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1999 VW Jetta GL MK3 GRM $2011 Challenge build 
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Just got back from vacation and took an extra day off work to get caught up around the house. That means I had most of a day to work in the garage undisturbed!

The JB Weld had cured nicely and sanded down to a nice flat surface. If I was going for a true show car I would have put down another layer, but whatever. I scuffed everything to be painted with a Scotchbrite pad, and vacuumed. I finished the masking job and then wiped everything down with paint thinner and then again with a tar & grease remover.

Before spraying primer, this is what the prep looked like:
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And after the first coat of primer:
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Since temps here are getting up to 50 at best, the primer is drying slowly. I took an inventory of the spray cans on hand and don’t think I’ll have enough gloss black to do the whole interior, I’m hoping I have enough flat black to do the floor boards, while I’ll save the gloss black for the center hump and some of the brackets that were removed. I’ll probably spray a rectangular section under the pedals with a rubberized undercoating to give more durability to an area that will see a lot of wear.

And now for something completely different…
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The 13x10 Bassett wheels with Hoosier R45A slicks came in! The slicks are in much better shape than I expected and the wheels were advertised as new, but had been sitting in a shed or a garage or something. I was told they were purchased for a road racing Scirocco, I don’t know why they are not being used anymore. They appear to be in perfect shape except for a few splatters of blue paint. The guy selling them offered some screw in studs which he threw in, sweet!

The seller test fitted them on a MK3 before I bought them, but I still wanted to double check asap. They are ridiculous, in a good way!!
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The clearance to the caliper is extremely tight, but does not touch:
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I test fit the studs, but need to get the right size deep socket to fit the lug nut. I think it is 23mm:
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The wheels are not hub centric, but I don’t think this will cause an issue so long as all the lugs are tight:
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14x6 steelies with 195 radials vs. the slicks:
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The slicks are about 0.75 inches shorter than the stock tires. The Bassett website says the wheels alone are 16 pounds each. I measured them with the slicks on and they weighed 32 pounds each. I have seen references to the stock steelies weighing 40 pounds, although I’m not sure if that is with or without tires. We’ll just say that I am shedding 8 rotating pounds per corner for a total of 32 pounds of rotating weight removed.

Also, I had jotted down a few weights a couple of weeks ago of other things removed:
Sound deadening tar 16 lbs
Wiring 9.4 lbs
Stereo & speakers 14 lbs

These pieces listed add up to about 72 pounds, plus miscellaneous interior bits, A/C components, and lightening of the front & rear bumpers I’m hoping will add up to at least 150 pounds.


Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:33 pm
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kingbeann wrote:
They are ridiculous, in a good way!!
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Extra ridiculous :yes:

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Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:14 pm
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Very cool! I've always wanted to do this to a car :)


Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:57 am
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The interior got painted gloss black and turned out pretty good. I failed to get any pictures of the paint before I got started on some re-assembly. I laid down some cardboard to work in the car without scratching up the new paint. Here the heater box is re-installed:
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From the firewall side – no more A/C tubing running through the firewall:
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…and before I reinstall the dash I want to finish cleaning up the wiring. There were a few loose connectors just wanting to be pulled through the firewall, plus I can get rid of the wiring for the standard horns and reroute the horn switch to the alarm horn in the drip tray. I am also pulling the A/C wiring, the side marker lights, and the alarm sensor on the hood latch:
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I have (rightly) been accused of spending too much time on the marginal weight loss of the de-wiring. I know it’s pretty unexciting because it is slow and the results don’t immediately show. I’m looking at this car as a long-term project and am taking the approach of doing it right(ish) the first time within a small budget. That said, I’m hoping to be able to dive back in and make some tangible progress after having been travelling and down with a terrible cold for a couple weeks.

I’m continuing to work on the engine bay wiring and then the dash will get back in to the car!


Tue Apr 26, 2011 2:47 pm
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I would suggest selling the slicks, (they look cool) but with the hp/torque you will be making and your clutch style I am pretty sure they will slow you down in the 1/4 mile. Just my .02

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Tue Apr 26, 2011 3:52 pm
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WhoFarted wrote:
I would suggest selling the slicks, (they look cool) but with the hp/torque you will be making and your clutch style I am pretty sure they will slow you down in the 1/4 mile. Just my .02


That's possible, they are intended to be primarily autocross tires, ideally I would have some drag slicks for the 1/4, but I may end up experimenting with some different options. From what I have heard road race slicks suck on the 1/4 because the sidewalls don't flex enough.


Wed Apr 27, 2011 7:40 am
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I would recommend a sticky radial tire. you shouldn't have a traction issue, and if you get some slicks to hook up stuff will break. and with out a racing clutch not recommended.

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Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:26 am
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It has been too long since the last update, but work has been progressing, so this is a longer than normal update.

I am very glad that the de-wiring project is complete! I’m sure there will be a future opportunity to further clean it up, but the wiring left is already so much simpler and easier to work on. After my last mini-update I was working through all the systems to make sure I had 100% functionality before rewrapping the wiring. I made a checklist of all the items I expected to work and started checking them off:
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It took a little troubleshooting to make everything work, but all the issues had to do with me either missing something that needed to be plugged in or in one case a burnt out bulb. Here is what it looked like while testing with all the electricals plugged in with no dash:
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With the testing complete I pulled out the electrical tape and went to town rewrapping the harnesses. I seem to always have half-rolls of electrical tape around, now I have managed to get rid of all my partial rolls – I would guess I used the equivalent of 1 to 1.5 rolls of electrical tape to rewrap the wiring. I got a couple of “after” shots of some of the wiring, you can see the before and after next to each other in some of these pictures.
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With the wiring wrapped I could begin reinstalling the interior. The heater core and dash support were already in since I needed to run wiring around them, but I still needed to put the dash in. The dash went in easier than I expected, it seemed like removal was a major pain. In retrospect, a lot of the pain of removing the dash is because the factory attached so much wiring to the underside of the dash. On reassembly I attached very little wiring to the dash itself which made reassembly (and any future disassembly) much easier.
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The wiring looks pretty clean with the dash back in place. I deleted most of the plastic trays/dividers that protected the wiring under and behind the dash. Around the pedal pivots I did zip tie off some wires to make sure they didn’t get pinched, but otherwise here is all you will see if you look in the pedal area:
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You may wonder why I am leaving the air bags in place…. Remember that I am intending for this car to see some daily driver duty, so I am retaining the safety features. If this car ever goes 100% track rat it will get a cage and be massively stripped – what I’m doing here is all pretty mild and streetable stuff.
With the dash in, all the little trim pieces of the dash went in with no issues. After it is together, the obvious indicator that the dash is not all there is the massive hole in the center where the radio and center vents used to live. I picked up a piece of scrap aluminum that I’ll cut to fill this space, but this is a low priority at the moment. (eventually auxiliary gauges will be housed in this space )
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Here is a close up of what is in the “access port” in the middle of the dash 
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And I don’t think I ever posted up a picture of the floors after they got painted:
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I reinstalled the drain plugs that I had removed to paint. There was also some rust around these that got cleaned up prior to paint. Reinstalled with some silicone sealant:
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In the last post I mentioned that I ended up removing the headliner and all the plastic holding it in place. This was easy enough, but underneath the headliner were three insulating pads self-adhesively stuck to the metal roof. They really don’t weigh much, but they look gross and needed to come out. I was dreading this job for a good reason – it sucks to scrape adhesive, and there is a lot here. This is what it looked like out of the car, there are three pads folded up here:
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After my experience with scraping sound deadening tar I knew there would be a few options to best remove this stuff, but definitely no air hammer this time! First I ripped out the bulk of each pad (in pic above), leaving just the sticky residue. I started out with the heat gun, but it just got the adhesive gooier, and didn’t really come off – just slid around. I pulled out two different solvents – some paint prep wipedown I got at NAPA and the ubiquitous Goo Gone. I use a little squirt bottle to spray the stuff in small sections and then scraped with a 3” putty knife. The Goo Gone was sort of effective, but was making a mess by dripping (and I have come to hate the smell). The paint prep solvent from NAPA worked great! It didn’t dissolve the adhesive, but it softened it to the point where it could be scraped and come off, not just slide around in a gooey mess. It also evaporated pretty quickly so it didn’t get all over the place.
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I went over each section once to get the majority of the adhesive, a second time with the putty knife to clean it up, and then twice more with a paper towel to wipe up the remaining residue. End result:
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The final piece of the interior that needs to go back is the front seats. I picked up some “Tenzo R” race seats early on in this build, mainly because I was so excited to get moving and accumulate all the needed parts. Are new seats really needed? Well, they hit the budget – which is very strict at $2011, but at the same time the seats that came with the car had broken bolsters which caused the driver to sit at an angle sloping towards the door. This was unpleasant enough driving around town, but on an autocross course this would force the driver to constantly brace against sliding out of the seat. The Tenzo seats are pretty comfortable with great bolstering. However, when considering the sliders and mounting attachments they don’t weigh any less than the stock seats. It is debatable whether they look any better. The main issue with the Tenzo seats is mounting them. I could either weld in new mounting points for them, or cut the stock seats mounting points and weld the Tenzo seats to the OEM sliding bracketry. For the time being, I am rethinking my original plan and staying truer to the spirit of the GRM competition – I am reusing the stock seats, but modified/fixed:
The seat base bolsters are broken. On the driver’s side the left bolster is gone, on the passenger side the right bolster is gone.
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Hmmm, what can we do here? We have two seats that are half broken...combine to make one good seat and one bad seat! The bolsters on the seat back of the passenger side are good, I’m just going to swap the seat back from passenger to driver side
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Bolsters are cracked at the metal support structure. This means you sit on the metal, not very comfortable OR supportive:
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A ruler and a razor blade later:
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Add a little of this:
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Makes one good base:
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And one bad base:
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On the “bad” side, I glued up the broken bolsters before I reassembled. I doubt it will hold, but it is worth a shot at least… I haven’t finished the seats yet, but it should be pretty quick to put these back together and into the car.

After spending so much time on the wiring it is gratifying to finish all the little projects that had been lining up and make some tangible progress. The stack of parts on the shelf is dwindling as they go back on the car. An example of this is the replacement vent hose and tube that I got back on:
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While in the engine bay I turned to other projects. I still had to pull the AC compressor. Pulling this is easy enough, just a few bolts. I also unhooked the alternator to gain enough room to pull the compressor up and out. I didn’t weigh it, but I would guess this is about 20 lbs, heavier than I expected.
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When you pull the AC compressor on an ABA car you have to reroute the belts, you can’t just get a shorter serpentine belt since the new route would put the belt right through the crank pulley. The low buck solution is a VR6 water pump pulley which converts the water pump from the V-belt to a serpentine belt. I found someone on the Vortex parting a VR6 that gave me a good deal on the required pulley (as well as a new vent hose). Here are the two next to each other. I’ll be cleaning them up later:
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The new arrangement will have the crank running a serpentine belt to the alternator and water pump with the stock tensioner. The power steering pump will run on a shorter v-belt. I picked up some belts at O’Reilly’s (who were cool about looking for the right sizes considering I was working on a Frankenstein arrangement and have no idea what cars these belts were intended for). Keeping it local is good in case I need a different length and need to return the ones I bought.

This is when the curse of “while you are in there” hits…
The car came dripping coolant and receipts for a new timing belt and water pump in the last 2k miles. Since the accessories over the water pump are now removed, I unbolted the bracket that holds the alternator and power steering pulley brackets to get a clear look at the water pump. Note that this picture was taken AFTER a liberal dose of Simple Green and a scrubbing with a toothbrush. It was pretty nasty in there.
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I talked to my buddy who owned the car to ask him about the water pump repair and if it included the housing or anything else. He didn’t know, but said the original water pump had broken its impeller and caused the engine to overheat. Looking at it, it seems like the leak is coming from the gasket between the new water pump and the original housing it is bolted to. (For those of you that haven’t looked at this waterpump, it is a two piece affair; the pulley is on the pump and all the hoses go into the housing. The pump and housing bolt together and install as one piece. I’m not comfortable leaking coolant, so I opted to order a new waterpump AND housing from German Auto parts. I also got a new thermostat, thermostat housing, all the gaskets/o-rings, and some real G12 coolant!

“While I was in there” on the GAP website, I looked through my list of needed items and also ordered some new HD front shock bushings, a shifter rebuild kit, a clutch install kit, and a G60 trans mount. Also pictured here is the previously mentioned belts, some new spray paint, and hockey pucks/bolts, ahem, I mean new engine mounts.
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That is where she stands as of today. I’ve been working on the car about 3 days a week for a couple hours each time. I’ll finish up the seats and get them installed next. Shortly thereafter the cooling system will be rejuvenated and I’ll be cleaning up and painting the components as they go back on the engine – stay tuned for a paint scheme emerging for the engine bay.


Mon May 23, 2011 11:31 am
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That looks like its really shaping up! One day I'd like to know enough to be able to do that!

Looking forward to seeing it on the road!

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Mon May 23, 2011 3:35 pm
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Seats are back in, the interior is functional and largely complete. There are some little projects that I’ll need to address like filling in the hole in the dashboard, covering the speaker holes on the parcel shelf below the back window, possibly fabbing a new dead pedal since I no longer have the one that is integrated into the carpeting, and finish stripping the insides of the doors. I failed to take a picture of the seats re-installed, but it is not much different to look at.

In the last update I showed some pics of the crusty waterpump, alternator, brackets, and pulleys. For various reasons I really like the looks of gloss white on an engine. I know that it will highlight all the dirt, but when it is clean it just looks….CLEAN! So, I’m going with white on the pieces that come off. My buddy Eric at work (the same guy that gave me the turbo) has a blast cabinet and volunteered to help clean up the big aluminum support bracket and a couple of pulleys with his bead blaster. I used a wire wheel and/or scuff pad on the other pieces to prep them for primer and paint.
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Since it is right up top, I wanted polish the alternator and provide a little bling to the engine bay. I just didn’t have the patience or enough Dremel attachments to do it right, so I ended up masking it for paint as well. (I had a picture of this semi-polished but can’t find it at the moment.) Here is everything masked and ready:
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And after several coats:
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While the paint dried, I pulled the old water pump;
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and cleaned up the block where the water pump used to be, wire wheeled the grounds to the block, and reinstalled the grounds with some dielectric grease:
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I took a close look at the old waterpump and housing to try and figure out what was dripping:
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Even though I say that this is the “old” waterpump, according to my receipts it only has 2,000 miles on it, but it sure does look aged from the outside
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After cracking it open though, it does look brand new
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However, it used this cheap fiber gasket while the OEM gasket is metal and rubber. I suspect that the cheap gasket has become saturated and was the culprit of the seeping coolant. I also noticed that the used waterpump had a plastic impeller, compared to the metal impeller on the new one from GAP. It looks like the repair shop that did the work last used whatever parts were cheapest at AutoZone or something. Since I had already prepped and painted the new waterpump and housing I went ahead and used them, though functionally they are identical to what was on the car.
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I reassembled everything and unfortunately cracked some internal parts of the alternator… I thought I had everything lined up before the bolts got torqued, but apparently I was off…CRACK!! Anyone have an extra alternator laying around that I can salvage?

I put that junked (but good looking) alternator back together and reassembled everything to check on the new belt fitment. I am now using a VR6 water pump pulley on the new shorter serpentine belt and a shorter v-belt with for the power steering. The heavy and non-functional AC compressor went in the trash. My research paid off and all the belts tensioned down well. I may need to put a spacer behind the water pump pulley though, the belt is right on the edge of the pulley.
Here is the best shot of the new belt alignment:
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Overhead shot of the engine bay:
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You can just barely see the white waterpump hiding down there:
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It’s nice that it is warm again, but the bugs LOVE it when I am working in the garage at dusk. The little bastard should serve as a warning to the rest of the mosquitos trying to hunt me:
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I need to refill the cooling system, but really need to fix that alternator before I run the engine too much, so I’m working on the intake that has been neglected since the winter. Earlier I thought I would fit a cone filter and run some sort of CAI. Since then I‘ve done a little research and see no discernible difference in power between a modded airbox and a CAI with a cone filter. So, I got busy with the Dremel:
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There was a warm air pipe that ran from the heat shield on the exhaust manifold into the back of the airbox. This has all been deleted and I wanted to seal up the hole in the back of the airbox to keep it as cool as possible. I recently helped my friend and his family load up a dumpster from a garage they were cleaning out. My friend’s dad used to build trailers and they were going to throw away a lot of stuff from his old business, as a result I ended up picking up a bunch of tools and five huge sheets of .05” aluminum. We will see more of this aluminum late in the build, but I wanted to practice building an aluminum patch and use a riveter for the first time. I could have just as easily used duct tape, but I used aluminum, rivets, and a little sealant to cover the back of the airbox:
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On the home front, we had one false alarm last week where everyone rushed home and we were prepared to head to the hospital for delivery, so in the meantime I do what I can on the car…

I need to repair the alternator, flush the coolant, and then pull this car out of the garage! I’m assuming there will be a hiatus on the build soon, plus I also need to swap sway bars, brake rotors, and put my summer wheels on my WRX (I still have winter tires on it!!!).


Mon Jun 13, 2011 9:28 am
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Welcome to the world Charlotte Ruth! Born 6/27

Life has been busy, just not with this car...

I do have some updates, but no photos to share yet -
-The trans has been dropped, going to put in the new clutch
-New motor mounts are being fabbed from hockey pucks
-I got my emissions notice in the mail :no:
-The exhaust cracked/separated right after the catalytic converter


Tue Jul 05, 2011 2:37 pm
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CONGRATS!! sorry to hear about the car tho....

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Tue Jul 05, 2011 2:45 pm
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Time for this project has rapidly disappeared with two little girls in the house. I’m down to about four hours a week of garage time. Hopefully that will allow me enough time to get this done by October. My older daughter has gotten used to seeing me in the garage and the other day asked for some gloves and then rolled under the car to “fix the car”:
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Also, Jeremy, the donator of the car paid a social visit and posed for a shot. I’m thinking I’ll let him autocross it with me when it is done as a thank you for the car.
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The most significant update has been the removal of the stock 020 transmission. This is being done in order to replace the clutch and I also picked up German Auto Parts’ clutch rebuild kit that includes all the gaskets and seals that should be done at the same time. While the trans is out I will also be installing the 80% lockup kit (the trans doesn’t need to be out, but it will probably be easier), replacing the shifter linkages and bushings, and upgrading the motor and trans mounts.

I picked up an engine support from Harbor Freight. At just over $50, this has worked out great! (Working with this engine/trans made me realize that this is the first front wheel drive car I have owned in the 13 vehicles I’ve had over the years. I guess next I’ll need a mid-engine and rear engine car to have owned all the common configurations.) The support comes with the two chains which I am using to support the engine from the front of the head. I attached two ratcheting straps to the mount and wrapped them around the trans below to support the transmission for removal. The trans was lowered by alternating the loosening of each strap to drop it to the ground a few inches at a time. Although this worked to lower the trans, I’m planning to get a pulley when I install it and need to raise the trans back up. The ratcheting straps are pretty crude and it would be tough to line up the bolt holes. My dad says he has a pulley he can give me, so we’ll see what he has.
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Speaking of tools, I had been borrowing my dad’s portable 15 gallon oilless compressor. I used it so much that I had picked up a few air tools of my own. Well, my dad needed the compressor back and I was going through withdrawal, so I started researching compressors. I initially wanted a large vertical unit, but after looking at a large one at Lowe’s with my wife, she politely said, “hell no, not in our little garage….” Based on her response, and the fact that I’m not going to invest in running 240v out to the garage of our rental, I limited my search to smaller units that can roll around the garage, or possibly be lifted up to the attic (another use for a pulley) where the noise would be muffled and it would take up no space on the floor. I ended up picking up a 10 gallon horizontal tank unit that puts out something like 5.3 cfm at 90psi, cast iron motor, and oil filled, again from Harbor Freight with a coupon for about $150. I plumbed it into another 10 gallon air tank I had, so effectively I have a 20 gallon capacity with about the biggest motor you can run on 120V. Thanks to the site http://www.garagejournal.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; for a lot of good info and ideas on anything for your garage/shop.

Back on topic, when I got the trans out, it was BLACK. When I bought the car the inspection port on top of the trans was open, nobody knows how long it had been open, I’m sure some of the black was trans fluid that had splashed out, and I’m sure some grit got in. With a can of engine degreaser, a toothbrush, and a hose I went to town and ended up with a respectably clean trans. Before this was cleaned I didn’t know that the trim ring around the inspection port on top is fluorescent green:
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With the trans out of the way I took a good look at the flywheel, shifter linkages, exhaust, and everything else in the engine bay that had been hidden.
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I took a good look at this block of metal hanging off the front suspension crossmember and figure is here just to reduce vibration. Am I wrong?
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I took it off. This thing is heavy, 10-15 pounds. Here is the bracket that was supporting the hunk of metal.
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Assuming I don’t need this “vibration dampener?”, I’ll probably grind off the mounting tabs sticking out.
I noticed that at some point the exhaust had cracked just after the cat:
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I’m sure this wasn’t cracked when I last drove the car in December or January, and it didn’t sound too bad when I was running the engine in the garage a couple of months ago. It must have been 98% cracked and the additional jostling I gave the engine pushed it over the edge. Well, I was planning on something different for exhaust anyway.

To remove the trans you have to remove or disconnect all the engine mounts:
Front: Image
Rear: Image

Now is a good time to start building the hockey puck motor mounts. I had read some threads where people had replaced the stock motor mounts with a stack of hockey pucks and a single bolt and planned to go this route. When I took the mounts apart, I decided the OEM setup is much stronger than a single bolt, so I designed the hockey pucks to mount exactly like the soft OEM rubber, plus I added a couple of washers to take out the slack.

The OEM rubber is in two pieces; a thick cylinder on top and a thinner cylinder on bottom. These have a steel shaft running through them which sandwiches the whole assembly together. Here is the OEM assembly:
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The taller rubber supports the weight of the engine while the shorter one on the bottom allows the engine to rotate a bit. Stacking three hockey pucks next to the taller OEM rubber you can see that the hockey pucks are shorter, but the softer rubber will be compressed with the engine mounted, so the actual dimensions aren’t that different. The bottom OEM piece of rubber is almost exactly the same size as a hockey puck, although it has some additional rubber around the perimeter to capture a large washer on the bottom.
Here is an “exploded diagram of the assembly”:
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Here are the hockey pucks next to the OEM rubber to see the size difference:
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I marked the center of each puck and then used a ¾” inch drill to make the hole. I went back with a step bit to open up the edges and make it easier to push the pucks on.
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The assembly is pretty much complete, I’m going to go back and clean up the steel and paint it silver before final reassembly. It really doesn’t look much different than OEM since I’m using the OEM setup, just replacing the spongy OEM rubber with a much denser rubber:
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Next update should include more news on the actual clutch and some more painting of the pieces that have come off.


Fri Jul 15, 2011 11:03 am
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Looking solid…..I would suggest on the front motor mount to either safety wire or locktite the crap out of those bracket bolts. I replaced the front motor mount on my 8V one time, didn’t locktite the bolts, went to the track, and banged the motor around, A LOT, one of the bolts backed out. It eventually stressed out the motor mount, the bracket broke, the motor shifted forward and down and the oil cooler was crushed by that motor mount bracket. It was a huge mess :no: . My .02 from experience….

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Fri Jul 15, 2011 12:59 pm
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Stiglitz wrote:
Looking solid…..I would suggest on the front motor mount to either safety wire or locktite the crap out of those bracket bolts. I replaced the front motor mount on my 8V one time, didn’t locktite the bolts, went to the track, and banged the motor around, A LOT, one of the bolts backed out. It eventually stressed out the motor mount, the bracket broke, the motor shifted forward and down and the oil cooler was crushed by that motor mount bracket. It was a huge mess :no: . My .02 from experience….


I hadn't thought of that, thanks for the heads up, I'll be sure to use at least some Loctite


Fri Jul 15, 2011 2:53 pm
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Progress continues!

Once the trans was removed, the flywheel and old clutch came off with no drama. I didn’t get a shot of the old clutch, but to illustrate how it was worn in words: the stock clutch plate has radiating grooves cut in the clutch material that are probably about 1/16” deep, the clutch was worn down to the point where the grooves were just about flush with the rest of the clutch material, but still some life before I would have hit the rivets.

While the flywheel and clutch were removed, I replaced the engine’s rear main seal with a new seal. This is one of the “while you are in there” things that I’m doing to prevent tearing this apart again anytime soon for simple maintenance items. German Auto Parts has a clutch install kit that included all the stretch bolts, seals, and bushings needed to get this all done at one time. I got the flywheel resurfaced and got the new clutch aligned and reinstalled the flywheel. New flywheel and clutch bolts went on at the same time. (That tape is a note reminding me to lube the splines before reassembly):
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With the trans out of the way there is a lot of room to work on other projects occupying the same general real estate on the car. Since the shift linkage was already partly disassembled, now is the time to replace all the worn out linkage bushings. Again, I got a kit from GAP to replace all the moving pieces with new OEM units. There are upgrade kits out there with Delrin bushings and USRT’s solid end link solution which would both be great, but I’m happy just to get back to OEM, and the parts price is reasonable. When I got the car it was impossible to make a quick shift from 1-2 and again from 3-4. An inspection of the shift linkage showed a lot of slop and damage to every bushing.

Since I got the full kit, I removed the shift box to replace the shifter ball and the bushings for the shift rod. To get the shifter box out, I needed to remove the catalytic converter and heat shield. In a previous update I showed how the exhaust pipe had broken just after the cat, so this area needed repair already. Plans call for a catless 2.5” exhaust system, so I took out the grinder to remove the rusted on bolts holding the front end of the cat and dropped it out of the way. With the cat out, I had more room to take the exhaust manifold off, since I have a junkyard header that will go back in its place. With the OEM exhaust manifold off, this also removed the secondary air injection emissions piping. There is now no need for the SAI air pump that hangs off the front of the engine, so I deleted it. As a side note, I’m not sure if all late Mk3 cars had this or if this was only installed on California cars, since this is originally a CA car. I may get a check engine light from this removal (not sure), that I’ll have to deal with later. As a side-side note, I found a solution to the Illinois Emissions testing notice I received last month, I’ll get to that soon enough.
You can see all the SAI piping on the manifold in this side view:
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I then removed the cat back system to just past the first muffler near the fuel tank by cutting the rusted pipe with a reciprocating saw. I was able to pull the first muffler and the long straight piece of pipe out the back, over the axle.
This picture was posted before, but here is what it looked like before:
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To drop the heat shield, I had to remove the smaller of the two cross braces that connect the sides of the tunnel. I knew these nuts would be rusted on, so I gave them a soak of PB Blaster and then hit them with my new impact wrench. The first nut put up a small fight and came off, I promptly snapped the three remaining studs . Well, I got the support out of the way and dropped the heat shield, but I’d like the structural benefit of the cross brace. I’ll probably drill out the snapped bolts and retap the holes so I can put the structural support back in place after I hang a new exhaust.

Here is after the exhaust and heat shield were removed, you can see one nut on a stud and make out where the other three snapped for the support brace:
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Here are the exhaust manifold, muffler, and heat shield that came off. Note the band clamp holding the muffler together This system is shot!
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Another shot showing the long straight pipe attached to the muffler:
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I didn’t want to snap any bolts holding the shifter into the floor so I soaked these a couple of times with PB Blaster over a couple of days and used a hand ratchet to ease the bolts out. No problems this time, they came out smoothly.
I went back with some degreaser and engine cleaner and cleaned up the area I was working in:
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I even got the back of the block scrubbed. There is surface rust, but most of the grime is gone. I went back later and got the steering rack too:
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And a view from below up towards the dashboard through the shifter hole:
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Back to the object of all this work, this is what the shifter box looks like out of the car:
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There is a support bracket that holds the front end of the shifter rod near the steering rack that I took out with the shifter box/shifter rod as one big piece. I couldn’t get this bracket off under the car and got worried that my hammering was going to damage something:
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With the whole assembly on my make-shift workbench I got the propane torch out to heat up the bracket and tapped it off easily. I then disassembled the shifter box and replaced the moving parts.
Here is a close up shot of what I started with:
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After disassembling here was the ball at the base of the shift lever, there was a lot of slop here:
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New orange bushings went in to hold the shift rod and the whole assembly was cleaned and loaded with fresh grease:
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I added even more white grease after this picture was taken:
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I have replacement bushings and linkage pieces for the rest of the shifter assembly, but I’m getting crazy with paint that I need to finish up before installing all the rest of the bushings, stay tuned on the complete shifter reassembly.

Earlier I cleaned up the trans to see beyond the blackened years of grime covering it. Before it got completely cleaned, I had some work to do to the trans itself. The most important from a performance perspective was the Peloquin 80% lock kit. I have no pictures, but it came with new brass inserts that applies greater preload to the differential, “fooling” it into acting like a limited slip diff up to a certain point, if the torque is above its threshold it resumes spinning just one wheel. I also installed the “while you are in there” parts. These parts came from the GAP clutch install kit mentioned earlier, and include the pushrod bushing and seal and a new throwout bearing.

To prep it for paint, it needed to be spotless. It may not look it, but this is clean enough to eat off of. Cleaned with engine cleaner, degreaser, and paint remover:
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You can also see how I blocked off the holes where the electronic senders were plugged in, I used some miscellaneous hardware around the garage to ensure no paint gets inside or mucks up any of the threads:
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When I painted the alternator and water pump assemblies I was a little frustrated that the aerosol cans couldn’t really get into the nooks and crannies of the structural aluminum. I picked up some brush on Rust-Oleum gray aluminum primer and gave that a try. My overall opinion is that aerosol is easier, gives a better finish, is faster, but is more expensive and messier. For the best possible finish a person would probably use a disposable brush to get the deep crevices and spray everything else. We’ll see how it looks after I get the topcoat sprayed over the top of the primer. Hopefully my brush strokes disappear.
Here is after a coat of brush on aluminum primer. I used disposable foam “brushes”:
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Here is the pile of trans, shifter, and motor mount pieces awaiting a wire brush and primer:
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I just need a solid block of time that I can get through all these pieces to get them cleaned up, hung up, primed and painted. Then I should be able to fly through the reassembly.

For those of you familiar with the GRM Challenge rules know I made a mistake with the wheels I picked up earlier. Chalk this up to learning to read (and re-read!) all the rules before embarking on a build… Tires have to be DOT approved to compete in the autocross. Ideally that means fresh Hoosier A6 tires. It definitely does NOT mean old road slicks, since they are not DOT approved, and thus not allowed. I’m going to hang on to the other wheels for the time being, I can still use them in local events and I’d like to try them on track too.
To address the rules, I contacted Dr.Dave of the chicagovw.org site, after he posted a cheap set of beat up snowflakes with “wasted” race tires. Yes, these are old road slicks, but they are DOT legal. And he threw in some traction compound to put some new life into them. I don’t have any good pics, for now this will have to suffice:
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I don’t think I ever put up a shot of my dash insert. I cut this from scrap aluminum I pulled from a dumpster. I’ll probably spray this black, since the shiny aluminum is pretty bright. Eventually the gauges that were in my Suby will live here. You can also see that I deleted all the buttons below the HVAC knobs except for the rear window defroster (which is still functional). Also my emissions testing notice laying on the dash :
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My frequent garage companion showing how 3 VWs fit in a 2 car garage:
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On Wednesday we are leaving on vacation for two weeks (http://www.kabeelo.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;), I’d love to get the painting done before we leave, but there won’t be many updates this month. Until next time, thanks for reading!


Mon Aug 29, 2011 2:17 pm
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Nice progress.

As far as the trans removal/installation, I just use the bench press method (if I have a spotter).

Those slicks will surely be better than any street tire. You may be able to get some great deals on non DOT Hoosiers right now, because a lot of guys are switching from the bias to the new radial. Just note that bias slicks want almost no camber, and DOTs want a bunch.

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Sat Sep 03, 2011 3:53 pm
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This year’s challenge is scheduled for Oct. 6-8 in Gainesville. Sadly, I have run out of time and will not be going this year. However, this build will continue with the intention of entering into the $2012 Challenge. Theoretically this will give me all winter to finish the exhaust, suspension, and appearance, with time to do some shakedowns at local autocrosses and/or track days. We’ll see how it goes… Have fun VWguyBruce!

I showed the buildup of the hockey puck motor mounts previously. They are finished and painted silver.
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I updated the front and rear motor mount to hockey pucks and purchased a G60 transmission mount. All were installed in their places with some LocTite to prevent the bolts from backing out from increased vibration.
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The clutch was installed on the engine with a new rear main seal and the transmission has been outfitted with the Peloquin 80% lock kit, new input shaft seal, push rod bushing & seal, throwout bearing, and throwout bearing cover. The paint is a metallic copper or bronze (I can’t remember which) and turned out pretty well. I had planned on a golden brown color, this is more of a metallic brown, but it works for me.
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The donor of the car, Jeremy came over and helped me line up the trans. We continued to use ratcheting straps, with him ratcheting above, and me under the car directing him and guiding the trans.
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The paint got a little scuffed, but that was bound to happen. All the torque specs were double checked, and I’m planning on refilling it with Synchromesh. This was possibly the first time the trans had been drained? When I drained the fluid it didn’t look as black as I expected, so I’ll hope for the best, although the previous owner had no record or knowledge of the trans fluid being replaced. When I drained it I half expected to find some chipped teeth come out from the reverse gear that clicks, however there was no evidence of metal.
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It was a real pleasure putting all the pieces together and not getting dirty! I’m not killing myself with a frame off restoration, but I figure any part that has to come off the car needs to get cleaned up and/or painted before being reinstalled. I tried to stick to themes for the color of each “system”:
I painted the trans bronze, as well as the shifter linkages – keeping a bronze theme for the drivetrain (not including engine).
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Inspired by a picture I saw of a Porsche 917 that had a golden colored transmission case, I don’t know if it was magnesium or some other exotic alloy, I thought it would look cool. I ended up more of a brown color, but let’s roll with it.

The engine and engine accessories will be white and silver. This was inspired by a local who had an engine sitting at Mobil 1 in Glenview that was painted white/black and looked great. This includes the exhaust will be white and/or polished – I really like white headers for some reason, ok with chrome tips out the side.
White starter:
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Bolt heads repainted silver:
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Any structural pieces will be white – if I ever get any, this would include strut bars and and roll bar.
For suspension I am thinking I will paint these pieces red. When I replace the struts and springs and bushings, I’ll double check the ball joints and tie rod ends. If the control arms need to come out they will be painted red.

Interior is black now, which I think really flows well into the dash, although I can really appreciate the race car look of a stripped out white interior. If I ever completely strip and cage the interior it may get repainted white. I hear that white cars (roof and interior specifically) are much cooler in the summer, which will be appreciated with no AC.
I picked up the one remaining button delete that I was missing for the HVAC controls:
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I have been playing around a little bit with paint schemes for the exterior. Since the car is already black I would like to preserve that to some extent to make the job easier. I also like how the black makes the moldings disappear. I’ve been inspired by the German flag, although I think it may be a little unnecessary, and by the most recent Porsche GT3. These line drawings were modified with Paint, and thus are terrible in quality and partially unfinished, but it lets you get a feel for the general idea. The general things I’d like to achieve are preservation of some black (less to paint) and a white roof (to keep it cool in the summer).

The first is GT3 inspired –
GT3:
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Mk3 Jetta interpretation?:
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The second is inspired by the German flag:
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This is my favorite – black base, red strip following the body line, silver to the top, white hood/roof/trunk:
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I don’t mind stripes in general, but I think the German flag colors are just a little too overdone. … we KNOW it’s German, who cares! I have always liked offset stripes running over the car, something like this:
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Any other great ideas?

The same day the trans was installed we visited the junkyard. We needed to find some Escort/Tracer parts and I had a few things on my list for the Jetta. We scored another starter to repair the one I broke, a couple of trim pieces, and a crazy stainless 2.5” to dual 3” exhaust with a Borla muffler off a truck. The exhaust will be reworked a bit since those dual pipes are needlessly heavy, but it should form the basis of a solid exhaust system.
I don’t have the pics from the junkyard yet, but here is the exhaust hiding under the car on the floor:
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New to me alternator:
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After the trans went in and all the ancillary parts were refastened (starter, driveshafts, clutch inspection panels, etc) the new OEM shifter linkage parts were installed. It still blows my mind how many linkages VW uses in this design! I suppose all the different wear parts and the associated slop are part of the reason why everything is either cable shifted or reduced to one linkage (like Audi S4). The linkage parts that are reused were cleaned and in some cases painted. The new bushings all went in and the shifter alignment tool was used to make sure everything lined up. I still need to finish this, but almost there.
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While I was under the car with the shift linkage, I decided now was a good time to remove the vibration damper from the k-member.
You can see it here from above:
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Here is after I cut it off with a reciprocating saw, then cleaned it up with a angle grinder with a cutting disk, and a file:
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Pieces:
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Safety first:
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Shot of primer:
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Shot of gloss black, and back to OEM:
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Here is a shot from above, the k-member looks pretty stock, and you can see how clean everything looks:
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While I had the paint out I grabbed something else that would be easy to paint quickly – the side marker lights. I already deleted the wiring for these so they are no longer functional, and I broke the mounting tabs on one of them, so it was just kind of sitting in the bumper with nothing holding it there. I’m planning on gluing these in place with some plastic epoxy after the paint dries.
I removed the plastic housing for the bulb:
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Before and after:
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There is raised lettering on the housings:
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That came off with fine sandpaper, before and after scuffing:
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Cleaned up the mounting surface where it will be glued:
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Primer and paint:
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These will be glued in after the paint has dried out.


To get the car running again I still need to repair the alternator, fill & flush the cooling system, and fab up the exhaust. To do the exhaust I either need to pay someone to do it (which would hit the budget) or get a welder. A month ago I used a wire feed welder for the first time to repair a broken exhaust on a four wheeler. I was far from good at it, but was able to get the exhaust fixed. Unfortunately I can’t use that welder for my projects since it is in Canada.
I’ve been debating on whether I want to buy a 110v welder, buy an Oxy-Acetelyne torch kit (with a welding torch), or just rent something. I like the idea that the torch is versatile for cutting, heating, and welding just about anything and doesn’t need electricity. I’m concerned that the 110v welder would be fine for what I’m doing now, but insufficient for a roll cage or any other structural welding I’d like to do in the future. I’m not planning on upgrading my garage to 220v since it is a rental and we don’t plan to be there long term, if we had 220v I’d seriously consider buying a 180+ amp MIG welder.
What I’ll need to do is call the local rental place to see what it costs to rent something and decide. Maybe I could take a day or two off and just pound out some welding projects; like the exhaust, fixing the Tenzo seat mentioned earlier in this thread, and adding some bracing to the Jetta (e.g. front and rear strut bars and harness bar). I would just need to be prepared and have all the materials ready to go.


Fri Sep 30, 2011 11:25 am
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kingbeann wrote:
This year’s challenge is scheduled for Oct. 6-8 in Gainesville. Sadly, I have run out of time and will not be going this year. However, this build will continue with the intention of entering into the $2012 Challenge. Theoretically this will give me all winter to finish the exhaust, suspension, and appearance, with time to do some shakedowns at local autocrosses and/or track days. We’ll see how it goes… Have fun VWguyBruce!


And don't forget, a whole extra dollar! :lol: Keep up the good work!

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Sat Oct 01, 2011 6:06 am
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sweet build look forward in seeing it in treffen 16 or the auto x looking forward in meeting ya! also :thumbup: i really enjoy seeing member getting down and dirty on a build instead of taking it to some weirdo :alien: that will charge way too much ... i myself got my hands busy on some oldschool cool a complete restoration i will be on it all winter just purchase a heater with some long john's and a big theromus to keep my hot cocoa warm and a bottle of vodka to keep me warm thru the cold winter days & nights just need some cuba cigars to help me think more ..lol so if nobody doesn't hear from me in a while if because i froze my a@@ restoring my v-dub:lol:





charlie :bedtime: well i am bushed got to got to bed to make the dough-nuts lol

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Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:52 pm
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It's been a while since I checked this post, congrats on the new addition to the family.

I was thinking that you should go for BLUES BROTHERS theme on this car, you can call it DAS BLUES BROS!!!!
If I don't sell my Golf then it will be parted out next spring, I'll keep you posted.

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Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:45 am
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This last month hasn’t included a ton of work on the car, although progress in a broader sense continues. In a previous post I shared some thoughts about welders and was trying to decide what route to take to get welding done (for exhaust and potentially some chassis bracing). After weighing my options and based on my current welding skills (none!) I decided to look for a 110 volt MIG welder. I’ve been stalking craigslist looking for the right deal – preferably a package deal since I need a welder, cart, helmet, bottle, and all the little tools and consumables that go with it. I limited my search to Lincoln, Miller, and Hobart with a preference for something with infinite voltage adjustments based on internet feedback on the options. My wife agreed that whatever I found would be her five year anniversary present to me – what a keeper! (I need to find her something….) Her only feedback was to prevent the garage from getting too cluttered, since it is used daily for her car, our bikes, and kids stuff.

To help clear up some floorspace, I decided to move the air compressor and lines off the floor. The plan was to put the compressor in the attic over the garage, plumb some hard air lines with filters and line drops to remove all the moisture, and install an air hose reel. The project got off to a start when I randomly stopped at a garage sale and picked up 10’ of ½” copper line and an air filter for $6. A few days later Harbor Freight sent me their monthly flyer and had their air hose reel on sale, so I picked it up along with some shut-off valves, an industrial filter/regulator, and miscellaneous other stuff (which happens every time I walk into that store). Several visits to Home Depot and Lowe’s ensued as I gathered the rest of the fittings and materials to put together the piping. I installed the reel and one filter on a 2x6 bolted through the drywall into the ceiling joists. I put together the lower section of piping and ran it up through the ceiling drywall where I’ll have the compressor plus an auxiliary 10 gallon tank that will be fitted with quick connects so I can quickly remove it to bring it with me as needed:
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I’m guessing the compressor weighs 60-80 lbs, and the garage has 10’ ceilings. I didn’t want to mess with trying to carry the compressor up a ladder, so I reinforced some of the roof joists, ran a 1” black pipe between them, and used the pipe as an anchor for a rope pulley:
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You can see the auxiliary tank sitting in this picture, it will be quick connected into the line coming straight up through the drywall:
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I would NOT recommend following this procedure for lifting heavy loads, such as an engine, I have heard horror stories of people cracking their ceiling joists. Even though I’m lifting less than 100 pounds, I was still a bit paranoid and made sure to reinforce the structure around the lift point… although back when I was in high school my dad rigged up an engine lift for me with an eight foot pipe spanning the attic rafters and a come-along. That worked fine for pulling an iron straight six out of a CJ5, but your mileage may vary.

After continuing to stalk Craigslist, I found a great deal on a Millermatic 140 with all the accessories I needed:
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The tank is a little smaller (40cf) than I would have purchased, but we’ll see how it works for my usage. The first things I’m going to do are practice on some scrap metal, put together the VW exhaust, build a welding table, and fix up the Tenzo seats that I purchased early on in this build so I can re-sell them and get them out of the garage.

Although limited, there was some work on the car this last month. The painted side-marker reflectors were glued in to the bumper. (forgot to take pics)

I pulled the driver’s side fender liner and removed the antenna, and the AC vacuum lines and reservoir:
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I’m going to leave the liner out on the driver’s side, since there is nothing left in there to protect:
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I’m trying to solve the oil leaks to keep the engine clean (and healthy) and bought a new valve cover gasket. As I removed the valve cover I cleaned everything that came off. The gasket itself was pretty brittle and tore in several place as I pulled it off. I also pulled out the PCV breather and the grommet holding it into the valve cover so that I could completely clean the valve cover and prep it for a fresh coat of paint. This grommet had to be cut off since it had become so brittle. It also looked like another source of a leak. I will be painting this:
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I installed the wheel studs and the Bassett wheels on the passenger side of the car to take pictures for the Illinois emissions folks, who granted me a “race/show car exemption”. I’ll need to renew the exemption every two years, but now I don’t need to worry about emissions non-compliance, and can renew the car’s registration (registration is subject to emissions in the Chicago area). The whole process was much more straight-forward than I anticipated. Pictures for emissions:
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With the Bassett wheels on, I took the time to really evaluate what I wanted to do for a wheel and tire package. Although these 13x10 wheels will be super sticky with the slicks, I don’t want to take the time to build flares to house the wheels and for the time being will stick with the other set of wheels/slicks that I picked up at a much more budget friendly price. I’ll be putting the Bassett wheels and slicks up for sale at some time. I haven’t posted a for sale thread yet – but if you want them before they are widely advertised send me a message.


Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:34 am
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This is so impressive. Keep posting updates. I am amazed your ability to take everything apart and repair/replace etc. I seriously aspire to do this one day. I am anxious to see it in person when you're done

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Fri Oct 28, 2011 3:59 pm
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Previously I had cut an aluminum panel to be used as a dash insert covering the area where the stereo head and some dash vents used to be. After installing it, it became obvious that the shiny surface would be distracting and look out of place in the black dash. I’m also not a fabrication master so my cuts aren’t perfectly parallel to the shape of the hole being filled, which was accentuated by the contrast of the aluminum against black dashboard. Painting the piece black cures both ills, it allows the insert to blend into the dash and camouflage the slightly uneven edges. This insert was sprayed with black Plasti-Dip that I had purchased a few years ago for doing a similar job in a different car. The result looks nice with a rubberized feel and solid matte black finish that complements the dash.
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Another item in the interior that was bugging me was the open shifter box. I don’t mind the exposed mechanical pieces so much as seeing the big hole with freshly rebuilt bushings and lots of fresh grease – that hole that is just waiting to catch whatever I drop and inviting for all manners of dirt and grime to get ground into the shifter bushings. I need a shifter boot.
The first problem is that the OEM shifter boot mounts to a center console that I’m not using. I need a new way to attach a boot. I took some measurements of the rectangular shifter opening and the width of the tunnel and looked around the internet and parts shops to see if there was a ready-made “universal” shift boot available. The rectangular shape is narrower than the “universal” type commonly sold, and the tunnel is too narrow to attach anything that I found that would cover the hole. I cut a piece of aluminum into a surround piece around the hole. Now I needed a way to fasten this plate. The forward mounting bolt for the entire shifter assembly is just ahead of the area being filled, and this was incorporated into the new surround piece. A new hole was drilled to fit another bolt at the back of the surround. I tapped a thread into the hole in the tunnel, cut the head off the new bolt (now a stud), and threaded it in so that it was flush with the bottom of the sheet metal. The threads held it while I tack welded it from the bottom. This had to be flush on the bottom in order to allow the shifter box to sit tightly against the tunnel. The new surround is held with these two bolts.
This shows the new surround, the open hole into the shifter assembly, as well as the Corrado shift knob I picked up at the junkyard gratis:
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It would look better with a handful of stainless allen head bolts around the perimeter, but maybe that will happen further down the road, I’m considering this a trial at the moment. I took some basic measurements and started cutting up an old t-shirt to make a template for the fabric for the boot. After a few tries I ended up with a boot made out of a t-shirt and held together with staples that fits through the range of motion of the shifter. My mom gave me some fabric she had left over from recovering some benches and volunteered to sew it together. When this gets put back together I’ll hold the base of the boot by sandwiching it under the new surround piece.
Working on my measurements and cutting a t-shirt for fitment purposes:
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T-shirt boot in place, it fits:
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This is the fabric that the final boot will be made from:
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Moving to the engine bay; the valve cover was painted white and the bolts a contrasting metallic black (left over spray paint from another project).
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A new valve cover gasket was installed with a dab of silicone in the corners and the mating surface to the valve cover. A new PCV valve grommet (price at GAP <$2.00, price at dealer that won’t price match >$11.00) was pushed into the valve cover since I had to cut out the brittle, cracked old one that 1) would not come out in one piece and 2) was leaking.
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The intake manifold was wiped down and reinstalled with the contrasting painted bolts. A new upper intake manifold gasket came with the valve cover gasket, so I cleaned up the two surfaces with a scrub pad on my angle grinder. This took off the baked on gasket material without removing any metal.
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Eventually I plan to polish the finish of the intake manifold and paint the VW logo a contrasting color, but that is a project for another day. Intake manifold reinstalled:
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Looking forward to when the powertrain work is complete, the next major system is suspension, which needs a complete overhaul. In anticipation of the suspension work, I ordered the Prothane polyurethane bushing kit off eBay that came with lower control arm bushings, rear strut mounts, bump stops, steering rack bushings, front sway bar mounts, and beam bushing inserts. I bought this mostly for the lower control arm bushings, rear strut mounts, and beam bushing inserts since the package price on eBay was cheaper than buying just the desired parts individually from GAP or BFI or anyone else I looked at. The “extra” bushings in the kit are just gravy. I had read somewhere that this kit comes with steering rack bushings that fit only Mk2 steering racks. I don’t know why they market the kit (including steering rack bushings) for all Mk2 and Mk3 cars if the steering rack is different, so, I double checked myself. After comparing it to the one in the kit, indeed they are different. The outside shape where the metal bracket holds it down is the same, however the bushings in the kit had a squared interior bottom shape while the OEM rack has a smaller, round inner opening with a small cutout for a hydraulic steering line to pass through. I held them up to each other (although I didn’t get a picture) and the pieces in the kit clearly don’t fit my steering rack. According to Bentley, the Mk3 had two different steering racks over the model run, although both only have one bushing, as opposed to the two that come in the kit. It’s possible the kit’s bushings fit the other Mk3 steering rack, but I believe they are intended for Mk2’s only. Weird. Any Mk2 guys need steering rack bushings?

The last major project I need to do before firing up the engine again is exhaust. I have accumulated a selection of junkyard and castoff exhaust pieces that I’m hoping will allow me to cobble together a muffled 2.5” -3” side-exit exhaust.
Getting ready to test fit some pipes, I cleaned up and reinstalled the heat shields lining the tunnel.
Image
I grabbed the junkyard header:
Image
and cut off the damaged flex section and 2” pipe that had been welded onto the 2.5” collector:
Image
The closer I examined this header the more I believe that it was custom made. The header flange and primary tubes appear to have resisted rust better than the collector and subsequent tubing. I can’t tell if this has been coated or is stainless, how do I tell? Stainless is non-ferrous right? E.g. a magnet won’t stick? I’ll have to try… The collector was (hopefully) not welded by one of the big header producers, as there is far too much weld material clumped around the welds and I can see little bits of welding wire stuck in the welds inside the pipe.
I test fit the header and it looks cool just to see a header hanging off the engine. You can also see the masking tape I put on the freshly painted valve cover to stop myself from nicking it every time I pulled it in or out:
Image
I cut off the 2.5” flanges from the OEM exhaust manifold and cat. If I wasn’t trying to meet a budget I would definitely order some new flanges, it really doesn’t make any sense to do this unless operating under my budget rules. For example, I burned up 3-4 reciprocating saw blades cutting these flanges off. At Lowe’s, the blades work out to about $3/each. You can buy flanges online for around $5/each + shipping.
Off the OEM exhaust manifold:
Image
Off the cat, that was a lot of cutting on some really thick welds:
Image
…and now I have two flanges to work with:
Image
Working from under the car, I lined up where the muffler needs to go:
Image
Looking a little closer you can see I had tacked the flanges onto some new piping on the header:
Image
Here’s the header with the new piping off the car:
Image
My first real welds with this welder, it should hold:
Image
And here is the header with the new section fully welded and cleaned up:
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I’m working through the exhaust one section at a time, the next piece will be a challenge, bringing the dual exit muffler back together to a single pipe:
Image

When the exhaust and shifter boot are complete, the next items on the list are:
• Test fire the engine – it has been many months since it has been run
• Refill the cooling system
• Double check the new belts, particularly the AC delete belts, make sure the VR6 pulley isn’t going to lose a belt and that the replacement belt has enough tension – fix if needed
• Double check for exhaust leaks and rattles
• Test drives to make sure everything is working as intended – the last time this was driven it was snowing in late December or early January, hopefully the next drive will be before the one year anniversary
• New fuel filter – routine maintenance that I don’t think has ever been done
• Suspension & brakes – this will be the next major project that will include cleaning, repairing, refurbishing / upgrading, and painting all components:
o Flush brake fluid
o Install new brake lines w/zip ties
o Shocks & cut/junkyard springs
o Bump stops?
o Front HD strut bearings
o LCA bushings
o Ball joints (as needed)
o Tie rod ends (as needed)
o Camber bolts
o Remove front sway bar (?)
o Sway bar bushings
o Rear upper shock bushings
o Rear beam bushings
o Box rear beam
o Rear anti roll bar
o Alignment

Although this is off topic of the build, it is garage related and maybe interesting to read… I mentioned in previous updates how I moved my air compressor to the ceiling and ran some lines to a hose reel and an auxiliary tank. I also incorporated an auto-drain on the main tank, a main shut-off valve, two filters (to catch water/grit), two drops with ball valves to drain water from the line, and quick disconnects for an auxiliary tank. These were all good features to design into the system, but leaks have been driving me mad. Although the auto-drain sounded great, it is being returned to Harbor Freight, it is leaking air. Some people have had good luck taking them apart and reseating an o-ring, but mine continues to leak, at this point I’d rather manually drain the tank. After eliminating the obvious leaks from the Harbor Freight auto drain, I sprayed down the remaining connections with soapy water to find any other leaks. Unfortunately I found a handful, which made me rethink my setup with plans to simplify the system and eliminate any un-needed threaded connections. All of the sweated/soldered connections are good, but about 25% of the threaded fittings leak, even with thread sealant. Since I would like to have the compressor always-on, any leaks will cause the compressor to constantly cycle to keep enough air in the system. This is unacceptable because of additional power use, the noise at all hours, and additional wear on the compressor pump. The alternative is to accept a system with leaks and keep the compressor turned off when not in use. However, following this course has negatives in that it will take time to refill the system every time I go to use if for the day and I would need to rig up a remote power switch or climb a ladder to the attic every time I want to power it on. Although I have too much effort already invested in this system, it should still be easier to persevere with what I’ve started and eliminate the leaks/simplify the system. The filter right off the compressor was eliminated and a sweated ball valve replaced the threaded piece that was there:
Image
Another sweated ball valve replaced a leaky ball valve for the quick release fitting that will keep the auxiliary tank filled (in the background):
Image
A couple of unions are incorporated to aid in disassembly of the system (at the top right), and a 3/8” ID hose connects to the reel instead of a rigid hard line that can’t be easily tightened:
Image
Too much time is being spent on the compressor, but the bright side is that I’m learning a lot about running copper line!


Mon Nov 28, 2011 5:02 pm
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Joined: Wed Aug 28, 2002 7:46 pm
Posts: 2075
Location: ORD
Thanks for the updates! :thumbup:
Your garage is turning into a little shop with all the new equipment.

And congrats to you and your wife on the new born :yes:

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Tue Nov 29, 2011 7:11 pm
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