This build thread has been a long time coming. When I first got the Wagon - I had no intention of it being worthy of its own thread (the car itself as well as re-kindling my obsession with VW)...Luckily I have complied a bunch of photos since I got it (though I lost some due some nitwit at the Apple Store Genius Bar) - but here it goes...
I had an ~89 Fox in High School (1997) for about 2 months. PO hid some serious problems from an inexperienced teen that I was - and it had to be junked before I ever got to really enjoy it. I dont remember much - but I still have a key: (image to come)
Then I got a 74 Super Beetle and that was my car for the next few years...sold it in 2000.
I didnt have a car again until last summer when I decided it was time to get something that would be dependable and can haul (backyard stuff, camping, road trips, 4 of us and a dog to visit family on LI often, etc). Zipcar doubled their fees since I started using it - so I started looking for a dependable used Wagon. I dont even think I knew the Fox came in a Wagon body style - until I saw it and knew I needed to have one. Sure I should have searched around a bit - and knowing how much needed to go into this one before it was drivable (I got it looked over by a local VW mechanic) - and the PO was asking more than it was worth. I could only get him down so much - but something was telling me this was the one...and whatever that something was - it was right. It is not perfect - but a trooper nonetheless. It has been treating me really well so far and I am learning a bunch working on it and being part of this community.
Heres the basic rundown. I bought it from this guy in NJ who is in the Marines - and from Brazil - he bought it from the original owner 3 months before selling it to me (his wife put the kibosh on his project). he had plans to do all this work on it - mentioned putting carbs and all these other Brazilian spec mods that I was clueless to at the time - I should have kept his info, because he probably had some in to get parts shipped up here - but anyway - he wasnt so personable.
Original owner was this old man from Nassau County, Long Island, NY - that really took care of this Wagon and the records show it. Receipts and handwritten documentation of oil changes, etc. It shows road trips to Florida and Arizona.
The Carfax on it was clean - besides some strange stuff with the odometer - which I figured out once I looked through the paperwork. The Wagon was given to me with 48,XXX miles on the clock - looking through the receipts I found where the information was not consistent. At around 22,239 - he had the speedometer replaced - which equals me getting the car with around 78,XXX miles. It seems it was sitting around for a while before he bought it. Dry rotted tires, hoses, etc. and rodent made a home in the dash - that's all cleaned out now. The hand written oil changes records stopped in the late 90s - inspections up until June of 2010.
Purchased on 8/12/2011 this is how she looked when I got her:
Found some pictures on my girl's phone from when I brought it home from the DMV - with a full tank - leaking all over my street
First and foremost it needed a gas tank. There were pinholes in the top half. The gas gauge didnt work either. After looking for a sending unit for a couple of weeks to no avail - I dropped it off at a mechanic (GT Precision in Massapequa, NY) suggested by someone on the Vortex. They helped me get it so it was drivable and pass inspection. Unfortunately - living in Brooklyn, I didnt have the space to keep it off the road and learn to do some of these things myself - but I quickly learned that I would have saved a lot of money if I had researched the parts and tackled a few things myself. Thats when I got a Bentley and started doing my homework.
General Fixes and Upgrades 9/3/2011:
valve cover gasket
timing belt and tension
distributor cap, rotor and spark plugs (Bosch)
gas tank - new Spectra Part #SPIVW1
fuel filter (Bosch)
rear shocks (CofRAP)
new lock cylinders and 3 keys to match ignition
Passed inspection on 9/2/2011 and its driven great since. And this is when the disease hit again.
What went from needing a car to save money in the long run instead of renting cars and for more freedom became an obsession. I started spending all of my free time researching and ingesting what a Fox is and its capabilities.
It needed hatch struts - so I ordered a OEM replacement from a dealer in San Diego through vwpartsdepartment.com and put them in right away.