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Thread: Mk3 2dr Project Car (1.8t swap)

  1. #1
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    Mk3 2dr Project Car (1.8t swap)

    Start date: 16/12/2023

    So it begins again! I have transferred the same title from my mk2 VR6 thread, only changing the mk2 to mk3, can't leave that the same coz the mk2 is much sexier than the mk3. This time, hopefully I'll commit to a 1.8t swap... maybe... Mk2 VR6 was a lot simpler and cheaper believe it or not. Mk2 1.8t was going to require a bit more effort and I was a bit too new to the game. Mk3 1.8t certainly sounds like a much better idea now! Torque steer here we come.

    I picked up a mk3 as my next project for a few reasons:

    1. Cheap.....ish??? Since working on my mk2, I saw a fair amount of mk3's coming up for sale at bargain prices, mostly cause they were stuffed but I could've bought about 3 of them for under 2k, mixed and matched parts and definitely got a running system, now seems I can't spot one for under 2k, most around the 4k-5k mark. Massive prices on some of them, especially VR6's, so I definitely wanted to get my hands on one before they start fetching higher prices, especially the slightly rarer 2 doors. Such is life though. I picked mine up for $1800, a bit pricier compared to my cheap as chips mk2 coming in at $250, but a few more perks this time being it came complete (non-runner), had a spare engine and loom for a swap, and was also registered here in Tasmania, probably the biggest perk!

    2. Owned a few of them, this is my third. 1st was a GL maritime blue, honestly it was the coolest little thing that handled so terribly, had so many intermittent faults, 4 doors made it a bit ugly, cute steelies and little pea shooter exhaust. Auto too, which certainly had its pros but was mostly terrible haha. I was offered a T4 van from my dad which he owned since new so the GL had to go unfortunately. 2nd was the silver VR6, offered to me at a daylight robbery price of $1000 (as a non-runner). New ignition coil and it was back to life! It then became the donor for the mk2 and its job was successful in giving my mk2 life! The shell was sold to Oliver!!!!!!!!!!!, who actually sold me the mk2 back in 2019, so that's good that the shell didn't go to waste!
    Mk3 2dr Project Car (1.8t swap)-20200828_165402-jpgMk3 2dr Project Car (1.8t swap)-20200321_094602-jpg
    3. Less rust... I was interested in a mk1, but that puts another 20 years of life on top of the mk3 and I really cannot be bothered with another full shell respray haha, that is some extremely exhausting labour right there. When I was working on the mk2, half of it was while I was studying at uni and free time could be found so easily. Since full-time work, this rapidly cut back the man hours I was putting into it. So I don't think I was cutout to do another full respray, just a closed door this time!

    4. The last of the older hot hatches?... I definitely like the look of the mk1, mk2 and mk3. Mk4 started to push it a bit, I owned a mk4 GTI which I certainly liked but I really wanted the 2 door, not the 4 doors... Only problem is they are R32's and my home mortgage does not allow me to own one of these haha.
    Anyways lets get into the car, its a 1996 white 2dr CL golf, which was running a blown to smithereens 1.8L . Towed it home and also picked up a 2.0L AGG engine/box, full wiring loom, ECU and steering column with keys. Only rust I could spot was where it had either been mounted on a gutter or a really poor attempt at jacking it on one of the seal panels. So I was pretty stoked, just an enormous amount of the standard mk3 golf clear coat peal all over the body too. Least being white it doesn't stand out.
    Mk3 2dr Project Car (1.8t swap)-364011863_10163223971954676_4477802733796763323_n-jpgMk3 2dr Project Car (1.8t swap)-20231216_155437-jpg
    Had the measuring tape out to see how it was gonna squeeze in the garage lol, didn't actually check before I went and bought it. FYI, a mk3 is about 4070mm long haha.
    Mk3 2dr Project Car (1.8t swap)-20231221_205115-jpg
    First things first was to check out the 1.8L motor and check its condition. Didn't get far, just took off the coolant bottle cap, fair to say this was much thicker than your standard caramel milkshake. Think the Nulon headgasket sealer might have already been poored into it and didn't get very far haha. Did a quicky compression test, 0 psi on cylinder 1 and 2. Goodbye 1.8L
    Mk3 2dr Project Car (1.8t swap)-20240102_112710-jpgMk3 2dr Project Car (1.8t swap)-20240102_152112-jpg
    I ideally want to get this thing running first and drive it for a bit before commencing a 1.8t swap, so in goes the 2.0L. Did a full engine loom changeover to the new 2.0L loom starting from the fusebox. Fairly straight forward, the brake booster is in the most awful place when trying to do this... Got it done by loosening the brake booster from the pedal box but probably would've been easier to remove it when pushing the cables through the firewall. Went to drop engine in but the downpipe on the 1.8L and 2.0L have different flanges so picked up an epic looking exhaust from another VR6 and fitted that first. Also changed the fuel pump over to suit the 2.0L. Then in goes the engine. Unfortunately I snapped the bolt on the coolant flange on the head of the engine... then snapped multiple easy outs... then snapped multiple welded nuts. So I gave up and siliconed it like crazy with some high temp stuff. Who knows if it will hold haha.
    Mk3 2dr Project Car (1.8t swap)-20240109_070201-jpgMk3 2dr Project Car (1.8t swap)-20240220_135349-jpg
    Now I am trying to fire it up, but the fuel pump relay 167 isn't clicking at all. Haven't done a heap of diagnostics yet, just cleaned up some grounds, changed the battery just in case, but no change. Bridged the fuel pump relay to get it work (which it does) and tried firing the engine up but still doesn't start so that could also mean no spark, haven't checked yet. Basically got myself to a point now where it's going to take a bit of effort to diagnose the problem. I don't actually know if this engine ran before it was all pulled out. Tried scanning the engine for faults but says it can't connect to the selected module. I could scan the immobiliser system for faults and that works, but not the engine. So I'm thinking I might have some issues with the ECU... so it begins, any tips/common issues would be appreciated!

    Cheers,
    Thomas
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Mk3 2dr Project Car (1.8t swap)-20240220_135407-jpg  
    Last edited by Weeman; 20-02-2024 at 01:59 PM.
    '89 VW Golf Mk2 2dr VR6
    '96 VW Golf Mk3 2dr
    '02 VW Transporter SWB

  2. #2
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    Yes! More build threads!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  3. #3
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    You are such a sucker for punishment.

  4. #4
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    Gotta find myself a 1.8t first before I 'accidently' get onto another 2.8L, maybe a 3.2L or even a delicious 3.6L... can't escape the awaiting punishment!
    '89 VW Golf Mk2 2dr VR6
    '96 VW Golf Mk3 2dr
    '02 VW Transporter SWB

  5. #5
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    May 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weeman View Post
    Gotta find myself a 1.8t first before I 'accidently' get onto another 2.8L, maybe a 3.2L or even a delicious 3.6L... can't escape the awaiting punishment!
    Awesome work! Great to see some cars that were getting around back in the day, coming back to life.
    I don't know what happened! Tassie was kick arse with vag things going on (pre social media)
    Keep up the great work and having ago.
    1.8t have been done to death! Lets see some NA power and sound or AWD vr6 turbo hehe 😉

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bsun View Post
    Awesome work! Great to see some cars that were getting around back in the day, coming back to life.
    I don't know what happened! Tassie was kick arse with vag things going on (pre social media)
    Keep up the great work and having ago.
    1.8t have been done to death! Lets see some NA power and sound or AWD vr6 turbo hehe Mk3 2dr Project Car (1.8t swap)
    Yea I've had a read back at alot of posts Tassie related and looked great!

    Hit me up with a donor car and I'll do it

    Sent from my SM-A146P using Tapatalk
    '89 VW Golf Mk2 2dr VR6
    '96 VW Golf Mk3 2dr
    '02 VW Transporter SWB

  7. #7
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    Update: 06/03/2024

    Well I'm still hunting hard for a donor. Failing miserably. Cannot find ANY 1.8t cars here in Tas, can't find anything worth putting my heart, soul and paychecks into... best right now is another 2.0L from a mk3.5 cabby for like, $200??? I don't want that. Not even a little itch for it. Even went for a walk around a couple local scrap yards, saw about 10,000 Hyundai Getz, whyyy no 1.8t's

    Basically ready to bin my current 2.0L engine sitting in the mk3... no fuel, no spark. Consulted my thick Bentley manual and done the rounds on the car: Checked fuses, relays, wiring and continuity, ground connections, signal on ignition coil, full pinout check on ECU harness. No success... Done, rage quit. Probs dead ECU. Literally nothing changes when I have it plugged in or not, no check engine light on dash when starting up, nuffin.

    Need a donor asap so I can start putting some blood sweat and tears into this thing!!! Every 3 months it costs me $153 to keep it registered, gotta make it worth it. Want to start the closed door respray, just want to have the donor ready and know what direction I'm going down... least the mk2 keeps a smile on my face.

    Sent from my SM-A146P using Tapatalk
    '89 VW Golf Mk2 2dr VR6
    '96 VW Golf Mk3 2dr
    '02 VW Transporter SWB

  8. #8
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    May 2007
    Location
    North Tasmania
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    Aww wedding photos?! Hahah
    Yes the Tassie scene seemed to go down with Oz edition era.. great get togethers.
    I get about a bit and have found a few finds over my time.. will keep my eye out. Have had a couple mk5 TDIs ! great, efficient and plenty of torque, be something different!! If I had time and $$ and found the right roller. Id be keen.
    I do know of a 97 cabriolet part out, 2e I think.. had a strong engine.
    Cheers B

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bsun View Post
    Aww wedding photos?! Hahah
    Yes the Tassie scene seemed to go down with Oz edition era.. great get togethers.
    I get about a bit and have found a few finds over my time.. will keep my eye out. Have had a couple mk5 TDIs ! great, efficient and plenty of torque, be something different!! If I had time and $$ and found the right roller. Id be keen.
    I do know of a 97 cabriolet part out, 2e I think.. had a strong engine.
    Cheers B
    Yeppppp loved a good wedding photo lol
    Yea I'm still rocking the Oz edition sticker on the mk2, not that I was ever apart of it, perhaps it will see a revival one day.
    Thanks mate please do, happy to pay the right $$ for something that'll serve me well. Committing hard to the 1.8t!!! Drive by wire especially too would be epic.
    '89 VW Golf Mk2 2dr VR6
    '96 VW Golf Mk3 2dr
    '02 VW Transporter SWB

  10. #10
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    Tasmania
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    Update: 22/03/2024

    Finally moving forward wowee, stalled there for a bit... Snagged a donor! Been told by the owner he called it Rick. Picked up Rick from a couple hours away, yummy yummy AUM motor, solid for my conversion. Rick's body looks like crap, not much works on it tbh, but mechanically its pretty sound! Only wacked up problem is the coolant temp sensor drops down to 70ish deg randomly while driving, picks back up to 90, then drops again to 70. Might have the wrong thermostat or something. Just drove it home from the south of Tassie to the north, drama free. Rick will be being disected, and I'm hoping to do somwthing similar as I did with my Mk2 VR6 and that is swap the dash over (clocks, steering column and so on). Do not like the thought of immobiliser deletes and wiring splicing and all that, will begin sussing it out soon!

    Also in the meantime of heart transplant hunting, the wheels are off, tyres off and I've been prepping em up for a lick of paint Mk3 2dr Project Car (1.8t swap)

    Cheers,
    Thomas

    Sent from my SM-A146P using Tapatalk
    '89 VW Golf Mk2 2dr VR6
    '96 VW Golf Mk3 2dr
    '02 VW Transporter SWB

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