This is me

Gilbertd

New Member
Despite having already posted with a minor problem (P1031), I thought I should really stick with forum etiquette and introduce myself. Cars have been a hobby for the last 40 odd years while electronics is work. I do all my own work on my cars and those of a number of other people and am also involved in importing and exporting cars, primarily from the US to the EU. As I need something to tow a car transporter trailer around Europe, I run and maintain what many consider to be the most unreliable vehicle ever made, a 1998 V8 P38 Range Rover. My partner is a Mercedes fan and runs a 2007 SLK280 with a 3 litre V6.

I first got interested in the A2 when my partner's parents needed a new(er) car. She is originally from Latvia and her parents still live there in a little seaside village about 30 miles north of Riga. The house is less than 500m from the sea and their previous car, a Ford Mondeo, was suffering from terminal tin worm. At the last MoT test (yes, they do have an MoT in Latvia), her father was told that he would pass it this year, just, but it was a toss up whether the engine or the drivers seat would fall through the floor first and he didn't expect to see it the following year. So, we offered to find him a replacement. If you want a good quality LHD car, Holland is the place to go. Cars are almost always well maintained with full service histories and as their road tax charges are horrendously high compared with most other countries, cars are cheap.

As her father is 80 years old (but still very fit and active), we needed to find something that was easy to get in and out of, something you step in and out of rather that drop into and climb out. Initially looked at A Class Mercedes but their reliability record is horrendous, probably the least reliable car Mercedes have ever made. The automatics have gearbox problems, the manuals eat clutches (and it's a subframe out, 8 hour job, to change one) and generally they didn't look a good idea. Then I saw an A2 and thought it looked to be suitable. Found one in a local dealers and took it for a drive just to see what they were like. Despite appearing small, it didn't feel cramped inside, it was quick, quiet and, according to all the reviews, reliable and economical but, above all, it wouldn't rust. So, an A2 it would be.

Found a suitable one in a dealers in Holland, so we flew to Amsterdam and picked it up. A 2000 1.4 in blue with full main dealer service history and 260,000 kms (162,000 miles) on the clock. It drove fine, everything worked and we set off back home. Petrol is cheaper in Belgium than Holland so decided to fill it once we were over the border but by then the fuel gauge was reading nothing. Stopped at the first filling station and found it only took 32 litres to fill. This was after I'd had to resort to the (Dutch) owners handbook to find out how to open the filler flap though..... Drove it to Calais, cruising at 75-80 mph, over on the ferry and then up to home in Cambridgeshire and the fuel gauge still showed it had a quarter tank of fuel left! Took it into my local MoT test station for an MoT pre-test (didn't need a test as it wasn't going to be registered in the UK) and told then to give it a thorough going over. All they could find was a split boot on one of the anti roll bar drop links and the front brake pads getting a bit thin. Bought a set of pads and bunged them in the glovebox for when the time came and fitted a pair of drop links. A week after picking it up from Holland, put it on a trailer behind the Range Rover and took it to Latvia. The A2 isn't common in Latvia and even though the cars there are much the same as anywhere else these days (the former Communist rubbish rotted away long ago) any Audi is considered very upmarket. Partner's parents were chuffed to bits with it (and still are). The day after we got it there, we drove it to their equivalent to a DVLA local office and a couple of hours later it was registered in Latvia.

So then we come to the latest one. A very good friend works as a live-in carer in Devon but lives in Lincolnshire. She works 2 weeks on, two weeks off so every fortnight she does a 5 hour drive to get to work or back. A couple of weeks before Christmas she calls to say there's a problem with her car, it won't do more than 30 mph on a fairly slight uphill. AA told her they couldn't get there for 2 hours so I go to see if I can find the problem. Nothing wrong with the engine, sounds fine, but the cause of the lack of speed was pretty obvious as soon as I tried to drive it, the clutch has burnt out and is slipping. She had been considering changing the car anyway for one that would use less petrol and cost her less in road tax, so asked me to find her something suitable and reliable. Only one choice then, it had to be another A2. There's a lot less to choose from than there had been in Holland and after missing out on a 2000 1.4 in a dealers, found her a 2004 1.6FSI at the right price due to the P1031 fault (which I've still not got to the bottom of). However, as the fault only affects driving at over 3,000 rpm, it shouldn't trouble her at all as she's the driver we all curse for sitting at 60 mph on the motorway. But, I've got a generic OBD code reader, Vagcom, Opcom (GM cars), iCarsoft for Mercedes and a Nanocom for Range Rover if anyone needs diagnostics doing on anything else and lots of experience with importing cars and getting them registered in most European countries.
 

PlasticMac

Member
Hi Gilbert's, from a fellow FSI'er!
The FSI engine requires (demands) understanding, a logical step by step approach to troubleshooting, and a copy of VCDS (free download, £75 to register and full functionality on VAG cars to 05/06 and KKL cable, eBay £5).
The P1031 thread is developing into a very informative source for us FSI'ers.
Looking forward to your future contributions.
Cheers for now.
Mac.
 

Gilbertd

New Member
Thanks Mac, I wasn't actually looking for a 1.6 FSI, a 1.4 would be plenty quick enough for her but for a relatively low mileage 2004 car, in very nice condition, at the price I couldn't let it go (even with the MIL on). It's getting a pair of front tyres tomorrow but other than that, nothing more so will only have cost around £800 in all. I'm a bit curious though as everyone says the FSI is the top of the range yet it doesn't have the trip computer? It's got the radio/CD/Cassette stereo and climate control but not much else.

Diagnostics and logic is something I've had to use at work for years and it amazes me how many people don't seem able to follow a logical path through a problem and end up trying to cure a symptom rather than a cause. With the P1031 fault, having seen that it consists of nothing more than a vacuum take off, a solenoid valve, an actuator and a feedback potentiometer, then it isn't going to be much. It's got a new actuator and no leaks on the vacuum hoses, so it's likely to be the feedback unless the flaps are sticking at one end of the travel so it can't move over the full range.
 

steve_c

A2OC Donor
Not sure if you are aware, but the FSI expects 98 RON fuel as a minimum. It's best to use a main brand, but Tesco Momentum 99 also works well.
 

Gilbertd

New Member
...a job for life, if ever there was one!
(I'm at 17 years and about 180,000m, over 2 FSIs)
I'll be probably well suited then as I will be the one maintaining it. I bought a Range Rover with 204,000 miles on it 9 years ago and it now has 388,800, about 70% of that done on the other side of the Channel. That really was a full time job for the first 4 or 5 years.

Wasn't aware that it needed 98 RON though, is that a recommendation or what it says in the book?
 

Robin_Cox

Member
One thing worth noting with the car in Latvia is that even if the body won't rust, there are a lot of underbody components that can be badly affected by the salty air, so it would be worthwhile spraying most of the underpinnings, subframes etc. and things like the steel frame above the radiators in the engine bay with Waxoyl as a preventative measure. I have an A2 that lived 12 years in an Aberdeenshire fishing village, and even one of the alloy window frames has severe corrosion in one spot where obviously the protective layer failed.

Engine light on a 1.6FSi sounds fairly par for the course- at least you know the light works! Lots of advice here on things to look at, and it sounds like you've got the expertise and dedication to be able to work through the issues until it is solved.
 

Gilbertd

New Member
Good advice although the only reason the Mondeo lasted as long as it did was due to a regular pressure washing with plain water. I'll be over there later in the year so will probably take a Waxoyl sprayer with me and give it a going over. Although I was astounded how good it was underneath when it went in for the MoT pre-test.

As for the FSI, I've had a look at it today so will update the P1031 thread with my findings but have also found that the CD player doesn't work. It doesn't drag the disc in when I press the Load button and if I push it in manually, it comes up with CD 1, Error 3 on the display. Is it a CD multichanger lurking in there? I also had a look inside the filler flap and confirmed it says 98 RON/95 ROZ so I've told the owner to treat it to Tesco Mometum 99. Seems to run fine on normal 95 RON though......
 

timmus

A2OC Donor
I'm a bit curious though as everyone says the FSI is the top of the range yet it doesn't have the trip computer? It's got the radio/CD/Cassette stereo and climate control but not much else.
In A2 World, there is no correlation between the engine under the bonnet and the number of optional extras fitted. FSI models are no more 'top of the range' than any other A2.

When buying an A2 from new in the UK, you'd choose your engine and then choose your 'trim package'. For a majority of the A2's production run, there were three trim packages: Base, SE and Sport. You got certain optional extras depending on the trim package you purchased. You were then free to add individual optional extras on top of the trim package.
For instance, the SE trim package included the false floor in the boot, climate control, illuminated vanity mirrors, front fog lights, leather controls, protected door sills, 6-spoke 16" alloys, and chrome highlights in the interior. The precise details of the trim packages varied slightly from year to year, but you get the idea.
Most optional extras, such as the OpenSky sunroof, cruise control, the Bose premium sound system, heated/leather seats, multifunction steering wheel, rear parking sensors, etc, were not included in any of the trim packages, meaning these optional extras always needed to be added on top of the selected trim package.

The trip computer (known as the Driver Information System, or DIS) was only included with the Sport trim package.

Of course, I'm talking about the system in the UK. Things worked somewhat differently in Central European countries, but the overall concept is the same; you'll find A2s with the 75bhp petrol that are dripping with toys, and 110bhp FSIs that haven't had a single additional box checked on the order form.

Luckily, everything apart from OpenSky and climate control can be retrofitted, meaning many poverty-spec' A2s have been massively upgraded since they left the factory.

Cheers,

Tom
 
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