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1,396 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
*UPDATED on 11/07/2018 All pictures/posts fixed

I'm going to mix this thread with a storyline, build, parts, progress, a couple different cars, and hopefully a good read. Where to start….I guess from the beginning and will do my best to keep things in chronological order. I've been at the MK3 thing for many years now and owned my first one in 2004. I'm not one of those that see these cars as a "fad" or a "thing". I love them and will most likely always own one. I currently have two MK3s and a MK2.

I'm not new here but have not been on here for a couple years due to many infractions in the past. I've never actually had a decent thread about this car because I could never stay on here long enough to keep one.

It's pretty ironic because I missed the structure of this forum and have a greater appreciation today for the way it is set up, which is something I never thought I would say. Many that will see this might know the car and me. I've always had a thing for MK3s going back to the 90s. Hopefully some if not many of these people will pop up in here…and hopefully some new people too

I've owned around six now and continue to daily one (not for much longer though) but this thread will be about one in particular and the car has been on this forum since 2007 iirc and owned by a few people.

In 2013 I stumbled on a FS post by chance (none of the pics work anymore of course)

These were the pictures that got this all started.


DSC01975-1 by LG7N

DSC01974 by LG7N

DSC01979 by LG7N

Was sent some current pictures of the car after contacting owner through Vortex.

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Committed to buying car. Sent money order. Shipped non-running Surf Green turd 2864 miles to Vermont on a open carrier at the end of March 2013. I had little money and was washing dishes at the time. I saved, borrowed a little, and somehow made it happen. I had no idea what I was doing but I winged it and it felt right. For me when I buy something it has to feel right. Everything I have acquired has followed this rule.

The car has been all over California since the 90s into the 2000s.

Pineapplegti circa 2007-09 iirc

16240_n by LG7N

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2010-2012 in pretty basic form in California.

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The building used in the movie Kill Bill way out in the Mojave Desert

Prior to 2008 the car was owned by someone else in CA. Somehow (might have been through FB) I talked to someone who had worked on the car in the early 2000s. He said the owner worked for Rod Millen @ Millen Motorsports in Huntington Beach….so I called there looking for the owner and sent an email. To my surprise I got a response a couple weeks later as Millen would not disclose any personal information, but somehow word got to the PO. UPDATE 10/23/2017 still bugging owner for OG photographs...

Which I got in November 2018


Hi Eli,

Great to see the pics of the car and to hear of your plans.

I bought the car in Feb 2003 and had it till 2007(i think or 2008).

I bought the car from Scot in Palm Desert. I had just started working for Rod Millen in Huntington Beach.

I saw the ad on Rally Classifieds and drove out to check out the car in Palm Desert. Scott wanted to convert it into a rally car and was halfway there before he had a baby an decided that rallying was a nogo. We went out for a test drive and he blasted the car across a gravel lot and I was sold. Most of the work had been done by Ron of VW specialties in Huntington Beach. He was literally across the street from our shop.

The car when I bought it had
> Raised bilstien suspension for off-road
> Quaffie Limited Slip
> Original 8v cross flow engine
> e stAPR CAM
> APR exhaust
> final drive from a diesel canadian golf - very, very short gear ratios - you could start the car in 3rd gear
> APR Chip
> APR Intake
> rotors were cross drilled
> enkei wheels yoko AVS 100 + stock wheels with rally tires on them
> interior was stripped and ready for a roll cage
> The sunroof was already welded up

The car was loud as hell inside (no interior) and If you drove the car for an hour, you could not hear anything for a couple of hours. But it was awesome...

It was beatifully setup with a soft front end and stiff rear so you could rotate the car by lifting off... classic 3 wheeling around corners like the Gen1 golfs.

The steering was very difficult with the quaife LSD and short gearing, it had huge amounts of torque steer, the steering would literally try to tear your arm off in a steet cornering setup, but it was perfect on gravel.

I used the car as a daily driver for 3 years. I did a rally school and a number of rally crosses with the california rally series. I would drive to the rally cross and do the rally cross on Yoko AVS100 tires and was still competitive. I was often faster than a few of the WRX's. and 4wd cars. Mostly thanks to the quaffie liited slip + gearbox. I also did an auto cross in the car with the same setup....long travel bilstein suspension and all.

I replaced all the wheel bearings put in a new clutch at 90k. I also had to weld the engine cross member (i broke it).

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Oh and apparently the car is in the system as "born" on 10-20-1994 at the Puebla factory and was delivered to Volkswagen Pasadena of California on February 10th 1995. The first owner was from Palm Desert California. So I am the sixth owner and I'm in contact with the third owner. Two more to go. I'll reach the original owner I have faith.

So there is some history on the car. It arrived in Vermont in the beginning of April 2013. I drove up 100 miles to unload the car at my parents @10PM at night because I had no where to put it. As I said I winged it. This is where I worked on the car for close to the next two years and started out with hand tools, a little bit of knowledge, and very little money. Those close to me have since told me they thought I was crazy at the time The car was a huge f#[email protected] turd but much has changed.

OnTruck1 by LG7N

Delivery by LG7N

QuickRinse by LG7N

1,396 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
It was in ruff shape but it had no actual "rust" like those of us in the Northeast are used to. Every nut and bolt had zero corrosion. Looking back it's easier to see how much the car needed to be presentable again….plus the original ABA was in pieces in the back. The block and head were in black trash bags. There was dirt and sand everywhere. It was pretty f*^%ed.

imagejpeg_2 by LG7N

imagejpeg_0 by LG7N

NoRust by LG7N

Still with the OG plate from years ago :thumbup::thumbup:

California by LG7N

1,396 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I spent a lot of time in salvage yards prior to all this learning how these cars were put together.

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I started taking the car apart in April 2013. I learned by doing research, taking things apart in salvage yards, trial and error, and of course a lot on Vortex. I had very little tools or time but once again I made it work to the best of my ability. It was ruff going at first looking back. I was working full time for peanuts and going to college....and the car was located 2 hours from where I lived.

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In 2013 I did not get a whole lot done but I did buy the swap car. I was patient and looked real hard (and got lucky) I bought a 1997 Windsor VR6 GTI that had 70K OG miles that had been totaled outside of Boston from another Vortex member (Turdfarmer)…..who also had a Surf Green Golf Sport as well that used to be Yohannes old car. I would go on to use almost everything from the Windsor VR to rebuild the Surf which I thought was ironic in ways.

The Windsor before it was totaled with something like 43K original miles in 2012. That same VR6 emblem is still on my car.

DSC_0317-2 by LG7N

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2014-10-14 by LG7N

The Windsor after it was totaled

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1,396 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I would get out of work and drive 98 miles one way to go work on the car. Would stay for 2-3 days then go home. This was the routine for quite some time. Close to two years.

The ride was really always one of my favorite parts of this journey. The evening in VT in the summer is like no other IMO.

Jetta Hogback2 by LG7N

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Vermont by LG7N

I had recently bought my GTI that I would also tinker with, but I have since moved on. It was a low milage car I rescued from the woods in Southern VT which now sits waiting to be scrapped.


P1020131 by LG7N

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 11.00.17 PM by LG7N


1,396 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
The swap car was in incredible shape aside from the obvious damage. It was very very clean. I drove it back from Boston which was fun and it drove absolutely perfect believe it or not. Never got pulled over either. It sat over the winter into early 2014 when I started work again at the end of March iirc.

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I looked at a lot of different motors but decided (also due to budget at the time which was slim) that it would be a VR in the beginning. Planning ahead for the time I knew more and was in a better position, to use this motor in another car and swap something else into the Surf down the road. Always good to plan ahead is what I have learned from doing this type of thing.

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The VR ran very very well and I knew its history and where it came from….which saved me from having to rebuild the motor…and saved me from having to worry. It also saved time and money which was in short supply during this period.

P1010664 by LG7N

1,396 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Took a trip over to the old Orchid Euro location when I was down in NJ to pick up a few things in the summer of 2013 which was cool. This was the first of many hard to find OEM parts I would acquire over the next two years.

OE-Trip3 by LG7N

OE-Trip2 by LG7N

I wonder if this car is still around these days.


I started stripping the Windsor in 2014 going into May iirc. Had never done this before and I just once again winged it and learned as I went. Luckily I did have people to ask questions along the way which helped at certain points.

P1020185 by LG7N

This was right when I invested in some tools, compressor, etc which made a huge difference as I had been only working with hand tools.

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I basically pulled everything from the Windsor for use in the Surf and started with the motor area. Never pulled a motor so it was pretty cool and went smooth. I pulled the motor on June 30th 2014 and as you can see in somewhat ghetto fashion. Plywood yo.

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I pretty much kept everything and over time sandblasted and refurbished every piece. I sandblasted subframe, control arms, rack, all hardware…with fresh rust preventing paint. Next time around I plan on powder coating.

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I continued to pull everything off the VR going into July iirc along with a bunch of other things. I carefully tagged everything which was a move I was glad I made.

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I then had the car hauled off to the scrap yard.

1,396 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Good to see ya back..:thumbup:
Thanks :thumbup: It is cool and happy about it. Have wanted to make a proper thread about this whole process for a bit. Wanted to also show that this stuff does take money….but more importantly takes time, dedication, and a lot of patience in many cases.

1,396 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
After I had some more room to operate I began to clean up the motor and this is what I started with. The motor was dirty but in very good shape.

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There are some things I wish I had done differently now, but this was a great learning process and I made do with what I had at the time.

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After doing some cleaning I figured I would just sandblast the whole engine which worked quite well.

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1,396 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
I had also stripped the Surf of everything from the 1995 OBDI setup. The car was built in October of 1994. The wiring and whatnot was beat. I used all the harnesses from the 97 car minus the ABS stuff and cruise control. There was also a Viper alarm in the 97 which I had to remove. I slowly started putting everything into the Surf

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I wired up everything in the Surf from the interior harness, to the doors adding power mirrors but retaining crank windows (etc), and the hatch with really nice stuff from the VR.

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It was often annoying working in this area but I did not mind too much once I started seeing pieces actually start going onto the car and things getting cleaned up.

I retained all OEM fasteners, bolts, and materials down to the vapor barriers that were actually still in the VR when I took it apart. Once this stuff was in order to prepare for the motor going in I had to put some attention towards the engine bay.

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I also met some like minded MK3 peoples around this time which was also cool. I don't get out to shows too often. Wolfsgart 2014

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1,396 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
I learned a lot on the engine bay which I actually did before the pictures above of the interior. The bay was the first thing I did. I had never messed with paint nor had I ever touched a HVLP gun in my life. I bought a little over a gallon of LG7N Sherwin Williams Ultra 7000 through Derek @ Exklusiv Motor Sports in AZ that had never been used for a project. There was an extra pint I used to do the front wheel wells and bay.

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I learned to not use blue painters tape as well, as the paint tends to make a mess. I had it all taped up when I was told "best use green tape." I removed it all and did it over. You live you learn. I also learned that painting is A LOT of fun IMO. I used a cheap gun but researched a lot about how to have it set up properly. I bought the materials I needed, did a lot of reading, and tried my hand at it. I actually did it with a 35 gallon compressor which is well bellow the recommend CFM, but ran 23 psi at the actual gun using a regulator. I also just used a cheap inline filter but it all appears to have worked well.

Mind you this is what I was working with before

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First tape job…

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After re-tape and LG7N base sprayed.

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After some clear. I mainly put clear on the tower areas. It was my first time. I will be doing this bay over at some point down the road so it is no biggie. Before someone says "do it right the first time or do it twice" Yeah I get all that… This was more about the process of learning. When I do it again I will feel far more comfortable and I have a much better spot to work now which I will get to later.

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For my first time ever doing anything remotely like this I was fairly satisfied with the results, considering where and what I was working with.

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1,396 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Back to the motor. I had originally started cleaning it with a wire wheel. Got tired. I had a small gravity fed sandblaster so I used that after properly and carefully taping everything up. I used $5 bags of play sand from my local hardware store. I dried and ran all the sand through a strainer twice.

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It worked pretty well. I then painted the block, trans, and head in high-temp enamel after a good cleaning post sandblast. It was not perfect but I was happy for now.

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UPDATE 04-26-2020 It has also held up very well over FIVE years now.

I placed a big order with GAP which was when they informed me they no longer offered free shipping on large orders….though they did give me free shipping in the end as I have ordered many parts through them. After everything was replaced and installed it was pretty much ready.

8.05.17 by LG7N

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Ready for install

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Lots of late nights

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