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    Thread: Trying to replace exhaust + other subtle issues

    1. Semi-n00b
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      08-23-2020 10:25 PM #1
      Hi there everyone!

      I just bought myself a 1989 VW Fox GL 4-dr sedan (99k miles) and I have to admit this past week it's been awesome working on the car. However, I'm stuck in some places and I can't seem to figure out a solution.

      I wanted to do general maintenance, so I've got the coolant flushed and belts changed. However, I can't change the oil because the oil drain plug is stripped beyond belief. It also doesn't look like a normal drain plug as it's got an Allen key pattern inside the screw. Any ideas on how to get it out? (I really don't want to replace the whole oil pan.)

      The exhaust is pretty must rust after the manifold, and I cannot find any replacement parts anywhere. Should I just straight pipe it or is there another model of car that shares the exhaust so I can try to find one in a junkyard?

      I don't know if the exhaust is contributing to this, but the little red flashing light by the coolant gauge comes on almost every time (not all the time though sometimes it stays off). The manual said it could have been the cause of the belts or coolant, and I've done both of those, any ideas what it could be? The car starts every time but when you first crank it it's very reluctant but eventually smooths out. Not sure what that's about.

      Next lined up, going to replace the transfer fuel pump and change the fuel filter. Let me know if there's any other maintenance I should be doing for this car!

      Looking forward to meeting the people in this forum, and I hope I can learn a thing or two!

      Best,

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    3. Member bluetoes591's Avatar
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      08-23-2020 10:53 PM #2
      So, your exhaust options are https://techtonicstuning.com/main/in...psv1hrb871efl2 or build your own. I've done it both ways.

      The oil drain plug you describe is not the stock one, probably some kind of oversized replacement from a generic auto parts store. It is possible to buy a new oil pan still. It's also possible to replace it with the engine in the car. You do need to lift the engine a couple inches to access the rear bolts though.

      Does your temperature gauge work? Or is it just the light malfunctioning? I would investigate the wiring for the sensor. The sensor is the smaller one with a single wire (not the bigger brown one) on the top of the coolant flange on the side of the head.

      Taking care of the fuel system is one of the most important things you can do.

    4. Semi-n00b
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      08-24-2020 09:11 AM #3
      Hey bluetoes591!

      Perfect, I actually just came across those exhausts and I'll probably get the alum. MagnaFlow TT pipe. Do you think Borla or Magnaflow sounds better?

      So during my shopping search, I did come across the drain plug, and it's the same specs just a different head. (I hope that's the case and bought a new plug).

      The wiring for the sensor, is that sensor called the coolant temperature sensor? I bought a new one because I heard those fail quite often. What's the replacement difficulty like?

      I'll definitely look into the wiring as well and get that fuel system cleaned out.

      Thanks for all your help

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    6. Member bluetoes591's Avatar
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      08-26-2020 12:21 PM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by NotAGinger View Post
      Hey bluetoes591!

      Perfect, I actually just came across those exhausts and I'll probably get the alum. MagnaFlow TT pipe. Do you think Borla or Magnaflow sounds better?

      So during my shopping search, I did come across the drain plug, and it's the same specs just a different head. (I hope that's the case and bought a new plug).

      The wiring for the sensor, is that sensor called the coolant temperature sensor? I bought a new one because I heard those fail quite often. What's the replacement difficulty like?

      I'll definitely look into the wiring as well and get that fuel system cleaned out.

      Thanks for all your help
      Definitely the Magnaflow in my opinion, but plenty of people will say the opposite.

      The sensor commonly called the coolant temperature sensor is the the one that the computer uses to read the temperature, which is the one on the bottom of the coolant flange. But the one the gauge uses can also be called that. It also fails. https://www.autohausaz.com/pn/01939

      Since you've already replaced the coolant, rather than draining it again, you can replace the sensors, without draining the coolant if you're fast with your fingers. Literally just unscrew it and be prepared to screw the new one right in. The one thing you do need to watch out for is getting air bubbles in the coolant flange. Anytime you've drained your coolant (or if you've just replaced the sensor on the bottom of the flange) you want to crack the brown sensor on the top loose until coolant comes out. Otherwise that's an air bubble that's unlikely to go away on its own.

    7. Semi-n00b
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      09-05-2020 09:45 PM #5
      Hey bluetoes,

      I have great news and bad news. I got the new TT Magnaflow exhaust and sounds infinitely better. I dropped the fuel tank and it was so rusted I was surprised it was still running! I cleaned it out and replaced the transfer pump and fuel filter. Everythings back together and it runs way smoother and starts like new. Unfortunately, the fuel gauge stopped working... (I think I snapped something in the sending unit circuit )

      However, the red light will still blink occasionally. The timing of the light coming on isn't the same, but I think it comes on more often when the engine is hot. I did replace that sensor you were talking about, no change, but didn't bleed the system! So I'll do that tomorrow oops. The coolant gauge always stays cold though so that might be a hint as well. I drove it a good 10 miles and nothing seemed off except for the light. Let me know what you think.

      Also speedo isn't working, is it common just for the speedo cable to become disconnected behind the cluster? EDIT: going to be replacing the audio system so will hopefully find out when I remove the cluster!

      Looking forward to hearing back from you!
      Last edited by NotAGinger; 09-05-2020 at 09:57 PM.

    8. Member reddfoxx's Avatar
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      09-06-2020 09:35 PM #6
      The speedos are a weak point. Failing, bouncing around, being wildly off. I've had the coolant light blinking issue on a couple; some blinked almost all the time, even after sensors, etc., replaced.
      Not red, not blue- red, white, and blue

    9. Semi-n00b
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      09-06-2020 09:57 PM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by reddfoxx View Post
      The speedos are a weak point. Failing, bouncing around, being wildly off. I've had the coolant light blinking issue on a couple; some blinked almost all the time, even after sensors, etc., replaced.
      Okay, so I guess I need to just deal with the light. Interesting.

      Definitely good to know that the speedos are a weak point. Any recommended repair?

    10. Member reddfoxx's Avatar
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      09-07-2020 10:18 AM #8
      New speedo I sold my last couple, sorry. There might be some out there. I remember people have put in Golf/Jetta units, but it is not a straight swap.
      Not red, not blue- red, white, and blue

    11. Semi-n00b
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      09-08-2020 01:05 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by reddfoxx View Post
      New speedo I sold my last couple, sorry. There might be some out there. I remember people have put in Golf/Jetta units, but it is not a straight swap.
      What do you mean new speedo, like grab a new cluster on the dash? Or like new cable/sensor at the wheel/trans (idk where it is)

      Also, I'm very tempted to swap in an Audi 4000 5-spd; which clutch do I use, and do I need a new flywheel/adapter?

      Thanks again for all your advice it's greatly appreciated.

    12. Member bluetoes591's Avatar
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      09-08-2020 04:41 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by NotAGinger View Post
      What do you mean new speedo, like grab a new cluster on the dash? Or like new cable/sensor at the wheel/trans (idk where it is)

      Also, I'm very tempted to swap in an Audi 4000 5-spd; which clutch do I use, and do I need a new flywheel/adapter?

      Thanks again for all your advice it's greatly appreciated.
      There are two things that happen with the speedometers. The cable gets all janky, particularly they tend to get kinked in the process of installing or removing the gauge cluster, which of course happens periodically to replace the lamps. Or the plastic clip that holds them to the back of the cluster can break as well, but in my experience the cable usually stays in place and works anyway. Okay, three things, the third is the mechanism of the actual gauge gets gunky. The speedometer is spun by magnetic force. Stuff in the mechanism creates more friction, which changes the action of the magnet. It is possible to take it apart and clean it, but it is very tricky to do without breaking stuff. I experimented on a spare before attempting it on the one I wanted to fix. If removing the cluster, it is a good practise to make yourself some excess cable by manipulating the location of the cable (and perhaps disconnecting it from the trans, although this is fraught with problems too as the plastic screw mechanism is very fragile on a 30+ year old cable) so that you can push some of it through the firewall toward the gauge cluster.

      You need a 5-speed specifically from a 4-cylinder Audi 4000. They use the same clutch, flywheel, engine bolt pattern. One designed for a 5-cylinder car will not work.

      Quote Originally Posted by NotAGinger
      Unfortunately, the fuel gauge stopped working... (I think I snapped something in the sending unit circuit )
      The fuel sending unit is a little bit delicate, but usually fixable. I took some photos of the things to look for, but it seems I haven't yet uploaded them. I'll get back to you on that.

      Quote Originally Posted by NotAGinger
      However, the red light will still blink occasionally. The timing of the light coming on isn't the same, but I think it comes on more often when the engine is hot. I did replace that sensor you were talking about, no change, but didn't bleed the system! So I'll do that tomorrow oops. The coolant gauge always stays cold though so that might be a hint as well. I drove it a good 10 miles and nothing seemed off except for the light.
      It's possible your cluster is funky. I'd also look very carefully at the wire leading to the sensor, it is commonly corroded or broken or makes poor contact with the sensor connection, etc.

    13. Semi-n00b
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      09-08-2020 04:56 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by bluetoes591 View Post
      There are two things that happen with the speedometers. The cable gets all janky, particularly they tend to get kinked in the process of installing or removing the gauge cluster, which of course happens periodically to replace the lamps. Or the plastic clip that holds them to the back of the cluster can break as well, but in my experience the cable usually stays in place and works anyway. Okay, three things, the third is the mechanism of the actual gauge gets gunky. The speedometer is spun by magnetic force. Stuff in the mechanism creates more friction, which changes the action of the magnet. It is possible to take it apart and clean it, but it is very tricky to do without breaking stuff. I experimented on a spare before attempting it on the one I wanted to fix. If removing the cluster, it is a good practise to make yourself some excess cable by manipulating the location of the cable (and perhaps disconnecting it from the trans, although this is fraught with problems too as the plastic screw mechanism is very fragile on a 30+ year old cable) so that you can push some of it through the firewall toward the gauge cluster.

      You need a 5-speed specifically from a 4-cylinder Audi 4000. They use the same clutch, flywheel, engine bolt pattern. One designed for a 5-cylinder car will not work.


      The fuel sending unit is a little bit delicate, but usually fixable. I took some photos of the things to look for, but it seems I haven't yet uploaded them. I'll get back to you on that.


      It's possible your cluster is funky. I'd also look very carefully at the wire leading to the sensor, it is commonly corroded or broken or makes poor contact with the sensor connection, etc.


      1. Awesome, I'll definitely be looking into that, probably when the clutch finally gives.

      2. If you have photos explaining how to fix the sending unit, that would be tremendous as I haven't been able to find anything alike online.

      3. At this rate, I wouldn't mind changing clusters except I have the tachometer which does not seem to be widely available online; only ones with the clock. Are the Jetta and Golf cluster bolt-in, or do they require some modification?

      4. I did order a new speedo cable so at least that's one thing crossed off, the Bentley manual says it's not too hard of a repair. Let me know what you think about the cluster as that's what I'll be looking into next!

    14. Member reddfoxx's Avatar
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      09-10-2020 10:17 AM #12
      Clusters from Golf/Jetta need some modification, from what I've seen. If you find a Fox one, since you already have a tach cluster you can just swap in a working speedo. Pretty straightforward.
      Not red, not blue- red, white, and blue

    15. Member bluetoes591's Avatar
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      09-16-2020 12:29 PM #13
      A Golf/Jetta cluster has the wires in a different order and I think a physically different connector, so you have to make some changes there. The speedometer/odometer is also geared differently so can't be used.

    16. Semi-n00b
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      09-16-2020 08:07 PM #14
      Hey bluetoes and redfoxx,

      Again wanted to say thanks so much for your advice. The Fox is now running pretty well, speedo is fixed. (You were right just the cable came loose, the clip was still there!) Sprayed some contact cleaner on the clsuter and gave it a good wipe, and the red flashing light has completely disappeared!

      Belts are all back on and finally got the oil drain plug out! Now pretty much all the fluids have been flushed.

      @Bluetoes, any chance you have those photos to fix the fuel sending unit? Still paranoid that I'm gonna run out of gas every hundred miles lol

      Still am confused an some things:
      - The inline pump is still loud, but now will kick on and off now instead of being on constantly. Is this normal? or is it a sign of it going bad because the in tank pump is brand new and (I think) is working fine.
      -For some reason the rear right indicator socket is giving me trouble. Brand new bulbs, definitely some rust on the terminal, but makes the connection no problem when I put the meter on it. However, I can't get that bulb to work. Any ideas?
      -Gonna be gearing up to do the 5-spd swap and replacing the clutch while I'm down there, I think I'm just gonna go with the Audi 4000 trans as it seems to be the most abundant. Anything to look out for? Also are there any other clutches apart from the Sachs clutch/is there a whole set where I can get a new pressure plate and bearing?
      -I replaced the lights in the cluster when I had it apart, but I still cant get them to turn on. Any reason why that might be? The digital clock turns on and the radio and AC unit lights up too, but not the gauges. Did I perhaps miss a few when I was replacing them, only found slots for 3 of them.

    17. Member reddfoxx's Avatar
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      09-17-2020 11:18 AM #15
      Good to hear!

      I remember maybe 5 lights, but it's been awhile.

      The pump is always loud, in that it's very noticeable. It's all relative, of course. How loud we talkin'?
      Not red, not blue- red, white, and blue

    18. Semi-n00b
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      09-17-2020 12:43 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by reddfoxx View Post
      Good to hear!

      I remember maybe 5 lights, but it's been awhile.

      The pump is always loud, in that it's very noticeable. It's all relative, of course. How loud we talkin'?
      I can hear it when I stand next to the p/s rear door. It's like a low-key buzzing sound so maybe that's just the pump then and a relief for now. There was a used one on ebay for 10 bucks which I figured grab one in case this one conks out. New looks like they're over 300 bucks. Let me know if that's worth the investment.

      Are the additional two lights in the gauge panels by any chance? Would make sense since that what doesn't line up.

      @bluetoes, apparently since I'm missing both the temp gauge and the fuel gauge, I was reading that might be due to the voltage regulator. Cheaper and probably easier troubleshooting first so I ordered one and will let you know how that goes.

    19. Member bluetoes591's Avatar
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      09-17-2020 02:30 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by NotAGinger View Post
      @Bluetoes, any chance you have those photos to fix the fuel sending unit? Still paranoid that I'm gonna run out of gas every hundred miles lol

      Still am confused an some things:
      - The inline pump is still loud, but now will kick on and off now instead of being on constantly. Is this normal? or is it a sign of it going bad because the in tank pump is brand new and (I think) is working fine.
      -For some reason the rear right indicator socket is giving me trouble. Brand new bulbs, definitely some rust on the terminal, but makes the connection no problem when I put the meter on it. However, I can't get that bulb to work. Any ideas?
      -Gonna be gearing up to do the 5-spd swap and replacing the clutch while I'm down there, I think I'm just gonna go with the Audi 4000 trans as it seems to be the most abundant. Anything to look out for? Also are there any other clutches apart from the Sachs clutch/is there a whole set where I can get a new pressure plate and bearing?
      -I replaced the lights in the cluster when I had it apart, but I still cant get them to turn on. Any reason why that might be? The digital clock turns on and the radio and AC unit lights up too, but not the gauges. Did I perhaps miss a few when I was replacing them, only found slots for 3 of them.
      Sorry, thought I'd posted these. https://www.flickr.com/photos/152596...57715898562552 If both your temperature and your fuel gauge don't work, that's almost guaranteed to be your voltage regulator and that's very common at this point in the car's lifespan.

      Inline pump shouldn't be changing sound at all. If it's louder than "I can hear it at idle from the drivers seat" it's probably a problem.

      Regarding the bulb socket, I'd take something abrasive like a scotchbright pad and do some cleaning up in there.

      The Fox 5-speed, the PSA is by far the most abundant. Audi 2N is the same gearing, but I've literally never seen one for sale. Coming up with the more desirable close ratio 2P from an Audi 4000 can take years. Same for the 9Q from a Quantum diesel. Sachs is by far the most common clutch at this point. Can be purchased as a kit. The OEM one is Valeo, which you can still find in kit form and a separate pieces. Luk is probably still an option, or Exedy. Southbend can sell you an HD clutch. Various other companies that I know nothing about also make kits, they're all over eBay.

      There are only three cluster lights. One over the speedometer, one over the tach, and one behind the digital clock. The lights are very fussy, and some of the ones on the market today don't play nice. You may need to go back in there and fiddle with the metal contacts. They are meant to press against the circuit board for power, but between the wear and tear on the circuit board and the finicky contacts on the lamps, that doesn't always work first time out. Also if the new ones are LED, they'll only work when installed one of the two possible ways.

    20. Semi-n00b
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      09-18-2020 10:03 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by bluetoes591 View Post
      Sorry, thought I'd posted these. https://www.flickr.com/photos/152596...57715898562552 If both your temperature and your fuel gauge don't work, that's almost guaranteed to be your voltage regulator and that's very common at this point in the car's lifespan.

      Inline pump shouldn't be changing sound at all. If it's louder than "I can hear it at idle from the drivers seat" it's probably a problem.

      Regarding the bulb socket, I'd take something abrasive like a scotchbright pad and do some cleaning up in there.

      The Fox 5-speed, the PSA is by far the most abundant. Audi 2N is the same gearing, but I've literally never seen one for sale. Coming up with the more desirable close ratio 2P from an Audi 4000 can take years. Same for the 9Q from a Quantum diesel. Sachs is by far the most common clutch at this point. Can be purchased as a kit. The OEM one is Valeo, which you can still find in kit form and a separate pieces. Luk is probably still an option, or Exedy. Southbend can sell you an HD clutch. Various other companies that I know nothing about also make kits, they're all over eBay.

      There are only three cluster lights. One over the speedometer, one over the tach, and one behind the digital clock. The lights are very fussy, and some of the ones on the market today don't play nice. You may need to go back in there and fiddle with the metal contacts. They are meant to press against the circuit board for power, but between the wear and tear on the circuit board and the finicky contacts on the lamps, that doesn't always work first time out. Also if the new ones are LED, they'll only work when installed one of the two possible ways.

      Okay thank you that's super helpful.
      The voltage regulator is definitely worn, waiting for a new one in the mail. I had a new one arrive, but when I put it in one of the metal rods snapped and fell in the alternator... (it was a meyle and i changed it for a bosch one) I hope it just fell through as I cant see it at all but could that be the reason why its running rough again with the old one?

      I put the old one back in and now the engine is running all rough, I hope the new one will fix that.
      I don't think I can even hear the inline pump from the driver's seat, so I'm not worried at the moment.

      I did get the indicator socket cleaned up and the bulb now works! but still flashes fast as if somethings wrong with the circuit, maybe the voltage regulator is the reason?

    21. Member bluetoes591's Avatar
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      09-19-2020 01:37 AM #19
      The voltage regulator being referred to in the case is actually on the back of the gauge cluster. It steps the car's voltage down to I think it's 5 volts or 8 volts or something for the gauges. Pretty sure this is the right one, all the gauge clusters in all of those ars were made by VDO like the ones in Foxes. https://www.ebay.com/itm/251190890767 Not to hard to find. Part# 171.919.803
      Last edited by bluetoes591; Yesterday at 01:06 PM.

    22. Semi-n00b
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      09-19-2020 10:13 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by bluetoes591 View Post
      The voltage regulator being referred to in the case is actually on the back of the gauge cluster. It steps the car's voltage down to I think it's 5 volts or 8 volts or something for the gauges. Pretty sure this is the right one, all the gauges clusters in all of those ars were made by VDO like the ones in Foxes. https://www.ebay.com/itm/251190890767 Not to hard to find. Part# 171.919.803
      Ha! That's annoying, well I think the one in the alternator needs replacing as well, so not as upset. Part is ordered and will let you know.

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