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The MDF should work for a while if you protect it real well. A material I like to use for projects like that is ABS plastic. It is sometimes called hair cell. You can get it in different thicknesses but the common one that I use is 1/8. It is a little bit more pricey than the MDF but you can have a 4 by 4 sheet for if I recall correctly around 50 bucks. Real handy material for lots of projects. It is pretty much indestructible and if you cut a groove in the back side is very easy to band with a nice crisp edge. And it is already black in color so you don't have to paint it.

With all of that said, I probably will be going with thin aluminum sheet for my radiator shroud, but I'm not 100% certain on that. The ABS is just so easy to work with and it will be easier to not have it rattle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
Minor setback - got both my hoses and coupler for the water pump to lower radiator run, but it turns out the thermostat outlet is 1.5" and my hose was 1.25" (which all the radiator inlets and even the upper inlet on the engine are,) so my 90 degree bend hose wouldn't fit. I tried it just in case, and it split a bit, so now have ordered up a 90 degree bend hose that goes from 1.5" down to 1.25" and will have it next week.

Really wanted to fire it up today and make sure my radiator fan kicked on, etc., and cruise the neighborhood a bit, but back on hold until next week some time. Should have the ABS plastic this Thursday, so will cut that to shape for shroud/airflow through the radiator, and hopefully final-install it after the new hose shows up

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What are you using for hoses? Silicone or rubber?
I'm just now going down this path, and I'm leaning towards a Silicone kit.
My setup is a bit unique, so it will be a matter of using what I can, and splice the rest.
Like you, the transition pieces are what we need most.
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
I had gotten 4-ply silicone ones. I would have used rubber with the metal coil inside to prevent kinks, but couldn't find one long enough for it. I think the molded silicone ones fit the shape I needed really well with minor trimming on the 180 degree bend hose.

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
Today both the 1.5"-1.25" 90-degree hose and the abs plastic arrived. Attached the hose to everything, and started to fill the radiator up. Probably had about 1/2 gallon in when it starts dripping from the lower hose. Traced the leak back to where it attaches to the lower water outlet and can feel it coming out between the hose and the outlet. Snugged up the clamp, but drip doesn't stop. It's an original metal water outlet. It's been cleaned up good, brand new o-ring, seated properly and no visible cracks/damage. Any thoughts would be GREATLY appreciated.

Stepped away from that to work on the ABS plastic shroud parts. Cut to match my templates and they were still together after cutting, lol - heat created from the saw caused the ABS to melt back together. Slowed down the saw and then my cuts took. Will finish these later, since I REALLY need the leak issue solved, and have a pretty good headache, possibly from a combo of leak frustration and ABS plastic fumes

To be continued

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Discussion Starter · #51 ·
It's running reliably now! Opted to replace the water outlet going to the water pump, just in case, and no more coolant leak AND the new one was 1.25" like the rest of the connections (old water outlet was 1.5" as you may recall)

I believe most of the air is now out of the cooling system, fan kicks on when it should, coolant is circulating, however temp gage in the cluster reads high - could just be off or damaged. Regardless, put a few miles on it today, and it runs smooth and feels good going down the road.

Need to swap out the blower motor for the interior, and finish redoing the driver door card. Thinking of doing a factory screw-into-the-roof roof rack.

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Discussion Starter · #52 ·
Ok, so I undid everything on the heater box to try to take it out, but it does not drop down enough for the blower motor to clear the hole, and the unit won't swivel or tilt enough in any direction, so it free but stuck.

Any thoughts or advice would be oh so welcome right now!

-=Mark
'80 Dasher Wagon
'81 Rabbit Sportruck
'90 VSE JackRabbit
'11 Jetta Sportwagen SE
 

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Love the Dasher. I have a 1980 which I swapped an 84 block into. I had a similar problem with my lower water pump leaking without any sign of damage. What I eventually found was that one of the bosses on the oil pan face of the bottom of the engine was sticking out just far enough that the water pump housing was pressing against it when tight. All the fasteners could be tightened and it looked fine but it had a slow seep. Don't know where the compatibility problem came from but I'm glad to see you solved it.
I just drained the coolant, pulled off the pump, and used a hacksaw on the block in the car to resolve it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
I broke down and ordered the plastic water outlet, and ground it down to fit past that. If I turned it 180 degrees the other way, it had that part ground down already, so figured it was a safe plan

-=Mark
'80 Dasher Wagon
'81 Rabbit Sportruck
'90 VSE JackRabbit
'11 Jetta Sportwagen SE
 

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Discussion Starter · #55 ·
Anyway, decided several days ago since the car is intended for warm weather use, I'd skip the blower motor, put it all back together and get out and enjoy this car.

My son and I have been putting the miles on it, and enjoying every minute of it. We're going to use it for the local vw club's upcoming fall foliage cruise as well.

I REALLY love how this car drives!

-=Mark
'80 Dasher Wagon
'81 Rabbit Sportruck
'90 VSE JackRabbit
'11 Jetta Sportwagen SE
 

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I just got to the point of driving my 80 on a daily basis, runs great other than needing a carb tune, and I can't agree more re: how incredibly pleasing this car is to drive. I'd been driving my sporty lowered 87 Rocco for so long, I forgot that speed bumps don't have to make me wince. Epitome of smooth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #60 ·
It was a beautiful, flawless day on the fall foliage cruise, and the car was no exception. Ran smooth, looked great, and traveled 6 hrs (to the cruise, during the cruise, and home from the cruise) all over a picturesque northwest Connecticut


-=Mark
'80 Dasher Wagon
'81 Rabbit Sportruck
'90 VSE JackRabbit
'11 Jetta Sportwagen SE
 
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