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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Greetings. Picked up an 84 GTI a few months back (Sep. 2020) on auction. Car had spent its entire life in the San Fran Bay area before being purchased and transported east to its new home. Car presents well, appears solid, but needs quite a bit of TLC to get it to where I'd like it.

First experience...car arrived with what appeared to be very little fuel in the tank...so, after getting all the paper work, etc. squared away, my son and I took a relatively short trip to the gas station. All seemed good, with the exception of the coolant gauge approaching the first of the two red ticks. As excited as we were to be experiencing the maiden voyage...I told my son there's a good chance we're parking this car and walking home. My son gave me that look...huh, you just bought this car. Yup, and I paid too much for it too...go figure!

Well we made it home, the temp indicator had backed off slightly but it was clear what task #1 would be...investigate and fix whatever is going on with the coolant system.

Fortunately the car came with a copy of both Bentley and Sealey manuals...so it was time to read, learn and do. I ended up following Sealey...check coolant level, hoses, v-belt, fan, water pump, etc. Turned out my thermostat was bad but I took the opportunity to check my pump, radiator, flush the system and change all my hoses (with the exception of the two heater hoses). And although I raised an eyebrow when told to check both the existing and replacement thermostats in cold and hot water...that was by far the best practical advice given.

Semi-related question. Does anyone know the proper length of the v-belt used to spin water pump and alternator on an A/C version? Mine works but locates the alternator where it has very little adjustment in the loosening direction.

Thanks,
JAG71

 

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Check Timbo's Tech Notes for info on which v-belt you need.
 

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Bentley should state the correct length too. Otherwise measure your existing belt and get one that is 5mm shorter.

Is this the family-owned rabbit that was offered on BAT? It seemed clean I’m hopeful that any issues you encounter are the result of deferred maintenance that can quickly be remedied. Did you check for right-turn starvation before you filled the tank?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Check Timbo's Tech Notes for info on which v-belt you need.
Thanks. Technotes gives 850mm as length, which matches existing. Now I just need to figure out why my supporting bracket doesn't allow alternator to pivot in the 'to loosen' direction.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Bentley should state the correct length too. Otherwise measure your existing belt and get one that is 5mm shorter.

Is this the family-owned rabbit that was offered on BAT? It seemed clean I’m hopeful that any issues you encounter are the result of deferred maintenance that can quickly be remedied. Did you check for right-turn starvation before you filled the tank?
Thanks. This is the family-owned rabbit that was offered on BaT. It needs work but I'm hoping it can be done at my pace. And right-turn fuel starvation still needs to be checked.
 

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Thanks. This is the family-owned rabbit that was offered on BaT. It needs work but I'm hoping it can be done at my pace. And right-turn fuel starvation still needs to be checked.
Does this have the alternator over the AC compressor, or under. If it is under then you might want to Take the alternator and loosen the pivot bolt once the pivot bolt is loosened then Take a long screw-driver and Smack the Alternator lower pivot mounting point towards the passenger fender. A couple of good smack back the Busing out to allow the alternator to pivot easier when you tighten the belt.



The Screw driver positioned to smack.

 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Does this have the alternator over the AC compressor, or under. If it is under then you might want to Take the alternator and loosen the pivot bolt once the pivot bolt is loosened then Take a long screw-driver and Smack the Alternator lower pivot mounting point towards the passenger fender. A couple of good smack back the Busing out to allow the alternator to pivot easier when you tighten the belt.



The Screw driver positioned to smack.

Alternator is under the A/C compressor. I did loosen the pivot bolt enough to where I thought the alternator would rotate. Toward engine it seemed to bottom out on its bracket, away from engine I was just fighting belt tension. Access isn't as straight forward as your photos. Maybe the attached photos offer clarification. Thanks.

 

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Discussion Starter #8
The car came with one key (non original key). The key worked fine in the ignition and drivers door. The key did not work in the hatch or passenger door. As it turns out, all my lock locations share the same key code, which is good...and the code matches up with my cylinder wafer numbers, which is also good. However, when I put the key into the cylinders, the cylinder wafers don't all retract flush with the cylinder housing. This is apparently tolerated by the driver door and ignition because they've seen the most action...in other words, there's enough wear or slop in the cylinder housing bores to accommodate the protruding wafers. Since the passenger door and hatch are less used or less worn...they weren't as tolerant.

I worked with Mark1Service down in MD...very helpful. They cut me a non-emblem key to code and voila, all locations functional. I then had an emblem key made to make things official...what's better than an emblem key.


If you decide to take apart any of your locks to expose the cylinders...keep in mind that there's a little plastic washer on the inside face of the cylinder head that will likely disintegrate upon disassembly...be sure to order some new ones beforehand. Attached photos show my washer turned to tiny black fragments and less than ideal location of wafers with original key inserted.
 

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...keep in mind that there's a little plastic washer on the inside face of the cylinder head that will likely disintegrate upon disassembly...be sure to order some new ones beforehand.

Did you find a place to order these? I looked a couple years back, and it seems they’re extinct. I ended up using an o-ring.

-Todd
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Did you find a place to order these? I looked a couple years back, and it seems they’re extinct. I ended up using an o-ring.

-Todd
Order history shows I went through Jim Ellis VW and purchased p/n 1H0837227. The washer does not come up as a match for an 84 Rabbit GTI but it does align with a 94 Cabrio, which seemed really similar. I took a chance and it worked out.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The car came with a front bumper that was...well...slightly askew. I was aware of the condition beforehand, had discussed it with the seller but wasn't sure what would need correcting. I ended up purchasing a set of replacement brackets (although it turned out the original ones remained in reasonably good condition/shape), replacement bumper guards and some bits and pieces missing at the end caps. The bumper assembly was removed, brackets replaced (which for drivers side required removal or relocating of the radiator), bumper stripped and repainted, molding piece between car and bumper stripped and repainted and all items reassembled in proper alignment. Some may look at the before and after and only see new bumper guards...shame.

Before:



After:

 

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Discussion Starter #13
Original dash speakers were shot and I was curious if the radio still worked. My selection was focused on finding something that fit without modifications and not so much quality of sound. After trying a few different brands/models, I ended up with the following:

KENWOOD (excelon) KFC-X3C

Snug but no modifications required. Radio still works but bringing the cassette back to life may be a challenge.

 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Original headliner was being held up in places by thumb tacks. They were mostly blue ones...nice touch. It was so frail, if you looked at it headliner dust would come off it.



Headliner was removed (main and sunroof) for installation of new headliner material. C-pillars were stripped and cleaned for installation of same.



Installation of main headliner is next.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Main headliner prepped for installation. Note fabric extensions at sunroof, B-pillars and hatch area (out of view).



Sunroof headliner completed for installation. Wish I could take credit for this work but it was done by a professional. Note stitched fabric reinforcement near center that wraps around frame support.

 

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You could have done this yourself, if you wanted to. It’s not a terrible job, and I’ve done many.

I’ve never stitched the sunroof panel, though. Spray adhesive always held it, but it’s definitely a nice detail.

-Todd
 

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The car came with a front bumper that was...well...slightly askew. I was aware of the condition beforehand, had discussed it with the seller but wasn't sure what would need correcting. I ended up purchasing a set of replacement brackets (although it turned out the original ones remained in reasonably good condition/shape), replacement bumper guards and some bits and pieces missing at the end caps. The bumper assembly was removed, brackets replaced (which for drivers side required removal or relocating of the radiator), bumper stripped and repainted, molding piece between car and bumper stripped and repainted and all items reassembled in proper alignment. Some may look at the before and after and only see new bumper guards...shame.

Before:

View attachment 65554

After:

View attachment 65555 View attachment 65556
Nice job!
 

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You could have done this yourself, if you wanted to. It’s not a terrible job, and I’ve done many.

I’ve never stitched the sunroof panel, though. Spray adhesive always held it, but it’s definitely a nice detail.

-Todd
I repaired my headliner where it meets the rear hatch using 3M Super 77 which held great for about a year then came loose again. Same thing on another project. Is there a better consumer product available that you would recommend for this type of work?
 
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