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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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My Dad is turning 70 in June, and I decided to attempt a surprise 'mini-restoration' on his 2002 Volkswagen Cabrio GLX.

A little bit of history, we've had Cabriolets in our family for as long as I can remember. My Dad used to take me to soccer practice as a kid in the 80s in a triple-white Cabriolet. My Mom had a brand new MK3.5 Cabrio, Dark Blue with a Blue top that she had for years. Fast-forward to when I started buying some older VW's in my 20s and I had 2 Cabriolet's myself. Needless to say they hold a place in my heart, and probably the reason I'm driving a Boxster right now :)

I helped my Dad pick up this 2002 GLX around 10 years ago. It was in pretty solid shape when we bought it, but it's been a bit neglected to say the least, and outside of oil changes and some new tires, it hasn't really had any maintenance to speak of.

As it sits now, the Cabrio is my parents 2nd car, and is just used for around-town drives. Unfortunately due to the lack of maintenance, the car is teetering on the trash it/fix it fence. It needs a TON of work to get it back on the road and driving properly. My Dad keeps talking about wanting to fix it, but he doesn't really have the time or means to do it himself right now. After making a few jokes about leaving the keys in it and hoping someone steals it, I figured I needed to take action and fix it myself! :)

My Mom's health has been really rough lately, in the past 2 years she has had a major stroke, and is now dealing with stage 4 cancer. It's taken a really big toll on my Dad as he is doing everything for her, and I know getting the car back on the road will be a big emotional boost for him.

A quick run-down of what I know it needs off the top of my head:

  • Full Suspension with all new bushings (Original OEM installed, totally shot)
  • Exhaust / Downpipe - Has a killer exhaust leak/rattle
  • Transmission Flush/Filter (Automatic is shifting really hard, still on original fluid)
  • Tune-Up and Oil Change
  • Axles (CV Joints are toast)
  • Front Brakes / Flush
  • Convertible Top closes extremely slowly and back window is starting to unglue
  • Desperately Needed Detailing / Wheel Refinishing

I've spent around $1000 buying as many cheap parts as I can find. I realize these aren't OEM quality, but when replacing 20 year old worn originals, it has to be an upgrade. Given the value of the car is pretty low, I'm not going to be spending big bucks on VW branded parts.

Here's a list of everything I've purchased so far:

  • Cat Back Exhaust
  • Coilovers
  • Full Suspension Refresh Kit (Bushings, Control Arms, etc)
  • Tie Rods
  • Axles
  • Front Disc Brakes/Pad
  • Tune-Up Kit
  • Transmission Flush Kit (Filter/Fluid)

I have about a month to get the whole project completed. I got the car home (told him the Porsche is broken and I need to borrow for a while) and started yesterday on taking the front suspension apart and made some good progress. All of the bushings, etc are totally worn, and I found the source of the brutal grinding noise under acceleration. Drivers side CV joint was completely demolished?!

Anyway here are some photos. The interior/exterior are actually in pretty decent shape and I think will clean up really well once I get around to detailing everything.

Plant Automotive tail & brake light Car Vehicle registration plate Vehicle

Tire Wheel Car Automotive side marker light Vehicle

Automotive parking light Wheel Car Tire Land vehicle


Car Vehicle Motor vehicle Gear shift Automotive design

Automotive parking light Vehicle registration plate Vehicle Grille Car

Smile Glasses Property Sky Cloud
 

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That's great to see. I always wished I could find an old Studebaker for dad, as he bought a new '48 after he got out of the Navy in WWII, but by the time I could afford one they were all gone. :(

I'm sorry your mother is going through it, but you have your priorities straight. Nothing is more important than family and friends. ❤
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
That's great to see. I always wished I could find an old Studebaker for dad, as he bought a new '48 after he got out of the Navy in WWII, but by the time I could afford one they were all gone. :(

I'm sorry your mother is going through it, but you have your priorities straight. Nothing is more important than family and friends. ❤
Thank you! I always dreamed of buying my dad an E-Type Jaguar, but those are so far out of my price range that the Cabrio will have to do for now! :p

Agreed that family is everything. We moved from Cali to be closer to my parents during this difficult time. (y)
 

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Great story, cool car! I hope the work goes well and I know your Dad and Mom are going to treasure every minute driving it because of all the work and love you’re putting into it!
 

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Great restoration project, but I have only one concern.

Why coilovers? Just put red KYB and stock height springs.
The red ones are active and give great comfort on regular roads, while stiffness in quick turns.

What I am getting at - why to destroy a classic car with low ride height?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you guys! I appreciate the kind comments. I know it will be worth the effort and I'm excited to see the look on his face when completed. I plan on doing a full paint correction with ceramic coating and will be getting the front rim repainted. Should be back to 'newish' when I'm finished!

Couple of things that I'm having issues with, maybe some VW experts can chime in:

  • The top closes REALLY slowly. I've read that hydraulic fluid can leak/evaporate over time, and that the tank can be topped up. I think its in the trunk area. Any input?
  • Rear window on the convertible top is coming loose. It looks like it was glued in from the factory, but with the top installed, I'm not sure how on earth to get any kind of clamping pressure on it to attempt to re-glue.

Any help would be appreciated!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Great restoration project, but I have only one concern.

Why coilovers? Just put red KYB and stock height springs.
The red ones are active and give great comfort on regular roads, while stiffness in quick turns.

What I am getting at - why to destroy a classic car with low ride height?
I'm on a budget, what you're recommending costs substantially more than what I paid for the coilovers.

I don't plan on slamming the car and will have them maxed out to try and keep a similar ride height to stock. Certainly not going for any kind of dropped look.
 

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Re: yellow headlights, I would give this a try: Ceramic Headlight Restoration Kit, Severe

I have used their older spray on version (after sanding) and was pleased with the results as it puts a UV coating back on so it doesn't fade/yellow again. It lasted more than 2 years and then sold the car, was still going strong.

In regards to clamping rear window, would neodymium magnets work?
 
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Keep it up, what a cool surprise!!! Wish I could've done something like this for my Dad before he passed.
 

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Awesome!
ALthough, I would have to disagree with the choice of coilovers for a 70 year old couple. They would probably prefer replacement springs and shocks.
meh I'd disagree; my 72 year old dad uses my 4C with track suspension almost on a daily basis - its fine and its way stiffer than mid-range coils.
 

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View attachment 184150
My Dad is turning 70 in June, and I decided to attempt a surprise 'mini-restoration' on his 2002 Volkswagen Cabrio GLX.

A little bit of history, we've had Cabriolets in our family for as long as I can remember. My Dad used to take me to soccer practice as a kid in the 80s in a triple-white Cabriolet. My Mom had a brand new MK3.5 Cabrio, Dark Blue with a Blue top that she had for years. Fast-forward to when I started buying some older VW's in my 20s and I had 2 Cabriolet's myself. Needless to say they hold a place in my heart, and probably the reason I'm driving a Boxster right now :)

I helped my Dad pick up this 2002 GLX around 10 years ago. It was in pretty solid shape when we bought it, but it's been a bit neglected to say the least, and outside of oil changes and some new tires, it hasn't really had any maintenance to speak of.

As it sits now, the Cabrio is my parents 2nd car, and is just used for around-town drives. Unfortunately due to the lack of maintenance, the car is teetering on the trash it/fix it fence. It needs a TON of work to get it back on the road and driving properly. My Dad keeps talking about wanting to fix it, but he doesn't really have the time or means to do it himself right now. After making a few jokes about leaving the keys in it and hoping someone steals it, I figured I needed to take action and fix it myself! :)

My Mom's health has been really rough lately, in the past 2 years she has had a major stroke, and is now dealing with stage 4 cancer. It's taken a really big toll on my Dad as he is doing everything for her, and I know getting the car back on the road will be a big emotional boost for him.

A quick run-down of what I know it needs off the top of my head:

  • Full Suspension with all new bushings (Original OEM installed, totally shot)
  • Exhaust / Downpipe - Has a killer exhaust leak/rattle
  • Transmission Flush/Filter (Automatic is shifting really hard, still on original fluid)
  • Tune-Up and Oil Change
  • Axles (CV Joints are toast)
  • Front Brakes / Flush
  • Convertible Top closes extremely slowly and back window is starting to unglue
  • Desperately Needed Detailing / Wheel Refinishing

I've spent around $1000 buying as many cheap parts as I can find. I realize these aren't OEM quality, but when replacing 20 year old worn originals, it has to be an upgrade. Given the value of the car is pretty low, I'm not going to be spending big bucks on VW branded parts.

Here's a list of everything I've purchased so far:

  • Cat Back Exhaust
  • Coilovers
  • Full Suspension Refresh Kit (Bushings, Control Arms, etc)
  • Tie Rods
  • Axles
  • Front Disc Brakes/Pad
  • Tune-Up Kit
  • Transmission Flush Kit (Filter/Fluid)

I have about a month to get the whole project completed. I got the car home (told him the Porsche is broken and I need to borrow for a while) and started yesterday on taking the front suspension apart and made some good progress. All of the bushings, etc are totally worn, and I found the source of the brutal grinding noise under acceleration. Drivers side CV joint was completely demolished?!

Anyway here are some photos. The interior/exterior are actually in pretty decent shape and I think will clean up really well once I get around to detailing everything.

View attachment 184149
View attachment 184148
View attachment 184147

View attachment 184145
View attachment 184146
View attachment 184144
View attachment 184150
My Dad is turning 70 in June, and I decided to attempt a surprise 'mini-restoration' on his 2002 Volkswagen Cabrio GLX.

A little bit of history, we've had Cabriolets in our family for as long as I can remember. My Dad used to take me to soccer practice as a kid in the 80s in a triple-white Cabriolet. My Mom had a brand new MK3.5 Cabrio, Dark Blue with a Blue top that she had for years. Fast-forward to when I started buying some older VW's in my 20s and I had 2 Cabriolet's myself. Needless to say they hold a place in my heart, and probably the reason I'm driving a Boxster right now :)

I helped my Dad pick up this 2002 GLX around 10 years ago. It was in pretty solid shape when we bought it, but it's been a bit neglected to say the least, and outside of oil changes and some new tires, it hasn't really had any maintenance to speak of.

As it sits now, the Cabrio is my parents 2nd car, and is just used for around-town drives. Unfortunately due to the lack of maintenance, the car is teetering on the trash it/fix it fence. It needs a TON of work to get it back on the road and driving properly. My Dad keeps talking about wanting to fix it, but he doesn't really have the time or means to do it himself right now. After making a few jokes about leaving the keys in it and hoping someone steals it, I figured I needed to take action and fix it myself! :)

My Mom's health has been really rough lately, in the past 2 years she has had a major stroke, and is now dealing with stage 4 cancer. It's taken a really big toll on my Dad as he is doing everything for her, and I know getting the car back on the road will be a big emotional boost for him.

A quick run-down of what I know it needs off the top of my head:

  • Full Suspension with all new bushings (Original OEM installed, totally shot)
  • Exhaust / Downpipe - Has a killer exhaust leak/rattle
  • Transmission Flush/Filter (Automatic is shifting really hard, still on original fluid)
  • Tune-Up and Oil Change
  • Axles (CV Joints are toast)
  • Front Brakes / Flush
  • Convertible Top closes extremely slowly and back window is starting to unglue
  • Desperately Needed Detailing / Wheel Refinishing

I've spent around $1000 buying as many cheap parts as I can find. I realize these aren't OEM quality, but when replacing 20 year old worn originals, it has to be an upgrade. Given the value of the car is pretty low, I'm not going to be spending big bucks on VW branded parts.

Here's a list of everything I've purchased so far:

  • Cat Back Exhaust
  • Coilovers
  • Full Suspension Refresh Kit (Bushings, Control Arms, etc)
  • Tie Rods
  • Axles
  • Front Disc Brakes/Pad
  • Tune-Up Kit
  • Transmission Flush Kit (Filter/Fluid)

I have about a month to get the whole project completed. I got the car home (told him the Porsche is broken and I need to borrow for a while) and started yesterday on taking the front suspension apart and made some good progress. All of the bushings, etc are totally worn, and I found the source of the brutal grinding noise under acceleration. Drivers side CV joint was completely demolished?!

Anyway here are some photos. The interior/exterior are actually in pretty decent shape and I think will clean up really well once I get around to detailing everything.

View attachment 184149
View attachment 184148
View attachment 184147

View attachment 184145
View attachment 184146
View attachment 184144
Rawk:

Nice! Sorry about your folks! It's tough to see your parents get older and/or sick. Both my folks died since 2016. Took care of my mom for 3 years.

I never worry about price if it's something "special" and this is! Get that car back to it's prime and give it to your folks. They'll never forget it! My mom gave me the deposit to get my Jetta and I've completely restored/tuned it since then. It also got hit by a motorcycle and the kid got killed.(drunk) So saving it was REALLY important for me. Glad I did.

ECS Tuning and German Auto Parts have everything for older VWs. Older VWs are the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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In for updates! It's awesome to see what you're doing here and I'm sure the end result will be amazing!

PS sorry to hear about your mom, hopefully your parents can really enjoy the car once you're done with it.
 
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