Last-modified: 15 Jul 96
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------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ========================================== Frequently Asked Questions for Water Cooled VWs -- Technical -- ========================================== rec.autos.vw Version: 1 Jan 93 = Inception, more or less. 1 Feb 93 = Removing O2 Snsr; Offrd lights #; tools 1 Mar 93 = Brake rotor edits; VW part numbers; sagging doors; Compression checks; adjusting valves. 1 Apr 93 = Stuff on interchangeability on parts; Rim offsets 1 May 93 = Eliminating rattles & squeaks, updated timing belt procedure, water pump failure diagnosis, added keyword <NOISE> for easy diagnosis, clutch sizes. 1 Jun 93 = CAM Baffles, Index. 1 Jul 93 = Edits. 1 Aug 93 = Chemical Info added. 1 Sep 93 = Edits, Tool info edits, dielectric grease, MTL caution 1 Oct 93 = Edits. 1 Nov 93 = Coolant/phosphates updated, rim ranges. 1 Dec 93 = Corrections on rim ranges, hesitation updates, 1 Jan 94 = Tom Coradeschi reformats. 15Jan 94 = Battery updates, Tire pressures, body care. 1 Feb 94 = Copyright BS added. Charge indicator diagnosis. 15Feb 94 = Split performance issues into its own faq! 1 Mar 94 = Edits, update recall info 1 Apr 94 = Edits. Updated brakes & transmissions a bit 1 May 94 = Remove bushings, edits 15May 94 = More rough idle & black smoke stuff added. 1 Jun 94 = Paint touch up procedure. 15Jun 94 = Updated with ND BBS stuff (coolant, bulbs) 1 Jul 94 = Edits 15Jul 94 = Tesing synchros. Overheating, windshields, seats, rim care 1 Aug 94 = Edits 15Aug 94 = Paintless dent removal. 1 Sep 94 = Inline fuel filter removal. 15Sep 94 = Edits. 1 Oct 94 = Edits 1 Nov 94 = Added some coolant service info, windshield Urethane, maintenance schedule. 1 Dec 94 = Updated FI cleaners. 1 Jan 95 = Updated coolant. 15Jan 95 = Exhaust hangers, retrofittimg programmable wiper control 15Feb 95 = Leather care 15Mar 95 = Approval received for *.answers & archival @ MIT 1 Apr 95 = W6DP0 plug comparison 15Apr 95 = Tire build dates 1 May 95 = Vinyl/Rubber Conditioner update 16Jun 95 = Corrections 1 Jul 95 = Lots of additions by Jens Knickmeyer 15Jul 95 = Updated MAINTENANCE section a tad. 1 Sep 95 = VR6 Idle/stalling problems, start of cross post to rec.autos.makers.vw.watercooled 1 Oct 95 = Undercoating info, bunch of EdW tips. 1 Nov 95 = Oil viscosity. 1 Jan 96 = VR6 Spark plug updates. 1 Feb 96 = Edits. 15Feb 96 = VR6 Sparkplug updates. 15Mar 96 = Edits. 15Apr 96 = Flushing VR6 engines. 15Jun 96 = How to drop the oil pan. 15Jul 96 = Bosch part # for prog interval wiper. Moderator: Jan Vandenbrande firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com (school address, works) See also the list of contributors at the end. Please feel free to submit any additional info. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Copyright Notice (c) -- 1994 - 1996: All Rights Reserved The information contained here is collectively copyrighted by the authors. The right to reproduce this is hereby given, provided it is copied intact, with the copyright notice inclusive. However, the authors explicitly prohibit selling this document, any of its parts, or any document which contains parts of this document. (Inspired from faq.audio ;->) --------------------------------------------------------------------------- PURPOSE: ======== This FAQ is geared predominantly at the technical aspects of watercooled VWs based on the Golf Chassis (A1-A3: Golf I/Rabbit, Golf II & III, Sciroccos, Corrados, Jettas, Vento, Convertibles) using the original Audi "1600 type" engine block (now available up 2 liters) and the new VR6 2.8/2.9l engine aimed at the US/Canadian market. Not covered are the engines/fuel systems available outside North America such as the 1300 cc engines, carburetors/mono-throttle FI systems. These cars have many similarities with Dashers/Passats/Fox's. These are mostly mechanical, but not for the styling, suspension & exhausts. These technical aspects handles issues that will help you maintain the car in near stock conditions. The perfomance FAQ discusses issues to improve upon the stock design. Quite often, to remain stock complient is as expensive as it is to upgrade to better after market (performance) parts. Shocks and tires are a good example of this. Index: ====== General issues (tools, VW part no system) Chemicals (Useful chemicals to have around) Engine (Rough idle/stalling, oil filter, more power, water pump, plugs, O2 sensor) Electrical (Bosch # conventions, charging problems, lights, etc) Transmission (CV Joints, shifting, gear oils) Brakes (Types, fluids, rotors) Tires/Rims/Suspension (shocks, tire widths & rim upgrades, performance) Body/Interior (Eliminating rattles, waxing) Miscellanea (Corrado spoilers squeaks) -------------------------------------------------------------------- GENERAL ======= Q: I have a problem with my car? What do I do? How should I go about fixing it? A: Diagnose the problem as well as you can: When does it happen? Is it speed dependent? Is there a noise associated with it? Where is it coming from? Is the problem temperature dependent? Happens at start up/after a while? Are there any physical signs such as fluids/grease/wear marks? Does everything look in good order/everything still attached? While you are going over your car, check whether all the basic things are in order. VW engines run hot and the 4 cyl. vibrate a lot. As a result things rattle loose and dry out quickly. This in turn causes a host of other problems. Electrical connections & wires: Connectors tend to corrode, wires break internally. Older VWs have a lot of problems which will make you think the car is totally gone while all it may be is a loose wire, or a bad ground. Also check out less obvious things: alternator brushes, fuse box, Hall connections *inside* the distributor? Vacuum hoses: They crack, they leak. Replace where needed. Beware of all rubber components. They wear out with all the heat. If your engine does not run, there are really two main sources: Mechanical and periphery. Generally, VW engines hold up mechanically rather well, and even with mechanical problems you can often get the engine to run. Usually the problem is located with the periphery. You really only need two basic things to make an engine run: Fuel and a spark at +/- the right moment. Suspect a problem with either one first and trace it from there. If for example the problems occurs each time it rains, suspect something wrong with an electrical connection or water leaking onto the fuze box. Yours truly once had problems with a carb and was able to start and run the engine while spraying carb cleaner directly into the intake manifold (with the carb REMOVED). Cleaning the car and engine is often helpful in locating the problem, especially leaks. It also make working on the car so much easier, for you and the mechanic. If you haven't found it yet, read through your manuals and try to identify the offending piece? Ask around. r.a.vw is an excellent source for help, but please be as detailed as you can. If you are having trouble diagnosing the problem, just imagine how hard it is for us not even having seen the car. So *please* don't post: "My car makes a funny noise. What could it be?" Start with make, model, year, and an accurate diagnosis. After you narrow it down to a couple of potential sources, start with the easiest and cheapest fix. My experience is that a majority of seemingly serious problems can be traced to very simple problems. Mechanics do NOT have the time to check individual components. Many work on commission (like department stores) and the more cars they work on (not fix) the more they earn. Therefore, they usually take the quickest route for them (replace stuff), and of course you end up paying for that shiny new part through the nose even though it does not fix the problem. Besides, would you pay a mechanic $200 to fix a 50 cent connector because it took him/her the whole day to find it? Q: I want to work on my VW. What tools should I get? A: I'd recommend Muir's (Complete Idiot) Stage I and Stage II tool list. Here is roughly the "phylosophy" to follow: Most people start with a couple of tools and then buy more as time progresses and they learn how to work on their car. It makes sense, except that it is usually cheaper to buy the most complete "set" rather than buying a small set and then adding on (e.g., socket "set" = 50 US cents a socket in the largest set, individual = 2-7 US$/piece). My recommendation therefore is to buy the largest possible set of whatever you can afford. Trust me, you will always be going back for more. In addition, good tools will last you your lifetime! Next, what brand name should you get. First look for tools with a life time warrantee (though that may not be an indication of quality). In North America, SnapOn, MAC, Stanley, Mechanix, Blackhawk, KD, and Sears Craftsman tools (though their quality and warrantee policy is rumored to be declining). Avoid cheap tools, they are NOT worth the money, they can do more harm than good (stripping), and may actually hurt you. My order of preference is (and I'll be flamed for this, but this IS based on 15 years of experience): Made in the USA or NW-Europe, & Japan. I usually stay away from Taiwanese tools except for one shot "light" duty items. They are getting better, but so far quality has varied too much to be reliable. A basic set should consist of: Socket set: Most versatile is a 3/8" ratchet drive set. It must contain 10, 13, 17, 19mm, and sparkplug socket, a couple extension bars and a 3/8-1/4" adaptor. 12 pt sockets are the most common, but you may want to consider a 6 pt set instead. They are MUCH less likely to strip and break if you need to exert a good amount of torque. Deep sockets are also useful in case you need to clear a bolt. A torque wrench is also very useful. Unfortunately there is no one size for all torques on the car. There are a variety of models: Cheapest are those with a read out gauge. They work well but usually you end up in a position that you cannot read the gauge. I prefer the "click type" torque wrenches where you dial in the desired torque and it will give you a loud click once you attain that. Screw drivers: Get a whole bunch of sizes, spade & Phillips Allen Keys: Get a whole bunch of sizes, though you may want to get Allen key Sockets to use with your 3/8" drive (once you figure out the sizes you need). Wrenches: Get the largest set you can afford. Open and closed. Same sizes as above. Get at least one large adjustable one. Pliers: Again, get the largest set you can afford, regular & miniature, straight, needle nosed. Vise Grips are useful too. Hammers: Get a plastic & rubber one. The "normal" hammers are usually not used on cars except in utter frustration. Jack & Stands: I'd recommend a floor jack over a bottle or scissor jack. A floor jack will make raising your car *so* much easier. Stands are also a must. You don't want you car crashing down on you. Use with wood and some foam rubber to protect you car's undercoating. Lights: At the minimum get a knock-about light with a shatter proof heavy duty lamp in it (don't even *think* of using a regular light bulb, dangerous, and they only last 10 minutes under those conditions). A well lit garage (i.e., 8" neon lamps is ideal). Oil Filter wrench: Different types exist and it depends on what works best for your car. My favorite is the one that looks like an extension bar with a loop of seat belt material. Air Pump: Pump up tires... Tire gauges: Dial types are usually the most accurate. Odds an ends: Tie wraps, electrical wires & connectors, elec. tape, vacuum hoses, hose clamps. "Oh-Oh" Type of Tools: ====================== Occasionally, things WILL go wrong, usually 5 minutes before all shops close on a day before a long weekend, when your other car is gone or your bike has a flat, all your neighbors with tools or out of town, and right before you embark on a long trip, and a very unsympathetic spouse watching on. For many of these, you can wait for a sale, but do get them when you have a chance. Screw Extractor Set/Easy Out: Get a set, just in case, to remove stripped screws/bolts/brake bleed nipples. Magnetic Pickup: Basically a magnet on an antenna. Lose a nut down your intake manifold throat or down a cylinder?...this should help. Don't even *think* on starting the car. Claw pick up: Like the above except it has little claws on the end of a flexible tube to pick things up. Similar use as above. >>>> STILL NEEDS WORK <<<<< Q: My A1 based VW sounds very buzzy and noisy, vibrations in the <NOISE> engine compartment. What's wrong? A: Check the front right engine mount. They wear out in ~50k miles. From [KIRBY ERLANDSEN]: My tricks are to cut the old one out with a hacksaw (this is easy because you can remove the hacksaw blade and cut from the inside out ) and put the new mount in the freezer while you heat the bracket in the oven. Then with gloves on, you can hammer the two together fairly easily. [Note, oil the components FIRST] If that does not work, bring it to a machine shop and have them press it in for you. See also a1.mounts in the archives. Q: My odometer/trip odometer stopped working. How do I fix it? A: This is an old known problem. The odometer gear which drives the 1/10 mile splits thus no longer engages the shaft to the 1/10 mile digit wheel. You can glue it back with epoxy (after you spend some prime time behind your dash removing the speedometer and opening it up). Hints on removing: A2's are a lot easier than A1's. The hardest part is unscrewing the speedo cable. Try taking the lower dash covers off and put your hand up from the bottom. Also I just remove the steering wheel before working on the cluster. It makes it a whole lot easier, but be sure your steering wheel and shaft are marked so you can get them back on the same. Otherwise your wheel will be crooked when you drive straight. Reinstalling is harder because you have to be sure the square drive on the speedo matches up with the cluster. Otherwise the cable will not seat fully or the speedo nut is hard to start. Also, be careful to align the wiring connector before trying to insert - it's polarized. Other hint: I also twisted some fine wire around the flanges of the gear (near the shaft) and put glue over the wire and flanges. Make sure to get the gear back in the proper position under the worm gear. Other hint: I usually go down to the junk yard and look for damaged dashboards and speedo's. Usually one has the gear I need -- I just pry it off -- this is a no cost item if you have a friendly junk yard owner. Other hint: Another approach I used on my '79 Rabbit was to go to a hobby shop and find a small pinion gear for those electric race cars. It had the right number of teeth, and same ID, but was slightly wider and had an Allen set screw. I filed off the outer edges to clear the other worm gears and mounted it on the shaft with the set screw. Looked weird, but worked OK. The gear will cost about $3 and you need the fine Allen key wrench. You can also send it to have it fixed at: VDO (the OEM) in VA, (703) 665-0100 Q: What is VWs part numbering scheme? A: Each part number is composed of nine numbers in three groups, followed optionally with a letter suffix (taken from WolfSport's catalog): vvv ggg ppp [s] vvv: Vehicle type ggg: PRIMARY INDEX 171 = R/G I 100-199 = Engine/Cooling/Clutch 161 = Jetta I 200-299 = Exhaust, Fuel Tank 165 = Jetta II 300-399 = Transmission/Transaxle 261 = 16V GTI 400-499 = Front Axle/Suspension 531 = Scirocco I 500-599 = Rear Axle 535 = Scirocco II 600-699 = Brake 155 = Convertible 700-799 = Cables, Bumpers and Foot control 191 = Golf 800-899 = Body/Interior 900-999 = Electrical, ignition, fuel injection ppp: Individual Part Number s: Suffix, optional The primary index and the part number are the most important numbers because many of the cars share the same parts. So do not be surprised to see a 171-Rabbit type part in a Jetta. Note that some part numbers are exclusively related to certain parts of the car. For example, vvv = 020 are related to the transmission, vvv = 056 common oil filter. Note: This is scheme has been in use since the Beetle days (111 - Standard Beetle - LHD) but I leave that for the [A] FAQ. AUDI uses the same scheme as well (?). CHEMICALS ========= NOTE: This section lists some of the more useful chemicals to use on cars. Be aware that many of these chemicals are harmful if used improperly and could result in stripped paint, rubber becoming brittle, up to poisoning, cancer and death. Dispose of them environmentally! See also the section of Waxing for body care chemicals. Q: What are some of the useful chemicals to have around? A: Cleaners: --------- Brake Cleaner: (Spray) Make sure it's not too harmful for rubber/plastic and keep it away from paint. Also keep it away from any eye-ware that you may be waring. Carb Cleaner: Probably a bit dated by now, but the one that was most impressive was Fire Dragon (Spray), however most others work fine as well. If you have an oxy sensor and cat, make sure the stuff you get is compaitible I also used ChemClean to dunk the entire carb (see below) Keep it away from any eye-ware that you may be waring. FI/Valve Cleaner: What ever you get make sure it does NOT harm catalytic conv or the oxysensor. The following are recommended and seem to work faily well. They are added to a tank of gas, or fed directly into the FI system. Lubro Molly: there are two products, an injector cleaner and a valve cleaner. You can run the valve cleaner straight through your injection system by hooking it to one of the vaccum hoses and sucking it straight into the valves. Produces lots of smoke but really helped my friends old 924. These are expensive at $12-14 for both. RedLine SL1: works very well and relatively cheap: $3.50 for the 12oz bottle. My current favorite. Chevron Techron: get the real thing, not the ProGuard stuff. Not too expensive at $5.99/20oz bottle. (Imparts, others) Chevron however, warns you not to use it too often between oil changes... (I think no more than 5 treatments) 44K (BG Products): VW also recommends this more concentrated to be used every 4k miles (= VW Part #208 (?)). VW AutoBahn injector cleaner (rumored to be the same as Chevron Techron for a lower price, for once). Chevron ProGuard: only if none of the above is available. I used it a few times, but couldn't tell a difference. I think it contains Techron, but if you can get the real thing... Note that ProGuard is a weaker version of Techron. General: -------- "Simple Green": General purpose cleaner (great and safe), engine cleaner It's a non-oil soap (i.e., surfactant) based product that smells like mint toothpaste. However, it does eat away wax. "Chem Clean": A can or bucket of chemicals that degreases bearings CVJs, or carbs REAL fast (that stuff is amazing). It is however murder on skin and nails and anything plastic and runner. Hand Cleaner: With pumice. Just buy a big vat. They are great, much better than dishwash liquid or regular soap. Lubricants: ----------- Penetrant oil: E.g., "Liquid Wrench". Eventually loosens stuck parts. WD40 : General purpose light "lubricant"/penetrant. WD-40 should NOT be used for permanent lubrication. Anti-Seize: See below. Case of engine Oil Lithium Grease: Spray can for hard to reach places Molybdenum Grease: For bearings (NOT CVJs!) Talcum Powder: For rubber components Silicone Spray: Good for lubricating metal & non-metal components. Rumored to dry out rubber though. Paint/Body: ----------- Body Paint: For touch ups/scratches. Primer: I prefer cold galvanizing primer Naval Jelly: Rust remover (Phosphoric acid, i.e., coka cola). Others: ------- Brake quiet: Sticky stuff to put on the pad *backing* to eliminate squeals. Glues: Depending on what you need to glue, use Epoxy, rubber cement, RTV/Silicone Rubber, etc. ThreadLocker: See below. Distilled water: Battery & for coolant mixing There is more, but buy some only as you need them because they may dry out. Q: What should I do with Loctite Threadlocker (tm) and Anti Seize (tm)? A: Use Anti-seize on anything that you will disassemble again and is subject to corrosion (water pump bolts, wheel bolts, exhaust bolts), but be careful on sparkplugs and oxygen sensors (it contains lead which kills the cat, make sure it's on the threads only). Use Loctite Threadlocker (medium strength is ok) on anything you don't want to rattle loose and you cannot use serrated o-rings: Brake bolts, etc. I use anti-seize the most, and if you torque things right, I never had a problem of anything rattling loose. Note that Loctite also seals out air, and therefore prevents corrosion which means that disassembly will also be facilitated, compared to something rusted shut. A small tube of each goes A LONG way. Q: What power steering fluid should I use? A: Be very careful most newer VW cannot use generic power steering fluid. From the ND BBS: Just read up in the manual and all VW's use ATF II up till april 89. After april 89 use the special Petrosin hydraulic fluid CHF Q: What do those "20W50" numbers mean for my engine oil? A: That's the viscosity range of the oil, i.e., how thick it is. 20W means that this oil behaves exactly like a 20 weight oil at 0F, and behaves like a thicker 50 weight oil at 210F. This type of oil is called a multi-viscosity oil because it is capable of lubricating your engine under a wide range of temperature conditions. More details are available at the various oil co web sites, and on the oil FAQ available on many sites. See also your owner's manual and further below on the recommended oil weights to use for your car. There are two opposing views on weight to choose. One says to get as thin as possible (to pump better, especially at start up), the other as thick as possible (better bearing protection). Typically, manufacturers have specific recommendations depending on the climate you live in. Contrary to other small engines, VWs seem to like thicker oils better. Synthetics generally offer the best protection. See the FAQ on that as well. ENGINE ====== Q: I have a very rough idle/stalling/hesitation/bucking problem when the car is cold (or warm in some cases). What can I do to fix it? A: This is an old problem that may have numerous causes. Mostly A2 Golfs/GTIs/Jettas/GLIs (8v & 16V) are affected. First make sure everything "obvious" is ok: vacuum (hoses, pipes, intake), electrical connections, tuned up right, spark plugs, distributor, good tank of gas, etc. These are by far the most likely causes of this annoying problem. [jan, 19930902, overheard in the VW shop] VW is going to embark in some form of campaign, not sure whether it is an actual NHTSA mandated one, to replace all the ECU's with one using gold plated connectors, replace and reroute several vacuum hoses, and replace the throttle body (the shaft has a radial play causing a vacuum leak in some cases). I believe that recent Passats, A2 Jettas and GTIs are included in this. Depending on the model, do the following: - Change to a different brand/type of gas (4-5 tanks) VW had a bulletin out on this. They recommend Shell, Chevron & AMOCO(?) - Use a good Fuel Injector Cleaner every 4000 miles. See Chemicals for recommendations. - Use fuel dryer (using ISOPROPANOL NOT Methanol) - Check (idle) throttle switch - Clean sensor plate or airmass sensor & throttle body orifices - Change the fuel filter - Clean idle stabilizer VALVE with brake or carb cleaner (VW&P) (Note: Earlier cars had a Digital Idle Stabilizer circuitry (DIS) which is something different, and *rarely* fails). For RD (8V) series idle stablilizer problems (& others probably): Symptom: Idles extremely rough when cold, improves after warmup. Doesn't compensate for A/C compressor load when on. Diagnosis: Disconnect the connector from the valve, measure resistance from the center pin to each side, both should be about 12.5 ohms. If either one reads high or open, replace it. (will be about $200 at your Bosch dealer, owww). Reason: The internals of the valve form a bidirectional DC servomotor, the windings of which are connected through a commutator, which has a nasty habit of arcing until the connection is gone. - Check *all* vacuum hoses (inc. those going to the brake booster & the brake booster itself) - Check *all* air pipe connections (esp. between the throttle body & air cleaner housing). Look around hose clamps, crimped ends, where there may be relative motion and cause a tear. - Check for vacuum leaks anywhere else, e.g., around the intake manifold. - Check *all* electrical connections (see also later on bad grounds) Be aware of the old "leak in the windshield molding or firewall gommets that drips and shorts out the fuse box" problem. Many A1's suffer that problem, especially those with badly installed replacement windshield (most places, BTW). - Check inside the distributor (carbon build up will cause misfires/bad idle) - Check warm-up regulator/thermo switches - Check proper working of the Oxygen [Lambda] Sensor (see Bentley) Hint: Disconnect the O2 sensor, if the car runs better suspect that it may be bad. Replace if suspect. Some O2 sensors will last longer than their expected 30/60k miles lifetime, others fail *much* sooner. Resetting the warning light for maintenance is NOT a good substitute. - Clean contacts of the ECU, and all engine management related components with an aerosol contact cleaner (note: Newer VWs use gold plated contacts, so this definite a problem area in older cars!) - Check ground of ECU. There is a bulletin out on this. Usually this failure is acompanied with black smoke billowing from your exhaust. - Check fuel pump relay, it may have an intermittent failure. HARD to diagnose, until it cuts out entirely. If it does die, jump the two large terminals on the relay block to operate the pump so you won't be stranded. [firstname.lastname@example.org] - Check the working of the injectors (incl 5th one). - Check the injector O-rings (older cars) - Clean the tank screen at the bottom of the tank or on the transfer fuel pump (& also clean the tank if you find junk) From WENDTM@FIRNVX.FIRN.EDU (Mark): When I pulled the hose off the intake side of the fuel pump it only dribbled slowly from the tank! No Gusher! That was a real clue that the tank was faulty, and not the pump. :) - Clean the screen *inside* the fuel pump. - Check whether the filtering banjo bolt (has a screen) near the fuel distributor has been removed at the first service (mostly A2 cars with FI in the US, don't know about Europe). It's replaced with a bolt w/o a screen (Part nos: Screw = N 0210715 Washers = N 0138128, for *most* A2 cars). If it is left, it may clog or restrict flow. - Check the health of the fuel pump(s) (measure the amount of current it is drawing). Note, many A2s have two pumps! - Improperly grounded throttle position potentiometer (90 Golf: scottz@pangea.Stanford.EDU), as well as VR6s - VR6 models: Connector to the airmass sensor gone bad. - VR6 models: Engine temperature sensor gone bad. For a 1994 Corrado VR6 the temperature sensor in question was FP NUMBER: 025-906-041-A. - Check the CONTROL PRESSURE REGULATOR. Apparently the heating element wears out, and it won't give correct pressure until it warms up - Faulty oil pump relief valve. Pumps up the hydraulic lifters too much limiting compression. Apparently mentioned in EuroCar. - If nothing helped, you may need a new ECU! (The 91?,92? Jettas went through 5 different ECUs, according to my mechanic). - Catalytic converter clogged and breaking up. However, if that happens it will rattle like a coffee can with coins in it. - If the car bucks/loses power around 3000-4000 rpm when accelerating, check the full throttle switch. seibed@lamar.ColoState.EDU (Edward Seibert) - >>>> MORE???? - For Vanagons, see VANAGON_Stall in the archives. Q: Car starts fine but hessitates at cold. Runs fine when warm. [From: Bill N Gallas] A: Rough running at cold can be caused by a bad coolant temp sensor. On 8V engines the sensor is generally found on the coolant flange bolted to the head and going to the radiator upper hose. On 16 V Jettas it's next to the coolant outlet at about the 7 o'clock position on the rear of the head (tranny end) the sensor is a 2 wire unit and is about 17 MM socket size. The sensor gets lazy and reading the resistance is a good check. [Jan:] On Corrado G60s it is identified by a blue plug on the coolant flange bolted to the head similar to the 8V cars. Pulling the plug at idle usually will make the engine stall out. Q: What oil filter should I use on my VW? A: VW's, MANN's or Bosch (OEM). FRAM (PH2870) or other brands do NOT have the same valving (backflow, bypass), valving rates, rigidity of construction, and quality. The other brands will work ok, but you may be running a risk. Several known cases of Corrado G60s blowing FRAM filters open. Some known cases of Porsches ruining engines with FRAM filters due to inadequate gaskets. MANN filters are also available from Beck Arnley World Parts, and are packaged under that brand, so they are much cheaper than the factory filters. The function of the bypass valve is to bypass the oil filter if the filter is clogged or the oil is too viscous during a cold start. Dirty oil is better than NO oil. The anti-backflow valve prevents the oil from draining out of the engine block into the oil pan. This means that oil will be available almost instantaneously at a start up, which is also when the majority of wear occurs (SLICK 50 is not lying about that). The VR6 engines have this valve build into the engine! [Jan: Compared to the SLC oil filters (~15-20US$), the regular filters now seem cheap (~4-6US$)] NOTE: Newer VWs DO NOT use the same filters as before. The G60 filter is recognizable by the "nut" welded on the bottom, the SLC does NOT use a filter but a replaceable insert (two kinds available, a short and a long one, measure before you buy). Q: I seem to be running hot. What should I do? A: Check and do the following. - Check your coolant level - Check the concentration of your coolant - Clean your radiator fins (do that with every wash) - Check whether the fan still comes on at the correct temps - Check whether the fan still works at all! Some cars have 2 fans and one motor (a la Audi). Check whether the belt is still OK. - Your temperature sensors may not be working right. Some cars have SEVERAL sensors (one screwed in the radiator, one exposed to the air above the engine)! Also make sure the contacts are ok...battery acid may do a lot of harm. Also check the system ground to those sensors. Some suggest to drop the sensor in boiling water and see what temp you read. - Flush the system, check for calcium deposits inside the radiator and tubes and check the thermostat. Using destilled water in your mixture will prevent any deposits from happening. Your mixture must not contain more than 60% coolant! Otherwise the heat transport effect will deteriorate. - Check the thermostat (see whether it opens at the desired temps to the required opening). Note: Thermostats do get lazy after a couple of years. - Check whether you have the right water pump. Some aftermarket pumps have smaller impellers and therefore do not pump adequately. - Check whether the water pump (s) are still working. The impeller on the mechanical pump sometimes gets detached. On VR6 cars, also check the second, electrical pump. - Check whether the bottom radiator hose collapses when the engine is hot and running. Replacements exist that have internal coil to prevent a collapse. Mostly A1 cars are affected by this. - You may be running too lean See also the performance FAQ for other measures. Q: How do I flush my cooling system? A: The basic principle is to drain the old fluid out, refill the car with regular water and perhaps some coolant flush liquid, let the car run for a bit (follow the instructions of the flush chemical), let it cool, drain, fill it up with water again, run, cool, drain, repeat until clear water comes out. Then you refill with premixed coolant (40%-60% H2O for summer, 50%-50% or 60%-40% for colder climates). Note that for 4 cyl cars you need to remove the thermostat housing to drain (bottom of pump) and you refill or flush through the regular radiator cap, though sometimes I have found it easier and faster to just use one of the upper radiator hoses. VR6 cars are actually easier as they have a drain plug (finally). Following herewith are some additional details. [Most of this is from ND with comments added]: 4 Cyl Cars ========== The proper way to renew the coolant is to remove the thermostat so as to drain the complete system. Also don't forget to turn your interior heat to max as to drain that too, and to open the radiator cap to let air in. [ND] When we do a Coolant service at the shop we replace the thermostat and o-ring with our special low temp 80 Celius unit from Germany. [JAN] I am not sure whether that is advisable in colder climates as the engine may never heat up. [From Jens]:Correct! The German thermostat starts to open at 92 deg. C. and is completely open at 108 deg. C.. In April 1979 VW changed the niveau of the engine temperature by +5 deg. C. to make the engines run better and longer! If you still have the stock Fan switch we recommend to replace it with the our low-temp unit which will allow the fan to come on a little early to keep the temps down. If you replace the thermostat we always drill a small air relief hole [1mm] in the main plate of the thermostat so as to prevent a air pocket to develope at the thermostatic bulb and cause the unit to stay closed. Just had a call from a VW owner back east who had this problem. He called to thank me for figuring out why his VW overheated after changing his thermostat. [Jan: I usually don't do it that way, instead I loosen the upper radiator hose and poor the coolant through several channels and then squeeze the tubes to let the bubbles out. However, do carry the rest of the coolant with you on your next drive just in case.] Another trick to get around the airbubble problem came from Donald Borowski: Heat up the thermostat on a pan of water until it opens, and then insert an asprin pill as it closes. This will keep it open long enough to fill the system and get the air out, and then will disolve. I don't think that acetosalicylic (sp?) acid is very strong, and the amount is rather small. [Written by Jan] 6 Cyl Cars ========== The VR6's have a drain plug located right next to the dip stick. So the whole process is much easier than the 4 cyl cars. You reach the drain plug with a very long screwdriver (from under the car), and when the plug pops off, make sure you dont swallow any fluid as it is deadly if ingested. The flushing procedure is very similar as the 4 cyl cars except that you dont have to mess with the thermostat, nor does there seem to be the problem of the bubble (but I am not 100% sure). To put that plug back, I just use my "crows claw" emergency pick up tool (comes with a flex handle, Sears and other hardware stores sell them). Whatever car you have, always take some premixed coolant fluid with you on the next drive, in case a bubble did move out and you need to top off the coolant. Q: I want to flush my cooling system. Where can I get phosphate free coolant other than at the overpriced dealer prices? A: Phosphates corrode aluminum (all VW heads) through an electrochemical reaction with the cast iron block, which is why VW recommends to use phosphate free coolants. According to [email@example.com] Aluminum oxide in solution forms a black paste that makes a real mess, this will be visible inside the coolant bottle once the corrosion process has started (I've seen this in a custom street rod). So if you see a used VW with this condition, run away.... According to [Vincent Yeung] who called Prestone: Phosphate free anti-freeze is necessary in Europe because of the very hard water they have there. Somehow the phosphate in ordinary anti-freeze will react with the minerals in the hard water. However, he said the water in North America is not as hard and he knew a lot of VW with aluminum radiator have no problem using ordinary anti-freeze with tap water. In the US market, all the popular brands until recently (Prestone, Zerex) contain phosphate in a buffered solution which keeps the phosphates in the coolant from ionizing (so they claim), at least for a while. I have used Prestone without seemingly ill effects, but if you want to be 100% sure, not void warrantee, use VW's coolant. Furthermore, mix with DISTILLED water, NOT tap water. Also do not mix coolants of different types. Flush the system before you change! A counter point from Jens: It is not such a good idea to use destilled water, best is tap water which has been boiled in a pot so that the calcium is left there and cannot harm your cooling system. Destilled water is too aggressive. [Jan]: I checked with some chemists on alt.chem and they cannot see why it would be too aggressive. Newer coolants by Prestone (4/60), Arctic, Quaker State and BASF's Zerex Extreme are phosphate free, and are sold with different labels as to clearly identify the new product. They are selling these phosphate free products for environmental reasons! They all advertise around a 4 year-50/60k miles life expectancy. Whether that's purely marketing (the stuff costs more) or a significant difference over the original formulations (that probably will last that long as well) remains unknown. Unverified claims: Texaco's coolant is also Phos free. Whether these have any long term harmfull side effects (probably not) still remains to be seen (these products were introduce in 93 in the US). Note that VW's coolant is also made by BASF, but seems to be as slightly different formulation than their commercial Zerex product. According to BASF, Zerex Extreme has been approved to be used in VW, BMW, MB, Audi, Saab, and Volvo. Sierra's new anti-freeze is based on Propylene Glycol (environmentally safe). Propylene Glycol is used as a "light" oil substitute in foods and is therefore not as deadly as Ethylene Glycol. See also below for more details. ND has the following to say about Sierra: "Total marketing !! This is just another coolant with a different formula and since most all coolant is recycled now the enviro aspect is mute. This stuff will not work any better than any other coolant. Almost all coolant nowadays is ok to use in your VW. Just make sure it was designed for Aluminum heads which is almost all of them now." Another thing to note is that VW claims that its original coolant does not have to be renewed every two years like Prestone. The reason they give that coolants like Prestone have sacrificing chemicals that prevent corrosion for a certain period. VW claims that their coolant does not have any sacrificing chemicals and therefore does not wear out. Personally, I don't think this is entirely true, and as a precaution, I change the coolant of it turns color or every couple of years. In some of the cars I have owned they coolant looked perfectly fine, in others it turned reddish brown after a couple of months. From Jens: No precaution necessary. There are people (like me) who used the same coolant for more than 10 years without problems. CAUTION: After changing metal engine parts (thermostat housing, cyl. head) you should always change the coolant to protect the new parts with the anti corrosion of the coolant. The anti corrosion worked up by this process and the old coolant has not enough anti corrosion to work on the new parts. Also, change anti corrosion after you have changed a defective cyl. head sealing (because it may have let exaust gas into the coolant which is chemically "destroyed" by the gas). Best coolant in Europe seems to be Glysantin by BASF, there is nobody who would use anything different (except all Shell-, Texaco-, BP-, ...-stations who sell their own stuff, of course). Glysantin protects the aluminum cylinder head of corrosion, it builds a thin film on all parts of the cooling system to protect them, it makes the coolant pump last longer (even made my old loud "non-Glysantin experienced" pump go quiet) and does not harm the environment (at least not more than other coolants). And: when Glysantin changed its colour from brown to green, VW's coolant colour changed from brown to green, too ;-). This is not an endorsement of either products. I have no idea as to their effectiveness. See also the archive file "Anti_Freeze" for additional details, and the performance faq on improving heat transfer. Q: What's the easiest way of removing a water pump (A1 & A2 VWs)? A: The idea is to remove the *entire* pump assembly first, and separate the pump halves outside of the car. To remove the entire pump assembly, you have to remove all "fan" belts, pulleys, the drive belt covers, unbolt the alternator and move it out of the way somewhere, unbolt and reposition the power steering pump (easy once you locate the bolts, there is one on "the other side" that needs to be accessed with a long extension bar, don't need to disconnect the hoses), and unbolt and relocate the AC (don't need to detach any hoses here either). Then removing the pump is trivial. It's just the rest of the stuff that's a pain, depending on the model. Be patient, there are several hidden bolts/nuts that attach the AC and power steering pump. Tip: Loosen the pulley bolts BEFORE removing the belts. If you are lucky, there will be enough resistance to keep the pulleys steady. If not, I have gone as far as to use a pipe wrench to hold the pulleys steady. Another tip: If your pump leaks between the halves, it's safer to replace the pump as one unit rather than the impeller half. Chances are that the leaking pump is warped, and no matter how often you replace one half, it'll *always* give you problems. Use anti-seize on the bolts during reassembly. While you are at it, check or replace the thermostat. They do get lazy after a while. Checking/replacing the hoses may not be such a bad idea either (note: they last ~ 70k miles or ~10 yrs IMHO). On A1 Diesels (maybe A2) however it's easier to remove the timing belt, and then remove the impeller half of the pump. However [Borowski] the timing belt need not be removed on cars without air conditioning. Once the alternator bracket is removed, the water pump comes out easily. Tip from Greg Welch: Stay away from non-OEM waterpumps. Some are sold with smaller impellers and as a result do not pump as well (you run hotter). Q: How often should I change my drive belt? A: 8 Valve engines, around 60-75k miles, 16V's BEFORE you reach 50k miles. 8V engines will NOT be damaged if the thing breaks, 16V will be. The VR6 engines use an actual chain rather than a synthetic belt and do not have to be changed. The only exception to the 8V rule is the Heron head used on European A1 GTIs and on the European 1.05l and 1.3l engines from 1983 on (not sold in the USA/Canada). It does interfere. Note that tensioning the belt correctly is tricky, if it's too tight you may prematurely wear out a bunch of bearings. VWs recommended method is that you should be able to turn the belt 90 deg., in the middle of the crankshaft and camshaft wheel, holding it just between your thumb and index finger and using no brutal force. The problem is that we all have different strengths, and therefore this adjustment is easy to get wrong. Generally I found that the belt is on snuggly but not tight. If it's on too tight, you'll hear a characteristic whining/high pitched sound. <NOISE> From [Lee Hetherington]: THE MORAL OF THE STORY IS TO SET THE TENSION BY TRIAL AND ERROR BEFORE YOU PUT THE COVER BACK ON. From Jens: There is another way to check for correct tension on the belt. Try to lift it from the camshaft wheel, it should be possible. The gap between the belt and the wheel should be about half the height of the tooth height of the camshaft wheel: __ __ <-- belt __ | | __ ||_|| |___| <-- camshaft wheel I got this from an "engine man" and checked it out at two VW service stations (and on several cars): it works reliable, no more trial and error. Q: I hear an intermittent high pitched chirping noise that comes <NOISE> and goes when I rev the engine? A: This could be caused by a bunch of things. First check whether all the belts are on tight enough, but also not too tight (there is a difference between a belt slipping, e.g., when you go through a puddle, and a bearing being over stressed). Remove all belts, and if the noise persists, suspect the drive belt tensioner. (You can actually feel it vibrate when it chirps, but don't get your fingers stuck). They are easy and cheap to replace, see elsewhere for a replacement tensioning tool. If that's not it, and the drive belt is not on too tight (see above) then you may be in trouble. Q: How do I know whether my water pump is going bad? A: Obviously if it starts to leak either through the pump half seam or the bearing (the little hole on the bottom). However, there are also other failure modes you have to be aware of: If the car makes a grinding whish-whish-whish sound when cold <NOISE> which diminishes as you drive, the pump bearing may be failing and the impeller is machining the pump housing into slivers. To check for this condition, remove all belts, and spin the waterpump pulley. If it turns well damped and smooth, it's fine. If it feels gritty and crunchy, it's machining itself. If on the other hand it spins loosely, the impeller may have detached itself from the shaft. Note that you should not mistake the grinding whish-whish-whish <NOISE> sound from a regular whish-whish-whish noise. <NOISE> In this case the belts may be simply getting hard or the pulleys are out of line. To check for this, take a can of Silicon spray and spray it on the belts while the car is idling. If the sound disappears immediately, you found the problem. Either replace the belts, or use some hard soap on them (but don't lose your fingers for this either). If the pulleys do not line up, check whether any of the bushing are worn (e.g., the rubber alternator bushing as found on older A1 VWs is notorious for wearing out). Otherwise use spacers and O-rings to get them to line up. Q: Why the hole at the bottom of the impeller housing? A: To keep the bearings dry. Moisture is the death of bearings. Seals are never quite perfect, thus the hole. From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Don T. Borowski) Q: Where are the timing marks on A1 & A2 VWs? A: At the top of the clutch/bell housing you will find a plastic plug. Pulling the plug allows you to use a magnetic factory sensor. If you want to use a strobe, you will have to *unscrew* the whole plug assembly. Then you'll see a reference mark, and an arrow somewhere on the flywheel: Mark in hole: [ ] ^ flywheel: | Normally the two have to line up under normal idle & a strobe connected to cylinder #1. Some cars require certain vacuum hoses or the idle stabilizer to be disconnected. Check manual. Note: Some cars (e.g. 87 & 88 GTI 16V) also have marks on the front pulley, with an arrow on the end of the block. Note: Excessive advance raises combustion temperatures and pressures, while excessive retard extends the burning cycle through the exhaust and raises exhaust temps. (Mark Shaw) Q: My radiator leaks, what should I do? A: Replace it. In most VWs this is pretty easy to do (1 hr), and a new radiator (which is = OEM) can be had for around 100-150US$. The hard part, esp. in older cars and in Europe, is finding the right radiator. Even VW does not keep track of what car left the factory with what radiator. Furthermore, the serial numbers are not very useful because they may not be available anymore. What you need to do is first measure the core length of the radiator, then determine whether it has an external recovery tank, and then determine whether it is screw in mount (mostly pre-82) or the newer pin-points (Wolfsport has some good explanation of this). Now you need to decide whether you want the same radiator, or a larger one. Most VWs come pre-drilled to accept certain larger radiators. Larger radiators are used in cars with A/C, or if the car is destined for a warmer climate (though that may not be where the car is sold). You also may want to install the largest possible radiator if you autocross, do long desert runs or tow something. A larger radiator allows a larger cooling capacity, which means it can dissipate heat quicker. This does NOT mean that it will run cooler on *average* because that's controlled by the thermostat (a.k.a. "aquastat" in some places). Some 3rd party places (e.g., JC Whitney) sell generic radiators with a conversion kit which are much harder to install, and not recommended. Whatever you do, avoid the temptation to use one of those Stop Leak products at all cost because it'll block more than just your leak (like the heater core). rgolen@UMASSD.EDU Q: What causes engine knock/pinging/detonation? <NOISE> A: Too much advance. Check Timing. Also check VALVE timing. Too low gas octane/too high engine compression. Engine overheating. Carbon build up on valves. An improperly torqued knock sensor can cause the sensor to not function correctly resulting in knock and/or loss of power. Failing knock sensor. NOTE: Do not mistake engine knock or pinging for other problems. Knock occurs under load (e.g., accelerating, going up a hill, fast driving). Knock seldom occurs under no load conditions (e.g., idle or revving the engine). If you hear a rattle there <NOISE> it may be something else: valves, bearing, wristpin slap, etc. Q: I have an A2 VW and I hear buzzing from the rear of the car? <NOISE> A: These cars have two fuel pumps: The transfer pump which is mounted *inside* the gas tank, and the regular pump which pumps the gas to the fuel distributor. Just before you start the car (key in "on" position) you should hear a slight buzzing that MUST go away after 5 seconds. Whenever the buzzing noise becomes increasingly more audible while driving, it may indicate that one of the pumps is about to fail. Changing the fuel filter may help. Bentley manual has a procedure to check the health of the pump, basically by measuring the current being drawn. Cleaning the fuel filter screen with the transfer pump also seems to help. The transfer pump makes a 'wugga wugga wugga' noise when the key is turned on, and then goes away. Q: I seem to have lost power? A: Check the following: - Vacuum hoses - Fuel Filter - Ignition timing - Valve timing (belt may have slipped) - Spark plugs - Valve clearances (older cars) - On G60's: Some batteries have an overflow tube that dumps acid on the intercooler tubes => holes => loss of power. - You may be running to hot, inducing knock, retarding timing in new cars. - Other defects... Q: What are the correct spark plugs for my car? A: Check the manual, however the manual/Bentley/dealer may sometimes be wrong. Here is some info collected over time: Some regular Champions do not work well with VWs. Bosch are the stock plugs, and work well in most VWs. NGK seems to be a suitable replacement for some cars. 8 Valve up to 87: WR7D? where ? = S, P 9A Engines (16V from August 1989 - present): Bosch FR6DS - ZVP121086S Bosch F6DTC - equivalent (see differences below). Corrado G60: Bosch W6DP0 - VW# 251 201 511A (at 16US$ EACH!). Corrado VR6: Bosch F7LC0R2 - Weird beast! Bosch/Autotech listing Bosch FR8LPX - Recommended by EIP Tuning! NGK ZFR6F-11 - VW now sells these as a replacement Some claim it makes the car less snappy NGK BK5EKU/BKR5EKU - These seem ok Champion C9MCC - OEM, manual incorrectly lists these as Bosch plug, seem to work better than the Bosch F7LC0R2 Autolite AP3923 - One of the Corrado list favorites. [The non Pt one is 3923] Needs regap to .028" (.7 mm) are way off Golf & Jetta III, Cabrio with ABA engine Bosch FR8DS - 101 000 044 AA, see TSB V28-94-01 Jetta GLX, Passat GLX, SLC with AAA engine NGK BK5REKU - 101 000 035 AB, see TSB V28-94-01 (see also the Performance faq on additional sparkplug info). Q: What does the Bosch spark plug number mean? A: For example: WR7DTC W = Diameter (?) W= 14 mm (?) R = Resistor (Radio interference suppression, not vital(?)) 7 = Heat Range (lower numbers = colder plugs) D = Length (?) T = Tri-cathode. If missing, single cathode C = Copper Anode Other values, Missing = Carbon, S = Silver, P = Platinum 0 = Final character, Special Electrode configuration (see below) Q: Why is the G60 plug 15US$? What's so special about it? A: The WR6DP0/W6DP0 plug is closer to a performance plug because it gap is not covered with the little prong but rather exposed to the combustion chamber. Supposedly it gives you a better combustion and the engine runs cleaner. It's also a Platinum plug. The final character "0" designates this Conventional: === <==Gap //  ------- W6DP0 Gap \/ =  //  ------- Q: Should I use Platinum plugs? [Note, Bosch & NGK & Others make them]. A: Only if it is recommended by either the sparkplug or car manufacturer. The results have so far been mixed. Some people feel a marked and sustained improvement over regular copper or silver plugs others felt a decrease in performance and cold starting. Q: How do I adjust the gap on Platinum sparkplugs? A: Depending on the type of Platinum sparkplugs, to make the gap smaller, you gently tap the cathode on a solid piece. Q: I need to replace my muffler. What should I get? A: See the performance FAQ and also the archives on this! <ADD A SECTION ON HOW TO FIX EM> Q: How do I remove the oxygen sensor? It seems frozen. A: [From: email@example.com] First you need the right 22mm wrench. And now the story from Rajiv: Then he explained to me the secret of how he got it off. [Applicable to the 1 wire systems attached to the exhaust manifolds ONLY, the heat would ruin the catalytic converter, for those mounted on the converter] The sensor area needs to be heated, either by running and/or torch. Then, you spray lots of penetrating oil into the slight crack, where it gets sucked in by the pressure drop and by the cooling. This gets the lubricant to the threads. (I remember hearing that drilling holes just to the threads is a good idea). Keep doing this repeatedly and keep applying the wrench. Sooner or later (took them 1 hr) it'll come off. There are two types of oxy sensor tools available. The most common one looks like a deep socket with a slot on the side, the other like a crow foot. Have a look which will fit the best for your car. Chances are that the crow foot provides you with the right clearance. Q: What does an engine compression test tell me about the health of my engine? A: There are different ways to check engine compressions, and they can reveal specific internal defects. General procedure: 1) Remove all spark plugs. 2) Ground center spark plug wire AWAY from the cylinders 3) Make sure you have a healthy battery & the car is at operating temp. 4) Attach compression gauge on cylinder 1 5) Put car in neutral & have friend push in clutch & accelerator 6) Have friend crank engine, note FIRST reading and reading after pressure stabilizes (3-5 cranks). 7) Note down readings and repeat for all cylinders 8) A healthy engine should have all readings near mfr's spec, and should be about +/- 10% of each other. If not...you are in trouble. 9) If one or more is low, but not adjacent cylinders (e.g. 1 & 3) suspect either a burned valve or worn rings. If adjacent cylinders are low, also suspect a bad head gasket or a warped head. 10) To determine whether it's rings or valve, do a leak down test => Add a couple spoon fulls of regular engine oil to the engine through the spark plug hole of the offending cylinder 11) Repeat measurement. If it remains low => Valve/Head, else if the readings jumped up => Rings. 12) To distinguish between head vs valves => see a professional. They'll lock the drive shaft, put air pressure on the cylinders and watch for bubbles in the coolant fluid. 13) Also the first reading and the final readings should not be too far apart. Q: How often should I adjust my valves (gas engines)? A: All/most? VWs made after 1985 have hydraulic valves, which adjust themselves. Cars before that need periodic adjustments. Check for the recommended intervals in your manual, do more frequently on older cars & with periodic compression checks. Badly adjusted valves reduce power, increase pollution and may lead to burned valves (valves cool thru contact with the head). It's a fairly easy job to do, you DO need two special tools: One to compress the valves and one to remove the adjusting shims. They can be had at most car specialty stores. All VW engines based on the old 1500 thru 1800 block use calibrated metal shims (tappets) the size of Alka Seltzer pills for adjusting the valves. You first measure your clearance, then determine how much off it is, take out the old shim, calculate what new size you need, and race of to your parts supplier (or use a shim from another valve). Q: What's a CAM "saver" cover, alias CAM splash guard, alias CAM cover baffle? A: It's piece of plastic that fits between the actual CAM cover and the upper CAM bearings (just wedged between the two). When the car is running, oil is splashed around a lot in the CAM chamber (just try it...you'll have to repaint your garage) and sometimes saturates the positive crankcase ventilation valve. The PCV is connected to the breather tube on top of the CAM cover and goes to the airfilter box. When the PCV gets saturated it my drip oil into your airfilter box. The CAM saver cover prevents oil from splashing directly on to the inner CAM cover, and also allows oil to drip back directly on the CAM providing extra lubrication instead of just sliding back along the sides. Both VW and certain after market places sell these barriers for about US$ 15. Many of the newer VWs (87 GTIs) have such a barrier installed as stock, but you can often retrofit your car with it as well. Note that these things not always fit quite right... According to Graig: You need to buy a new cam cover gasket set too as you'll be junking your old one when you take the cam cover off. If you have an aftermarket cam cover, trade it in for a factory one, as the actual oil breather itself has a better baffle (rather than just a screen or mesh like in some aftermarket ones). This is a safe preventive too, even if you don't autocross. Everyone who even thinks of driving their VW hard should put one of these baffles in there Q: My valve cover gasket leaks oil? A: [From Andy]: On most A1 & A2 cars you usually have to change the can cover gasker anywhere from 1 to 2 times per year because they leak. This is because the metal gets hot and then cold and twists. This allows the oil to seep through and the gaskets start to leak. I was told that the aluminum corrado covers fit on the 8V golfs/jettas. They do not twist under temperature changes, hence fever gasket changes are needed. I did not try to fit one of those on my engine yet, but will soon. So if you are getting tired of changing the $6 gasket, then here might be an alternative solution for you. [From Jan]: A good idea, however keep in mind that the Corrados also use a one piece synthetic gasket that's not that cheap! I think they fit on other 8V engines. Q: How do I remove bushings from a blind hole? (For example: small bushing on the right side of the clutch throwout shaft) A: There are several methods: 1) tap it (with a thread tap), screw a bolt into it, and draw it out. 2) this is real slick, and it often works (I use it for pilot bearings fill the blind hole with grease, find a bar that fits nicely in the bushing (often a junk part like the one that came out of it), slug the bar with a hammer and the hydrolic press will force out the bushing (really does work!!!) 3) You just get the appropriate bolt that will JUST thread into the soft bushing material. As you thread it in to the bottom it will pull the bushing out (when it hits bottom). 4) Cut/grind a washer so that it's just barely bigger than the bushing on two sides, and smaller than the bushing on the other two sides. Put a screw through the hole on the washer. Work this washer into the blind hole until it gets BEHIND the bushing (assuming the bushing doesn't go all the way back). Then straighten the washer out so that the two long sides are against the back of the bushing, and tug heartily on the screw with either a slide hammer or a prybar, depending on which presents the best potential for leverage (in my case, a slidehammer wouldn't fit into the confines, but a pair of long-nosed Vise-grips worked perfectly -- the long nose worked as a pivot point against a perfectly-positioned bulge in the differential housing, sort of like a wheelbarrow, and a good tug got the bushing out). Q: How do I check (and remove) for the inline FI filter in early A2 cars, and how do I remove it if there. A: This filter is installed by VW apparently to filter out contaminants remaining from manufacture that are in the fuel system *after* the main fuel filter, but will continue to catch junk the main filter misses. Pre-Digifant/Motronic A2's are affected (CIS, CIS-E). Failure to remove this bolt may clog the system. This filter is located inside the 'banjo bolt' that connects the fuel line to the fuel distributor. This bolt is hollow, and the filter, about the size of a long pencil eraser, is hiding inside. Here is the procedure I used to check for and remove the filter I found in the GTI: - Buy two copper washers to replace the ones on the banjo bolt, or you will suffer a fuel leak like I did. - HAVE A FIRE EXTINGUISER WITHIN ARM'S REACH!! - Start engine, and pull the fuel pump fuse while it is running to depressurize the fuel system, or a faceful of gas awaits. - Remove the banjo bolt associated with the incoming fuel line (don't confuse it with the return line) with a 17 MM wrench. A small amount of fuel will dribble out, nothing a paper towel or two can't handle. - If your bolt is hollow, celebrate and put everything back together. Torque bolt per Bentley's spec for your car. - If you see something inside, try to poke it out through the side holes in the bolt. That failing, whip out your drill with a 1/4 bit, and *gently* apply torque with the bolt supported in a vise. In my case, the bit grabbed the filter, and I was able to withdraw it. Admire the filth, then clean the bolt well before reinstalling it with the new washers. Alternatively, you can also buy the new screw Part nos: Screw = N 0210715 Washers = N 0138128. - Don't forget to put your fuel pump fuse back, or the car won't start! Q: My exhaust bangs against the rear axle/my muffler hangers brake frequently. A: This is a common problem on certain cars (e.g., A1 Sciroccos and early G60 Corrados). Check the following: o Realign the exhaust pipes o Check front engine mount(s) o Replace the hangers with stronger units. The most common hangers used in A1/A2 cars up to ~1991 look like rubber donuts with some rubber in the middle. I bit like an "0". There are two stronger versions of the "0" hanger available: 840 253 147 A: It looks a tad different but probably work; 171 253 147 G: This looks identical to the original "0" but has has a chain molded internally and hence cannot be twisted sideways nor break. Some cars also use rubber donuts without a center piece: 191 253 147 A and they look like an "O" with a tab on one end. The newer A2 & VR6 cars use a different hanger system, and those hangers look more like a piece of stretched caneloni. o One thing to keep in mind is that stiffer hangers may increase interior noise (but may prevent your exhaust from bending). o Instead of using one stronger one, I have had some success with doubling up hangers. Tip from Ed W: Do you have a pre-1985 CIS VW? If so, does your car take a long-time (more than 3 cranks) to start in the morning? If you answered "yes". Then run down toyour local junkyard or VW parts source and get a fuel-injection relay from a later car. The newer relays run the fuel pump when the ignition is first turned on, thus pressurizing the system. My car now starts on the first crank when it used to take 3-4 cranks to start. Your pre-85 VW might already have a newer relay, but if not, I would suggest getting one. Q: How do you remove the two oil pan bolts that are closest to the tranny? A: You have to use a 1/4 inch driver 10mm socket with a swivel. Q: How do you remove/reattach the "rubber bands" that hold down the airbox in many VWs, my hands are too big to access it? A: There are a number of ways. Some fabricate a hook with a clothe hanger, or pull a string through the rubber bands and then pull, and one chef on the net uses a dough hook. ELECTRICAL ========== Q: On the electrical diagrams, do the circuit numbers have any meaning? A: Yes. VW uses Bosch numbering scheme, as do BMW & M-B. The most common ones are: 1 = Ground (0 Volt) 15= Switched Positive (Hot when ignition is on) 30= Always hot "12 Volt" (even though it'll closer to 13.4 Volt) [From Jens, still needs to be verified]: 31 = Ground 30 = +12V (always hot) 15 = +12V (when ignition is on) 50 = starter 1 = ignition coil, low voltage 4 = ignition coil, high voltage B+ = alternator main current D+ = alternator exciter (load lamp is connected to this one) DF = alternator input of regulator (not available from outside the alt.) Not Bosch scheme, but ... One important circuit for VW cars is X: it is basically the same as 15, but it is getting cold when 50 gets active, i.e. when you start the engine. Ventilator, rear window heating and other circuits which need a lot of current are connected to X instead of 15 to leave the current to the starter when it needs it. You should connect your high power amps/radios to X, also. Better no music for 5 secs. than pushing your car in winter. Q: My battery is not charging well, I am only showing 12V when charging rather than 13.4V. What is wrong? A: There are numerous causes for this. Most of the time the problem is fairly trivial. Going from cheapest to most expensive, try the following: See also charge light diagnosis below. - Check the ground connections, possibly install a new ground from alternator to battery rather than using the engine block/transmission as conductor. Forget trying to find the bad connection with an Ohm meter: Say your alt. puts out 50 Amps, you'll get a drop of 1 Volt for each .02 Ohm!!! Most VOMeters are not accurate enough in this range. So, those tiny little resistances that have build up over the years REALLY add up. Use a THICK (10 or less Gauge/"AWG"), multistrand wire. - Check the alternator wiring harness. Same reason as above. - Clean all related connectors (sand paper, file). - SOLDER ALL crimped connectors - Check for an unusual drain (unlikely but possible) - Check/clean/replace the alternator brushes (easy, see wear limits in Bentley). - Check the battery water level (use distilled water) NOTE: DO NOT ASSUME YOU HAVE A MAINTENANCE FREE BATTERY BECAUSE IT DOES NOT HAVE LITTLE SCREW TOPS. MOST VW BATTERIES ARE NOT MAINTENANCE FREE AND THE WATER LEVEL SHOULD BE CHECKED PERIODICALLY! - Have the battery checked (it may be shorting out) - Have the alternator checked (diodes and regulator may be bad). Alternator replacement is by the way trivial. If the alternator is bad, upgrade to a higher amp one, especially in older cars and if you have a powerful stereo system or aux lights 90 amp replacements are the current "hot" ticket. However, some of the upgrades require a different wiring harness. ND for example sells these and calls them their "Massive Overkill" wires. EuroCar had a detailed procedure on this about 1 or 2 years ago. NOTE: Many car parts places will check out your alternator for free or a very low cost. Sears used to do it for free in the US if you had a DieHard battery, now they charge some nominal amount. - Replace battery connectors with better quality ones. (From D.J. Stern: number 1 or number 2 gauge Whitaker brass-terminal battery cables.) Q: How do I check the Alternator? A: [From Jens]: There is one correct way to check the alternator. All you need is an oscilloscope which has to be connected to D+. Let the engine run at 2000-3000 rpm, switch on everything that draws a greater current (lights, ventilator, rear window heating) and look at the scope: A correct alternator shows 12-13VDC plus a 2V "sine" (A). A defective alternator breaks down to 1-2V every time the "sine" comes down (B). __ __ __ __ __ A: / \__/ \__ B: / \__/ \__/ \__ - 12V | | | | | | | | | - 6V | | | --------------------------------------------------------- 0V This is just a vague description, every book about car electrics should show you the "error pictures" (e.g. the "red Bosch book"). With the scope, you can even tell WHAT is wrong with the alternator, e.g. short exciter diodes, broken ground diodes, shortened stator, without tearing it apart and check each single element. Q: My charge light does not behave as expected. What is wrong? A: Taken from EC (March 1994): The charges light is directly connected to the excitor part of the alternator. It provides the initial power to get the alt working. And it also provides alot of additional info: Engine off, ignition on, no charge indicator: - Lamp burned out, wiring break, internal alt failure, voltage regulator bad. Alt will NOT charge! - [From Jens]: Broken rotor wire. The alternator brushes may be bad which means too short, they should be at least 5mm out of their housing. If the brushes are wet or dirty cleaning can help, if not, you have got to change: o Bosch alternator: change only the brushes. o Valeo alternator: you must change the complete regulator :-( o Motorola alternator: the brush carrier has to be changed Engine running, charge indicator on: - Alt is not charging. Belt loose, bad voltage regulator. - [From Jens]: Exciter diodes broken Charge indicator on, engine & ignition off: - At least one of the 3 diode groups is shorted. Alt is only partially charging. Have it serviced/replace diodes. - [From Jens]: Plus diodes are shorted. Charge indicator out at idle, half intensity at higher rpms: - At least one of the 3 diode groups is open. Alt is only partially chanrging. Have it serviced/replace diodes. - [From Jens]: Bad brushes, see above. Charge indicator glows dimly under electrical load (most noticable at night): - Bad connection between alt and battery (see above). Q: Starting problems (hot or cold). A: Check out the electrical connections, and battery (see above under charging). Also check out functioning of the solenoid. If the problems occur only with a hot engine, consider the VW solenoid package that will cut out most other drain when starting, or the heat shield package (also from VW) for the starter. Q: What do the H1, H2...H4 designations mean? A: These are the type of Halogen bulbs used in US non-sealed beam lamps (reflector & glass) since 1985 and longer for the rest of the world. The same lamps are also used in fog/driving lamps. They are available in regular strength (around 55 W) and more. H1 - Single filament lamp H2 - Single filament lamp? H3 - Single filament lamp? H4 - Dual filament lamp These bulbs can be had at different strengths: H1 55, 100, and 130 watt H4 - 55/60, 55/100, 80/100, 80/130, 100/150 watt Anything bigger than the 55/100 -100 H1 you must have relays or you will fry the pins in the back of the fusebox. Note that only the stock strength are strictly legal. Tip: When installing new (Halogen) light bulbs in your car, make sure you DO NOT touch the glass part of the light bulb with your fingers. This is because the oil from your fingers gets so hot that it makes the bulb really hot and it explodes. [If you do, clean it off with a high concentrate alcohol: methanol, ethanol or isopropanol]. Q: What's that extra bright red light on some European cars? A: That's a "Nebelschlussleuchte" (sp?), or rear-fog anti-crash light. Many of the newer cars shipped to the US have these incorporated (but not connected) into the rear lenses [Corrados, Passats, Audis]. Very effective in fog, snow and heavy rain. Q: Why does my fog light switch have two positions that do not have any effect? A: It's to switch on the rear fog light(s), which is often not connected in cars shipped to the US & Canada. Q: Why should I use Dielectric grease, and on what? A: Dielectric grease is a NON-conducting grease that seals out moisture and therefore prevents corrosion on electrical connectors. This also happens to be one of the main problems with older VWs, and currently one of the causes of bad idle/ecu (connector) failures. The jury is still out on this grease... some claim it will get hard. Others have suggested to use a conducting paste as used on aluminum residential wiring. The latter will aid in conduction, but should not be used in high voltage cables (spark plugs) or where several wires are adjacent because of potential shorts. Q: I lost the code for my radio. How can I get it back? A: The only sure way is to contact the dealer, but you may end up paying close to 100$ for either the code or a recode. Some suggest freezing the radio overnight which will reset the code to 0000, though it may also kill the LCD display. Hold on that code in a very safe place! Q: My radio never locks up if I disconnect the battery eventhough it is claimed to be a coded radio? A: The code has to be activated before it will lock up the radio. This is normally done right after you buy the car, but nowadays with the sad dealer service it is often overlooked. See the "coding radio" archive on how to do this, but it basically comes down to entering the code as though the radio had locked up. Q: How often should I replace my spark plug wires? How can I check them? A: Many of the performance shops recommend you change them every 30-50k miles. I am not convinced whether this is really needed. The general rule of thumb is that the wire's resistance should be around 12kOhms per foot, and not more than 50kOhms/foot. Check also for the specific values in the car's manual. [From Jens]: For your VW, best choice is to get the most conventional wires, spark plug wires with no resistance (just copper as conductor). Use spark plug connectors with built-in 10kOhm resistor for radio protection. Experience shows that changing the wires is not necessary before 8 to 10 years, but you should take a look at the spark plug connectors every 7500km (~5000 miles). They tend to become corrosive and I have had cases of shortening high voltage to ground, too. Q: How can I install programmable wiper control in my car like the new cars have? A: The programmable wiper control allows you to program the interval time. Because VW does not like to add new knobs and wires, they have put all the control in the relay in a type of teach and play back mode. If your old windshield wiper relay part number is 191 955 531, then you can swap it with the programmable unit: 357 955 531 or the new number 1HM 955 531B for under US$40. Note, APS sells these control units for about 10US$ less. The APS part number is: 25-955.531 The same unit is apparently also directly available from Bosch. It is called the 'Easytronic' wiper module and provides a 2 to 45 second wipe interval. The Bosch part number is 0 986 335 058 (at least in the UK) and is available from all Bosch stockists. To program is easy: Push down on the w-w lever, have it wipe once, bring it up and wait until you need to wipe again, then push it down. It'll use the same wait interval! Very clever, but not obvious. Q: What's this secret ignition switch I hear about? How do I close my electrical windows after I pull the key out? A: Most VWs built between 79-92 allow you to switch on the switched power (circuit 15) allowing your fan, lights, power windows, etc to work by doing the following: Pull back on the high beam lever all the way (and hold it there). The ignition "ON" postion should be activated while you are pulling back on the lever. If not, release the lever and pull back on it again. On some VW's the instrument warning lights come on, some others don't. However, a word of warning, you are using a rogue path and you can easily burn out switches. Tip: [From Ed Wodzienski] A dirty load reduction relay found on a lot of VW's can cause delayed (and NO) starting. Instead of replacing it (although its not too expensive), I opened it up and scraped the relay contacts. My car now starts in an instant and has been for close to three weeks. Not one single delayed start.... TRANSMISSION ============ See also the archives G60_Xmission_Mods, faq.vw.perf, Solid_Shifter, Adjust_Linkages, TrannySwaps, clutch, tranny.lube Q: What shift mechanisms do VWs use over the years? A: A1 & A2: Mechanical linkages Corrado & Passat (4 & 6 cyl): Cable linkages (The SLC/VR6 uses a SIMILAR mechanism as the G60, contrary to some "knowledgeable" car mags. The main difference is a counter weight on the SLC, and a different mounting bracket) A3: Mechanical linkages with counter weight, Cable linkages on VR6s Q: What size clutches did VW use over the years? A: According to Peter Tong: There are 4 sizes. 190mm early gas rabbit (A1s), 200mm diesel rabbits, 210 mm 83-84 GTI, 85-92 G/J/ (A2s). I think Sachs also sells a 215mm clutch kit as well - aftermarket. Many clutches in these sizes come for road and racing applications. You can also combine clutch discs with different strength pressure plates as well. 16V clutch is similar but has provision for the AGB tranny's larger input shaft. See also the performance FAQ on sport clutches. Q: How can I improve shift effort/meshing of my gears? First gear feels like there is something blocking it? A: First check out the linkage adjustments, regrease where needed, and older cars, possibly replace the old linkages/bushings. A special spacer tool is needed for one of the adjustments (A1 & A2) which happens to be exactly the same size as the skinny side of an audio cassette. Other special tools may be needed. [From Jens]: Old trick, used in (nearly) every (VW) service station because the results are much better than using the official method with the special tools. Disadvantage: you need a person who helps you. Sit down on the driver seat, your friend has to go under the car. Shift into - 3rd gear for 4 gear cars, - 5th gear for 5 gear cars, have your friend loosen the linkage and adjust the gear stick. Push it (smoothly!) to the right and have your friend link the two parts again. Try to shift into every gear, have a special eye on the rear gear. If you cannot succeed with this method, you can also try to adjust the linkage in 1st gear (of course you have to push to the left side then). Some people find this method easier and more effective than the first one. If you are anxious not to succeed, mark the original position of the linkage parts before losening them. You can then put the linkage into the original position every time. The end of the shift lever has a ball on it that fits into a cup. The cup wears and allows the ball to ride lower and lower. Pretty soon, the ball, with shifter attatched, is riding so low that you don't need to push down to bypass the reverse lock out. All you need to do is replace the ball and cup. While you're in there, replace theshifter bushings for the feedthrough. See the Bentley manual for an excellent description. BTW, you'll most likely have to drop the exhaust to get at the parts. I have done this operation several times on various models, and can honestly say that it can be done in about 2 hours or less if you have a torch to remove the old exhaust clamps. Also check out whether the motor/transmission mounts are ok, misalignment will cause shifting problems as will a dragging clutch. If your shifting effort is hard/stiff on cold days & grinds in 1st & 2nd, but easier once warmed up you may want to change to a synthetic transmission fluid (see performance FAQ). Also see the G60_Xmission_Mods, faq.vw.perf, Solid_Shifter for adding a counter weight to the shift linkages for a more "solid" feel, and Adjust_Linkages. Q: First gear grinds? <NOISE> A: Shift into third thirst then shift into first. Q: How can you tell if your synchro is REALLY shot? A: Let the car idle, and with out depressing the clutch move the gear shift into the gears you want to test. If the synchros are more or less ok your idle will dip (or as I found out, your car will start to move) w/o crunching., If however they are shot, you'll hear a big grinding sound. Don't try it with the reverse gear, it has no synchro an will crunch majorly. An alternative is presented by Bill N Gallas: 1) Change the gear oil. If the car has >75K miles on the transmission this could help as the extreme pressure lubricants in the gear oil do wear out. This lubricant failure can manifest itself as syncronizer drag and binding. After changing the gear oil you may notice the problem is gone, :-) life is good! If not: 2) Drive the car for 15 to 20 minutes to get the transmission warm. 3) Accelerate the car to 10 to 40 MPH for gears 1 thru 4. a) engage the gear in question. 4) Leaving the clutch engaged, release the accelerator pedal. 5) If the gear select lever (gear shift) pops out of gear that syncro is bad. 6) On most newer transmissions when first starting out in reverse "ALWAYS" put the shifter into 1st gear, then shift to reverse. By doing this you stop the transmission and will eliminate gear chip damage to your reverse gear. Q: What's a CV Joint? A: Constant Velocity Joints (Joint Homokinetique (Fr)) connect the two ends of your two drives shafts to your differential and the wheels. They allow the drive axle to move and allows you to transmit power when you turn. The closest equivalent is a Universal Joint. Q: How do CV Joints go bad and how can I prevent it from happening? A: CV Joints wear out over time, like any other moving part. However they wear out prematurely when the boot that surrounds them cracks and lets in dirt, or when the CV grease deteriorates. The boots crack because of age or because of street debris, and therefore the outer CVJs (esp. with the more exposed CVJs in A1 cars) are most subject to tearing. To detect a tear in outer CVJ boot is easy: it'll throw black grease all around your inner rim, around your brake. Whenever you check your tire pressure, check for those signs. To detect a rip in an inner CVJ boot, and small cracks in the outer, you need to manually inspect them. If you detect a ripped boot early, you can get away by merely repacking the CVJ boot with CVJ grease and a new boot. NOTE: VW and Loebro sell boot kits, that includes everything you need for the job (about US$15). If on the other hand, you did not detect the rip early, or you hear a knocking sound when you turn, you may have to <NOISE> replace the entire CVJ, a messy procedure requiring special tools. Other symptoms of a bad CVJ includes increased & uneven steering effort while driving. CVJs also fail because the CVJ grease deteriorates over time because of heat exposure. Here too the outer ones get the most beating because of the heat generated by the brake disks. Generally, you should repack the outer (& change the boots) every 60k miles. The inner ones usually last closer to 100k miles. If however you see pitting and scoring of any of the inner surfaces you may as well replace them. Tip: [First heard from WolfSport, reported by [Borowski]) There are many times when both wheel drive shafts need to be removed (two torn boots, etc.) This is a perfect opportunity,to switch the CV joints to the opposite sides. They will then wear on different internal surfaces, extending their life. Q: What tool should I use to remove my inner CV Joint (driveshaft-to-drive axle flange) bolts? A: Most VWs use an 8mm 12 point internal spline, aka CV Joint tool aka triple square. Snap On triple-square CV socket, Part number (3/8" drive) = FTSM8C. KD #2304, fits in a 5/16" socket. Also available from other brands/dealer. According to Greg Moore: It's also the same fitting as is on the teardrop- style alloy wheel covers. [Verified: Tom Coradeschi] Q: How do I know my front wheel bearings are shot? A: They'll make a roaring "wowowowow" sound, and the noise <NOISE> may change depending whether you are heading straight or turning. Special tools are needed to remove the bearing (cost ~150US$) though the bearings themselves are around 30US$/each. Certain performance places listed above will sell bearings packed with synthetic grease (last much longer, racing applications). BRAKES ====== See also the archive files: Repco_MetalMasters, Rear_Brakes_Tool, Solid_Shifter, Adjust_Linkages, and faq.vw.perf Q: What brakes do VWs come with? (Note the dates are +/- 1 yr). A: Pre-80: Fronts= (A1) Teves or Girling discs (early Euro had drums as well) Rears = (A1) drums, non-self adjusting Post-80: Fronts= (A1/A2) Kelsey Hayes ("Banana pads"): Sciroccos 8V, GTIs 8V Girling: 16V Sciroccos, >90 Passats & Corrados Non-vented rotors on most initially, vented for higher end cars. Rotor diameter increased over the years. ATE: Wolfsburg-built GLIs 8V Rears = (A1/A2) self adjusting drums Teves disc (high end) Girling: Wolfsburg-built GLIs 8V General: Later cars have brake proportioning valves, several types used, some are with the master cylinder (e.g., 84S) others are in front of the rear axle beam on the left hand side. Front Vented Rotor Sizes: 239 mm (9.4") A1/A2 models 256 mm (10.1") 280 mm (11" 4 hole, 6 hole for VR6) Corrados, Passats Rear Solid Rotor Size: 226 mm (9.0") For 14" wheels, you can go up to 10.1" rotors (and the matching calipers). For 13" wheels, 9.4" rotors is your max. If you want the 11" rotors of the corrado, then you need 15" wheels! :-) See also Brake_Upgrades Q: I need to change my brake pads, which should I get? A: This is a tricky question, and depends on what car you drive and whether you were happy with what you had. Normal driving, no problem with fade: Stock VW, or Mintex Silver pads. Repco Semi-Metallic are ok as well. Others like or prefer Wagner Pads. Autocross: Repco Metal Masters. Be aware that many have reported that these pads require significant more pedal pressure, especially when cold. Advantages: Fade resistant, less brake dust, no squeal. Q: Is it easy to change pads/shoes? A: On most newer VWs, changing front pads is next to trivial. Rear pads require more work because the piston needs to be screwed in which is either done with a allen (hex) wrench or a special tool. Rear shoes (drums) are probably the hardest, but still easy enough. Follow Bentley and/or Muir. Q: Do I need to turn my rotors each time I change pads? A: Another religious issue... In general: NO, unless your rotors are badly scored. If they are warped, replace (it's cheap and easy to do). Call places like APS & WolfSport. Note: If you take the rotors off yourself, turning them at a machine shop costs very little. Q: How often should I bleed my brakes and change the fluid? A: Brake fluid should be changed AT LEAST every two years. Bleeding should be done yearly and after an Autocross. Brake fluid absorbs water which corrodes the lines. Bleeding regularly will significantly increase safety and life of your brake components. DOT 4 fluids have a higher boiling point than DOT 3 fluid but are also more hydrophilic and therefore must be replaced more frequently than DOT 3. Q: What brake fluid should I use? A: Check the manual. Most older VWs use DOT 3. The newer ones use DOT 4 or Super DOT 4 (higher boiling point). Castrol makes one which is both DOT 3 and 4 compatible with a very high boiling point. The only place I have found Super DOT 4 in the US is at the VW dealer. One of the dealerships here also recommends Wagner as an aftermarket DOT 4 oil. The higher the boiling the better: Brake -> heat -> fluid boils -> bubbles -> loss in brake pressure -> crash. Q: How do I remove the screw that holds the front rotor in place? A: If a screwdriver & liquid wrench does not work, try an impact screwdriver. It's a screwdriver that makes a 1/4 turn when hit by a hammer. Tip: When changing the rotors, make sure you put a bundle of anti-seize on the inside of the new rotors so they do not get stuck to the hub. Also remove as much rust and gunk so that the rotors seat well. I had to take mine off the hard way: Heat until red, cool with cold water, hammer and use a pry bar. Also make sure you antiseize the screw that holds the rotor in place. If the head is messed up you can try reslotting, but chances are it won't help either. If the screw head is messed up be extremely careful with those easy-offs/ screw or tap extractors. When they break, you cannot get them out. Andy's recommendation is to drill out the screw with the right diameter drill instead, rethread, and put in a new screw of a larger diameter. You don't want to make the hole too big either, though you could use a thread- locker to come back to the original size. Note that that screw is not vital! It only holds the rotor temporarily in place until the wheel bolts torque the rim/rotor/hub sandwich together. Q: I hear a "clunk" each time I brake/start? <NOISE> A: Check whether all the anti-rattle springs are still there (two per caliper). Q: How do I prevent my brakes from squealing? <NOISE> A: Chances are that you have the original semi-metallic VW brakes pads, which are notorious for this. First line of defense is to get that "anti-brake-squeal goo" (comes in a tube or a spray can) and apply it to the BACKS of all your pads. That stuff is essentially liquid high temp rubber that will dampen vibrations. [From Jens]: Two official methods. If your car has old style brakes (A1), simply apply some copper grease to the back side of the pads. For the new calipers as in A2, this method is forbidden by VW (do not know why). But VW sells stickers you can apply to the back side of the pads, although it may be necessary to drive a few hundred miles before applying them in order to make the pads smaller. A new pad with a sticker on its back side is normally to thick to fit into the caliper. [From Jan]: The stickers he is referring to is the same as the anti squeal "goo" you can buy, just in a different form. The second line of defense is to change to a different brake pad brand. See the Repco_MetalMasters file on this subject. (In short, do not get Repco MM's unless you want to race, their Semi- Metallics are closer to stock in brake feel, while someone else recommends Wagner pads.) Q: When standing on the brake pedal, my foot slowly sinks to the floor? What's wrong? A: You either have a leak or your master cylinder is shot. Don't bother trying to rebuild the master cylinder, unless you have access to high precision tools. Mexican made replacements tend not to last long. Get the German OEM ones or the VW one (same thing, more $$$$). Q: Problems with rear drum brake lock up? A: This can have many causes: - Out of round drums. Have them turned or replaced (easy, cheap) - Change shoes - Out of adjustment or self adjusting mechanism not functioning right - Handbrake cable out of adjustment - Proportioning valve out of adjustment or faulty - Incorrect cylinders installed (17mm vs 14 mm, they look very similar but make a 40% in brake pressure!) - Faulty master cylinder. Q: What grease should I use on the rear axles of my VW. A: A high quality Lithium based grease with Molibdenum disulfide (MoS2) (all VW shops have switched to this). In general you can use "Moly-Slip" grease where you used to use the old "White Lithium" grease. MoS2 works a bit like graphite in that it doubles the lubrication properties of the base grease. Note: Generally do not mix greases of different base, e.g., an Aluminum based grease with Lithium base. They may react and lose lubrication properties. Note2: CV Joints use a special grease, less viscous grease. >>>>VOLUNTEERS>>>>????? Needed: diagnosing problems MAINTENANCE =========== One of the best ways to keep your car alive is to perform periodic maintenance. Here is some data that applies mostly to the newer A2 cars. This data came from the VW manuals, Bosch dealer, and New Dimensions. New Car ------- Do not change the oil until after the recommended initial 7500 miles. Apparently VW uses a special oil to break in the car. Do check the oil level on new cars frequently. Oil Change ---------- It's a religious issue. The following seems to work: Mineral Oils: every 3000 miles or 5000 kms or 6 months Oils must satisfy VW norm 501 01 or 505 00 for turbo diesels Check the manual for appropriate weight for your climate. Typically, VW recommends 20W50 or 15W50 for warmer climates. 5W30 are only recommended for the artic. Synthetics: every 7500 miles or 12000 kms or 12 (?) months Oils must satisfy VW norm 500 00 Check the manual for appropriate weight for your climate. Typically, VW recommends 20W50 or 15W50 for warmer climates. 5W30 are only recommended for the artic. Change oilfilter at the same time. VW's manuals say to change it every other oil change, but it's cheap insurance to change it every time. Oil Pumps --------- From Jens & unverified in the US: If you have an engine (A1) with the oil pump connected to the crank shaft directly (no chain between crank shaft and pump as in A2 engines) you should change the oil pump after 50000 miles! The wheel of the pump that is driven by the crank shaft is of such a poor material that it will not stand the force put on it any longer. MANY, MANY engines died the "oil pump death", but VW never recalled the cars. The problem is known in Germany, but I do not know in how far other countries noticed. Fuel Filter (FI cars) --------------------- Every 60 k miles (eventhough VW now claims it's not needed) but ND recommends every 30k or 15k if you use very dirty fuel OxySensor --------- Older A2s with Non heated sensors: 30k miles Newer A2s with heated sensors: 60k miles Do NOT neglect this. You will NOT be saving money because if the sensor goes bad it will quickly take your catalytic converter with it. And those are EXPENSIVE! See the archives for info on how to check the Oxy Sensor. Plugs ----- Newer A2s: Every 30 k miles I often check them (gap) and clean them every 15k miles Rotor & Cap ----------- Qs: When should the VR6 (Ed: & most other cars) distributor and rotor be replaced? As: [ND] Around 60K for the cap and rotor. Check them at 30-45k Alternator Brushes ------------------ They wear out leading to inadequate batteru charge. Check periodically, replace if shorter than 5 mm. Transmission Fluid ------------------ Synthetic Fluid: replace every 80k miles with synthetic oil, see archives ATF: every 15k miles - 30k miles max. CVJoints & Bearings ------------------- Check boots often. Repack: Qs: When would you recommend repacking the rear wheel bearings on Corrados (Ed: & most other cars)? How about the CVJs? As: Bearings-80k or when you do a rear brake job and have the rotors pulled. CVs 80-100k or if a boot rips. Coolant ------- Every two years or when it turns murky Brake Fluid ----------- Renew every two years Purge every year Drive Belt ---------- 8V: 100 k miles, but safer at 75k miles 16V/A1 Euro GTI: 50 k miles Belts ----- Every 60 k miles. Put old ones in trunk. Coolant hoses ------------- Unclear, but they seem to last about 100-200 k miles. If you see one go, replace them all because you'll never remember which was changed when. TIRES/RIMS/SUSPENSION ===================== NOTE: Most tire/rim/suspension questions have been moved to the performance FAQ. The reason for this is that buying stock tires/rims/shocks is often more expensive than buying a better product. Q: How do I know whether my shocks are worn out? A: Shocks either lose their damping capability or freeze up. The result is that your car may not handle well (or safely). When you bounce the front of the car, a good set of shocks will stop the motion in less than one cycle: Bounce the car couple times, let go, and it should go up and a small amount down and then STOP. Just look at your old mechanics/physics books for damped and undamped impulse response of a spring and damper combination. Test for seizing: you press down, and it stays down. Note that Sport Shocks may be so stiff that it will barely move when you press down. Note also that this failure mode occurs mostly on A1 cars which put too much side loads on shocks. I [Jan] went thru several virtually indestructible Bilstein sport shocks due to this failure. Hold on that receipt for life time warrantee!!!! Also suspect your shock if you hear an excessive amount of swishing.<NOISE> That's cavitation (local boiling of oil) which usually accelerates wear. "Gas" shocks contain a chamber of pressurized gas that keeps the oil under pressure and prevents cavitation, increasing damping capabilities and reducing wear. For the front "shocks" you have two choices for replacement: You can either buy an entirely new strut (which is the whole assembly, usually sold in combination with springs) or replace the shock insert in your existing strut (cheaper, more work). Most of the time you replace the insert. The rear shocks are replaced as a whole, and fairly easy to do yourself. Note that the fronts tend to wear out long before the rears. Note, if you replace the front shocks you may want to consider replacing the upper strut bearings. Q: How do I know upper strut bearings are worn? A: Those are the black rubber and brass metal that stick out of your shock towers. They fail in two ways: - Rubber gets stressed out: They'll stick more than ~1.5 cm above the shock towers - Metal bushing worn: Steering will feel loose, you may hear a clunking noise at times. <NOISE> They are not that expensive (ca 25US$), and easy to do once you get the strut out of the car. (Mark Shaw) says something similar: If I can get the tips of my fingers between the top plate and the housing with the vehicle standing on a level surface, then the strut bearing has seen enough abuse. This was passed on to me by a friend who works at the VW Proving Grounds south of Phoenix. He also recommends that you use the ones with the "A" suffix on the part number ([jan] note many aftermarket places sell heavy duty versions of these, probably those with an "A") I do not change them unless the strut cartridges are also weak. Experience has shown me that in all cases strut bearings should be replaced when the strut cartridges are replaced. Note also that (Norm Heckman): A drop of 3/4" was given as a limit for auto safety inspection rejection in N.Y. state. (drop = after you jack up the car). Q: What is the proper tire inflation for my car? Should I use the number printed on the side of the car? A: Probably the best tire pressure to follow for average driving is the one printed on the door jamb, or listed in your manual of the car...at least it's a good starting point. When the tires are new, measure the profile depth on the sides and in the center of the tire, for all tires. Measure again after you have driven couple thousand miles/kms. The wear should be more or less even accross the entire tire width, with a bit more wear on the front than the rear tires (FWD cars!). This naturally assumes that your alignment is correct. If you find that the centers of the tires are wearing more, decrease pressure, if you find they are wearing less, increase pressure (radial tires, bias plies behave differently). If you find that the side of the tires are wearing uneven (or see other oddities), you may need an alignment. (See also the alignment archives on this). Generally if you load up your car with alot of weight, it's recommended to increase your tire pressures. Similarly, if you are planning to drive at high speeds for a longer period of time, increase the pressure. This will reduce tire flex, and hence will produce less heat build up. Also keep in mind that underinflation is one of the worst things you can do to a tire for that very reason. Higher tire pressures are also recommended to reduce the chance of rim damage with softer rims (e.g., 1990 Corrados, some 16V rims). The number printed on the side of the tire is merely the maximum inflation pressure for that tire, and is not meant to indicate the inflation pressure for your car. For performance driving see the performance faq. Q: What shocks are interchangeable between cars? A: Here is a list of what is interchangable between the various VW models in the strut-shock area. [From ND BBS] A1 Models = 75-88 Scirocco 75-84 Rabbit (Golf 1) 80-92 Cabrio 80-83 Pickup (front only) 80-84 Jetta 1 know as A1 suspension design most US models use internal threaded struts ( can swap for external) all other use the same inserts and strut bearings Springs vary according to models A2 Models 85-92 Golf and Jetta 2 93- Golf and Jetta 3 slight mods needed to A3 to use A2 struts as all A3 and some late A2 have sealed (throw away) struts housings. Springs vary Others Corrado G60 models can use A2 shocks in the rear but front are same dimensions but use a larger shaft and are designed for higher weight load. Strut housings are similar Strut bearings look the same But I believe the Corrado ones are stronger. We now offer HD strut bearings (VR6 Golf) for all the A2 style Q: What do all those numbers mean on my tire. A: See the rec.autos FAQs, the tire FAQ, and also the VW Performance FAQ for size info. For the other number: The last 3 numbers on the DOT code is the build date: 113 means the tire was made in the 11th week of 1993, or 015 = 1st week of 1995. BODY/INTERIOR ============= Q: My door sags, how can I straighten it? A: [From an old WolfSport catalog:] Place a 15 mm socket between the arm and foot of the lower hinge (to the outside of the hinge anchor bolt). You'll have to almost close the door to get & keep it in place. Now gently! exert some force on the door & the check alignment. [From Jim Macklow] I've had success with my wife's Rabbit by doing the following: Open door, then jack up door with floor jack, making sure the door is closed as far as possible. Q: How do I eliminate all the rattles, squeaks and buzzes in my car? <NOISE> A: VWs are unfortunately well known for this. Part of the cause is the rather stiff suspension and hard motor mounts that just rattles the car apart. Often the fix is easy once you find the cause. The following are a few tricks that I have used over the year that will help eliminate a good deal of them. Tip: Start with cleaning the inside and outside of the car, and remove all the coins and pens stuck in the seat rails. Then take a screw/nut driver and fasten all accessible interior screws and bolts. If a particular screw/bolt loosens frequently, use Loctite (tm). The bolt that holds the seat back adjustment knob is notorious for loosening and rattling. Have someone drive around while you go around and isolate where all the noise comes from. Another weird one that helps with some rattles and groans is to install a lower stress bar on A-1 cars that do not have one, and apparently an upper shock tower stress bar on all others (haven't tried this yet, but Aaron @ APS claims that it helps surprisingly well). Q: Something in my dash rattles? <NOISE> A: That's probably the most common and most annoying place for it to happen. VWs have actually improved over the years and so we can learn from their attempts to reduce rattles. Most of the rattles are caused by loose wires and components touching the vent tubes or other solid material. VW often uses electric tape to hold things together, but over time the tape loosens and falls off. What you need to do is get a bunch of tie wraps, bundle everything back, get some "nerf foam" or sheets of black felt and position it between the wires, vents and other stuff. Using felt or foam between interior vinyl covered body panels also helps eliminate a lot of squeaks there. (Note that Corrados now have strips of black felt glued to the back of virtually all plastic panels). Another type of dash squeak is caused by plastic components rubbing against each other. Usually a dose of ClearGuard will help eliminate that but if you have the space try glueing some felt between the two. A tip from (Tim Hogard): Tighten the the two nuts that hold the dash in that are on the engine side of the firewall. On Ventos (TAY Chek Hee): Secure the cross member beam behind the glove box with a fastener. Q: My doors/hatch/vinyl squeak over bumpy roads, especially when cold? <NOISE> A: "Lubricate" the door seals with Talcum powder or ClearGuard. "Lubricate" the rest with ClearGuard or Silicone spray. You may also want to adjust the doors so they close better by first loosening the strike pin and moving it either in or out. The rear hatch lock can also be moved a bit, but it's easier to adjust those black knobs on either side of the hatch. They screw in and out. Q: My suspension groans when I go over a speed bump/other bumps? <NOISE> A: Check for squeaky muffler hangers, and sway bar bushing! Squeeky Muffler hangers sounds like: eee-eee-eee as you drive along. Sway bar bushings squeek when you go over a bump slowly, e.g., a speed bump. It sounds like: eeee--aaaa, eeee-aaaa. Start with Si-spray. It usually cures the noise temporarily, but at least you will be able to identify where the noise is coming from. For a more permanent sway-bar bushing noise solution, especially if you have an aftermarket sway bar with polyurethane bushings: try the following: 1) Check the alignment of all the components. 2) Relube the bushings with a Silicone-Teflon grease. APS's sway bars now come with this grease and it works fairly well. 3) Here is a trick that I have not tried as yet: Score the bushings with coarse sand paper or fine saw. This will leave little indents where the grease can settle rather than squeezed out when you reassemble the bushings. The same tricks can be used for other rubber based suspension components (e.g., A-arm bushings). Q: Something in my door rattles? <NOISE> A: First make sure it's not a screw which is loose (lots hidden away). If that's not the case then take the door panel off and check all the screws inside. Tighten, use Loctite, possibly use foam and felt to prevent components from banging against each other. Some recommend installing a sound deadening material such as Dynamat (tm). Before putting the door panel back, you may want to use some foam strips (like the window air seals) to provide some spacing for the snaps. While you are at it, clean the drain holes and lube the lock & window mechanism. Q: How should I take care of my car's exterior? What products to use? A: Wash on a regular basis. First, hose down car, don't aim at locks, gas cap, etc. Also hose down the radiator & underside of the car. Use one of the available car wash products in a bucket & sponge down car. (All this to be done in the shade). I have tried several types of shampoo, like the RainDance, dislike the Meguire's shampoo, others like Blue Coral. Other suggestions are welcome. Rinse sponge often to avoid scratching the paint. Generally work from cleanest areas (roof) to dirtiest (front sides) of car. Avoid rubbing too hard as you may scratch the surface. Keep car wet (on a dry day in CA, the car dries almost instantly leaving water marks). Hose down soap, and with a fresh bucket of water and a chamois or a synthetic chamois, dry car. Again, rinse the rag as often as you can. Wax at least twice a year, with a good brand of wax. Wax only after the car has been thoroughly washed. Follow the directions of the product and either use clean rags or cotton wool to apply wax. Why wax? It puts a protective layer over your paint, and replenishes lost oils. Hard waxes (e.g., Carnuba based waxes) tend to last longer but require a lot of work. [Note: Latest word on this is that these waxes contain hardly any Carnuba any more] See what the local body shop uses (the one I visit use Meguire's professional line of products, but it's by no means the only wax. I like it as well (Hi Tech Yellow Wax #26), used to use RainDance wax but stopped because it is rumored to be too abrasive, hated Nu-Finish. The ultimate is Zymol, 800-999-5563, but it costs a lot! Others have had good results with Mother's.) Wax horizontal surfaces more frequently (hood, roof). If rain does not bead up and slide off the car, it's time to rewax. Polish your car sparingly, e.g., if you want to get rid of swirls, scratches or an oxidized layer of paint. Polishes contain fine grit and therefore are rather abrasive. You can get polishes with different grades of grit #2, e.g., see Meguire's line of polishers: Swirl Remover #9 (to be used last), Fine Cut Cleaner #2 (leaves a dull finish, removes small scratches), etc. The coarsest version of a polish is a rubbing compound. It will not leave a shine, and works just like a piece of sand paper. It is mainly used to even out portions that were repainted. Note that you can buy 1000, 1500 and 2000 grit sandpaper which in some cases is actually finer than some rubbing compounds. They may come in handy when you are trying to smooth a repainted scratch. Note that many "waxes" contain both detergents and polishing compounds. Some work quite well (e.g., DuPont's Rain Dance) but some find it too abrasive for frequent use. That's why it's better to use non-abrasive waxes, and only polish when you need it. Glazing compounds are a bit like wax: they replenish lost chemicals in the paint, but the protective layer they provide does not last very long (e.g., Meguire's Show Car Glaze #7). For a deep shine I often first use a glaze then a carnuba wax. I have tried some of the supposed once a year hi-tech "coverings" but was rather underwhelmed by the result. To get the wax off the black trim, use some detergent or Simple Green & a toothbrush. Then apply a vinyl/rubber conditioner on all rubber components. It'll slow the ageing process a bit and restore the color of the component (see below for product listing). To get the rims clean is a different matter, especially the alloy rims. VW's product is supposedly quite good, I would avoid most others as they contain extremely caustic (i.e., HF) acids. I haven't found the "best" formula as yet... I use Simple Green, dishwashing detergent and some polishing compound. To make your life easier, wax your rims. It'll also reduce pitting (which is caused by a galvanic action between the hot brake metal particles and your alloy). BTW, BBS rims are nice but a chore to clean. On the tires use one of the rubber/vinyl conditioner or one of products made specifically made for tires. They are usually sold in cans (Tire Shine), but I find it hard not to overspray all over the place (& that stuff leaves marks on the floor). To get windows real clean, wash with a strong detergent, perhaps followed by some alcohol. Then use Windex or similar product and dry most with rag/chamois and follow with a piece of newspaper paper. Works amazingly well. A product like Rain-X also cleans the windows real well as a side effect. Some have complained that Rain-X leaves a hazy film (can be buffed out with a *very* clean rag). Rain-X ("invisible windshield wipers") work quite well on some windshields but only last a couple 1000 kms, or about a month and a half. Inside the car I just use some light detergent and water to clean things. For the vinyl dash and other vinyl interior components I now use (again) Meguire's #40 spray. It's similar in function to products like Clear Guard and Armor All except it's not so greasy, slippery and smells better. Carpets and seats you just vacuum. It's not a bad idea to treat cloth seats and carpets with protective products like Scotch Guard. This is easy to do yourself and often sold at an enormous cost with new cars. Q: What are the best vinyl/rubber cleaners/enhancers/replenishers? A: Armor All was one of the first widely available products that would make greyed plastic and rubber components black again. However, it has now fallen in disfavor because of its drying out effect on rubber components causing dry rot when the these components stop receiving regular applications. I have used the stuff for over 7 years without the noted cracking and rot, but I may have been lucky and I usually do not hang on to my tires all that long ;-> Currently recommended products: Clear Guard, Black Again, Meguiar #42, Harly Tire-Nu or Lexol Vinylex. Others have reported favorable (better) results with Turtle Wax's Black Chrome product for black bumpers and Westley's Black Magic. Here is a writeup sent to me by JBratek@aol.com from Larry Reynolds of Car Care Specialties, Inc, Saddle Brook, NJ, 201-796-8300, firstname.lastname@example.org during a recent PCA workshop covering concour tips for Porsche owners: There are two main degrading agents that attack tires. They are UV light waves and ozone. Both of these attack the long hydrocarbon chains of the rubber and by breaking these bonds, shorten the molecules with resulting loss of elasticity and other problems. Tire manufacturers add two primary sacraficial protectants to the rubber. To protect against UV, they add carbon black. This is why tires don't come in designer colors to match your paint. The carbon black will turn white/gray as it absorbs the UV and dissipates the energy as heat. Thus the basis of rubber parts turning gray as they age. To protect against ozone, tire manufacturers add a wax-based sacraficial protectant. The ozone attacks the wax and depletes it. As the tire rolls, additional wax is forced to the surface of the tire. This is referred to as "blooming". This blooming refreshes the surface wax protectant. A tire that has not been flexed will have the wax depleted by the ozone and thus begin to degrade and suffer "dry rot". The silicone oil in Armour All et Al may actually dissolve the wax and be the cause of premature tire sidewall cracking/failure. In conclusion, any tire dressing should contain a UV protectant to bolster the efforts of the carbon black and not contain any silicone. Q: How do I clean my rims and get rid of that nasty brake dust? A: As far as I know, the jury is still out on this one. Here are a couple of suggestions: - The hard way: toothbrush, soap, simple green, lost of time, then wax - High pressure power washer (rumored to be too harsh) - Chemical products: Be very careful with these as some contain extremely harsh chemicals (Hydrogen Fluoride compounds) causing eventual discoloration or paint peeling from the plastic parts. Some chemicals that do seem safer are (I have no personal experience): o Meguires Mag wheel cleaner (approved and tested by BBS) o P21S wheel cleaner (approved by Porsche, BMW & M-B) Others that work, but I have no idea how harsh they are: Westley's Wheel Magic, ArmorAll Quicksilver, Busch Wheel Cleaner, Turtle Wax Wheel Cleaner for Mag Wheels Q: How do I touch up little nicks and chips? A: Supplied by (christopher.j.hapeman): Pat Goss of Motorweek did a spot on this some time back, there are many variations to this scheme, but the all follow the same guidelines [Jan]: Clean off the immediate area with rubbing alcohol. If there is rust in the chip, glue a small piece of fine sandpaper to a pencil eraser and rotate this in the chip until all of the rust is sanded off. [Jan: I just fold either 220 or 400 grit sand paper and use the edge to scrub the rust off. If I see pitting, I use Naval Jelly (Phosphoric Acid) to reduce the remaining rust] I think that he used a primer first and then the touch-up paint but I don't recall that well. [Jan: Primer is a good idea because it helps evening out the pit that you created. I use Galvanizing primer, sold under different brands such as Rustoleum. It's more rust resistant. After it dries I use 400 or higher grid sandpaper to level the primer out]. He used the end of a match (matchbook type (cardboard)) to apply the paint because the brush was usually too clumsy. [Jan: Use what ever makes sense. QTips, small brushes, the end of a bamboo BBQ squewer. For larger areas, I use a spray can directly, after covering the stuff I don't want to paint.] Fill the chip as much as possible letting the paint dry between coats until it is flush with the old paint. Let it all dry thoroughly and then polish the car (area). Q: How does paintless dent removal work? A: From Larry Keys: They're really, hush, hush, about it. They only describe their method as "the process". I'm almost certain that no magnets or hammers are used, since the paint is perfect and so is the smoothness of the metal. Someone posted on r.a.driving, that the process is actually an old one that's been around since the 50`s. Anyway, he went on to say that this process is used on airplanes to remove hail dents. The poster said that the metal skin of the plane was allowed to heat-up, or was heated, then dry-ice was applied to the area. Something to do with the expanding and contracting properties of metals? Jan: I had them take out a couple dents in my car, and all they did (in my case) is use a set of blunt tools to massage the dents of the inside panels out. Q: I need to repaint part of my car. What should I look for in a body shop? A: Probably the best you can do is ask several VW dealers where they send their cars for warrantee work (and ask them why). Also some of the more popular magazines will have recommendations but they are usually for the CA area. The first thing I look for is the type of paint they use. VWs are painted with a Urethane Paint by Hoechst or Glazurit, which is about as high quality as you can get [BMW & M-B use the same type]. I usually try to stick close to the factory brand of paint because the pigment formulation is at least similar eventhough the solvents are not (the body shop cannot bake the entire car as the factory does). Paint fades, but having roughly the same pigment formulation will allow the repainted parts fade in roughly the same way. All body shops have to mix the paint to match your color, so you will not find any containers that say Alpine Weiss L90E and expect it to match. VW buys paint in bulk, and each batch differs slightly in color eventhough it may have the same color code. Q: How do I fix rubber components such a bumpers and spoilers? A: 3M manufactures a material called "Flexible Parts Repair Material". It is a 2-part putty that is essentially a rubber Bondo. I [Craig] have used it several times and am quite happy with it. I believe that the kit costs about $15.00 at your local body shop supply store. I [Jan] have used Shoe Goo at times to fix portion of my chin spoiler. Works rather well. Q: I cracked my windshield, what should I do? A: If the crack is small (<2 cm in diameter) and either out of your line of site or away from the wipers, you could have it filled with an epoxy compound. Some have reported good luck with this, I have not been very lucky. If the windshield starts cracking, you could try to drill a hole to stop the crack with a tungsten carbide drill bit, bit in all likelyhood it's not going to do much good. You still need a new windshield. I personally do not like the majority of aftermarket windshields. They are either weaker (crack much quicker), show distortions, introduce more wind noise, cause water leakage and therefore I usually get the windshield at VW or order the OEM windshield (Securit). They are more but I think they work better and seem to hold up better to stone chips. You may have to fight it with your insurance co though. I tell them that the aftermarket windshields are not E2 certified and therefore do not meet OEM specs. The windshield on older VWs are just held in place with the rubber molding, while the newer VWs have bonded windshields with a substantial higher installation cost. As always, you should replace *ALL* old seals when replacing a windshield, it's worth the extra cost to avoid leaks and rust. Look for a reputable place to install the windshield because in the newer cars the windshield is part of the structural integrity of the car. Some of the mass market and cheaper place DO NOT BOND THE WINDSHIELD ADEQUATELY. All they use is Butyl Tape, which stays soft and will pop out the windshield in the event of a roll-over. Windshields Of America lost a multimillion dollar law suit in Colorado because of this (I mention them because I am EXTREMELY dissatisfied with them as well: It took them 4 tries to get it right, and I am not even sure they used anything but butyl tape). According to the place I now go to (I loose one windshield every couple years) recommends P255FC Urethane for bonding the windshield. It becomes very rigid and you cannot prick it with a pin after it cures, while butil tapes feels soft and goo-y. Q: My seat material has ripped, how do I fix it? This is mostly dedicated to those with 85-87 GTIs. :-< A: Excerpts from the group: My 87 GTI 16V needed replacement 3 times. The first two were under warranty, the third time I decided on the DIY route. I checked the re-uphostery option, but was too much of an unknown result. I decided to buy the dealer part and do it myself. Took the seat out and removed the old bolster. As it turned out, there was a sharp weld bead right under where the rip always started! A few wraps of ye ole duct tape fixed that. I then re-installed the new bolster cover over the old foam bolster itself. This was a pain in the ass, because there are these sharp upholsterer's clips you have to re-bend into place (there may be a tool to ease this, but I used pliers). The whole thing took a couple of hours. Anyway, it held up after that. I'm convinced it was that sharp weld in the seat frame that caused it, and if you have a grinder you may want to grid it down to smooth it for extra insurance. Ok, here's two different versions of fixit solutions: #1 find a GTI with the same seats and get the passenger's seat $35 around my parts for a GOOD one with NO TEARS or Wear. Then disassemble it and re-cover your driver's seat with its parts. it's a little more complicated than just taking one out and swapping the other in as things like the seat belt and slider rails aren't exactly the same. (they are Really close, but not the same when you consider things like the seat belt mount point...) #2 Take the entire seat apart and recover it in a BETTER material. I've been running my butt across a material called Sunbrella (designed for use as boat cushion/boat top material). At first, it didn't seem as comfy as the original, but then again the other original wore out and has since been covered to match. Mine are done in black which ought to absorb as much of the scorching South Florida sun as anything, yet they are never hot like vinyl even when I have the glass sunroof removed at noon. I would hate to think what an upholstery shop would have charged to do the work my mom did re-covering my 2 fromt seats because this fabric is VERY un forgiving when you start stretching it over the frame. There were a few stitches that mom had to dismantle and re-sew to get to fit just right, but everyone who looks into my interior comments on my seats. (the rear seat is still done in the original fabric which is now starting to show its age 12+ years) Q: How do I treat my leather interior? A: I have so far not found any "miracle" solution. A variety of suggestions however exist: - Vacuum all the dust and sand from the seam (it causes the seams to tear) - Moist rag for occasional cleansing - Meguire's leather treatment - Saddle Soap and Mink Oil - Lexol Cleaner and Conditioner Q: How do I fix damaged undercoating? A: From JL Foster: According to VW: "Any detected damage to the undercoating should be repaired. Oil based protective sprays must not be applied. Only tar or wax based anticorrosion protectors are compatible with the factory applied undercoating." VW sells the product, but I have also found after market products in Europe by 3M that also meet this requirement. Note that VW "Sealwax" (AKR 321 M15 4) or 3M Rustfighter-I is the stuff they spray inside the cavities. MISCELLANEA =========== Q: When my Corrado spoiler retracts, it squeaks. What do I do? <NOISE> A: VW recommends to "Lubricate" the two "stalks" with Talcum or Graphite powder after thoroughly cleaning them. Note that baby powder used to be talcum, but because of the naturally occurring asbestos with talcum (I know, we are all doomed), baby powder sometimes contains corn starch instead. Note: Silicon spray is rumored to dry out rubber and is not recommended. *However* I have been using 100% Si spray and so far it's the only product that has worked the longest. In addition, I found that talcum powder tended to "bunch" up. (Note, that some Si sprays contain pertoleum destilates...you do not want that). You also DEFINITELY DO NOT want to use any grease, WD-40, Tri-Flo, etc. This stuff is incompatible with the rubber seals. Q: Are those ventilation filters sold by APS any good? A: They are pure CRAP!!! They are too restrictive according to Roc Goolen. [If you really want to filter your air, go to a hardware store, buy a furnace filter for a couple $$ and rig it up somehow. Jan...later I tried that, and wouldn't you know, that too restricted the airflow! At least I only spent .40 US$ finding this out.] Note that the filters that APS used to sell were made by Climismann (sp?); they are now selling units made by Bosch and make the claim that they "work much better." [Hmmmmm.... Ed.] >>>> SUGGESTIONS/COMMENTS/CORRECTIONS? send e-mail to above address Contributors (not exhaustive): ------------------------------ Note: Quoted contributions imply possible conflicting pieces of advise with other contributors. email@example.com (Jeffrey M. Mayzurk) firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com (Mark Shaw) firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert J. Dilmore) email@example.com (Tom Guptill) rgolen@UMASSD.EDU (Ric Golen) firstname.lastname@example.org (Craig Gary) email@example.com (Don T. Borowski) firstname.lastname@example.org (\tom haapanen) email@example.com (Prateek Dwivedi) firstname.lastname@example.org (ANdy) email@example.com (Eric Johnson) firstname.lastname@example.org (Dan Simoes) email@example.com (Robert J. 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