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Our Cars: 1990 Audi 80

30 June 2016: Our Audi 80 stops starting

The Details

Current mileage 220,156
Actual economy 29mpg
Costs so far £40 (fuel)

With 100 miles under its belt, I was feeling fairly confident in our Audi 80’s abilities and so pressed it into service as a family wagon for a couple of weeks. It was a role the car performed beautifully. The kids loved it, thanks to all that space and light. And I loved driving it, thanks mainly to that 2.0-litre fuel injected engine which still pulled keenly, despite the high-mileage.

As you’d expect from a vehicle that’s covered 220,000 miles, it was showing signs of wear – especially in the suspension department. A trip to the newly revamped British Motor Museum with some mates made this abundantly clear as the car rattled and clonked under the load. I’ll definitely be having a nose at those rubber bushes in future.

More pressing was the car’s refusal start on the way back from the museum trip. Getting it going after several minutes in the car park was touch and go. I was about to reach for my AA card when, on what felt like the battery’s last hurrah, the engine fired into life.

Could this be related to the mysterious issue that had caused the engine to unexpectedly cut out under its previous owner? Almost certainly, I’d say. The engine was turning (and therefore I’d assumed sparking) so it must be a problem in the fuel department.

Audi 80 (2)

Our Audi 80's 2.0-litre may have a fuelling issue

Once the car was up and running, it made the journey back home fine and started again the following day without so much as a cough or a splutter. Intermittent faults are always the hardest to fix, so I’ll just have to keep tooling about in it and see what happens.

Using a decent grade fuel might help, as could buying some injector cleaner. Sometimes, fuelling issues like these can be caused by some crud being pulled up or gummed up injectors. Either that, or the octopus-like injector system that was used on a lot of VAG Group cars of this era. No one really understands how this works, but witchcraft is almost certainly involved.

« Earlier: New arrival: 1990 Audi 80     Later: MoT time for our Audi 80 »

Updates
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