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    Thread: Official Cabrio/Cabriolet FAQ

    1. Member Cabrio1.8T's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jan 6th, 2003
      *NEW* '91 Golf, '73 CL350 Scrambler
      10-14-2003 12:59 PM #1
      Ok, I'm paving the way for us to have a FAQ sticky. Anyone with info please post!!
      Basics: There is no such thing as a mk4 cabrio, its called a Mk3.5. this started in '99

      Modified by Cabrio1.8T at 4:10 PM 10-14-2003
      Turd $tatus

    2. Global Moderator Paul@VWvortex's Avatar
      Join Date
      Apr 2nd, 1999
      Sunny Chandler, AZ
      2013 Taco TRD, 10 E70 3.0 Sport, '96 VR Cabrio, TDi Tristar Syncro, 1980 Scirocco S "Der Ott"
      10-14-2003 05:29 PM #2
      Sounds like a good idea! Let's give it a try. [IMG]http://**********************/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]

    3. Member Cabrio1.8T's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jan 6th, 2003
      *NEW* '91 Golf, '73 CL350 Scrambler
      10-14-2003 07:20 PM #3
      how to replace the outer skin of a 1980-1993 vw cabriolet.
      - with the top closed and the windows open, remove your back seat, parcel shelf, and empty your trunk.
      - remove the rear glass: clean and lubricate the seal, make sure no points are sticking, remove the wires for the defroster, find a helper, and from the inside of the car gently push the glass out of it's seal, using as much surface area of your hand at a time as possible.
      - remove the staples that hold the outer skin to the window frame with a screwdriver.
      - remove the trim pieces / snap receptacles at the C pillars.
      - from under the parcel shelf side panels, detach the headliner by bending the sharp tabs down and breaking the contact cement's adhesive grip.
      - remove the 13mm bolt that holds on the mount for the gas shock on each side.
      - using a 10mm wrench and a suitable back up wrench (a small "ignition wrench" worked for me) make the rear tension cable loose.
      - carefully peel the outer skin from the rear perimeter of the car so as not to bend the cable or scratch your paint.
      - remove the rear tension cable from the top carefully if you wish to save it for reuse.
      - open the top partially such that the section that contacts the windshield points straight up.
      - carefully remove the rubber window seals from their channels, minding the phillips screw at the A pillar on the front seals.
      - find the phillips screws that hold on the seal mounting channels and remove them.
      - drill out the rivet on each side that holds the vinyl strap from the top to the frame behind the roll bar.
      - if applicable, drill out the rivets that hold on the outer skin at the bottom of the C pillar.
      - remove the bar and side pieces that hold the outer skin to the frame where it contacts the windshield.
      - remove the outer skin from the frame: it is glued at the C and A pillars and along the front bar with contact cement.
      - remove the side tension cables from their receptacles at the A and C pillars.
      - inspect your insulation pad and decide if you want to replace it. if the fabric on top has deteriorated, fix it.
      - check, clean and lubricate the entire mechanism. fix rust spots on the body and top frame.
      - install new side side tension cables into the new outer skin. if there are springs on your C pillars between the frame and the cable, the new cables should measure 94cm. if there are no springs, the new cables should measure 106cm. check the length as the dealer supplied cables i purchased were the wrong length. initially i purchased the 106cm cables, which actually measured 102 and 103mm long. i shortened them to 94cm as they were not returnable.
      *the dealers' electronic parts catalogue, ETKA, has an error - it specifies the long cable for all cars up to mid 1993, whereas my 1987 and 1988 examples use the short cable. be sure to order the correct cable for your car.*
      - close the top but don't close the latches, let it float a few cm open.
      - drape the new skin over the frame and tuck the mechanism in the front "pocket" of the skin.
      - align things as best you can.
      - insert the rear tension cable's ends into the top and into the car. don't forget those fabric loops for the boot cover hooks, if applicable.
      - if you have an EZ-ON stayfast canvas top, trim the excess material from underneath the rolled bead. it is not trimmed from the factory to fit in the rear channel.
      - get some clamps of various kinds and begin trying to coax the cable into place. the top will have to be clamped to the car body in order to hold the cable in it's channel while loose.
      - using the backup wrench and the 10mm, tighten the cable a little at a time while adjusting the top alignment. use the stitches at the C pillars as reference points.
      - tap the cable into the channel as you tighten it with a soft piece of wood and a rubber mallet, working from the middle toward each side in sections. installing this cable should be a slow, patient, calculated process.
      - re-attach the gas shock mounts with their 13mm bolts.
      - attach the side cables at the A and C pillars: make sure the grommet the cable runs through at the C pillar is not going to chafe the cable, turn it using an easy-out or replace it if you must.
      - adjust the pocket at the front as best you can, trimming material as necessary for an unobstructed fit.
      - glue the front pocket to the frame at the bottom, apply the cement to the plastic former and 1cm of the headliner inside. do not use spray glue, most upholstery shops will supply a good quality product if you ask. 3M super 77 will not stand up to temperature changes so avoid it.
      - punch holes where the screws for the metal bar and side pieces attach at the front using a hole puch and hammer.
      - install the bar and side pieces with their phillips screws, working from the middle out.
      - glue the flaps at the A pillars but do not trim the excess.
      - with the top partially open apply glue to the C pillars and the corresponding area of the skin, then close the top and attach these lines with as much tension and accuracy as you can apply.
      - feed the new vinyl straps through the insulation pad and rivet them to the frame.
      - clean the seal channels and apply 0.5cm x 3cm closed cell weatherstrip foam to their backsides. punch holes for the screws.
      - install the seal channels and rubber seals: a blunt flathead screwdriver and a small amount of strategically placed lubricant can help. don't forget the screws at the A pillars.
      - trim the excess material at the A and C pillars from beside the seals on the inside.
      - close and latch the top and cut an X for the rear window, ending your cuts approximately 2cm from the corners.
      - trim as necessary and clamp the skin to the rear frame with C clamps and spring clamps, adjusting alignment as you go. leave a minimum of 5cm to pull all around, and slice the corners as necessary. you will need at least 15 clamps to do this correctly.
      - fasten the fabric with stainless 3/8' (5mm) staples on the bottom lateral, then the top lateral, then each side, and then finally the corners: as many clamps as can fit in one area at a time should be used, and constantly adjusted for tension and alignment.
      - using a hammer and appropriate anvil, ensure the staples are tight.
      - clean your window seal as best you can.
      - clean your window as best you can, and then put the window in the frame.
      - wrap a length of nylon twine or a suitably strong rope of about 3mm thickness around the inside channel of the seal and place the glass and seal onto the car.
      - have a helper push the glass into the car as you seat the seal using a blunt flathead screwdriver and the rope. the rope pulls out of the seal and places the lip onto the flange neatly.
      - reinstall the trim / snap receptacles at the C pillars, trimming the skin as necessary. ensure the rubber seals they clamp down are aligned.
      - wash your car.
      - take a break.
      - clean up your garage.
      - go drive around and show off.
      Turd $tatus

    4. 10-14-2003 11:00 PM #4
      cabriolet production history in north america
      79 to 84 rabbit convertible a1 platform
      85 to 93 cabriolet a1 platform
      95 to ? cabrio a3 platform
      there was no a2 cabriolets / cabrios or convertibles
      "clipper kit" is the body kit offered in cabriolet from 88 to 93, it consist of bumpers, fender flares, side skirts.
      rabbit convertibles and cabriolets had 1.7 and 1.8 engines only, they were never offered/available with 1.6 or 2.0 or 16v (at least in the us)
      they we cis injection until 89, 90 models had digifant II.
      cabrios had 2.0 engines
      IM me or e-mail me if corrections or additions are needed to this, since this faq is starting let's try to keep it nice. clean and organized, thanks!

      Modified by stevelangford at 10:02 PM 10-14-2003

      Modified by stevelangford at 2:40 PM 10-15-2003

    5. 10-15-2003 05:12 PM #5
      Despite the reputation they have earned, they are not chick cars.
      Most of the Cabriolets (before 92?) came with the JH engine, the same big-valve, solid lifter motor that powered the original Rabbit GTI's
      To this day these "cute" little cars will eat most new hatchbacks in the 1/4 mile, even with the added weight of the roll bar and chassis reinforcement.
      EDIT: checked my Bently and he's right, after 88 they are 2H Digifant engines with hydraulic cam followers, but big valves none the less.
      And as far as the 1/4 mile thing goes, I've whooped a '99 Civic as well as almost every hatchback built in the '80s (but that probably has something to do with the other drivers abilities too)
      just my $.02

      Modified by Spinyfrog at 5:45 PM 10-16-2003

    6. Member dubdaze68's Avatar
      Join Date
      Oct 29th, 2001
      '81 Sportruck, '82 Jetta Diesel
      10-16-2003 12:47 PM #6
      My '87 has a hydraulic head...but I think it was a mid-year change...
      Crooked Euros--'cause we said so....
      Crooked Euros.

    7. Member eunos94's Avatar
      Join Date
      Mar 17th, 2002
      Northeast Ohio
      Yellow 1970 Beetle & Yellow Rush 2012 Beetle 2.5L Tiptronic
      10-17-2003 06:42 AM #7
      Quote, originally posted by dubdaze68 »
      My '87 has a hydraulic head...but I think it was a mid-year change...
      Crooked Euros--'cause we said so....

      IIRC and I think I do as of 1984 All Cabbys have Hydrolic lifters. They made the change when the GTi changed. They also recieved the leaky and pointless oil cooler/ oil filter combo that year. At least according to the Owners Manual Collection I have,The 87 does not mention valve adjustments but the 1983 book does.
      I have owned an 83, 84 and 87 the 83 was the only one with out hydro.

    8. Member Cabby-Blitz's Avatar
      Join Date
      Sep 2nd, 2002
      '03 SVT Lightning
      10-19-2003 01:51 AM #8
      Engine Code: JH (1985-1987)
      Cam Followers: Mechanical
      Engine Code: JH (from 1988)
      Cam Followers: Hydraulic
      Both has 40mm intake valves and 33mm exhaust valves.
      Straight from the Bentley, if nobody believes me I will personall scan the table in and post the picture. Its section 3-23 and under Engine for those who have the book

      Modified by Fst'N'Frs at 12:53 AM 10-19-2003

    9. Member vwgtipowr's Avatar
      Join Date
      Aug 26th, 2002
      2009 BMW 335i xDrive
      10-31-2003 03:57 PM #9
      Quote, originally posted by Spinyfrog »
      For those of you who haven't done this yet or don't fully understand the mod I decided to take pictures while I was swapping linkages so I could create a little "how-to".
      Here's a MK2 Throttlebody on the left and a MK1 on the right, notice the size difference!

      Step 1 - Remove the screws holding the butterflies into the shaft, twist the shaft against the springs and push the metal disc out through the "In" side of the TB (as in the side that faces the airbox.)

      Step 2 - Dissasemble your Throttlebody linkage, you may as well leave the one set of springs (shown on left) on the shaft, otherwise you'll wind up losing them. Here's an Exploded pic.

      Then dissasemble the MK1 linkage (you'll need to put this on the MK2 body)

      Notice the spacing of the holes in the larger butterfly and the shafts? You'll need the smaller shaft from the MK2 for everything to fit, and the longer one from the MK1.

      then Reassemble the MK1 linkage on the MK2 throttlebody in the same order you remove it in. Heres a pic of the finished one on the left and a stock MK2 TB on the right, If you look carefully you can see the primary butterfly on the finished one is actually the brass one from the MK1, apparently its about 1/100" thinner that the one from the MK2, so while they are the same diameter the Mk2 didn't fit in the shaft from the MK1 linkage.

      The tricky part is getting the butterlflies back in after its mostly reassembled, just don't tighten down the 11mm nuts on the ends of the shafts till they butterflies open and close smoothly (keep in mind that the longer shaft from the MK1 is almost too short to fit properly, the nut on the end of mine is just barely threaded on.

    10. Member DubPhreek's Avatar
      Join Date
      Apr 17th, 2003
      89 Cabriolet, 90 Westfalia, 91 Gti
      11-09-2003 07:23 PM #10
      go get the rear beam from a passat 1.8.
      You will need to remove the brake setup from the passatt beam, howver they bolt in well to the rabbit, cabriolet beam.
      litterally bolts RIGHT IN. Use RED threadlocker on the four studs from spindle to beam.
      and the brake cables come from a Scirrocco 16v as I recall.
      I will never own a car with rear drums again. EVER.
      I am a happy driver now.
      my issue is anyone know where I can find porterfield, or Ferodo pads for my ride?

    11. Member DubPhreek's Avatar
      Join Date
      Apr 17th, 2003
      89 Cabriolet, 90 Westfalia, 91 Gti
      11-09-2003 07:33 PM #11
      go get the rear beam from a passat 1.8.
      You will need to remove the brake setup from the passatt beam, howver they bolt in well to the rabbit, cabriolet beam.
      litterally bolts RIGHT IN. Use RED threadlocker on the four studs from spindle to beam.
      I paid 80.00 for a good condition setup, with good rotors.
      10.00 ea rotor to get surfaced at Schucks auto supply.
      40.00 for PBR metalmasters (yea I wanted ferodo, or porters)
      new bearings 5.00 ea X4=20.00
      new grease =5.00 (top of the line)
      new rubber grease caps = 3.50 ea =7.00
      new metal grease hubs 4.00 ea =8.00
      and the brake cables come from a Scirrocco 16v (as I recall) =15.00 ea
      this conversion was the BEST i have ever done, and its amazing.
      I will never own a car with rear drums again. EVER.
      I am a happy driver now.
      my issue is anyone know where I can find porterfield, or Ferodo pads - or even a Ceramic composite brakepad..... front and back.???
      TIRED of washin rims.....

    12. 11-21-2003 01:18 AM #12
      How to take the dash out and the instrument cluster on a 1990-1993 cabriolet:
      (1) Take out the two screws on top of the hole the instrument cluster sits in.
      (2) Take out the two trim pieces around the switches on each side of the wheel
      and one screw from behind each one.
      (3) Pull the heater control knobs off the face of the heater controls and then the
      pull the face off the control now take out the screw in lower right hand corner.
      (4) Pull out the radio and there is one screw on the top of the radio opening.
      (5) Now pull the dash off and over the steering wheel.
      (6) If you are pulling out the instrument cluster before you do anything past this
      point reach around the instrument cluster and VERY CAREFULLY unplug the
      speedo cable from the sensor it has a big clip on it that holds it in place and
      should be covered in a wax seal to prove it wasn't tempered with.
      (7) Once you have unplugged the speedo now you can take out the two screws
      that hold the cluster in (one on each side you'll see them) now pull the top of
      the cluster down (it rotates on two knobs on the bottom)
      (8) their are two harness plugged into the back of cluster you can now unplug and
      finally it's out.
      (9) Don't turn the ignition on with the instrument cluster out, I did this and now I have two annoying LED's on in my cluster constantly reminding me that it's better to experiment on someone else's car then work on your own when you've learned the proper way to do any work on your car.

      Modified by Nrcabby at 10:26 PM 11-20-2003

    13. 11-21-2003 01:30 AM #13
      switched power in an A1 or A2 for an aftermarket radio is the Black and Yellow wire going to the back of the defroster switch.
      Switched power for an amp in your a3 or a4 can be found on the bolt labeled 75X directly behind your fuse box under the dash.

      Modified by Nrcabby at 12:31 AM 3-31-2004

    14. 11-29-2003 09:26 PM #14
      dont forget to sort out some brake biasing though unless you want to have some fun when emergency braking. [IMG]http://**********************/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]

    15. 12-03-2003 09:11 PM #15
      That simplifies the procedure. Here it is. This is for NON-Lambda systems.
      0. Ideally you should pull the injectors and run the fuel pump. While the pump is running adjust the air flow plate with the 3mm Allen wrench (clockwise/rich) until the injector starts to leak. Back off until it stops. This sets you to the very rich side of your adjustment scale without having the injectors leak on you. This step can be skipped if you're very sure you are on the rich side of the adjustment range. Reinstall the injectors. Put everything back to normal.
      1. Warm up the engine until the fan has run twice.
      2. Begin adjusting the airplate a 1/16th of a turn counterclockwise at a time. This is slowly leaning out the mixture. At some point (and it may be a while) the idle will start to drop. If not sure blip the throttle a small bit to restablish an idle point. When you belive you've seen the idle drop then adjust in the opposite direction to richen the mixture. The idel should now rise. Repeat the adjustment to verify that youare at the "Lean Idle Drop" (offical phrase). Set to just a bit richer than the drop point. That will have you set about as accurately as you can get without acutally using a tail pipe sniffer to verify it.
      3. Remove the friggin' Allen wrench. It won't hurt anything but it'll reduce your rev range when the wrench hits the hood and won't rise anymore (Don't ask how I know this.)
      4. There is no step 4.
      The O2 sensor on a Lamda system will compensate for any changes you make with the airflow plate which is why it should be disconnected on a Lambda system. The O2 sensor changes the duty cycle of the frequency valve to adjust fuel pressure to the injectors and therefore the "richness" of the mixture.
      A bad O2 sensor will throw off the mixture severely. Disconnecting the O2 sensor will only return your CIS to exactly what it was when Bosch first designed it. Before emmisions and gas mileage was a huge concern. Many disconnect it so it doesn't mess with their settings. To adust the airflow plate rich or lean affects the entire airflow/rev range. So a" richer" setting here means richer thruout the powerband. Ditto with lean settings.
      Anytime you change system pressure thru a new pump install, filter change, injectors, fuel distributor etc. the mixture adjustment should be repeated.

      Courtesy Of Moljinar

    16. 02-07-2004 12:18 AM #16
      This may seem like a moot point to some of you
      but after after speaking with some friends one an engineer for GM, the other a master mechanic about maintance issues. I thought some of the informed bable should be passed on.
      this may, at least, be helpful to some and possibly interesting/educational to many
      Oil why change it?
      Oil has to be changed because the antiwear additives become depleted. The oil becomes full of impurities such as gasoline, ZDP concentration, water and other byproducts of combustion as well as some insoluble contaminates such as soot also high temperatures oxidize oil.
      Oil life deterioration caused by a variety of operating conditions i.e. engine revolutions, time, operating temperatures of the oil, time of soaks & time of run intervals ect.
      No simple oil change recommendation can be tailored to an individuals driving schedule and habits only a computer algorithm or oil monitor in the engine controller found in many new cars can do this.

      With that in mind 3 months or 3000 miles may not be all that necessary at least the oil co's want you to follow this. So if your car driven only few miles and its oil is clean after 3000 miles hold off a few more miles keep in mind to check it at fill ups and monitor level & condition. Regardless of how few miles driven in a year (some car are used for flossing it seems) change oil at least annually...more often if you start the car often as heating up and cooling will cause condinsation in the crankcase and contaminants metioned above.
      So you may ask, just what is the 3 month 3000mile mileage period based on anyway? Professionals base it on a car thats used 12,000 miles a year. With this in mind an oil change four times yearly is reasonable
      Synth or Dino Oil?
      if you have a new engine want to try it go for the syth. But an engine that leaks it will leak more profusely with synth. If you haven't used syth in your motor it will most likely leek as... Sythetic motor oil has a smaller/compact molecular structure so it will find a way out of an old engine more easyly. there is little real world gains to justify spend'n $6 plus a quart for syth motor oil on a street motor marketing has made many think its worth the $! ...but if it makes you feel beter, walk taller, whatever, its your money it certainly cant do harm
      Regular petro oil from the Jurastic age Dino's is just fine...some posts I've seen state that brand x is made with parafin oil or other nonsense I haven't seen any proof in Society of Automotive Engineer archives to validate thier claims so this is just silly. Oil is refined by only a few companies and their are standards that have to be met so it is basically the same but "higher milage" blends have more anti-wear additives that are advantageous for obvious reasons I use on all my cars regardless of milage
      Oil...What about cold starts?
      As far as cold starting is concerned…if the oil gets to minus 20 overnight and sits for 12 hours it will be thick. But if it sits as minus 20 for 48 hours it will get a lot thicker and cause problems with cold starting. Since most people in cold areas are starting their engines every 8-10 hours the viscosity increase of the oil due to time is negligible. An oil heater isn’t required a block heater helps more as it cuts the friction on the cylinder walls by keeping the warm and aids in fuel atomization by keeping the combustion chambers warm which is more important anyway.
      What About Coolant Changes
      Radiator service does not require a flush or cleaners. Just drain the radiator at the petcock at the bottom of the radiator tank, refill with fresh 50/50 coolant and distilled water. You are just trying to get a fresh charge of coolant in the system to replenish the corrosion inhibitors in the coolant. No need to introduce tap water for flushing as coolinf system should be filled with mineral free water and dont use any sort of caustic cleaners that cannot be thoroughly removed. Just drain and refill with 50/50 (premixed or mix youself with mineral free DI water) least every 2-3years or 30K miles. The coolants corrosion inhibitors deplete around this time frequency and need replacement so do it, only takes a few minutes. If not replaced frequently internal engine corrosion can/will result...including head gasket (and intake gasket) failure. The steel core of the gaskets can and will rot out from the inside out
      Spark Plugs
      Not that spark plugs add any realworld performance gains in a street engine
      An informed suggestion is to use dual platinum spark plugs as
      these have a pad of platium on the tip of center electrode and the ground electrode the platinum will never wear so the growth of spark gap will not vary over time.
      so they should/will last as long as your car. perhaps 30K removal for cleaning if needed
      Hope this is/was interesting…and helpful.

      Modified by A1 Cabriolet at 8:45 PM 8-2-2004

      Modified by A1 Cabriolet at 7:45 PM 11-8-2004

    17. 02-11-2004 02:50 PM #17
      OK so you what to stop on a dime as the saying goes. There are a number of items you need...
      22mm Master Cylinder (since your doing rears as well)
      the G60 caliper (& carrier of course)
      4-M10x35 bolts
      4 M10x16 cap screws
      4M10 split washers
      to mount the front G60 requires a specially manufactured / machined adapter to fit.
      The adapters to make this fit an A1/MK1 are specialty items that you MUST have!
      The companies who sell the conversion kits to do this wont sell you just the bracket!
      There were some guys in the vortex machining these some time past but your on your own in this respect search these out and you can get wrenching
      I will, when I have time machine these F.S., should or if there is a demand
      the brake rotors, calipers ect are just OEM G60 VW pieces
      If you go to hardware store to get bolts ect get grade 8 or better dont use "just any ole"
      hardware as these are brake components and you and the general publics safety lies in the balance.
      oh and the front splash gaurds need to be trimmed fit allow for the new calipers ect
      The choice in alloys in doing this conversion is very important as you need minimum diameter of 15"
      but equally inportant is the inner webbing of the particular wheel design you are planning to use must clear the new calipers.
      The rear disks are best done using the set up from a 16v car like a 'rocco
      stub axles
      splash shield
      e-brake cables
      brake lines
      use the bolts/washers from your drum set for new stub axles
      I would suggest (from experience) using a proportioning valve to adjust brake bias
      without this brake lockup is eminent in hard/quick panic stops causing loss of control
      This was by no means a complete list or instructional so do your homework before you start wrenching on you car

    18. Former Advertiser
      Join Date
      Feb 20th, 2001
      02-17-2004 07:10 PM #18
      Ok, we need some MKIII stuff in here... So, I am in the process of doing a Power Top converion on my 95 Cabrio.
      Just bought a 99 cloth Cabrio Power Top, and will be installing it shortly... I'll post back some pics, etc. of the swap (should be very straight forward).
      Just so people know, it appears that all tops are the same on the MKIII Cabrio's from 1995 to 2001, and even later (except that VW has had problems with the MKIV Cabrio tops). I guess the rear windows have been falling out on the MKIV cars, and VW has been giving the owners brand new top mechanisms that would fit 1997 to 2000 cars.
      More to come....

    19. Member Black_cabbie's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jul 16th, 2003
      Athens Greece
      Q7 4.2 V8 , Smart 451 Turbo
      02-26-2004 06:32 PM #19
      This Guide will provide you with instructions on how to open your ECU and change the Eprom.
      So, here we go.....
      Locate your ECU on the driver's side of the car.

      I assume you already have your ECU out of the car. It should look something like this.

      or this....

      This Guide is for the BOSCH ECU but the procedure is
      similar for the KEN as well.
      Removing the cover is pretty easy. 4 screws on the aluminum heatsink.....

      and another 3 on the back where the plug goes.....

      Once the cover is out you should have something like this inside.

      Remove the white Protective film.

      Carefully undo the two screws and remove the 2 plastic black covers by lifting them with a plyer.

      Now you have a clear view of the ECU.

      KEN ECU

      It has 2 chips on it. You want to change the one which is located on the base of the ECU.....
      KEN ECU


      There is a black protective cover on the chip. Remove this and you have access to the original VW chip


      Remove the chip be lifting it at the same time from both sides. Be careful not to bend the legs as you might want to put it back in.

      Once the chip is out you can put in the new one.

      In my case I had the choice of two chips..... One is the Digifast2 Chip sold to me by somebody on the the vortex.
      The other was an unknown chip bought from German Ebay claiming it produces 10hp.......hmm yeah! sure!
      As you can probably guess I went with the DIgifast2 chip.


      Put back the protective black cover on the chip
      Put everything back together and you have yourself a chipped ECU.

      Modified by Black_cabbie at 9:20 PM 6-16-2004
      Chip Tuning for a living @

    20. 03-06-2004 09:47 PM #20
      This is a new thing to me and what I have been able to find out in the various websites there is no Mk 3.5
      What happend in 1999 that cars with manufacture date 7-99 are 1999 models and cars with the date 8-99 and later are 2000 models which is a bit confusing but as far as I am concered they are all Mk IV (4) models.
      To call any Mk 3.5 just adds more confusion.

    21. 03-06-2004 09:58 PM #21
      From what I have fouind out about the different models trough various VW websites there is and never has been a Mk3.5 this just ads to the confusion.
      What happened in 1999 at least with the Cabrios is that cars with a built date to 7-99 were sold as 1999 models and cars with a built date of 8-99 and later were sold and registered as 2000 models.
      It is a bit confusing this is why the parts department wants to know the built date as there is a lot of difference between the early and later 1999's inside, outside and in mechanical spec's.
      If you want to get some pictures of this go to eBay and look at some of the pictures of various 1999 models.
      The first difference you notice is the steering wheel and airbag.

    22. Member exboy99's Avatar
      Join Date
      May 14th, 2002
      Long Island
      2004 TT 225 quattro coupe
      03-15-2004 09:20 AM #22
      yeah that's a point of confusion for MKIII cabby owners
      as I understand it it's MKIII with a newer looking front end
      and updated looking interior parts like the dimpled dash/ interior panels, guage cluster.....but it's not based on the MKIV
      I'm useless when it comes to build dates and such
      but maybe some of the newer cabby owners can
      "fill in the blanks" here for everyone to learn the
      subtle differences.

    23. 03-27-2004 08:22 AM #23
      I am not sure what the difference is between the MkIII and MkIV
      chassis but like I mentioned before early 1999 and later 1999(2000)
      models are very different and as far as the chassis goes the later 1999(2000) have disc brakes all around and I would think this would be the
      MkIV chassis.
      Maybe somebody can shed some information on this.

    24. Member DaddyOfPayton's Avatar
      Join Date
      Feb 24th, 2004
      Hilliard/Columbus, OH
      03-31-2004 01:47 PM #24
      Quote, originally posted by Dutchconnection »
      I am not sure what the difference is between the MkIII and MkIV
      chassis but like I mentioned before early 1999 and later 1999(2000)
      models are very different and as far as the chassis goes the later 1999(2000) have disc brakes all around and I would think this would be the
      MkIV chassis.
      Maybe somebody can shed some information on this.

      Nope. 199.5 and up cabby is on a Mk3 frame with Mk4 front and rear pieces. There technically are no Mk2 or Mk 4 cabrio/lets.
      My name is...Shake-Zula. The mic-rula, The old schoolah, Ya wanna trip? I'll bring it to ya. Frylock and I'm on top Rock you like a cop Meatwad you up next with your knock-knock. Meatwad make the money, see. Meatwad get the honeys, G. Drivin in my car, livin' like a star. Ice on my fingers and my toes and I'm a Taurus. Check it. Check, check it. 'Cuz we drive the Cabrios, make the homies say ho! and the girlies wanna scream.

    25. Member Black_cabbie's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jul 16th, 2003
      Athens Greece
      Q7 4.2 V8 , Smart 451 Turbo
      03-31-2004 07:51 PM #25
      Guide on how to remove your old broken Glove Box.
      When I got my car it had this.....

      GOLF GTI!!!!! yeah Right!
      So I decided it was time to go and get a cleaner look....
      So I took it off. First I removed the right air duct.

      In order to remove the air duct you need to carefully put the scredriver between the dash and the duct and lift the brackets that hold it in place.
      Make sure you don't brake the duct or leave marks on the dashboard.
      Once the duct is removed you should be able to see the spring that holds the glove box lid.

      Undo the 4 bolts that hold the lid.

      The lift the glovebox with the spring from the dashboard, just enough to get the spring out of its location on the inside of the dashboard.
      Now twist the spring in order to remove it from the lid. Pull the lid straight up without the spring attached and you have this in your hands.

      This photo is actually of the glove box lid I am about to install but you get the idea.

      So now its time to change the lock of the lid to match the rest of the locks on the car.
      Turn it over and you should see this.

      With a small screwdriver remove the little plastic guide.

      Now carefully put the screwdriver as you see in the photo and completely pull the plastic guide.

      Now press the two release buttons on the lock like you do when you want to open the lid.


      The installation of the new lock and the glove box lid is on the car is the complete opposite of what you've seen....
      I think you can go ahead and do the rest!

      Modified by Black_cabbie at 9:22 PM 6-16-2004
      Chip Tuning for a living @

    26. Member atomicalex's Avatar
      Join Date
      Feb 2nd, 2001
      Detroit and Düsseldorf
      dark blue stick shift station wagon, shiny yellow motorbike, dirty green motorbike
      04-19-2004 08:06 AM #26
      A(u). Klasse A, unbeschrankt, ungedrosselt
      Compared to a British roadster, all Volkswagens are reliable!

      nevAr Lose - DE Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Bankruptcy Controller - IPROfftopikstan, Den Mother - Team Emmett

    27. 06-02-2004 01:08 AM #27
      Quote, originally posted by Nrcabby »
      switched power in an A1 or A2 for an aftermarket radio is the Black and Yellow wire going to the back of the defroster switch.

      Do this if you want to see what a dashfire can do to your car.....

    28. 06-02-2004 09:00 PM #28
      Quote, originally posted by type3cabrio »
      Do this if you want to see what a dashfire can do to your car.....

      whoa there newbie. the HU only needs a signal from the ignition to let it know that its ok to turn on. theres only a tiny draw on that wire, the power is supplied from the main (constant) power. is there draw on your amp's remote wire? no. the ignition signal wire is the exact same thing. before you post, get things striaght.
      thus, yes, it is perfectly ok to use the defrost switch as a signal to your HU. make sure you tap into that line properly to avoid shorting out anything. if you don't know what you're doing take it to a proper installation shop.

    29. 06-03-2004 11:03 PM #29
      The Brown/Red wire coming off the back of the Ignition Switch is hot while the key is inserted. Makes a nice radio/amp turn on lead.

    30. 06-04-2004 01:16 AM #30
      I have instructions for adding heat to the OUTER dash vents in the A/C-equipped cabbies at
      Text and sketches for an easy mod if/when you have the dash or the heaterbox out.

      Modified by joelmahoney at 1:17 AM 6-4-2004

    31. Member vwgtipowr's Avatar
      Join Date
      Aug 26th, 2002
      2009 BMW 335i xDrive
      06-10-2004 02:47 PM #31
      Useful link for decoding cabby vins.
      Quote, originally posted by webrits »
      I recently de-coded my vin using this, and found out I had a Carat !!
      Check it out

    32. Member Black_cabbie's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jul 16th, 2003
      Athens Greece
      Q7 4.2 V8 , Smart 451 Turbo
      06-16-2004 03:23 PM #32
      Black is back!
      This is a complete guide on how to install blue LEDs in your clocks.
      What we need:
      8 3mm Bright Blue LEDs.
      4 470Ohm Resistors 1/4Watt
      Soldering Iron
      Super Glue
      A few loops of wire.
      Soldering Boards
      3mm Drill
      I believe thats all.
      So here we go!
      Get the cluster out. I suppose you know how to do this......

      In my case I was swapping the ugly German looking gauge overlays with white ones I created at home. You can skip this part if you don't intent to do it.
      So, I took the cluster apart and remove the needles. Very easy. Make sure you note the direction the needle rests before you pull it out. To do that, lift the needle over the pin-stop and see where it stops. Normally it should be at 0kms/0miles. Our gauges start from 20kms and 10miles but if they had a 0 thats where it would rest.
      Now get two butter knives and gently slip them under the base of the needle, one on each side of the shaft, then twist the knives so they "pop" the needle straight up off of the shaft.
      Undo the 2 screws on each face and you should have this on your hand.

      Turn the cluster over and undo the 4 nuts in order to get the temp gauge and gas gauge out.

      Once they are out you can maybe change the mileage of the odometer. The gauge I bought had a different mileage (obviously), so I wanted to match it with the real mileage of the car.
      So what I did is not very professional but worked like a dream!
      Undo the 2 screws on the left of the photo and remove the white long gear. It is noted in the red circle.

      Now take a small philips screwdriver and insert it between the long shaft noted with the red and the black odometer cylinders. Create a small gap just enough to turn the cylinders by hand to the desired mileage. When done just make sure the cylinders are in line and the number can be read with the gauge face on.
      If you have a prinout already of the overlays thats fine. Just match them over the orignal face and cut carefully.... if you don't then you can either scan yours and edit them in photoshop or you can download a ready made one from the net and then edit it according to your needs.
      Thats the one I downloaded and the edited.


      Mine are VDO (89-92) style gauge, so its a little different than the Motometer (84-88).
      Print them on good photo paper and stick on the original faces. Cut them arround and also make the holes for the odometer. Take your time and use a BRAND NEW exacto knife.
      We now proceed to the BLUE LEDs installation.
      We start from the digital clock.
      Once you have this in front of you, Undo the two screws noted in the rec circles.

      There another 2 screws under it. To undo them lift the circuit just enough to get a small screwdriver in angle to get them out. You cannot get the board out unless you remove the flexible board completely. They are attached together.
      Once all 4 screws are out you can lift the white cover and have access to the LCD screen. The LCD screen in held in place by two rubber pieces. Under the LCD screen you will find this.

      This is the green film that gives that nice green light during the night (obviously). Remove that.
      Now under the film you should have a transparent white diffuser. There are many ways to make this shine blue but since LEDs are directional I decided to go this route.
      I drilled 2 3mm holes on its side of it. I inserted my LEDs there.

      Connect the two LEDs together in parallel. You might have to trim the white plastic on the base of the cluster. You will know what I am talking about when you go back to install it.
      Solder one 470Omh resistor in series.....
      Connect it to a 12V source and voila!

      You have your blue clock!
      Solder the two wires to the inside of the old bulb holder.

      Don't worry about polarity. If its the other way arround you just turn the screw in bulb holder one more turn to reverse the polarity.

      I know you must be very excited by now. I was!
      Now lets go on to the rest of the cluster.
      Suppose that you have the gauges and the needles and everything back together.....
      On top of the cluster you can see white cover.

      Carefully remove that and you should have a green film under it similar to the one you found under the digital clock earlier. Remove it completely and never think about it again!
      There are many ways to make the light from the LEDs diffuse to have an even light inside the cluster. I couldn't find a proper white diffuser so I just though of diffusing my existing blue LEDs by sanding down a bit their tip. I few trials with the LED connected to a power source created my desired result.
      I used these cheap soldering boards because they were very easy to shape.

      These are the candidates....
      The previous bulb covered with a blue cap!

      3mm and 5mm Blue LEDs

      Although 5mm were brighter, I chose to use the 3mm due to their smaller size.
      So I used 6 LEDs soldered on the boards and cut to fit the top of the cluster.

      Once you are satisfied with the angle and the light inside the cluster use some instant glue to hold the boards in place.
      Solder all the LEDs in parallel and leave two wires long enough to connect to the outside of the cluster.

      These two wires are going to be connected with a resistance in series to the original bulb holder shown here.

      Do a couple of trial runs to see if all LEDs glow before you put the white cover back on.
      If you are unsatisified with the glow of the LEDs you can put a couple more resitors in parallel to reduce the overall resistance. So far 4 470ohm resistances worked ok. The LEDs are still working after having them on one whole day.
      In case you are wondering why put the resistors in parallel I can tell you that the 1/470+1/470=2/470. Invert that and you have a new resistor of 235Ohms. Just for your information.
      If you did everyinth carefully and slowly you should have something similar to this....

      I am very pleased with myself.
      But since I am a perfectionist I found two problems on the completed project.
      1st, the Needles are red and you cannot see them in the dark.
      Problem solved with some Fluorescent Orange paint.

      2nd, The tacho overlay looks "funny". Thats because the overlay is originally designed for a motometer gauge which is a bit different. No problem since I wanted to redesign the overlays in the first place.
      I hope you were able to follow the guide. For any questions feel free to ask me.
      Chip Tuning for a living @

    33. Member Black_cabbie's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jul 16th, 2003
      Athens Greece
      Q7 4.2 V8 , Smart 451 Turbo
      06-16-2004 03:25 PM #33
      Just thought of creating a small interesting guide for those of us who don't know or they are afraid to do it.
      Here we go....
      This is a photo of my dirty engine bay. As you can see a valve cover gasket is gone. Too many oil dripping from the cover on the cylinder head.

      So, I decided to change the gasket. Then I though, hmmmm why not change the camshaft with a one more agressive? So I bought a Kent 270 degrees camshaft.

      But since I am about to change the camshaft, why not buy an adjustable cam gear to get the most out of it? After a little searching in the vortex and every ebay site known to me I come up with this.

      Techtonics adjustable +-8 degrees brand new, which I got from D.A.T. here on the vortex. Top guy, sent it immediately! Good deal!
      I also bought a new gasket for 5 euros. its amazing something so cheap can get you into so many troubles....
      First I removed the accelerator cable, ISV and vacuum hose going to the brake servo. Now I have more room to work.

      With everything removed over the valve cover, its time to attack the 8 10mm nuts holding it. Make sure you remove it carefully and you don't drop anything inside the engine.
      Under the valve cover you should have a plastic cover which helps lubricate the cam better. Remove this also.
      Then you will have something like this in front of you.

      Check the edges of the cylinder head where the gasket was. There is oil everywhere. This had to be cleaned carefully....

      Loose the belt tensioner and remove the belt from the cam gear. Don't worry about the marks. Its very easy to adjust the timing later on.
      Also get the 4 spark plugs out and place them on a clean piece of paper with the order you took them out.
      Now its time to remove the old cam gear from the camshaft. Using a 19mm socket undo the bolt. You can put something in the holes of the cam gear to stop it from moving. Be carefully not to damage the surface of the cylinder.
      Once the cam gear is out you can see this small part on the camshaft. Thats the woodruff key which acts as a guide for the cam gear.

      Here is the slot that the woodruff key is supposed go. Make sure the curved side of the woodruff key is inside the camshaft slot.

      And now the most important part of the uninstall!!!! The bearing caps.
      Undo the nuts evenly an all 4 caps to avoid excessive pressure on one side of the cam only. When the caps are almost out, put them on a clean paper the order you removed them. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! if you mix them you could have problems after.
      Here are mine. They go from left to right as excactly they are placed on the paper. I also kept the position of the nuts just to be safe.

      The camshaft is removed. Now you see the tappets. In my engine are hydraulic and need no adjustment. If they were noisy before the install, now its a good chance to change them with new ones. They are not that expensive.


      Yes, yes that black thing on top of the plastic cover is oil. Just to get an idea of how clean your engine is inside....
      After a couple of hours of cleaning and ruining a few brushes everything is sparkling!
      Now, The installation of the new camshaft is the opposite of the uninstall obviously.... Make sure you use a lot of oil on the bearing caps and you install them in the order you removed them. Don't tight one cap at a time, but tight a little bit on each one evenly.
      Torque the camgear at 80nm.
      Before you tight them all the way try to turn the camshaft a few times to see if its hard or if its hitting anywhere. Don't worry about the pistons. The valves are nowhere near at hitting them because as we have said many many many times 8V engines are non interferent engines. [IMG]http://**********************/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]
      According to the bentley the camshaft bearing cap nuts require 20nm of torque. Make sure you don't overtight them or you will have excessive wear and possibly damage your engine.
      The gasket is also installed. Make sure the surface is clean before you install it.
      Note how clean the plastic cover is now....

      Once everything is nice and tight, double check on the caps and the gasket. Make sure the small orange rubber gasket is seated properly and the blue one also.
      Install the valve cover and torque the nuts at 10nm.
      Find the timing marks and make sure everything is put back together before you turn the key. Don't worry about wrong timing. If its wrong its just won't fire.
      Once the engine is running, keep it at 2000rpm for 20 mins to bend in the new cam.
      Now head for your nearest rolling road and tune your engine! Enjoy you extra 10hp!
      Job well done!
      Chip Tuning for a living @

    34. Member Black_cabbie's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jul 16th, 2003
      Athens Greece
      Q7 4.2 V8 , Smart 451 Turbo
      07-23-2004 06:36 PM #34

      Cruise Control Diagnostics
      The cruise contol system consists of four major components.
      Vacuum System (including pedal switches and pump)
      This is the most common source of problems. For testing, you'll need a way to generate and hold vacuum in the lines. A good tool for this is a miniature Mity-Vac type of device.
      Most common wiring problems in this circuit occur in the wires going from the steering column, down the turn signal arm, and into the switch. There is also wiring for the vacuum pump that may need to be checked.
      Steering Column Switches
      Not usually a problem, but wiring in steering column can be.
      Control Unit
      This piece rarely goes bad, so it should only be suspect when all other common problems have been ruled out. The easiest way to test it is to put in a known good unit.

      First, check the obvious. Blown fuses? Check brake lights -- if both are blown, the system won't work. Also look for any disconnected vacuum lines in the engine compartment. If you can't find the problem, more in-depth troubleshooting is required.
      Vacuum System
      Disconnect the vaccuum line at the pump. With a Mity-Vac apply vaccuum to the system. The bellows should move the throttle and stay until you release vaccuum. Without a Mity-Vac, depress the rubber part of the reservoir and plug the other end of the hose. It should stay put. Repeat this test and depress the clutch pedal, and again with the brake pedal. The vaccuum should always release as soon as you touch the pedal. This will show whether you have a bad switch at the pedal, or a leaking line, or a bad bellows.
      To see if the vaccuum pump is operating correctly, it is easiest to remove it. You can also do this from under the dash, but that involves pulling the glove box, a PITA. There should be a three prong electrical connector, a small hose that connects back to the pump and the main hose.
      Put all vacuum hoses back in place and disconnect the electrical connector. Using your test leads, connect ground and +12v to the pump and solenoid switch. If you are looking at the connector on the pump like a "U", power is the right upright, the pump is the crossbar, and the valve is the left upright. Look on the electrical connector to make sure: blue/red is +12, brown/white is the pump ground and green/blue is the vent ground.
      When you have power to the pump and valve, with the hoses connected; the throttle linkage should move. If you disconnect ground from the pump, the throttle should stay put. Disconnect ground from the vent and the throttle closes. If you get full travel on the throttle, then your pump draws sufficient vaccuum to operate. If all the above checks out, then you have isolated the cruise problem to the electrical side.
      If your throttle doesn't move but your pump runs and you have no vacuum leaks, read on. If you have a Mity-Vac or a vaccuum gauge, you can get a numerical value for the pump. A year or so ago, my pump worked fine. This time around it drew 3 inches Hg. I disconnected the hoses, and connected a line to the air intake (the larger black port). I also connected a return line to the exhaust port (the stubby white one under the intake). I plugged the vent port with my finger, stuck the intake hose into some water, and applied power for 3-5 seconds. After this I ran it disconnected to flush the water out. After the flush I got 17 inches Hg out of the pump. I can't guarantee if there are any long term negative effects of this method, but it saved buying a new pump in the short term. (Six months later it still works)
      There are two procedures here. The first is from the Bentley manual, the second is an alternative method. The advantage of the Bentley procedure is you may not need to remove the airbag to IDENTIFY the problem. The disadvantage is you will probably have to remove it to FIX the problem. This is in addition to squirming upside down in the footwell.
      Bentley Method:
      To test the electrics you need access to the control unit; it's up under the dash on the passenger side. You don't need to remove the dash, but you will need to pull the glove box and a trim panel or two. Push the A/C duct out of the way and remove the connector off the ECU. Contrary to Bentley, there are two: an eight pin connector, and a single ground connector. Pull the eight pin connector down and do the following:
      Ignition OFF, power to cruise OFF, multimeter on OHM setting:
      1) Test between pin 8 (brown wire) and ground = zero ohms, if not bad ground
      2) Test between pin 3 (black/red) and ground, press brakes = infinite ohms, if not bad pedal
      3) Repeat test with clutch pedal.
      Ignition ON, cruise ON, mm to Volts DC:
      4) Test between pin 1 (blue/red) and ground = 12V, if not bad fuse (power supply)
      5) Test between pin 1 and pin 8 = 12V (re-checks power and ground in CC circuit)
      6) With 5) above still connected (pins 1/8), shift the CC unit slightly in the direction of OFF, but don't click it over. If not = 12V, bad switch (checks half of a little documented "dump" or "coast" function)
      Multi-meter back to OHMs:
      7) Test between pin 3 and ground, switch CC ON/OFF. ON = zero ohms, OFF = infinite ohms; if not then bad switch.
      8) Test between pin 3 and ground, switch CC from ON in the direction of OFF, but don't click over. Should go from zero to infinite and back, if not then bad switch. (tests the other half of the "coast" function)
      9) Test between pin 3 and ground, switch CC to RES. Should be zero ohms, if not then bad switch.
      10) Test between pin 6 (blue) and ground, switch CC to RES. Same as 9).
      11) Test between pin 2 (red/yel) and ground, switch CC to SET. Same as 9).
      12) Jumper between ground and pin 4 (blue/white). Pump should run (checks pump/wiring).
      13) Jumper between ground and pin 7 (green/blue). Valve should click (hood open helps to hear it).
      Alternative Method:
      This requires nimble fingers and a little more delicacy, and won't test the wiring from the pump to the ECU or the switch connector to the ECU or the electrical switches at the pedals. It more effectively isolates the switch though and doesn't involve being upside down, on your back.
      Everything off, you could pull the negative battery terminal to avoid honking the horn.
      Remove the upper cover for the steering wheel. The CC wiring comes down the stalk and comes up over top, left side of the steering wheel switches and goes to a six pin connector. If you remove the steering wheel it's a lot easier; but is not absolutely necessary. I recommend it, anyway because you will probably need to do it to repair the switch wiring.
      Better safe than exploding!!!
      You may get lucky and see a broken wire or two in the bend from the stalk to the connector. The wires are wrapped in tape, though; so it may look okay. The following guide will identify which wires go where. You'll be checking the function of the switch. Use the wiring from under the dash to ID which pin is which. These are different pins than at the ECU, but pins 2, 3, and 5 are the other ends of the same wires.
      Pin 1 = Black/yellow
      Pin 2 = Blue
      Pin 3 = Red/yellow
      Pin 4 = Black/blue
      Pin 5 = Blue/red
      Pin 6 = Red/black
      Find pin 4 on the steering column connector, it provides power to the system and distributes it to the others. When testing, be careful not to short the meter at the pins, there's not much room back there.
      Multimeter to OHMs:
      Test between pin 4 and pin 5. Switch OFF = infinite/open. Switch ON = zero/closed. Switch from ON in direction of, but not OFF = zero/closed. Switch to RES = zero/closed.
      Test between pin 4 and pin 2. Switch OFF = infinite/open. Switch ON = infinite/open. Switch from ON in direction of, but not OFF = infinite/open. Switch to RES = zero/closed.
      Test between pin 4 and pin 3. Switch ON = infinite/open. Switch to SET = zero/closed.
      Find pin 6. This gets the signal from the braking circuit.
      Test between pin 6 and pin 1. Switch OFF = infinite/open. Switch ON = zero/closed. Switch from ON in direction of, but not OFF = infinite/open. Switch to RES =zero/closed.
      If you have the Bentley you can see that there are more permutations, but this checks the important ones. You can also see that there are four switch postions in the stalk switch. The electrical positions correspond, from left to right with RES, ON, coast/dump, and OFF; not as posted as RES, OFF, ON. SET is a separate function down on the end.
      If you do find a broken wire in the stalk, it is easiest to replace the wiring completely. In an interim, unsuccessful, repair I did successfully leave everthing in the car and added a separate "plug" connector from a computer on top of the column switches. This connector fixed an electrical problem, but I hadn't diagnosed the weak vacuum then. If you do remove the column switches to rewire the switch, take the following advice:
      Be careful opening up the switch. There's a spring and a roller bearing-thing that jumps out. Find six strands of very thin test lead. It maintains its flexibility better. Each strand should be at least 4 - 6 inches longer than the original. Wrap all six strands in teflon plumbers tape. Push this bundle through the stalk from the base towards the end. Trying to route the cable the other way is a PITA. Solder (very carefully) the switch portion first. Snug the re-assembled switch in the stalk, then snip the wires to the correct length. Solder the pins for the connector last.
      Chip Tuning for a living @

    35. Member bLac K aBriOleT89's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jun 18th, 2004
      Memphis, TN USA
      '89 Cabriolet, '05 X3, 02 M3
      08-27-2004 02:04 PM #35
      Cabriolet Top Replacement Experience
      Forrest King
      Warning: Any attempt to repair you car may cause problems. I am not responsible for your car, your errors, or your economic losses resulting from your use of this information.
      Ok folks, I drive a 1991 Cabriolet that originally came with a dark blue canvas top. After sitting for a few years while the previous owner was inn possession, the top was a bit dilapidated. The canvas was torn left to right all the way across the top at the first fold point (about 1 foot aft of the header). I shopped around in my region and was quoted astronomical prices for the replacement of just the outer ‘shell’, anywhere from $675 at an upholstery shop to $1300 at Brad Noe VW in Tulsa, OK. After peaking with one of the local upholstery shops on the phone I stopped by to check out their operation and let them see the tops actual condition. This is when I decided to replace the top myself- the guy was going on and on about how much experience you need to do this repair and how VW tops are by far the most difficult, and then I met his shop help. The shop help was 17 and was in desperate need of some education, he had been working for the guy for 2 weeks and was in the process of replacing a Mustang top- alone.
      PREPARATION (physical and mental)
      Some required knowledge: The VW top is held on by three cables, one at the back and two on the sides. The side cables must be replaced and are available at your local VW Dealership for about $11 US. The rear cable can be reused and you will most likely want to do this as it costs $93 US at your dealer. The best place to learn about the VW top is the replacement top. I suggest you lay it out on your living room floor and just take it in for a few minutes. You will notice that there is no hole for the rear window, DO NOT TRY TO MAKE ONE NOW. You will also notice that there is a ‘pocket’ at the front of the new top, this is where the top is slipped over the frame on your car, it is the attachment point for the front of the car. You will see a thick bead stitched into the rear of the rear of the replacement top, this is where the rear cable runs and is the attachment point for the rear of the top. The sides have slots that run ½ the length of the entire top, or the area over the windows if you can picture this. These slots are for the side cables, these cables and their accompanying springs are the attachments for the sides of the top.
      I searched locally and on the internet for other people who had replaced VW Cabby tops themselves and found a few great references, I will include these links at the end. After viewing their reports I created a list of tools that I would need, it included all of these:
      · Screwdrivers, Phillips and flat
      · Utility Knife (or razor)
      · Craftsman 9mm/10mm offset ratcheting wrench (pt # 43367)
      · Wooden clothespin
      · Spray Glue, 3M or other reputable brand, get the strongest bond.
      · Pliers, needle nose preferably
      · Electric staple gun (with staples and extension cord if needed)
      · Roll of nylon string- not cotton and not rope
      · Miscellaneous other hand tools, including wrenches and sockets.
      A critical tool in the replacement of my top was the Craftsman Offset Ratcheting Wrench, it brings a certain amount of ease to a horribly difficult situation. Read On.
      To start, remove the lower bench of the rear seat, it is held in by 2 screws on the front lip of the seat- that’s all. Remove the package tray, that is the piece covered in carpet that hides the contents of your trunk. Fold down the rear seat, you do this by pulling the knob hidden under the trunk door and then pulling the strap located on the side of the rear seatback near the top. Leave the trunk lid open. The seat back should fold down nearly flat. Removing all of these components will create more working area in your car and give you places to contort your body while attempting to remove the rear cable. Now look under the package tray sides (the parts that remained in the car), you will see the headliner is stretched over some points to hold it tight. Grasp the headliner and pull is firmly but gently in the direction of the points to remove it. After you do this to all of the points the headliner will hang loosely from the top. Roll down all of the windows. Pop the latches for the top but do not fold the top yet.
      Now is a good time to look at the side cables of your top- study them, make drawings, take pictures- whatever you need to do in order to create that same setup later.
      Note: In this section I am going to cover the removal of the top. The VW Cabby top goes on in exactly the same manner that it comes off, so once again study, take notes or take pictures. I found the best way was just to look at how the pieces worked and understand the system of parts.
      First, the rear window must be removed. This is a very simple use of brute strength. Crawl inside the car and have a friend stand outside of the car at the rear window. Place the palm of you hand, with as much surface area of your hand contacting the glass as possible, on the rear window at the upper corner. PUSH. The glass will slowly start to come out of the seal and will come right out after you release the initial hold of the seal. Have your buddy catch the window if you become overzealous in your pushing efforts, otherwise have him gently tug at the glass to free it. Now pull the window seal out and set it aside. Get your flat head screwdriver and remove ALL of the staples that hold the old top to the rear window frame (yes folks, they stapled it together). Once you remove the staples you can look around the inside of the top- study up.
      Next, remove as much of the top as you can with your handy utility knife. To remove the center section would be more than enough. Remember you are throwing this old top away, so feel free to sacrifice it in order to learn as much as you can. I suggest cutting it from about 1 foot behind the header, down the seams along each side, and across the back just below the rear window frame.
      At the front of the top there is a metal bar that crosses the header, it has some brackets that hold the corners on also. Start by removing the brackets at the corners and placing the hardware in plastic zipper bags, or visually separating them on a counter or other work surface. Remove the corner brackets and then remove all of the screws holding the header bar. You should then be able to pull the header bar off, taking care not to bend it. Now move you focus to the sides of the top. You will notice that there are rubber seals covering the area where screws would be. These rubber seals slide out of their brackets, but be very careful as they are no longer available from the dealer and are very expensive to locate. Once you have slid out all three of the seals on each side you will see the metal brackets that hold the seals and you should be able to see the screws that hold the bracket to the top frame. On some cars the screws were covered with tape that makes a sticky mess when you try to remove it. But alas, the screws must be removed. After you remove all of the brackets you will then notice that the top is also glued to the frame, notice how this is done because we will be putting the replacement top on in the same fashion. Peel the top off of the frame and look around inside. Notice the spring tensioners for the side cables. Now is a good time to remove the side cables. Use your needle nose pliers to remove the cables at the front and then slip them off at the rear spring. Pull the springs out, but notice where they came from. You will need these old side cables to make the new side cables the correct length- do not cut them or throw them away, you may have to cut the top to get them out. Now you should be able to remove most of the top, if you cut the top like I suggested above you will be able to remove everything except the last few inches of the rear. These last few inches of the rear are where the cable is holding the top on. This cable is inside of a lip that is formed into the car chassis, the top is laid over the lip, and then the cable over the top. The cable is pulled tight and it sucks the top into the groove created by the lip- a neat little setup by Mr. Karmann. To remove this cable you have to crawl inside the car and lie on your back. The end of the cable is located behind the rear window and down inside the body of the car. Use the 10mm ratcheting offset wrench to loosen the nut on the end of the cable. If you intend to reuse this cable it is imperative that you use a backup wrench while loosening this cable (and when tightening it later) otherwise you will twist the end off of it and add 100 dollars to your bill. Once the cable is loose at one end switch to the other side and remove that nut, it should be easier now. After removing both nuts retreat to the outside of the car. Drink a Dos Equis, you deserve it. Pull on the last scrap of the top that is still on the car, you will be pulling out the cable also. Notice how the cable lays over the top and how these two fit into the groove below the lip- study, take pictures, whatever. You have now removed the entire top. Place the rear cable in a safe area with its corresponding nuts. Boy you are screwed if it starts raining.
      You are more than half way done, if you have taken the time to observe the methods used to attach the top you will have no problems from here on out.
      Now take the top and put it over the empty frame. Do not try to put the frame in the pocket, or do anything right now, just place the top on the car and visualize what you are doing. It looks nice doesn’t it.
      To start the operation you will need to put the top back on the ground. Go find the side cables you saved from earlier, and the new cables you bought at the dealership. The new cables came straight (not pre crimped). Take this time to put a crimp on the ends of the cable and fish a string or fish tape thru the slot in the replacement top. Tape the end of the new cable to the fish tape and pull it thru. Let the cable sit there quietly for now. Place the new top back on the frame, this time seat the frame in the pocket of the top. Now is the time to attach the header bar. Be careful and try to get the front bead of the top to sit flat against the windshield frame. If you mess up don’t worry, you can re do this later to get the front edge of the top to seat correctly. You will most likely be doing this while standing on your front seats with the top in a half open position. Leave the top in this half open position and head to the back of the car. You are now going to thread the rear cable through the slots in the top and into the body of the car. This step is frustrating because the top can pop out of position and be generally difficult, if your helper has not consumed all of your beer use him to hold the top and cable in place. You may find it easier to thread the cable through the top on one side only and then slip inside of the car and screw a nut on the end of the cable just a few threads. You can then return outside and continue trying to line up the top and the cable. The idea here is to have the cable sit just above the bead on the rear of the top and directly over the groove. If you can get this to line up you are doing great. You will then want to slip the other nut onto the other end of the cable (if you have not already done this in the course of trying to line it all up). Using the backup wrench and the ratcheting 10mm put a small amount of tension on the cable. The Physics of tightening the cable to draw the top into the groove are all wrong. YOU WILL BREAK THE CABLE IF YOU TRY TO PULL THE TOP INTO THE GROOVE BY SIMPLY TIGHTENING THE CABLE. Use the end of the wooden clothespin to get the top and cable into the groove, a rubber mallet will help too, but don’t tap the clothespin hard enough to tear the top. You can also position the clothespin on the cable, then you have to worry a little less about tearing the top, but it requires more force to seat the cable if you choose this manner. I suggest you start in the center and work your way to each edge. Have your friend keep an eye on it, too, and make sure the top does not go on crooked. Once the entire cable/top/groove system is seated you will need to return to the inside and tighten the 10mm nuts, using the backup wrench, tighten this up until you are worried. The tighter the better, unless you get it too tight and then you have to buy a new one… The sides and rear should all tuck in nicely as you tighten this cable, have your now drunk friend gently use the clothespin to insure it all fits. Now, drink a few Dos Equis yourself, that nut on the cable is a bear. (you should be at 3 beers in about 4 hours so far.)
      Now is the time to close the top. You want to make sure when it latches that it pulls the wrinkles out of the top and looks good. The sides should still be hanging loose at this point. Look at the front of the top, where the bead of the top contacts the windshield frame. You want that bead to be flush and uniform, so get your Phillips screwdriver out and make a few adjustments and see if you can get it to look nice.
      The sides are relatively easy. If you did the rear cable then you can do heart surgery and ice sculpture- the sides should be a piece of cake. Attach the side cables to the front attachment point and then re-assemble the spring tensioner assembly. Refer to your pictures, notes or beer bottle diagrams at this point to ensure correctness.
      Glue time. Get the upholstery glue that you purchased, it should be a strong glue that has a high release point temperature- 3M is good, but avoid their 77 and Super 77. Use a piece of cardboard to shield the interior of your car and spray small amounts of glue to the frame rails. You are applying glue to the part where the seals and seal brackets mount, NOWHERE ELSE. After you apply the glue pull the flaps on the top around the frame and stick them to the glue. Follow the Glue Manufacturers directions in regards to if you should place glue on each piece to be assembled, or just on one. Once you have satisfactorily positioned each of the three flaps you are going to install the seal mounting brackets. These brackets act as a clamp to ensure that nothing flops loose at 75 MPH. You will attach all of the brackets making sure to place them in the correct position and side from which they originally came; NO, they are not all the same. Once you have attached the brackets you will want to use the utility knife to remove the excess material on the inside of the bracket. Taking your time and cleaning up really pays off here, under the hood it doesn’t matter too much, but in upholstery work cleanliness counts towards functionality.
      The seals slide into the seal brackets. Using Vaseline or another lubricant is helpful. Silicone spray is always a good bet when trying to lube rubber parts. Take care in replacing the rubber seals, think $$$$. I have seen a used set of these sell for $200+.
      After you have replaced the side rubber seals and are happy with the way the front fit you are going to want to trim the material from beneath the header bar. Take care to not cut through the headliner and really foul things up. You should be able to at this point, close the top and get in the car. You should be able to roll up the windows, and sit in peace within the confines of your car and drink another Dos Equis.
      While you are consuming the adult libation you may notice that you can’t see jack out the rear window. This is because the rear window is sitting on the love seat in the family room. You can drive your car at this point and it looks really cool. It appears to be a mix between the European Golf Vans and a Cabriolet.
      The rear window is an easy installation. If you stopped and drove your car for a few weeks like I did then this additional step should take 45 minutes including setup and installation. If you are continuing on then it should be another 30 minutes or so.
      Feel around the rear window to figure out where the frame is, you are going to have to cut a hole inside the dimensions of the rear frame without getting even the slightest bit out of the lines, I suggest you cut small and then staple. Yes, staple.
      You should cut an X shape through the top within the window frame, you are going to need to make relief cuts in the top material at the corners in order to get it to lie down without wrinkles. THE TOP MUST BE CLOSED AND LATCHED COMPLETELY BEFORE CUTTING OR STAPLING. Be sure to not cut a circle out as this severely limits the amount of material you have left to tug on. You will pull the material taught and then use the electric staple gun to fire staples through the top material into the frame of the window. The frame is wooden if you are wondering, they just paint it black to match the interior. Now that you have stapled all the way around the frame taking care to use at least as many staples as the factory did you are read to pop the rear glass in place. If you have ever installed a wind shield into a gasket type setting then you are used to this. If not, read on.
      Take the rear window gasket and install it onto the rear window. Get a roll of nylon string and wrap the string around in the seal groove at least twice, if not more. If you have never done this before you will be wrapping the string and trying over, so don’t fret. If you complete the following steps twice without success drink Dos Equis and then come back to it.
      You have the string wrapped around the seal, so set the window up against the outside of the car. Have your slowly sobering buddy hold it in place. Crawl inside of the car and find the END of the string (not the beginning…), gently pull the string at a 90 degree angle from the plane of the glass. This will roll the lip of the seal in and allow the whole thing to seat nicely. You wrapped the string twice or more so that parts of the gasket do not roll in on the first lap around the window they will have another chance on the next lap. VW windows fit well and this should be easy for anyone who can butter bread.
      CLEAN UP
      You are now finished replacing the top. Congratulations. Send me pictures: preferably of each step and the completed deal. Put your tools away and then go inside and apologize to your significant other. You are a touch too tipsy to drive so maybe have a nice dinner at home or have the previously mentioned significant other drive to dinner.
      I hope this helps. If you have problems with my spelling or grammar feel free to make a contribution towards my tuition: Forrest King, 1807 S. Jackson Ave #A, Tulsa, OK 74107.
      Top: World Upholstery, 1-800-222-9577 . Please tell them I sent you. The lady who answers the phone is a RUDE, but the product is amazing and fits perfectly. Better quality than JCWhitney. I paid $218 shipped for a vinyl cabriolet grain top in a custom blue.
      Wrench: Sears. Buy the damn wrench. You will thank me.
      Online Resources: (a good reference)

      "If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough"
      -Mario Andretti.

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