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    Thread: 1985 Golf Diesel

    1. 11-24-2015 04:39 PM #1
      During the 2015 summer I was searching for a mk2 golf model, the earlier the better. I had found an ad for a 1985 golf with a diesel engine in it. This immediately caught my eye. i rushed out to the backwoods of Camano Island to see it. It has this rare tan yellow color covered in dirt and grime reflecting its neglect over the years Regardless of the 4+ previous owners, broken door handles, stained seats and an old diesel engine that hadn't ran in years, I couldn't help but buy it. I saw the car for what a gem it was back in '85 and the gem it had potential to be.

      The car curently has a 1.6L Diesel engine from a 1990 Jetta. According to the previous owner "all it needs is a head gasket to run" I'm not sure how much I believe that statement. When I try to start the car, all the lights come on, the glowplug light goes out, I crank and the car seems to crank at about the right speed, It fires up then puts out and smoke billows from the engine bay. Definitely the head gasket is causing the smoke, but what is causing the no start problem? possibly incorrect timing, a bad fuel pump, clogged injectors, faulty glowplugs? maybe even something so simple as a solenoid stop sensor or something. There are so many possibilities I'm not sure where to start.

      I am posting this thread is in hopes that veteran vw-ers will come to my aid in restoring this beaut'. This is my first vw, but what could be a more perfect car to build on and gain experience.

      I have a few options here,
      I can restore and rebuild the engine and interior and try to stay as true to the original car as possible.
      I can also find another donor car (85-91) such as a jetta or golf with a turbo-ed diesel and take from it what would better replace neglected interior parts in my golf.
      OR I could do a TDI build using a mk4 engine. Again, I am skeptical about this because I am unsure if I have enough skill to do the swap.


      Any comments posted would be greatly appreciated.

      Here are some photos of the car including some issues I'm not entirely sure how to solve

      Trying to start her up:
      Last edited by meeksmill; 11-24-2015 at 04:49 PM.

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    3. Senior Member Eric D's Avatar
      Join Date
      Feb 16th, 1999
      Tragic Kingdom, CA
      1943 Flugkreisel, 1945 VRIL-7
      11-25-2015 01:10 AM #2
      With all due respect.
      Wisdom is passed on to newbs in the form of a Bentley service manual. This is the same manual many techs, independents and enthusiasts own.
      It is the DIY manual that all owners must own, its where us experienced owners got most of our info from. I on the other hand don't limit myself to one manual, I have many service manuals, and information in various languages. The reason for the foreign languages is that many times it has information that is not shared on the English manuals. Primarily dealing with rebuilding many items that here in the US is no longer supported. When I was young there was a rebuilder practically on every corner, soon the big box stores moved in and out went the small shops.
      Today I have to shop online because even the local importer/manufacture of rebuild parts for starters and alternators won't sell to the public.

      So please get yourself a Bentley service manual, and also look for other technical manuals on your 1.6L diesel (the web has many).

      From the publisher.


      You can register to buy factory tools here.

      Other vendors for specialty tools.
      The original Dub and Dubber.
      Manche VWs sind einfach schneller als andere.

    4. Member
      Join Date
      Jul 6th, 2013
      Talullah Falls, GA
      85 jetta 1.6d na wolfsburg, 94 Audi C4
      12-12-2015 11:07 AM #3
      I think that is a great find also. Have you verified a head gasket issue? I see coolant hoses disconnected.... The timing belt looks new, Injector pump has some shine to it, so it probably has been replaced at some point. I did not see the smoke you talked about in the video. If it sat for years you can assume the fuel system has some issues. It only needs 3 things to run: timing, compression and fuel. There is a timing mark on the bottom end visible if you take out the plastic plug on the top of the bell housing close to the block. It is a diamond shaped notch. On the cylinder head: take the valve cover off, verify that the cam lobes for cylinder no1 both point up with the bottom end at TDC and that the slot in the end of the cam is perfectly parallel with the surface of the cylinder head. On the injection pump there is a mark on the back side of the sprocket that lines up somewhat with the mark at the top of the pump depending on IP timing. It should be within a few millimeters. As to the fuel system: remove the fuel line between the pump and the fuel filter and rig a tank you can hook to it (preferably with a filter in line). Disconnect the return hose from the plastic fuel return line that runs back toward the tank and suck on that till you get a mouth full, then reconnect. Your IP should now be primed and ready to go. As to glow plugs- on a warm day you should be able to start the engine without needing them at all, but they can be tested with a multimeter.

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