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4,344 Posts
Discussion Starter · #101 · (Edited)
So much inspiration in this thread nice work

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Thanks brother.

Each of us gains inspiration here too.
(I hope)

So..... I find myself in a similar situation to 5 years ago.
Nowhere near as extreme and Desperate.

The partner I had moved to Oregon with.
Quit 3 full careers for.
Given up everything to depend on one single person.

In theory that’s great.
In reality I see how it was a mistake.

Because she ended up cheating with someone she worked with.
After being able to accept that.
she leads me on until she decides she no longer feels that way...

So because I am on a lease for the house until May of next year, I try to make the best of living with my ex.

In the next year I am planning on going and joining a certain amazing rabbit ranch near Shasta....
but it is best to make the best of my situation before I cut ties.
I basically worked for 5 years to get us here and get her debt down to zero.

I can’t complain because I used the garage here fo rescue my truck as the driver floor AND strut tower was falling through.
Got my topper leaking under control, got my turbo kicking ass and so much more.
It has evolved to what I always dreamed of could be. A time tested transportation machine.

So I got a job at a marijuana farm about 45min from my home.

This has always been a dream of mine.

I just showed up with a resume and got a job working as a garden tech.

Boy oh BOY had I chosen the wrong career. ..

So. Fingers crossed the old truck holds out another winter commute duty.

The farm is out in BLM land.
Such a peaceful amazing job.
The best most unique and amazing coworkers I have ever had.

And I have worked MY SHARE of many shops in 5 states.

All my mods have been rock solid.
Thank goodness.
Because I changed a lot.

Although I believe my compression issue may be getting ever so slightly worse.

My engine block has significant scoring from being run so hard it cracked multiple pistons.

I only ever did replace 2 pistons. With used alh pistons.

Oh my if I could go back and put 4 new pistons in.

What an cheapskate I was and how much vibrations has it caused me.

Oh well, still hauls like a train burns less than a quart or so every oil change.

Trading trucks with mokoosh I followed in his gem and could see a tint of blue from my exhauzg as he got on it, before it turned black, then hazy as the boost came in.

Ok, so maybe it smokes more than I thought.

I still don’t think it’s terminal at this point.

All she has gotta do is make it through the winter and a few trips hauling my junk around.

Commute is 65 miles so right around 1 gallon of fuel.

When I get to the end of the rainbow I will have time to rehabilitate her heart, I know it can run smoother and it’s maddening.

And after working and saving, hopefully the means to make it happen.

Just gotta keep my nose to the grindstone.

Opening the farm at 7am means getting there by 6:45am

Which means leaving at 6am.

But I feel oh so lucky.
This is a beautiful job, even if only for awhile.

I also feel lucky as to have met mokoosh and have someone to look forwards to.

Honestly without this forum and the people it connected me with,my life would be utterly dark and depressing, it’s not far to say that the people on this forum have saved my life


Nine diesels of which five are MK1 VWs
2,346 Posts
Commuting in a Rabbit truck is both a daily joy and a time to contemplate anxiety about how long this joy can last before it needs something major repaired. 😄

I am literally in awe every time I make it to work or back home without incident. I pat her on the dash and say "good truck" before placing the sun shade. I'm not kidding.

People who don't work on their own cars commute in blissful ignorance of what might go wrong next.

That's cool that you are planning to come back in the spring. It will be good to have you and Maxxie back at the ranch. She is such a cool dog. You'll be able to take some time to dismantle your truck to replace those other two pistons, drop your fuel tank for a refurb or whatever else you might want to do.

4,344 Posts
Discussion Starter · #103 · (Edited)
I cannot wait to get back to visit, and I cannot wait for you to meet my lady friend, she is SOMETHING.
Crazy, in the best way.

She named it destiny.

So, as I am being forced out of the house I worked hard to get $$, I am unsure what the future holds. As of now I have completed my 90 day probation at the Marijuana farm.

The truck...... oh the truck....
its commuted me thousands of miles just for this job. never left me stranded.

And... one fateful morning. Long before the sun came up, I was humming along a twisty forrest road at 65mph....
no moon pitch black, rain pouring through the fog. ..and the river had over run the road.
It was too late to do anything but plow into the river.... it was like a motorboat at first, til the water went over the hood and over the windshield.... i shut the engine off and threw her in neutral..
Now this had a bit part in saving the engine I think, however I have an "outerwear air filter cover" on a cone KN filter with a box around it and a screen in the front behind the headlight.

I let the truck stop and looked and water was about up to the bumper... fog lights were filled with water after this.
I fired it up and she moved on out. literally driving against the force of the river..

It wasnt until a few min later after the adrenaline slowed down that I noticed an odd vibration at lower rpm while going up a hill....

So yep, I bent a rod, but so damn slight. It doesnt smoke and still rips, gets alittle worse mpg, only like 50-55 (usually 60+)

SO, RIGHT WHEN I HAVE TO BE OUT OF MY HOUSE AND GARAGE I need major engine work ... great.
However the mechanic in me Is grateful, because a TDI should not be able to have the air filter put under water and drive out....
but this one did.

So I have driven aprox 2600 miles with a minor bent rod hopefully shes not too mad when I take her apart next thursday..

So... search for parts... OR AN ENGINE? it DOES have upwards of 400k on it....

So I get in touch with "CASCADE GERMAN" a parts place in Grasham just outside portland oregon.
I call and feel out some parts or maybe a used engine...

I end up driving up there because I dont have a credit card... a cool 100 miles each way with a bent rod.
i jusst picture blues brothers....

someday Ill have to put a used engine her, I would LOVE A NEW ONE, but cant spare the dough without a place to live...
but then again I do have a place to live ;P

Anyways back to the story... I drive up there and theres a sign on the door: NO BUSINESS IN PERSON DUE TO COVID

with a heavy heart i look as sad as I can through the glass door and gesture.... they have mercy..

I leave with a set of NEW alh connecting rods, bearings and bolts...
new headgasket and oil pan...
hew set of ASV TDI pistons!
(Previously I had cyl 1/4 were original ahu pistons, 2/3 had broken ring lands and i put in used alh pistons.... little did I KNOW that they are DIFFERENT pistons, so no ****ing wonder it vibrated at idle.....)

I also picked up a 0.658 5th gear, to replace the 0.79 corrado gear..
While waiting for the last engine parts... i threw the gearset on. I was very worried and skeptical becasue it was a 1990 ATA gearbox and had a unique syncro set... but the gearbox was super clean inside and it went smooth as can be,
And holy crap boys this thing flies... the high rpm was literally cutting fuel from my injector pump..
now, I need to worry about speeding. before the engine was like 3000rpm at 65...
now its 3000rpm at like 80mph

So, wish me luck in throwing some nice ass pistons and cheap new rods at a million mile engine...
after i did the 5th gear swap i noticed a drop of coolant from the bellhousing...
hopefully its something I can resolve when I pull the head off next wednesday......

its always something....
just wanted to give you guys an update. I have some vids to upload too and some pics but we all know how that goes..

life has been crazy as **** this year...
but my rabbit truck has been a guardian angel..

I dont even need to knock on my fake wood dash because even if she blows up tomorrow she did me so good. I could have asked more from any antique machine...

She drove from southern california up to seattle all the way back to virginia with one engine mount broken off, THEN moved ALL my stuff to fargo north dakota before i fixed it....

Whats a few thousand with a bent rod or two.
for something thats gone around the globe more than ten times.

300 Posts
Cool story man, I enjoyed reading it all. 80 mph is nuts. I can only dream of getting there once I get mine back together.

If you ever visit Fargo again and need a place to crash a few nights or garage space to work on your caddy, hit me up.

Nine diesels of which five are MK1 VWs
2,346 Posts
Awesome update! I look forward to meeting your new lady friend. Just don't have kids or you'll run out of seat belts. That's what happened to me. 😋

4,344 Posts
Discussion Starter · #106 ·
Alright brothers.
Here’s a little update.

I got off work on wed and got my supplies (oil, coolant, hone and ring compressor that was too big)

I got home end started my task.
Got the head off in just a couple hours.

The vnt15 turbo.
In conjunction with my frame.
Makes for.... interesting work access.
But it has so many specialty mods for “easy” servicing.

Got the new pistons and rods in.

The bores were trashed.

All 4 pistons had stuck #2 rings.
I attribute this to aprox 4 years of short commutes.

Rods slightly bent

Put in some NEW rods and ASV pistons from “CASCADE GERMAN” in Gresham Oregon.
Great people.
They will help you.
They are our kind.

Got her back together and fired up about 19 hours after starting.
Short test drive was decent.

She fires right up again.
But still has a very minor vibration that wasn’t there before I hit the river...

It’s much better than it was.
But it still pisses me off.

So. I do my commute the next day,
Leave at 6am.
I get 2/3 of the way there and temp gauge starts rising.
Pull over.
Coolant empty.
Look under don’t see any leaking.
Pour some in. Goes right out...
Heater core connector disintegrated.
It was original...

I literally just put a new heater core hose and was going to replace the connector but the work clamp was rusted solid.
Looks like it’s been on there since the early 90s. ...

So unable to get the clamp off I cut the hose.
Had a couple splices I keep in the truck.
And a spare hose clamp.
And I wasn’t even late to work.

Lucky me brought an extra 2 gallons of water.

But more boost than ever.
Barely have to touch the throttle.
I met my mpg skyrockets.

Hopefully she holds together.
I never thought I could pull this off.

But hot damn what a wild ride.

Funny after all these years I feel more at home broken down on the side of the road than i do in my house. I’m

4,344 Posts
Discussion Starter · #108 ·

It was harder to start from stuck piston rings.

What’s badass now is at the same throttle position.
It makes much more boost.
Much less blow by.

Before. Mokoosh can attest.
When u went full bore all u could smell was blow by lol.
Probably took a few years off my life.

I have my variable turbo so it’s kinda nice if I DO have a low power situation. I can always pull the turbo further shut and essentially increasss my compression.

I could probably find more power changing the injection timing.

But to hell with touching that.
It fires RIGHT up. Don’t even hear the starter.
Almost no smoke at WOT.

I used to have to push my throttle down on the highway and it would start actuating the turbo.

Now it has so much more snappy power off boost that I don’t even get into the turbo.
But it still makes more boost than it did before.

With the turbo wide open it used to do like 2.5-3 psi.
Now it does over 4.

My turbo also used to take a couple miles to “warm up” it’s a China turbo not so easy to turn with your fingers but has no play and burns no oil....
And once she’s warm she makes full boost.

Mother of god I want to know what this setup is like with a REAL garret turbo.
Maybe a vnt17

In my dreams a 17/22

That would potentially DOUbLE my power.

That’s why I love this rig.

Also. Don’t ever fall in love with a woman whose best friend is her ex.

Peace have a great weekend brothers

340 Posts
if you want to cover shipping I will send you this garret vnt15 I have I bought it when my turbo went out of the Kubvan the guy told me it was an ahu turbo that needed a wastegate but it’s a vnt turbo that needs an actuator but like I said you can have it I bought a wastegated one for my van and have been trying to sell this one for the $100 I paid for it since like July and I’m pretty sure it’s just gonna get broken or otherwise ****ed up just sitting in my garage so I’d pay it forward if you want it I’m just also too broke to cover shipping I just donated my weekly spending money to the Kubvan forum today lol it was only $20 but I want him to keep that website up it’s cool to look at

Here’s a shot of a lot of the custom parts for the vnt ahu into a mk1

4,344 Posts
Discussion Starter · #111 ·
I just wanted to say I saw your message.
I appreciate the offer

I should take you up on it.

But I am continuing my existential crisis now that my ex made me move out before lease in February.

I moved from a house to a room in a house.

I will be packing up again here again shortly.

I appreciate it brothers.

1500miles of straight into commuting after my new pistons and rods.

Not even the slightest issue.
But whatever comes.
Cant be more ****ed up than what I’ve already overcome.

If only I could hold onto this feeling.

Hope you all have great days as spring time comes on.

This year shall be far more epic than those preceding

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

4,344 Posts
Discussion Starter · #112 ·

Hello everyone.
Sorry I have not been on here nearly as much as I should.

Man this summer was unexpected for sure.
But in a very good way. To the mk1 content:

It’s been nearly a year since the new pistons and this rig has never run better in my lifetime. I got some Mk3 front springs: an upgrade every caddy could benefit from!

It’s hard to believe it’s still so solid after all these years. I just finished up a road trip with me and the puppy dog.

There are many more mk1/vw diesel where I am located currently so hopefully be a part of some cool projects if we manage to avoid getting burned up in the fire.

What’s the biggest 14” tires you all have been able to pull off?

At this point I’m ready to make some surgery for larger tires, and boy do I need tires.
My nokian hakapalita are from 2009.

With the new asv pistons, cam and my diamond coated injectors last year this thing is a beast. The long 5th… it doesn’t start fully accelerating in 5th until like 70mph.

Keep it up mk1 family.
Good vibes to all.

4,344 Posts
Discussion Starter · #113 · (Edited)
Just wanted to check in. Help keep for forum alive because in fact I owe quite a lot to having been a member!

No longer living in my truck, on the road, or with a ball n chain, and in fact have a geodesic dome with a wood stove.
I have a good friend to thank for the help.

I spent a few days doing a little rehab on the ol’ beast. Started with a heavy cleaning of the interior.

I need some black Astro-turf type thing for the carpet.

Or what I really need is to pull dash and windshield and find the water leaks. …
Maybe this summer …

For now- wipers fixed (low voltage into switch)
Washer bottle fitted. Running dual pumps and dual squirters. It’s a hell of an upgrade.

And hooked the horn up to the steering wheel.

Also fixed a pesky fast-clicky turn signal. .

Oh and mokoosh found me too nos *** (lol sensored, damn haha f-a-g (not gay)) front wheel bearings. As my old ones were getting quite noisy.

All in all it feels like a new truck.
I’ve turned the boost up to 15psi and it can spin the tires going up a hill in 5th (on slush)

I need a lsd. Or rather I really want one.
Having been stuck in the snow a couple times.. I need to replace my 2009 Nokia’s hakapalitas. Ready for much bigger tires.
And any cutting req’d to fit them.

Tough ass little truck. Driveline hasn’t given me a lick of trouble since my néw asv pistons-
Last year.

4,344 Posts
Discussion Starter · #114 ·

Behold my glorious and mighty mtdi
And my 1996 Subaru washer bottle holds over a gallon! Good thing the dual pumps and dual spray nozzles can really move some fluid

I do really like my custom air Box.

4,344 Posts
Discussion Starter · #117 ·

I’d like to say I had a part in this trucks character, however half the character predates… me ;p

You know your really a vw owner when you find moss starting to grow under original Grateful Dead sticker.

I did glue the chrome vw on the tailgate tho, it makes me smile.

I’ve been watching mokoosh develop into quite the car-painter.
Maybe one day I’ll convince him to spray some paint on it one day.

If I can ever sand enough to match his prep standards that is ;p

I really wanna get some aluminum and finish my frame and make a cab-over camper.
And a geared rear axle and make it electric rwd. The line between planning and dreaming lies somewhere wherein


4,344 Posts
Discussion Starter · #119 ·
I almost forgot. I finally riveted shut the opening for the shifter and removed my last-disgusting shreds of carpet under my-in cabin- 02a shifter box.

I keep expecting to have to source a new shift-something. As the shift box and transmission are both over 30 years old without a single piece having malfunctioned.
Making sure of course to Knock on my fake wood dash

Having great fun tuning on a (once) stock 1.6td got me remembering tuning my last engine.
Where I ground my own custom boost pin.
I took it out just to see where I had it set and what it looked like.

For comparison on the left side of the pin was the steepest ramp on a 1.6td pump.
I think I did a pretty fair grind if I don’t say so myself.

It’s always nice when you do something risky that could destroy a valuable vital piece of a sophisticated machine when your in your younger 20s… and it turns out you didn’t do a bad job At all.

I had to get my truck cleaned up for when mokoosh wants to take it for a drive to compare what a vnt turbo can do.
Been wanting to make a drive over to pick n pull. I love me vnt turbo.
And I really really want to put my same vnt15 turbo setup on 1.6

I can see it now- the round eye caddy with a 1.6 5sp vnt15

141 Posts
Hey! Just read your story and feel for you man. Life on the road can be difficult but rewarding in life experience. Have you considered planting some roots and homesteading a little? Sounds like that kind of lifestyle is right up your alley. Anyways, hope all is well and warm for the winter!
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