Winter has arrived here and we are getting prepared to hunker down for the winter. This is typically the time when the automotive tinkering slows drastically and the outside time with the family increases. The tools get tucked away and the toys come out! We have a couple of pretty sweet long term projects in the shop, so we will update periodically.
Luckily, before the snow came down in feet, we got one of our long term projects into the shop for its final phase of the build. This 1975 VW Rabbit spent some time at our friends JRM Fabrication getting a turbo setup built. There are a few loose ends to tie up with the new turbo system, and we are going to be tackling the entire electrical system and fuel management. This is going to be one bad bunny, so check in every once in a while to see how this build progresses.
Earlier this week at my “day job”, we had a customer in to get a new set of coilovers installed on his mk6 GTI. He was removing what looked like a decent set of WRD Street coilovers, so naturally I inquired as to his plans for the old suspension. I got the previously mention WRD coilovers for a song, and since the rear shocks were completely blown out on the suspension I got on the a3, I figured that this new setup would at the very least get me through the winter.
The old suspension was Koni FSD shocks coupled with Eibach lowering springs. When it was fresh, it probably rode pretty nicely, however with two blown out rear shocks and very worn front ones, it rode terribly and nearly bounced me off the highway!
These bolts were a huge pain to get out, as you can see they had a substantial amount of rust built up on the threads that were in the knuckle. A lot of PB Blaster, a couple dozen whacks with a hammer and both were finally out. These two bolts accounted for nearly an hour of the whole suspension install, which in total took about 2.5 hrs all said and done.
Before and after of refurbishing the threads on the new coilovers. I didn’t ask how long the PO had the coilovers on the car, but they seemed to hold up reasonably well. Corrosion on the threads was minimal, although there is some corrosion starting to poke out of the shock body. Will have to keep an eye on them so they don’t get too bad through the winter. I removed the spring collars from both shocks, used a wire brush to clean the big dirt and gunk off, then used generous amounts of anti seize on the threaded collars, and sprayed the threads down with penetrating oil to serve as lubricant and rust prevention.
Here is a shot of the rear suspension, that for the most part, got the same treatment
Here is a shot of the car on the old suspension, I’ll update once I get the final height adjustments done.
Pushed the car out of the garage for, hopefully, the last time today. IÂ borrowed a pressure washer from a friend and got the car out and dragged the transmission out into the open. A can of engine degreaser and the engine bay and trans are looking drastically better.
Got back to work on the engine assembly, at last post, I had installed the cams and had the tbelt on. Well those turned out to just be test fits, I forgot to install the cam chain tensioner when I put the cams in last weekend. So today, I got to un-install the cams and tbelt, install the tensioner, then re-install the cams and timing belt. While the tbelt was off, I removed the crank pulley and replaced the front main seal while I was there. Cams back in, timing set, tensioner cover reinstalled let me get the tbelt side of the engine almos completely finished!
The list is getting shorter after hammering through a bunch of the details. Found a couple gaskets and orings I still need to replace, so ill order some more parts this week and keep ticking things off. My bolt kit for the cam girdle said 23, but there was only 22 in the pack. Once I get that bolt I can do the final torque on the cam girdle and install the cam cover. With those things finished, I still need to flip the engine over and time the balance shafts. When I was assembling the bottom end, I got to the balance shaft timing and found that the timing mark on the sprocket to time the shafts isn’t there! We will see how that goes in a couple a days…
Few more photos from the build this weekend:
New catless dp, with stainless vibrant resonator, hooks up to stock rear section for deep stock ish sound levels
Ran into an issue with the ARP cam girdle bolts, they sit higher than the sealing surface of the valve cover 🙁
Going to ditch the over complicated tension setup from the FSI, and swap on an old school 16v timing belt and tensioner
We haven’t really introduced this project yet, but mine as well start when the car is coming back together. This way, updates come fast and progress seems to blast along at a nice pace. Here are some photos of the engine rebuild, will post more details later.
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