2.0 in a Rabbit GTI
I have some questions about my 2.0-liter 16V Passat motor that I'm putting in an '83 Rabbit GTI. I want to do the carb conversion and nitrous, so where can I find the internals to beef it up so it can handle the juice?
Chris
via the Internet

The internals for the 16V engine are pretty strong to begin with, and if they are in good shape they should be able to handle the nitrous, depending on how big a shot you are planning on using. The crankshaft is forged, as are the rods and pistons. In fact, VW continued to use the same rods on the early 1.8T engines, including the 225hp version from the TT. If you do want to beef up the bottom end, I'd suggest Pauter (www.pauter.com) or Carillo (www.carrilloind.com), both make rods for the 16V engine. You can reuse the stock pistons if you'd like. I'd contact the manufacturer for a retailer in your local area.


GTI VR6 in Need
I just got a '98 VW GTI VR6 and I'm having a hell of a time finding aftermarket go-fast mods. Can you point me in the right direction?
Dave
via the Internet

There are numerous places where you can get engine, suspension and other modifications for your GTI VR6. These include Neuspeed (www.neuspeed.com)
ABD Racing (www.abdracing.com)
Eurosport Accessories (www.eurosportacc.com)
RPI Equipped (www.rpiequipped.com), to name a few.


Upgrading a VR6 to R32 Performance
I have a dilemma. I just paid off my 2000 GTI GLX. It only has 21K miles and looks like new. My total investment for this car including finance charges was $33K. I think most people forget to factor in the cost to finance a car. I would love to buy the R32, but I will be losing much of my investment with a trade-in. What can I do to match R32 performance? I've seen stats that indicate the lower curb weight of the VR6 gives it an advantage. Will it seem reasonable that 3.2-liter short blocks will become available from the salvage yards or tuners in the near future? Would a cam (DSR 256), GIAC chip and 2.5-inch exhaust close the gap? Have you had experience with the 85mm pistons that are now available? How can I bring the VR6's handling close to the R32's? There are so many shock/spring combos, it's hard to choose the right one that can handle the 405 freeway, Mulholland and the streets of downtown LA.
Mick
via the Internet

As you already know, cars are not a great investment in terms of getting a return on that investment. However, we shouldn't be buying them for investment purposes, but for the sheer pleasure we get from owning them. That being said, you can turn your GTI into an extremely fun and fairly fast car. The problem is that the R32 comes that way from the factory and needs very few if any modifications. Since the U.S.-spec version of the R32 hasn't been on our shores that long, very few independent tests have been done on the car by major publications, including European Car. However, we do know of several U.S.-spec R32s which have already made it to their local drag strip and run 13.9-second quarter miles. You really can't compare the magazine times to that of the manufacturer's, especially VW which is typically very conservative with its published numbers. As for the upgrades you mentioned for your VR6, those upgrades should yield about 25 additional horsepower and your lighter GTI should put you pretty close to stock R32 performance, at least in a straight line. If you're concerned with ride comfort, I'd suggest Neuspeed Softsport springs with Koni adjustable struts. This combination will only lower the car about half an inch and allow you to adjust the firmness of the shocks. You can soften them up for daily driving and then firm them up when you want increased performance. With a good set of Z-rated tires you'll be all set.


MKIV Golf
I recently purchased a 2000 GTI with a VR6. What would it take to put a 24V head on, or to put the R32 3.2-liter with a six-speed into my car? My car is front-wheel drive. I'm not looking to convert to AWD as that is too expensive. If I could get the 3.2-liter in my car with the six-speed would I be able to put some sort of cap on the rear driveshaft exit hole (just cutting the driveshaft flush at the tranny)? Where do I get this engine?
Anonymous
via the Internet

Due to differences in the block design for cooling purposes, you cannot swap a 12V head for a 24V head. As for the 3.2L swap, you would be able to swap the engine in with minimal modifications. In fact, you could use your existing five-speed transmission as long as you install a higher rated clutch and possibly a Quaife or Peloquin limited-slip differential. If you do want to use a new 02M six-speed transmission, I'd look for one from a front-wheel drive VW as it would make the swap much simpler and the gearing would be better suited to your FWD car. Since the R32 is just now hitting U.S. shores, you're going to pay a premium for an engine. Same with the transmission. I'd check Copart (www.copartfinder.com) to see if any surface in the not-too-distant future.


1980 VW Rabbit Engine Swap
I own a 1980 two-door VW Rabbit. I just recently purchased a 1990 European-spec 1.8-liter 16V complete with close-ratio five-speed tranny. The engine has the 50mm intake but also has the European fuel delivery system. I'm planning on dropping the engine in soon, but I was wandering what precautions or steps I should take beforehand. Are the fuel and intake systems going to give me issues because they are both on the passenger side? Are there any parts I should replace on the car or engine before the transplant?
Peter Connolly
Marblehead, Massachusetts

It sounds like you have your hands full with this swap. While the intake and fueling on the passenger side do make it more difficult, it doesn't mean it's impossible, just that it will take some more creativity on your part, especially with getting the fuel lines and such to fit correctly, not to mention ECU wiring, etc. However, you would be much better off to use the intake and fueling off a U.S.-made 16V Scirocco. This would allow for everything to simply bolt into the Rabbit. You could also offset the cost of the swap by selling that 50mm intake manifold.


Golf MKIV 1.8T Cold-Air Intake
I have a 2000 Golf 1.8T GLS with a GIAC chip. The chip was installed last year and I'm looking to purchase a cold-air intake. Many VW owners swear by it, others say it's a waste of money and that I should just focus on getting an exhaust upgrade (currently have the stock exhaust). What are your thoughts on cold-air intakes? Which make and model would you recommend? What about the exhaust, what should I look for?
Roberto Baccega
Montreal, Canada

Most of the cold-air intakes (CAI) for the 1.8T are very similar. The major difference is in tubing diameter and the material they're made from. Some are aluminum, some are plastic, some are powdercoated or chromed steel, some are made in carbon fiber. While CAIs have proven to provide benefits, they're most beneficial when they are clean. Due to their location down in the front of the car they're subject to lots of road debris and get dirty quite quickly. A dirty CAI is not going to work as well as a stock filter, so you need to make sure that you keep it clean. There are so many different CAIs out there and they all provide similar gains. GHL, Velocity, AEM, Neuspeed, EVO, and Carbonio all make intakes for your car. As for exhausts, there are so many out there for the 1.8T it would take about two pages to list them all. I'd suggest looking for a complete turbo-back system rather than a cat-back, as the larger downpipe included in the turbo-back system will provide substantial gains as well. Several companies produce these systems like APR, Techtonics Tuning, Brullen, Eurosport, Neuspeed and Milltek.


1993 Vento GT
I'm living in Germany working with the U.S. Military and own a 1993 Vento GT with a 115-hp 2.0-liter. I was wondering how much is different from my motor and the 2.0-liter from the States. The 2.0 liter in the States has the crossflow intake system, whereas mine still comes in through the rear of the motor. Will parts from the 2.0-liter Stateside motor work in my German-spec motor?I'm also wondering if there is a 16-valve motor that will swap easily in my car? I am looking for a cheap and easy swap to get me a little extra power with some bolt-on possibilities. I don't want to do the VR6 swap, which I heard was a simple swap. It's not a cheap motor to buy.So if you could help me find out what my options are it would be greatly appreciated.
Jason Ryo Osterman

As you've noted, the U.S. crossflow 2.0-liter is different from the 2.0-liter engine in Europe, although their size and power output are the same. Most of the parts related to the intake, exhaust and fueling system are going to be different, as well as internal parts directly related to the crossflow head. I would think that some of the parts would be interchangeable but probably very few. As for doing a swap in the car, the VR6 would be an easier swap and the price of the engine has dropped considerably as they become more readily available at wrecking yards, etc. If you're looking for power, I would look at doing a VR6 swap.


TDI Exhaust
I have a 2002 VW TDI, and I'm looking at aftermarket exhausts to go with my Upsolute chip. I was wondering what you think the best exhaust for a TDI is? I was looking at a Techtonics unit, but unfortunately they do not have the turbo downpipe for the TDI model. I've seen models that are built for the 2.0, 1.8T, and VR6 not having specific models for each of those engines. Are those particular units compatible with the TDI also?
Matt Hubbard
via the Internet

You will need a TDI specific downpipe for your car if you want it to fit correctly. You can contact a good local muffler/exhaust shop and have one fabricated for you, or you can check out Supersprint (www.supersprintna.com), which makes a nice downpipe for your TDI. GHL is also in the process of producing one for the TDI as well. North American Motorsports (www.namotorsports.com) sells GHL products, so you might want to contact them and see when the downpipe will be available.


Late Model Jetta Diesel Questions
I recently bought a 2002 VW Jetta TDI, and I have no idea what I can do to it. If you could point me in the direction of a good Web site I would be much obliged. I just want to soup it up a bit (more horse, better boost, the chip, and maybe a new turbo) But I have no one to talk to about this subject.
Cole
British Columbia

One of the best TDI resources on the Web is Fred's TDI Club (www.tdiclub.com). Also check out VWVortex.com's TDI forums. (www.vwvortex.com). If you can't find the information you want concerning TDIs on these two sites, it probably doesn't exist.


Fox Swap?
I have an '88 Fox wagon. I was wondering if there is an engine that can be swapped as easily as the Honda swaps. I'm sick of seeing the same cars tearing up the concrete and I want a sleeper to spank them with.
Scott Gregory
via the Internet

You can definitely swap different engines into a Fox, one of the most common is using the 2.0-liter 3A "bubble block" engine from Audi. Others have swapped in the venerable 2.0-liter 16V into their cars. One guy even put an Audi 2.8-liter V6 in his. None of these swaps would be considered easy, but they're definitely possible. While the two 2.0-liter engines I mentioned will bolt right in, you'll need to figure out how to mate the fueling systems and electronics and ECU from those engines to the Fox, as well as be ready to have some items, like the exhaust system, custom made for your application.


A1 Golf
I just bought a '79 Diesel Golf. I'm wondering what kind of performance mods and body kits are out there. I also want to know how to increase the torque and horsepower of the engine. I know that since it's a Diesel, it will gain more torque than horsepower. Also, I want to know where I can find an exhaust for my Diesel car. I know if I put on a gas-engine exhaust on my Golf, a lot of smoke will be produced. Where can I get a performance exhaust for a Diesel Golf?
Houawa Moua
via the Internet

As far as body kit pieces go, pretty much anything designed for an A1 will work on your car. You can go with factory kits as well as aftermarket. It all depends on your budget and whether you want to go mild or wild. Check out RPI (www.rpiequipped.com) and also ABD Racing (www.abdracing.com) as both carry a wide variety of body kits for your car.

As for performance enhancements for your diesel, there aren't a lot of "kits" out there and you'll be pretty much on your own in terms of finding parts to improve performance. Check out the forums over at www.vwdieselparts.com; they contain all you'll ever needed to know about VW diesel engines. As for performance exhausts, a Techtonics Tuning (www.techtonicstuning.com) exhaust, with a 2.25-in. diameter and an extra resonator should work, even though they're designed for gas-powered cars. You can add a short Techtonics Tuning dual downpipe with a stainless-steel "flex" coupling where the cat would be on a gas car if you use the stock diesel exhaust manifold. It would also be a good time to invest in some new motor mounts to prevent engine movement, which could damage the exhaust system.


2000 VW Jetta 2.0L
I own several VWs, a '97 Golf K2, 2000 Passat V6, and 2000 Jetta 2.0-liter. The Jetta has started (from time to time) to refuse to accelerate under load when cold. The check engine light came on with a code for a misfire in cylinder number one. I replaced the wire; light problem solved. But the engine's refusal to accelerate under load continues when cold. Once it's warmed up everything's fine. No more engine light, either. The engine has 55,000 miles and has received all factory recommended service (plus extra oil changes). What are your thoughts on the problem?
Mike Voell
via the Internet

Hey Mike,
This sounds like a bad Mass Air Flow (M.A.F.) sensor problem to me. It might not be a bad idea to also go ahead and change the plugs, plug wires and coil as well, since if one plug wire one already went bad the others are probably not too far behind. Replacement M.A.F.s can be found for a good price at www.vwparts.com.


Jetta Hill Climb
I am in a big dispute with my father. I own a 2003 VW Jetta 1.8T Wolfsburg. My dad owns a 1990 VW GLI 2.0-liter Wolfsburg. He says that his Jetta is quicker than mine up a highway that has a 20-degree slope. Could you give me all the performance facts on both of these cars?
Keahi Hattis
via the Internet

This would be an interesting race as both cars would offer similar performance, depending on what speed you're going when you hit the hill. A 20-degree slope is very steep and the car in the right gear for its torque curve would be the one that would probably get there quicker. While your car has more power and torque, it's also considerably heavier than your dad's GLI. Both cars' performance statistics from the factory are very close in terms of 0-60 acceleration, both being quoted in the mid to high 7-second range. However, in-gear acceleration is what's going to make the difference here and the shorter gearing of the GLI might make up for its slight hp and torque disadvantage. When all is said and done, it would be too close to call.


GLS Tech
A friend of mine has a 2002 Jetta GLS, which has had a lot of mechanical problems since she bought it. The rear windows fell without any action by the driver. The transmission made a noise (like a knock) while driving and sometimes it takes a few minutes to take the drive shifter (it's an automatic) from neutral, especially while waiting for light changes. I have heard that these models had some defects from the beginning and that there was a recall.
Eduardo A. Escribano-Romn
via the Internet

You're correct that there have been two recalls issued for Jettas of that year. Unfortunately, the recalls did not cover the issues you mentioned. The first recall was for short circuits can occur within the electronic control unit of the anti-lock braking system (ABS) and also for brake light switch malfunctions. Volkswagen has also extended the warranty on some cars of that model and year for window regulator and coil pack malfunctions. However, the window regulator warranty extension was for the front windows only. I suggest you contact your local dealer and give them the VIN number of the car and all the recalls applicable to the vehicle will be identified, as well as the extended warranties.


New Seats
I currently have a '77 Rabbit with a 16V conversion. When I bought the car, it had seats from what I believe are a MkII GTI. Can I install seats from a newer VW in there without changing the rail system? If not, it is possible to take the rail system out of whatever car I'm taking the seats from? What I'm thinking of is taking the seats from a MkIII GTI or newer from a parts lot in town. Would this be a sound choice?
Jonathan Dorsey
via the Internet

Pretty much all MKII seats should bolt right into your MKI Rabbit. The MKIII seats would need to have the lower rails modified, as the seat rail track is wider in the MKIII. I would look for some GTI or GLI seats from a MKII or go aftermarket.


Wheel Weight
I'm a little stumped on the issue of how critical wheel mass actually is. I have a '97 Jetta GLX with the 2.8-liter VR6 engine. I have the original wheels and tires on the car, but I need to replace them soon. I have called The Tire Rack and I'm strongly considering the SSR Competion wheel, measuring 7.5x17 inches with a 215/40-17 tire. The wheel weighs only a measly 13.2 lb. They are also quite expensive, considering some of the other offerings. Another wheel I'm considering is the ASA LW5, same size, weighing 18.1 lb at a fraction of the cost of the SSRs. How critical is each additional pound of wheel mass? I understand that I should at least put on something that is lighter than what came stock on the car. Also, are these two wheels very strong? I live in the Snow Belt and have some very rough roads. Any other wheel recommendations or other advice would be great.
Mike Overweg
via the Internet

The rule of thumb is lighter is always better when it comes to wheel weights. However, don't forget about the weight of the tire as well. Some tires can be as much as three or more pounds heavier than others in the same size, so be sure to check that as well before ordering your car's new shoes. As for the 4.9-lb difference per wheel, it would equate to adding about 33 lbs of weight to your car in terms of affecting performance, which is negligible. The SSR and the ASA are both high quality wheels and are quite strong, although neither is going to fare well against a major pothole. If that's a concern, a 16-in. wheel might be a better choice, and it'll be lighter as well.

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