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Rabbit Engine

Our Rabbit Convertible has the original stock 1.8 liter, 4 cyl., fuel injected engine. The engine has approximately 200,000 miles on it (if not more). Not sure about the mileage because the speedometer/odometer wasn't working when we got the car. Just going by a car fax report we did, the last registered mileage was approx. 158,000. And that was several owners ago. The odometer reads 104,000, but we think someone may have replaced the instrument cluster at some time. But even with all the miles, it still runs pretty good. It does smoke a bit at start up and idle. And like most (if not all VW's) it drips oil.

The altenator went out, we replaced it and the battery at the same time. We also had to replace the wires that connect the altenator. We weren't getting a good charge and come to find out the wires were pretty much fried. Once those were replaced all was fine.

We replaced the spark plugs with Bosch plugs. Also, replaced the spark plug wires.

We changed the stock throttle body to a big bore throttle body off of an Audi 5000. This gives us a few more horsepower and better throttle response.

We have replaced the air filter with a K&N air filter. These are great air filters. You never have to buy a replacement filter. Every 50,000 miles just clean the K&N filter and put it back in. You can get these from your local auto parts store.

We, also, have replaced the fuel filter with a new one. We think the one that was on the car may have been the original.

We had all four struts replaced on the car. All but one of them were completely worn out. So now the car rides better and it also sits a little higher in the rear.

Had a serious problem with the car that left us a bit baffled. One day it backfired, died, and wouldn't restart. We messed with it for a while...it was getting fire, and more than enough gas...if not too much. And we did some adjusting and nothing. So we gave it up and took it to a mechanic. HA! HA!...turns out it was a bad coil wire, so we were getting fire, but guess just not enough. Funny how one little thing can mess up the entire car. Anyway, now the coil and coil wire have been replaced. The coil on the car was not the correct one.

Well one problem we've had from pretty much day one is the transmission. It's automatic. And very hard to come by. As we've been told, not very many were made with automatic transmissions. Most Rabbits came out with manual transmissions. So coming across a good automatic one was a difficult process. Fortunately, we found one at B&C Auto (see parts page for info on B&C Auto). When we took it to the mechanic to find out why it wasn't starting, we had them go ahead and replace the tranny as well. Now she runs and shifts like a dream. In fact, she's running better than when we first got her.

After having the tranny replaced. We got into the dash and hooked up the speedometer cable. And what do you know, the silly thing worked for a while. Then it snapped. Guess it had a kink in it. But we found the piece we needed at B&C Auto (see parts page). And it works again. WooHoo!!! Now we can tell how fast we're going without guessing by the Tachometer.

Installed a Neuspeed Upper Stress Bar. And what a difference it makes. We can corner faster now without feeling like we're going to roll off to the side. Besides, It just looks darn good!!

Added color wire loom to dress up engine. Not only adds color it also keeps the wires from flying around everywhere.

Finally Replaced the Head on our Rabby. Had some burned valves in the old one. Found the new one at B&C (see parts page) for $250. Now we don't smoke like a freight train. And we're a little peppier than before. Also runs smoother.

Replaced timing belt at same time as cylinder head.

Chromed the valve cover and timing belt cover, just for giggles.

Replaced the old expansion tank with brand new one. Old one was leaking at the seam. Got this at Import Car Parts

Finally got a hood rod latchy thingy to keep the hood rod in place when the hood is down. No more rattles and looks better without the goofy "works for now" one that was on there.

Seems the old exhaust manifold that came with that head we replaced had blown gaskets. Hmmm, suppose it would have been smart to change those before we installed the head...oh well, ya live ya learn. Anyway, after much hard work and a few minor curse words we now have new manifold gaskets. Knew she wasn't supposed to be that noisey when she was running. *giggles*

Okay....so our bunny developed this odd whining noise coming from the front end.....which eventually turned into a loud groaning noise. So loud we couldn't hear people talk in the car. But only when turning one direction and only when hitting dips in the road. So not really knowing where to start, took it to a friend that knows a little about front ends. He said the drivers side wheel bearing was bad. Cool no problem. Tore apart the front drivers side. Replaced the bearing. Put it all back. Took it for a drive. Was a little quieter, but still groaning. So tore apart the passenger side. And what do you know the wheel bearing was bad. So replaced it too. Now she doesn't groan or whine. And we can hear people talking while driving down the highway!

Well Well Well.....it appears that the struts we had put on the front of the car about 3 years ago.....well let's just say they were CRAP! So went and purchased some Bilstein struts from Neuspeed! MUCH MUCH better. We didn't realize the difference it would make. Wow! In the process of replacing those struts though, it was discovered that the front passenger ball joint was horribly bad. So replaced that too!

Now what??!!?? Looks like we have a solenoid issue! Every once in a while she wants to click rather than turn over and start. Replaced the starter wire cuz it was almost burnt in two. It's amazing what you'll find in these cars! HA! So next step is to change out the solenoid. Haven't done that yet, but will in the next couple of weeks! Then should be ready for another summer! (keeping fingers crossed...HA!)

Ok so wasn't the solenoid.....but was the starter. Replaced that! Now starts right up with just the turn of the key. And what a start feels like the engine could jump right out of the hood when it starts. HA! Glad we got that taken care of. Was beginning to getvd c embarrassing....HA!!

Altenator that we recently replaced went bad. Bearings in it was shot. Got a new one. That's better now.

Had to replace the strut mount bearings so while we had those off, we put on some 2" Neuspeed lowering springs that we acquired from a friend that no longer had his cabby. Looks pretty good. Roughened up the ride a little though.

Water Pump began leaking pretty bad. So ordered one from thepartsbin.com along with the "t" hose that connects from the pump to the oil cooler. Was the only hose we had never replaced. What a chore replacing the pump. But got it all done and no leaks now. Was thinking though......."what on earth could be left to replace on that car?".

Things to come:

Replace Crappy Wire Loom with Heat Shrink Wrap

Cross Drilled Rotors

Braided Radiator Hose

High Performance Engine Components

Snapped a few pics of the engine (below).

Engine Pic with colored Wire Loom and Neuspeed Upper Stress Bar

Rabbit Page

Mo Carz Main Page

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