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Thread: Working on another project - VW Rabbit Pickup 16v

  1. #1
    Serial old car rescuer Arne's Avatar
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    Working on another project - VW Rabbit Pickup 16v

    Since my '72T is now (mostly) in maintenance mode, it became time to find a new project to occupy my time.

    Found it. An '81 VW Rabbit Pickup (Caddy) with a '92 2.0 16v swapped in. Had it towed home yesterday.

    Mostly straight, but parked for several years. PO spent over $3k last year at a shop attempting to get it back running decently. While they did have it running, it still wasn't right and they never finished the work as the estimated additional cost was more than the seller could spend. By the time I got to it, it wouldn't start at all again.

    I spent some time with it yesterday afternoon, and got it running again. Hot-wired the fuel pump due to a bad relay and it started right up. New relay will arrive today.

    It's more than a little rough. Really bad color change from Silver to Mars Red in the past. Wiring for the engine swap is pretty amateur as well. Not sure how far I'll take it. Maybe fix all the function parts and leave it as a rat-rod. Or a semi-refresh to GTI-look. We'll see.

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    - Arne

    Mostly done
    - 1972 911T coupe, Silver Metallic, Fuchs, Appearance Group, F&R sway bars, factory installed Frankfurt, upgraded factory A/C.
    Sold - 1984 911 Carrera coupe, Chiffon white; 1973 914 2.0, Saturn Yellow; 1984 944, Silver Metallic

  2. #2
    Senior Member NZVW's Avatar
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    Had 1 of these in the 80's. Best little ute I have ever had until it rusted away. (lived on Waiheke Island at the time and the sea salt loved it too)
    Mark

  3. #3
    Oil Cooled Heart Bullethead's Avatar
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    VW's Giugiaro period produced some crisply elegant packages... I had a first gen Rabbit as well as a '76 Euro Scirocco and both were excellent cars. A buddy inherited one of these from his dad, a non-turbo diesel.
    It was a snail but didn't care what it hauled, and gave 50 mpg doing it. Always thought it would be cool to build one with GTI underpinnings, or how about goin' Quattro with an early TT drivetrain? Go for it Arne!
    Russ

    ESR # 1537

    '62 356S Notchback Hotrod
    '67 S Das Geburtstagsgeschenk
    '68 T Targa Sportomatic
    '70 914/6 GT

  4. #4
    Serial old car rescuer Arne's Avatar
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    Interesting side note - this one has Fuchs on it...

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    - Arne

    Mostly done
    - 1972 911T coupe, Silver Metallic, Fuchs, Appearance Group, F&R sway bars, factory installed Frankfurt, upgraded factory A/C.
    Sold - 1984 911 Carrera coupe, Chiffon white; 1973 914 2.0, Saturn Yellow; 1984 944, Silver Metallic

  5. #5
    Swedewerks Survivor Cars SD Swede's Avatar
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    Nice Arne! Looks like a fun project. How's that T doing?

    I gotta get over the hill to see you and your T. And soon, as I could use a Porsche pep talk to keep me from selling my '72 and picking up more VW's!
    Peter Andersson #2864
    Pinstriped Early 911 Club #1

  6. #6
    Serial old car rescuer Arne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SD Swede View Post
    Nice Arne! Looks like a fun project. How's that T doing?

    I gotta get over the hill to see you and your T. And soon, as I could use a Porsche pep talk to keep me from selling my '72 and picking up more VW's!
    The T is quite nice at this point, Pete. Over time I'll refurb the factory A/C and upgrade some of the trim I reused. But mostly it's good. https://www.early911sregistry.org/fo...T-coupe/page13

    Come visit us on the Saturday before Labor Day. PCA C&C in Eugene, but not the normal location as we need room to maintain distance. At least one other Florence person will probably be attending, PM me and I can hook you up.
    Last edited by Arne; 09-13-2020 at 10:09 AM.
    - Arne

    Mostly done
    - 1972 911T coupe, Silver Metallic, Fuchs, Appearance Group, F&R sway bars, factory installed Frankfurt, upgraded factory A/C.
    Sold - 1984 911 Carrera coupe, Chiffon white; 1973 914 2.0, Saturn Yellow; 1984 944, Silver Metallic

  7. #7
    Serial old car rescuer Arne's Avatar
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    It now runs, but not 100% correct. Motronic ECU appears to be in "limp home" mode, gone full rich and no ignition advance. So doesn't run really great yet. Looks like the failsafe is being triggered by one or both knock sensors being bad. New ones coming soon.

    In the mean while, new brakes (fronts upgraded to vented GTI spec) and front suspension are in progress.

    I'm in shock a bit at parts prices. I guess I've been working on Porsches too long, I'd forgotten how cheap some other cars' parts can be!
    - Arne

    Mostly done
    - 1972 911T coupe, Silver Metallic, Fuchs, Appearance Group, F&R sway bars, factory installed Frankfurt, upgraded factory A/C.
    Sold - 1984 911 Carrera coupe, Chiffon white; 1973 914 2.0, Saturn Yellow; 1984 944, Silver Metallic

  8. #8
    Serial old car rescuer Arne's Avatar
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    Fair amount of progress over the past few months. Truck seems to be running right after a replacement AFM and ECU. Suspension and brakes are under control, been working on structure lately. Passenger floor pan has been replaced, will start on the driver's side soon. Much of the new and updated trim has arrived and is being fitted prior to paintwork.

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    - Arne

    Mostly done
    - 1972 911T coupe, Silver Metallic, Fuchs, Appearance Group, F&R sway bars, factory installed Frankfurt, upgraded factory A/C.
    Sold - 1984 911 Carrera coupe, Chiffon white; 1973 914 2.0, Saturn Yellow; 1984 944, Silver Metallic

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    The truck looks great Arne!!

  10. #10
    Serial old car rescuer Arne's Avatar
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    Yeah, probably no top end, what with the aerodynamics of a brick and the short final drive and close ratio 5 speed from the first US GTIs. But it is quick, almost certainly faster to 60 mph than my '72T. Lots of wheelspin in 1st and 2nd, even from a moving roll on. Of course, the tires are 15 years old and hard as bowling balls.

    Front ride height went up at least a " when I replaced the heavy Caddy bumper with the plastic one. Will address that later.

    Seats - I picked up a pair of VW Mk3 sport seats for it. Had to do some mods to get them to fit, but they were both local and cheap.

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    - Arne

    Mostly done
    - 1972 911T coupe, Silver Metallic, Fuchs, Appearance Group, F&R sway bars, factory installed Frankfurt, upgraded factory A/C.
    Sold - 1984 911 Carrera coupe, Chiffon white; 1973 914 2.0, Saturn Yellow; 1984 944, Silver Metallic

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