Tools and Parts (psst, click parts)

By far the most valuable tool in existence is the Internet, for it is here where a vast amount of knowledge is stored, shared, and constantly updated. For an Audi owner, nowhere is this more evident that on the quattro-list. If you haven't been there yet, you should stop messing around with my feeble pages and go check it out. Beware! This list generates lots of traffic, and it is addictive! For a complete list of mail order parts vendors check out the quattro-list's Vendor Page. It's got a description of each one, and tells you which ones will give us special discounts. For dealer only items, go with Carlsen Audi in CA (800-523-2408, ask for Linda) or Claire Audi in MA (800-354-5100, ask for Mac or Barry). They give a great discount if you mention the quattro-list.

Jack Stands/Ramps
If you are going to be working underneath your car, please, Please, PLEASE use jack stands or ramps!  Always make sure the parking brake is set, the car is in gear, and chock the wheels. I've heard way too many stories of people being severely maimed and killed by not following simple, basic safety rules.

Factory Repair Manual
One of the first things you'll need is a Bentley Manual. Don't buy it directly from them, though. You can get it cheaper from The Parts Connection (800-517-6060), TMC Publications, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon. The one for my Coupe also covers the 80 and 90 from 1988 through 1992. The old version was a two volume set: a general repair manual, and a separate electrical troubleshooting guide. They just released an updated version that includes both topics in one book, so make sure you get that one.

AllData CD-ROM
I've also got the AllData CD-ROM, but I haven't used it much. At $25 it's no big loss. It's got some useful information in it, but it's nowhere near as complete as the Bentley. The TSB version might be more helpful than the general repair that I got.

Metric Tools
You'll need a good set of metric sized tools. If you try to use close-fitting standard sizes, you'll end up rounding off bolts and generally causing more problems than you fix. Both sockets and hex keys are widely used on these cars.

General Hardware
Of course, a good collection of screwdrivers and pliers is a must. You should definitely have a couple of good quality torque wrenches. You don't want to be stripping threads by over-torqueing or having things fall off because of under-torqueing. A small hammer and rubber mallet will come in handy, too. (Big hammers break things too easily.)

VAG 1115
This is a little tool that the dealer mechanics use to read the fault codes from your computer. It's designed to work with the early '90 model cars, but it should work for the the late '90 and all '91 models too. I don't know what the dealer would charge you for the little 1115, if they even sell those things. It's easier to just build one yourself! There are two options:

  1. Insert a bulb into the "Check Engine" light in the instrument cluster. Only California market cars had this bulb installed, but all cars are wired for it. When this bulb is installed, it can be used to flash the ECU fault codes. All you need to trigger the fault code output is two pieces of wire connected to the A1 and B1 slots in the driver's footwell. As an added bonus, it will flash whenever a fault code is registered, telling you it's time to pull the codes.
  2. Basically, the VAG 1115 is just a light-emitting diode (LED) with a built-in resistor. You can buy a similar diode at any place like Radio Shack, or you can use a regular LED and a 0.25W 330 ohm resistor as pictured at right. Instead of alligator clips, you'll need to use something that will fit in the diagnostic connectors in the driver's footwell (very small spade connectors or just bare stiff wire).
Digital Multimeter
As electrical gremlins infest your car (and trust me, they will!), you'll need a good multimeter to track them down. I use the SunPro 7678, because it's got tach and dwell for 5-cylinder engines (but that's not necessary for our EFI cars).

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