It has been a frustrating few weeks, with it not feeling like I’ve made any real progress on the car. But I have got a few things done and solved a couple of issues.

Rusty has failed another two WoF inspections, one of which I’m not happy about. But back to the start of the story – Rusty decided halfway through being detailed that it didn’t want to have brake fluid any more, so it dumped it all over the floor. I asked Chris from Finer Details to take the car next door to Kohl Rod and Custom for investigation. It turned out to be my fault. The brass T-piece I’d bought for the rear wasn’t quite right and even though it had held for a few weeks it was now leaking. So a new one was purchased, and they had to make a new front-to-back brake line as the factory one was about 5mm short. I’m happy about that as it means all brake lines are now brand new.

Once that issue was all sorted, the brakes felt a bit more convincing, though still not brilliant.

Next on the list was to look at the warm stalling issue. Basically as soon as Rusty was up to running temperature, the engine would falter and then stall. Answers to some requests for help online suggested it might be a vacuum leak, so I ordered some new braided vac line, clamps and joiners.

It’s a good job I did this as the vac lines were very stiff, and actually made crackling noises when I moved them around. But it didn’t solve the issue. So I ordered a set of new HT leads, as they were also a bit stiff.

Guess what? I still had the issue. Then this video popped up on one of the Youtube channels I subscribe to. And it turned on a little light bulb in my brain. I fitted new plugs, what if they weren’t right? So I went down to Super Cheap Auto and bought a set of five NGK plugs. Screwed them in, torqued them and went for a test drive. No stalling!


Next on the list was a long-overdue oil and filter change. The urquattro has two oil filters, one just for the turbo.

During the test drives, my previously intermittent speedo had stopped working completely. This turned into another long drawn-out process to get it sorted. At first I thought it was the sender on the gearbox which sends a pulse to the dash for each revolution of the driveshaft, which is then translated to a road speed. I bought a couple of different VW senders as the Audi one was discontinued a few years ago, and found some wiring diagrams online. Lots of testing ensued, but I wasn’t getting far, so I decided to pull the dash out and test it out of the car.

I took it to a friend’s place where we tried a few things but didn’t manage to get the dash powered up properly. We didn’t want to be too experimental for fear of damaging it. One thing we did do, is my friend soldered some LEDs in place of the original bulbs behind the odometer. It had never lit up and I suspected it was down to blown bulbs. The bulbs are in special holders and are not available any more, so the LEDs were a perfect solution.

After some more testing in the car, without success, I took the dash back to Neill at Roissy for some disassembly and testing.

After some careful tracing and testing of pins and circuit board tracks, and me finally finding the right wiring diagram for the car (it’s a 1984 car but 1985 registered) we got the speedo working on the bench using a drill to drive the sensor. So that proved it wasn’t the dash itself.

So it was back to the car, and wiring.

I decided to throw away the factory wiring and put new switched live and ground wires to the sensor. It didn’t work. But on a test drive I noticed something – there were clicks coming from the speaker connected to the voice system. So somehow the pulses from the speed sender were getting to there. This confused me because I had continuity tested the sender wire by putting a switched live on it and testing at the other end, and I got a signal. It turned out that somewhere in the under-dash spaghetti someone had connected a switched live into it, so my test was faulty! I added a new signal wire from sensor to dash, and everything started to work!

The final thing was to get those new LEDs working for the odometer as it was unreadable behind the smoked plastic. Neill had identified the pin that drove them, but it wasn’t getting any voltage. I decided to wire a new switched live into it, and hey presto!

So that was a mission and a half!

Now everything seemed to be working, so I booked a WoF. It was over 28 days so it had to have a full test not a re-test. All of the previous failures were fixed, apart from the brakes, and a couple of new things – intermittent brake lights and water in one headlight!!

So it was back home again. I re-bled the brakes and they felt much better.

And ordered a brake light switch from Qualitat.

I couldn’t find any evidence of moisture in either headlight though!

So it was back for another test. It looked tiny next to more modern cars.

It was another fail. The tester took the car for a quick drive and said he wasn’t happy with the pedal, and he’d talked to his Euro mechanic who said that these cars should have good brakes. Not too convincing really, so Rusty is going in to The Toy Shop Wellington for a second opinion and any possible remedial work required. Watch this space!

Follow the full Project Rusty build here.

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Rob Clubley
I love everything about cars! Driving, looking at them, modifying. It's great to see what people do with cars, the different car cultures. If I was rich, my garage would be bigger than my house!



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