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209 Posts
Discussion Starter · #181 · (Edited)
Rear axle beam madness!

Well I did my best...
I filed off the end of the sheared bolt flat.
Using a center punch, I created a dent right in the middle of the freshly filed surface.
Using a 1/8 inch HSS cobalt drill bit, I drilled in almost all the way through the other side.
Then, using a 7/32 HSS cobalt drill bit, I drilled halfway in.
Then I hammered in an easy out, and tried to remove the remaining bolt chunk.

No chance! These metals have become one with another.
I had to carefully continue to drill until I could safely tap the threaded hole, in hopes of saving something.
I got to a perfect diameter, just right.
Then i realized the store was 100 km away and I have no running vehicle.
So, I dug up an old tap and die set that had no clear markings because it was so dirty.
I found one that fit the threads of the new 10mm 1.5 thread pitch.
Problem was, it was actually a 3/8 tap. I found out after.
A German engineer friend came over with a proper 10mm tap set and I tried but the damage was done.

The new threads fit the bolt but had about 10% holding power.
My German engineer friend who came to see me had a very good idea how to fix the problem.
I could drill right through the 62mm tubing in behind the stub axle mounting plate of the axle.
A strange washer would have to be created to make it work.

Well, I just kept thinking about the tire flying off the car, and didn't want to lose the handling I have worked so hard for.
So I called every auto wrecker in the province to find the correct axle for this car.
Not a single one had one with a rear anti-roll (sway) bar with the factory mounts.
Found three with no sway bar.
I assumed the GTI the engine and transmission came from was in a different configuration, so many body parts were different on it.
Also, I had talked to the place the GTI is stored at days before, he was warning me of its imminent end.
He was organizing a crush for all the old cars stored in the field, and its day was due.

The cars are being drained and stacked ready for the crusher to come and destroy it all!

When I got there to take a look and see if the GTI was around and if it had the correct rear axle, it was ALMOST too late.
The GTI was there, and it had the correct rear end with the sway bar and everything!
We cautiously removed the rear shocks and axle beam and carefully removed the bolts with an air impact gun.
The pivot bushings are in the same condition on both cars. On further inspection, they are still doing their job.
I am tempted to install the urethane bushings, but I am worried it will make more noise.

Everything came off without a hitch.

And there it is. It is going to need a wire wheel and some undercoating.
The hard brake lines on everything are wrecked. I am going to install new.

A bit of sandblasting before paint...
The drum back plate all the springs and shoes will be attached to later.

Undercoating after lots of wire wheel grinding and scraping and sanding...

209 Posts
Discussion Starter · #183 · (Edited)
Brake rebuild

Hello again Rabbit fans

Time to take off the old axle and put in the new
Getting the odd bits of rust that's the next big project to come, and there are some very interesting things ahead!
This has been sitting in the computer since last year or more so here it comes...

Got the car up on jackstands, the work all done and ready for install!

A very awesome tool allows the brakelines to bend without compromising their integrity, especially with a tight radius.
At first I tried to custom build the lines from long lengths of brakeline but the tool just does not make a nice enough mushroom.
The proper tool is very expensive and really to me was just not worth it. So i found premade straight lines with ends and fittings built in.

Here you can see the nice job it does!

So I basically just copied the existing, and it was relatively easy to manipulate the bends, even by hand for easy curves.

Where the hard lines meet soft lines, there is a coupling spring that holds it in place, since the axle moves, this must be flexible brake lines.

With the new axle bolted in, (it wasn't so bad except its upside down and you have to push it up into place and get washers/nuts in quick ask a friend for help)
I was ready to install the new emergency brake cables too, because when you have access like this, you take care of whatever is problematic.
My e-brake hasn't worked in years.

Special tools help things along with old cars, and this was a good purchase.

In order to get access to get the axle on and be able to couple the brake lines, this ended up being the final connection, and requires 3 hands.

It also required a length of spacing to reach, and was a tough connection, but sits in a good spot where the coupling cannot get harmed by random debris.
I think this is yet another good engineering feature.

I used brass couplings because some of the bending and routing is so very hard without them. I tightened them with just a drop of brake fluid,
between the mushroom and the nut.

(So the brake booster I put in was not correct in some way, there were issues of an accordian like sound and it sprang apart and popped on the first few runs.
That left me going back again to return it and get the correct replacement part, a whopping $500.)
But back when I was in the middle of the rebuild, I thought I had a good one, and was continuing to put it all together...
Where were we? Ah yes...

The master cylinder carefully slides onto the brake booster, with o ring at back...
Some of the routing had to be changed after this too...

See... The problem was the proportioning valves, these weird brass cylinders they use to make sure the hydraulics don't lock up the rear tires.
They actually get in the way of the master cylinder reservoir and prevent it from seating properly to the master cylinder o rings.

Funny little things them... They have these large o rings that make no sense to me around the outside of the barrel.

Anyway, we will get back to that later...

First, a new stub axle gets bolted onto the rebuilt axle, to accept new bearings and seals and drums and and and

Then the slave cylinder gets installed... This is the weak link in the system. I would love to invent a better part here. Gah.

209 Posts
Discussion Starter · #184 · (Edited)
Brake rebuild part 2

Now the drum brakes... This has to be the worst part of all, because it has to be done oftenish, and its hard. Finicky.
Springs snapping your fingers. Pinch points.
I have to re use the metal bracket that keeps the drums apart, and get the little springs in order. None are easy.

Not sure if you can see, but the screwdriver has a notch carved in the middle, and is a godsend in this process.
The spring tool was incorrect, but helped once or twice.

Step at a time... Breathe... Have patience...

I assembled both to ensure they were completely the same opposite mirrored units.
There is no way to explain how hard this was for me to do. How do people do this for a living?
I would be fired in one day if this was my job.

Finally on the car. Nightmare over.

So with a flat board and a hammer carefully insert seal into drum.
Its not so bad! The worst part is over!

The rest makes sense when the new stub axle is used to understand how the bearings and seals work.

Place the cap, hammer it on somehow without denting it terribly... I will see if I can find photos of the cotter pin wrap... My hands were greasy

Okay, remember the proportioning valve? It fits the front of the reservoir nicely.

In the back I had to route it like this to keep the seal, the proportioning valve lifted the reservoir when installed directly on master cylinder.

Front brakes must be addressed as well, with new calipers going on with new rotors...
I have just a couple of pics of the old coming off... But it really helps to see how it is set up!

With the caliper removed, the bracket stays on the hub assembly.

An inside view... Caliper off. Bolt is there just to see bolt type.

Well, here's a little sneak peek at whats coming... I mean besides bodywork and paint. I got another one, for backup. Will tear down soon...
Stay tuned. I plan to have good video and torque specs and every detail documented. 9A close ratio 020 transmission too!
And bodykit.... But that's later...

209 Posts
Discussion Starter · #186 · (Edited)
Time to repair some electrical!

Since I was last in here a lot has changed. This is the last big push to fully rebuild this car.
No more waiting for some random day in the future to fully overhaul this system and get the
gremlins out once and for all. I put up with substandard electrical performance all this time..
No more. My front high beam will not work and the low beam is at half voltage.
I have discovered why. There is a blue and white wire melted inside the main harness in the dash.
I now have the dash off and it's crazy in there. It's finally making sense!

So happy About the purchases I made at Super Bright LED. So many pictures coming.
For now, how about an amazing place to buy connectors!!!!! Terminals!!!!!!
If anyone knows where to get these in Canada or the states please post the link...


209 Posts
Discussion Starter · #187 · (Edited)
Major electrical work

So here we go!
It all started with a wire...

It had melted inside the wiring harness because of insufficient ground path... Just a theory.
Needless to say, this is just one of many electrical gremlins this car has had.
Do not get them wet. Do not feed after midnight!!!

I got a fix it order from the R.C.M.P. for a headlight and a tail light being out.
Perhaps starting at the headlight switch is a good idea!

Maybe it is the hazard flasher switch... It is buzzing instead of flashing.

Perhaps it is time to label everything and take it all off and really get down to it.

After undoing all the bolts on the side and bezel of the dash, the clips holding the back of the dash pop off.

Fair enough! I guess it's definitely time to get the little details running smoothly.
Driving an antique... Priceless.

The problem is clearly a single blue and white cluster, and the headlight switch wiring right into the plug.
It's a good thing I have a couple spare harnesses and some new spade plugs.
The switch on the right is being replaced by the new one on the left, with new spade plugs.

Even the old bulb can be replaced by the new one, an LED version in blue!!!

I am having major success thanks to this company who makes better possible. I like the quality.
I got six sets of the little blue lamps, and all turn signals and markers, really fun stuff.

In order to ensure safety, I took apart the entire dash and chased the melted wire to make sure everything works.
Making sure to inspect every single wire and connection for signs of damage.
I plan on rebuilding this wiring harness with a new fuse box, with brand new wires and plugs.
For now I need this car to be my daily driver like always.
It has been parked for a few months.

While the dash is out, I can install some new instrument panel bulbs... The old ones are getting dim.

Easy install with the dash already apart!!!!

So much more to come !!!! Some major awesome sauce!

209 Posts
Discussion Starter · #188 · (Edited)
This is the big problem, the lights in the front bumper are different than the side markers with different bulbs.
Definitely a major part of the problem here.

Someone had hard wired the light bulb into the socket because it was missing parts.
Soldered them right to the contacts and used hockey tape with some unknown mess inside.
This is some of the last work to do on the car. Except body work and interior! I have a plan...

But first I have to repair the connections. I have found the best conductivity with directly wrapping wire around each other and soldering it.
Then a jacket of heat shrink insulator wraps around it and seals it from weather.
I like to protect this further with conduit tubing and electrical tape wrap. I always try to use same or larger gauge wire.

Solder keeps it held tight, lead free silver solder rosin core.

Slide the insulator (placed on the wire before soldering) carefully over the exposed area and heat to shrink.

Back of the gauges is a cluster of wiring, and I am creating a new wire harness for them as well because I am using the new LED lighting for them.
Blue like everything else. I plan to rewire the gauges back to the headlight switch, so it all comes on at once.
Otherwise, it is a seperate switch in the dash to light it.

This bundle went to the speedo and rpm instrument panel. The old clip falls out all the time and results in the instruments not working.
I have had to reach under the dash often to wiggle it because many of the wires are broken or failing, due to the excess wiggle.
Brand new plug fixes that.

One at a time, patience, make sure the connection is solid... Make sure the seal is tight... check continuity...

Inspecting everywhere revealed many hidden spots where the wires had melted.
The harness replacement took care of all these with fresh copper.
Every single one with damage replaced with new.

This was definitely a huge part of the problem.
Burned out right to the headlight switch.

So happy this is all being repaired...
After all the new cables were installed, and the new switches in, the turn signal flashing works properly, except the front bumper ambers.
This is the kind of thing that got removed from the existing wiring. Any old corroded broken mess.
How can electricity flow through the front one?

No sense trying to Mickey Mouse something together. Brand new all the way.

Same thing for the doors... New lock pins on the body since everything else will be new.

Speaking of doors... Did I ever mention my driver side door handle has never worked before? Since I have owned the car!!!
I bought brand new keyed door lock handles to install on my new doors. No more reaching in through the little triangle window to open the door.
I cannot believe how long I have put up with it.

Really that is all I could do before the new lights arrive. I installed new headlights and wiring harness for them with brand new grounds and inspected all the way back.
So I started to look at the body. Just horrible how it has corroded. I have some time while I'm here to fix it up!!!

I realized 90% of the rust on the car is on the fenders, doors and trunk.
So the new doors will be stripped and finished with new hardware and paint so my car can finally be nice.

And Bam! Like a brand new car soon... Just gotta be patient, one step at a time...

Fenders and trunk too

So the logos have to come off and be installed on the new trunk.

I am really tempted to get a slightly different badge for the back. What do you think?

While I'm at it and I have the time I decided to investigate the new engine and tranny.

Now with the intake manifold off the cast iron crap at the back is rusted on again...
Going to have to do surgery on that one too...

I think its a hydraulic head. Only four clamps.

Well there is so much more to come... So much more... Im finally going to wolfsburg this car to the extreme.

209 Posts
Discussion Starter · #189 · (Edited)

Got some brand new Wolfsburg bling to install on the new doors and a new shifter ball...
Also a cigarette lighter and housing to install in the dash.
When the cigarette lighter is sitting in the housing, it has little blue LEDs that light up as well.

Even wolfsburg door lock pins! Already put the Wolfsburg tire valve caps on the wheels.

Ok there is something else being installed as well... A new stereo system. With USB anywhere I choose.
I would like a little compartment somewhere to hold a USB drive to deliver Gigabytes of music.

Something to power all the speakers... A four channel amplifier.

Nice new speakers for the front; separate component speakers with their own crossover.
Silk dome tweeters! Rubber butyl woofers!

And for the Bass Head in me... I just need to build this box...
Bandpass ported for deep rich bass

Because this 12 inch Alpine subwoofer is going to pound.

209 Posts
Discussion Starter · #190 · (Edited)
Cabby girls

This car can go anywhere! What a joy to drive! It really has been all over the place...
Up mountains, down to the coast, and is a blast to drive! Even in the snow. Especially in the snow!

I had noticed the top was ripping and tearing and the struts at the back had started to bend out.
Luckily I had a lot of parts come of a really good wrecker.
Including an almost brand new top!!!
Just tore off the old top and bolted on the new entire assembly.

Well I was just thinking the other day... Why do I love this car so much?
I just keep working on it and improving it, do I ever stop to wonder, why?
The subconscious mind is an interesting thing; maybe these movie images could explain...


209 Posts
Discussion Starter · #191 ·
Body kit... ?

So a little sneak peek... Body kit. Anyone know where to get the little trim clips that hold it onto the bumper?

This is the bumper that holds it on... there are rectangle holes in it and the clips hold the bumper cover on...

209 Posts
Discussion Starter · #192 · (Edited)
GTI Rabriolet

My Rabbit is a hungry beast. It eats other cars for breakfast.
Well, in terms of parts that is!
The Rabbit convertible I started out with has already consumed the GTI...
Now another parts car to dissect. Other parts from random junkyards as well...
I got back to the rebuild site to see the lights for the front had arrived.

Having done some bodywork and prepping on the new trunk, it had been primed and now painted and drying!

While removing the front bumper to body bolts I discovered the horn uses the same bolt as the bumper mount.
I thought I should make note of that for reinstallation.

I tore off the old corroded bumpers on my car and decided to use the new solid mounts.
It brings the bumper in closer nicer lines and look, plus we all know the shock bumpers haven't worked in years.
Rusted shut...

These are the brackets that mount to the bumper and hold the indicator amber flashers at the front of the bumper.

Brackets bumper to body

The part number if anyone is interested...

Lots of masking required for the doors! With everything off the bumpers, they were easy.

These are the little clips that hold the Big Bumpers of the body kit onto the steel bumper housing.

I only have enough for one bumper, so I had to make a style choice.
I let this front bumper sit it out for now. It has different lights, which we will get to later.

This rear bumper for me is a must, as it is the only required bumper on the car.
I could install turn signals in the front bumper mount holes if I wanted.

The rear bumper shocks were very corroded much worse than the front.
Probably due to driving on dirt roads and natural sandblasting from the wheels spitting gravel and sand.

Lots of bodywork to do... I am ordering rear wheel arches and quarter panels for the back.
Totally blasted into oblivion and the reason for most of the problems in the car.
Mica is a common dust here and it gets into electrical circuits. The whole inside of the car got a dust coat.
The blasted hole in the rear allows moisture and metallic dust from dirt roads in.
Until the parts show up I will fix it with bondo and spot glaze putty.

You can see the rear quarter panel here is pretty chewed up. Dirt roads with no mudflaps. Lesson learned!

One of the interesting things I discovered on this my first foray into body work was deep dents and repairing them!
I had experienced driving through an avalanche of rock particles on my favorite commute past the bluffs...
It was the rocks that day that smashed my front hood middle and side rear fender so bad it was shocking!!!
So glad they didn't hit my glass or come through the roof!
There exists a gun that welds on a little pin of metal, then you use a dent puller with a slide hammer to pop out the dent!
So that is what a dent puller is really for! Hilarious! just like the name....

Just hanging around...

It is a good thing this is all happening now... On close examination the winters have been hard on this car!
Just look close at all the battle damage... Just wear and tear from salty winter roads mostly...
This hole is new! Probably where all that water is coming from...

Each of the fenders had dings that showed up mysteriously at the mall or parked overnight...

This plastic shroud in the wheel well needs to be removed to remove the fender.

This was only in the way on the passenger side, I had to remove the bolt and slide the strap out.
That was the only way to access the upper inside bolt, which was tough, because I had to scrape off undercoat.
The most glorious, beautiful, undercoat.

Fender off!!!

With the bumpers off, I can find out what kind of side marker mess I'm dealing with.
Ah, they welded it right onto an led bulb. Which fits really tight inside the housing.
Not reliable side markers. It's a good thing I have a bag of spare parts.

Underneath the wrapping we find crimped spade bits...

On the other side the lights did not look good. On the left was existing metal one...
The right plastic one is going in. Coincidentally, the little amber LED s im using fit much better in the plastic housing.
The metal housing is too tight for the LED bulbs to fit.

Even new good working condition ones are too tight a fit with the new LED bulbs.
They bend back quite a bit and do work, but are not ideal.

You can see they are just a little bit longer. The base fits, just a little long to fit in the lens.

Lots of work under the hood, electrical grounding improvements right to the battery and addition of extra battery to ground wire.

While you are in here it is useful to put new charcoal in the unit...

Old trunk... New trunk!
Reinstall all the little bits that make it function again...

Even repair the corrosion in the body underneath the fenders!

Remove this door with the old goofy doesn't work door lock and never opens window...

The little pins for the door stay do come out, use a cutter and wiggle it out.
Remove the doors and install new ones. I sat on the ground and supported underneath the door when removing.

Remove the old cracked tail lights to install new shiny beauties...

New gun mount bumper thingy...

Them little trim bumper clips fasten the shell to the bumper...

Done for now!!!!

209 Posts
Discussion Starter · #193 · (Edited)
Dash lights

So hard to get a good picture of what the dash lights look like...
This is a pretty dark shot but you can basically see how it turned out.

The one gauge on the right is bright because the face ring cracked off long ago.
I just used silicone to hod it in place until I can get a new VDO for temperature.
I have one from the GTI but I will have to tinker with it to see if it will work in place of the broken one.
The plugs at the back are different, but I'm unsure if they work with the same voltage/resistance etc...
They do both fit a 2 and one sixteenth inch hole.
The plan for a new dash is still on... The stereo and bling will go together soon.
Whole new projects to undertake, with so little summer left.

209 Posts
Discussion Starter · #194 · (Edited)
I learned nothing!!!!!!

Even though I have just undertaken a large rebuild, I cannot help but to go drive in ridiculous places.
Now that my car is back, I have the urge to go see some beautiful wild places.
Places I love. Hard to get to nooks and crannies of the mountains I call home.
Coated in dust once again from dirt roads...

Just up to the left in this picture and around a few corners is where I drove through the avalanche.
This route is part of my regular commute, and just one of the risks of living in nature.
Like mountain lions and grizzly bears. They live here too.

Here we go again...

Kind of ridiculous. This car can make it though.

209 Posts
Discussion Starter · #195 ·
Don't Call it a Comeback I've been here for years

After getting locked out of my photobucket account which seemed like ransomware (they were demanding $400 per month to continue using 3rd party picture hosting) then getting locked out of here its pretty nice to be back! It looks like the pictures are showing up again so I am sharing the latest details of this old VW Rabbit Convertibe! Many new updates coming with this Rabbit this year!!! I also have videos I am editing that show some common fixes for things I encountered, I will be putting on youtube and many cool surprises yet to be seen!! Stay tuned to this 8v Build its getting super dialed up!

7,838 Posts
^ What a great thread and timeline to see the progress! It's great to see all the pictures up as well, as you took a ton of detailed shots that show how things go together.

Looking forward to seeing more progress, keep it coming. :thumbup: :thumbup:

209 Posts
Discussion Starter · #198 ·

So we have all seen Photobucket basically destroy all old blogs on the internet, anyone who hosted pictures with them, anyway. I have been archiving all my old photos from them in an attempt to fix this, because the photos were blurry for a few years. I have no idea what happened, but it has somehow been fixed!!! You can actually see the pictures again!!! I am still archiving the rest of the pictures, just in case and am planning on posting this up to a different website for posterity. WoooHoo! I have got lots of new info and will be releasing 4k VIDEO HOW TO'S soon, keep an eye out. I am going to start with valve lash adjustment and timing belt. Oh and there will be lots more details, and a rally video with this old beast!!! Stay tuned! If the pictures go blurry again I will share the link to this blog on a different site.
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