Discs and pads and cables, oh my

Long time no write…

I bought a new car last week. Of course, by new I mean not previously in my possession, as the car itself—an Audi 100 2.8E Quattro—is fifteen years old, which hardly qualifies as new.

I had no end of trouble raising the money for it, as my bank had technical difficulties (they were struck by a computer virus which their AV didn’t catch, and decided to shut down large parts of their office network to prevent it from spreading), but they pulled through at the last minute. Yet paying for the car was the easy part. I then had to drive it home five hundred kilometers across the mountain—by night—in mid-winter…

That wasn’t too bad, though. It’s not a car, it’s a frigging battleship. The marital unit immediately christened it Tirpitz.

The real fun began after I came home. The next day, as I parked outside a specialist bookstore to pick up the Haynes manual, the car dumped its entire load of power steering fluid onto the pavement… It’s pretty likely my steering rack is shot, though if I’m lucky it’s just a cracked hydraulic line. Still, the only way to access either is to remove the engine…

Oh well. You don’t buy a fifteen-year-old battleship unless you’re prepared to sink some money and effort into its maintenance.

Take my brakes, for instance. Please, take them. I knew when I bought the car that it needed new discs and pads in front, and likely also in the back. I also knew the parking brake was shot. So I went to an independent auto parts store and ordered discs and pads for all four wheels and a pair of new parking brake cables.

Having replaced the brakes on Monday, I went back to the DIY garage yesterday to replace the parking brake cables. I started on the right hand side and spent over an hour getting the bloody thing off (it’s a Quattro, so the compensator plate where the front end of the cable is attached is in the driveshaft tunnel above the driveshaft, and the right-hand-side cable is routed through a tube which is attached to the rear differential). I ended up cutting it loose, and proceeded to install the new cable.

Fifteen minutes later, I realized that the new cable was twenty centimeters too short…

I ended up buying original cables from a brand dealer. Luckily, the parts store that sold me the wrong cables gave me a full refund even though one of the cables was dirty from my attempt to install it.

The good news is that I now know how to replace the cables, and will be able to do it quickly this weekend. This time I’ll disassemble the parking brake lever so I can get at the compensator plate from above instead of having to squeeze my hand past the drive shaft.

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