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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I took a few pictures of this cars progress since I've had it, figured I'd make a thread of the story so far that I could update. I'll try to keep everything in order and split this up into multiple posts for readability.

The title for my car says it was issued 07/20/13, so that means in about a week I've had it for 2 years. Most of that time it's been sitting.

This is the earliest picture I have of the car in my possession, and the worst quality: 08/25/13, the state of the car when I got it. 13 inch steels. Undiagnosed brake issue where the pedal went to the floor. 1.7l recently refreshed engine, previously auto and switched to a 4-speed.



This car was the result of a straight trade for a 16v MK2 gti. The MK2 had cold start issues, and I wasn't a huge fan of the car in general, so I felt this was a good trade on my part. This was the MK2 (an 87 IIRC, originally a small bumper car):



This is the only picture I found of the 1.7, just after I got it running (it only needed a battery)



Next was track down brake issue, turned out to be the rear drivers side wheel cylinder. Easy fix and the car was a driver.

The fun starts in my next post.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
At this point I believe I got lucky. A friend of mine had purchased a Rabbit "parts car" which upon arrival we quickly decided was way too nice to be a parts car. It included a 16v set up for carbs. The car was sold to another friend who abandoned the project and decided to part the car.

This allowed me to get my hands on a bunch of nice parts.

Original interior:



GTI wheel, proper center w/gauges



Seats:



More interior shots/carpet for rear (I don't think there was any before):



I swapped the top halves of the seats because the passenger side was nicer, and it's a 4 door so I don't need to flip the seats forward:







Yes that's a perfect parcel shelf, I forget if it was OG or came with the GTI stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I also snatched exterior parts.

Car came with this aftermarket locking fuel cap. GTI had a proper cap:





GTI also had these nice colored snowflakes:



And a perfect GTI grille:



I lied earlier there's another engine shot. PO pulled the engine, replaced seals I believe, painted the bay and some engine parts.



Also got taillights since mine weren't in the best shape:



 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
We're about 2 months into me owning the car at this point, September 2013 , a week before H2O

Now that the exterior started to come together I decided to grab some plastic euro bumpers and a small duckbill to cover up the ugliness in the front, and get it inspected so I can take it to OCMD the next weekend:



Oh yea you can't go to H2O at stock height right?

Used H&R Ultra Low 2's for the rear because they were cheap, ST fronts:





Seemed strange that the top nut was all the way up when I got the H&R's. Maybe this is why they were so cheap :mad: :



That wasn't a fun day. Re-threading used suspension a few days before leaving for H2O, but it worked. Not that I could really go that low with the giant tires.



 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The car never made it to H2O. The day before I was in the garage just checking things out letting the car get up to temp and poking around when a coolant leak presented itself and shot coolant out near the head, soaking the distributor.

I was able to cut the coolant hose and re-attach it, but when I went to leave the car was no longer running correctly, misfiring badly under load. To this day I have no idea what happened, we tried multiple distributors and other ignition components that night nothing helped. I ended up taking my daily Jetta to H2O:



It was right about this time that I decided to get an ABA for the rabbit. I had the engine 2 weeks later, it was meant for a turbo project into a MK1 Jetta that wasn't going to be completed:



This is when the getting **** done stopped and the dicking around started. I began cleaning up the engine/painting and generally getting it ready for the swap and buying parts. It was also getting to be winter in PA and I had no motivation to work in the garage.

Fast forward to June 30th 2014, I finally pulled the Rabbit into my friends garage where I would rent half "for a few months" to do the swap.



I pulled the engine and put it on the sidewalk for scrap, it was gone in a few hours.

You can see in the engine bay that there was a plastic battery tray, the original was all but gone, what was left was acting as a base for this plastic tray. Also I had swapped in MK3 battery cables.

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I didn't get a whole lot done for a while after this. It was summer and I think I just partied mostly. This part is about other cars.

August 1st 2014 my daily got totaled by someone pulling out of a parallel parking spot into the side of my car a few blocks from my house. You can see the original memory red paint under the nice pearl white paint job this car had:



I found a set of wheels that for some reason I loved, and bought them despite my car just being totaled. Drove the totaled Jetta to pick them up (I didn't know it was going to be totaled at this point, wishful thinking). Enter the Momo Extremes:



Once the Jetta was totaled, I found a new daily. An already ABA swapped, complete CE2 84 Rabbit/GTI:



It has G60 brakes and ratty RAs that still hit the caliper sometimes, so I ordered tires for the Momo's and re-painted them (that overspray is on the old tires, new tires 165/50/15):





Getting the 2 door made me want to finish the 4 door, but not enough to actually do anything about it. The interior of the 2 door is trash compared to the 4 door: no headliner, trim missing, carpeting missing. Also the rockers are jacked up and there was always the underlying feeling that since the swap was done by someone else and they tucked wires I'd never be able to track down any issues. I daily drove the 2 door all through winter:



Back to the 4 door in the next post, I promise
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The 2 door treated me well, but I kept thinking about how I wanted to finish the 4 door, just never finding the motivation for it.

My motivation came in early March of this year when I decided to move to Arizona at the end of June. This gave me about 3.5 months to finish the swap.

March and April came and went and I still didn't get to the garage. :facepalm:

May came and I got hit by a minivan while riding my bicycle home from breakfast one Sunday morning. I landed on my right wrist and couldn't turn a wrench til about May 20th.

I finally go back to the garage with about a month left to finish the car (which I planned on driving from PA to AZ). I find out that I'm missing the #4 cam cap, and the cam that came with the engine is for an old head and wouldn't work even if I did have the cap. The head is basically useless unless I run 3 caps. Not the best time for setbacks.

It's right about this time that I get in gear for crunch time. The plan is to use the "piggy-back" method using both the original fuse block to run the lights/interior and a CE2 fuse block for the engine. I'm also using a BMW battery cable to relocate the battery to the rear.

I source an OBD1 head with cam. My friend that I share the garage with comes over and puts the head on the block while I'm laying the battery cable. I start getting the engine back together and install the rad/fan on June 4th.





 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
June 7th

Get engine ready to be mated to trans and installed.

Clutch alignment tool is broken. No time for that now, 13mm socket to the rescue :thumbup:





Set engine to TDC without timing belt cover marks and without trans installed, install timing belt. Install waterpump pulley. Add ground connections for wires cut when harness was pulled. Bolt things to the head.





Distributor cap, upper intake manifold, throttle body, pcv pipe.



Step the engine around your friends Jetta to the front of Rabbit and attach trans. Find out if you were right about TDC for the crank without any marks to go by (I was :thumbup:)



I also realized I needed a new upper hood latch (the part on the hood). Found a seller with new ones on the Samba and ordered one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
June 9th

Attempt to install accelerator pedal bushing for where the throttle cable attaches. MK2s come with a plastic alternative to what MK1s used which is apparently the eraser from the first pencil ever made.

It doesn't fit. The OEM one doesn't even fit. I assume because this car started life as an automatic?

Left is stock, middle is MK2 plastic, right is a a bolt that the threads just barely fit through the hole the first two are supposed to go through.



I end up with a dremeled/zip tied version of the MK2 bushing.

June 11th my mother comes to town and we embark on a project to clear out an old storage unit she has. I don't have much time to work on the car.

June 15th I realize my plan to use the engine wiring harness in it's stock form is not going to work. Pull it apart, start figuring out what to do with it.

June 16th cut many un-needed wires and plugs out of the harness. Lengthen the signal wire from the ecu to to the coil plug so it can be ran comfortably in the bay.



June 17 Lay the engine wiring:



Install fuel filter, get the car in the air and slide the engine into the bay.

 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
June 18th mount the engine by myself from the floor :) :thumbup:



June 19th axles installed, old exhaust removed, exhaust header installed, rear motor mount bolted:



June 20th junkyard for a couple of the CE2 fuse block plugs I didn't have, starter, and starter bolts. Of course there are other MK1 drivers there.



June 21st started it. Wasn't getting spark at first. Swapped ECU for one that has been sitting on the floor of my daily for months and it fired right up.

June 23rd complete coolant line setup with haggard heater core bypass (There was no blower motor, and the original heater core line crumbled when I touched it):



Installed serp belt and drove it around the block. Crank pulley hadn't been bolted on since I got the engine. Luckily it waited to fly off til I was parked back in the garage



Bolt in crank pulley, reinstall serp belt, Temporary solution to keep intake in place.

 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Got the CE2 fuse block behind the dash. The battery cable is just laid over the carpet for now, do something with it when I have to pull carpet for stereo wiring in the future.



I snapped a pic of the headliner because I feel like it's in real nice condition



The battery is just strapped down in the spare wheel well.

 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
June 25th Turns out I'm not driving the car to AZ, instead I'm renting a Penske truck and car trailer so I can take anything my mom wants to her (she lives in AZ). Pick up the truck and trailer and drop off at my house. Drive the car to the exhaust shop for custom exhaust, tires that had been sitting there for just a few days over a year (165/50/14s for the snowflakes), and inspection. Besides being very loud the car seemed slow on the way to the shop.

June 26th Pack all belongings into moving truck. Go to pick up the car. It was so slow because I never put the c-clip on the throttle cable to keep it in place. Set the throttle cable correctly at the shop and pull up next to 2 door 83, which is funny because the owner spotted me at Wawa in my other Rabbit a few days before and mentioned that he just dropped that car off.



June 27th Last minute purchase of Corrado Sebrings for the 2 door so I can take the Momo wheels to Arizona. Strap the 4 door to the trailer and park the 2 door with the Sebrings and fenders sitting on the tires. Possibly to be rescued at a future date ;)



June 28th depart PA for AZ.



June 30th arrive in AZ

July 1st Buy a jack (my old one got left in PA) dial the coils down (Ultra Lows do not ride nicely turned almost all the way up)

 

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OH I almost forgot.

After I got it driving in the beginning of the thread I instinctively shifted into 5th and found out that it actually had a 5-speed trans :laugh: . I think it's a MK3 trans but I forget the code.
I've driven that blue Rabbit before. It had it's time in Delaware county for a bit. Glad to see it still has the dent in the door.:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I've driven that blue Rabbit before. It had it's time in Delaware county for a bit. Glad to see it still has the dent in the door.:)
Fun car no doubt, not sure what's in the future for it. I thought the guy I bought it from was going to buy it back from me before I left but he never replied after I told him he could have it for what I bought it from him for.
 

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Fun car no doubt, not sure what's in the future for it. I thought the guy I bought it from was going to buy it back from me before I left but he never replied after I told him he could have it for what I bought it from him for.
I affectionately named it the "tooth chipper". I can find it a home if you don't feel like dragging it to AZ.;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I affectionately named it the "tooth chipper". I can find it a home if you don't feel like dragging it to AZ.;)
Oh I don't want to bring it out here, it's just tough to sell a car from across the country. It's sitting in my gmom's garage. I'd basically need to have a friend go there and raise the front end so it could move and have them facilitate the sale.
 
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