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Tim Sr
13,503 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Relapsing is such a bore, but there we go...

I needed a daily. I'd sold the Hoonda to partially fund an epic road-rally around/across Northerm America with @Derpins so a replacement was in order.

Racekor lyfe is both brilliant and a complete pain. Need to buy a set of wheels? Borrow a mates car. Want new body panels? Borrow a mates car. Find something cool at the other end of the country? Yeah, you get the idea.

So i was looking around for a few options. Moar-door or estate, not particularly brand specific etc etc. Even fuel type was open-ended as my daily routine would make a diesel run low MPG figures.

One thing led to another, and before i knew it, i'd accidentally purchased this poorly old turd:



Volkswagen's finest tiredest AGU powered GTI. 165,000 miles, 400 owners (this may or may not be exagerated), optional service history (basically, you can opt to imagine it has it; however from my position, it doesnt), all of the stone-chips you could ever want, sagging Recaros, and a paint job not even a mother could love.

Still, i paid less that it's gonna cost to road-tax for a year, so i guess that's something...

It only has a few other problems too...

  • PCV is gacked, blown hoses and all of the grim you could ever want
  • Engine mounts you say.....*$%"ked?
  • Wishbone bushes; they were present at some point in the car's past. Now they're just metal rings with the teeniest amount of rubber possible to not be classed as "non-existent"
  • ABS Light
  • Misfires & stutters
  • Handbrake position resembles a 14 year old spotted oik taking a wander on his first nudist beach. It's also about as useful as said 14 year old spotted oik
  • Front brakes are...yeah....they're present. That's about the kindest thing i can say
  • Cigarette lighter socket is unsuprisingly DOA
  • Power steering has all the power of a 90-year-old arthritic vet with vietnam-style-flashbacks of exuberence
  • Lock modules are, well, it's a mk4 Golf. You figure it out
  • Ignition barrel is about as worn out as an 80 year old working girl
  • The tyres whilst perfectly legal, are quite old, with ultra-soft sidewalls
  • Timing belt wsa probably done in the past, however i fear "past" is probably well over 4 years ago
  • Thermostat is either MIA or has failed open
  • Heater blower only works on the "4" setting
  • AC doesn't work
  • Battery-mounted fuseboard is cactus
  • Probably much more that i've yet to discover!

So yeah, project/daily/ressurection/lifesupport...

Tim Sr
13,503 Posts
Day One: The ABS Fault

I don't really know why i opted to pick the ABS as the first fault to attack. Likley because as those of you who know me know; i dislike lights on my dashboard (NB: First actaul thing i did on the car was code out the washer-fluid level sensor instead of meerly filling the damn thing back up, obvs).

Fired up VCDS, and lo;

01276 - ABS Hydraulic Pump (V64), 16-00 Signal Outside Specifications

Well, so much for something simple like a faulty or disconnected sensor. This should be fun...

So i did the usual, work my way around the loom to ensure there were no obvious signs of damage/plugs were plugged in good-n-propper-like, grounds were "okay" etc. Everything seemed fine.

Clearing the code resulted in an instant return once the engine was restarted and the brake-pedal was tested.

I was/am still a little rusty on my MK4 diagnostics, but i remembered the fuses for most of the critical items (ECU, Fans, ABS) were in the bay on top of the battery:


Image courtesy of @Imagewerx

The three big fuses are the problem childs. And lo, all three were corroded to buggery and back. The fuse holder itself isn't exactly in the best of states either, but nothing that a £7 china-special from ebay can't sort!

Three new fuses later, and it appears i have healthy working ABS back again!

Score one up for a cheap & easy win!

Day 1.5: Tinkering

As i'd blown the cobwebs off my old VAG-tools laptop, it was only right that i enabled alarm chirps and anti-hijack (which is of course, how i discovered the door-lock modules are toast). Also pulled the SKC "just in case" as i currently only have the one key.

A scan of the engine revealed all sorts of lovely things. Misfire detections, knock detections, all the fun things you don't want to see. But at the bottom of the list, was a low-voltage warning. Now i could be mistaken; lord knows it's been known to happen plenty (Honda ownership), but i seem to recall a weak battery has a knack of causing all sorts of fun warnings to occur. So i made a note of the list-of-woes, and cleared the DTCs.

Since then, i've had about 100miles without DTCs re-appearing in the ECM, which i figure is pretty indicative of the faults having been due to the weak battery that had been replaced a week prior to my purchase (oh, so that's a point, i have a receipt for a new battery, some power steering fluid, and an indicator bulb. So i guess it technically has SOME service history?).

Whilst i had the bay open, i did the usual carbon-canister delete. I don't really recall why its a thing other than "smoothed bay bro" and i guess it eliminates one teeny minor point of failure from the vac system, but hay, i guess any removed weight is good for a racekor.... (crap, did i just refer to this beater as a racekor?).

Tim Sr
13,503 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Day 2 & 3: You CAN polish a turd!

Given that i had "returned to the fold", a certain 7ft+ friendly giant offered me the welcome-back gift of taking a machine polisher to the Turdo. Not one to look a gift-horse in the mouth, i accepted. Lord knows the car needed it...


Yeah, i actually think it might not of been cleaned in the last 130,000 miles or so.

So first, a quick rinse to get rid of the loose dirt n crap...


Then a few passes with clay bar, which is now thoroughly ruined...


Car started to look a lot better, but you could still see marks where it hadn't been well washed or cut back in the past...


At which point, the well trained Mr Hughes cracked his tools (oi) out and went to town...



Sadly there's been a bit of a terribe side effect. The paint now is far better than i could of expected, but it's made the stonechips look 1,000,000 times worse. Still, not bad for a polished tured, amiright?



Tim Sr
13,503 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have missed this kind of banter
Welcome back Sr
I aim to please. I think!

Day 4: The postie is learning...

@GSF Car Parts did me a solid, and somehow got a plastic-impellered water pump, hydraulic tensioner, pulley, and belt over to me today when i placed the order late on Friday. VERY impressed with the service, and can see that they're a great addition to the forum!

And on top of that, the £5 ebay replacement heater-fan resister arrived today along with my china-special gearknob! RESULT


I also swung by @Boraforever 's place yesterday, who was so gracious as to give me back the pile of crap mk4-centric spares i'd gifted him all but a few months back included the all important Haynes manual, a full 5 door set of net-optic trim in "okay" condition, a pair of wingmirror caps, and various OE wheel bolts (apparently the previous owner had been using his teeth to work on the wheel bolts i guess).

Oh, and the piece-de-resistance; a set of Passat Sport FullFIS Immo3 clocks! With any luck, the screen won't be toooo bad, and i can get MTE, Lit Needles, and all the other funtime bits in the car for no moneys!

In the tradition of "don't replace, upgrade" i've got a Powerflex polybush coming to rebuild a spare dogbone with, which should cure the engine wobble, along with improving shifting.

Today's discovery: rear wiper arm motor is failing, and the copper tube that flows the water up to the nozzle has sheered in that oh-so-mk4 tradition. Consequently, a glass bung has been ordered. Because that's what rain-X is for.
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