Problems Identified, Work Mounting, Winter Coming.

This update comes about a week late as I was able to steal away to Vermont quick for the last full weekend of August. On the way up to the Green Mountain State, I stopped in North Adams Mass to pick up some cheap barely used tires. 90 bucks and and a shady CraigsList transaction in a McDonalds parking lot and I was on my way. This might have been the most productive moment of the whole weekend.

I knew I had to troubleshoot at least two issues I found last time I worked on the car: 1) why the engine would not turn over, 2) Where the fuel leak was coming from.

For the first issue, I turned to help from Motorgeek.com and asked the many Audi enthusiasts on how they would debug this 7a starting issue with little time in front of the car. After getting towed out of the meadow once again, I found the starter/solenoid was readily available to work on since pretty much the whole front of the car had been removed. This is what it looked like:


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To understand what’s going on here: The big round rusty thing is the starter motor itself, the smaller rusty round thing on top of it, is the starter solenoid. The fat black cable that is tied into the starter solenoid comes directly off the battery positive to provide the needed juice to crank the motor over. The, now green, braided cable between the tow rusty pieces is this ground connection. The smaller red wire that connects to the solenoid is the signal wire that tells the solenoid when to engage.

To start debugging I decided to pull this wire off, and test signal. As soon as I grabbed the connector, I could tell the tab was going to come off the solenoid – and it did, and was now stuck in the wire spade. Womp womp. I decided to press on and deal with that later. I took 12V hot off the battery and carefully touched the signal connection of the solenoid. !!! with some sparks and noise, the motor turned a bit: good news, the starter works. Now I had to see if the signal was coming from the ignition switch. Multimeter, to the red wire and ground, then went to the “Start” position with the key. Signal Good. So more good news, the problem was the connection that came off, problem identified. Solution not.

It took me a bit of time to fish out the broken tab that was rusted to the wire connector spade. but eventually, tab removed:

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I then went into town where I had a dealership mount up the new tires, trash the old ones as well as balance, stems, seal etc. Coupe looks a lot better with them mounted:

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I turned to look at the fuel leak which was coming from where I did some work on the fuel filter:

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With the fuel system under pressure, I could see that rust had eaten away at the wall of the connector that sits over the bolt and carries the fuel away, requiring replacement. Unfortunately this is all sold as a hard line from the factory so I’ll need to get creative here. I also discovered another fuel leak on the other side of the car. I Believe its the same hard line (fuel engine feed) but that one can be bypassed a little easier with some aftermarket fuel line. Moving on.

While looking around the car, I decided to take out the Engine bay Heat deflecting blanket thing because it was all nasty and had some holes in it. I was also suspecting that Mice were using it which turned out to be:

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…exactly what was happening. This didn’t exactly smell too pleasant either. To tell the truth, the whole car smells strong enough to haunt my memories for a few days – this happens after every weekend. Hopefully the engine bay will start to smell like gas and exhaust soon, that would be preferred.

After this, I decided to call it a day and go watch the National series Tractor Pulls. All in all, I certainly am starting to wonder if I will meet my goal of getting the car running and driving before the winter. My 24hoursoflemons race team is now getting serious as our late October race gets nearer. I’ll also be navigating for the Targa Newfoundland race in September which results in very few weekends left before November. In Vermont, November means snow at any time, or all the time which means working/debugging will not be much fun. Hopefully I can get away sometime soon and try to get this thing running.

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