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  •   Roy Craig reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    TROUBLESHOOTING

    Stop-start! Roy Craig recounts the long and frustrating saga of an intermittent non-starting problem on the #Audi A2. More importantly, it’s a solution that could apply in many other cases…

    / #troubleshooting / #Audi-A2 / #Audi / #stop-start / #2018 / #Audi-A2-Typ-8Z / #Audi-A2-8Z /

    AUDI A2 INTERMITTENT STARTING PROBLEM

    Regular readers will have read occasional reports on my Audi A4 2.0 TDI, but my wife Brenda is also an Audi driver, having owned her Audi A2 since 2013. With its mileage now approaching 110,000, previous owners had not been very kind to it but regular servicing and some TLC by us has helped it along, although it is very much a second car. It is mainly used by Brenda for local journeys as the comfort and economy of our A4 is much more suited to the longer runs and the low-geared high revving nature of the A2 engine and gearbox can be obtrusive.

    All seemed well, until April this year, when I was driving the A2 and the engine cut out suddenly and without warning, although it did then immediately restart. I must say that there had been times when the engine seemed to be misfiring, or missing a beat, but nothing more untoward and nothing definite enough to command attention.

    Some time later, the engine stalled again but this time it was while manoeuvreing at home and it just would not re-start; even after several attempts, the engine was turning briskly but with no hint of it firing. I decided to leave it and wait for a new day to dawn, and when it did I duly inserted the key, turned it and the engine immediately fired up without a hint of a problem!

    Brenda was not at all happy about the possibility of the engine stalling while she was out alone, but she did complete quite a few outings without a hint of the problem. It was, in fact, me who had that misfortune, having left home for a short journey to High Wycombe. I had only travelled a few hundred yards when the engine died, failed to restart, but then after five minutes of attempts it suddenly burst into life. My instinct was to return home and abort the journey, worried of getting stranded but this did not help Brenda’s reluctance to drive the car, rightly afraid that it would leave her stranded.

    Having an unreliable car is not Something we are used to, having Owned Volkswagens since the early Seventies and then moving on to Audis since 2007, so the experience was a bit unnerving. I have no wish for this story to be too repetitive, but that is what this fault with the A2 was becoming…

    Finally, Brenda was on a short Journey when it did indeed stall on her, this time taking 20 minutes of trying before it started. Amazingly, when it did restart, it drove fine and would then start repeatedly without any hint of trouble. It was very frustrating, to say the least.

    Early May and we were due to have a family holiday in Portugal, which entailed an early start from Stansted. The plan was to leave the A2 at our daughter’s house some seven miles away, then we would all travel by her car and a cab to Stansted, but a couple of days before we were due to go the A2 stalled yet again while we were at home. This time it would not restart, so I called the RAC who could not get it started and reckoned it was the fuel pressure regulator valve, but could not rectify the fault.

    I opted to leave the car on our drive, but arranged for our local village garage to collect it while we were away, told them the RAC’s diagnosis, and hoped that they would have the time to fix the fault while we were away.

    After about a week I phoned the garage for a progress report, only to be told that the RAC’s diagnosis was incorrect, with no fault found with the pressure regulator; in fact, they could find no fault at all and the engine was running fine!

    Unbeknown tome, they hadn’t needed to recover the car from home as when they arrived it had started without problem; they had spent a lot of time trying to find why the engine stalled, but with nothing being evident they could only return the car to my home.

    We arrived home two weeks later and, of course, the first thing to do was try the A2. It started first time, much to Brenda’s delight and continued to do so for the next two weeks, until – yes you’ve guessed, it stalled again, luckily at home.

    I again called the RAC who this time said that the fuel pump had failed, so I booked the car back in to the local garage for the following day and told them the fuel pump had failed. Yes, you’ve guessed right again. The next day it started without a problem; this was getting even more frustrating!

    I think it’s time for me to cut this really long story a bit shorter, for fear of your attention waning. As the engine was now running without fault, it was deemed by the garage that the fuel pump was running fine, although they did find a hole in the EGR valve pipe and some residue in the fuel filter. The car was running fine after this, for about four weeks… and then, yes, it stalled yet again! Brenda was now getting annoyed with this little car to the point of just wanting to get rid of it, although we would not be happy selling the car to someone when it still had this most frustrating fault.

    It was now time for its annual service, so I contacted a local Audi specialist who I had heard of, a young Audi-trained technician who had branched out on his own, Kyle Sagar whose company ‘On the Move’ is based in Great Kingshill, High Wycombe.

    I booked the car in with Kyle and explained as best I could about the ongoing intermittent starting problem, giving him the task of trying to find out why an engine won’t start when it actually does! He gave the car a full service and a thorough check over – he also changed the four coil packs and the spark plugs, and reported that all seemed fine, with no obvious answer found and hoped the coil packs and plugs would be of benefit.

    The A2 did indeed drive much better than previously and Brenda was happy again; well, in truth, she had never been entirely happy with the A2, not having been as keen as me that she should have one. In contrast, I did like the somewhat quirky look, the front end somehow resembling an early TT and the rear spoiler doing something for me!

    Most of all, I loved the fact it was made of non-rusting aluminium, while Brenda enjoys its lively performance and I think she was starting to like it a bit more (as long as it was running, that is…) Although the Audi A2 does spend more time at home than on the road, it was at last behaving itself when used – for a while that is! Then came a calamity. I was driving and we were about to leave a car park, we’d just passed by the exit barrier and a few feet later the engine just cut out. I was giving it about a minute between attempting to restart and, sure enough after about 10 minutes it fired up as though it was new, with no hint of a problem!

    I phoned Kyle to report the sad news that the problem still existed, as there was not much more to say… The date for Audi Driver International was fast approaching and with the A4 entered in the concours I was getting more excited than normal, as it would also be an opportunity to have a chat with members of the A2 Owners’ club about our ongoing problem.

    We arrived at Castle Combe and while I hastily started to get the dirt off, Brenda took an early stroll to see if she could pick some brains at the Audi A2 Owners’ club. She did indeed succeed in doing so, but not with an actual solution to the stalling of her car, although one suggestion was that we should try changing the camshaft and the crankshaft sensors as they sometimes send out the wrong messages to the main ECU. Sadly, it was all a bit ‘double Dutch’ to me as when I was taught about car mechanics we had things like distributors, carburettors, ignition coils and definitely no ECUs!

    We both loved our day at Audi Driver International, especially after the A4 came runner- up in the Concours, much to my surprise and maybe – just maybe – we had an answer to our A2’s problems.

    I contacted Kyle Sagar and told him of the suggestion we had received and that I wished to go ahead and fit the two sensors, which he duly did. All seemed fine and Brenda was also feeling confident; although we kept our fingers crossed for now, we were hopeful her little car was cured.

    Some weeks went by and we were both pleased that all seemed fine, but then it stalled… again… that was it for me, I reported the sad happening to Kyle and said I wanted him to fit a brand-new fuel pump as I had felt from early on that it seemed to be a fuel supply problem, even though it had checked out OK.

    Kyle fitted the new pump, switched the ignition on…but nothing! He was puzzled and started to investigate why, so he lifted the passenger foot well floor plate that gave access to the relays, reached towards the fuel pump relay, gave it the merest touch and the pump whirred away!

    After months of unexplained stalling and over £1000 spent on repair bills, it seemed that Kyle had found the problem – a simple bad connection in the relay board! I asked Kyle to also fit a new relay, just for good measure; he was as pleased as we were that at last he had found something positive that could explain why the engine had been cutting out, so you can imagine how I and Brenda felt!

    Some weeks of happy driving went by and much to my delight the engine had also lost its desire to feel like a misfire and its inherent hesitations, which I can only put down to the relay’s dodgy connection and it giving an intermittent supply to the pump. I opted to keep the new pump fitted, as it could only be better.

    Sorry, but this is not quite the end to this saga – there is a twist to this story. I was filling the Audi A2 with fuel at our local Shell garage and on leaving the engine cut out, and despite many turns on the starter it was lifeless, oh the despair. Ah! but at least this time I knew where to look. I lifted the floor plate, gently touched the relay, turned the key and whoosh – the engine fired.

    So now I’d discovered that we had a relay that was tending to rise up away from the connections; I’m convinced this is because of the somewhat harsh ride in this Audi A2 that I blame on its very light weight construction and the diabolical state of our B-roads, which in turn serves to loosen the relay.

    I hope I have now found a solution to this problem as I have fitted a section of sponge to the underside of the floor plate that gently presses on the top of the relay to stop it from rising out of its socket. So far, to date, we have had no recurrence of the stalling engine, and Brenda has a new-found confidence in her Audi A2.

    My thanks go to Kyle Sagar for his expertise and the not insignificant fact that he discovered the fault, but I wonder if any other Audi A2 owners have had this problem?

    Contact
    On the Move
    Kyle Sagar
    Tel: 07875 964 777
    E: kylesagar2009_hotmail.co.uk

    ‘SO HE LIFTED THE PASSENGER FOOTWELL FLOOR PLATE THAT GAVE ACCESS TO THE RELAYS, REACHED TOWARDS THE FUEL PUMP RELAY, GAVE IT THE MEREST TOUCH AND THE PUMP WHIRRED AWAY!...’




    ‘ALL SEEMED WELL, UNTIL APRIL THIS YEAR, WHEN I WAS DRIVING THE A2 AND THE ENGINE CUT OUT SUDDENLY AND WITHOUT WARNING...’

    ‘A2 IS WELL-FAVOURED BY ROY AND BRENDA, APART FROM THE ELUSIVE STARTING PROBLEM THAT IS...

    WHEN IT DID RESTART, IT DROVE FINE AND WOULD THEN START REPEATEDLY WITHOUT ANY HINT OF TROUBLE. IT WAS VERY FRUSTRATING, TO SAY THE LEAST...’
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  •   Roy Craig reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    UNDER THE RADAR / #Audi-A2 / #Audi /

    Chris Chilton's favourite hidden gems

    It may not win many traffic light drag races but it'll draw more interested glances than most supercars.

    COST NEW £16,530 / VALUE NOW £1500

    AUDI A2 Small, slow and expensive when new. So why does Chris Chilton believe Audi's revolutionary supermini is worth a punt?

    You won’t find many superminis in the pages of Modern Classics. With a few exceptions, tepid small cars from the 1990s and 2000s are generally cheap and cheerless. When tastier stuff from the era costs so little, why shell out for something smaller and slower?

    The A2 might change your mind. Introduced in 2000, when Volkswagen was already in thrall to platform-sharing, this Bauhaus jewel was one of only two in the stable during that decade to enjoy its own unique chassis. The other? The Bugatti Veyron.

    More astonishingly, the A2 was built around an aluminium spaceframe, a technology that today is still limited to a handful of expensive cars.

    OK, so there’s no S or RS version, which might put of some of you. Most had a 75bhp 1.4 petrol that ambled to 62mph in 12 seconds, or a 1.4 diesel with the same power and drag strip muscle. The TDI sounds more tempting when you remember its torque and economy figures are 50% better than the petrols. Sixty mpg and £30 tax? That's not bad, even today.

    But the #Audi-A2-1.4-TDI might as well be a Hemi Charger compared with the space-age #Audi-A2-TDi-3L . Fitted with a tiny 1.2 diesel motor, plus wind-cheating covers over skinny magnesium wheels, aluminium suspension components and thinner glass, it was capable of 94mpg, or 3L/100km, hence the name. It was never sold in the UK, but since performance was as glacial as the ice caps it was designed to save, we didn’t really miss out.

    If you want something approaching hot hatch fun, you need the 110bhp #Audi-A2-1.6-FSi . That might not sound like much in the way of poke, but because the A2 weighs less than 1000kg, it does 0-62mph in 9.8 sec and up to 47mpg. The ride is on the firm side, particularly on cars with the gorgeous TT-style 17in rims, but the handling is tidy, the gearshift tight and there’s real room for four.

    Unfortunately the high cost of building that aluminium chassis, plus the high retail price meant this supermini didn’t just feel like a big car – it was priced like one too. Buyers not yet used to the modern concept of a premium small car were nonplussed. Audi produced just 176,000 over its five-year life, finally pulling the plug in 2005. Those happy to spend big headed to Audi’s arch rival. BMW’s Oxford plant was pumping out that many retro MINIs every year.

    But 15 years on, an A2 trumps both the MINI and the current A1 supermini on every front, from design to technical innovation and plain old cool factor. It’s also about a tenth of the price. If you’re after a sharp-looking car for little money, £1500 doesn’t buy better.

    What To Love – and To Fear

    + It still looks cutting-edge more than a decade after the last one was built. It's frugal, too.

    - It's not exactly quick – a sloth with asthma is likely to accelerate faster.
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  •   Chris Chilton reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    BUYING GUIDE AUDI A2 2000-2005

    Audi A2 Following our cover story on page 18, we look at the ins and outs of buying a used #Audi A2.

    It might not be electric or hybrid, but as discussed in our BMW i3 & Audi A2 feature on page 18, the A2 is a great city car capable of delivering a similar experience to BMW i3 ownership - at least in terms of practicality. Bucking the trend of small steel heavy hatchbacks, the #Audi-A2 is unique in being the only aluminium small car available - including modern cars of today. As such, it has an original stature and since there has been no replacement model made (at least no further than concept stage) its design has proved to be timeless too. Fortunately, the A2’s aluminium structure is also its trump card that will endure, as there is obviously no rust to worry about. However, much of the powertrain and suspension components are made from good ol’ steel and so don’t be too surprised if you find rust on these.

    Generally speaking, all powertrains are robust, although the #Audi-A2-1.6FSI is the one to avoid. Unfortunately, although its paper credentials may appear too good to be true, some have suffered at the hands of poor maintenance and engine electrical gremlins have taken many off the road. The 1.4 petrol is fairly lacklustre, but gets the car from A-B with willing, albeit slow, progress. They are, however, the bargain of the bunch since the far more desirable #Audi-A2-1.4TDI commands a premium over it. Fuel and tax savings may be had with the diesel, but you’ll be hard pressed to make up the difference in savings, taking into consideration the higher purchase price over the petrol. That’s not to suggest the diesel is overpriced, however, as it is certainly the one to go for if your budget allows for it. There were two different iterations of the TDI, the 75bhp and later 90bhp versions. Both are commonly re-tuned to provide more power and smoother delivery. There is still the odd low-mileage example floating about, although they are becoming more rare and sellers appear to want the world in return. Diesels have great longevity and the perky three-cylinder turbo provides plenty of low-down grunt and motorway cruising ability.

    Although the aluminium shell is the standout feature of the A2, it can also be one of its problems. Some owners reported tearing where the door hinges attach to the body. Most owners have been able to obtain repairs for free at an Audi workshop, but it is worth being aware aluminium is costly to mend, since it requires specialist equipment. The glass roof option is desirable, but was often referred to as BrokenSky, because the rail mechanism is subject to jamming, so it is well worth checking. More desirable are Sports trim and interior options, including the BOSE sound system. Sat nav was available, but all are now outof- date by ten years and the rare media screen is not a deal breaker. However, the Driver Information System (DIS) that came with sat nav and was an option is worth having and some cars have had it retrofitted.

    Most cars have the more common 16” wheels, as shown on the previous page, which are renowned as being the best compromise between appearance and ride comfort. 17” wheels definitely look great, but offer a firmer ride not to everyone’s taste.

    There were some startling colour choices, with strange black wheel arches known as, ‘Colour Storm’ and a good one might be a future classic in an ugly duckling way. Overall, there is little to report wrong with the A2, so the usual service history, visual checks and test drive are essential. Perhaps the most useful weapon in the A2s arsenal is the owners club and online forum where an abundance of knowledge and a still active membership exists and is essential reading for any A2 owner.

    INTERIOR Generally hard-wearing, but look out for worn buttons on early cars, which had a soft rubberised finish. Specs vary wildly, pluses to look for are false floor boot, #BOSE sound, OpenSky glass roof and sports or leather upholstery.

    ELECTRICS Due to a lack of any real complexity and rock-solid positioning under the floor, electrics are generally care free. Engine electrics, on the other hand, can be suspect with old sensors so it is worth running a diagnostic if possible.

    POWERTRAIN Both petrol and diesel variants are solid, cheap to maintain and service, but should have been done regularly. Petrol engines are prone to rough idle, which can usually be remedied by cleaning the throttle body & manifold.

    EURO NCAP
    Vehicle Safety
    A2 scored well generally, withstanding frontal impacts well and only suffering minor deformation with driver and front passenger airbags as standard. Although the large windscreen helped, pedestrian impact results were poor.
    Results
    Adult Occupant 4
    Pedestrian 1

    BrokenSky… glass roof can be temperamental. Some turbo issues on older 1.4 TDI engines. Engine electrical gremlins, particularly on 1.6 FSI model.

    WHAT OWNERS THINK
    Excellent fuel economy from all engines. Superbly practical ‘Tardis’ interior. Rewarding to drive, even compared to modern cars.

    Interior buttons frequently wear out. 1.6 FSI great on paper but less so in practice. Rudimentary standard equipment, spare wheel was optional.

    WHAT WE THINK

    Unique car, second only to an EV or hybrid. Aluminium build equals excellent quality. 1.4 TDI offers punchy performance but with excellent fuel economy.

    AUDI A2 2000-2005 Late model turbo diesels with plenty of equipment are pick of the bunch. A2s were not gifted with a great many extras as standard so an SE model should really be your baseline. However, items are available for simple retrofitting. Expect to pay more for sport and leather seats. A Rear bench was another option if five seats is a must. The glass roof might look pretty, but they weren’t known as BrokenSky for nothing. Later models can be identified by their slatted ‘grille’.

    From £1,000 to £5,000
    ModeL
    1.4 Petrol
    1.6 FSI Petrol
    1.4 TDI Diesel
    MPG AVr.
    46.3
    47.9
    64.2
    Co2 G/KM
    142
    144
    116
    tAx bAnd
    F
    F
    C

    Neat styling keeps design timeless. ColourStorm, slatted ‘grille’ & openSky. 17” alloys offset the design nicely
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