Tag Archive for: Cabriolet

VW cabby with top removed

Hi everyone. Today I want to give you all an update about what has been going on with the Cabby, with the blog, and things here in general. It has been a busy busy spring. Even though the blog updates have been low, the work level has been really high.

At the shop
Things at the shop are almost always interesting. Remember a while back we had hired 3 new guys. A guy right out of school, a guy with some general experience, and a Mercedes Benz master tech. The MB tech got put on my team. Well a few weeks ago he called in sick. Then the next day, just didn’t show up. I had a feeling that he was going to quite, but didn’t really expect it to happen like that.

We had also hired an experienced VW service advisor. Well, his wife took a job out of state, so he just up and quite too. Just when we think things are on the right track at the dealer, we lose 2 guys. This is just part of the business.

There is a down side for me. It puts me behind on much of the shop duties I have. I had to bring our scan tools home just to have time to up date them. It also means that most nights I am working late. That also puts me behind on my stuff at home.

Cabby Update
Most of what I am doing now with the cabby is little VW cabby with top removedthings. The interior is most of the way back together. I completely removed the top and the rear windows. I must say that I am thrilled with how it looks I have a few ideas to give it a more finished look.

The next part of the project is getting the stereo worked out. I hooked up the radio that was installed in the car. Only 1 speaker works. That doesn’t cut it for any car, but it’s pointless in a convertible. The challenge is building a great sound system, but having it very stealth.

I posted a few weeks ago about breaking a bunch of tools in one day. Among the broken tools was the tool I use most often, my Makita impact driver. After a bunch of back and forth with a repair place, and Matkita, I have a replacement gun on the way. They stepped it up big time and took care of it.

I also purchased a 1/2 impact wrench from Kobalt. I will have a full review soon. I want to get some more time with it first. I will say that I like it, and it has a ton of power. I don’t think it would replace an air impact.

I have also picked up a few other tools, an engine compression gauge, and a TDI timing kit. I also picked up a few things to try my hand at fiberglass work. This is something I have never done, but I think it is a great skill to have.

I have also been planning my garage remodel. Once electrical is done, it’s game time. You guys do not want to miss how cool this will be.

I don’t talk much about our homestead much here. It has little to do Growing Hops on a Homesteadwith cars. If you guys are in interested in that, I can talk about it more. Or you can check out NChomesteading.com. My wife does the updating there.

Spring time is full throttle here. We have planted 10 trees this past weekend. I also transplanted about 20 hop cuttings. Last year I had some success, but the percentage was low. This year I am doing more cuttings and should get better results. We also picked up a really awesome apple tree. This tree has 5 different apple varieties on it. How cool is it to have 1 tree that produces 5 different apples.

I had also taken a few hop rhizomes out on to the property and did some wild planting. I went to see them last night and found they are doing awesome! They are bigger than the ones close to the house.

MK1 VR6 Engine swap

wpid-IMG_20131119_132559.jpgHappy Tuesday everyone. Today I wanted to update you guys on the progress of the Cabby. There are a ton of you that have been following the progress of this build from day one. I really appreciate that. It has been a long journey over the last year and a half. If you are a newer reader, you travel back and check out the cabby before we started the build.

Where the project is now.
The Cabby is sitting in the garage as I type this. The car ran and drove great. That is until the last time I drove it. I picked the car up from work on Thanksgiving. She made it almost all the way home. I hit the throttle, and started to smell raw fuel. I pulled over to find that the car was pouring fuel on the ground. It looks like a fuel line swelled and started leaking. It should be a simple repair. I am hoping to get that fixed this weekend.

What is left to finish?
The Vr6 is in and runs really well. It is always stressful rebuilding an engine, then having it sit for 6 months before starting it. So I am happy she runs. There are still a ton of things that need to be finished.

  • Interior
    The interior is coming along, just a little slow. If you remember, I picked up a 1984 Cabby a few months ago. I used most that that interior in the chalk cabby. I still have to install the rear seats, door panels, and small parts of the dash. It is about a days worth of work.
  • Exterior
    I don’t even know where to start. For now, I think she is going to stay the way she is. What do you guys think? Post up any ideas in the comments.
  • Electrical
    So far, everything seems to work well. I have some lights to hook up. I also plan to control the headlights with relays. This will help to brighten up the lights. I have also considered making the inner lights on the front driving lights instead of high beams.
  • Engine
    While the engine runs great, there is still a number of things that need to be finished. Some of the wiring harness needs to be trimmed up and wrapped. I also need to have an Oxygen sensor port welded in the exhaust. I also want to change the radiator. I used a 1991 Passat 16v rad. I think I am going to swap it for a VR6 rad. It seems like it will fit better. I am sure there are other things that need to be cleaned up. We will cross that bridge when we get there.

MK1 VR6 Engine swap

Plans for the future
To be honest, I have not given a ton of thought here. For me, I need to focus on the next hurdle. It is easy to get overwhelmed looking too far ahead. Once the car is back together, that is where things get interesting. Reliability is my main focus. I want to be able to take a 4 hour road trip and not worry about getting there. I hope by spring it will get there. There are also a few random things I am thinking about. What do you guys think about this?

  • Having the car wrapped. It would be cheaper and easier than paint
  • Removing the top and a Roadster style ride
  • Add some support to stiffen the car up

Well, that is pretty much where she sits. I am also working on a guide to some of the things I did with the engine swap, that might be a little different. If you are working on this swap, let me know. I will be  more than happy to help if I can.

There have been several folks that have helped me during this build. They have supplied parts, advice, and other cool stuff. This is in no particular order
EURO-WISE ~ VR6 install kit, exhaust, front brace(just ordered that) Everyone there is awesome!
German Auto Parts ~  maintenance parts, I HIGHLY recommend these guys. Tel Justin I sent ya
Black Forest Ind. ~ JOM coil overs.
Anything Auto ~ K&N air filter
42 Draft Design ~ Intake
T-Hoff ~ They did the machine work on the engine
Nothing Leaves Stock

One more thing. I shared this on the Facebook page, but I wanted to post it here. Most of you know that I am a big craft beer fan. There is a new brewery that is opening up in Rural NC. They started a Kickstarter to get the final funding to open the doors. Haw Rives Ales Kickstarter. If you can help them out, that would be awesome. If you do, let me know. I got something extra for you. Just contact me.


MK1 Volkswagen Cabriolet
MK1 Volkswagen Cabriolet

Single round headlights, and the top down 🙂

On Monday the Humble Mechanic welcomed a new VW to the family. She is a 1984 Volkswagen Cabriolet. I picked this car up from a really nice guy on Craigslist. He bought the Cabriolet for his daughter. After owning if for a short time, the Cabby started to develop some drivability issues. After a taking it to a mechanic that was not very familiar with VWs, he decided to cut his loses and sell it.

I picked this Cabby up for $700. It is a little more than I typically spend on a car that does not run. The interior is in really good condition, so I stepped up on price. MY initial intent was to strip the interior out, and use it for Project Luv-A-Dub. It would be the easiest way to complete the interior. Plus have some random extra parts.

Once I got the car home, I started to think that maybe gutting it was not the best choice. She looks pretty good, but just doesn’t run right. I don’t think that swapping the VR into the black Cabby is on the table right now, but you never know 😉 For right now, I think I am going to work on getting her running properly. My gut says that the pump is the fuel tank is the main issue. That is just a feeling I have. I need to dive deeper into the diagnosis.

Before I could post this post, my wife started talking about the car. I think that she is really starting to dig the look of the early MK1. So I guess that leaves me fixing this car up for my wife. Fellas, any time your gal is interested in your projects, you better give them exactly what they want. And ladies, the same goes for you.



MK1 VR6 Transmission mount

I thought I would shot a quick review video to follow up the blog post I did about the Mk1 Vr6 conversion kit from Eurowise. You can read that post here. This kit is designed as a bolt in solution for installing a VR6 engine into a Mk1 Volkswagen.

Thank you for watching. You can subscribe to all the videos on YouTube by clicking the icon on the right.

MK1 VR6 engine mount

We are long overdue for a Luv-A-Dub update. I made the trip to Charlotte, NC this past weekend. The reason I went out to Charlotte was to pick up the MK1 VR6 conversion kit from Eurowise. They are a great shop that has built a kit for the exact engine swap that I am doing.

The Engine
A while back, I had the cylinder head cleaned and worked. Last week I sent the engine block to the machine shop. They did a great job cleaning it, and honing the cylinder bores. When it comes back, it will be ready for paint.

After I paint the engine block, the rebuild will start. I have a few more odds and ends I need to get. I found that the water pump was missing a fin, so that will need to be replaced. I also think that I will replace the oil cooler. They are common to fail. When they fail, oil gets pumped into the coolant. It makes a mess, and is a pain to clean. There are also some bolts that will need to be replaced.

The Interior
I spent the better part of last summer working the interior. Removing all the stickers and glue totally got the best of me. After spending hours messing around, I needed a break. That is when I moved to working on the engine. The really has not been any progress on the interior since then.

The Exterior
This is the one place where I have not done any work. The outside sits the same way that it did when I bought her about a year ago. I am still not sure how the exterior of the car will turn out.

MK1 VR6 engine mount

Right side engine mount, complete with Eurowise logo

The Conversion Kit
I will be doing a video review of the kit. Until that is done, here are some of my thoughts on the kit. They have several “stages” of the conversion kit. From the basic engine mounts and axles to the kit that will handle a highly tuned VR6. They even make exhausts for that application.

The mounts come as bare metal. The welds are clean and solid. Even if you are not a car fan, you can look at the parts and tell these parts a well crafted. This kit came with all the bolts that are needed to install the mounts, and axles. The only bad thing is, they were out of axles. The parts fella said they had sold 10 kits recently. But in true Eurowise style, they are shipping the axles to me at no charge.

That sums up where we are at in the Luv-A-Dub build. Here are some pictures from the trip, and of the conversion kit.

Volkswagen Cabriolet VR6 engine

Hi folks, I hope that you all had a great weekend. I was doing some digging though the site and realized that I have not updated the Luv-A-Dub project in almost 2 months. I see the car and the parts everyday, so it is always on my mind. I hate that I haven’t updated in so long.

Volkswagen Cabriolet Luv A Dub MK1

This is what the Cabby looked like "pre art"

A quick recap
For those of you that are new to the site, I am redoing a 1988 Volkswagen Cabriolet. I almost want to call it restoring, but it sounds weird to me. I picked up the car from my work. They donated it to a local charity. The charity did an “art” project to the car. As you can see it is a unique looking car.

I started with the interior, trying to strip the decorations on it. All while trying to plan out the build. I needed a break from the interior work. Shockingly, hours of peeling stickers can drive you insane. I decided to focus on the power plant.

I wanted to do a 1.8t swap initially. That would be a 4cyl turbo charged 1988 Cabriolet, pretty sweet in my mind. I stumbled into a 1998 Jetta with a VR6 for really cheap. $460 for the entire car. Unfortunately, the guy I bought it from didn’t know the difference between a manual transmission, and an automatic transmission. I was able to find a better engine and a manual transmission for $400. Now I have plenty of extra parts for the engine. I like having back ups.

Where we are now
As of right now, the car is basically in storage. I have not done much of anything with the car. My main focus has been on the engine. Last week I sent the cylinder head off the the machine shop. It got a good cleaning, the valve seals, and guides replaced, and the mating surface refinished. All that cost me $350. They did a really good job on it.

VR6 timing chain kit

I also just placed a big order from GermanAutoParts.com. They had some of the best pricing I could find. Here is a list of the parts that I just bought.

  • Head gasket kit.
    This will be all the gaskets I need to put the cylinder head back on the engine. I opted for the better metal head gasket instead of the fiber(read paper) one that came on the car.
  • Head bolt set
    The bolts that hold the cylinder head to the block are torque to yield. That means they stretch when you torque them. Due to that, they must be replaced every time.
  • Engine block gasket set
    This is all the gaskets for the lower part of the engine. The oil pan, oil cooler, oil filter housing and rear main seal.
  • Timing chain kit
    The VR6 is a chain, not belt, driven engine. Not replacing the timing chains is about the dumbest thing that I could have done. This is really a no brainer
  • Thermostat housing kit
    This is the most common failing point of the VR6. I got the entire kit. There will be no coolant leaks on this VR

Don’t worry if you are not sure what some of these parts are. I will be doing posts and videos about all of them. I also ordered some brake parts and some suspension bushings. I am not going to lie, I am super excited about getting these parts.

Where we go from here
The engine rebuild will go fast. At some point this fall/winter, I will make the trip out to Charlotte, NC and visit the guys at Eurowise. They are the company that makes the kit to install the VR6 into the Cabby. Plus I can hit some great NC craft breweries.

We still have a lot of work left to do. The install process will take some time for sure. Also making the wiring harness will be a project in itself. I am really looking forward to that part.

If you have any questions about the car, the progress or the parts I am using, please ask. I have nothing to hide with this build. I want you all to see how much time, effort and money it takes to build a car like this. Also, if you have any parts you want to donate, I am totally open to that 😀

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VW Cabriolet Luv A Dub

Happy Friday everyone. I am out of the shop for the next few days. I hope to get some time to work on the Luv A Dub this weekend. The progress has been a little slow lately. I had to reorganize my garage to make some room for my new tool box.

I had told you guys that I met the guy that owned the Cabby “pre art”. I finally go the pictures from him.

As you can see, she was not perfect. She was however a great place to start. It’s okay, this project has been a blast so far. I hope that you all have enjoyed watching the progress so far.

I have spent some time this week taking the 1st VR6 part. The lower part of the engine is completely disassembled. The prognosis is fair. The pistons are pretty banged up. The cylinder walls look okay. I need to clean the bottom end to fully evaluate the condition. The good thing is, all the bearings look good.

I hope that you all have a great weekend. The weather is finally starting to cool off, and that makes working in my garage much more fun!