Rabbit TDI Swap – The Beginning

I went and looked at this car my friend’s GF’s granpa was getting rid of, he is a 93 year old man and bought it new in 1980. He is an old diesel head and had 2 spare motors and stacks of parts laying around.

this car is absolutely pristine! nothing but a few spots of surface rust, just impeccable condition.

The old guy was totally afraid of the car doing anything for him so he swapped out anything that might ever possibly fail with mechanical units, he made and installed his own damn thermostat!

engine is a fresh rebuild he did himself and it scoots the car right around, its got the 1.6 diesel with a 5 speed instead of the original 4 speed & 1.5 combo. car moves right along even with people in the car and gets rediculous gas mileage even running hard on the freeway.

before the wash after a 90 mile drive that netted me with 41mpg with a leaking injector pump (fixed it ! ) and driving it buried to the floor on the freeway the whole time

front end looks pretty good after 350k

you can see the original golf ball shifter (much like in my 20th AE) and the dashes the old guy ran in, nothing like steaming hot oil pressure about a foot from your nuts

left to right: fan motor, glow plugs, turn indicator, rad fan#1, rad fan#2, ignition, manual t-stat control. only thing the key does is turn the starter and unlock the wheel lock

front end after a quick washing, looks SO much better (working on a german car requires german beer, only way to make sense of the damn things)

strip the god awful interior (car sat for 8 months and got a little nasty inside)
mk2 gli dash & seats – figure out door cards, probably black mk1 gti door cards and rear seats if I can’t make mk2 gti seats fit back there. new black carpet.
rewire entire car with ce2
new not-too aggressive suspension setup – probably a cup kit or similar so it handles but doesn’t kill me on long drives
new light weight wheels/tires (something akin to flik blasts)
rear disc brakes and larger front brakes, new master cylinder a its getting a little slow.
Probably do the rustoleum brush or spray paint job, the paint honestly isnt in that bad of shape I just don’t like the color at all. (shave the side markers at the same time, they look so stupid)
something has to be done with the bumpers… I’m told I can euro them up by drilling the shocks out of them and driving into a wall to compress them 😆 maybe take the hooks off of them do the euro thang and have them re-chromed
quad round grill probably retrofit the 7″ low beams with HIDs and some super fogs for when i’m out cruising in the middle of nowhere to keep from hitting raccoons

and lastly, the best part 96+ TDI swap with long fifth gear and a gas mileage chip and injectors (bigger injectors = shorter injection pulse = better mileage)

i’m aiming for 65mpg after the TDI swap and a budget of $5000 which I feel comfortable I can meet. The car will obviously not just be a huge mileage beast with that much torque waiting to be brought out, 130whp/250ft/lb is about what i’m expecting out of the chipped TDI with a nice exhaust system and new IC

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