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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Tire Wheel Vehicle Car Land vehicle


Hey everyone! Long time lurker, first time “build” thread maker. I finally decided to document the progress on my ’92 GTI I picked up a couple years ago. A little background before we dive in – almost 20 years ago I bought my first car, a crusty 87 tornado red GTI, just outside of my hometown Buffalo NY. I always loved mk2’s for some reason and growing up with a bunch of folks who had VW’s, I was hooked at an early age. It did pretty good for about a year, then I started tearing into it with big plans and ambitions and, well, you know how that story goes…

In between then and now, I’ve had a few other old VW’s, including a few mk2 Jetta’s (one was an Eco-Diesel I still regret selling), a mk2 Scirocco, a mk1 Cabriolet, a couple mk3’s, etc. I never did own another mk2 GTI though, and I always had the allure of getting back into a T-red mk2 GTI. Fast forward to my mid-30’s, a family of 4 and the typical hectic life: I started to really get the itch again to be back out in the garage, tinkering, occasionally looking forward to those Sunday morning drives. It really came out of nowhere too – I haven’t had a project in over 10 years, I was pretty boring. Then comes the spring of 2020 – the pandemic was just ramping up and luckily mk2 prices weren’t silly yet, I finally started looking for real and actually committed to getting another mk2.

After a few months of just browsing different forums and Facebook groups without luck I cross posted a WTB ad on Facebook and struck gold. A guy in Cincinnati reached out to me within a couple days with a ’92 tornado red GTI that he was about to list for sale, but didn’t yet, and we started to work out the details. The price was really fair, it wasn’t crusty, he was only 5 hours away and that’s all it took. In my early 20’s I wouldn’t blink at driving 10+ hours for a crappy car, and to be honest I was actually looking forward to hitting the road again to buy something – it brought back a lot of fun memories.

A quick overview of the mk2 the day I bought it: 170k miles, completely original other than some no name muffler that was installed, 99% rust free (very minor surface rust on the battery tray, and about 1” of surface rust on sunroof). Car ran a bit rough, but it ran. Brakes were shot and shift linkage was gone, but easy stuff mostly. Underbody was immaculate. Paint was a bit rough – typical tornado pink with a lot of damage to the clear coat in areas, typical dings etc. Definitely not a looker, it was definitely driven and parked outside. But for what I was looking for, I was OK with that. Here’s a picture from my trip back to Buffalo:
Sky Tire Wheel Car Vehicle

Tire Automotive tire Hood Automotive design Automotive exterior


Originally, I planned to vr6 swap it and just completely overhaul it. I’m so glad I didn’t. I’ve owned a mk2 vr6, they’re a blast, but after thinking it over I decided to keep it closer to stock, and really go after the OEM+ path (more on this soon). Once I settled on this, I focused on just making the 8v run good, fix the brakes, and focus first on suspension and wheels/tires. New plugs, wires, cap/rotor, air filter, flushed all fluids, and a general good cleaning under the hood. Found a leak in the radiator, so replaced that too. Tinkered with the TB and got it running and idling strong. Installed a Techtonics short shift kit and replaced all the bushings etc to get all my gears back. Next I went into the brakes, new pads & rotors up front, bled the system, adjusted parking brake. After a few attempts got everything working properly, and she was running and driving without issues. Basic stuff, but fun nonetheless.

Next I started detailing the trim, which was in ROUGH shape. It was all there minus the jack flaps (which I scored some OEM’s from a friend locally), but it was literally light gray/white in color. And looks like a previous owner tried to heat gun the rear bumper, causing some legit issues. I ended up using boiled linseed oil, which worked amazing. Some before & after:
Wheel Tire Car Land vehicle Vehicle

Wheel Tire Car Automotive side marker light Vehicle


Next I focused on the suspension. The OG suspension was bouncier than a trampoline, so I picked up some H&R Street coilovers and paired them with H&R front and rear sway bars (still need to install). Around the same time, I lucked out on getting a set of BBS RM’s with 1” lips from @upsetbobrosstree on IG. After ordering some new hardware from SSR, I got everything installed:
Automotive tire Tableware Motor vehicle Tread Tire


New ride height with H&R coils and BBS RM012's:
Wheel Tire Vehicle Car Hood


I was originally going to keep the interior stock with the ultra violet seats and cards, but I simply couldn’t resist the velour Recaro’s I once had back in the day.. Got stupid lucky and found a set locally, at a fair price! I paid about the same for an OEM 60/40 bench a few months later (the market really started getting wack so I paid a premium + shipping). Still looking for the velour door cards ☹ - If anyone has a lead and actually read all of this, let me know hah!
Car Vehicle Car seat cover Fixture Head restraint


OEM radio delete panel - love the little things....
Vehicle Car Automotive design Gear shift Steering wheel


OG Duostyling gauges!! Founds these locally too, even dumber luck…
Vehicle Automotive design Motor vehicle Personal luxury car Car
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Over the past winter, a friend of mine began VR6 swapping his mk3 cabrio and I picked up his entire ABA swap with transmission and full harness, which had less than 130k on it and was clean as heck!

I’m planning to do an ABA counterflow build next winter (more to come here). Have an extra PF counterflow head that I'll be opening up the valves, doing a cam, chip, full exhaust, etc. ABA bottom end, serpentine setup, battery cover, super clean OEM+ under the hood with a little more pep and revs. Scored a sweet Rapid valve cover to put the cherry on top:

Motor vehicle Electrical wiring Automotive fuel system Automotive tire Automotive exterior


Rectangle Wood Manhole Road surface Font


More Neuspeed goodies that are hard to find (still have to install and stop being lazy)

Sleeve Grey Automotive tire Font Bumper


I lied, the other non-original piece on this car were the inner rounds. Ended up scoring an OEM ribbed set and of course had to source the OG hella stickers, because, well, the little things like that make me happy...

Automotive tail & brake light Car Vehicle Grille Automotive lighting


Fahrvergnügen goodies
Font Art Material property Circle Electric blue


Evidence that I actually drove this thing last summer instead of just buying parts. In the wild with another mk2 - Mica Blue!!
Car Land vehicle Vehicle Vehicle registration plate Plant


I spent an afternoon attempting to buff out the paint and bring out more color. I did an OK job - I'm definitely going to take another stab at it this summer to get a better result and salvage what I can of the original paint. It looks good from 20 feet away LOL
Wheel Tire Vehicle Sky Car


Wheel Car Tire Vehicle Motor vehicle


Tire Wheel Car Vehicle Land vehicle
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Plant Wheel Tire Vehicle Car


Mod list and future "to-do" build list:

1992 GTI 8v
H&R Street Coilovers, new OEM upper strut mounts
H&R 25mm front sway bar
H&R 28mm rear sway bar
Neuspeed 4 point rear strut bar
BBS RM012 wheels w/ 1" lips, new chrome hardware from SSR
TTTuning short shift kit
OEM brake refresh (pads/rotors)
OEM radiator, coolant temp sensor, thermostat, belts
Rapid valve cover
Duostyling gauges (3)
OEM radio delete panel
Frenched fog lights
Recaro velour front seats
Recaro velour rear 60/40 bench

To-do list:
ABA bottom end, PF counterflow head build (valves, camshaft, chip)
TTTuning 2.25" catback exhaust, header
Recaro velour door cards - HELP!
Disc brake conversion from mk3 Cabrio
Buff paint (again)
Digifiz 7k swap
Happich rear windows
Make it to mk2 Mayday next year!
 

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View attachment 184087

Hey everyone! Long time lurker, first time “build” thread maker. I finally decided to document the progress on my ’92 GTI I picked up a couple years ago. A little background before we dive in – almost 20 years ago I bought my first car, a crusty 87 tornado red GTI, just outside of my hometown Buffalo NY. I always loved mk2’s for some reason and growing up with a bunch of folks who had VW’s, I was hooked at an early age. It did pretty good for about a year, then I started tearing into it with big plans and ambitions and, well, you know how that story goes…

In between then and now, I’ve had a few other old VW’s, including a few mk2 Jetta’s (one was an Eco-Diesel I still regret selling), a mk2 Scirocco, a mk1 Cabriolet, a couple mk3’s, etc. I never did own another mk2 GTI though, and I always had the allure of getting back into a T-red mk2 GTI. Fast forward to my mid-30’s, a family of 4 and the typical hectic life: I started to really get the itch again to be back out in the garage, tinkering, occasionally looking forward to those Sunday morning drives. It really came out of nowhere too – I haven’t had a project in over 10 years, I was pretty boring. Then comes the spring of 2020 – the pandemic was just ramping up and luckily mk2 prices weren’t silly yet, I finally started looking for real and actually committed to getting another mk2.

After a few months of just browsing different forums and Facebook groups without luck I cross posted a WTB ad on Facebook and struck gold. A guy in Cincinnati reached out to me within a couple days with a ’92 tornado red GTI that he was about to list for sale, but didn’t yet, and we started to work out the details. The price was really fair, it wasn’t crusty, he was only 5 hours away and that’s all it took. In my early 20’s I wouldn’t blink at driving 10+ hours for a crappy car, and to be honest I was actually looking forward to hitting the road again to buy something – it brought back a lot of fun memories.

A quick overview of the mk2 the day I bought it: 170k miles, completely original other than some no name muffler that was installed, 99% rust free (very minor surface rust on the battery tray, and about 1” of surface rust on sunroof). Car ran a bit rough, but it ran. Brakes were shot and shift linkage was gone, but easy stuff mostly. Underbody was immaculate. Paint was a bit rough – typical tornado pink with a lot of damage to the clear coat in areas, typical dings etc. Definitely not a looker, it was definitely driven and parked outside. But for what I was looking for, I was OK with that. Here’s a picture from my trip back to Buffalo:
View attachment 184063
View attachment 184064

Originally, I planned to vr6 swap it and just completely overhaul it. I’m so glad I didn’t. I’ve owned a mk2 vr6, they’re a blast, but after thinking it over I decided to keep it closer to stock, and really go after the OEM+ path (more on this soon). Once I settled on this, I focused on just making the 8v run good, fix the brakes, and focus first on suspension and wheels/tires. New plugs, wires, cap/rotor, air filter, flushed all fluids, and a general good cleaning under the hood. Found a leak in the radiator, so replaced that too. Tinkered with the TB and got it running and idling strong. Installed a Techtonics short shift kit and replaced all the bushings etc to get all my gears back. Next I went into the brakes, new pads & rotors up front, bled the system, adjusted parking brake. After a few attempts got everything working properly, and she was running and driving without issues. Basic stuff, but fun nonetheless.

Next I started detailing the trim, which was in ROUGH shape. It was all there minus the jack flaps (which I scored some OEM’s from a friend locally), but it was literally light gray/white in color. And looks like a previous owner tried to heat gun the rear bumper, causing some legit issues. I ended up using boiled linseed oil, which worked amazing. Some before & after:
View attachment 184065
View attachment 184066

Next I focused on the suspension. The OG suspension was bouncier than a trampoline, so I picked up some H&R Street coilovers and paired them with H&R front and rear sway bars (still need to install). Around the same time, I lucked out on getting a set of BBS RM’s with 1” lips from @upsetbobrosstree on IG. After ordering some new hardware from SSR, I got everything installed:
View attachment 184067

New ride height with H&R coils and BBS RM012's:
View attachment 184071

I was originally going to keep the interior stock with the ultra violet seats and cards, but I simply couldn’t resist the velour Recaro’s I once had back in the day.. Got stupid lucky and found a set locally, at a fair price! I paid about the same for an OEM 60/40 bench a few months later (the market really started getting wack so I paid a premium + shipping). Still looking for the velour door cards ☹ - If anyone has a lead and actually read all of this, let me know hah!
View attachment 184072

OEM radio delete panel - love the little things....
View attachment 184074

OG Duostyling gauges!! Founds these locally too, even dumber luck…
View attachment 184075
Shriver:

Amazing! Great job! Love MK4s on back! Like my MKIII Jetta that I've owned since 1995. Your car is gorgeous!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Wow, linseed oil really does wonders huh.
I couldn't believe it. I did a ton of research on it last year before doing anything, and I'm really glad I wen this route. I garage the car, but I easily put 3-4k miles on it last year after applying it to all the trim, and gave it at least 10 washes during the summer, and it's held up very well. I just pulled it back out last week and it's still strong. I might do another pass with it later in the year but it's been holding up very well given how faded it was when I bought the car. I'm a fan!
 

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90 jetta coupe, 91 cabby, 81 caddy, 86 vanagon, mk1 tt, mk4 jetta, b5 s4
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that’s a sexxxxy gti! Love it. Any tips on the linseed oil? Did you just put it on a rag and wipe it? I will have to try it out on my coupe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
that’s a sexxxxy gti! Love it. Any tips on the linseed oil? Did you just put it on a rag and wipe it? I will have to try it out on my coupe.
Appreciate the kind words! Basically yes. Spend the appropriate time prepping around the trim to start - I used some painters tape around tight areas to make sure I didn't get any of this stuff on the clear coat. Take a rag and use a small to moderate amount per area. I spent some time "rubbing" it into the trim rather than wiping it - not sure if that was needed but I kind of "worked" it into the trim pieces since they were so faded to begin with. The front lip I did two passes given it was the worst and looked like it needed another run.

Make sure you dispose of the rags properly afterwards. I soaked mine in water then took to the dump the next day. I remember a couple years ago folks saying they could spontaneously combust if left out in hot/dry areas... I have no experience with that so better safe then sorry...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Starting to dig back into the mk2 in effort to getting it back into daily driver mode for this summer. While I wait for some maintenance parts, I took apart the grill & headlights to address a cosmetic concern. Last year when I swapped out the inner rounds that came with the car (crystal clear e9's), I never could get them to sit at the appropriate depth. The clear crystals I was taking out sat about a half inch recessed in the hole, which looks very stock/OEM.

I ended up picking up a set of OEM e1's - I believe from a cabriolet or earlier mk2 - and at the time I didn't notice the tabs were longer. I quickly installed them and noticed they sat further out once completed, but it wasn't a crazy amount or enough at the time to tinker. Today I looked a little further and notice the tabs are drastically longer than the e9's, which is causing this.

Question - are there ribbed e1's out there with shorter tabs I should source? Is swapping out glass too much of a PITA to bother with (I've done some initial research, seems to be a bit of effort to do properly). Thoughts?

Hood Automotive tire Automotive lighting Wood Bumper


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Automotive lighting Headlamp Gas Automotive wheel system Rim


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Looks great so far! Doing it right for sure. I'll have to go look at the high beams on my car regarding the brackets, I've got two Hella sets setting here.

EDIT: looked at both sets, they are both E1s with shorter brackets.
 
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