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    Thread: Alex's '79 Rabbit Project!

    1. Member aeffertz's Avatar
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      06-20-2010 01:25 AM #1
      What's up Vortex?
      After over a year of looking for a MK1 around Wisconsin that I could afford and wasn't a complete s**tbox, I finally found and bought one! It's a 1979 Rabbit, with a 4 speed transmission and 170,000 miles on it.
      The interior is in awesome condition and it runs/drives perfect. But with the good, comes the bad--the floor boards have seen better days (few spots it has rusted through), theres a few spots where the paint is starting to bubble from rust coming up, the odometer stopped working, and the temperature gauge doesn't work. Anyway, here's a couple pics for now.





      Here's the to-do list:
      -Sound deaden the interior (Done)
      -Coilovers (Done)
      -Wheels/tires
      -Good stereo system while still looking stock (Done)
      -Misc. interior work (new shifter and parking brake boots, recover a few things, etc.)

      I'll update this thread as I work on it and keep you guys updated! Tonight I got the interior taken apart, chiseled the factory sound deadener crap off the floor, and got some sound deadener put in behind the panels in the back. Tomorrow I'll start to work on the floorboards and maybe get some more sound deadener put in.

      Last edited by aeffertz; 10-11-2011 at 08:46 PM.

    2. Member wantacad's Avatar
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      06-20-2010 01:28 AM #2
      Nice stripes.
      Quote Originally Posted by WackyWabbitRacer View Post
      You're new here but don't be a DORK.....
      Cheers, WWR.
      Quote Originally Posted by rte7x9 View Post
      Don't swap if you can't weld or fabricate. It's not a trivial task just to bolt everything up. There's a lot of nut-scratching involved. Take your time and do it right.

    3. Member Road Boss's Avatar
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      06-20-2010 01:34 AM #3
      This is a very nice find. Good luck with your modification process.

    4. Member aeffertz's Avatar
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      06-20-2010 02:05 AM #4
      Thanks guys. Forgot to mention I picked it up for $900.
      Not bad!

    5. Member aeffertz's Avatar
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      06-20-2010 02:42 AM #5
      Just ordered some Raceland coilovers.

    6. Member aeffertz's Avatar
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      06-21-2010 11:06 PM #6
      Got a package in the mail today...



      Didn't get anything too exciting done to the Rabbit today, just worked on the rusty floor boards and got them ready to be patched with some new sheet metal.

    7. Member wantacad's Avatar
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      06-21-2010 11:10 PM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by wantacad View Post
      Nice stripes.
      well so much for these
      Quote Originally Posted by WackyWabbitRacer View Post
      You're new here but don't be a DORK.....
      Cheers, WWR.
      Quote Originally Posted by rte7x9 View Post
      Don't swap if you can't weld or fabricate. It's not a trivial task just to bolt everything up. There's a lot of nut-scratching involved. Take your time and do it right.

    8. Member aeffertz's Avatar
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      06-21-2010 11:38 PM #8
      Yeah. Sorry, bro. The paint on this car is just too bad of shape to leave alone. There are a bunch of spots where it's starting to bubble up from rust underneath. The previous owner tried to just repaint over the spots before with a different shade of paint, too. It doesn't look to bad in the pics but it's not that great. I'll have to get some more detailed pics of the car. Just need to remember, ha.

    9. Member aeffertz's Avatar
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      06-22-2010 12:03 AM #9
      I'll think about it. There are a couple reasons I would like the round headlights. For one, I think it makes the car look 10 times better. The square headlights just make it look less foreign and the front of the car too boxy. And the current radiator support has some bad rust on the bottom.

    10. Member aeffertz's Avatar
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      06-22-2010 12:16 AM #10
      ): Don't say I'm ruining the car... ha.
      Really though, I have looked and looked for one with rounds because what I really wanted, but couldn't find one. There aren't a lot up here in Wisconsin, especially ones that aren't completely rusted out.

      Hmm... Not the biggest fan of four doors. Trade front ends?

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      06-22-2010 10:31 AM #11
      A few days ago it was "what's that hole on the top of the trans" [timing hole]? Now you're already dreaming coils and front-end swap. It's hard to imagine this will end well, which for some will be a bit off-putting.

      Personally, I would have been happier to see a MIG welder and some patch panels displayed, instead of cans of paint .

      But it is indeed your car, and if you bear with our general impatience, the forum is actually very experienced and helpful.

      Start one build thread for the car, so that it tells one continuous story, and any questions that arise can be addressed in full context of the car's history.

    12. Senior Member IronTrap's Avatar
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      06-22-2010 10:53 AM #12
      Please see my signature.

    13. Member newarknj15's Avatar
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      06-22-2010 11:23 AM #13
      very nice rabbit

    14. Member aeffertz's Avatar
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      06-22-2010 12:02 PM #14
      Unrelated.
      Last edited by aeffertz; 03-12-2012 at 09:08 PM.

    15. Member wantacad's Avatar
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      06-22-2010 01:07 PM #15
      R.I.P early westy and stripes..

      you were loved by many and all you asked for was love in return. Struck down in your senior years after you gave a lifetime of enjoyment. We only wish you could have lived out the rest of your life in peace instead of pieces. You will be missed.

      1979-2010
      Quote Originally Posted by WackyWabbitRacer View Post
      You're new here but don't be a DORK.....
      Cheers, WWR.
      Quote Originally Posted by rte7x9 View Post
      Don't swap if you can't weld or fabricate. It's not a trivial task just to bolt everything up. There's a lot of nut-scratching involved. Take your time and do it right.

    16. Member aeffertz's Avatar
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      06-22-2010 02:03 PM #16
      A1, thanks for the help. Since this is my daily driver, I think I'll just patch it like I explained as a temporary fix so when I drive it, water and dirt won't get flung up inside the car to create rust and wreck the carpet. With my next paycheck, I'll go check out some MIG welders.

      Wantacad, just take it easy. I haven't done anything bad to the car. I don't see how me covering the holes in the floor so water doesn't get in is worse than just driving it as it was. And sorry for getting rid if the stripes. I'm doing the car good by sanding it down and giving it new paint.

    17. Member watchxmexdie's Avatar
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      06-22-2010 02:11 PM #17
      so go get new stripes when it has new paint you need stripes or you're not cool im not cool, cause i don't have stripes i have rust circles.
      donald + Mk1 Rabbit = happy

    18. Member aeffertz's Avatar
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      06-22-2010 05:05 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by newarknj15 View Post
      very nice rabbit
      Thanks!

      Quote Originally Posted by watchxmexdie View Post
      so go get new stripes when it has new paint you need stripes or you're not cool im not cool, cause i don't have stripes i have rust circles.
      Well, I have both stripes and rust circles right now, so what am I?


      Well, as I wait for the sealant to dry I'll post some pictures. Be ready though, they're not pretty...






      This scares me...










      Check out that ground! The previous owner has done quite a few interesting things to this baby.



      And just a cleaner engine bay picture...



      Now here's where the biggest rust spot was. About 90% of the cut out area was already missing due to rust, I just cut it square to get rid of the rust.

      And then the other spot in question...
      Last edited by aeffertz; 06-22-2010 at 05:12 PM. Reason: Holy Huge Pics Batman!

    19. Member chandlerGTi's Avatar
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      06-22-2010 08:00 PM #19
      That thing is in great shape for its age and location . I will agree with A1 that you should either be saving up for your own welder or cozying up to soemone who IS a welder. The fixes you are proposing are really stopgap fixes and this car deserves the best. Good luck!
      Activity is not on my list of activities.

    20. Member aeffertz's Avatar
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      06-22-2010 08:27 PM #20
      Yeah, I'm not sure how I'm going to fix the area by the fender quite yet. A couple of buddies have gas welders, but I'm going to need a MIG, I'm guessing, if I want to get the job done. Hmm.... Need to finish the interior before I start in on something else, otherwise it gets overwhelming.

      Anyway, I got some more Raamat put in the rear part of the car. Might go work on it some more in a bit.

    21. 06-22-2010 11:41 PM #21
      pretty rad. love the patina/stripes/early westy. I agree a welder would benefit your battle. most state/tech/cc's offer cheap classes. take a class - maybe you'll meet someone down for the cause. I used to pull my GTI up to the sculpture center at school and fix rust in the back.

    22. Member aeffertz's Avatar
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      06-23-2010 04:50 AM #22
      I actually took a semester long class of welding, so I'm not too bad at it. I just need to buy one or find someone with one.

    23. Senior Member IronTrap's Avatar
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      06-23-2010 09:15 AM #23
      I can guarantee if you were to remove those fenders and start poking around the inner fenders, you will find some pretty major rust/rot... The rotted out fender attachment points is just the tip of the iceberg..

      I wouldn't expect to touch that paint for quite sometime if you want to properly fix the rust.. unless you are just going to paint right over the rotted out holes in the body/chassis..


      Keep with it, but don't fall into the usual youngin' buying coils, wheels, paint, and a round headlight swap before even thinking about proper rust repair..

      -Matt

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      06-23-2010 10:59 AM #24
      Saw this on craigs. Didn't want to drive so far to check it out. Love the color/Stripes. i think the Squares will grow on you. especially the early westy once you realize how uncommon they are.... (BUT if you do hack it up. i'll take the early core/lights/stuff LMK)

    25. Member aeffertz's Avatar
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      06-23-2010 02:01 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by saddest6day66 View Post
      Keep with it, but don't fall into the usual youngin' buying coils, wheels, paint, and a round headlight swap before even thinking about proper rust repair..

      -Matt
      Thanks Matt. Yeah, I actually wouldn't have ordered the paint for this yet, had I bought it for this car. I was in the process of painting a Vanagon I had, so I ordered it for that before I even owned the Rabbit. But I sold the Vanagon to get this car, so I figure since it will need new paint, to may as well keep the paint. And don't worry, there is a reason to getting the coils already! The struts are all pretty bad and would need new ones anyway and I don't want a shock coming up through a tower, so I just thought this would be the better route since I will want to be low and it needs new suspension. Killin' two birds with one stone.

      Quote Originally Posted by HiFiLongboards View Post
      Saw this on craigs. Didn't want to drive so far to check it out. Love the color/Stripes. i think the Squares will grow on you. especially the early westy once you realize how uncommon they are.... (BUT if you do hack it up. i'll take the early core/lights/stuff LMK)
      Where do you live? Wisconsin? Got any Rabbits? I think they are starting to grow on me. I think what makes me not like the front end on this car is the huge bumper. I'm thinking it needs some Euros.

    26. Member aeffertz's Avatar
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      06-23-2010 09:35 PM #26
      Got some more Raamat put in. Just covering the back area made a huge difference in silencing road noise. I can't imagine once the whole floor is covered in it with carpet. Also got the inside of the doors covered.








    27. Member watchxmexdie's Avatar
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      06-23-2010 09:48 PM #27
      how you gonna hook up the rear seat belts if you can't bolt them in? and if the bumbers are too big, then seriously get some euros. just don't cut it up. please. we ask you nicely. well some of us do....
      Last edited by watchxmexdie; 06-23-2010 at 09:50 PM.
      donald + Mk1 Rabbit = happy

    28. Member aeffertz's Avatar
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      06-24-2010 12:20 AM #28
      Just cut a hole where the bolt goes in. I can see where they go. Who said anything about cutting the bumpers up?

    29. Member ZG86's Avatar
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      06-24-2010 01:06 AM #29
      please please keep it that color.

    30. 06-24-2010 12:11 PM #30
      Well, as anyone who has seen my (multi-year installment plan) build thread can attest.... I'm no fan of half-assing it.

      But in this case, I have to say, I'm green-lighting this sheet-metal-and-rubber-cement plan. That car (IMHO) is way beyond the stage at which an actual resto makes sense. If you wanted an actual rust-free Rabbit, you'd be well advised to sell that car, save up, buy something in CA, AZ, WA, OR or anywhere else outside the rust belt, and pay the shipping. You'd still end up WAY ahead in terms of $$, time and end result. (And if you're thinking "but I can't afford to do that!" then you *really* can't afford to properly restore a car.)

      So yeah... I'm down with the redneck resto. Personally, I'd rock the existing paint... but that's me. Definitely don't bother with single rounds, etc... Arguments about rarity and style aside, it's a huge waste of time and effort for a car that's structurally terminal. (Have you had a good look at the rear beam mounting points? The passenger-side rear inner wheelwell?)

      Patch it up. Drive it. Enjoy it. And try not to spend anything on it that you don't have to!

      My (unsolicited) $0.02.... Good luck with whatever you decide!

      -Duncan
      Last edited by tosoutherncars; 06-24-2010 at 12:15 PM.

    31. 06-24-2010 01:12 PM #31
      Quote Originally Posted by tosoutherncars View Post
      That car (IMHO) is way beyond the stage at which an actual resto makes sense.
      this makes no sense.

    32. Member aeffertz's Avatar
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      06-27-2010 05:49 PM #32
      Not a whole lot has changed. Got the new coolant line put on and got the interior put back together. Waiting for my Bently and coilovers to show up so I can start on a few more things. Here's a few pics of the interior:







      I found another problem, though. Once the engine's warm and I shut it off, it has a hard time starting back up if it sits for a few minutes; almost like it gets flooded. It cranks over, but I need to crank it for 30 seconds or so. It only happens once it's warmed up, though. It fires right up, first try when it's cold. I'm thinking it could be some leaky injectors, but I'm not positive. Any guesses?

      Also forgot to post this. As I stated earlier, the temperature gauge doesn't work. When I first brought the car home and was looking things over, I found this wire hanging among some others:



      I can see where it broke in the wire loom, but I'm not sure where it connects to. So maybe this is the reason the temperature gauge doesn't work? No clue.

      I went to take the fenders off to see what kinda condition the metal is under there, but the previous owner decided it was a good idea to weld the fenders to the radiator support. I'll dig into that another, cooler day. Thanks for looking!

    33. Member aeffertz's Avatar
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      06-28-2010 04:24 PM #33
      Got some goodies today!




    34. Member aeffertz's Avatar
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      06-28-2010 05:16 PM #34
      Just wondering, should I take out the helper springs or leave them in? How low can I get it with the helper springs in? Thanks in advance.

    35. Member aeffertz's Avatar
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      06-29-2010 02:29 AM #35
      Well, 3 out of the 4 coils went in fine. The last one is giving me grief, though. I'm working on the driver's rear shock and the bottom bolt that goes through the rubber bushing has rusted to the metal sleeve inside of the bushing. So, it won't come out. I've tried hammering it and pressing it out but it won't break loose from the inner sleeve. Here's a few pics of what I'm talking about...






      I can turn the bolt in it's place but nothing really happens and hammering does no good anymore. If I try to press it anymore, I'm afraid it's going to bust the mounting area. How the hell can I get this thing out? I don't care if the old shock get's ruined or not in the process. And I'm obviously going to need to get a new bolt for it.



      I don't think a sawzall will fit up in there, but I'm not positive. I'll probably end up trying that in the morning. Any help, please?

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