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    Thread: MK1 Rabbit LX caddy Engine/Trans swap ALH/02J

    1. 03-11-2015 07:04 PM #1
      Sooooo Somehow I convinced my wife to let me buy ANOTHER Project........

      Here is the deal.. I need a truck. Not a very big truck but one that I can throw an engine into and go. I was doing another one of my random CL searches last week and I ran across an Ad that really caught my eye. Screen shot of the Ad below. After the usual CL shenanigans I was driving home my "new" 1981 VW Caddy! She yanks hard to the right when you accelerate and hard to the left when you let off. She has more play in the steering than I thought possible. But she runs! Supposedly the motor was rebuilt 6000miles ago... But of course no documents to support that. On the drive home the caddy cruised around 55mph and if I ran into any hill, Well forget it. I was doing 45 with my flashers on... That wont work. I have hills where I live.... The biggest one is on my way to work!

      So like everyone else I started looking for Horsepower... on the internet. I looked into a TD swap, Nitrous(I'm still considering it...Lowers EGT), Then I came across an interesting thread... this guy put a mid 90s TDI in his MK1. I got to thinkin.....

      Now I have a 2003 Golf TDI. I bought it from a salvage auction. Owner totaled it and the Insurance company sold it for "parts". In 2012 I bought it for $1900. I bought a left rear door off of craigslist($40), The rear suspension from a bug($100), and with a little persuasion from a slide hammer... We get that two-tone beauty down below.... That was a few years ago and she hasn't skipped a beat in 50k miles.

      I have upgraded a few parts since then-
      G60 SMFlywheel
      VR6 Clutch and pressure plate
      50% bigger SMIC
      All New Poly Bushing
      3" Cat back exhaust (Most wonderful sound in the world)

      Flash forward to current day and Helga isn't holding up very well.. She is aging. Her engine is in wonderful condition but the body is falling apart... and fast.

      After scratching through a couple of note pads I finally have a game plan.

      As the title says I'm going to swap in my ALH and 02J trans into my MK1 Caddy. With a dash of Lowering Springs, Paint, VNT-17, RC3 Tune, and a Rollcage....

      Today I ordered the first and main bits for the build - ALH/02J to MK1 Engine/Trans Mounts. Link -
      I shelled out the $300 for the pieces that I needed and now we wait for them to arrive from the UK.

      I work two jobs and I would like to stay married so right off the bat I'm telling you this isn't going to be a fast build but I think I've got enough here to hopefully get some people excited. I do have other cars that I am trying to build and sell in these coming months. That will also slow things a bit but in the meantime I will be acquiring parts, researching, and getting advice from all you kind folk.... Of course I'll also keep y'all updated with photos as often as I can!


      So here is the Craigslist Ad -

      Here are a few photos of the Rabbit LX

      Last edited by smokey the tdi; 03-12-2015 at 07:26 PM.

    2. 03-12-2015 10:58 AM #2
      So last night I decided to actually use the truck. I was selling a VW type 1 engine on CL. Well I got stranded for a few minutes... I guess it was to be expected. Here is what happened;

      I got home from work at 6, I was supposed to meet the guy around 8:30. So I got to playing with the nightmare of wiring in the truck. I looked under the dash..... Imagine trying to untangle that last roll of christmas lights you havent used in years. There were offroad lights, Gauges, Radio... All connected to worst power sources or signal wires. So I started ripping it all out. Then I found a huge draw on the battery.... So I started pulling fuses and relays. A few Relays and a ton of fuses later... My dash lights came on and the starter works now!

      So I drove out to meet this guy...sold the motor. I pull away and everything goes black. The alternator was not charging the battery. So I connected a JumperBox I had in the back and we made it home.

      I'll have to look into that this weekend. I want to work out every little issue that I can now... To have a better platform for whenever those engine mounts decide to show up

      All the fuses and relays pulled to make this thing run and start on its own.

      Here is the Engine Bay of the Rabbit- You can see all the crap wiring around the battery.

      Here is the engine bay of the golf


      I lifted the shifter boot because it was rattling really bad... This guy.... It was inch deep in coins.

      Last edited by smokey the tdi; 03-12-2015 at 11:14 AM.

    3. 03-12-2015 07:46 PM #3
      The mounts that I ordered from Did not have the rubber bushings included.

      I ordered these off ebay-

      I think I need Scirocco 16V axles for the 02J to mount up to the MK1 spindles right? Is there any specific year that I need purchase? Any Different C- clips? Castle nuts? Two lefts, Two rights or do the prospective sides match?

      I've been searching but i'm not getting as much detail as I would like....

      Thank you!!!

    4. 03-12-2015 08:21 PM #4
      So all this came about because I almost paid $4500 for a toyota pickup.... So thats the goal. Under $5000 for everything... Including paint! (Bodyshop in mexico is giving me the buddy price)

      Cost As Of 3/12/15:

      $1500 - For the Caddy.... The AD says 3000. Thats because the owner upped the price after I said I will be there tomorrow with 1500 -_-

      $293.75 - Engine Mounts W\O Rubber Inserts

      $19.94 - Pressed In Rubber Inserts

      $00000- 2003 TDI GOLF - the golf has paid itself off over the past three night job reimbursed my mileage and I averaged 120 miles a day. So the golf made me an extra couple hundred dollars a month. Plus the money from all the un-needed parts.

      -$15 Change Found
      -$900 Hopefully from the sale of the running 1.6 Diesel Engine and 5-speed trans
      -$800 MK4 - Seats(100), Airbags(100), BodyPanels(250), Coilovers(150), Rims Tires(125), Glass(75)..I also have a full body kit for the Golf.... But Its not on the car so I wont include it.
      -$350 Scrap empty MK4 shell

      Subtract that hypothetical amount and that puts us at

      Looking good so far!
      Last edited by smokey the tdi; 03-14-2015 at 06:48 PM. Reason: Not Including The Price Of The Golf Because Of Income Earned Just From The Fuel Efficiency. 200 A month X36.... I would say it has carried its weight this last 3 years!

    5. 03-20-2015 06:30 PM #5
      This is how I get myself in trouble... I was searching for MK1 Rabbit parts on Craigslist and I came across an AD for a complete 1.6TD the had the #1 piston locked up.

      My dear wife asked why I was buying another motor... and if it was completely necessary.....YES!

      I picked it up right away. This is where it get interesting.... He asked what I was buying the motor for... I explained to him that I'm doing an ALH swap and that I dont want to drive the truck to Mexico for the paint & body with a 4000 dollar swapped engine and trans. He asked if it was black...has a buckets...I was thrown off for a second. I started to think maybe this guy tried to buy the truck too. Nope. Turns out he used to own the truck! The guy I bought it from, bought it from him. CRAZY SMALL VW WORLD....

      So it has the manifolds, Injection pump, Turbo, Oilpan W/drain bung & Downpipe. I also got the alternator that went out on me last week. I've got the stock side mount intercooler from the golf so I'll throw that on too.

      I wasn't going to put money into this engine.... But it was too cheap to pass up. Aaaand now that its an "ECO 1.6TD" it might be worth swapping into my 1971 vw bus... Maybe???

      I bought a gasket set and I'm going to swap on the turbo parts this week.

      Links from this weeks purchases-

      Gasket Set


      Oil Temp, Oil Pressure, Voltage Gauges

      The ALH/02J engine mounts are still stuck in germany....

      I got the rubber inserts.

      Turbo Motor

    6. 03-23-2015 12:35 PM #6
      Replaced the Alternator. No more issues there.

      I bought a Dash cover -

      Then we went for a bike ride at Balboa park.

    7. 03-23-2015 12:36 PM #7
      The turbo that came on the blown 1.6TD motor needs a rebuild. I was looking for rebuild kits and none of them looked right. I just assumed the turbo was a K24. Well it isnt. The second that I found out that it was a T3 I jumped out of bed and went running to my garage! That was 10pm...Scared the crap out of my wife.... lol

      Here is where my parts hoarding comes in handy!!! I bought a brand new Garrett GT3 off of CL almost 4 years ago. Its a ball bearing turbo. The Compressor housing has a .42AR. I had it on a Type 1 1600 Vw Bus motor for a week.... Never even turned it on. I went with the stock engine after all and left the turbo on a shelf.

      The turbo that came off the TD... The compressor housing has a .42 AR!! its like it was meant to be!!!!

      The exhaust housing off the t3 bolted right on to my new GT3! same compressor AR.... just swapped the exhaust housing... now I'm running a ball bearing turbo.... almost shameful hahahaha

      I didn't take anyphotos of the finished turbo...Ill post those up in a day or two.

      Here are some photos before the exhaust housing swaps to check out the differences.

    8. 03-31-2015 02:21 PM #8
      The engine mounts arrived from Germany. Getting closer to the swap!

      I kinda went crazy with the parts ordering....Again

      New Lower control arms, tie rods and bushings
      75 Rabbit Fenders
      Round light core support
      New headlights

      Talk about making more work for myself.

      Look at the difference a 40 dollar dash cover and cheap floor mats make!

    9. 04-14-2015 02:54 PM #9
      I've got most of the body parts in.
      Have the money for the work in my pocket.
      Parts loaded up.

      Bodyshop is taking it in on Friday

      Im going with a Porsche color L274 Olive Green-

    10. 04-16-2015 01:34 PM #10
      I have a problem...


      Yesterday after work I drove 3 hours to get these wheels.... They are pretty clean and have the centercaps.

      Oh I have an instagram page that I keep updated as well - @MyFixerUppers

    11. 04-20-2015 12:20 PM #11
      So I took the truck in on Friday. It was a little more than I thought it would be...But still 10 times cheaper than any shop here in the states.
      $1700 for all the body work including the front-end conversion, Paint and Interior work.


      So I had some free time this weekend. Decided to give some love to my rusty bus;

      -Changed out the Gen for a new alternator.
      -Switched out the single carb for a Weber Progressive 32/36.
      -New Fuel lines and filter.
      -New External Oil cooler and filter.

      This is next on the list for Mexico! After playing with the engine I started considering the idea of putting the 1.6TD in there

    12. 06-01-2015 09:54 AM #12
      I was getting a little antsy because I haven't been able to make it down and check up on the truck....

      To make matters worse a family friend went by the shop and said he hated the color..... ooooooh gosh!

      I didn't end up using the Porsche color. The shop wasn't able to recreate it... So in the end I chose Toyota Army Green.

      He texted me a photo of the truck!

      I love it!! I think it looks awesome!

    13. 06-15-2015 03:32 PM #13
      I'll do a write-up about the trip down there...But this deserves its own post.

      Ended up costing me more than the initial estimate...But it was worth it!

      $1700 - Body and Paint
      $280 - Interior

    14. 06-15-2015 07:24 PM #14
      looks sweet. good work.
      My Caddy AWD build
      Instagram: #Aeroexhaust

    15. 06-30-2015 11:03 AM #15
      I didn't a whole lot done last week.... Babysteps

      Got the wheels off,
      Marked and pulled out all the engine bay wires,
      Removed the Radiator,
      Overflow Bottle,
      Windshield washer bottle,
      Diesel filter,
      Clutch cable,
      Throttle cable.

      Next time I work on it I'll pull the axles and start lifting that motor and trans out.

      I only get about an hour to work on it every couple days which is a bummer... Hopefully soon I'll get a solid day to work on it.

      Last edited by smokey the tdi; 06-30-2015 at 11:06 AM.

    16. 06-30-2015 11:04 AM #16
      On the day we took it down to the shop... A mutual friend met us after we crossed the border. He jumped in the passenger seat and navigated us to the new shop location since they had moved recently.

      Once we get to the shop, the owner took a good look at the truck and shook his head. Mind you this shop usually only works on vehicles older than 50 years. He gave me a parts list that he would need in two weeks and took a deposit to start the work.

      I dropped off all the needed parts the following week.

      Flash forward 5 weeks... I was starting to get worried. I hadn't heard from the shop and I didnt think it would take this long. So we called mid-week and they said it would be ready by Saturday.

      So we made our way down Saturday evening....

      Work Done To The Rabbit -

      -Changed the Radiator support

      -Replaced the fenders

      -Removed all the glass for paint.

      -Fabricated one of the broken tailgate latches

      -Refinished the wheels and steel bumpers

      -All the exterior bodywork then paint... They painted part of the engine bay but I told them I will do the rest when I pull the motor.

      -Reupholstered all the interior panels; A pillar/ B Pillar, Roof Liner, Door panels, Back panel behind the seats.

      -Sprayed in the rubber bedliner

      There were A LOT of little things that they also fixed.

      So we go and pick it up on Saturday... All of the shop workers were there! They wanted to take a video of the truck driving off. They were in love with the stack and how much this little truck smokes. So after a TON of photos and videos driving up & down the street we went on our merry way.

      That drive back and this last week has amazed me... This must be what it's like to be best friends with a celebrity! I SWEAR EVERYONE WAS POINTING AND SMILING AT THIS TRUCK! I even caught a few people taking photos. If I'm stopped getting diesel people ask "what is it?"

      These are unique little rigs!! Lets save them all!!!

    17. 06-30-2015 11:05 AM #17
      She went down without a fight! Unbolted all the mounts and lowered it to the floor.

      Going to lift the truck over the engine so I can slide it out today. Then check if the frame is straight.

    18. Yesterday 02:04 PM #18
      The 1.6NA engine out and away from the truck. Almost finished removing the Golf engine. Just have the two side mount to loosen and the axles. I had to stop because it started to rain... in San Diego.... AAAAAAND I dont have a 30mm 12point socket to remove the axle nuts.

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