Merlin - Chapter 3!

dj_efk

A2OC Donor
So as I alluded to in the "today I" thread, I have finally purchased an A2.

That A2 will be known to many of you as Merlin, the Cherry red TDI 90 SE that was first owned by Dave / @Special edition - who is largely responsible for the specification it now has - and then by Hilary / @YorkshireHill , who saw my introduction thread when I first joined and PM'd me saying that Merlin may be for sale due to lack of use.

I've attached some photos of Merlin - Briefly, the spec is as follows:
  • Driver Information System
  • Electric Windows Front & Rear
  • Auto-dimming Rear View Mirror
  • “Winter Pack” (Heated wing mirror glass & washer jets)
  • Front Fog lights
  • LED front sidelights
  • Cruise Control
  • Front & Rear mud guards
  • Heated Leather Seats (Swing grey)
  • Hard touch climate control buttons
  • Audi Concert CD Player
  • Bose Sound system
  • Rear cup holders
  • Sport Steering Wheel with leather rim
  • False boot floor with storage of a full-sized Spare wheel in zipped cover
  • First Aid Kit
  • LED interior light bulb kit
Merlin side.jpg

drivers side merlin.jpg

Front merlin small.jpg

drivers seat.jpg

back seats.jpg


The photos show Merlin wearing Hilary's 17" Sport alloys, however she is hanging on to those and instead Merlin will come on a set of my preferred pepperpot wheels, along with a set of winter wheels in the boot.

I am thrilled to be lucky enough to secure a car with such club provenance (not to mention one with such a lovely spec and in such great condition, thanks to the love lavished by Dave and Hilary)! As mentioned elsewhere, the immediate plans are basically maintenance items and upgrades to bring the car up to date and a level of reliability I could expect of a nearly new car - So this special little car is going straight to DS Motorsport in Coventry for a full checking over and the following work:
  1. Full service with all filters and fluids changed - planning to use the following
    • Engine Oil: Millers Oils Nanodrive EE LongLife 5w-30 Fully Synthetic Engine Oil
    • Gearbox Oil: Red Line Synthetic Manual Transmission MT-LV 70W/75W
  2. Cambelt kit and water pump change (not many miles covered since it was last done by Dave in 2015, but nearly due on a time basis);
  3. Oil pump & balance shaft chain kit & lower sprockets
  4. PTW six speed gearbox conversion
  5. Depending on how old the tyres are on the pepper pots, I may need a new set of boots. Currently leaning towards Continental EcoContact in 175/60/15 flavour for maximum efficiency.
  6. Careful checking of the turbo for wear
Merlin has already had all-new suspension and a new clutch and dual-mass flywheel, so there’s two major maintenance items you’d normally expect to have to replace at this sort of mileage already attended to.


Then in the longer term
  1. Sideguard kit install - I like the idea of the extra peace of mind should the worst happen
  2. iPhone dock - I would love to have this done instead of having a clip / stick on phone holder
  3. Possibly colour DIS - love the idea of this upgrade.

As an aside - Can I just take this time to acknowledge some wonderful people I've interacted with since joining this forum; I'm not sure whether you guys fully comprehend just how great the community here is compared with other forums, so it's worth taking a moment to appreciate those who I've come across so far:

@timmus - who from the start has been so generous with his time and expertise - Tom has provided advice to me on various aspects of A2 ownership, thereby steering me towards the spec of car that would best suit my needs. Really looking forward to meeting you when the sideguard kit install happens (and potentially a few other upgrades too!).

@Clackers - who I bought some parts from and who was such a pleasure to deal with and so honest.

@mrbroons - whose car Scotty was the main contender in my search until almost the last minute and again, was so generous with his time and advice; I actually had asked to put a deposit on Scotty but James assured me that this was not necessary as I had "first dibs" and he wanted me to take the time to be sure before going ahead with the purchase - which as it happened was wise. Thank you James for being the ultimate role model in a car sale and also for your time - I will await with interest the thread by the new owner of Scotty as he is a wonderful low mileage example of a nicely spec'd TDI 90. ADVERT HERE.

@Special edition, who gave me 45 minutes of his time to talk through (and respond to my SMS messages on) all the detail of Merlin's specification and work done.

@YorkshireHill, who was so decent when it came to negotiating a price and the new MOT that Merlin will have by the time my transport company collects him from Leeds, thank you so much and I am looking forward to your "memoirs" thread reflecting on your many years of A2 ownership that you mentioned you'll write on here.

Thanks all, updates coming soon.
 
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Rusty911

A2OC Donor
Well done!! This is excellent news and you must be absolutely thrilled :)

What a superb car and with your intended works sound perfectly judged. All of your careful research has really paid off.

Nice to hear the name 'Red Line Oil' in there: really top notch oils of the highest order.
 

Special edition

Admin Team
Congratulations David and i am pleased that Merlin is once again in good hands. I look forward to reading your accounts of the planned upgrades and Hilarys A2 diaries over the years. You have bought one very special A2 which will bring many years of happy motoring.

All the very best with him.

Dave. 🙂
 

dj_efk

A2OC Donor
Well done!! This is excellent news and you must be absolutely thrilled :)

What a superb car and with your intended works sound perfectly judged. All of your careful research has really paid off.

Nice to hear the name 'Red Line Oil' in there: really top notch oils of the highest order.
Yes I’m absolutely over the moon with the opportunity to acquire Merlin - I never had any qualms about paying what Hilary was asking as I’m getting such a thoroughly sorted car for the money.

Red Line make the best gearbox oils around and it’s worth paying out for their products I think - it will be an interesting experiment in this case as it’s actually thinner than the required 75W spec for the PTW gearbox (and hence will give a slight efficiency increase), however Opie oils reckon that it still gives superior wear protection compared to the stock VAG lubricant.

The Millers engine oil is not one that seems to be very popular on here from what I’ve read, although if I’m wrong and others have experience of it I’d be interested to hear their impressions.

Opie think I should see a measurable difference in using the two lubricants together on MPG, without putting wear protection at risk.
 
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dj_efk

A2OC Donor
Congratulations David and i am pleased that Merlin is once again in good hands. I look forward to reading your accounts of the planned upgrades and Hilarys A2 diaries over the years. You have bought one very special A2 which will bring many years of happy motoring.

All the very best with him.

Dave. 🙂
Thanks Dave, I feel honoured to be the custodian of such a famous A2 in these circles and can’t wait to finally get back to the UK and begin actually enjoying the ownership experience.

I’m sure I’ll have more questions in due course for you so will be in touch.
 

dj_efk

A2OC Donor
Excellent news all round and testimony to a fine community that is A2OC. It just works the way a car club should. (In my outrageously biased opinion).😁
Indeed I’ve been surprised many times over by just how kind-hearted people are on this forum with their knowledge and expertise. It’s a huge contrast with the VW forum I’m also a member of (thanks to the purchase of a Touran too) - which is basically dead in terms of activity (the attitude of the mods doesn’t help).
 

dj_efk

A2OC Donor
Ok the list of jobs continues to grow - I reasoned that as the efficient little 3 pot Diesel engine needs all the help it can get to warm up and while the cooling system is being drained and flushed as part of the water pump change, I may as well renew the thermostat for a genuine VAG item as a precaution, as I found one at a good price.

I also decided while it was all apart to get DSM to replace the crank seal too. I found a Corteco one on eBay for a fiver - and as I’ve not heard any bad experiences with that brand of oil seals and gaskets, I’ve gone for it.

Also having been alerted by Dave that the Car is still on the original pressed steel track control arm / lower wishbones, I had a good read of the 17 page(!) thread on that subject HERE, that graphically showed how dangerous these items can be when they start rotting unseen from within - and in some cases physically snap when on the move with no warning - This shocked me into adding to the list the urgent replacement of these items with the earlier cast items that are reckoned to be far more resilient.

From my post in that thread: It seems like the general consensus on here is that either Lemforder or TRW are worth paying out extra for; however both are becoming increasing difficult to find - particularly so in the case of the former - as they’re no longer in production. However, after doing some research I’ve just found a pair of old stock Lemforder arms being advertised on eBay by a supplier I have used extensively in the past called KMS in Birmingham for £189 the pair posted, so I’ve “snapped” them up 🤦 along with a new set of Lemforder rear bonded bushes that mount on the subframe console.

KMS just had them marked up as “top quality” brand, so I checked with them first on the brand and part numbers - they always seem to have the best stock and often they’ll be heavily discounted to clear (highly recommend them for responsive customer service too).
 
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Joga

A2OC Donor
That seems a very nice car. Great colour. Did you get the final answers from Calix you wanted regarding electrical heater system we discussed a bit before?
 

dj_efk

A2OC Donor
That seems a very nice car. Great colour. Did you get the final answers from Calix you wanted regarding electrical heater system we discussed a bit before?
I must admit that I’ve not yet gotten around to writing to them, I will do that today Joga. Thanks for the reminder.
 

dj_efk

A2OC Donor
Yesterday Merlin was collected from @YorkshireHill ’s gaff complete with 13 months of MOT (passed no advisories, again testamount to the love that’s been poured into this car over the last 5 years or so) and was “sent to Coventry” to DS Motorsport.

7FDA5151-0765-4662-AA4A-FC55C2958F5A.jpeg


I got a terrific deal on the transport from near Leeds - Only £160 all-in and Terry, the chap doing the transporting was as terrific in character - PM me for his number if you need a car moving to / from Yorkshire.

DS Motorsport messaged me to confirm safe arrival with the comment “it looks very tidy”.

The job list has grown again by a little- additional items are as follows
  • I’d read that the green twin circuit temperature sensor that feeds both the ECU and the gauge on the dash are prone to failing on either circuit occasionally, so I reasoned that while the rest of the cooling system was being replaced and flushed through along with the heater, it would be prudent to replace this at the same time, especially as I found a genuine VAG one on eBay for ~£20; I will ask DSM to retain the old one as a spare for the future in case of a need;
  • I bought a magnetic sump plug (Gold Plug AP-08) and this is to be fitted as part of the service. The logic is that if there is a problem with the engine internals, then fair-warning evidence of this should now show up at oil changes in advance as a result;
  • As I’m going to be doing a fair amount of fast, long distance trips and want to make this little car as safe on the roads as possible, I was concerned that the standard A2 horn is not “defensive” or loud enough to be heard by say, a large lorry driver who hasn’t checked his mirror properly: Therefore I’m having a second high-tone horn fitted (a secondhand part from an A4 B7, part number 8E0951223C) under the bonnet and spliced into the horn circuit as per this thread on the subject

Also, I need to check the date codes on the tyres on the pepperpots but it could be that they’re coming up for replacement on an age basis - which for me is ideally 7, maximum 8 years for safety. I will also check the age of those on the winter wheels that Hilary kindly included - it sounds like I may be able to get another season or two out of both sets, but if / when either are due replacement then I have some decisions to make:

The standard Audi size for 15” wheels is 175/60/15 (on a 5.5J rim width). I want to stick with 175 section tyres on the 6J Pepperpots if possible, for maximum fuel economy but (in such a lightweight car) still with sufficient grip when needed to deal with an emergency situation.

I always use premium rubber, as I’m a big believer in paying for quality tyres - I would ideally like to fit one of the new generation of summer-biased all-seasons to the Pepperpots and do away with the need to swap wheels around to suit the change of seasons altogether, as this technology has, in my opinion, moved the game on enough to mean it is no longer necessary to do so for the southern UK climate (although I do respect the opinions of others who feel otherwise, as it’s far from clear-cut and according to tyre test data you do still need dedicated warm / cold weather tyres for the absolute ultimate extra few % in stopping distances in those respective conditions).

The choice is therefore between either:
  1. Michelin CrossClimate+: Available in the standard size, acknowledged as the very best of it’s type in terms of year-round grip performance regardless of the road conditions, but expensive at £80+ per tyre excluding fitting and only has an E rating for fuel economy; or
  2. Continental AllSeason Contact: Not available in the correct size - the closest is 175/6515 or in other words, 2.9% larger in circumference; which considering the very long gearing in 3rd on the PTW gearbox is not ideal, although probably too small a difference to make much real-world difference - BUT they’re within a whisker of the Michelins in terms of wet / dry stopping distances regardless of the outside temp, they’re rated B for fuel economy (with tangibly lower rolling resistance according to test data) and are about £15 a wheel cheaper.
Both are reinforced and hence have the wrong / a higher load rating: 85 (515kg per tyre) in the case of the Michelin’s and 84 (500kg) for the Conti’s, compared with the Audi-specified 81 (462kg). This may slightly firm up the ride: I think it’s close enough not to worry about on that score however (especially as Merlin’s suspension is relatively new and stock SE spec but with the superior Monroe dampers - hence should be fairly supple and forgiving). Also, thinking about it another way, the stronger carcass should help them survive encounters with all but the most onerous potholes, a real and present threat in Devon during the colder months.

Opinions on all the above are welcome.
 
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Rusty911

A2OC Donor
I'm loving the foresic detail to your approach as you take ownership! Really enjoying reading this and have taken an instant liking to your A2: it positively glows and that colour / mudflap / wheel combo really pops. Just superb.
 

YorkshireHill

A2OC Donor
Yes, it all went smoothly with the transport - a few neighbours gathered in shock that the beloved A2 was on a trailer until I explained I had in fact sold him.
Sad waving goodbye, however I am absolutely delighted that the car is now owned by a Club member who will clearly cherish him as much as the two previous owners.

And for me, a significant landmark after seventeen years of A2 ownership. Just putting together some memories for another thread.

Hilary
 

Rusty911

A2OC Donor
Yes, it all went smoothly with the transport - a few neighbours gathered in shock that the beloved A2 was on a trailer until I explained I had in fact sold him.
Sad waving goodbye, however I am absolutely delighted that the car is now owned by a Club member who will clearly cherish him as much as the two previous owners.

And for me, a significant landmark after seventeen years of A2 ownership. Just putting together some memories for another thread.

Hilary
The condition of your Cherry Red A2 is an absolute credit to you.
 
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