Golf MKIV Smyth Ute Project

Lex4TDI4Life

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Jun 22, 2006
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2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
So I have finally found the time, space, and resources to truckify my beloved Reflex Silver 2001 Golf TDI. There are a number of resources out there to help the very amateur enthusiast undertake this project, but I have found all of them lacking, mostly because I need certain things spelled out in absurd detail. Another issue I have found is that most builds I have seen were done on Jettas, not Golfs. The differences should be few, but they are there. I will highlight the ones I find in the process.

I thought I would contribute to the community in some small way by explaining my build, the obstacles I encounter, and the solutions I discover. I am a big fan of knowing what tools I will need before diving into a project, so I will place in bold any tools I use along the way and update this list as I go along:


Hand tools:

  • 3/8" and 1/4" drive ratchets

  • 22mm socket

  • 17mm socket

  • 13mm sockets (regular and deep), 1/4 and 3/8 drive

  • 5mm allen socket and allen wrench

  • Ratcheting 13mm wrench

  • Phillips screwdrivers of varying sizes

  • Torx sockets, T20, T27

  • XZN (triple square) sockets, M8

  • 120-degree, 1/2" countersink

  • Metal snips

  • 2-pair needle-nose vise grips

  • large clamps

  • Swivel-head riveting tool

  • Small picks for trim, headliner, etc.

  • Plastic trim removal tools

  • Heavy rubber/composite mallet

  • 48" metal ruler

  • Large t-square

  • Wire stripper/crimper

  • 1/4" - 20 tap

Power/electrical tools and Accessories:

  • Cordless drill (mine was undersized, but YMMV)
    3/16" Cobalt bits (I probably went through about 5-7 of these)
    3/8" Cobalt bit
    1/2" Cobalt bit
    #7 bit (to go with the 1/4-20 tap)

  • Blind rivet drill adapter kit

  • Cordless reciprocating saw (sawzall)
    Heavy duty 18 tooth-per-inch cutting blades (I went through 2-3)

  • 4.5" angle grinder
    Diamond cutting/grinding disc

  • Dremel
    Lots of heavy duty cutting discs
    Various sanding barrels
    Various grinders/cutters

  • Soldering iron

Consumables:

  • Paint Over Rust (POR)15

  • Urethane spray foam

  • GE Silicone 2 (2-3 tubes)

  • 3M Windo-Weld

  • Solder

  • Dielectric grease

  • Glue-lined, heat shrink butt connectors

Safety gear

  • Heavy gloves

  • Nitrile gloves

  • Eye protection

  • Dust mask/respirator appropriate for fiberglass work
--------------------

I am in no way, shape or form even close to an expert. I am sure that whatever I document, others will have a better way and I will be thrilled to hear experienced advice during this process. Be warned, I take no responsibility for any actions anyone takes based on the content in this thread. If you follow any of the steps or advice I offer in this thread, you do so at your own risk.

The patient:




"Josie" is a 2001 Reflex Silver 4dr Manual Golf with 345k miles. I have owned her since 2005 when 88k miles were on the dial and she was my daily driver until 2016 when she started splitting duties with a 2016 Golf R. I have since moved onto a 2019 Audi TTRS and Josie is ready for a new life. After the conversion is over, I plan on putting in a new suspension and a brand new VNT15 that has been sitting in my closet for, literally, 7 years. Next post will cover the pick up process and the first steps in stripping the car.
 
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Lex4TDI4Life

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Jun 22, 2006
Location
Stamford, CT
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2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
Pick up and starting the strip...

Although Smyth Performance will ship Ute kits, I decided to pick my kit up in person. Mark Smith was gracious enough to let me come by on a Saturday to pick up the kit, so I rented a pickup and drove from Fairfield County, CT to Wareham, MA. I saw in Powder Hound's thread that he was able to get a whole kit in the back of a Golf. Feeling less inclined to risk getting pulled over on 95 with aluminum and fiberglass hanging from my hatch, I splurged on a U-Haul pickup with an 8' bed for the day. Fortunately, Mark had a spare tailgate on hand and I didn't have to have one drop shipped to me. Everything fit easily:

 
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Lex4TDI4Life

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Jun 22, 2006
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Stamford, CT
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2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
Returning back to the workspace a friend has donated, I proceeded to unpack and get to work stripping the back. I misplaced my Bentley during my last move, so I had to resort to sorta-common sense and looking up DIYs. Sadly, most of the DIYs on vwvortex are so old that the images no longer load. Oh well, it wasn't too bad. Partial list of things that had to be removed and tools required:

  • Rear seats and seatbelts. 17mm socket.
  • Rear carpet.
  • Inner door seals.
  • Lower trim after B-pillar, carpeted panels. Plastic trim removal tools.
  • Monsoon/Phatbox bracket. Torx driver
  • OhSh!t handles. phillips head screwdriver

Post-strip interior:


No rust underneath, but there is some grime from a long-forgotten oil spill. Once all cuts are made and I start fitting the bed, it will get a nice clean.
 
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Lex4TDI4Life

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Jun 22, 2006
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Stamford, CT
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2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
Next up was a little more stripping and removal of the rear doors and hatch. Most of the rear trim and carpeted panels were yanked out unceremoniously and destroyed. The C-pillar panel as particularly abused.

With the C-pillar out of the way, I was able to pull the headliner down and remove the antenna (22mm socket).

The rear doors were next. First thing is to pull the rubber accordion sleeve between the door frame and door and then disconnect the wiring for the speaker. I am not sure yet where/how I will relocate the rear speakers.

The doors are held on with two M8 triple square (XZN) head bolts at the top and bottom hinges. You have to pull the lower B-pillar trim to access the bolts that thread into the hinge from behind. Get some good XZN sockets and make sure they are seated properly. I rushed and stripped the two bolts holding on the passenger-side lower hinge and had to drill them out.



Remove the latch on the door frame and save the bolts, which you will have to use on the tailgate later.



The hatch was next and fairly easy. By the way, I made every effort to preserve all the wiring. This meant removing the lower plastic trim on the hatch (phillips screwdriver) and window trim and patiently disconnecting and fishing out the wiring. I am not sure yet what I will do with the trunk latch actuator, but it is nice to have it available.

The hatch itself is held on by 4 bolts (13mm socket) accessed under the headliner. Have a friend handy to hold the hatch up when you pop the hatch struts off and then you can lift the hatch down and set aside.

De-doored and hatched:



On that note, I now have for sale one reflex silver hatch and both reflex silver rear doors, rust free and with all wiring intact if anyone wants to pick them up.
 
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Powder Hound

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'00 Golf 4dr White 5sp, '02 Jettachero 5sp, Wife's '03 NB Platinum Gray auto(!)
Nice work on detailing the tools you need. If you don't have one already, you'll want a 120* countersink for the flush rivets you'll need. The instructions don't say it is an aviation countersink since that is the industry that usually likes flush aluminum rivets; the usual ones have much more angle than that and the results will not be as optimal. Just looking for a 120 degree countersink ought to do the trick. And make sure you get one that is large enough. The actual outer diameter of the aluminum flush rivet outer flange is larger than 3/8" by a slight margin, so get a 1/2" countersink with a shaft small enough to fit your drill.

Oh, and the 3/16" drill bit they say to use is just smaller than the rivet shaft. The nearest metric size is just a little larger than the rivet shaft, so it is hard to say if it would be better. I haven't tried it myself. Just know that you'll need to exercise that 3/16" bit after you drill the initial hole to enlarge it a few thousandths so the rivet will actually go in.

I'm also interested in how you cut the Golf because I have one, and see them on occasion for sale, but don't see any Golf being cut. Like you, I figure the differences might be limited to the length of the tail end, but I'd still like to see the details of the cutting.

I think you see more Jettas being done because there were about 10 times more Jettas sold than Golfs in the USofA. And so few 2-doors that it is not likely we'll see a kit for a 2-dr Golf anytime soon.

Good luck! Cheers,

PH
 
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Lex4TDI4Life

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Stamford, CT
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2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
Captain Marko Aleksandrovich Ramius said:
When he reached the New World, Cortez burned his ships. As a result, his men were well motivated.
I have been busy, but have made my (almost final) cuts. Once I started slicing, I knew there was no turning back and, as a result, I am well motivated to finish. There is definitely some Golf-specific material here, so Golf nerds beware. My cutting tool of choice was a cordless reciprocating saw fitted with heavy duty, 18-tooth per inch metal cutting blades. In hindsight, and as explained below, I wish I had chosen an angle grinder with diamond tooth cutting wheel. The sawzall was fine, but there is a bumper issue that requires a more heavy-duty cutting solution.

After pulling down the headliner, I started assessing the situation and figuring out where my initial cuts would need to be. Immediately, the roof cut gave me pause. I am not sure if this is a Golf-specific issue or a non-sunroof issue, but after marking 3.25" behind the upper rear corner of the front door, my friend noticed that there was something that looks like a thin brace on the underside of the roof that might interfere with the final cut.



While I waited to talk to Mark Smith about this (who, by the way, has been extremely helpful and responsive in answering my very novice questions), I decided to make an initial cut a few inches further back just to give myself room to screw up.



Remember to wear eye protection and gloves! Once I made it past the double-layered metal at the edges, the sawzall cut through the roof like butter.

Mark got back to me and let me know that yes, cutting through that "brace" is fine. So I went back and made my final roof cut at the 3.25" mark. It turns out that the line is almost directly along the back edge of the brace. Only the ends interfere slightly because it flares out a bit. You can see here where I shaved off some of the surface, exposing the bare metal underneath for about 4 inches.



And here is the last sawzall cut in the roof:



I cleaned up the edges with some metal snips and deburred with a dremel fitted with a grinding wheel. All bare metal will eventually get a coat of POR 15. I also cut the headliner approximately 2.75" further out per the manual. I purchased some replacement headliner material and will be re-covering it before installing the rear window surround.

Next, it was onto the rear quarter panels. This is where the Golf varies dramatically from the Jetta and where I was really nervous as I did not have an example to work from. Nevertheless, I followed the instructions from the online manual and marked my initial cut 14" above the top of the wheel well on both sides.



The passenger side has two Golf-specific quirks, aside from the general shape of the rear quarter panel. First, the fuel door is round and not rectangular. The fiberglass side panel in the kit is molded for the rectangular Jetta fuel door. So I am tossing my Golf door aside and will pick up a Jetta one later. Second, the fuel door actuator mechanism on the Jetta sits below that 11" final cut. The Golf actuator, however, sits above that final cut and thus has to be removed. It pushes up and out of three slots in the body panel, so I pulled it and set it aside. If there are any fun uses for it, I am all ears.



And here is the 14" above wheel well cut:



On the passenger side, there are three layers of metal at issue: (1) the outer quarter panel; (2) the framing around the fuel filler; and (3) the inner flange that runs along the wheel well.



I cut through layers 1 and 2 with the sawzall. Most of layer 1 will be cut out with snips once I get closer to installation. Layer 2 will be trimmed down more as well when the sides are test fitted - it is used for riveting . Layer 3 is uncut and remains intact for the aluminum bedside to rivet into.

The driver's side is pretty much the same, except there is no layer 2 to worry about; just cut through the outer layer of sheet metal.

A friend helped me lift the now completely cut roof off and voila!



The bumper cut is next, which I will post about later.
 
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Lex4TDI4Life

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Location
Stamford, CT
TDI
2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
Nice work on detailing the tools you need. If you don't have one already, you'll want a 120* countersink for the flush rivets you'll need. The instructions don't say it is an aviation countersink since that is the industry that usually likes flush aluminum rivets; the usual ones have much more angle than that and the results will not be as optimal. Just looking for a 120 degree countersink ought to do the trick. And make sure you get one that is large enough. The actual outer diameter of the aluminum flush rivet outer flange is larger than 3/8" by a slight margin, so get a 1/2" countersink with a shaft small enough to fit your drill.

Oh, and the 3/16" drill bit they say to use is just smaller than the rivet shaft. The nearest metric size is just a little larger than the rivet shaft, so it is hard to say if it would be better. I haven't tried it myself. Just know that you'll need to exercise that 3/16" bit after you drill the initial hole to enlarge it a few thousandths so the rivet will actually go in.

I'm also interested in how you cut the Golf because I have one, and see them on occasion for sale, but don't see any Golf being cut. Like you, I figure the differences might be limited to the length of the tail end, but I'd still like to see the details of the cutting.

I think you see more Jettas being done because there were about 10 times more Jettas sold than Golfs in the USofA. And so few 2-doors that it is not likely we'll see a kit for a 2-dr Golf anytime soon.

Good luck! Cheers,

PH
Many thanks, PH! I have been following your helpful thread as well. I will add the countersink to my tool list for sure!

And it really is too bad that there is no kit for the 2-dr. An R32 Ute would be killer.
 

IndigoBlueWagon

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Aug 16, 2004
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South of Boston
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'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
Although it pains me a bit to see a nice Golf cut up, I'm going to follow this. I have a "spare" '02 Jetta sedan with some rust that I've considered converting. I just struggle to justify the cost.
 

Lex4TDI4Life

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Stamford, CT
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2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
Although it pains me a bit to see a nice Golf cut up, I'm going to follow this. I have a "spare" '02 Jetta sedan with some rust that I've considered converting. I just struggle to justify the cost.
I definitely cannot justify the cost except to write it off as a fun learning project and an excuse to accumulate more tools and experience.
 

Powder Hound

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Oct 25, 1999
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Under a Bridge, New Hampshiyuh, USA
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'00 Golf 4dr White 5sp, '02 Jettachero 5sp, Wife's '03 NB Platinum Gray auto(!)
I can't justify the cost either, unless there is someone out there that wants to buy a small incredibly fuel efficient pick-em-up truck from me when I'm done. I figure it will same me lots of time in those jobs where a pickup just does where no jetta or golf will. But you never know. Prices for old gen 1 and 2 rabbit diesel pickups are just plain silly compared to the utility of a gen 4 ALH.

Yeah, an R32 trucklet would be killer. But if you really want that, there is always the Audi quattro (A4, S4) conversion you could do. I wanted to get my wife to think about that as we just got her a used 2007 A4 to assuage her winter paranoia, but she looked at me like I had lost my mind. She LOVES that car.

Cheers,

PH
 

Growler

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Nov 24, 2003
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Schmutz, 2015 Golf Sportwagen DSG & Schnurren, 2001 Golf GL 2 door 5M
You would think that a 2 door conversion would be the same, but with a shorter bed.you might have to customize a few of the pieces in the UTE kit, but I bet it is doable for someone with the motivation.
 

Lex4TDI4Life

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2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
You would think that a 2 door conversion would be the same, but with a shorter bed.you might have to customize a few of the pieces in the UTE kit, but I bet it is doable for someone with the motivation.
The problem, I think, is the brace in the kit that rivets to the b-pillar. That is the structural lynchpin of the whole thing. Without a b-pillar to speak of, the bed has nothing structural to attach to.

But yes, brilliant minds should come forth and solve this!
 

Powder Hound

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'00 Golf 4dr White 5sp, '02 Jettachero 5sp, Wife's '03 NB Platinum Gray auto(!)
I have to wonder how close a NB kit would be to a 2-dr Golf kit. Lots of similarities there in terms of length of bed. Differences in other directions, but I think a NB kit would already be most of the way there.

Cheers,

PH
 

Lex4TDI4Life

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2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
Time to talk about cutting the bumper. There are a couple Golf-specific issues here.

In the Jetta videos, there doesn't appear to be much in the way of cutting at the height of the flange/seam that runs down the middle of each wheel well. Looking at the Golf, however, there is this bar of sorts above the bumper support. It isn't much in the way, but it meant that I couldn't follow the video to a T. What I did do, however, was use that bar as a guide and just cut right up against it.



And here is the rear end with the main bumper cut done:



I figured it was time to test-fit the bed sides:



Something looks...wonky, huh? Well, the most significant Golf-specific issue quickly became apparent: The heavy steel bumper is too high to allow the bed sides to settle in place.



 
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Lex4TDI4Life

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2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
Knowing a sawzall would't be up to snuff and worried that I was just missing something, I reached out to Mark Smith (again, extremely helpful). He confirmed that, yes, this interference is supposed to be there and that the best approach would be to cut two notches into the bumper for the bed sides to fit. So I ordered a 4.5" angle grinder and a diamond-edge cutting blade.

Mark suggested drilling a 3/8" hole at the bottom of the anticipated cut and then cut a V down into it to make room for the bed side. A 3/16" cobalt bit followed by a 3/8" cobalt bit made short work of it.



Time to pull out the saw and watch the sparks fly. My aim was pretty off on the passenger side, so my notch is wider than I would have liked. At the end of the process, this is what I got:





I was able to get the bed sides to settle in properly and made some more side cuts to get rid of extraneous material before assembling the bed frame. I ultimately ended up cutting away even more of the material below and to the right of the filler nozzle than is pictured here to make room for the Jetta fuel door that will go into the fiberglass panel later.



 
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Lex4TDI4Life

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2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
Assembly of the bed frame is fairly simple. Most of the bolt holes just have pilots that need to be drilled out to 3/8". The front wall gets attached to the bed sides with 4 bolts at each upper corner, 3 more through the wall on each side. Then come the cross bars. Here they are left to right from tailgate to front wall:



The first one is shorter because it fits under the tailgate area where the bedsides jut inward. I tightened the nuts down just until the nylon inserts started catching. I am sure I could have gone further, but I am trying to maximize my margin of error. And here is the assembled bed frame:



A buddy helped me lift it into place and voila!





We couldn't resist a chance to hang a couple fiberglass panels on to get an idea of what the final product might look like:



Next steps will include a thorough cleaning of the spare tire area, rustproofing of exposed edges, assembling the tailgate, and sorting out the b-pillar braces.
 
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Lex4TDI4Life

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2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
Boy, oh boy it has been a long time since I have posted, but a lot has been accomplished in these past couple weeks. I took Thanksgiving week off of work so I could make a dent in the project, and I did:

Once the loosely bolted frame was in place, I commenced to a few of the little things.

First, I applied two coats of POR 15 to all of the cut steel edges for rustproofing. I also applied it to the entirety of the steel bumper as it is starting to show surface rust and bubbling. I am not worried about it rusting away, but figured it couldn't hurt.

One of the first puzzlements I found when getting back to work was that it was nearly impossible to fit a 13mm socket or 13mm wrench inside the c-channel braces to get to both of nuts holding the bolts in place. My solution, therefore, was to turn one bolt on each side around. Not pretty, but it does the job:


Next was water drainage management. The big plugs under the spare tire were the first to go. Next were the smaller plugs that are under the back seat:


If you look carefully, you will see one big plug (with a spare yellow butt crimp next to it) and a smaller one that's partially obscured by the diamond pattern sheeting. There are two small ones, which I removed. You leave the big ones in place because they drain directly into the frame, where you really don't want water pooling.

Next are the little gullies next to where the bottoms of the back doors used to be.


If you look carefully in the videos, Smyth appears to have filled these spaces up with urethane foam, so after clamping the b-pillar brace in rough position, I followed suit:


A running theme in this build is that I often do things in the wrong order, whether due to unclear instructions or me being a numbskull. For example, before applying the urethane foam, I should have riveted in place the wiring harness channel plate to the front wall. This thing:



So I scraped out some of the foam after it had cured and riveted that plate in place.

This is a good time to talk tools. Without access to a compressor, I had a couple options for pulling rivets: a standard rivet puller or a drill attachment. I went with both. The hand-pump pullers are pretty standard and do a fine job, but they are slow for when you have a bunch of rivets to pull and are needlessly taxing on one's forearms. For speed and ease, therefore, I got a blind rivet drill adapter kit from Astro Pneumatic. It's pretty nifty and when you get into a rhythm, you can pull rivets at a good clip. I knew, however, that some rivets would be in tight places, so I also got a standard rivet puller with a swiveling head. I cheaped out on this one because I knew it would see light duty.

On another tool note, as mentioned by Powder Hound above, the rivet holes are all 3/16", but most need to be expanded a tiny bit to accommodate the rivet. I used a fairly small cordless drill to do most of my drilling on this project. One major downside to this has been me running through 3/16" cobalt bits at a fairly high clip. I think a larger, more powerful drill would have (1) made things quicker, and (2) saved me a few bucks in extra bits. Live and learn.
 
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Lex4TDI4Life

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2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
Next it was onto the b-pillar braces. The front wall bolts to it and then it gets riveted to the steel body in the rear door frame. I clamped it in place when I was doing most of my alignment. Then I put in a couple rivets at the bottom of each and checked the gaps.

Really, there isn't much room for the brace to go: it fits where it fits and maybe there is a 1/4 inch up and down movement, not much more front to back. Then it was time to drill all my holes in the brace and in the door frame and rivet it up!





A sharp eye will catch another mis-ordering of steps on my part. I applied the urethane foam before tightening the nuts and bolts that hold the froint wall to the brace. Had to do some more digging and re-foaming to get it all together. :eek:
 

Lex4TDI4Life

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2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
Then it was onto the assembly and first fit of the tailgate, which was a bit of a headscracther for me. Again, I never claimed I was that bright...

The video on this is mostly helpful. There are two bolts on the plastic handle mechanism, which fit through the tailgate and attach to the actuator mechanism, which you install inside the body of the tailgate:





For longevity, those little yellow clips get pulled off and replaced with a couple nuts and bolts from the excess amount that comes with the kit.

Next, I fit the latches on each side. Again evidencing my lack of sense, I did not attach the arms that lead from the actuator to the latches first.



The arms had me puzzled. There was no clear way that they could both bolt to the actuators AND hook into the latches. If I had been paying closer to the videos, I would have done what Powder Hound educated me on in his thread: take a pair of vice grips and twist the arm 90 degrees.



Once I got that sorted out and reassembled the latches, I installed the strikers and hinges onto the bed sides.



In another bonehead move, I misremembered which bolts from the door removal were to be used to attach the hinges. In the above pic, you will see I used ones likely from the seatbelts or door hinges that have large heads that will get in the way of the tailgate and bend it. Eventually, however, I saw the light and remembered that the bolts to be reused are the ones that hold the striker/hook/latch to the rear door frame:



They sit fairly flush inside the hinge holes and do not interfere with the tailgate. Derp.

After installing the plastic bearings inside the tailgate hinges, I attached it to the bed. Although I didn't need to at this point, I started adjusting the gaps between the tailgate and the bed sides and, importantly, adjusting the strikers to make sure the latches would catch. Ultimately, I had to grind away a little material inside the right striker to get the latch to catch.

A note: the latches are not very prone to abuse. You cannot just slam the tailgate shut. You have to lift the handle and push in place securely. Not a big deal, but do not expect modern slam-and-move-on fitment here.

I also attached the bolts into the tailgate and bed sides that hold the two tailgate cables. The original kit came with 4 authentic Ford shoulder bolts used on the Ranger for this purpose. It appears, sadly, that they are not in production anymore and the kit comes with some extra 8mm bolts and washers to approximate the effect. Eager to come up with a cleaner solution, I sourced a set from eBay. It took the seller forever to send out, however, and I got antsy for a solution. So I ordered some shoulder bolts from McMaster Carr that, while not the exact same part, do an excellent job:





I did ultimately get those authentic bolts off of eBay, but I like the look of the McMaster Carr bolts better.
 
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Lex4TDI4Life

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2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
Not many pics of the next phase as it is fairly straightforward. Again, likely getting ahead of myself, I started adjusting and tightening down the bed sides, front wall and three cross bars. As recommended in the videos, used duct tape to hold the bed sides to the tailgate to preserve the gap I wanted.



The problem I ran into, however, was that the top of the driver's side bedside was pushed in too tight to the tailgate, so I shimmed it out and then applied the duct tape to keep everything in place. I was surprisingly happy with the gaps:





Once stable, I tightened down the bolts a bit at a time rotating around the front wall, and the cross braces. Along the way, I used my trusty t-square to make sure the bed wall was square to the bed sides.

In the process, I also riveted the front wall to the steel the sits at the leading wall of the back seat area:



This is one of those places where the swivel head riveter came in handy. Obviously, to get to those, you need to remove the front seats. If, like me, you were a dumbdumb and forgot to drill out the five 3/8" holes for the bolts between the front wall and the rear tray (more on that later), now is not a bad time to do so...or is it???? (Answer: it is, explained below).

With everything stable and the gaps where I wanted them, I riveted the corner braces at the top-back edge of the bed sides.





With the bed sides where I wanted them, I went ahead and riveted them in as well:



On the passenger side, I was able to rivet the outside rail to the remaining material around the fuel filler:

 
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Lex4TDI4Life

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2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
Next up was the rear tray and the two floor support cross bars. Before that, though, I gooped up the seam running along the bottom of the front wall, and the random little holes nearby with a bunch of GE 2 silicone:



The tray was tricky and definitely required a second set of hands. 5 bolts attach to it through the front wall and there are two bolts that go through each bed side as well.

As mentioned above, I drilled out the five 3/8" holes in the rear wall when I was back there doing my riveting. Before installation, I separately drilled out the 3/8" holes at the back of the rear tray. This was not optimal.

I installed the tray by loosely bolting in the two bolts on each side. The it was time to hit those five remaining bolts in the back. Unfortunately, the holes in the wall rear wall did not quite overlap with the holes in the tray and there is very little wiggle room. So with the two sides tightened up more firmly, I had to re-drill the tray through the holes in the rear wall. This is fine - it is not a structural element - but it is sloppy. What I should have done is loose-installed the tray before drilling and simply drill the holes with it installed. Another lesson learned.



Two sets of hands are absolutely necessary to finalize installment of the rear tray because there is no way for one person to wrench the nuts AND counter-hold the 5 rear wall bolts. Even the two sets of side bolts are very challenging without thin arms and a bit of pain tolerance and/or wobble extensions.

Next up were the two floor support cross bars. This is where a long straight edge ruler and a t-square come in handy. This process is pretty well explained in the videos and I do not have many pics handy (will upload some more later), but it is simpler than I was expecting. In brief, the kit comes with 6 brackets that are intended to attach to the floor and 2 that are intended to attach to the sides of the vehicle itself. The first of the two bars (going from front of the car to back), is installed using 4 of the floor brackets. I clamped the brackets into place with the supplied white composite spacers and used my ruler and t-square to position it: both front to back, as well as for height. Once I had the position set, I placed a couple rivets at each foot to hold it steady - if things went awry, I could always drill them out, move and re-rivet. Checking my t-square and ruler again, I installed the final rivets then drilled a 3/8" hole through the front bracket, bar, spacer, and rear bracket in one go. Then I installed the supplied long 8mm bolts and nuts.

The second bar (from front to back) is a little different. The floor brackets are used on the front side of the bar, but the 2 wall brackets are installed at the rear. In theory, the idea is that if you need to get to the spare tire, you can undo the bolts and the bar will drop down, where you can slide it out and get to the spare. In reality, I will never be in a position where I will want or need to (a) remove the corrugated bed floor (to be installed later) and (b) unbolt and wiggle our that rear bar to change my tire on the side of the road. This is what AAA is for. I could have simply installed the narrower wall brackets onto the floor. A sucker for following directions though (mostly), I did the wall-side install of those brackets.



 
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Lex4TDI4Life

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Location
Stamford, CT
TDI
2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
Next up were the inner fender covers, which were a little tricky.

When installing the inner fender covers, there is a tab sticking down at the front that wedges between the tray and the crossbar sitting just behind it. The passenger side was being a b!tch, so I loosened the crossbar to see if that would help. No dice. Turns out one of the welds on the end of the bar was getting just in the way. Out came the dremel and a cutting blade. After that, it slipped right in (with the help of a rubber mallet).

Remember above where I said you could drill out the rivets and reposition the crossbar brackets? Well, that's what I tried when I realized that the tops of the floor-brackets were interfering with the fender covers. I drilled them out, moved them as far out as I could and found that the covers would still not wedge down all the way. You can sorta make out in this pic where the front brackets are holding up the loosely installed fender covers.



I also followed advice in the videos and hammered in the passenger side fender a little to see if there was interference there. No dice. Out came the sawzall and I hacked off the tops of the brackets.

You cannot drill the rivet holes into the body of the car or the bed sides with the fender covers in place. With the covers in place, I traced a line on the inner steel body along the top edge of the cover with a marker to identify the outer limit for drilling. Then I pulled the covers off and drilled my 3/16" rivet holes about 1/4-1/2" below the traced line. I put the covers back in place and drilled through the existing holes into the aluminum flange or fender covers. Then I popped in my rivets and all was done.



This is when I discovered another misordering of steps in my addled brain. I failed to mention above the brace installed between the b-pillar brace and the rear door frame:



This little guy bolts into the front wall and b-pillar brace at the front and then rivets to the door frame at the back. In fairness to myself, this piece barely gets mentioned in the videos or the manual and it isn't clear when it should be installed. So I went off of (poor) instinct and it installed after riveting the bedsides into place. The problem? It gets in the way of drilling for extra rivets to hold the fender cover to the body. So I drilled out the rivets, popped in more rivets for my fender covers, and reinstalled. Another lesson learned.

At this point, I installed the very much jury-rigged spacer workaround that ties the rear-most cross bar (right under the tailgate) to the inner fender covers. It's made of of these guys, marked #23 and #24 in the parts list:



Basically, #23 is the wider of the two pieces and it gets riveted to the inside of the top of the rear crossbar. #24 and the rear edge of the fender cover sit on top of it and get riveted in. There has got to be a more elegant system, but I am far from an expert.
 
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Powder Hound

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 25, 1999
Location
Under a Bridge, New Hampshiyuh, USA
TDI
'00 Golf 4dr White 5sp, '02 Jettachero 5sp, Wife's '03 NB Platinum Gray auto(!)
Goo-gone works nicely to help get rid of the duct tape adhesive. Just tear off slices of paper towel and lay it over the sticky residue. Soak the towel in goo-gone and let it soak for an hour or so. Maybe a little more if it is quite cold. It should soften and rub off with a clean towel. Maybe a little methanol for final cleanup. That is what worked for me.

Cheers!

PH
 

Lex4TDI4Life

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Location
Stamford, CT
TDI
2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
Goo-gone works nicely to help get rid of the duct tape adhesive. Just tear off slices of paper towel and lay it over the sticky residue. Soak the towel in goo-gone and let it soak for an hour or so. Maybe a little more if it is quite cold. It should soften and rub off with a clean towel. Maybe a little methanol for final cleanup. That is what worked for me.
Cheers!
PH
Very helpful. Thanks!
 
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