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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I purchased my 87 GTI 16V back in 2000 when I graduated high school. My mom wanted to give me her 94 V6 Camaro but I had other plans. I told her I wanted the 87 Golf GL I had been driving so that I could buy an 87 GTI and fix it up nice. I wanted to learn about how it worked and rebuild it. I also wanted to make a VW fast and nice looking. There were 2 reasons to motivate me to do this.
1) When my mom went into labor with me she was rushed to the hospital in a baby crap brown 1977 automatic VW Rabbit pegged at 92 mph. 3 days after I was born she was again rushed to the hospital due to complications and she almost died. So a VW helped saved my moms life
2) At high school everyone made fun of my hand me down 170K mile golf gl because they all drove Mercedez and very high end cars. My POS VW golf with 3 hub caps looked awesome parked next to a BMW Z3 that some 16 year old kid just got for his birthday present.... That still makes me want to wretch! Talk about spoiled! I wanted to make a VW fast and nice looking just to spite them... and because I thought nobody did that to VW's. Ha! boy was I ignorant...
So I picked up the 87 GTI for $1800 too much and began toying. At the time I barely knew how to check my oil... but it came with the Bentley manual and I knew how to read so I figured I was set. As of now I have touched every bolt on the damn thing except the AC blower motor.
Mods that I have done-
-rebuilt and installed 2.0L bottom end, 2.0L P&P head
-shaved the head .030 <- I dont recommend that! For it to run right it needs race gas and thats expensive for a daily driver... however the power gain is very acceptable! But the increase in blowby and gas expense is just not practical.
-Installed hydraulic clutch cable shift O2J tranny coded CZM. Close ration and 4.25 final drive! Great for autocross!
-Installed H&R coilovers, front/rear strut bars, and VR6 front sway bar with Shine racing bar in the rear.
-Installed 98 VR6 ABS brake system with 11.3" up front. Also includes the VR6 control arms and VR6 outer drive axle ends.
-Installed TT fuel enrichment mod
- Recovered seats and put in new carpet
-I did other stuff too.. but I cant remembmer.
Future mods-
-Finish building a megasquirt injection control unit and then install it
-Install spacers behind rear stub axles to match the VR6 conversion spaced out front
- Finish building flowbench so that I can properly P&P and finish the 1.8L head im building
- Swap motronic ECU system to control the spark for my megasqurit injecition.
- Get injection running great on my naturally aspirated motor and then swap in the Turbo motor and turbo!
- Sand, prep, and finally paint this sucker!!!
The car is running ok now with a stock intake cam and 268 exhaust cam but the intercam timing for these unmatched cams stinks for high RPM power. However, the low end is Awesome! Im going to play with the cam gear soon, but as for now its at 0.
The rest of this post is just stuff I went through fixing and some other crap
The car had a few mixture issues ever since the day I bought it that caused idle problems, hesitation problems, stalling problems, inconsistent idle RPM, and rev-up-and-down problems.
Oh did I say a few problems? How about EVERY problem that can go wrong with the fuel injection...plus lots of others
Fuel pumps- both have died.
Vacuum leaks- Had them from the lines running into the dash, 1987 deteriorated original vacuum lines, the brake booster, injector O-rings, cracked air boots, the idle air bypass screw, leaky intake gasket... etc...
Fuel distributor- It broke 3 months after I bought it... only delivered fuel to 2 injectors at idle... around 3000 RPM fueld the other 2.... boy is that a nice put you in the seet feeling

Fuel injectors- 2 were horribly fouled and caused a good bit of hesitation from idle that I had some trouble tracking down.
Sensors- When I got it the O2 sensor was shot, and so was the coolant temp
Idle air stabilizer valve- It was locked up when I got it... and the rebuild one I installed is acting up now.... sigh...
Wiring!! The idle switch worked fine when I tested it at the plug, but after connecting the plug there was no signal at the knock box. The wire was broken where it conneced in the harness.
More wiring The grounding system had a 10 guage ground going to the tranny. Replacing it with a 4 gauge ground going to the tranny, block, and an 8 guage to the alternator made a HUGE difference.
Even more wiring The harness that connects to the air flow sensor potentiometer had a wire backed out of a plug so it was messing things all up... it took me like 3 hours to figure that out.
Rebuild motor problems! My first motor I built was the best, but the new oil pump I installed had an oil spout that was not torqued properly. I was too ignorant and nieve of an engine builder to know to check the bolts on parts you buy. SO after 2000 miles of driving at around 6000 RPMS in 4th gear the spout fell off and I lost all oil pressure. The main bearing spun furthest away from the oil pump and all of the other bearings and crank were destroyed. 2nd motor I rebuilt I dumbly put a box of mismarked piston rings on. Check and measure everything! 3rd motor is running super with 240 psi on all cylinders. But I did have some cylinder head broken valve spring, valve stem seal, and wrong valve guide problems!

Ive been through lots and lots of problems with this lovely beast. All in all I am thankful for every problem I have had because instead of getting discouraged I learned and moved on. Now I have A LOT of knowledge and experience and maintain a local fleet of about 6 VW's. I also occasionally work on several others.
Some things I have learned about the world of cars:
1) Always play dumb and ask questions to everyone who might have some idea what they are talking about. No 1 person can ever know everything, and each persons' knowledge is fairly subjective to their own personal opinions and experience. The more people you ask the bigger picture of whats going on you can get.
2) Always measure, check, and double check all of the parts your about to install on a car... measuring is never a bad thing... it just consumes a little time.
3) Expensive parts can be cheap parts too.
4) Get a job at an import auto parts store to fund your habbit! I have saved thousands!!! lol

Anyways I do have a life! And I do have things I should be doing here at work:) If you were bored I hope this at least gave you something to read
Here is some beer to everyone thats ever had 16v problems! I think I would need to post a lot more beer than this!!

· Registered
2,094 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Re: A 16V story.... cause im bored (Dimitri16V)

You know... after re-reading what I wrote I got to the part saying "ive touched every bolt except the AC Blower motor"..... and I cant help but think that in a few days you all might see a post entitled "Anyone ever changed their blower motor?" Lol..... sigh got to love the dubs!!
Thanks for the beers
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