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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey y’all, nice to be back on here after a few years gone.

Just picked this silver bullet up in Denver and am making the drive back to Albuquerque over the course of the day.

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NA 1.6 diesel, unknown mileage, was supposedly a shop truck for a VW garage up here before changing hands to its most recent caretaker, who has a lil stable of rabbits out by his house. Engine runs really well, suspension’s solid, it’s gonna make for a solid daily once a few little things get worked out. I plan on doing some body work and paint and then just leaving it be… well, as much as that’s possible. I forget who said it here so aptly: Rabbits are always mechanic’s specials, lol.

Anyway, just wanted to say hey and introduce myself again; I haven’t really posted much on vortex but have used it as a resource since getting my first (sadly parted out) rabbit back in 2016. I’m nowhere near as knowledgeable as the rest of you all and am really grateful there are still folks here working on and sharing their experience here. Ok, that’s all, I’ll update again when (if - knock on wood dash panel) I make it back to New Mexico tomorrow. :p
 

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its most recent caretaker, who has a lil stable of rabbits out by his house.
MPCaddy? He is a chronic diesel rabbit rescuer in the Denver area.

Nice score. I love that it still has the OG bed rails. Good luck with the drive.

Sounds like you know enough to know what you are getting into. Hope to see more of your truck in the forum as you get it sorted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks mokoosh, yea I believe that person is who I got the rabbit from! He had a handful of them up on thesamba when i went looking last month, mostly diesel caddies.

Anyway, quick update on the drive back… that 7-hour drive ended up taking about 13, mainly on account of a cracked #3 injector line - it split all the way through right above the flared end that bolts to the end of the injector and sprayed diesel everywhere. I’ll get some photos in the light tomorrow - diesel all over the hood (both sides), all over the engine, blown who knows where else by the radiator fan, which sounded like it went into overdrive trying to compensate for the lost diesel cooling power in that #3 cylinder… wouldn’t have been so bad if I wasn’t in the middle of nowhere 150 miles down the road!

I called the seller and he was really helpful, gave me the number of a guy who lived about 50 miles southwest and had an 8,000 sq foot shop/garage, mainly focusing on restorations it seemed like. I didn’t have any other way of getting there than jumping in the truck, so went right back on the highway for a nerve racking 2 hour slog at 35mph. But finally got there.

The owner of the shop, Ron, is truly a wonderful guy - great sense of humor, great taste in vehicles (he had an assortment of old VWs, mostly vans, some really nice older trucks and jeeps, a couple true classic restorations from the 30s-40s, and let me take a look at his first car, a 53 Chevy, which is beautifully painted and kept under wraps in the back), and above all exceedingly kind and generous and helpful towards someone who cold-called him in the middle of the afternoon, asking to come by right that moment, and to whom he had no connection or obligation to help. Really, really grateful and glad to have met you, Ron, if you read this.

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Here’s what the truck looked like posted up in the corner of the lot. I parked in the first open spot I could, and as luck would have it Ron had a 1.6 diesel sitting in the bed of the truck right next to it. He lent me some tools, I pulled the lines and swapped everything over and was back on the road in less than an hour.

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Don’t mind that there’s no license plate anywhere on the vehicle… nobody else seemed to… :censored: :p

More tomorrow as I start to dig into this thing and fix some immediate things that bothered me on this drive… like the accelerator pedal falling halfway to the floor every time I shifted my foot, lol. Good night!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Here’s how Lula’s lookin this morning:
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Gettin ready to give her a wash and get all the diesel off, just wanted to see if I could clean up as much as I could in one go.

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edit: used the search function to figure out how to non-destructively remove the star clips… probably could have also used common sense but being a millennial the tendency is always to go running to the internet at the first opportunity… lesson learned!

here’s a couple more interior shots, clearly needing a little help… lol. The rust coloured stains in the back are what’s concerning me most at the moment.

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Bed liner’s out and the bed looks good at least!

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Other plans for today are replacing the shifter bushings, figuring out what’s going on with the accelerator pedal, and trying to track down a diesel leak up near the filler cap/neck. I’ve got a Bentley manual somewhere… or at least a copy of poor Richard’s…
 

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Love watching these stories and seeing how they unfold. The problems are unfortunate but it's always amazing to see how the kindness of strangers can still come through and turn a horrible situation into a great adventure and even great friendships!

Looking forward to seeing this truck live on!

Sent from my Pixel 5 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Finally got the carpets out and found this:cautious:
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Driver’s side isn’t horrible but the passenger side certainly is. I’m debating welding in new pans and being done with it, but seeing as the rust is all along the seam here and I’d have to do a bit of fabrication anyway I might just try and patch the really bad spots and hit the rest of the floors with rust converter/bedliner once I’ve gotten the leaks fixed up by the windshield / rain tray.

Took Lula to the car wash under the guise of finding where the leaks were coming from (really because i have an insatiable urge to pretty up new car, no matter how much of a pooch it is) and boy, did I find some. That passenger side leak let about a quart of water into the cab over the course of the wash, and there appears to be a small leak on the drivers side rear as well. I expected it given that every rabbit I’ve ever seen leaks water, but that don’t make it less of a pain to track down n deal with.
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She ain’t winnin any beauty contests, but my heart still beat a lil faster giving her a walk around after the wash.

I brought the carpet with me, which you can see in the bed, and gave it a 10 minute once-over with the soap from the pressure washer. The water was still running frothy brown by the time I lost patience and decided I’d just get a new carpet down the line.

Quick question for you guys: What’s the deal with this new injection line I swapped in? It fits perfectly on both ends, but sits about a half centimetre off from the rest of the injectors on that first bend from the pump, to the point where I’m not able to get the lower anti-vibration clamp on - not even close. I’d think if it was made for a different injection pump / different pump position then it wouldn’t bolt up, but it fit perfectly. Obviously I’d like to have that lower clamp on if I can, but I’m not sure if it’s worth trying to bend or modify this new line or whether I should just swap the whole set over that I got from Ron. Any thoughts? The upper clamp fit fine so at least it has somethint



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Finally, just gonna dump some ideas here for where to move this forward to. I’m feeling like this is a pretty good starting point for a more ambitious project than I’ve attempted in the past, and I’ve just sold my other truck, a ‘92 diesel Land Cruiser, so I’ve got the funds to do some bigger modifications. My thoughts so far:

Sand, patch and repaint entire body - I’m thinking of going with a sort of chestnut brown that I once saw on a ‘64 Ranchero I almost bought back in Washington… one of my biggest car-related regrets passing up on that one. I don’t have any pictures of it, but I’ll look for some examples of the colour. Probably set up a booth in my garage in the spring, before it gets way too hot here to be in coveralls and a respirator all day.

Figure out some sort of turbo setup. I’ve never installed a turbo personally but my Land Cruiser had one - even weighing 4500 pounds, with a 2.5l engine, that turbo would send that thing up hills and mountain passes like they were nothing. Totally changed my perspective on diesels, thinking they were pretty much only good for making power down low. Again, this is something I have pretty much no knowledge of, so I’d really appreciate reading any recommendations or experiences you all have had with turboing your diesels, especially your 1.6s.

Fab up a bench seat for the truck - just a personal preference of mine. I sewed a vinyl seat cover for my old 77 f150 a couple of years ago that turned out really nice, but sold it right after completing it, and recently foamed and hand stitched a leather seat for my motorcycle, which I never got to use before my bike got totaled… so I’ve still got the urge to park my ass on something I had a hand in making! I’m gonna do some research on other compact pickups and see if I can maybe use the frame and mounting points from an old Toyota or Nissan truck as a starting point, basically cut out and weld in the frame and then build the seat around it. The trick will be getting everything situated so the seat fits and is actually usable, plus moving the e-brake, maybe to where the hood latch is right now, or to a pull handle in the ashtray spot. We’ll see what works.

Last, well probably first in terms of what will actually get done, i wanna re do the whole fuel system, which again is something I don’t have any experience with. The filler neck leaks and the cap doesn’t seal, and who knows what the tank is like; I’d like to learn to make up hard lines and clean/reseal fuel tanks and feel this will be a good truck to get some experience with.

Well, that’s all for now. The only thing I got around to worth sharing is installing this old beige grab handle I had laying around, to match the seat. I honestly feel like the two tone thing looks pretty good lol :p
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Those floors don’t look terrible.

As for the lines, maybe they’re aftermarket? If you have the full set, I’d just swap them all. You should only need to prime one other line to get it to start. It’ll run a little rough, but it’ll smooth out when the air bleeds itself.

-Todd
 

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(really because i have an insatiable urge to pretty up new car, no matter how much of a pooch it is)
😄I know the feeling. There's so much to discover! Enjoy the honeymoon.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Prettying Lula up a bit today… put in a cheapo grill, pulled the bumpers, gonna pull the headliner and rest of the interior stuff today and start making patterns.


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I’ve got a few yards of some nice brown leather left over from a different project, think I’m gonna do the headliner and windshield frame trim in that, maybe find some more to redo the door cards. Here’s a of it thrown in the cab.

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As for the seat and dash, I’m trying to come up with a good plan there. Leaning towards finding a nice rear 2 door rabbit seat to use as the bench, but I’m not sure whether either of the brown-tone seats (Mojave beige and peanut butter, right? Is there anything else?) are gonna match well enough with the rest of what I’m planning. If anyone has any leads on a rear bench in any colour, particularly if the vinyl is pretty worn out and it wouldn’t do better in another project as-is, drop me a line - I’d happily recover a seat if it’s not possible to find one in a colour I like.

As for the dash - same goes… this current one is pretty destroyed, the foam that’s visible beneath the split vinyl disintegrates if you look at it the wrong way, and on a short windy drive this morning I became painfully aware of how many little foam particles are floating around in the cab. So, I’m on the lookout for a brown / beige / peanut butter / whatever dash. If nothing materializes, I’ll try and recover this one, but that sounds like way more of a pain than doing the seat, lol.

Lastly, I’d like some input on paint colours from you all. My first intuition was to shoot a brown pearl - there are two nice ones - but the more I look at Lula the more I wonder whether she’s a little too humble for such a flashy paint job. I found a nice solid brown that would also work but am not 100% sold yet on that over the pearl. Any opinions (I know this is a very subjective matter) would be appreciated.

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well, Ron’s line has sprung a leak too. I’m wondering if I should replace the #3 injector - could be the seat is damaged. I can’t see anything immediately wrong with it visually but if it’s not sealing with two different lines I’m a little suspicious of it. Definitely undriveable for the moment while I wait on a full new set of injector lines.

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