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'88 Cabby Build

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  • '88 Cabby Build

    Well I've been meaning to make up one of these for a little while so I suppose I'll start now before I get too far along.

    To start, I bought a 2012 Golf back Dec of 2011, and lets just say the VW bit me....HARD. Put a little bit of work into that car to make it a solid fun DD, got bored and ended up getting this guy.

    1988 Volkswagen Cabriolet

    As it sits today.

    I bought the car back before Thanksgiving 2012 from a guy in Waterford. Basically gave me the information that the tranny was shot but other than that it ran OK. Had a motor swap done at SEA so its running a GX block now. This he was a bit unclear on, the motor has 40K since the swap, or the motor had 40K on it before and he never hooked the speedo back up so I have no idea how many miles this thing has. Guy wanted 1500 for it, I talked him down to 1100 which I thought was a pretty OK deal. Had my Dad help me drive it over to a buddy who's house was a couple miles away from where we picked it up. It hardly made it. 1st and 2nd was just barely existent, it would clunk real hard if the gear didn't fully engage. Between that and the shot shift linkage it was a rather fun drive.

    So that week I lined up a transmission over in Grand Rapids and then that Saturday towed the car home in the morning. Lost the back drivers side wheel on the way home, we were really lucky, we found it and were able to put it back on. Plus because of the lowered suspension it just sat on the ramps and the back end never even hit the ground. Found the tire, slapped it back on and got it home. Then drove out and picked up the transmission that afternoon.

    Overall I've been freaking awful about taking pictures, but here is a list up to this date that has been done. I hope now that I have this post I'll get a bit better so I can keep people updated. :-)

    • Used AUG Transmission (Unknown Mileage)
    • New Clutch/Clutch Cable/Speedo Cable
    • Refreshed all shifter bushings and linkages
    • New Plugs/Wires/Rotor/Cap/Fuel Filter/Air Filter/Oil Change
    • New Coolant and new T hose from Oil Cooler, lower rad hose (tore apart when draining)
    • All new Fuses (Still had those older style paper like fuses)
    • New accelarator pedal bushing and cable
    • New Exhaust Manifold and Downpipe
    • New O2 sensor

    Transmission is in and working, got to drive the car around a little bit before it got really cold (Thank You to this warm weather we've been having). Car after it got really warm would start to lose idle and would die when I was stopped. Shifting was also a little wacky as I had zero idea about how to adjust it. I've figured that part out now so it seems to be shifting better now in all gears. The idle thing hasn't come back but I'm keeping an eye on it. Also had to replace the accelerator pedal cable and bushing, it fell out of place while I was out. The PO had held it in with a freaking paper clip :rofl:. I went with the washer and C clip method after the new parts came in.

    So where it is today? It's having the interior ripped out, car came with some awful racing seats that didn't move backwards or forwards and didn't tilt forward so you couldn't get into the back seat. Carpet was also trashed. So I ended up last weekend picking up basically an entire interior from Ben (great guy by the way), and so that'll be going in once it gets cleaned up.

    The PO also had gotten rid of the door cards and replaced them with a "fine" oak plywood.

    I also have a TT exhaust en route to replace the broken exhaust that the car had.

    So I think that gets me caught up!



  • #2
    Looks like a fun little project.
    Bad decisions make excellent stories.



    • #3
      Looks pretty clean man. Keep it up!
      Ben Zeeuw
      1981 Rabbit Racer
      1998 Audi Avant Grocery Getter


      • #4
        Welcome, and if you have not found it yet: http://www.cabby-info.com/
        1987 Red Cabriolet no clipper
        1998 Black Jetta GT
        Something that takes diesel... soon to be revealed


        • #5
          Originally posted by finky View Post
          Welcome, and if you have not found it yet: http://www.cabby-info.com/
          Oh yeah, site is pretty much the bible on these cars. lots of great information on there.


          • #6
            Been awful about updating this. Anyways.

            Last time I updated I think I was getting towards putting in the exhaust. Got that in. 2" TT with a magnaflow hanging off the back end. Sounds pretty good. I'll try to post a video or something if anyone cares :-P

            Got the front end of the interior done. I had to pull out the dash and everything so I can run new speaker wire. The PO decided it would be fine just to pull all new wire through the center console, and leave all the old stuff hang out. I went ahead and pulled it all out and re-ran new wire. From there, did all new Jute and tossed the carpet in. Cleaned the seats I got and put those in. I think I may end up recovering them. Anyone have some suggestions one where to get new covers? Looks like MTMFG has some covers just didn't know where else to look. Waiting to put the back end together until the spring when I can put the new top on. I got one of those for Christmas, its the real high end fabric, got shipped to us by mistake :-P guy said just to keep it so we'll take it.

            Also got my new ST suspension put on. First set to coilovers that I've played with. Install went great, only took a couple of hours to pop all four corners one, WAY easier than my MK6. Its the one thing I love about this car, its pretty easy to wrench on. Anyways, adjusting has been the challenging part. The PO had put some 16x7's on the car, I think they are going to have to go. I'm rubbing on front adjusters with the inside of the tire, so I removed the helper spring to help with that (raised up the adjuster a bunch). I did the same in the rears even though I didn't have to but the ride is super bouncy because the spring is pretty tight, so they may go back in.

            I think overall I just want to get some 14's (Yes I'm looking at you Doug. I just need to get the scratch together). I think that will be a lot better fit on the car both physically and looks wise as well. I need to get new tires anyways so I tire wheel set from someone on here will work quite nicely.

            Last couple of weeks I've been poking around with the headlamps. I got some new glass and bulbs for the outers and I managed to make up a new relay harness for them. Once I figured out not to read the directions people have made up and just read the diagram it got a ton easier. So in all of that, I figured out why the passenger side headlamps had been so dim. Turns out the ground wire for that side was just toasted somewhere between the driver and passenger side. So I pulled a new ground wire along with the new power lo/high beam and its working wonderfully. That's the one thing I do have a picture of.

            The one last thing I've been working on is why the car is running a little wonky. Its not running bad per-se, but not running great. Timing is dead on, fires right up everytime I crank her up, but there is just a small hesitation when getting on the gas. It could just be me, I'm used to driving the MK6 which has like 90 more horsepower than this. I did toss some NGK's in there this past weekend and took her for a spin. Seems a bit more responsive but still feels like a cylinder is a little off. I should do a compression test just to make sure its shipshape that way, just worried about what I might find.

            Anyways, sorry for the mostly word post this time. I'll try like hell to get better at taking pics.

            Till next time - Mike


            • #7
              Nice work Mike. How about pics of the "stance"?
              Ben Zeeuw
              1981 Rabbit Racer
              1998 Audi Avant Grocery Getter


              • #8
                Originally posted by zeeuwvw View Post
                Nice work Mike. How about pics of the "stance"?
                I should have some time tonight to take some pics, if it's 30+ and the Girlfriend is @ work I'm normally wrenching.

                I'd really like to get it out of this stinking garage so I can take some proper photos, but the top is so destroyed I'd be soaked the second it start to rain/snow.


                • #9
                  Too Cold to work tonight, so I swung by my rents to snap a few pics (I live in an apt. so it work on it over there. My dad is pretty bad ass to let me do that).
                  Anyways as requested.....

                  Still some decent gap, I've never been a huge fan of dumping a car but a nice 2 finger gap I think is nice. Its at maybe 2 1/2 - 3 right now. I have to go down to 195 tires, or just go to a smaller wheel to go any lower though.

                  Somewhat completed front interior. Just some small pieces need to go one. The one issue I am running into is this car didn't originally have the tweeters, the interior stuffs are off a '92, so they must of had holes where those tweeters sit. So I can't put the grills on until a cut a hole. I'm still thinking about just using these at templates, and making up some wood door cards. Not the crap ones that where in there before but something stained in a nice black/brown finish. Just a thought.

                  Dash on this car was in wonderful shape. Just replaced a couple of vents. Having my Mom sew up a new shift boot for me out of a pretty need Hounds-tooth I found. If that turns out nice, I might switch the seats to that as well.

                  Working headlights make me so stupid happy. First time the front grill has been on since about Aug. when I bought the car.

                  Not a half bad shot for a cell phone. I have the missing trim parts, still debating on just to shave them completely when the time comes to strip and paint. Body on this car is very clean.

                  Replaced all the cluster lights with LED's. Well I lied. I didn't really dig the LED in the clock, so I took the green film out and just put a standard bulb in. Speedo isn't working quite right. It's about 10 MPH off when going 35. Any suggestions are welcome. I think its the wheels being the wrong size. Also the ODO isn't working right. I thought I read something about lubing the gears. I'll have to pull it again and check it out. The speedo cable when I got the car was pulled out so not really sure the story on that.

                  Blurry, but gets the point across.



                  • #10
                    Well because it was kinda sorta OK yesterday drove it around quite a bit. I think I'm going to have to look deeper at the engine. When cold it seems way under power, and once it gets warmed up it seems to get a little better, but still has a small hiccup under acceleration. Idles great, starts right up every time, but still not 100%. I replaced the plugs this past weekend with NGK's seemed to help a bit, but still not perfect (or what I think it should be). Any CIS gurus have any suggestions?



                    • #11
                      If your wheels are a different rolling diameter than oem then both your odometer and speedo will be wrong. You can get a speedo gear healer to adapt it to a different sized tire.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by vramateur View Post
                        If your wheels are a different rolling diameter than oem then both your odometer and speedo will be wrong. You can get a speedo gear healer to adapt it to a different sized tire.
                        Yeah I looked into those a little bit. I think just going back to something stockish will be the plan. I'm thinking steelies.


                        • #13
                          Just a little tease.....


                          • #14
                            Yes! Looks great.


                            • #15
                              I like these wheels WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY better! Maybe take those black ones and throw some sticky tires on there for fun autox and/or track days or something ;)