Golf MKIV Smyth Ute Project

Lex4TDI4Life

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Location
Stamford, CT
TDI
2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
Congratulations mate! That's a nice build! I was wondering if you have enough room to slide the seats back in case you need to remove them. I'm considering doing the same thing with a TDI swapped Allroad and building a mimcro camper in the back.
Thanks for the kind words! The seats do come out with everything installed. Because my seats are from a 4-door, however, they do not flip forward, so I have to use the dial on the side to lean them forward a bit to get enough room.

As much as I love GLI Recaros, I am keeping my eye out for a clean set of 2-dr seats that flip forward. Add that to the list of things to do on this beast....
 

tothemax

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 7, 2006
Location
West Coast
TDI
03 Jetta, 03 Golf, 2016 Q5
This is such a cool project.. have dreamed of a TDI pick up for a long time .. congrats !
 

Lex4TDI4Life

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Location
Stamford, CT
TDI
2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
Thanks! A bit of an update is in order:

I have lost my work space, so I am looking to rent a garage in the Fairfield County/ Westchester County/Danbury area for a few months to wrap up the body work and make some necessary mechanical fixes. If you have space or know anyone, let me know. Happy to pay a reasonable rent for usage.

Like a dumb-dumb, I decided to take her in to get her emissions done at the local shop (emissions are performed by private mechanics in CT). The emissions guy apparently could not wrap his head around what I brought in given that the VIN number, when put into the computer system, spits out "hatchback." So he decided to call up the state emissions office for guidance. Sigh...

I am on their radar. The DMV called me up and it looks like I will have to get this thing up to snuff to be registered as a composite vehicle: https://portal.ct.gov/DMV/Inspections/Inspections/Composite-Vehicles. A PITA, to be sure, which is why I want to button her up before winter. The adventure continues!
 

stp359

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2014
Location
Montreal, QC
TDI
Passat 4motion tdi 6speed
Thanks for the kind words! The seats do come out with everything installed. Because my seats are from a 4-door, however, they do not flip forward, so I have to use the dial on the side to lean them forward a bit to get enough room.

As much as I love GLI Recaros, I am keeping my eye out for a clean set of 2-dr seats that flip forward. Add that to the list of things to do on this beast....
That's a good idea:). I'll definitely look into it. Thanks a lot!
 

Lex4TDI4Life

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Location
Stamford, CT
TDI
2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
So I have begun the final stages of getting this thing ready for an inevitable inspection as a "composite vehicle" under Connecticut law. First thing to address was the massive exhaust leak. I went ahead and ordered a new turbo-back, 2.5" system from IDParts: https://www.idparts.com/cat-back-exhaust-p-1176.html and https://www.idparts.com/downpipe-1j0253058gx-p-1173.html. Had to go with a catalytic converter, but am going without a muffler:



So, I get her up on a lift and started stripping out the old exhaust; found that the downpipe broke a couple inches from the turbo flange. That might explain all those fumes...

Sadly, when removing the old downpipe, I broke off two studs. Uh oh....good thing I have had an extra, brand new turbo sitting around for the past 8 years. Now was a good time to get it in.



So, if anyone wants a giant, sooty paperweight, shoot me a PM. Getting the new turbo in was not terrible. Because this thing was installed almost 20 years ago and has seen 350k miles, I soaked all fasteners in PB blaster overnight and was patient with their removal, resulting in no broken or stripped fasteners. The downpipe went in fairly easily as well:





Peter at IDParts (IndigoBlueWagon) went the extra mile and called up Mark Smith to figure out the right length for the tail pipe. I think it hits the mark:





Next up...more wiring and body work!
 
Last edited:

Lex4TDI4Life

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Location
Stamford, CT
TDI
2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
It has been a busy few weeks as I have been getting the final wiring and body elements in order so I can get her painted and on the road for the winter. In no particular order:

In my initial assembly, I had not installed the blocking plates that fit between the door jambs and the inside-front of the quarter panels. This guy:



The reason I did not initially install it was that the mounting tabs do not line up with existing holes in the jamb. I believe this is a Golf-specific anomaly. The top tab was on target, but the bottom one had no place to go. I drilled out the rivets holding the quarter panels in place, carefully pulled the tail lights and pulled off the quarter panels. To get those blocking plates installed, I drilled into the jamb and installed an M8 rivnut for the lower mounting tab.



The plate was easily installed thereafter.



While I had the quarter panels off, I decided to pull the window surround and coat the inside with black bedliner. Had I been more ambitious, I would have used my charcoal headliner material, but I was lazy.



While I was in there, I also cut for and friction-fit a 3rd brake light assembly.

 

Lex4TDI4Life

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Location
Stamford, CT
TDI
2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
It was then time to re-attach the panels, but first, I had to prepare to bondo (generic term here, I used fancier body fillers) the window surround to the roof. I friction-fit the window surround in place, got out my angle grinder and a 36-grit brush sanding wheel and sanded down the rear 3" of the roof to bare metal.





To make sure the rivets were flush, I countersunk the pre-existing rivet holes as well.



With the window surround riveted back in place, I did a final fit of the quarterpanels and riveted them back in place as well.
 

Lex4TDI4Life

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Location
Stamford, CT
TDI
2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
With the window surround in place and the metal prepped, I got down to final attachment. As with most things I have encountered in this build, I am a complete novice when it comes to using body fillers (generically "bondo"). I did a bunch of reading, watched tutorials and even joined a body work forum before stocking up on gear and getting to work.

Considering that this would not be a show car, I did not go over the top. To bond the window surround to the roof, I used a lightweight plastic filler (Evercoat Rage Gold) topped off with a polyester glaze coat. I did not document this process in detail, but here is the near-final product:



There is no advice I can give here that wouldn't be stated better coming from a pro. Given it was my first bondo experience, I think I did passably.

Had I been more sane and less ambitious, I would have called it a day, taken it to a paint guy and ended my journey. Sadly, I saw pics from @runonbeer and his Smyth Ute project and decided to follow a similar path. This meant filling in the gaps at the leading edges of the quarterpanels and window surround with old fashioned spray foam:



On top of the foam, I layered fiberglass cloth/met with resin epoxy. This was extremely messy (in part because this is all new to me) and it took a lot of trimming and sanding to get things to a reasonable point. Here is some of the carnage:







Once I got the fiberglass sanded down to a reasonable point, I applied plastic body filler.





I have not applied a glaze coat yet because I know that my work is sub-par and will need more professional attention before it is ready to paint. The nooks and crannies in there are beyond my skill level.

I should mention at this point the sideskirts. I did a dry fit over the rocker panels, but have not yet attached them. The reason?



Yup, the dreaded rusted out rocker panel on the driver's side. The passenger side is fine. I had already obtained a pair of primed, unpainted, brand new OEM fenders. I was hoping that would be enough. When I get this to my body/paint guy, we will see if it is worth repairing the rusty rocker panel. Then we will install and bondo the sideskirts.
 
Last edited:

Lex4TDI4Life

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Location
Stamford, CT
TDI
2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
It is worth a brief diversion here to discuss electrics. First, I bought off ebay a pair of non-smoked tail light assemblies



I did this for three reasons: (1) I chipped the original, smoked assemblies a while back; (2) I am a bit tired of the smoked look and want something that will pop a bit better; and (3) when I get this thing inspected, I anticipate they will not accept smoked tails. I followed the same process for these as the original ones and popped them in:



While I was about, I also replaced and rewired my Hella Supertone horns, which had become rusted with over a decade on the road:



I also installed into the rear bumper the license plate lights and my backup camera:

 

Lex4TDI4Life

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Location
Stamford, CT
TDI
2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
The final bit of body work involved the rear bumper. I attached with countersunk rivets and bondo'd it in, this time with a short hair fiberglass filler that has more structural strength to it than the plastic fillers I used elsewhere. I use a polyester glaze coat and sanded it down to a pretty decent edge.



I also put polyester glaze filler over the countersunk rivet holes on the quarter panel rails and wheel arches.

That's about it for the moment. I still need to wired up the third brake light. The next step is largely out of my hands. I am going to shop around this week for a paint and body guy in my area who wants to do an interesting project for a not insane price. The sunk cost fallacy is working overtime on me. I plan on putting in all new OEM fenders, a new OEM hood, aftermarket bumper cover, grill and mirror caps. Unless the paint guy talks me out of it, I plan on just going back to reflex silver to honor her original condition.
 

GlowBugTDI

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2018
Location
Cambridge, MN
TDI
2001 Beetle GLS TDI (BIODSL). Glow Bug TDI (sold)
looks really good, your getting close it looks like!

I would love to do one of these if i ever found a kit for cheap somewhere.
 

Lex4TDI4Life

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Location
Stamford, CT
TDI
2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
Big updates ahead. I have handed Josie off to a nearby shop that does bodywork, vinyl wraps. and restorations. (Edit: The shop is Doornick Driven in Stamford, CT - www.doornickdriven.com). I am having them clean up all the body work and do a full wrap in 3M vinyl as close to Reflex Silver as we could find. Dropped her off today; she should be done by the end of April.

 
Last edited:

Lex4TDI4Life

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Location
Stamford, CT
TDI
2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
Paid a visit to the shop yesterday to see the progress and things are coming along. First, they cleaned up my awful bondo work on leadings edges of the fiberglass panels/doorjambs



Roof sanded and prepped:

 

Lex4TDI4Life

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Location
Stamford, CT
TDI
2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
The big question is what to do about the transition from the quarterpanel to the sideskirt. There is a pretty obnoxious lip:

\

I settled on the shop essentially covering the entire length with sheetmetal and then wrapping it as the rest of the car.
 

Lex4TDI4Life

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Location
Stamford, CT
TDI
2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
Finally, they slapped on a swatch of the wrap to see how it looks in the flesh. I am pretty pleased and it looks like it will match Reflex Silver fairly closely:

 

Lex4TDI4Life

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Location
Stamford, CT
TDI
2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
Got a couple more tantalizing pics from the shop. Here, the fender has been wrapped and the door has not. Looks like a close reflex silver match:



This is pulled back. Hood has been wrapped too and they painted my steelies gloss black.

 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
A lot of repaired and repainted reflex silver cars aren't that close. It's a difficult color to match.
 

Lex4TDI4Life

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Location
Stamford, CT
TDI
2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
A lot of repaired and repainted reflex silver cars aren't that close. It's a difficult color to match.
I was pleasantly surprised. FWIW, they will be wrapping the doors, too, so the whole thing will match. I was just surprised how close to RS it actually got. The 3M film they are using is actually discontinued, so I am glad they were able to get their hands on a roll of the stuff.
 
Last edited:

Lex4TDI4Life

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Location
Stamford, CT
TDI
2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
I couldn't help but notice the carpet in the shop you are working ino_O Ive only seen carpet on the show floor. High Class :cool: LOL
Ha, it is an interesting shop; a rag-tag group of enthusiast professionals. A local arcade shut down last year and these guys went in and bought up a lot of stuff, including some games and the psychedelic carpet.

In theory, she will be ready a week from tomorrow. Can't wait!
 

Drewser

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2002
Location
Mesa, AZ USA
TDI
04 Jetta TDI Wagon
So curious... Is it significantly cheaper to wrap a car over painting it? Not sure I've ever seen a wrap job done with this much attention to detail. Has me wondering...
 

Lex4TDI4Life

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Location
Stamford, CT
TDI
2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
So curious... Is it significantly cheaper to wrap a car over painting it? Not sure I've ever seen a wrap job done with this much attention to detail. Has me wondering...
In general, from my basic research, the wrap will be about half the price. In this case, they had a lot of work to do getting the bondo in shape and prepping the fiberglass panels. If you are just wrapping a fully painted car, it is much cheaper. Essentially, they need a smooth surface to work with, so panels that are either factory painted or just primered are going to require little prep. Paint work requires much more prep on already painted surfaces, I understand, and a LOT of time taping things off, which you just don't need to do for a wrap. Finally, materials are cheaper. I will have spent about $600 for the vinyl here (at cost). Decent paint and clear for a car this size would be well over $1000 (or at least that's what I was quoted).

Finally, I think wrap shops are a little more willing to let the owner do some prep work and live with the consequences. The paint guys I talked to didn't want me touching the thing at all (which is totally understandable). I will say that this shop, while not cheap, has been super enthusiastic because they haven't worked on this kind of conversion before and because it poses some interesting challenges. They want to get it right, but gave me the option of half-a$$ing it to save some cash.

The downside, of course, is that the vinyl can be torn and damaged in ways that paint cannot. That being said, I can just re-wrap a panel for fairly cheap if needed because the prep work has already been done.
 

Drewser

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2002
Location
Mesa, AZ USA
TDI
04 Jetta TDI Wagon
I will have spent about $600 for the vinyl here (at cost). Decent paint and clear for a car this size would be well over $1000 (or at least that's what I was quoted).
These two numbers just materials? Wonder if labor is similar between the two...I know prep work is most of the cost, and I get your point about paint guys wanting to do it themselves. I never would have thought of wrapping in a solid color but it looks really really good. It has me thinking about it now...
 

Lex4TDI4Life

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Location
Stamford, CT
TDI
2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
Yeah, those are just materials. Long story short, I was quoted between $8-$12K for a full paint job; I am also in the NY tristate area, so prices are inflated. A lot of that was going to be tape time and I frankly thought it was going to be higher because of bondo work and additional prep of the fiber panels.

I know that solid color wraps are uncommon, but I wanted this thing to look almost OEM without dropping 15K on it, haha. This thing has already been a money pit, but the price of a paint job seemed a bridge too far.
 

Drewser

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2002
Location
Mesa, AZ USA
TDI
04 Jetta TDI Wagon
Yeah, those are just materials. Long story short, I was quoted between $8-$12K for a full paint job; I am also in the NY tristate area, so prices are inflated. A lot of that was going to be tape time and I frankly thought it was going to be higher because of bondo work and additional prep of the fiber panels.

I know that solid color wraps are uncommon, but I wanted this thing to look almost OEM without dropping 15K on it, haha. This thing has already been a money pit, but the price of a paint job seemed a bridge too far.
I don't think it's anything to be embarrassed about at all...I'm very impressed with how good it looks! And with vinyl wrap, you don't have to worry about door jambs and such. Just let them be a different color.
 

GEFP

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2018
Location
Southern Alberta Canada
TDI
2- 2001 Jettas, 2 - 2002 Jettas (1 for parts) 2003 1.8t Jetta (parts) 2014 Jetta
I don't think it's anything to be embarrassed about at all...I'm very impressed with how good it looks! And with vinyl wrap, you don't have to worry about door jambs and such. Just let them be a different color.
And if in a few years you don't like the color it's not that expensive to change.
 
Top