Tech Daze: 2000-’06 Audi TT, 8N Chassis

The first-generation Audi TT was the modern analog to the Porsche 356. If you take it down to its essential mechanicals, it’s VW Beetle (and Golf) underpinnings with sportier styling on top. But while the Porsche has the right driven wheels and an engine at the wrong end of the car, the Audi has that problem in reverse. At least the Audi is available with all wheel drive.

Plebeian underpinnings or not, the first-gen TTs earned praise when they were new: North American Car of the Year in 2000; on Car & Driver’s 10Best list in ’00 and ’01. They’ve been around long enough now that the problem areas are as clear as the right performance upgrade options. Follow the jump for tips from TT specialists on how to shop for, maintain, and modify these cars.

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How to replace batteries in an AMB Tranx 260 racing transponder

Transponders are expensive. To me, inexplicably so, which is part of why I’ve never owned one. I pay the $50 rental fee whenever I run a LeMons race and grumble to myself about why a plastic box with some simple electronics and nothing-special NiCd rechargeable batteries would cost .

A transponder with a dead battery fell into my possession. It sat in my garage for a few years before I finally took the time to crack it open. Hit the jump to find out how you can try and revive a dying TranX battery.

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Project Car SOTU: 1991 Subaru Justy

In my last Justy post, I was prompted by the car’s horrifically uneven compression numbers to sideline the car until I made more progress on my AMC Eagle. This has mostly been accurate, though I have since confirmed a handful of possible issues and purchased some new parts to install, while mentally preparing for an engine teardown and rebuild.

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Project Car SOTU: 1984 AMC Eagle


My AMC Eagle’s primer-gray hood has unceremoniously become a staging area for crap I need to shove into the attic. My access ladder is right above the Eagle’s engine bay, which means I usually sit on the top edge of the windshield as I pull the folding ladder down. Rusted fittings on its clutch master cylinder had me stuck as of my last update, but I lucked out. I also found a local shop that could accommodate my request for a custom-made brake line. Same day, even.

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1981 AMC Spirit: A Real IMSA Race Car for Two Grand

Alan Cesar February 27, 2015 All Things Hoon

A piece of SCCA and IMSA racing history is ready for new ownership. Casual AMC fans know about the  in IMSA with that iconic red, white and blue livery, but 10 years later, AMC supported teams with AMC Spirits to compete in the series. This one can be yours, but be warned: Though it has an SCCA logbook, it probably needs a fair amount of updating and work.

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1981 AMC Eagle: A Mostly Complete Restoration is up for Auction

Alan Cesar February 20, 2015 All Things Hoon

Restoring cars is not often a money-making endeavor. This is especially true of unloved cars like the AMC Eagle. Though the concept was ahead of its time and the 4-wheel drive technology in it was pretty advanced for 1981, AMC’s best-selling car couldn’t keep the brand afloat. That’s why you, the AMC afficionado, can be money ahead by buying this nearly complete, restored Eagle. Details after the jump, but you’d better sell your Metro on Craigslist now: The Bring A Trailer auction ends next week.

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Project Subaru Justy: It Could Be Zero

Old cars break. I keep forgetting this fact.

I’ve been chasing a rough idle and rich running condition ever since I bought this Justy in… October. Alright, a few months isn’t forever, but I am a little disappointed to have bought a rolling restoration that gets 20 mpg instead of a finicky-but-economical daily driver.

I had changed the spark plugs, cap and rotor, and bought a new fuel injector for cylinder No. 2. None of this made a difference, so, I thought, there might be a problem within the distributor or somewhere else in the engine. It came time to run a compression test and discover the exact “somewhere else.”

It’s just a compression test. How bad could it be?

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Project Subaru Justy: Sorting a Sloppy Shifter

Alan Cesar February 4, 2015 Project Cars

Finding gears in my Justy was a guessing game. The shifter was sloppy and vague, with long throws between gears. There had to be some way to improve this. It was diagnostics time.

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Upgrade Your Garage With a Huge Whiteboard for $14

Alan Cesar February 4, 2015 All Things Hoon

I have entirely too many projects to keep track of inside my increasingly crowded head. This includes two project cars, a finicky daily driver, and all the various issues that come up when you own a house. My wife wanted a whiteboard to attach to the fridge so we could plan weekends and keep a running honey-do list. But even small whiteboards are .

My wife found a cheap idea on , and we tried it out. The whiteboard failed on the fridge — we couldn’t get the board to stick, and didn’t want to screw into the fridge — but it’s been great in my garage. This project affords plenty of material for all the whiteboard you might want: You’ll start with a 4-foot by 8-foot sheet.

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2016 Mazda Miata Horsepower and Torque Specs Now Available

Alan Cesar January 30, 2015 All Things Hoon

The spec we’ve all been waiting for is here. Mazda has been teasing us with details on the next-generation MX-5 Miata for months, first releasing a drivetrain photo, then the bodywork and a handful of details. Light weight was the first big news: Some purists decried the (modest) weight gain when the third-generation NC-chassis cars were released in 2006. Everyone is enthusiastic at the target weight of a metric ton, or 2200 pounds — same as the first generation. But how much power and displacement will it actually get? Hit the jump to find out.

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