Follow the progress of the 1988 Volkswagen Cabriolet. See how transforms from a chalk covered mess, to a sweet ride

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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.

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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!

VW Cabby Luv A Dub project

Happy Monday everyone!

I am out of the shop today, so I thought I would give you all an update on the VW Cabby, aka “Luv a Dub”. I have had the car for about 3 months now. I must say that I wish I was further along that I am . You can probably guess that finding time can be tough. It can also be hard to work on cars all day, then come home and work on a car. 🙂

When I first bought the car, it needed a few things just to get it home. Those were all, “under the hood” type stuff. After fixing those issues, I brought it home and started on the interior. It has been more of a challenging than I expected.

Here is what I have done on the Cabby so far.

  • Clutch ~$80
  • Engine Mount ~$12
  • Clutch cable ~$18
  • Spark plugs $20
  • Distributor cap and rotor ~$15
  • Sound dampener ~$130
  • Bulk wiring ~$25(not installed yet)

Here is the pictures of the interior stripped down and the sound dampener put in.

So what is next for the Luv A Dub? Well, I found out why the cluster lights were not working. You can see the video of the “custom” lights at Meet Luv A Dub video. I decided to hold off on carpet and padding. I want to be sure that all the interior wiring is complete before putting some carpet in. The Cabby does not have a lot of interior wiring, but I want to make it right. Plus I know it needs some new speaker wires ran.

Thank you all for following the progress on the Cabby. I am really looking forward to the day when I can unveil her. That will be a good day.

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Hey folk, it is FINALLY Friday!

Today’s update on Luv a Dub is the video I promised a while ago. I had the chance to test drive removing the factory sound dampener by using dry ice. The other methods that I tried were, chiseling, and using a heat gun and scraper. The chisel didn’t work at all. The heat gun worked awesome. You can see the video of the heat gun method at Removing VW Sound dampener with a heat gun.

The theroy behind using dry ice is that it will “freeze” the dampener and make it really easy to remove. That would mean much less clean up. The issue with heat is, it leaves the tar residue behind. Lets find out if dry ice is the solution.

As you can see in the video, dry ice didn’t work at all. I left it on for almost 30 minutes and it was no easier to remove than with the chisel. It looks like the heat gun was the way to go.

Here is the floor after removing the sound dampener. I still have to do a final cleaning.

This took me about 10 minutes of work. The dry ice took about a hour when you factor in going to get it. To me, dry ice was a waste of time. 🙂

I am actually off work until Wednesday of next week. That means I should have plenty of time to work on the Cabby. MY rust treatment came yesterday, so I will have a video up for that soon. While I am out of the shop, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook OR instagram!

What does everyone have planned for the weekend? If you got a cool project happening, share what you are doing..

Cabriolet Center Console

Well, I finally chose a name for the Cabby. Meet, project “Luv A Dub” I went back and checked the original post about the car. It just so happens that Garrett was the one that suggested it. Thanks Garrett!

This weeks update is 2 parts. First, I am still working on the floor pan. Removing all the sound dampener, rust, and crud is very time consuming. I am still working on the driver’s side. I have been using a wire wheel on a drill to remove any rust and the remaining paint, and glue. Here is where I am at on the interior.

Volkswagen Cabriolet InteriorHere is the driver’s side rear floor pan. Just a very small amount of rust. I removed the sound dampener, then cleaned the rest with a wire wheel. Next will be a complete clean of the floor. That is the part I don’t care for.

Volkswagen Cabriolet InteriorHere is a good before and after shot. I have not done anything to the passenger side yet. Notice how awesome the paint is that was under the rear seat. That has me thinking that I want to keep it the factory color!

If you notived that the center console is missing, great job. I took it out to make removing all the dampener possible. Here is a video showing just how much “art” is on this car.

<iframe width=”640″ height=”360″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/UPPbCi1zN60?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

I am SO excited on how this came out. I will clean and restore the console so everyone can see how to do that.

Cabriolet Center Console

As you can see, the console came out great! I just wish the seats were that easy.

Well that pretty much recaps the work this week. Congrats to Garrett! I have a little gift pack for you. Just email me your address and I will send it to you. 😉

Have a great weekend everyone.