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84 Golf Mtdi, 86 Golf 2.0L, 88 Fox Diesel Wagon, 08 Rabbit GTI
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Without a massive backstory, I have wanted a Fox wagon for many moons, and finally picked one up with my gf last week! My rabbit is a great car, but aesthetically, it is a huge project. The Fox is gorgeous as it stands, and is ready to drive as a DD...

...or so I thought. We all know how it goes. There is a LOT too look for when buying an old car, but even when you know what to look for, it takes time for some things to rear their heads.









It had a few hundred miles to be driven home, but it ran and drove great. 96k on the clock, and the engine isn't tired in the least bit. I put the MOMO shift knob and wheel in it when I got home, but the interior is all stock and pretty clean. The vinyl atop the doors is starting to come loose, so I will have to reglue it soon. Centeter console and shift boot have some cracks, but not bad.

The paint has been resprayed at some point, but it was hard to tell. It was done well! I think they had the windows out and everything. There is one little ding in the drivers door that should pop out, and a few scuffs that were hit with touch up paint. All in all, it looks newer than many cars 20 years younger. Not sure how I feel about the moonroof being cut in, but again, it was well done. I also tinted the cracked tail lights when got it back to the garage, and really love the way it looks with this color in particular. I am particularly pleased to do away with the orange. The reverse lights didn't work, but I will be wiring in an aftermarket LED unit for better visibility.




Shocks and struts are new, and it feels comfortable. Not race suspension like the rabbit, but appropriate for DD'ing and cruising. Still, I need more wheel and rubber. Probably doing bottlecaps just like the rabbit.

Engine is also stock. I know the 8v engine well, but have more experience with CIS basic and CIS lambda. My CIS-e knowledge is mostly with Mercedes, so it will be nice getting intimate with it in a VW application. When we showed up to pick up the car, I already had my K&N in hand. I ripped out the intake heat exchanger and tossed in the filter before I even hit the road haha.

The previous owner already replaced fuel pump (pumps?), and had the tank cleaned out, so I hope not to have any fuel issues any time soon. The catback exhaust was replaced, but it is pretty ricey. I changed the pre-cat gasket as soon as I got home, and now the exhaust note is unbearable to my taste.



It bumped new exhaust up to the top of the list for me. I hope to get it to my good friend Ed Hanson soon, so he can work his magic as he has for every car I have ever owned. It will likely see 2 1/4 and a magnaflow like the rabbit. Rare as they seem to be, he will probably be building my a dual downpipe later on. This will likely be after the engine swap. Gotta make sure I have everything at the right height, with the tallblock and all...

Swap? Tallblock? Yup. Ducks are in a row. My plan is to have an engine on a stand, ready to drop by the time it needs a clutch.
Gameplan:
Early ABA block
Ported 40/33 hydro head with 7mm stems
276 cam
Big intake mani an TB
Dual outlet exhaust
120amp VR6 alt on a serpentine setup

Not really concerned about making big big power, but this should be more than enough to make this wagon scoot. The torque will be perfect for the weight and size, and should make more sense of the gear ratio, making the 4 speed seem more natural. Not going to stress about doing a 5 speed swap either, but the tranny is my biggest worry about the chasis. I love the 020 transmissions, they broad range of gears, and the vast availability of parts. I know the 020 very well, but I know nothing about these longitudinal units :/
 

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84 Golf Mtdi, 86 Golf 2.0L, 88 Fox Diesel Wagon, 08 Rabbit GTI
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks! She is definitely going to be treated like a queen. Thus far, the main problems discovered are as follows:
Shifter is developing slop (just got my 4 speed bushing kit in the mail today)
gas leak when the tank is full (pretty sure it is just the hose between the tank and the filler neck)
and the grand finale
*drumroll*
the heater core started leaking 2 days after buying it, so it is already parked hahaha. I have huge dash project going on with the rabbit right now, so the fox is going to have to wait for a while on that note. I am just installing an NLS heater block off plate and bypassing the heater core for the time being. Of course, just in time for late Fall/Winter weather :facepalm:

I learned about the whole recall thing after the fact. It is no longer active, thus forcing me to attack it myself, but that gives me the bonus of keeping the stock guest-bedroom glovebox :laugh: but lord! What a PITA it is to get to those heater hoses with the battery tray in the engine bay! Ugh! So it goes! I am so in love, a silly heater core isn't bringing me down.
 

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Love the fart cannon! haha. Seems like the lifespan of a heater core is around 25 years... :rolleyes:
If your car has A/C, I recommend what I did, and pull it out the side, and glue.

Clean looking car though, good luck.
 

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84 Golf Mtdi, 86 Golf 2.0L, 88 Fox Diesel Wagon, 08 Rabbit GTI
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
HAHAHA! Thanks! Interesting and fart box sum it up pretty well!!! I wish I could save the money to put towards other things first, but it is absolutely intolerable to me. It might work out just adding a resonator, but I don't want to waste the resources to find out. Even though I have a bunch of good stereo stuff to throw in this down the line, and a bunch of fatmat...nothing can cover up the drone this thing puts out when cruising.
The car does not have A/C, which is fine by me! I greatly prefer not having extra items to fail, rob power, or get in the way. I will investigate some heater core replacement methods, but I have so much going on already this month. I know darn well I won't get to it until the new year.
When I said I had my work cut out for me with my rabbit's dash project... I meant it. I have a lot of fiberglassing and wiring ahead of me, so I dare not take the fox apart until the rabbit is finished and drivable. Thus, I will have to invest in a couple of new jackets this winter


I am obviously a glutton for pain and suffering, but I will still limit myself to one dash out at a time haha
 

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84 Golf Mtdi, 86 Golf 2.0L, 88 Fox Diesel Wagon, 08 Rabbit GTI
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well thank you for the compliment, kind wishes AND shift bushings :beer: I didn't expect anything to come so quickly from Canada! When the package showed up, I had no idea what it could have been until I saw the return address haha. I am going to dive in this weekend to do that and the gear oil.

I finished my temporary fix for the heater core bypass. I took the hose flange off the back of the head, tapped some threads into it, and put a 1/2" NPT plumbing plug in it. I put a plug in the metal bypass pipe as well, but I am not completely pleased with it. There is a rusted spot where it has developed a small trickle of a leak. I am just going to take it out for now and put a short splice from the overflow bottle hose to the return hose on the water pump. That should also make it a bit easier to get to the oil filter next time...

I have been spoiled with how empty I have made the engine bay in my Rabbit, that I have almost forgotten what it is like to have all these extra gizmos in the way! The Fox is even harder to work around, with the battery position, evap equipment, and offset radiator! The Fox had a sticker in the windshield for a recent oil change, but when looking at the oil filter...I could see a couple of rusty scratches where someone had tried to remove it, and obviously changed their mind :facepalm:

Now sometimes I will change my filter without changing my oil...but who changes oil without changing the filter??? Once I tried to do it myself, I understood...but they still gave up to easily! I am happy to report that the diesel engine's filter still fits on the Fox style setup without clearance issues. I have been prone to using the diesel filters for years, under the impression that more filter means better filtration :D

Things that would make future filter changes easier...deleting the bypass pipe (although that is not a permanent option for most), changing the angle or position of the evap canister (invasive and possibly labor intensive), or converting the fan shroud to accept a low profile fan :) This may end up on my to-do list, and I might just pick up an extra shroud next time I see a Fox at the junker.

Excited as I was to get the wagon running again, all it took was driving from the house to work this morning...and I had to call the muffler shop. I dropped in to visit and see what he could do for me, without splurging for a proper catback yet. My dude lopped off the fart can, put a generic normal something or other on, crowned it with a shiny tip, and sent me out the door for $40 total. It is better all around. Brought a little torque back and is much more aesthetically fitting as well


Also, found a little extra info on the sunroof. There was a sticker on the inside of the glovebox with the install date and such.


It has been raining like crazy through the night as well, so it passes the leak test with flying colors!

Now to get the shifter all dialed in, and it will be time to teach my better half how to drive stick :thumbup:
 

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84 Golf Mtdi, 86 Golf 2.0L, 88 Fox Diesel Wagon, 08 Rabbit GTI
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks novws! In which case, I am please to announce that both vehicles will be seeing more love and gettin stuff done, because I FINALLY got my toolbox from my dad's house to my new (well...now it's kinda old) garage. I have been waiting and waiting for a friend with a truck to help me, but finally took measurements and found it would fit in the Fox :D Took two trips, but with no issues! Good to know the wagon can handle that much of a load! The back didn't even sag!

Sorry for showing off my box...but I am just really impressed!!


My garage is finally starting to feel like home! Just need the week to get everything cleaned up and reorganized. Bravo, Fox:beer:
 

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84 Golf Mtdi, 86 Golf 2.0L, 88 Fox Diesel Wagon, 08 Rabbit GTI
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
FV-QR

Bah! I finally had the time to do the shift bushings, and there is still a stupid amount of play in the shifter. I can feel areas of improvement...the bushings were definitely shot...but when in gear, there is an atrocious amount of side to side play. It is bizarre.

I presume it is in the shifter "box" itself, but saw no insight on rebuilding that. Does any one have insight on the subject that you can tip me towards? I believe the plastic ball might be damaged.
 

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There is a bushing where the shifter bolts to to linkage. It's on the inside of the car. Take your center console out, and you'll see it. I shaved down some mk1 bushings till they fit. I replaced my bushings as well, and still had massive side to side play to the point I had no reverse. Replaced that shift lever bushing, and it's super tight and shifts like butter.
 

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84 Golf Mtdi, 86 Golf 2.0L, 88 Fox Diesel Wagon, 08 Rabbit GTI
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Awesome! Advice turned out stellar, as I ALWAYS have at LEAST one full set of mk1 shift kits on hand haha. Took a 3/8ths drill bit and a little sanding, and it fit like a glove. Now, I just need to take time tomorrow to adjust it so I can find more than reverse, first and second :facepalm:

 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
FV-QR

Busy busy busy. Ever since I found out that mk2 lowering springs and rear shocks would fit the wagon, I thought....why the heck am I selling a mk2 with this suspension on it?? I took the rear Bilstiens and Neuspeed sport springs off and put them on the Fox, realizing after the fact that the Fox bits WILL NOT fit back on the mk2 :/ Theshaft of the shock is not long enough to pass through the ody and all of the necessary hardware. Thankfully, it was half off at the junkyard that day haha. The added bonus of the Neuspeeds is the poly bushing that they come with The added bonus of the Bilstiens is the adjustable spring seat via circlip.

If look at the Billy shock, you can see that I have one more rung that I can drop. Before doing the rear suspension, the back looked lifted. Now, it is close to even, perhaps the front is a tid bit higher. I will put the front springs on when I can afford some Bilstien inserts. I will probably end up dropping to the last rung on the rears at that time. Putting real wheels on it almost made the Fox look like an SUV, but it should settle down just perfect in the end. Here are before and after shots of the rear height.


Other than that, the only thing I have done since the shift bushings has been changing the plugs. I am surprised it ran as well as it did with those fouled, burnt out buggers running a .045+ gap haha
 

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Also, found a little extra info on the sunroof. There was a sticker on the inside of the glovebox with the install date and such.


It has been raining like crazy through the night as well, so it passes the leak test with flying colors!

Mine was from the stealership with Sunroof and I thought it was factory all these years!!?! Same clasp and all! Good thing is it's never leaked but just in case you didn't know and for cleaning the seals is slide the 2 pins inward on the trailing lift latch, flip the hinge covers downward and out comes the whole sunroof... easy peasy... nice ride sir!
 

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84 Golf Mtdi, 86 Golf 2.0L, 88 Fox Diesel Wagon, 08 Rabbit GTI
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Finally had to go get the ol' girl smogged, so she needed two things.

1.) Replace the leaky filler neck hose...finally


2.) Gotta put this POS back on there once a year ;)


I love this wagon so much, but the restricted flow of this top end is killing me! My rabbit is at the primer stage in my friends shop, so I SHOULD be saving up for my window and door rubber kit (OUCH!)...but I am majorly tempted to start porting a head and intake for the fox first! If I get some ARP studs while I am at it...everything will be reusable when I am ready for that 2.0l block ;)

Besides...I still have to finish my fiberglass dash for the rabbit...and do a bunch more wiring...and lord knows what else...
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Ugghh. Updates. I suppose I will start with the irritating ones.

A few weeks ago, this popped up one morning

I always crack the windows and sunroof during the day so it doesn't get too hot inside. I don't know why this happened, but it is right in the middle and MOCKING ME!

Also, my gf and I finally got the title on monday. Yay! I was going to make sure to upgrade to full coverage insurance now that it was all legally in our names and such.
Tuesday morning, some joker decided that he wanted to turn into a gas station...through my F*&^%$ wagon.

It looks like it will mostly pop/buff out, minus the shattered light and the one small chip near the light recess. There are some small stress cracks, so who knows how much paint will decide to flake off. I just hope this guy's insurance doesn't send me for a loop :/

A few little other things that bug me: speedometer bounces back and forth between a 20mph range, the temp and fuel gauges randomly decide when they want to work, and I need to figure out why I don't have a reverse lock out any more :/

As for GOOD updates, I have a few! I just won a nice Alpine receiver on ebay last week and got it thrown in yesterday! I have a bunch of Polk Momo series speakers that I have been hoarding for years, I just need to decide how and where I am going to install all of them. I know I can do some fancy work, but I am having a hard time rationalizing cutting into clean factory panels. I have to marinate on it for a while :/ The sound would be so worth it though...

Engine wise, I did a few upgrades to squeeze a little more juice out of it. After getting hit, I decided that the car could stand to be a bit louder(let it's presence be known), so I sawed open the lower portion of the intake box a bit. It sounds quite nice and throaty, and surprisingly had a noticeable gain in throttle response to go along with it. I have a digi fox TB stashed at the junk yard, waiting to get picked up at half off day tomorrow. Not going to worry about pulling the mani and and gasket matching the ports until I do a head swap, but looking forward to seeing how the TB reacts to the recent mods.

Yesterday, I finally pulled the injectors to replace them with some clean MBZ brass injectors I have had sitting around. Good thing too! The old injectors were coated with crud and carbon. One even looked like it was constantly leaking! Here is a pic after I pulled off the air shroud top hats

Cleaned up the hats and brass cups, put new orings on the benz injectors, and popped them in.

The REAL gold out of the day, was swapping in a new cam and lifters. I wanted to get more air through this engine, but I am not ready for a "build" yet. I wanted something to hold me over. With a low compression, small valve engine...it is disgusting how soon this poor car stops making power. It KILLS me. It is too much weight to be choked out like this :(

So of course looking for a cam...you don't want to buy a cam that is too much for the engine, but you don't want to waste money on a tame cam that won't get reused when you DO build a new engine. I opted to experiment with stock parts, and I am SO excited to tell you how insanely worth while it was!!!!

Referring to the TT cam chart, I wasn't sure what stock cam I had. I suppose it was either an "A" or a "G". Maybe there was another grind that was not listed.

the "A" had .393" of lift, intake open at .050" -5.6° BTDC
the "G" had .400" of lift, intake open at .050" -2.8° BTDC

The late mk3/mk4 cam had .417" of lift, intake open at .050" -5.8° BTDC

The way I saw it, if I had an A grind, the obdII cam would give me a considerable amount of extra lift, with a crow's hair of retardation.
If I had a G grind, the obdII cam would give me a considerable amount of retardation, still with a slightly smaller increase in lift.
Duration of the OBDII cam was also a bit less...but I figured I would still try it out for giggles. The bonus to make it worth it, is grabbing a set of light weight lifters to install at the same time.

The new style lifter is on the right


I did a swift overhaul on all the new lifters, cleaned them up, filled them with good, fresh oil, and put them back together.


Results? I MUST have had the G grind...because the difference in top end power is RETARDED! Night and day. IMHO, the power band is MUCH more usable for this engine and it's gear ratio. It does not feel nearly as starved. I am anxious to see if the larger TB compliments it.

I wish I had a tach or a speedo that didn't bounce around so I could give a more accurate description. It is definitely a great change to be able to shift into 3rd while doing 70-75mph, and feel the engine make power!!! Before the cam...that would have been a very inefficient shift. If you are looking for budget performance, I would put this mod on your list. No regrets.

And make sure you change to the late model rubber valve cover gasket while you are at it ;)
 

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Super clean wagon!!! Congrats man, cant wait to get my the wagon back on the road . :thumbup::thumbup:

Now on the other note, Why did you take the Intake heat exchange off, what benefit do you get from doing this?

 
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