Darren's Audi 80 1.8S: an update

80s cars Audi General Bunk
Darren's been having a few issues with his Audi 80. Nobody said that running an old car was easy!

Darren has been back in touch with PetrolBlog with a quick update on his wonderful Audi 80. It has been totally plain sailing recently...

No sooner had I mentioned in the original review that the car had generally been reliable, when Mr Sod made an unwelcome appearance, complete with legislation.

My daily commute is all of two miles, and I usually cycle. But this particular day, I decided to be lazy and take the car. The journey lasted all of 200 metres before the engine cut out completely. Attempts to re-start proved fruitless, as did a quick poke around under the bonnet. Thinking about it, I was quite glad it stopped where it did, mainly as I’d made a return trip to Chichester the night before. After a tow back home, (going backwards on a busy road - nice), the 80 sat in the garage for nearly enough a month before I got round to looking at it.

Audi 80 1.8S engine bayAfter a conversation with a knowledgeable colleague, we concluded that due to the sudden cut out, the problem must be electrical. We assumed that a fuel related issue would generally have been more of a stutter before cutting out. So, armed with the necessary tools, I started by checking for a spark. I do have to say though, it’s quite tricky checking for said spark when the battery’s flat. Oh, how I laughed.

Fortunately, the much maligned Haynes manual came up trumps with a section on ignition system fault finding. The instructions were pretty easy to follow, and apart from having to remove a fair chunk of interior trim to get at the ignition module, all parts were accessible. Having written down the multi-meter readings, compared them against the Haynes manual specifications and also the wiring diagrams, I felt fairly confident that the issue lie with distributor.

At this point, I should say that I’m pretty sure that had this been a more modern car, then the fault finding process would have been a lot more complicated and I would most certainly be less confident with my conclusion. Unfortuantely, being an older car means that obtaining spares can sometimes be an issue, as I soon found out as you can’t get a new distributor from the usual sources. However, a company called Ignition Car Parts came to the rescue and said they could refurbish the old one, but on receipt of the distributor, I was informed that it was not salvageable.

Audi 80 1.8S electrical problemsGood news that the problem had been diagnosed, bad news that it looked like I would have to source a used one in an unknown state from eBay or a breakers yard. They went on to say that after inspection of the old distributor, they had some in stock that would be a direct replacement and quoted a very reasonable amount for it as well.

With the new distributor fitted, albeit making the rest of the engine bay look rather grubby, the engine certainly feels a lot healthier than before the problem started.

Here's to a problem-free winter in the 80. Fingers most certainly crossed...