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  • Who Makes Audis?

    Audi was originally formed in Germany in 1910, by August Horch. ("Audi" is the Latin version of his name, which means "hearken" in German.)

    In 1932, it merged with three other German car companies to form Auto Union. (The four linked circles of the Audi logo symbolise this merger.) In 1963 the company was renamed Audi, and merged with Volkswagen to form "Volkswagen Audi Geselschaft" (VAG).

    VAG also owns SEAT, and Skoda.

    M50/M52 water pump failure

    We continue to see problems due to water pump failures on the M50 and M52 engines. These engines were first introduced in 1992 in the 325s and 525s. Early engines have a plastic fan blade impeller pressed onto a metal shaft that is turned by the pulley and fan belt. The impeller pumps coolant throughout your engine and it is essential that it operates at peak efficiency. Over time, the plastic cracks and the pump impeller freewheels and/or comes off the shaft. The result is a temperature gauge reading in the red...HOT! If this happens to you...turn off your engine and call a tow truck unless you're in danger. Otherwise, at a minimum, you will either blow a head gasket and/or warp your cylinder head. Very expensive. Older water pumps tend to always leak when they've failed; however, these pumps don't leak very often. Unless the technician knows this, he will usually recommend a new radiator, only to find the same overheating problem still exists after the new radiator is installed. The solution is to replace the water pump with a new one with a metal impeller. Although the part number is the same for early plastic impeller pumps and the late ones (11 51 1 433 828), the newer ones have a metal impeller and are more reliable. Insist on a metal impeller if you need a pump..

    What is that Gargling Sound?

    On the Quattro version of the A4, the gas tank is not flat. It is shaped and mounted in the A4 like an upside down U. This allows room for the drive shaft to meet the rear differential. The fuel pump is only on one side of the tank. So, how does the fuel get from one side of the tank to the side that has the fuel pump?

    According to Shumburg Audi, there is an injector that picks up the fuel and sends it over to the other side of the tank (where the fuel pump is).

    Shumburg stated that the injector (not to be confused with a pump according to Shumburg) is probable making this sound and if the car starts and runs fine, do not worry about it.

    When I turn on the A/C, a visible vapor accompanied by an unpleasant odor. Is this normal? How do I get rid of the smell?

    It's normal. It's simply the air condensing when the water content in the air comes in contact w/ the cold air. If you haven't been using your A/C much, some fungal residue may build. Possible solution is to the turn up the heat on the A/C and have it blasting to kill the bacteria that resides in your A/C vent system. Another suggestion is to turn your A/C off (i.e. leave the fan on but hit ECON to turn the compressor off) for the last 10-15 minutes of your trip. This allows the A/C components (duct-work, etc.) to warm up and for the condensation that forms on them to dry off (since there is still airflow 'cause you are still driving). This will limit the bacteria growth. It is especially important to do if you are going to be leaving your car parked for any length of time and/or it is humid out (more humidity = more condensation).

    'Clunk, clunk.' Who's there?

    We get frequent complaints from E30 and even some E36 (1984 and later 3-series) about a "clunk" from the rear of their cars that happens when they go over a slight bump or rise. The problem is usually the rear upper shock bushings separating. The cure is to replace those bushings Trunk switch problem. The new 5-series model E39 has had a problem with opening trunk doors. People assume the trunk door is secured by a mechanical latch that would require a hefty push to open. That's not the case. The trunks on the new 5-series are operated by an electrical switch which does not require you apply special force to activate. In fact, that has become the problem - people punch the switch so hard that the switch mechanism becomes pushed back into the trunk area and therefore becomes inoperative. BMW has now developed a better- designed switch panel which prevents it from being pushed inside the trunk. Meanwhile, go easy on the trunk switch and shouldn't have a problem.

    What is Quattro?

    'Quattro' was the name of the first Audi to use permanent all-wheel drive (AWD). Following the success of this model, Audi began to produce AWD versions of other models, and added the 'Quattro' designation to them, thus producing the '4000 Quattro', the 'Coupe Quattro', and so on.

    To distinguish the first Quattro from these other models, Audi engineers began to call it the 'Ur-Quattro', 'Ur' being a German prefix meaning 'original'.

    'Quattro' may be abbreviated - e.g. 200Q = 200 Quattro.

    Tire Wear Provides More Info Than You Think

    Driving on tires that are bald or badly worn greatly increases your chance of getting a flat or a blowout and is especially dangerous when the roads are wet or slick. Don't put off buying new tires when you need them - your safety is at stake!

    On average, tires need to be replaced every 40,000 miles but the exact mileage depends on the type of tire and car and what kind of driving you do.

    Tire wear can also tell you what's going on with your car's steering, suspension and tire pressure. Here are some tips on checking and interpreting tire wear:

    • Check your tires outdoors where the lighting is good. Visually inspect all four tires.
    • Remember that under normal driving conditions, all four tires should wear evenly.
    • Check for even tread wear by using a tread-depth gauge (about $20). The depth of the tread (the grooves in the tires) should be even on all parts of the tire. Another way to check for tire wear (although not as accurate) is to stick a penny into the grooves, with Lincoln's head pointing into the tire. If you can see the top of his head, it's time to buy new tires.
    • Let some air out of your tires if there is wear down the middle and not on the sides - there's too much air in them. Add air to tires with wear on both the inside and outside edges - there's not enough air in them.
    • Bring your car to an alignment shop for a front-end or four-wheel alignment if your tires are worn on one side or the other. And don't forget to get a front-end or four-wheel alignment if you are in an accident, even if it was just a fender bender. If anything is out of alignment, it will affect your tires' wear.
    • Run your hand lightly over the tread surface of each tire. If the treads feel bumpy or scalloped, even if the tread is still deep, you may need new shock absorbers or struts.
    • Check the tire pressure in all four tires and the spare tire at least once a month. The recommended tire pressure is listed in your car's manual, stamped on the side of the tire and is often printed on a sticker on the driver's-side doorjamb. When in doubt, 32 psi (pounds per square inch) is a good average until other sources can be consulted.
    • You should always carry a tire pressure gauge in your car. The outside temperature can alter the air pressure in your tires and allow them to wear out prematurely. Think preventive maintenance and it could save you money in the long run.
    • Tires never wear evenly, even if the car is properly aligned. Rotate tires at least every 6000 miles to spread the wear on all four tires.
    • If you feel a shimmy or wobble in the steering wheel or in the rear of the car with no evident tire wear, chances are the steel radial belt may be separating. Have the suspect tire checked by qualified professionals. A shimmy or wobble could also indicate tires that need to be balanced. Scalloped edges can indicate the same thing.
  • How Aftermarket Parts Affect Your Warranty

    Many people have asked whether or not the use of aftermarket parts, including performance chips, affects the new automobile warranty. Well, I did some research into this and came up with an answer. Many people already know the answer, but might not know exactly where to find it in the laws. Other people don't know the answer at all. Hopefully, what I've written will be helpful to everyone.

    On July 4, 1975 the Magnuson-Moss Act, enacted by Congress six months earlier, went into effect. It is part of the official United States Code and can be found at 15 U.S.C. 2301 et. seq. Section 2302(c) specifically addresses the issue that most people on this board are concerned with. In pertinent part it states:

    "No warrantor of a consumer product may condition his written or implied warranty of such product on the consumer's using, in connection with such product, any article or service (other than article or service provided without charge under the terms of the warranty) which is identified by brand, trade, or corporate name. . . . 15 U.S.C. 2302(c)."

    Additionally, Congress supplemented this Act in 1977 when it interpreted the Magnuson-Moss act. This interpretation appears at 16 C.F.R. 700.10 section 102(c) and states, in pertinent part:

    "No warrantor may condition the continued validity of a warranty on the use of only authorized repair service and/or authorized replacement parts for non-warranty service and maintenance. For example, provisions such as, 'This warranty is void if service is performed by anyone other than an authorized "ABC" dealer and all replacement parts must be genuine "ABC" parts,' and the like, are prohibited where the service or parts are not covered by the warranty. These provisions violate the Act in two ways. First, they violate the section 102 (c) ban against tying arrangements. Second, such provisions are deceptive under section 110 of the Act, because a warrantor cannot, as a matter of law, avoid liability under a written warranty where a defect is unrelated to the use by a consumer of "unauthorized" articles or service. This does not preclude a warrantor from expressly excluding liability for defects or damage caused by such "unauthorized" articles or service; nor does it preclude the warrantor from denying liability where the warrantor can demonstrate that the defect or damage was so caused."

    Therefore, under the laws of the United States an automobile warranty is only inapplicable if the manufacturer proves that the aftermarket part was the cause of the defect/damage. This is important, because it places the burden of proof on the manufacturer. Thus, the consumer is under no obligation to show that the aftermarket part did not cause the defect/damage.

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