Raising Car for Off-Road Crawling or Rally

manual_tranny

Smyth Performance- Intern
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Location
New Bedford, MA
TDI
2001 Golf @182K; 2000 Jetta @290K
Hi everybody! I am on a mission. I have spent so much time crawling around this and every tdi/mk4 site I can find, trying to figure out the best way to continue getting good milage AND be able to get up rough logging and climbing access trails out West. Many thanks to all of you who have done so many spectacular write-ups, especially thanks for the timing belt write-up! The Bentley manual should be ashamed of itself compared to these collection of high-res pictures and how-tos!

Anyway let me share what I am thinking already. My car is a 2002 MKIV Tdi. Last time I went down an access trail I had a full 7-day cooler and crash pad (for climbing) on roof, four climbers in the car and every inch of the car was full of gear. I am generally an excellent driver, but going up mountain logging roads with giant holes at night in my overloaded car eventually we bottomed out a few times out of necessity to get where we were going. (free camping) I figured out later I had only been banging my trailer hitch, but it really did get banged up good and it bent the underside of the car and the hitch up about one inch. The engine and rest of the car I had saved from damage, but this gets me thinking- it doesn't get much closer before I destroy my car and get stranded like this. I have to keep this amazing car, no questions about it. I also have to keep climbing and camping in far off places. I'm not going to drive a Jeep across country at 15mpg so I can use 4wd for the 15-30 miles of the trip that need it.

I've taken measurements, used calculators etc, and I believe I have come up with new parts/settings that should be ideal. I'm looking for opinions, neg and positive I won't be offended.

My plans:
-Panzer Skid Plate
-Biggest offroad/onroad tires that will work well
-DMS suspension AND/OR 3” raise (2” kit, 1” tire)
-Differential that will keep me moving when one tire leaves ground at slow speed.
-More power, especially in high altitude (already discussed)
-Better lighting! I have a roof rack and a place to mount rally lights, now just need to figure wiring
(send me links if you have had good experiences with certain rally style lights, please. I imagine bright LEDs as the most reliable way to provide huge lumens without requiring a new alternator to power them...?)



Here are my ideas spelled out:

WHEELS AND TIRES:
I currently have stock wheels and tires,
(19 lb alloy stock 15”)
(21 lb Michelin Hydroedge 195/65r15)

I think I want:
15” lightweight wheels (15.7 lbs)
http://www.nlmotoring.com/productdetails.asp?productcode=51956103&click=2
205/75R15 General Tire:
http://www.tirerack.com/tires/Spec.jsp?make=General&model=Grabber%20AT%202&partnum=075TR5GRAT2OWL&vehicleSearch=false&fromCompare1=yes

These wheels are cheap and light weight. I think they're kind of ugly too, but so cheap I could buy 5-6 and not care. I would like to keep a second set of wheels and tires so during the summer I can keep using my Michelins. I assume these wheels are not very strong, but I also assume that will be ok since I will have large diameter tires that will cushion them. Is this right?

After obsessing over tire weight and size for a LONG time, I found these 205/75R15 General Tire (exactly the size I was dreaming of) They are only 25lbs, (only 4 lbs more than my 195/65R15). With my lighter wheels, my unsprung weight should remain almost identical to my stock wheels and tires!!! With a diameter of 26.8, they are exactly 2.1 inches bigger in diameter than my “tiny” stock tires. They even have a good UTQG, which should be nice as I put on a lot of miles. This alone will help me raise the car up (theoretically) 1.05inch.

My wheel well is 28" from front to back, the tire is 26.8" diameter inflated. This leaves 0.6 inch clearance between the tire and the front and back of the wheel well. Is this going to be a problem?. Will higher speeds be a problem due to tire expansion? (80mph? 100Mph?) Will I need to modify the wheel well to use this size tire?

I will be spinning 778 revs per mile with these, while my Mich. Hydroedge spun at 842. 778 is 0.92, which should take 2500rpm engine speed down to 2300rpm, 3000prm down to 2760, 4700 down to 4324. I suspect that 1st gear will still be functional climbing steep hills, has anybody changed their final drive this much, and if so what can I expect 1st gear to feel like from a stop up a hill?

SUSPENSION:

1. http://www.dmsnorthamerica.com/cgi-bin/ec.cgi?opt=2&org=1&pid=237&a=dc

2. http://www.metalnerd.com/cat09.htm

I really need everybody's help with this, I only have rough ideas!!
What do I need to worry about when I raise the car up higher? Camber? Toe? Other geometry? Nothing? Depends on how it's done?

I am considering both or either of:

1. Rally Shocks/Springs 50mm would be going 'overboard', but if my car could reliably take big bumps and land small jumps without falling apart, and still be drivable on the interstate at 40mpg+, I would be willing to part with the $5-6K to make it happen.

2. Stock suspension + spacers: This has the benefit of being relatively cheap. Practically free compared to custom suspension. Is this hillbilly? What are your opinions? (No offense metalnerd thanks for making these parts!!) Is it possible/practical to combine 1-2” of lift with DMS suspension? I was hoping I could raise the car WAY off the ground for trails, and lower the DMS suspension with the lifts still in for driving on-road.

The further a vehicle is raised off the ground, the worse the mpg will be at high speed. This is the main reason I would like an adjustable height suspension. What is everyone's opinion for using airbags to raise/lower the suspension? I really like the instant satisfaction and convenience of height change from inside the car, but I worry about the handling characteristics of Airbag suspension. Opinions?

The General Tire 205/75R15 can hold 1609lbs each. This is a lot of weight. If I have a beefier suspension, will the car be safe loaded up with more weight than the stock limit? I once loaded my TDI up for 8 miles with about 1400lbs of bags of rocks, and I noticed that the front right and the rear left of the car (where I had put most of the weight) were lower to the ground than the front left and rear right. The car doesn't have a very stiff chassis!! Is there anything to do about this? I don't want to break my suspension with 4 bodies, 160lbs on the roof, and the back end loaded up while hitting big ruts and potholes.

DIFFERENTIAL:
Does anybody know if I would want one of these or the other? I think I like the Wavetrac better, but that might be only because it was such a neat product. Would anybody make the argument that I don't need a LSD for offroad? I get the idea having had the car stuck in frozen ice/snow crust that my current differential is no more advanced than the differentials of the 1920s or the 3-gear lego differentials of my childhood.

http://www.autotech.com/prod_drive_wavetracDiffs.htm

http://www.kermatdi.com/servlet/-strse-98/Peloquin-Limite-Slip-Differential/Detail?category=-Performance+Parts%3AFinal+Drive

TRANSMISSION:
I am also looking into the 6th gear conversion, as a final modification to deal with the off-road tire size change. Very low 1st and 2nd gears with a regular 5th and 6th overdrive. Will there be problems getting gears in non-stock sizes? Are there any manufactured gears too big or small to fit in the 6 speed transmission? (I've bought motorcycle gears before that technically fit but were too big/small and the chain would rub, I'm looking to avoid stuff like this)

STEERING/LINKAGE:
I have not yet found any information on how to strengthen steering and other components that go to wheels. Does anybody have any ideas... I don't even know where to start looking. Besides springs/shock absorbers, what are the names of the stabilizing bars/arms etc. that might be replaced with thicker, stronger pieces or adjusted to compensate for medium-duty offroad use? Is there anywhere to buy strengthened rods for MKIV offroad?

SPARE TIRE HOLDER/BRACKET:
I haven't seen any kits for mounting a wheel/tire on a car, but I've seen pictures of rally vws using them. If I put a wheel/tire on the rear door, will I be able to strengthen the shocks that keep the door up? Is there a way to mount a horizontally opening gate behind the door?

WINCH:
Laugh if you want, but by the time I have this project completed, there will still be one thing missing- a way to get unstuck. Does anybody have any ideas on where the best place to mount a winch on a MKIV is? My thoughts are that I could weld a metal bumper to the front of the car and mount the winch to that, but I am concerned that there aren't any points on the entire car that would be strong enough to use a winch without breaking off. Does anybody know where the strongest parts of the front of the frame are? Will it be necessary to weld and strengthen the frame anywhere in order to install a heavier front bumper and winch? I'm thinking using a metal bumper from an old Jeep or something at this point.

I apologize for such a outrageously long post. I haven't been able to sleep because I can't figure out whether it's worth it to dive into this project or not. Also, I apologize if any of these questions have been answered before but I haven't come across any posts that really embraced the idea of going off-road in a TDI.

I'm also trying to get an idea for how marketable all this would be. Are there many of you out there who are looking for the same thing? Let me know if you're interested in doing these modifications to your own cars, perhaps we could get a group order of steel front bumpers/spare tire brackets/winches? Maybe a group order on differentials? Lets do this!!!
 
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Lex4TDI4Life

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jun 22, 2006
Location
Stamford, CT
TDI
2001 Golf-Ute TDI GLS 5spd Manual
I would love to see the outcome of such a transformation.

That being said, it might be cheaper to just get an old Jeep.
 

manual_tranny

Smyth Performance- Intern
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Location
New Bedford, MA
TDI
2001 Golf @182K; 2000 Jetta @290K
True...

Lex4TDI4Life said:
I would love to see the outcome of such a transformation.

That being said, it might be cheaper to just get an old Jeep.
Yes, but I already have too many pieces of you-know-what and not enough places to put them!! :p

AND GO TEAM VENTURE!!
 
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F250_JR

Veteran Member
Joined
May 13, 2008
Location
Birmingham
TDI
2005.5 Jetta TDI Special Edition
I have read tons of posts from people who "really want to lift their Jetta/Golf", but I don't think I have ever read one where someone did so much of their own homework. It looks like you are definitely on the right track.


My opinion on all of this...first, I don't really have any experience with offroad modifications/upgrades. I can't really give you any good input on your specific plans. However, just from reading through your plans, while they seem impressive and on the right track, I wonder whether or not they will really give you the results you want. You are talking about converting a passenger car into something that could handle extreme offroad terrain.

Again, just my opinion, but I seriously doubt that the Jetta's frame and chassis could actually support these upgrades. Think about it, you already mentioned how you have seen the weaknesses in the car's frame; for what it's worth, it was never designed to do the type of things you are putting it through right now. Even if you do all of the things you are talking about, I would seriously wonder if other stuff would start breaking as soon as you started "enjoying" your new car.


One more thing. You are talking about dropping as much as over 10 grand on your car, and it will still be just a lifted Jetta. The basic frame and chassis will become your new weak point, and there's no way you can fix that. If you really have that much money to spend on the Jetta, then I would think that a portion of it could easily be set aside to cover extra fuel expenses associated with a dedicated offroader, instead of potentially ruining your car. Think about this:
1) buy an older truck/jeep of your choice. If you really want to maximize mpg, get an older diesel, or if you just really want a fun crazy project, swap a diesel engine into a Jeep, etc. You could probably make 20+ on the highway if you're careful, while still having offroading capabilities.
2) do a standard lift/larger tires/winch/offroad lights thing.
3) you now have 2 fun vehicles! You've probably spent less money, each one of them will be much easier to maintain, and they will perform their respective tasks better. Your Jetta will still give you good mpg on trips, and your offroader will take you camping when you do that.
Again, just think about the total cost of doing all of this to your Jetta...mpg may be a big thing for you, but it would be most likely more cost effective to just do a second vehicle build on a budget, and spend more on fuel when you go camping. Say instead of spending 10k on the Jetta, you spend 8k on building an older truck/Jeep...the $2000 left over could buy you a whole lot of fuel. I know these numbers could end up being very different, but I think the principle will remain applicable.
 
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FL/COtdi

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2009
Location
Aspen CO
TDI
2003 Jetta wagon
Awesome stuff here, subscribed! I've been looking at similiar stuff for my trips to CO. Thanks for the research, as well as, the opionons and info to come:cool:

Patrick
 

Thorne

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2006
Location
SF Bay Area
What about this option:

Panzer skidplate
MetalNerd lift kit
New shocks/struts
Stiffer rear springs (German Jetta wagon model)

That would be a lot closer to $2k, right?

You could also go for slightly larger tires / winter tires on a set of used wheels, possibly turnaround tires.
 

shizzler

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2005
Location
Ann Arbor MI
TDI
05 BEW Wagon
That is a disappointingly good point, F250.

I for one would love to see you go as far as you can with this. But you should take your expectations down a notch.

Drop the $$ coilovers, external spare tire, and winch from your plan. They just dont make sense on a daily driven Golf (which you neglected to mention).
You can swap in the stiffer VR6 springs and some HD struts for almost an inch of lift. Then the 2" lift kit and 1" from the tires, should be plenty. Armor up the underside of the car as best you can, and just take it slow off road. The peloquin diff should be helpful. Build a front bar to hold some lights, and enjoy.

But don't buy a jeep or other guzzler! We certainly don't need more demand for SUVs in this world.....
 

manual_tranny

Smyth Performance- Intern
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Location
New Bedford, MA
TDI
2001 Golf @182K; 2000 Jetta @290K
shizzler said:
That is a disappointingly good point, F250.
The new Jeep Patriot/Compass would be a good place to start crushing my dreams, with 28mpg on gas. But I hate Jeeps, and I don't have 20K to spend on bad engineering. I rented a Jeep Liberty a few years ago and the auto transmission/lack of power couldn't decide between 3rd and 4th up any long hill, the mpg it got was nowhere near it's claims, and it was small and uncomfortable for being so big, heavy, and clumsy. In short, my trips with my tiny VW have been more comfortable physically and on my wallet. I love the idea of the Jeep Liberty diesel, but it gets piss poor mpg and doesn't have the power or torque to back it up. Banks' V8 diesels for street rods push 800 ft/lbs of torque and claimed 36mpg in big heavy vintage cars. (Read it in an article years ago, can't be sure it's correct but I do believe it.) There's no excuse for a liberty diesel to get 21-24mpg. It's tiny and light weight.

My feeling on older Jeeps is that they just don't get good enough milage, they are poorly insulated, and noisy. I have had problems with an old Cherokee and it's 4wd going out, a family car where 4wd was only used in the snow.

I'm still driving a 1975 MB 240D. I've driven it for 10 years, as did my grandfather, and then my father. It has over 400,000 miles on it. This is my plan for my diesel Golf, as well. I'm at 120K, and if it keeps running, I'm going to keep on driving it another 360K miles. In fact, I like it so much, I think I might be willing to replace major parts of it like the engine, transmission, etc. just to keep it going a million miles. I'm actually eager to start modifying it because I believe I could find a better car out of all this. I am excited at the idea of 2" diameter wheel/tire combination that weighs theoretically the same as the current wheel/tire, for instance. That gives the car a significantly better chance in snow and offroad by itself.

So, I don't know of any Jeeps with engines both as efficient and as powerful as the 1.9TDI has the capability for. I am willing to compromise on drivetrain of fwd because I'm not looking to hill climb or do anything crazy. I don't want to compromise by putting my engine in a truck because I like my 4 doors and the 1.9 ain't pullin no 4-door truck around. (I saw the conversions, but I would blow up the engine getting enough power to a 4-runner to make me happy) I may still consider looking silly with a metal front bumper and winch just to help put a little more weight over the drive....

All of your opinions are very helpful, thanks so much!!!!!
 
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manual_tranny

Smyth Performance- Intern
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Location
New Bedford, MA
TDI
2001 Golf @182K; 2000 Jetta @290K
F250_JR said:
Again, just my opinion, but I seriously doubt that the Jetta's frame and chassis could actually support these upgrades. Think about it, you already mentioned how you have seen the weaknesses in the car's frame; for what it's worth, it was never designed to do the type of things you are putting it through right now. Even if you do all of the things you are talking about, I would seriously wonder if other stuff would start breaking as soon as you started "enjoying" your new car.
Opinions? Will Roll Cage would strengthen up the car enough to be worth it? I suppose if I'm going to this trouble the car ought to have one anyway... =)

Oh, and no big deal, it's a Golf

http://www.ioportracing.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Category_Code=AP422
 

coalminer16

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 11, 2008
Location
Central Wisconsin
TDI
Golf 2004
What I can't believe is you got through that mess of off roading and bent your hitch but didn't mess up your oil pan with no metal skid plate. That upgrade needs to be done no matter what you end up doing with the car. I don't know why you need another spare when you have a full sized spare in the rear already but if you need to have another one you could mount one off your hitch and have it swing down with the pull of a lever/pin like what Thule does for there hitch cargo trunk (they make them for Class 2 1.25 inch hitches) so you can still open the hatch. Yakama makes a 21 ft^3 that will mount to the top of the car or you could put an open storage up like like you have. The metalnerd lift is a nice one. I installed one on mine. You will run into an issue if you lift much more then that as the axles will start to hit the control arm at a point. With the lift it was getting close and I think adding VR6 automatic springs on the front will be about all I can get out of mine. You also will want towwing springs for the rear. http://www.idparts.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=1471
http://www.idparts.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=1480&osCsid=vv4020rvk6ru2psifaurij7m22
You could do a light bar set up on the front for lights that several people have made. They can't handle hitting much but you could mount lights. I don't think you will get a metal bumper on the car and still look very good, not to mention I don't know how you would mount it could enough to where if you hit something it still wouldn't damage the car. I don't know if you are going to get a winch on the car. Maybe if you bolt/weld a plate in the rear of the car over the spare tire so it can pull from most of the framing tin work you could do that and just open the hatch and pull yourself out backwards. If you could ever figure out a way to get a guard built to mount on the front good enough to hit a deer let me know. I had an idea of using the mounting points people use for there light bars and bring the brace down to where the skid plate mounts on the front. From that you could maybe weld a good guard on. As for the tranny. If you want a lower 1st-3rd get a gasser 6 speed. Your hyw speeds will suffer but you will get to go slower. There is ways to put custom gear sets in but not many that would help you out. In the end you might want to find a TDI engine and mount it into a jeep or smaller SUV as it would be better for your needs and cheaper and the TDI would retain some of the MPG. As for a little more power injectors, and injection pump would be your cheapest and quickest upgrades on your model. Chip would be next. If you do some of this stuff let us know as I think it would be cool but in the end you would still have a unibody car that isn't really meant for that much abuse.
 

F250_JR

Veteran Member
Joined
May 13, 2008
Location
Birmingham
TDI
2005.5 Jetta TDI Special Edition
Don't get me wrong manual_tranny, what you are talking about sounds awesome. However, I just don't think the Jetta (of Golf--whatever it is) is an appropriate platform for any type offroad applications. It simply does not have the engineered strength to hold up under those types of extreme strains.

I don't think you understood my "alternative" suggestions. When I say diesel engine in a truck/Jeep, the last thing on my mind was a TDI. I was thinking more along the lines of a smaller Cummins or something similar. Since you obviously don't like Jeeps, then how about a Ford or Chevy truck? Basically anything like that would have a stronger frame/chassis that could withstand offroad strains much better. I understand your goals with keeping your VW indefinitely...which is why I suggested simply going to another platform for your offroad vehicle.

The point remains, no matter if the VW can handle offroading just as well as a Ford Super Duty, it would cost you more to upgrade the VW than it would to just buy and mod a dedicated offroader (as long as we are talking basic lift/tires/winch--which is really all you'd need). No matter how you look at it, if you save money doing the cheaper option, (we're talking saving at least a couple of thousand here) the increased fuel cost almost becomes a moot point.
Do some calculations as to how long say, $2000 (saved by going with a cheaper option) would last you if you were using that to cover extra fuel costs. I know mpg is big, but the amount of money you are talking about spending here make fuel costs almost negligible.
 

jnecr

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2004
Location
Raleigh, NC
TDI
2014 BMW 328d
I would not skimp on wheels. If they are light and cheap, they will break off-road. You can pick up used wheels from VWVortex for super cheap. And if they are OEM wheels they will likely be forged of some sort, I would recommend that... Cheap, light wheels off-road are a bad idea...

I agree with some of the other comments, a bit expensive for what it is.. :)

I think you're on the right track with the tires, suspension lift, Peloquin dif, and some lights.

Hella makes some great driving lights that won't require any alternator upgrades. Simple 55w lights, but it's the optics of the whole system that make them bright... Hella 500s is what I had on my Jeep Cherokee for everynight back country on-road driving. Two of them pointed about 30 feet ahead of you will do the trick...
 

UFO

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2007
Location
A mile high
TDI
2001 Beetle
My Jeep CRD is much more durable and capable off-road, and with a GDE tune some report greater than 30mpg highway.

edit: And I've tried to off-road a Subaru Outback. I don't recommend taking that light chassis any more off-road than you have done. It's not capable and you'll just tear it up.
 
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manual_tranny

Smyth Performance- Intern
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Location
New Bedford, MA
TDI
2001 Golf @182K; 2000 Jetta @290K
jnecr said:
I would not skimp on wheels. If they are light and cheap, they will break off-road. You can pick up used wheels from VWVortex for super cheap. And if they are OEM wheels they will likely be forged of some sort, I would recommend that... Cheap, light wheels off-road are a bad idea...
Good avice, I should have thought that one through.
 

F250_JR

Veteran Member
Joined
May 13, 2008
Location
Birmingham
TDI
2005.5 Jetta TDI Special Edition
manual_tranny said:
Opinions? Will Roll Cage would strengthen up the car enough to be worth it? I suppose if I'm going to this trouble the car ought to have one anyway... =)

Oh, and no big deal, it's a Golf

http://www.ioportracing.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Category_Code=AP422

I'm sure a roll cage would strengthen the car, but I doubt it would give you the type of strength you need. This car is still a unibody, and I don't really think there is a way to properly modify it to hold up to years of offroading. Granted, I'm sure you could do it for a while, but I doubt you could get the years out of it that you have expressed you want.


On the other hand, I would love for some of the engineers on here to prove me wrong. Seriously. I am just being realistic here, but if there was a way to build a reliable offroading Golf, it would be awesome. I doubt that would ever be the most economic option for offroading, but it would be one of a kind, and really cool. I said this in another, totally unrelated thread, but grin factor is not something that can be measured with normal economics. Modding does not make economic sense, but you can get enjoyment from it that can't be measured in dollars. If that is the case for you and the Golf you want to offroad with, then more power to you. Nobody can tell you that you shouldn't do it.
However, if this is the case, then at least be aware that it is probably not the most economic option. Also, make sure it will actually work. I don't have the engineering and fabricating knowledge to tell you decisively one way or the other, but you need to get knowledgable input on the issue of the Golf's unibody stregnth. Technically everything else could be a non-issue if you throw enough money at it, but whether or not the unibody will take years of offroading is a serious question you need to pursue.

Whatever you do, I'm interested to see how it plays out!
 

diesel-dave

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2007
Location
earth
TDI
2003 wagon TDI, 2003 wagon Tdi, 2013 Q7 Tdi
manual_tranny said:
Yes, but I already have too many pieces of you-know-what and not enough places to put them!! :p

AND GO TEAM VENTURE!!
i will not laugh at any of this i promise, mainly because i have a built up jeep that needs a diesel conversion myself.....my stock jeep axles where replaced for ones that would not break and so on.....anyways

realize this is still a car and you have to be damn careful or you will twist these so called frames and ruin your car, its possible to damage the frame by high centering the car with too much weight in it also..

if you get a winch get a small lightweight one, electric, i'd mount it where the license plate goes upfront remove the bumper cut out a square in the plastic, remove the bumper fab a plate for the bumper for the winch to bolt to.

im still against this entirely do to the lack of strength these cars have for the purpose you want, but if it where me that where i would install it. this is to only assist a stuck you!! not drive around and pull others out, that could shear off the front of your car!!

the skid plate will help keep things straight but will not convert it to a tank or a plow
the skid is so close that if you hit something hard enough the pan will still crack or shatter and bye bye motor.

maybe a strut tower bar will help too.

a peloquin is a good diff and a heavy duty clutch is a must.

i would also get all the oem plus plastic covers for the brake lines and fuel lines you can, call peter at tdi parts for those. or have aluminum fabbed tossed gravel can punture those let alone of roading!

you can find off road tires for most rim sizes but that will kill your economy on the trip there, so will all the extra weight

cant wait till the subaru diesels are here that sounds like a good match for you

good luck
and be safe
 
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manual_tranny

Smyth Performance- Intern
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Location
New Bedford, MA
TDI
2001 Golf @182K; 2000 Jetta @290K
huh. smart!

gaddman said:
I have to admit I missed this one. I don't think I'll be doing this as I want to install a kit that will need minimum maintenance. This helps explain the cost of metalnerd's kit- I would pay a lot to install a part like this and not have to worry about water rotting it someday. (I'm forgetful)
 

manual_tranny

Smyth Performance- Intern
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Location
New Bedford, MA
TDI
2001 Golf @182K; 2000 Jetta @290K
Well, I'm deciding between:

http://cgi.ebay.com/STAINLESS-STEEL-SHEET-3-16-x-36-x-48-ALLOY-321_W0QQitemZ310056735946QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item4830d254ca

http://www.precisiontuning.ca/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=24_293_314&products_id=785

Or the aluminum which was my first idea. Since I'm really not planning on ever hitting anything with the bottom of the car after the lift, I think I may stick with the aluminum one since it's already cut, bent, and has a removable oil change cover. Also, I think I prefer the skid plate to be something that would bend/brake/melt away vs. a steel plate which might be stronger than what it's attached to.
 

manual_tranny

Smyth Performance- Intern
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Location
New Bedford, MA
TDI
2001 Golf @182K; 2000 Jetta @290K
diesel-dave said:
realize this is still a car and you have to be damn careful or you will twist these so called frames and ruin your car, its possible to damage the frame by high centering the car with too much weight in it also..
Good advice. I am hopeful that raising the car and driving carefully will allow me to avoid high centering. I want it to be able to support itself in transitions on opposing corner wheels at very low speeds with about 1000 pounds gear/people in the car. This is not an everyday situation.

diesel-dave said:
if you get a winch get a small lightweight one, electric, i'd mount it where the license plate goes upfront remove the bumper cut out a square in the plastic, remove the bumper fab a plate for the bumper for the winch to bolt to.
I would be very careful using a winch with my Golf. My trailer hitch is already a place I've pulled it from, and works fine. Sometimes I might need to pull from the front, though, and I'd opt for a remote-controlled winch that could work with me behind the wheel helping it along.

diesel-dave said:
a peloquin is a good diff and a heavy duty clutch is a must.
AGREED!!! Does anybody know about the wavetrac differential? I've only heard about the peloquin...

diesel-dave said:
i would also get all the oem plus plastic covers for the brake lines and fuel lines you can, call peter at tdi parts for those. or have aluminum fabbed tossed gravel can punture those let alone of roading!
Hadn't thought of that, thanks very much!
diesel-dave said:
you can find off road tires for most rim sizes but that will kill your economy on the trip there, so will all the extra weight
Loaded fully I have never been under 40mpg. Loaded average without rack on top I get 47-54. I suspect that with the tires and wheels I am considering (205/75R15 25lbs tire, 15" 15.7 lbs rim) that the milage will be nearly the same, because the weight of the wheels/tires will be nearly identical and the engine will be turning slower which might negate some of the increased rotating energy and increased friction from larger contact patches.
diesel-dave said:
cant wait till the subaru diesels are here that sounds like a good match for you
I would give my left hand for a subaru diesel. And I'm a pianist.
 

coalminer16

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 11, 2008
Location
Central Wisconsin
TDI
Golf 2004
You could fab a winch to go into the hitch receiver and be able to take it out. Have some thicker gauge wires going back there from the battery to run it. Also might be able to mount a receiver on the front using a set up like a tow bar system (to pull behind a RV, etc only with a receiver hitch on instead). Would be nice if Subaru would ever get a diesel in the US but I wonder how long there engines last.
 

diesel-dave

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2007
Location
earth
TDI
2003 wagon TDI, 2003 wagon Tdi, 2013 Q7 Tdi
ah the receiver !!! as long as you dont have a heavy packed trailer that would work great

you have a hook up front right? how about a small electric come -along... use nylon straps and shackles pack it in your go bag till you need it.
 

Aquaticmind

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2009
Location
Wheeling, WV via Athens Georgia via, Bainbridge Is
TDI
2003 Jetta Wagon
I'm in the process of lifting my 03 wagen right now.

Panzer plate - on and well used
Front springs - 2white/2blue ~1" lift with skid plate (from autotranny wagen)
Koni Red Shocks

Next
ASR unit (traction control)
2" lift from Metal nerd
Rear springs from towing option ??? maybe

That should give me pretty good clearance and traction for rocky roads. A Limted-Slip unit is an option (it will run about $1k)
Better tires
 

48 MPG

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2005
Location
Seattle, Wa
TDI
97 Passat
mount a 5-6 K plate mount receiver hitch, Use an adapter from 1 1/4 to 2" tube for the mount to the car. Should work fine, take off and store in trunk when not needed.

http://www.harborfreightusa.com/usa/itemdisplay/displayItem.do?itemid=66771&submit2=find+it

a 200 pound 16 cu ft locking trailer for less than $300 after lots of discount coupons. Less than 4 feet wide, about 6 feet long from tongue to trailer lights on back. I would spend the minimal extra money and put 12 " tires on to replace the 8". Might even be able to trade up for minimal expense. I did.Made more sense than having a large carrier on the roof acting as a brake.
 

Farfromovin

Torque Addict
Joined
Apr 9, 2005
Location
Ventura, CA
TDI
03 Golf 2dr- PD150 6m
I don't think running 10-30 miles of your trip on logging roads or access roads or just off roads in general will tear up your car too bad. I think stiffening the sub frame a bit could help alleviate some of the extra wear and tear. Lifting a moderate amount with taller tires and skidplates sound like great options. Of course, I would never jump the car and expect it to love you back for very long LOL. Keep at it man, I have no experience with modding a MKIV like this but I dig your enthusiasm. I say go for it!
 

Pat Dolan

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2002
Location
Martensville, SK
TDI
2003 A4 Variant, 2015 Q7
Manuel..er...ManuAL Tranny:

You do realize that there IS a VW designed exactly to your needs, don't you? Check my sig line ( www.vwcountry.co.uk ). They were built by Steyer in the same plant as many other VW-based AWD vehicles (I think including the RIGHT thing for this...the Type 2 - T3 Vanagon Syncro, the VW Iltis, etc.) IF you were on this side of the border, you could even have bought one built right before our eyes by Dave Marshall right here on Fred's webpage ( search TDI Country ).

However, you can't have one in the US, but there is not reason you couldn't MAKE one. The cars are essentially a regular Golf body with a separate frame beneath to which the engine, trans and rear axle are mounted (you are FAR better off, since you can use the later trans that is much stronger than the 020 in the Country). You just need the driveline from a wrecked Passat G60 Syncro (5 speed very cheap out of Quebec where lots were sold and all have rusted away) up to a R32 or TT 6 speed (all of the bits to control the Haldex stand alone are available aftermarket). Rather than raise the chasis, the concept is simply to mount the body ON the re-inforcement, and buy a set of Country springs and struts to connect to the body. Some assembly required.

To this, you can add the wavetrac front diff, and either EDL or fiddle brake for rear diff or just suffer with a torsen back there until wavetrac catches up. Some time down the road, I will be converting my Country to 1.6TD (020 won't take the TDI torque and a small number of cars WERE built with this engine).

BTW: for wheels - too bad you are a 5 on 100 bolt pattern instead of 4. What I use on my country is 14 x 6 FORGED VW wheels with some 85 series biased off road tires for summer, and I keep the original MAGNESIUM (I think forged as well) 15" Speedlines mounted with 195-65 studs for winter. As I said, exactly what you seek is already out there.
 

UFO

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2007
Location
A mile high
TDI
2001 Beetle
Farfromovin said:
I don't think running 10-30 miles of your trip on logging roads or access roads or just off roads in general will tear up your car too bad. I think stiffening the sub frame a bit could help alleviate some of the extra wear and tear. Lifting a moderate amount with taller tires and skidplates sound like great options. Of course, I would never jump the car and expect it to love you back for very long LOL. Keep at it man, I have no experience with modding a MKIV like this but I dig your enthusiasm. I say go for it!
That's funny! :D Extending your suspension to the limit will put the rest of the stress into the frame. Extreme angles and obstacles will put all sorts of loads into the drivetrain and steering not experienced on-road. Not to mention all the extra debris and slop getting into everything. If you look in a Jeep users manual, they have two service schedules, one for extreme environments and the intervals are cut in half or more.
 

Scott02

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2006
Location
near Youngstown, OH
TDI
Too Many
The best bet in my opinion (though I realize your trying to start with a MK4 car)...

Would be to make a B4V Passat Wagon TDI Synchro...
then lift it a couple inches and run some aggressive tires.

I think that would be the best of almost all worlds.
 
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