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Rabbit Farmer's 1.8T 4-door money pit

121066 Views 453 Replies 40 Participants Last post by  Rabbit Farmer
Hmmm, I guess I haven't created a project over here. Let me get you caught up with the progress over the years.


I still have a bit to do to make it perfect. Engine build-up coming within the next 8 months to give me full boost on the turbo.

Here it is from the beginning to get everything caught up to the present....


Here is where the car started:


Summer 2006:

FIA Cage (Done)
FIA Seats (Done)
5-point harnesses (Done)
2.5 LB A-B-C fire Ext. (Done)

Bilstein Sport shocks/struts (Done)
Shine Racing coilovers and camber plates (Done)
Shine Racing anti-roll car (Done)

EBC Yellow brake pads all around & new rotors (Done, thanks for Fast Addiciton)
Waiting for my Mintex pads to arrive.
17x8"" rims (Done)
Toyo RA1s (Done)

Plans over winter 2006-2007:

Turbo GT2871
Performance intake manifold
3"" downpipe and side exit exhaust
034EFI Stand-Alone Engine Management
APR fuel pump
57 lb injectors at 3 bar
Adjustable Fuel Pressure Regulator (FPR)
Cooler spark plugs
Might change oil pan (add baffles and trapdoors)
Fuel injectors
Cam shafts
Sprayer for coolant radiator since FMIC will block some of its air flow.
Oil pan (trapdoors/baffle)

Lightened flywheel and performance clutch.

No plans other than some minor body work.

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1st of two coats. All painted with a brush. (friend Nick helped tonight)

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Buring the midnight oil....

A little progress this weekend.

(1) Determined solution for sunroof hole. Going to Rathe's on Friday to cut some sheet metal from a Golf/Jetta III. This is just a temp. solution to plug the hole until much later when the body will be the concern. For now... getting it on the track/hill and going fast will be my priority. Won't look pretty for a while. :oops:

(2) Wiring: Just have to weld a tab in for the fuse box and then plug everything together that is on/around the steering wheel. Everything else is hooked up.

(3) Plug the air vents in the dash where the dash was cut for the cage and then installed the vents a little further up-stream. :D

(4) Did some cutting of the dash and glovebox to make it fit. Still a work in progress.

(5) ""Fixed"" front bumper (essentially it looks like Frankenstein) and test fit bumper and fenders. Ordered part that was broken on fender (goes between fender and bumper). After the part comes in the front end body work will be done.

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Another busy night.... finished a bit earlier than I had been this week.. midnight. :oops:

(1) Spoke with Pete down at VW to attempt to order little plastic tube that goes into the vacuum in the front right fender well... not really sure what it does, but it sucks air when the car is running so it must be really important. Anyway, Pete said that the little tube I need does not come separately and that I would have to purchase the entire tube for $50. :shock:

Here is the vacuum blue-ball thingy with the broken (half of broken tube is still in the flexible tubing) black connecting tube.

At lunch I decided to figure out what alternatives I had and came up with a brake line (the flared ends were a perfect fit)

Did a little cutting and sanding...

And done!

I did put tape between on the brake line so it could not slide inside of the blue-ball thingy (the lines are secure and shouldn't move around, but I still didn't want to take chances).

(2) Next, working with Eli at Shine Racing Services ( we are trying to determine the best suspension setup (done) and to see if camber plates will work on the strut towers with the cage there. Eli faxed an outline of the camber plate to test fit it on the car. Not looking good.

(3) Finished the dash with the exception of the trim at the driver's feet and steering wheel. Waiting on those until my brother Andy welds on a tab for the fuse box that is normally located at the end of the dash.

I cut off the back of the center section to make it easier to change/inspect the e-brake lines in the future. I don't want to have to remove interior trim.

(4) Trimmed the door panel (just one thus far) to fit around the cage. Not perfect (need to slam door) so I will have to tweak a little more. I might use alum. sheet at a later date, but this is what I have for now.

(5) Starting to look like a car. Fenders mounted, bumper mounted, broken grill mounted. All panels are a little bumpy, but body work comes later after the performance step has been completed. :twisted:

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Andy (my brother) came over today so we could get to work on the roof and fuse box. HE can fabricate.... I can't even come close. If it doesn't involve cardboard, a couple of nails, pop rivets, zip ties or duct tape, then I'm lost.

Anyway, headed to Rathe's to cut off the roof of a MKIII Jetta. Thanks to Chris (vtGTI) for the loan of the cordless sawsall.

Short and quick.

Put the new roof on top of the old roof, traced the sunroof hole....

Andy (love his shirt!) grinds off the paint to prepare the surface for welding.

Cut out and grind edges to match new roof to old hole.

Weld in new roof (including one brace from the original roof). Didn't come our perfect (a bit of warping).

Grinding down the welds....

Later... filling the holes and painting the roof.

Welded in bracket for fuse box.

It is coming together.... slowly.

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Spent all day on the car and didn't seem to accomplish everything I wanted.

Cut off the top of the glove box so that it could be accessed from above by going through the airbag opening on the passenger side. The glovebox won't open because of the cage, so I figured out a way to access the box another way. Of course, I suppose I could convert the airbag hole to the euro box and call it a day, but that purchase doesn't make the car go faster or handle better.

Anyway, Did another door today. Reinstalled window and interior door trim... cut the heck out of it to fit around the cage. I will take a picture of it with the door open so you can see all the cutting that was needed. My goal was to make it look complete when the door was closed.

First coat on the roof.

Some misc. shots (new wheels are on)... needs to be washed very badly:

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Since the first event for the Golf is coming up very quickly, I took today off to work on the car.

A present arrived today.....

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Well, I took enough pictures of the whole process and will make my own tutorial for the VermontRacing site.

Rear shocks/springs are in. Ride height was reduced by only 1/2"", but I can lower it 1"" more. We will see how the front comes out. It is all about performance.

Here is the reason I couldn't figure out the rear... I had to remove the retaining clip and plastic washer, install the perch, and reinstall the washer/clip. I had to purchase a new retaining clip spreading tool (whatever it is called) since the one I had spent more time going sideways instead of spreading the clip. (junk!)


Smoothed the roof out some more.... there are a lot of wrinkles.

Life on "the farm"... too many projects, not enough time!

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Took Sunday off because I worked on car from 9am (Sat) until 2am (Sun).

Had a real fight with trying to get the camber plates aligned. For now, they are held in with 4 grade 8 bolts per side until we can get it on an alignment rack to check the caster. I'm not worried about camber since the plates are adjustable, but caster is not adjustable once welded in. We will weld both the top of the plate and underneath to make sure it stays together.

Did the finally smoothing of the roof and plan to try the paint method posted by Rob (Elmer Fudd) since it is just white and the roof. Bret at Rally Grafix will take care of the graphics for the roof. :wink:

Anyway, Nick and Tim came over and helped with the drilling of the 4 1/4"" holes to remove the original strut towers. The drill was so powerful that it took Nick for a ride a couple of times when it caught. :shock:

Hole in the strut tower.

Camber plate installed....

What it looks like underneath....

It is kinda of strange taking a cutting wheel to a new strut


I am still working on sourcing the brake rotors, but put it together for now (the brakes are easy on this car!) so it is mobile.

Short and sweet. I'm really looking forward to getting this on the road.

Dealer is coming over on Monday night to determine the actual value of the car for registration. NADA lists this car at $9700.... yeah right. Was that before or after it landed on its roof?

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A big thanks to Casey for coming over tonight with a rear brake tool to reset the rear caliper, help put the car together, and get it down to the shop (and me back). Plus, he didn't show up empty handed. :)

Pictures as promised.

Chris scuffing roof to prep for paint.

Me painting the first coat.

Roof when done.

Present arrive from Fast Addiction!

Rears before...

Rears after...

Fronts before...

Front after...

Seats are in. Harnesses are partially in right now.

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Camber plates installed...

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Thanks to Bret at
(covering over a really bend roof)

End of 2006.....

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And now you are all caught up. Welcome to 2007.....

Tranny is out. What a pain. The actual removal of the transmission was easy. Big bolts on the axles, easy motor mounts, lots of big bolts all around the tranny (instead of those 10mm head bolts from the Rabbit that hold the sheet metal cover to the transmission to keep water out... and that little piece in the back/behind the passenger side tranny flange), easy to remove parts underneath, and it just slides out soooo nice. The pain was the hours we had to spend on the top of the engine trying to figure out how to remove all the crap.

Transmission goes to Fast Addiction tonight (11pm) to start its journey towards enlightenment (e.g. LSD).

The issue I did have with the removal is the bolt that holds the back of the dog bone to the subframe snapped off (I just barely started to turn it with very little force). The bolt looked more like chalk instead of metal. And, in my efforts to remove the dog bone (the bolt broke off leaving a stud still in the hole) it looks like I broke the back of the dog bone. So, I will need to get a new one. Doh!

This week: front bumper off, exhaust off, DP off, exhaust mani off, clutch/flywheel off, SMIC off, power window control in. That should do it. Then start ordering parts.

Still looking for a hood and front bumper. I believe I have a lead in NH for the front bumper, but local would be better.

No pictures... figured you know what it looks like to remove a transmission. I have to say that I do not like the Bentley for the MKIV. Funny part of the removal, there was one like that stated (in a nut shell) to go to the electrical section for removal instructions for the starter. Okay, looked at the section on how to remove the starter... zipped to the step near the end since all the previous steps were completed until I realized the ONLY step that I needed to follow in the starter removal process was to remove the lower bolt on the starter. Um, they could have told me that in the transmission removal section.

John at has the transmission and is installing the Peloquin LSD. Want a go fast modification? This is a great thing to get!

I recent purchased a MINT front bumper from a fellow Vortexer (I had to drive to the intersection of 89 and 93 to pick it up... and then on my way home stop by at FA to get some parts).

Here are the 'some parts'

I am still lost on what I should run for for electronics. I have an e-mail out to Unichip. APR is a no go. Revo is a no go. I can't find a product that will run a big turbo (short of engine management).

I finally got to dig into the engine today to swap out the plastic water pump with a metal one. Doh.. it already had a metal impeller. Such is life. I guess I needed the practice. 2.5 hours start to finish. :) It did make it easier with the fact that the transmission was out of the car so I could hang the engine more in the middle of the engine bay giving me more room to work.

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Progress continues..... Car still isn't faster, but I now have all the body parts I need and the transmission is back in. I wanted to drive it around a little tonight to make sure everything was good (plus I'm supposed to put 450 miles on the clutch before any hard launches... I don't drive that much in a year with that car... LOL). But, since I didn't completely bolt the DP to the turbo it was loud as hell. Don't worry, it is just hooked up for moving the car around (get on the trailer, etc.) and the ol' foot won't punch the throttle creating a lot more boost that it can handle.

Anyway.... a little progress.

Thanks to John at, I now have my new flywheel, clutch, and pressure plate (I installed this on Saturday) and the transmission back with a nice toy installed inside. I also purchased a set of Driveshaft axles (good for 400 HP). The MK4 axles are soooo much easier than an MK1.

Clutch installed..... (bolts not tightened yet)

Something to keep me warm when the heater ran out of gas.... a little bit of apple infused vodka thanks to a friend.

The stock axle vs. the driveshaft axles.

Spent most of my time researching the internet for ways to make the car faster. Thanks to John at FA, he was able to give me some direction since I am new to the whole leaf blower mounted on an engine thing.

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Spent the last few weeks making it look pretty. Waiting for go-fast parts to arrive.

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Some assembly required.....

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Some progress... all the big parts have been removed from the car so it is now time to put it all back together. The oil feed line to the turbo was the biggest PITA as it was impossible to get to.

Anyway, some stock vs. go-fast parts side by side.

The pile of 1.8T parts I took out yesterday.... my green Rabbit suspension makes for a nice frame.

I think it is very impressive the HUGE difference between the stock exhaust manifold and the ATP setup. Stock is tiny.

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The past two days were productive.

The FMIC has been installed and most of the plumbing is done. I did not connect the tubing to the intake yet as I need to change the throttle body from DBW to DBC. I have not installed the front bumper cover yet (will require some shaving). The installation was a bit of a pain.... I had to cut the lip of the bumper bar so that IC would sit flush against the bottom of the bumper. Per ATP's instructions, I had to cut the lower radiator support, but after I finished and reviewed the work, I have no idea why I had to cut it. The IC doesn't hang anywhere near the radiator support. Looking again at ATP's instructions, it looks like the IC in the directions is different than what I actually had to install. There was some wasted time. I cut part of the battery box base (I do not have the battery box anymore since it was a causality of the rollover) to make room for the pipes. I also had a little problem clearing the headlight (throttle body side), so I cheated by removing the back cover of the headlight for clearance.

IC mounted to the bumper/rebar:

I had to drill a hole all the way through the second layer just so I could see. Then I worked an open-end wrench with the nut duct taped to it over to the correct position. The photo is at a sharp angle so you can see the nut.

Mount on the car with the tubing. I had to put the tow hitch at an angle (I want to leave it mounted on the car)

The removal of the old turbo was very difficult with the oil/coolant lines and miscellaneous bolts/nuts. Installation of the new oil/coolant lines looks like it will be much easier since I can see all the connections because the turbo doesn't hang below the exhaust manifold.

Installation of the ATP manifold was a royal PITA since it was impossible to see the nuts and even move impossible to (a) get an open-ended wrench on the nuts and (b) to be able to swing the wrench to tighten the nut. Well, I don't think Sears will take back my 12mm combo wrench after I shaved it down to make it thinner both in depth of the wrench and the thickness of the round part. I also bent the wrench to allow for the swing. It actually worked quite well. I wish I had thought of it before (as does my friend Nick) since Nick tighten (mostly) the hard to get nuts with the open-end wrench over the course of an hour. I just had to tighten them with the modified wrench.

Hard to see/work with nuts:

The fabrication:

I hung the turbo last night. Good thing I didn't start tighten the top nuts because one of the bottom nuts required the turbo to be at the end of the stud to be able to fit the nut between the turbo housing and the top of the stud. I was able to tighten all but one of the nuts since I needed a 12mm combo wrench. Hmmmm, somehow my 12mm got bent and didn't work here.

Turbo partially installed:

The nut that had to be installed first (lightened area) and the nut next to it (left side of image) that I couldn't tighten without a straight 12mm wrench):

The turbo from the bottom:

Hopefully tonight I will be able to install the oil and coolant lines and complete the intercooler pipes. That leaves Wednesday night to install the FPR, injectors, and BOV. If there is time, I get the exhaust completed.
EDIT: Didn't get a chance to work on the car tonight due to an SCCV meeting followed by the gym.

The engine management should be in the mail to me today. Hopefully I will be able to get that on by Monday (busy this weekend drinking that 1/2 barrel of Switchback).

I need to get to Fast Addiction to pick up some last minute items.

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The saga continues.

Big BOV... no idea where/how to install it.

The hairdryer installed...

Engine... not all hoses connected yet.

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Now I'm above my head....

How the car has been sitting for 5 weeks....

Package arrived today with some wires in it...

Starting to sort out/layout the harness. I plugged in what I could figure out so that I could determine the flow of the harness, and therefore, how/where to mount everything. A bit of a brick wall here so I have some deep thinking to do.

Letting the turbo breath with full 3"" exhaust. Chris Achilles is doing the side exit for me.

Split race muffler... the muffler is 5"" round and only 6"" long.

Bigger is better... :)

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Done. Car is down at Quintin's Brothers in Williston to get dyno tuned. They may or may not get to it today. The exhaust system didn't do a very good job of making the car quieter.... I think it sounds nice.

Joe from was making sure the 034EFI wiring harness was functional. It turns out that 034EFI did not include a mini-harness to allow the stock tach to work. Because the stock tach didn't work, the fuel pump wouldn't stay on and the oil warning light kept flashing.

Cyrus, Chris Marotti, and Chris Achilles came over later with the Achilles custom exhaust.

While Cyrus, Achilles and I worked trying to get the exhaust hung we got to listen to Marotti play us a ditty on the guitar. Much enjoyed!

I still need to do a better job with the after-market tach (temp fix until I get the missing harness) and boost (hack!) gauge (hack!) install (hack!!), but I think I'm all set now. Oh, and finish hanging the exhaust.

I think I got a total of 10 hours of sleep over the past three nights.


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We still need to mount the ECU inside the car (it is in the rain tray at the moment), but this means I need to remove the wires on the left side of the car (driver's side for me) and relocate them along the right side of the car.

We had some problems with the car at Lime Rock (track event) where the spark plugs would foul (oil from PCV) and turbo would become loose. Issues that I will address this week as I have a hillclimb in two weeks. I also need to make it quieter.....

Photos and videos from its first track event will be forthcoming.

Due to the stock internals of the engine (building it over the winter), we stopped at 18 psi and got 277 wheel HP from it. The turbo can breath right up to 28-30 psi quite efficiently, but I want to keep the engine in one piece this summer. This will turn out an easy 400 crank HP when done and a GREAT power band (good low end and top end). Very pleased with the GT2871R!


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Brady at Quintin's (dyno shop) e-mailed me today to tell me how to use the program to view the results. I didn't realize that that graph x and y titles were clickable menus. I'm unsure which program I ended up with (both displayed), but it is a very conservative number (18 psi) to where we are going (28 psi +/-).

Fun for now and the engine should hold together just fine.

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Stock piston gave up the ghost at the first race (it made it through the first track event just fine). I believe it was because the manual boost controller wasn't tight so it allowed for an over-boost condition.

Time to rebuild......

Not too worried about the block as I can bore it out if needed. The head is my main concern.

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Done. I might procrastinate, but I get things done (now, about that turbo single round headlight Rabbit I have been talking about for years....)

Anyway, a number of late nights and one weekend I was able to pull out the old engine, put together a new one (never opened the new engine.... should have only 40k miles). The whole process was not difficult, but it was time intensive. Surprisingly, everything went together... kinda intuitive. I did discover that almost all the parts on the NB engine (stuff bolted to head, valve cover, block) are different than the Golf. Right down to the hard metal coolant tube that runs along the front of the block (found that out after I install all the tubes, wires, etc.).

Anyway, some pictures for those of you bored with the text (I know I am).

Engine out (removed head and then lowered block/transmission out the bottom)

New engine with everything bolted on, Spec clutch, flywheel, transmission installed, etc.

How many 20-valves can you spot in 4 seconds? ...go!

I removed the DP and both axles and was able to (quite easily) bring the completely assembled engine up through the bottom. I had thought the turbo being bolted to the engine would prove to be too big for the engine bay opening. Good news!

Every wonder why VW's have some electrical issues? This is what the wire looks like that went to the secondary air pump and power steering pump. The power steering pump wires were also broken off. Of course, the damage could have occurred when I removed the engine, but honestly I have no idea how that could have happened.

I don't think that I need ANY of this. I already removed the secondary air pump from in front of the oil pan. Since I wasn't sure what I needed/didn't need and didn't have time to experiment, all the parts went back in.

Location of 034 ECU and relay board. I took the time to remove all 034 EFI wires that ran along the driver's side (left side of car for those of you with the steering wheel on the incorrect side) and ran everything on the passenger side of the car. I took the ECU out of the rain tray, cut a hole through the fire wall with an air nibbler (love that tool!) and put the ECU where the passenger airbag was. In the future, I'll have to get it mounted better, but it will get me by for this season. No pictures of the changes yet, as I need some sleep.

Heading to Moon Performance in NY at 2:00 on Thursday so that they can dyno tune the car to get it ready for Watkins Glen. Fingers are crossed that everything works.

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Engine makes noise when it runs. I will be getting new rings in the mail on Tuesday and changing them Tuesday night. If there is an issue with the head (which it sounds like this is the issue), then I have a real problem as I don't have any extra good heads to us. I have my $200 block/head setup, but that has bent valves and I have the old head that the pistons were throwing the rings against them at 6000+ rpms. I just might have to use that…

Picking up car from NY tonight. Bringing it back on Wednesday night assuming I have it together.

ACK! I am so sick of this crap!

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The rings on the stock pistons looked okay. There was a little peaning of the top edge of the piston that I had some concerns with, but it might have been okay. I just happened to get good pistons and rods in so I started on that last night since I couldn't go anywhere with the head.

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More progress... bottom end is done. I just need a complete head and I should be done in about 3 hours. (that's 3 hours on Thursday night)

Anyway... tired so here are a few pictures.

New pistons and rods finally arrived. Since I didn't have them the other night when I knew that I had to rebuild, John at Fast Addiction was nice enough to next day up rings and a head gasket.

Compared... notice the location of the top ring on each piston. The new piston is covered with assembly grease, hence the dirty look.

The old pistons. For some reason that had dents (old dents!) in the pistons.

Three in so far... notice the new EGT sensor. :)

Bottom shot with hanging oil pump chain.

And finally the last one going in. Pump back on, oil pan back on, etc. Done with this step. One more night and then it is a trip to NY.

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Turns out the head I finally ended using was crap also. It dropped a valve inside the engine. It started and ran great... never sounded so good. Put it on the trailer at 6am (when I finally finished working on the car after an all nighter), took a shower (needed it!), drove to Moon in NY, started it (sounded great), it stalled, couldn't start it again. Tried starting it a number of times with the laptop hooked up to it to figure out what was going on and about the 6th time we heard a clunk. Took the plug out and the end of the plug was flat.... huh!?! Looked down the plug hole and we could see the face of an exhaust valve looking back at us. Thankfully the head failed during a starting instead of running action. So, the Golf isn't going to Watkins Glen and won't be rebuilt for a while as I plan to get a new head.. perhaps ported and polished and ready to bolt on. Hmmmm, maybe some new Cat cams while I'm at it. Snow will be flying before that happens, but I do plan on taking it apart sooner than later just to see what happened. Hopefully there was not damage to the new pistons. "
"It is March 2008 which is the month I scheduled to start working on this car again for the next race reason (tax refund comes in the mail in March).

Getting new head (naturally)
Kevlar cord timing belt
Perhaps getting rid of the coilpacks and going wired
Getting rid of OEM wires/tubes under the hood that aren't needed as I have stand-alone.
Electronic booster controller (controlled by 034EFI ECU)
Dyno tune with two maps (high HP and moderate for the rainy days)

That is it for March (I think).

Big brakes planned for later.

After running 100% with bigger brakes, I don't think I will be doing anything with the car for a while. I want to change the suspension to lower it more without changing the suspension geometry (read as "lowering the car with shorter springs or coilovers is not the best way to make a car handle"... I need re-engineering). For example, my other Rabbit (a 1980 Rabbit) is lowered in the front using heightened strut towers and modified mounting points for the front and rear spindles... the rear is independent suspension to boot!

Progress (and therefore photos) will start in a couple of weeks as I am busy right now shopping for parts and weighing options.


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I'm still waiting for my website to come back online, so for now, enjoy the little red x's.

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May, 27, 2008

Progress.... picked up a complete 1.8t engine with transmission.... unfortunately it is an automatic with front end damage. (free auto tranny to anyone who wants it... it is just weight at the scrap yard to me... want to practice working on auto transmissions? Here is your chance. But wait... order the FREE transmission now and get a free under the hood wiring harness.)

Picture of disassembling "new" engine... and taking stock wiring harness out of the car so just the 034EFI will be there plus the 6 or so stock wires needed for sensors, etc. I will be working very fast on this in the next couple of weeks as I have a track event on July 14, 2008 that the Golf would be better than the Rabbit (5 hours of driving at the event).

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June 20, 2008


Turbo/exhaust manifold is bolted to the new head. The broken valve damaged one of the pistons. I had two options: 1. get one piston and have it balanced to the weights of the other three, or 2. get a new set of pistons for now (JE pistions) and do the "get one piston to complete the set" for later engine builds. Anyway, new pistons will be here on Monday.

Right now I have all the pistons/rods out of the car waiting for the new pistons. Everything should be together by Saturday.

Now, time to work on the new Rabbit and the water pump on the Cabriolet. I need a vacation.


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June 27, 2008

Well, I have been away in MI for a week (Sun-Fri). New pistons were in this AM and I started installing them around 3:00 PM or so. I bolted the head on around 10PM and ran into a little snag (one with two solutions). The 5mm x 50mm stud that is needed to compress the timing belt tensioner is way too short when the tensioner is already fully extended (i.e. the belt is not longer on the car). I plan to head down to SAC in Williston on Saturday morning to get a 5mm x 70, 80, 90, 100 (hopefully they have it). I could get a bunch of 100mm and cut them down, but they should be cheap enough to just buy the different lengths.

Plans are to fire this up on Sunday..... Saturday is busy with a BBQ at our place so time is limited on Saturday.

Boring photos to follow on Saturday.


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June 29, 2008

Some progress today. It was a little slow since I took soooo much time just to get the timing belt on the engine. :censor: :censor: :censor:

Big thanks to Jodi Doyle for some help with the intake today (added some nipples for vacuum lines)

Anyway, new JE pistons are installed (still using Scat rods).

And them purty?

The turbo setup on yet another head. :censor:

Those hard to get to nuts on the exhaust manifold.

I bought a 10mm flex wrench years ago to be able to get those nuts in between the oil pan and transmission on my Rabbit. Well, it is the same tool that is needed for the Golf, but thankfully, only two bolts need this tool on the Golf.

Close up of the end....

In between oil pan and transmission....

Close up of the bolt....

5mm x 50mm bolt with head cut off + standard thread connector + 5mm x 50mm bolt cut to 10mm + (nut+washer+washer) + brad (nail) = "tool" to compress the timing belt tensioner.

I had a hard time getting my hands into the tight spot so Julie gave it a go....

Next project is to replace the bearing on Julie's Jetta (and do the brakes also... it still has my track compound pads on the front).

Then finish fixing the Cabbie....

Then.... get the turbo Rabbit read for the next hillclimb.

Of course, around 11PM tonight I started to notice water coming under the garage door while it was raining.... so, I was outside in the rain cleaning the gutters over the front and back of the garage.


NOTE: I changed the first post to show a new link to the complete build (and re-build) of this car. It has been a royal PITA, yet a bit of a learning experience.
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Busy night... though, still a day off of my original plan this week for getting things done.

Subaru STI needs its summers back on. I never had brake calipers that were worth cleaning... well, the STI is the exception. Cleaned them up a bit after removing the wheels for the winter/summer swap.

Lots of tires in play on Friday. Heading to Green City Garage to swap the STI tires and mount the new Toyo R888R races tires. Short bed filled with wheels and tires along with four summer tires in the back seat.

As I was cleaning the Subaru STI brake calipers, I could not help but notice the size of the brake rotors and calipers. I guess the family hatchback from 2001 didn't need large brakes. Impressive.

My only real accomplishment tonight (other than removing the STI wheel) was to install new e-brake cables. Not too difficult, but it did take time.

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Not a productive weekend for the cars... I just finished some of what was on my Friday list.

I went to the local junk yard (been going there since I was 15) to wander around the yard to check out manual window options for the Golf.

Found out they don't let people in the yard anymore... since COVID-19. That kinda sucks as I can't go exploring to figure out what will or will not work. Plus, I want to take it apart myself so I understand how it goes back together. Darn it.

I picked up the Golf and Subaru tires at Green City Garage.

Spent a lot of time cleaning the nooks in the Subaru rims. For the Golf... since I like simple spokes, I was able to clean all four Golf rims in the time it took me to clean one Subaru rim.

Golf with the new tires... Toyo R888R 235-40-17

The trusty enclosed trailer... It has wheels and is involved in my racing habit, so here are some updates.

Love getting home after an event and not having to unpack in the pouring rain.

Early on, I built simple shelves in the front. Deep bins held my car parts (hard to find stuff), no edge on the shelves, and everything kinda piled on top of each other.

Later, I added some sub-shelves for shorter bins along with a tool box. Still everything was a cluster. Adding aluminum angle for the shelf edging... that actually worked very well and looked good.

The tool box was a great addition, but I didn't take into account the height that was needed to fully open the cover (which would unlock the drawers). It worked, but could be better.

I still had a lot of stuff on the floor in front of the shelves such as the cooler and tires.

For the 2023 season, I fixed some of the issues.

Proper storage for 5 wheels, the jack, a shelf for the LP tank and jackstands, and a more functional tool box (was my original toolbox bottom from the garage), shelf for the fuel cans (holds 3 cans), a spot for the cooler... and nothing on the floor.

I am still looking into cabinet options for the right wall of the trailer. Definitely need interior illumination.

Finally, I got two racks to hold the tie down straps; one in either end of the trailer.

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Installed the parts that I thought were needed replacement on the shifter.

I have seen some videos that showed using a hole saw on the side of the shifter box from inside the car to be able to access the cable bushings inside the box.

I opted to drop the exhaust (two V-band clamps), remove the heat shield, and drop the shifter box out the bottom of the car.

Picture from DieselGeek site:

I replaced the shifter shaft bushings (on actual shifter level).

After removing the bottom of the shift box, I reattached it to the car so that I could see what parts actually had play in them.

It seemed the Cable Saver Bushings were very good; did not replace them.

I also replaced the First Gear Getter. Requires removal of the stock soft rubber part. To avoid damaging the hard plastic under the soft rubber, I did an "x" cut at the end of the soft rubber (vs. cutting the length of the soft rubber) and pried it off with a screwdriver.

And done... I will clean the surfaces of the shifter before buttoning it all up and adjust the shifter.

This weekend may include creating a panel in the dash to hold the three existing gauges along with the ignition/start switch to have everything in one place. This means that I may not reinstall the lower dash trim around the shifter... I like the idea of being able to easily access everything for inspection and maintenance.
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No project pictures... just our two hillclimb cats (got them from fellow racer) Marley and Minion wanting to check out the mouse situation in the garage.

Just some notes so I recall what I did and what I need to do.

Reinstalled the skid plate, car is now sitting on the tires, wheels TQ'ed, and tire pressure adjusted.

Tires are Toyo R888R 235-40-17. I used 34 front and 30 rear at Mt. Washington in 2017 (with same tires).

Tires are set for 34/30 for Philo. Asctuney (more technical and more heat in the tires) will be a better indicator of a good tire pressure.

I did not use the two step spring setup in the front; just ran the single main spring. Now I need to remember the hub to fender lip height to adjust the coilovers.

Tuning is this Friday on 93 octane pump fuel.

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Adjusting the coilovers...

Stock is 15.5” front and 15.25” rear measuring from the center of the wheel to the lip on the fender.

I wasn't too accurate with the fender lip to center measurement. I just needed it to get understanding of approx where everything is sitting.

I didn't change anything in the rear from the original Gaz install, therefore, this is height that I am working with.

Wheel location | Fender Lip to Ground | Fender Lip to Approx Center of Wheel
Front Left | 25.00" | 13.25"
Front Right | 25.50" | 13.75" (half inch higher on right front vs. left front... visually noticeable)
Rear Left | 26.00" | 14.00"
Rear Right | 26.00" | 14.00"

The left front is the new strut... I just didn't measure everything accurately when counting coilover threads compared to the right side.

Both fronts are lower than expect because of the removal of the tender spring.

Looking at the rears, my current ride height (14.00) is 1.50" lower than stock of 15.25"

Ergo... I need to do 1.25" lower than stock on the fronts.

(multiply by the square-root of eleventeen and carry the two)

My goal should be 14.25" in the front (15.50" stock minus 1.25" lowering).

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This morning was spent in the garage adjusting the height of the front of the car and installing the new darker shield on the helmet.

I realized I did some overthinking on the front suspension. Duh.

Rear is 26" fender lip to floor. Front of car should be 0.25" higher than the rear, so it is as simple as making the fronts 26.25"

They are now 26 and 1/16". Close enough.

I also installed a darker shield on my helmet. I don't race with the shield down, and there is no requirement for me to have a shield (I could use an open face helmet), but I like having the shield for better protection in emergency situations (fire for example).

I don't normally wear sunglasses at the hillclimbs as there is a lot of sunny to dark transitions while navigating the treelined course. My old eyes don't like sunglasses with the dark parts.

So, I use the helmet shield as temporary sunglasses as needed... the shield is down a little from all the way open so that I can tilt my head down a little to utilize the bottom edge of the dark shield. Pretty snazzy.

I purchased a "light" tinted shield last year and realized that wasn't nearly dark enough... ordered the "dark".

Fiddled around with the install to ensure all the pieces were correct.

Pre-Caffeine brain... I accidentally missed the ring that was mounted to the hole in the shield and couldn't figure out why it was loose when assembled.

Here is the correct install (each ring snaps in)

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Post 6 (more coming).... trying to fix my project post. Ignore all this.
Tonight's fabrication adventure once again proves to me that I cannot make a living making things.

I just needed a basic (and temporary) bracket to hold the ignition switch and USB power.

I think I swapped the entire front suspension in less time than it took to make the bracket.

I took a piece of 2" x 1/8" x 36" flat bar aluminum... that I purchased in 2018 for some project that I don't seem to have started.

Cut to length, bent it with sledge hammer using the vise as a metal brake, blocks of wood for the form, got to use my new rivet nut driver for the 6mm inserts, and use old bolts in the parts bin. Drilled 1/8" holes and tapped them with 4mm tap to mount the ignition switch.

I lost one bolt twice... it had a 10mm head, so I figure that had something to do with it.

Functional, but not pretty. I do plan to do an entire switch panel in the large open space, but didn't want to get into it until after the first two events. Going to get someone with a swear-wording lot more talent than I with fabrication when doing the full panel.

Car is essentially ready to go. I need to adjust the shifter. VEMS on Friday Apr 28 for the tune. If all goes well, I'm ready.

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Dyno results and information coming soon.

Tuned on 93 octane pump fuel.
New EGT/air fuel gauge in pod on steering column.
Tuned associated with gear (for example, wastegate pressure only on first gear, moderate power on second, and all boost on other gears).... and, I can change it myself with a laptop.

Good power numbers where it counts... surprisingly, the max HP wasn't that far off of what I had before.

Nick at VEMS did a great job creating a safe and performance oriented tune. Looking forward to getting it on the hill.

Jason at VEMS pictured here.

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Results of the 93-octane pump gas tune with the new VEMS ECU is awesome.

I'm very impressed with the options available both from the experience tuner level and me, the mere mortal.

Nick at VEMS (Colchester, Vermont) tuned the car at many levels of RPM and boost pressure to create a range of performance between 18 psi and 24 psi that now allows me to select boost by gear.

I need purchase a simple laptop to plug into the VEMS ECU so that I can add or subtract boost (units are KPA, so I will have to look up what that means in Bar or PSI) in each gear.

We setup first gear at wastegate pressure (about 13psi of boost / ~190kpa) , second gear a bit more aggressive (I think using the 18 psi setting) with all other gears at 24psi.

The VVT seems to ramp up the low end power nicely.

Very happy with the tune and all options available. Looking forward to the first hillclimb to see how it impacts my times.

The previous tune on $21 gallon VP Racing C12 leaded race full yielded 383 wHP.

On pump, we are looking at 357 wHP / 334 ft-lb TQ at 24 psi and 302 wHP / 275 ft-lb TQ at 18 psi.

EGT and AF all look good across the range.

Technical stuff for me when I am looking to make changes to the boost for each gear and understanding the new EGT/AF gauge:

100 kpa = 1 bar = 14.5 psi
100 kpa or less is vacuum / over 100 kpa is boost
200 kpa = 14.5 psi of boost; 250 kpa = 21.75 psi of boost

Car is tuned at 224 kpa (18 psi) and high of 265 kpa (24 psi). Anywhere under 265 kpa is safe.
0% duty cycle on boost settings is `190 kpa (13 psi) waste gate spring

Air Fuel gauge is in Lamba: Stoich is 1.0, rich is lower, lean is higher. "Full rich" is 0.8ish.

Thank you to Jason and Nick at VEMS! Log into Facebook


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