TDIClub Forums

TDIClub Forums (
-   TDI Conversions (
-   -   '97 AHU into 81 Rabbit LX (

ToddA1 March 20th, 2016 19:04

'97 AHU into 81 Rabbit LX
This has been slow going. I started by buying a rear ended '97 B4 on Easter Sunday 2013. Had AAA tow it home from MD. Finished the part out and disposal on Labor Day 2013.

Big Blue is working....

The plan was to put the engine and driveline into Big Blue. After I thought about how little I drove the truck, I reconsidered. Very cramped and factory non ac.

I decided that I wanted another 2 door Rabbit, but this had to have factory ac. I started the search for a clean, unmolested 2 door.... this took longer than expected. In the meantime, I sold SnoBunny (4 door Rabbit) in 08/14 and kept searching. This car only got driven when it snowed.

In 06/15, I found a car in DE that seemed perfect. It looked to be a clean body, complete (filthy) original interior, and the owner said it had a rod knock. Looked it over, bought it without hearing it run and had AAA tow it home.

More to come.


Steve Addy March 20th, 2016 19:24

Nice Mk1. I was going to say that your B4 project looked like it was missing some parts at the back of the


ToddA1 March 20th, 2016 19:45

Yeah, my neighbors don't get me. They've seen 2 or 3 cars get cut up; I try to do it quickly.

I was supposed to get a Jetta TDI, that was to be parted a couple months ago, but the seller backed out on the day of delivery. Probably for the best.


ToddA1 March 20th, 2016 21:00

A couple weeks later, I finally got around to getting the engine running. I heard what the PO was talking about. I decided I wanted to drive the car for a couple months, so I yanked the engine, pressure washed the bay and Big Blue donated his engine. He was getting a AAZ, so he didn't mind. His bay got cleaned up, too.

Later that night, I was questioning if what I heard was rod knock. I started thinking that it may have been a bad injector. Oh well.... I'll revisit, later.

It's worse than it looks. Dog hair and stains everywhere.

Pulled the interior to pressure wash and scrub.


ToddA1 March 21st, 2016 17:43

Uh oh.... Floors looked good from underneath. Factory applied undercoating hides the truth once again...

Decided to investigate the slight bubbling around the windshield.

This is going to take longer than expected. A friend and I assembled a shed for parts storage. Interior has been in there, since.


Steve Addy March 21st, 2016 20:29

Yes, factory coating hides a lot of bad news. They always take longer than you think. I remember when I first took delivery of my B3V in October 2014 and I was telling friends that it would be done by spring...hahaha..yeah right.

Settle in for the ride, you'll be at this for a while.


ToddA1 March 22nd, 2016 19:43

So true. This car was way worse than expected. Not quite as bad as my truck, but definitely my worst Rabbit, and I've owned many.

Started the metal repair. These are some of the repairs, but there were many more. It seemed every panel I removed, revealed cancer. I spent my summer and fall doing rust repair.

This is where I probably should have stopped.


ToddA1 March 23rd, 2016 03:37

The interior repairs were done, so I had my glass guy install a new windshield. Need to keep the water out.

At this point, I should have bolted the car back together and started driving it. I removed the rear stainless arch trim and spats and saw rust. Started correcting that, then moved to the rear pan repair.

After I finished the rear, I stepped back and my once decent looking car looked pretty haggard. Both rear arches and the rear pan were covered with repairs. I wasn't going to be driving this anytime soon. I pulled the GTI lower airdam off and saw the lower apron was pretty badly damaged. It wasn't going back on, so it needed to be fixed. The only late Westy front clip I had was pretty beat, but I had a decent Cabby clip.

Scribed and cut both pans, then welded them together. Prior to attaching the pan to the body, I cut the core support to accept the A/C compressor.


annieneff March 23rd, 2016 07:18

Subscribed. Beauty work, and lots of it! Looking forward to seeing the progress.


ToddA1 March 23rd, 2016 16:20

Thanks. I hate seeing rust, but it's actually pretty interesting to start peeling the car apart, and seeing how it's put together. How each panel meets the next is pretty neat. I've learned on several Rabbits that seeing flattened pinch welds pretty much means floor rust. That pinch weld is 3 layers, where the rocker meets the floor.

I stopped by my local body shop and asked the owner's recommendation about installing the front pan. Should I plug weld it or use panel adhesive? He immediately said adhesive. He was going to give me what I needed, but we decided on a night and he came to my house and helped me glue it on.

The weather was starting to get cooler and I asked if he'd be interested in doing all of the bodywork and painting. We've done this in the past with other cars. Otherwise, I'd be building a plastic booth in my backyard and pissing the neighbors off. I just bought a gallon of single stage and other supplies, but he only wanted to use my paint and hardener to edge the panels and he'd use his stuff for everything else.

He wanted me to pull the glass, strip the roof to bare metal, then drop it off. We'd work after hours and on weekends to get the car finished. His shop had a lull and expected to have my car back in 2 weeks.

Packed the body panels in/on the car and drove it a half mile to his shop. He got the car in late October.

His shop got busy... a month went by and not too much happened with my car. My car was stored indoors, so I didn't really care.

We scheduled a Saturday for me to come and start prepping the car for the edging. I decided that I wanted to pull the engine and have the bay sprayed. Drove it home, pulled the engine and pushed it back to his shop. I've put maybe 2 miles on this car driving it around the block and up the street and 2 engines have been pulled.

A few more nights and weekends and the bay, panels and all jambs/openings were edged. Car was reassembled and panels gapped. Some more bodywork occurred. Waiting on Rocker Schultz, sealer and paint, now.


ToddA1 March 24th, 2016 17:19

Found more pics of rust repair, prior to the car being dropped off. There was plenty more, not documented.

Spent a Saturday with the DA sander, sanding blocks and scuff pads. Wiped it down several times and called it quits.

Sunday, we cleaned the car several more times, taped the lower panels off and shot the Rocker Schutz...

Sealer, then base and clear. The car was kept its original LE1Y paint code.... Sandstone Metallic.

Tuesday night, we roped in the windshield, rear quarter lites and hatch glass. All new seals were used. We used Gojo with no pumice. This was what Pete, the shop owner, uses and it was way easier than using soap and water, glass cleaner, etc.


vtpsd March 25th, 2016 07:39

Awesome! Looks great with that new paint.

ToddA1 March 25th, 2016 15:20

Thanks. The car was in the body shop for 4 months, but I think it turned out great.


john.jackson9213 March 25th, 2016 19:59

Todd, My car was in the paint shop for 3 full months, and also turned out great. Well worth the time.

ToddA1 March 30th, 2016 18:31

I've been slacking. A few weeks ago, the car was pushed back home. I needed to start getting the car watertight. The door hardware, window regulators, taillights, etc were bolted onto the car.

Pulled the doors off to install the new door seals and some butyl sound deadener, inside the doors.

The car hasn’t been cut or buffed yet. The PDR guy came out today to fix some of the small stuff that was missed, but it was too bright out. Spoke with Pete and said when I get the car running to bring it back and the PDR guy will take care of it at the shop. I personally didn’t see much until it was pointed out to me and would have been happy with the way the car sits. This is what the shop owner wants to do… who am I to say no?

While the glass was out, I had everything tinted with Suntek 70% CXP. In the pics, the main door glass is untinted. I plan on pulling the door glass again, to install power windows and don’t want to risk scratching the tint. I kind of wished I’d done 80%, all around. Bought some fixed glass to replace the vent windows and I will likely get the door glass retinted 80%.

I went through the box that the Passat wiring harness was stuffed into, when the donor car was parted. I spent about 2.5 hours untangling the huge mass and only broke one clip. Labeled what I could and labeled and bagged some branches of the harness to keep it organized. This is where I’m currently at. From what I’m seeing the CE2 fusebox will sit in the A1 bracket, but the fuse box will need to be mounted upside down… not sure I like that. I think I kept the fuse box bracket from the B4.

That's it for now. Anything from this point on will be new work. Need to get remotivated....


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 19:54.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright - TDIClub Online LTD - 2017

Page generated in 0.08313 seconds with 8 queries
[Output: 29.75 Kb. compressed to 29.13 Kb. by saving 0.63 Kb. (2.10%)]