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vw golf cabriolet 85 US Spec restore - 3279A

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Hi Everyone,

So after few years away from playing around with VW's, been mod'ing Audi's, porsches and old school MGA I am back into toying around with another mk1 1985 US spec vw golf cabriolet, 1 family owner, low miles, LHD, runs and drives, but needs some love.

I now live in US, so will be looking to get a few parts changed out to make it more to its European look.

My goal is to restore this back to glory but with few mods to make it better. To give you an idea of level I go to, you can view one of my cabs I used to have and recorded on here which I just sold after many years of ownership - Black SOY

Here is cab as is today.





The cab needs a really good clean to start with, so that will be the plan this week and then I will start to go through it front to back on what needs fixing, replacing, upgrading.

I will for sure put coil-overs or air ride on it with nice set of 15" rims - would be good to get peoples input on what best option for wheel size for these cabs?

I have to say with all the cars I get to work on, I enjoy working on mk1 vw's the most.

Last edit: by madone_si


Madone with the two Cabs 82 (UK RHD) and 85 (US LHD) (92 sold)

 

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Well the northwest rain is keeping me from giving the car a good clean inside and out (I don't really have a garage to work in). So I started to check all the electrics inside the car and here is what I found

Open either door and inside light does not come on (does come on if push switch to on position) - need to check door switches and cables
Dashboard cluster - functioning correctly, expect - no lights coming on (will check blubs, fuses and dimmer switch)
Dashboard cluster clock (digi) not coming on - will check cluster, fuses)
Looks like the main lights only come on, I don't see any side light bulbs in my main light units - is this normal for US spec cabs? They come as standard in European models.
wipers work - little slow for my liking (will take out wiper unit and refurb or upgrade)
side indicators working at front and passenger rear, look like the drivers rear not working (discovered the whole light unit is not working) - need to investigate more.
Hazard switch works for 3 corners working
Heater unit works, due to this vw cab has AC installed, I need to read up more on each of the selections, I cannot hear the heater unit as I would from previous vw cabs I've had, but then again none of them had AC installed. Interesting when select #3 on heater knob the radiator fan comes on - not sure if that is normal either.
Original stereo / Radio - working fine, speakers are blown and the Aerial Antenna  needs replacing.
There is an alarm system installed in the car, but it looks like someone disconnected it - there are wires everywhere - that will be a job for weekend to trace it all and take out. (Clifford alarm - I hate these makes, had one in the UK and it used to go off whenever it liked!)
Rear window defroster switch is solid and not working (I pulled this out of the dash and found the following below) - need to trace the cabling back to the main loom and see if any other cables are impacted too.


Well looks like the switch over heated and melted, I need to order a new switch and rear connector as well. switch should be easy to order, but I'm not seeing connector for sale anywhere. Time to widen my search to various online forums :)







When I drove the car back home, the oil pressure light and buzzer was going off when I went over 2k, I know this is one of the oil switches on the oil filter unit, I tested it after it started to happen on the side of the road (Full details on this issue is well documented but for others here are few links)
https://forums.vwvortex.com/showthread.php?2049336
http://www.cabby-info.com/gauges.htm
https://www.reflection…dows.com/cabby/dopws.html

I wonder what else I will find wrong with this cab over the weekend…..?!

Madone with the two Cabs 82 (UK RHD) and 85 (US LHD) (92 sold)

 

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So bought another mk1 cab today, its actually in good condition. This one is automatic 1983. Not sure what I am going to do with the second one, might strip it and make into a cab racer with 16v or R32 conversion. Let me know what you all think would be a good idea for it?

Think I might like white cars!!

Need a good clean and starts and runs.


interior is in amazing condition - big bonus


Managed to get custom cover made for 85 cab, ideal as its water proof and has soft inside covering, glad as today has been a very rainy Seattle here in US.



So I started to look and find where the alarm system was - well it was not hard, it was glued to the underside of the lower dashboard right next to the main loom and also sensor unit (Broken) inside the center console and wiring to the starter and battery. I have most of it out, just got few pieces of wires to clean up.

Who ever installed it was a cowboy, the wiring is a mess.





I have complete gear shifter kit, so not too worried about this one being rusted out, but it now makes me want to take out all the seats and carpet to make sure there is no further rust anywhere else.

Fuse cover has seen better days!



Also ordered myself mkII throttle body - get better throttle response once I have all the other mods done too (going to keep the 8v engine with CIS.



Also ordered all LEDs to replace interior and exterior lights.

Also created up Facebook page for the car - "Vw cabriolet fixer upper" will update that page more often going forward as well as here on work I do, possible ideas, information.

Madone with the two Cabs 82 (UK RHD) and 85 (US LHD) (92 sold)

 

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Productive few hours today.

1. Finished up removal of the alarm system - Clifford you are done!
2. Removed cluster from dashboard - some switches broken ;(
3. Fix the cluster clock and tested everything
4. Managed to get nice upgrade item - could not stop myself!

All the parts I removed from the car relating to the alarm - took hour to rip it all out, didn't even have to remove anything - that is how bad this installation was!


Before taking out cluster in dashboard


sadly few of the switches broke as taking out - they just come apart with backs coming off - its happens no big deal, will order new ones. The worst one was main light and cluster light adjustor (this could be why my cluster lights not work - but will validate that with testing cluster and each bulb.


I don't think this cluster has ever been taken out.. (which is good)


Super clean cluster, so happy no damage.


cluster taken apart and you can see broken switches at the top left and I got spare replacement clock unit too, as my original was dead. Also tested each cluster bulb and they all worked, so I think the main light switch is the main cause.


Testing the new clock unit - it works!


and all back together again, I also installed superbrightleds - bulbs - so I can see the cluster in dash!


and here is my little upgrade item - vw mk2 recaro seats - I will be having them completely rebuilt (part of whole interior being done) - I will do most of the work but get an amazing local upholstery company redo cloth for me - think I will do a video on these in near future.

Madone with the two Cabs 82 (UK RHD) and 85 (US LHD) (92 sold)

 

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and the cluster with new LEDs - lit up on my desk!


Madone with the two Cabs 82 (UK RHD) and 85 (US LHD) (92 sold)

 

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Well with the crappy rain and high winds not done much the last 2 weekends. New years was fun trip to Napa.

This week hope to get cluster back in the car, new switches and sort out rear drivers lights that are not working. Parts on order for adding relays for main front lights.

Managed to pick up set of 14x6.5 4x100 ET30 BBS RM wheels, need to sort out new center caps. With dropping the car on coilovers and these wheels should get a really nice low look but very functional.





Anyone got advice on coilovers? Been looking at Kontrol PRo dampers and D2 racing (36 way dampening) - thought about air ride, but I have Audi Avant that has that already, plus I want this car to be little more OEM+, so coilovers it is.

Madone with the two Cabs 82 (UK RHD) and 85 (US LHD) (92 sold)

 

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Good work on removing the alarm… I have a 93 Cabriolet with alarm issues so its coming out!

I like your new dash clock display….  is that a new off the shelf item ? As mine is suffering the dreaded screen corrosion effect. If its a new replacement there's a lot of cabriolet owners who need replacement ones  :thumbs:

In regard to the new dashboard LEDs. Are they Green tint or have you left the factory tint in place to create the green effect?

New refurbished  LS/LX Recaros'…. Great idea! Can you use the factory bases to retro fit the seats or will you have to heavily modify the bases?

As you can see a rebuild/refurb of my cabrio is planned, so I'll be following this rebuild with great interest!

I also followed your Black Soy project and that was a lovely car!

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ConvictGTI-No.1983EW said


Good work on removing the alarm… I have a 93 Cabriolet with alarm issues so its coming out!

I like your new dash clock display….  is that a new off the shelf item ? As mine is suffering the dreaded screen corrosion effect. If its a new replacement there's a lot of cabriolet owners who need replacement ones  :thumbs:

In regard to the new dashboard LEDs. Are they Green tint or have you left the factory tint in place to create the green effect?

New refurbished  LS/LX Recaros'…. Great idea! Can you use the factory bases to retro fit the seats or will you have to heavily modify the bases?

As you can see a rebuild/refurb of my cabrio is planned, so I'll be following this rebuild with great interest!

I also followed your Black Soy project and that was a lovely car!



The new clock in the dash/cluster is brand new, there is a few companies selling these now. Its LED Clock new, but I also bought a spare dash/cluster and that clock was working too, so have a spare. I plan on doing a short video of how to replace clock and check dash/cluster out of the car (done this a few times now over the years)

the dash LED lights are white from superbrightleds-dot-com, I left the green tint in the dash as I want to keep it OEM looking.

Recaro's I will fab up new bases to fit the cab, as these have the electrics to them.

great news to hear on your own rebuild/refurb. Its always good to work on vw's

Yeah Black SOY was great cab and car to work on, but it had to go to fund other vw projects :)

Madone with the two Cabs 82 (UK RHD) and 85 (US LHD) (92 sold)

 
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