - 1999 - 2000 - Story

Jan 2000Bulletin!My car is old enough to vote!
Jan 2000ExhaustBuilt a 2.5" exhaust system with mandrel bent curves, and a Flowmaster muffler.
Jan 2000ExhaustDitch the really loud Flowmaster, install a generic muffler.
Feb 2000ExhaustDitch the wheezy and leaky generic muffler, install a Dynomax muffler...
Feb 2000Fuel SupplyNew fuel injectors
Jul 2000and counting!300,000 miles
Sep 2000EngineNew starter, 2 ga battery ground cable
Soon?1984 CoupeUsed transmission with lower gearing
Soon?BodyFix some old rust and install the "one color" option

I could have linked all these historical tidbits above to files describing them - but I didn't, so to explore the details of these projects you'll either have to go to the main index or the photo directory. Sorry.

1982-96 - 1997 - 1998 - 1999 - 2000 - Story

I bought my car used in October of 1993 with 141,000 miles on it for $2300. It looked like a new car, and ran great, but was a little wobbly on the highway. This was cured by about $600 thrown at the front end: a couple of CV joints, a ball joint or two, and strut tower bushings.

Sometime in the early fall of 1996 I discovered the Quattro List on the internet, and what had been a harmless hobby started to become a psychotic mania. Sure, I like to work on things myself, and I like to improve or customise things a little to my liking once in a while. But all of a sudden here were a thousand odd sources of ideas for changes and donors of parts for repairs and alterations (to say nothing of a captive, if not appreciative, audience for my foolishness).

In October 1996, the day after the infamous "Kanc. Run" (which I missed), in a torrential downpour (for around here) I managed to try to "navigate" a bit of roadway that was flooded two feet deep. This was not good for my car. My engine was busted, but good. Attempts at CPR were for naught. Later inspection revealed a little gouge in the #1 cylinder that prevented the piston from reaching TDC. I wasn't really hip to the various versions of the I5 engine yet, so I picked up another 82 Coupe a tree had fallen on and transplanted its nice, strong, healthy engine with only 80k miles on it.

I have updated just about all the cosmetics to the improvements introduced in 1985. I have replaced and/or rebuilt most of the cars major systems. I have also eliminated all the interior chrome by carefully mixing and matching bits from other cars. The only silver that remains is the shift diagram on the knob, and my Audi logo key fob.

Since I don't indulge in the projects that some consider to be de rigeur, usually spending a lot of time and money to make their cars faster (sometimes a lot faster), I figured it would make sense to try to explain my guiding "philosophy" for my car projects here.

The reasons I drive Audis are several. One is that a long time ago I got my first one (a 1980 5000s), and really liked it a lot - the way it looked, the way it handled, its safety and solidity. Another is that the least reliable feature of old Audi (and VW) products is pretty much the wiring, and electrical systems in general. I am competent and unafraid when it comes to fixing, improving, and modifying these systems, so they don't pose the financial threat they might to others. The other side of this coin is that the system that is most reliable is the five cylinder Audi engine and the five speed manual transmission bolted to it. They almost never break. The things that do tend to go wrong with the car don't strand me for long, so long as I keep it above the high tide line.

(A lot of people complain about the door handles. Well, sure they break every hundred thousand or so miles, and do cost all of sixty dollars and an hour to fix. But a broken door handle doesn't stop you from getting wherever you are going on time. A cracked head does. The typical beat up, fifteen year old used Audi for sale has a broken door handle or three, a host of luxury features that don't work because the switches are dirty, but starts and runs like a new car even after sitting unused for six months!)

My cars are daily drivers. I want to drive them every day. Now that I have two "nice cars" I truly can enjoy keeping them in great shape. I have learned how much I can try to fix or rebuild in one or at most two days of work. I try to carefully make sure I have all the parts I need before starting a project so I won't have to wait for days with the car out of use - but when it is, hey, I have another cool car to use.

Driving a 19 year old car brings up some serious issues. Without proper care and planning, it can turn into a heap of troublesome junk instead of a fine automobile. So I set as my "standard" a car in the third or fourth year of its life. A car like this would still be sucking payments out of its owners wallet, while also beginning to require most normal repetitive maintenance chores. That car should still be pretty reliable and decent looking, though. With this in mind, I am justified in spending a couple of hundred dollars a month, on average, to keep my car up as well as I can. Lately I have been rebuilding entire systems, repainting the basic metal parts and replacing all the soft parts, in order to try to emulate the condition a younger car would be in.

I have learned to enjoy repairing things on my car myself, which allows the advantage of doing things no one would ever pay a mechanic to do, like replacing all the nuts and bolts with stainless steel, and fixing the little things that are exposed when doing bigger jobs. I try to always leave things a little better than they were when I do some work on my car. If an electrical problem comes up, or if I do some custom work, I add the changes to the wiring diagram in my Bentley shop manual, so I'll be able to understand what I did years from now. I use the same style of connectors and wiring concepts in my custom work as Audi did in building the car, for internal consistency. I keep a close eye on as many systems as I can, watching for known failure modes, and paying attention to service intervals, so I can prepare for repairs and effect them before they immobilise the car.

I have done some "boy racer" things to my car, I guess, but they are mostly to "fix" things that could have been done a bit better back in '82. The only thing I can't "justify" with anything I have said above, really, is the pretty much straight piped exhaust system I have wound up with. But it isn't unreasonably loud inside the car and does increase the "pep" enough to be worth it. Everything else I've done just makes it a nicer car to own and drive.

1982-96 - 1997 - 1998 - 1999 - 2000 - Story