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    Thread: First time poster, new to me 1984 VW Rabbit GTI

    1. Junior Member stick70's Avatar
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      08-10-2017 11:54 PM #1
      I've been a member on here forever but never had a VW to post up. I bought this one from a friend of mine a few weeks ago. Its been sitting forever, but its a decent little car with what will be a fantastic patina. I currently have no interior at all, and I'm a little split on what direction to go with. I'm really considering a couple of racing buckets and a half cage with carpet, dash, and door panels, but another part of me wants to just do stock interior. I'll figure that out as I go.

      Here's when I picked it up:





      Its been sitting like 7? years. All of that time out in the open, and most of it on the street in a few different towns in North Carolina. It's got awesome potential though. It sits right, and with a coat of clear and some new GTI red accents it'll be perfect.

      Cleaned it up a little:









      You can peek my other projects ^ there. There's also a 1966 Volvo 122 Wagon hiding in front of the rabbit.

      It came with 2 sets of MK2 seats, the GTI I have no interest in, they'll definitely be up for sale. I threw the grey set in just to have a seat of some kind.





      All that was inside the car believe it or not.



      It's also got a Scirocco 16v swap. MK1 GTI trans attached to it, and I was told it has a different 5th gear in it but who knows.

      What I do know, is it has:

      Some kind of homebrew coilover on the front
      Bilsteins in the rear
      Stainless brake lines
      BBS RA
      Zender spoiler
      Hella fog light grille
      Scirocco 16V swap

      Did have a lexan back window as shown in the pictures, but I've already had it swapped for glass. It's sooooo much better.

      Right now I'm just going through it and figuring out what I've got. I'm also chasing water leaks. Theres a notch in the floor where the fuel cell is mounted, and theres rust in the seams of the front floors from leaking for so many years.

      Apart from that the biggest challenge is theres no interior or wiring whatsoever inside the car. I plan to go megasquirt and maybe a painless harness, so thats not a huge deal.

      Thanks for looking.

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    3. 08-11-2017 01:36 AM #2
      240 turbo on the right?

    4. Junior Member stick70's Avatar
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      08-11-2017 08:21 AM #3
      Yep!

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    6. Member
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      81 S, 84 GTI, 86 16V, 92 Cabby
      08-11-2017 09:15 AM #4
      GTIs are usually best brought back to stock IMO, but that one will be grateful to have been saved at all, good on you for taking it on.

      If you're not set on a stock interior, you shouldn't have much trouble finding stuff in the classifieds, even a dash.

      Light car + 16V + GTI gearbox=

      Edit: you mention 5th. Some folks swap a taller 5th gear into the 4k or 2h [GTI] gearbox. It lets you use the short 1-4 to rip around town and use 5th as an overdrive on the highway. The stock 5th was also short so after a road trip, our ears would ring for a day or so...
      Last edited by echassin; 08-11-2017 at 09:21 AM.
      It's hard for me to know exactly what these things cost me. I'm guessing a LOT, but I like them, so that's that.

    7. Member rabbitnothopper's Avatar
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      08-11-2017 07:15 PM #5
      a close ratio gear would be roughly 3000-3500rpm at 60mph
      very loud but in the power band
      a long/tall ratio gear .70/.71 or .75/.76 would be 2500rpm at 60mph....much better.......

      not only can to calculate this with the excel file found on the internet *cough cough*
      but using your tachometer i have done a swap and seen it.

    8. Junior Member stick70's Avatar
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      08-11-2017 10:11 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by echassin View Post
      GTIs are usually best brought back to stock IMO, but that one will be grateful to have been saved at all, good on you for taking it on.

      If you're not set on a stock interior, you shouldn't have much trouble finding stuff in the classifieds, even a dash.

      Light car + 16V + GTI gearbox=

      Edit: you mention 5th. Some folks swap a taller 5th gear into the 4k or 2h [GTI] gearbox. It lets you use the short 1-4 to rip around town and use 5th as an overdrive on the highway. The stock 5th was also short so after a road trip, our ears would ring for a day or so...
      Quote Originally Posted by rabbitnothopper View Post
      a close ratio gear would be roughly 3000-3500rpm at 60mph
      very loud but in the power band
      a long/tall ratio gear .70/.71 or .75/.76 would be 2500rpm at 60mph....much better.......

      not only can to calculate this with the excel file found on the internet *cough cough*
      but using your tachometer i have done a swap and seen it.
      Thanks for the input guys, I really need to investigate that. My buddy has a red 84 gti with the stock trans and it does indeed scream on the highway.

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      08-12-2017 04:40 AM #7
      Very cool!!

      I LOVE the seats... Very jealous.

      Nothing wrong with a 16V swap!

      Love the wheels too.

    10. Member dubsteez79's Avatar
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      08-22-2017 03:23 PM #8
      Get them carb-hoo-raters put on homie quan!
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    11. Junior Member stick70's Avatar
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      09-25-2017 11:56 PM #9
      So I'm currently working on another project of mine but I have been trying to get some small things done here and there. I've evaluated the engine situation and it seems livable. The head looks brand new, and the shortblock looks...maybe ok? It's really greasy but it makes compression and turns over freely. The suspension on this thing however is sketchy at best. It has bilsteins and some poly but that's where the good things end. I'll just leave this here...



      Yeah. So the front springs aren't big enough to fit over the hacked up coilover sleeves that are on there. So they just sit on top, which isn't ideal. Plus the springs themselves are really short. The rear is better, the springs are blue which is...blue. I don't know much about them apart from they're worth taking off.



      When I got it in the air it had a scary amount of wheel play. The RF axle wasn't tight at all, and neither were the LF strut bolts.

      Moving onto the brakes. I threw new bearings in the rear and mainly just cleaned everything up. I did have to replace the wheel cylinders but that was mostly it. The shoes and drums looked ok, so I just hooked everything up right. The e-brake cables were just dangling under the car. I don't have any finished pictures, but here's a before.



      In the front I threw on some new rotors and Hawk HPS pads. Luckily the calipers weren't seized and I could re-use them. The car also has stainless lines on it which is nice, one less thing to buy.

      What else...oh yeah. So what I probably should have done is just built a cheap MS1 and rolled. The car would probably work by now. Instead I decided yeah! Carburetors are cool! Induction noises yeah! So I sprung on a set of used R1 carbs off of ebay. They were nasty when I got them and it took several days to clean them up. You can tell by the condition of the float bowls. The 4th one looks like it was full of water for a while.



      I got them all cleaned up though and got some float bowl seals in. I still need to re-jet the mains, but its not a priority atm. They're going to be fed by a Holley low pressure pump, and I went ahead and bought a new fuel tank from Rock Auto.

      I did some looking around and noticed that some guys are making steel manifolds for these things, but Danstengineering out of the UK sells these really nice manifolds for reasonable money. It made more sense to buy one than to mess with the fab work.



      The port transitions are really nice too.



      Grabbed me some silicon couplers off of Jegs and threw them on there.



      The most recent thing that I've done was scrub the roof with scotch brite and clr. It really helped to bring out the small amount of paint that was left, and got a lot of the red rust off of the car.



      And a decent side shot of it in the shop.



      I'm still plugging away when I have time, I think next I'll work on getting an ignition system. I really need to find a 16v knock box and harness. The next thing after that is going to be interior, I really really want to get this thing back to stock red gti interior. It doesn't have to be great but anything will be better than the nothing I currently have.
      Last edited by stick70; 09-25-2017 at 11:58 PM.

    12. 09-27-2017 12:56 AM #10
      Brap brap!

    13. Junior Member stick70's Avatar
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      10-05-2017 09:31 PM #11
      With little money to dedicate to this thing I haven't done much to get it moving. On the bright side I'm planning on getting some interior for it this weekend. I did go full type R mode and painted the valve cover red, that's gotta be worth 5hp.


    14. Junior Member stick70's Avatar
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      04-19-2019 02:44 PM #12
      Nothing earth shattering here but I wanted to give an update since i am actually working on this thing. Unfortunately i don't have a whole lot of awesome pictures, I'll try and correct that as I get moving forward here.

      I was able to start piecing together an interior for the car. Got my hands on a red GTI dash, GTI door panels and console, etc. The seat situation is going to be a little haggard for a while, but there will be seats for butts in there, which is more than nothing! I picked up a Sparco pro2000 seat from the same seller I got the dash from, so that's in it right now.




      I love how it sits once I'm in the car, but man it's a PITA to get in and out of. I'll ride with it for a while, might find some decent recaros later to replace both fronts with. I've got a blue back seat now as well. Again, not pretty, but better than the nothing I did have. Remember this thing was stripped to be a race car when I got it.

      I was also able to pick up this lil' guy for parts:


      We'll be harvesting bumpers, door hardware, mirrors, interior odds and ends, wiring harness, etc. Finding this car is honestly cutting me a huge break. I was missing SO MUCH just in clips, hardware, etc. The previous owner threw every scrap of interior out of this car in the trash.

      Right now mechanically I'm working on cleaning up and resealing the engine. It looks super clean inside, but I did have to knock the rust off the block and shoot some new paint to get it presentable.

      A little before:



      And a little after:



      It'll be getting new seals and all, but that's really all that's required. I'm also taking the time to clean up the engine bay. It's been rattle canned, but it isn't great. Still not 100% sure what I'll end up doing on that front.


      As of late I'm just working to get the cowl converted to accept my non-ac heater box and controls. Here in the next month or so we'll get moving on wiring, plumbing, and cleaning up the engine bay. Who knows, I may even give this car a proper buff! Hoping to have it running on this carb'd 16v by the end of the summer.

    15. Junior Member stick70's Avatar
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      05-15-2019 09:46 AM #13
      So I'm thinking of clear coating this car. The black single stage is there-ish, but it's really thin and has a lot of hairline scratches in it. I'm afraid if I buff it I'll just wipe the rest of the paint straight off of the c-pillar.

      What are you guys opinions on it?

      Pictures of the patina are in the first post. I've gotten a lot of the rust out of the roof primer with a clr wash.

    16. Senior Member LT1M21Stingray's Avatar
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      05-15-2019 10:23 AM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by stick70 View Post
      So I'm thinking of clear coating this car.

      What are you guys opinions on it?
      Don't make it more expensive/difficult to get a real paint job down the road.
      Quote Originally Posted by Mk1Madness
      Back when making your car faster and better handling was the big thing.
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      The car's best safety feature includes ejecting you in the moment of impact and wishing you the best of luck.

    17. 05-15-2019 10:40 AM #15
      I would agree with that. It's difficult enough to properly paint a car. I cannot see that clear coating it would make it look that much better and only cause more headache later.

    18. Member mokoosh's Avatar
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      05-15-2019 10:06 PM #16
      I used to agree, but I've spent so much time in this forum that I am starting to think patina cars are kinda sick. You should also swap it to mid engine V8 and bag it.
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    19. Senior Member Vegeta Gti's Avatar
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      05-16-2019 01:01 AM #17
      Restore it. Patina is stupid and these cars deserve a better life than super slammed and rusted out.

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    20. Member dubsteez79's Avatar
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      05-16-2019 08:58 AM #18
      No worries on prepping for paint later as you can just have it media blasted with plastic media if you ever want to paint it for real. Pretty sure you know a guy

      To actually do a full paint resto, you should blast all the surface rust off anyways(with glass media).

      Some people like patina, some people dont. Do what you want. You're driving it....eventually.
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      05-16-2019 10:38 AM #19
      It all comes down to what you want to do. I rocked my caddy with patina for about 3 years then I just broke down and got a cheapo paint job ($1600) and I love it's current look now.

      And maybe in a few years, I'll change it up again...

      This project of yours looks like it's coming along nicely!
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    22. Junior Member stick70's Avatar
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      05-17-2019 11:25 AM #20
      Thanks for the opinions, I forgot patina was such a polarizing issue. It'll probably end up cleared, there are three options that I see.

      1. Leave it alone and beat it around oxidized, scratched up, janky
      2. Buff it once every 6 months and hope there's enough paint left after a year for it to shine
      3. Clear it, make it shiny. If it sucks then it will be no worse than when I started. -> I only see positives with this option

      I fail to see how clear coating a car that would need to be stripped to bare metal anyways would increase cost of a future paint job significantly enough to matter. I've accepted reality on this thing, I bought it for $300. If I wanted one with decent paint I'd just buy one with decent paint, they're cheap enough still to do that.


      And yeah it'll be running soon! Ish? Maybe? I have essentially everything figured out. I really just need to decide on spring rates for the bilsteins that are on it, and finalize what ignition setup I'll run with the carbs. I'd really like to find somebody with a complete 16v ignition setup kicking around I could just throw at it. After that it's just me not being lazy and working on it. In any case, my goal is to have it moving by the end of the summer.
      Last edited by stick70; 05-17-2019 at 11:31 AM.

    23. Junior Member stick70's Avatar
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      06-06-2019 09:24 AM #21
      Continuing on with the engine revitalization on this car, I've got new seals in every where and getting it buttoned up. I have this baffled oil pan I'm planning on using but man it's seen better days. It's been bashed off a curb or 3 and while it isn't complete trash it's got a lot of broken pieces. I had to break out the welder here to fix the windage tray and baffles.





      I also realized at that time all of the threads in the bearing caps were stripped. A few heli-coils and those were good as new.






      Also discovered a gutted thermostat when I cleaned up the water pump housing...if you're gonna hack it up you might as well do a thorough job right?


      And finally...I got new carpet! The prospect of this car having decent interior isn't something I though would happen easily when I started. It's looking more and more possible.

    24. 06-06-2019 10:28 AM #22
      Really loving this one - probably because that's about the state mine was in.

      That 16v should be a hoot.

    25. 06-07-2019 03:26 AM #23
      Looking good keep it up


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