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Her husband works at Chodrell Bank

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Her husband works at Chodrell Bank, 

He's home late in the morning,

Had he been a lawyer, 

He wouldn't work for pennies.


Well pennies indeed is what it took to become the proud owner of an unkempt and malady ridden example of VAG’s finest early-naughtiest design classic. I would love to have done a colecshun thread but alas this example was located a mere two blocks away from my house. It also has a quarter of a tank of fuel so no pez shot yet. I did give it a quick spray with the jetwash to try and clear some of the muck off it and see how much it leaks.


This is a bog standard 1.4 petrol A2 in funeral black with cremation grey interior. It has covered 145000 miles and doesn’t it show them; amazingly there are no substantial dents on the body but plenty of parking scrapes and the front lower bumper is pretty knackered. The car is MOT’d till November with receipts totalling several £k in the history file including fitting a low mileage engine in 2018 inc all new belts, new alternator and starter motor. 


The big problem is that it runs like absolute crap. The car hunts at idle and seems to run on three cylinders below 3k rpm. My OBD2 fortune teller says it’s fucking fucked M8 big time. The HT leads appear to be siliconed into the coil and there are various things disconnected underbonnet which is the surest sign of some previous bodging.



I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do with this shed except try and sort the running issues out and then maybe use it as my bin lorry whilst the big rig is getting weldered. Part of me wants to strip it out and stick a Lupo GTI lump in it and make an unlikely track car. This car is exactly the same spec as my first car so I’m familiar with the chassis and reckon it’s actually quite a good driving machine, very light and decent balance that I’m sure could be improved with some simple suspension enhancements. 


Anyway if anyone’s got any ideas about the running issues I’m all ears. Next week I should be able to have a good poke around under the hood and see what’s what. 




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8 minutes ago, HMC said:

I thought you were kicking off with a limerick!

Sorry no help but didn’t @320touring have one and had running issues (maybe that was a TDI?)

Obscure lyric from 80’s popsters Prefab Sprout :) 

I brought the green a2 into the fold before it was passed around between Tayne, Dome then 320T - I thought it a canny little thing, I’ve even browsed the ads looking for another (would probably do petril next time )

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6 minutes ago, 320touring said:

I fucking hated that car and it was indeed a diesel...


From ecstasy to agony in six short months? I’ll have a read of your thread this evening. I’m not really a diesel guy so prefer the 1.4 petrol which should be the simplest all things considered. There are a few other lumps which swap straight into this shell that are worthy of consideration.

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22 minutes ago, somewhatfoolish said:

I like these as they are not a dull box, but they have near-french levels of fragility.

Is this really the case? Looking through the classifieds there are loads out there on 200k or more. They are built to be light and I think are pretty durable all things considered.

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2 minutes ago, dc2100k said:

From ecstasy to agony in six short months? I’ll have a read of your thread this evening. I’m not really a diesel guy so prefer the 1.4 petrol which should be the simplest all things considered. There are a few other lumps which swap straight into this shell that are worthy of consideration.

I was ecstatic as the A2 worked when I got it (our 335i BMW having what all its coolant out on a trackday)

It went downhill from there:)

Though I did nowt to it, bar thrash it

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There was a young man from Auld Reekie,

Who bought an old car really cheaply.

It runs like a pig,

With problems so big,

That now he's feeling all weepie!

I thought it was going to be a limerick too! Maybe sharing some pics of the under-bonnet disconnections might assist the VAG lickers to guide you?


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I looked at these the other week and the only thing that really put me off was everything I've ever read on here! 

Shame as they tick alot of boring commute car boxes, will keep watching this so I can see if they are indeed hard to work on, learn a thing or two and suck air through my teeth and go 'fuck me' a bit

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Haha I had no idea they have a bad reputation on here. I owned my first one (2001 1.4 petrol) from 2005 to 2011 then it went to my sister who ran it from 2011 until 2018. I would say it was actually a pretty reliable little car although it did have its foibles (leaks mainly) and latterly started to give my sister many and varied problems (heater stopped working, somebody broke into it, she bashed it into various things, electrical maladies, etc). We sold it to someone  who ran it for another year and then decided the maintenance backlog was too great and now it’s off the road. That said we didn’t have to replace anything major on it in the 12 years we had it (cambelt service? Not on your life, etc.)


By contrast this car has done many more miles but has had loads of stuff replaced in the last few years. It’s a bit rough around the edges though but I’ll try to tidy it up as I go. Otherwise it’s just a Polo or Fabia in an expensive body shell. The Fabia 1.4 16v 100hp engine supposedly fits straight in so that might be a cheaper/better option than messing about with extensive diagnostics or rebuilding the AUA lump that’s in it. 

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28 minutes ago, louiepj said:

Lower circle looks like egr valve if that shiny metal pipe goes to it from the exhaust.

That would make sense why that was the other item on the OBD death list.


The bloke who sold me the car (its custodian for the last 6 years) told me his mechanic reckoned it was a defective exhaust valve after a compression test and something to do with the way it sounded? I don’t know anything about his mechanic’s competency though so I’m not entirely convinced. It sounds like a car running on three cylinders to me and I’ll be looking at fuelling and ignition before tearing the top end apart. Besides if it’s not completing the combustion cycle in one cylinder then the fuel will wash the bores clean and a compression test will show a lower result in that cylinder. I might buy a cheap boroscope and have a look inside the chambers if everything else checks out. No CELs or anything showing on the dashboard.

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2 hours ago, bunglebus said:

Always thought them weird. Probably too far ahead of the curve at the time - what's with having to take the bonnet off anyway?

The original press was that no consumers would ever want to remove the bonnet but i think this is rubbish and that the hinged bonnet was removed for weight saving and possibly aerodynamic reasons. I don’t think it’s a bad design to be fair, it only weighs a few kgs and is easy to take on and off. No gas struts to fail and it’s never going to fall on your head.

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Minor Update:

Pulled the EGR off and cleaned it & refitted.

Identified leak from front scuttle directly onto coil pack from some more PO bodgery, fixed.

Pulled coil pack, dried out on radiator and filled all cracks with superglue. Check leads for holes, seem ok.

Pulled plugs, all dry fouled but all the same which makes me think a single cylinder valve problem is less likely. Cleaned and burned off the carbon and refitted.

Cleared codes and reset ECU.

Car is running better but still idling on three cylinders and misfiring 1-2k rpms but clears up above this. All previous codes now cleared but a new code has appeared: P0106 MAP/Barometer Pressure  Circuit Range/Performance.

I think this is staring to get nearer the root cause of the poor running, maybe a vacuum leak somewhere around the intake manifold or a faulty MAP sensor.


Next steps: pull intake manifold, clean MAP, clean throttle body, check for cracks/leaks/etc, check all vacuum hoses inc. brake servo.

The PO (a real cack-handed mechanic it seems) said the problems started after he replaced the starter motor - could this replacement have knocked out the timing or anything random like that?

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