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Volkswagen Tech Letters

Mar 19, 2004

Idle and Power Problems
I have an '86 1.8L 8V Scirocco. My problem is the idle seems to fluctuate between 800 to 1000 rpm. When this happens the car seem to lose some power and my acceleration is slow to come on. I've had this nagging problem for several weeks now and I can't seem to track down the cause. It seems to happen inconsistently, too. It doesn't matter if the weather is cold or warm. I've had the engine tuned up by my dealer. New plugs, distributor cap and rotor, coil, new vacuum lines and the timing and fuel mixture have all been correctly adjusted. The car has over 350km on it and I think itis the original engine--it has never been rebuilt. I've also had to patch my fuel lines under the car several times. I'm not sure if the fuel pump and the in-tank transfer pump have been replaced on the car. What could be the cause of my loss of power and inconsistent idle?
Albert Alejandro
St. Catharines, Ontario Canada

Albert,
With any high mileage engine such as yours I would first do a compression check to see if there is adequate compression in the engine. Then I would definitely start by replacing the patched fuel lines and in-tank tranfer pump to ensure that you are getting adequate fueling. Your dealer was correct to check for vacuum leaks and adjust the fuel mixture, but I would also check your injectors and throttle body as well. Make sure they are clean and functioning properly or have cleaned or replaced. Next I would check and clean all your electrical connections and make sure all your grounds are in good shape.
Joe Lucchio



1990 VW Cabriolet
I have a 1990 VW Cabriolet . When itis hot it will go into a fast idle; itis also been frequently hunting for an idle, as well. Any ideas on whatis wrong with this thing?
Mike
via the Internet

Mike,
I would start by checking all the vacuum hoses to see if there are any leaks. I would then check and clean all the electrical connections in the engine compartment. Assuming this is the stock engine and is running CIS-E fuel injection, I would check the Idle Stabilization Valve. You can remove the valve and pour some carburetor cleaner in it and seal it off and shake it around. Let it dry out and reinstall.
Joe Lucchio



Big Bore Kit for A3 2.0
I have a A3 Wolfsburg Jetta and I intend on doing something different with my car by using all of VWis part bin, but without using any turbos or superchargers-at this time. According to Bentley's VW Sport Tuning manual it states that there is a big bore kit for the A3 2.0. It's a 84.5mm bore and 99mm crankshaft. Is this true?
Vincent
Miami, Florida

Vincent,
There are big bore and/or stroker kitis available for the venerable 2.0l engine. The 84.5 mm bore is the biggest you can go on that engine safely. However, Iive not seen a 99mm crankshaft. Most big bore kits utilize 83.5mm bore pistons with a 95.5mm crankshaft. This will yield 2092ccis or 2.1 liters. Autotech sells a complete conversion kit like this for $2,700. (). You can also use the 95.5mm crankshaft from a 1.9L TDI engine in conjunction with the pistons of your choice to increase displacement as well. Using this kit in conjunction with the larger 84.5mm pistons would get you very close to 2.2 liters - which would be the safe limits of this engine as anything greater could compromise cooling. Abt Sportsline UK has a 2.2 kit available, which includes Abt special pistons - Abt special crankshaft - Abt camshaft - and machined cylinder head but it appears to be quite expensive at approximately $7,000.
Joe Lucchio



Rear Wheel Hub Nut
I have a i97 VW Jetta GT four cylinder with rear disc brakes. I just put on new cross-drilled rotors on the rear. I can't find the torque specs for the hub nut. Can you help?
Deborah Butler
via the Internet

Deborah,
Since the rear wheel bearings need to be adjusted when replacing the rear rotors you need to make sure that you donit over tighten the rear axle nut. You want to temporarily torque the axle nut to 87 in. lbs. or 10Nm while turning the rotor slowly by hand and then loosen the nut slightly. You want to then tighten the axle nut slow which turning the rotor until the thrust washer can be barely be moved only slightly with pressure from the tip of a screwdriver. After the bearing is adjusted correctly install the lock nut and align the cotter pin hole, tightening the axle nut slightly if you have to and install a new cotter pin.
Joe Lucchio



VW GTI Engine
I found a recent bargain I found in Florida when I moved. I came across an i87 Volkswagen GTI with 95,344 miles on it. All the repair and maintenance receipts are current and CarFax found nothing wrong with the car. The current owner is only selling it because her family recently bought her a new Civic Si for her birthday. My question concerns the original 16V engine in it. I know the 8V 2.0-liter MkIII Golf/Jetta engine has a lot of potential, but I was wondering if the precision of the lesser-displacement 16V equals the higher displacement of the 2.0 liter. I contacted EPI Tuning from Maryland about doing a engine swap and upgrading the tranny to a six-speed manual with one of its kits and the price sounds reasonable. Can you give me any advice on which to use or if the swap is worth it? The 2.0 liter I have a chance to buy is a i95 with only 30,000 miles on it. Iid eventually like to turbocharge the car and rack some higher horsepower on it.
David Lehigh IV
via the Internet

David,
The 1.8-liter 16V may not have the torque of the larger 2.0L 16V but it is still a sweet engine with plenty of potential. Iid suggest keeping the 1.8L 16V that is in the car and then looking at modifying it if itis in decent condition. Stock vs. stock - it makes more hp than the 2.0L 8V, although itis slightly down on peak torque which also occurs higher in the rpm range. If you are looking for a turbocharged engine in the end, I would suggest swapping in a 1.8T engine, transmission etc. rather than putting in the 8V and then turbocharging it later.
Joe Lucchio



VW Golf vs. American Muscle
I'd like to start off by saying I think your magazine is the best there is. For help with my Volkswagens, it has never let me down. In the recent issue you wrote about a 1.8T engine swap kit by Overland Parts available through Greedspeed, which would work great on my car (I've been in contact with the company). I own 1997 2.0L Golf. I love this car and itis been such a reliable car, so decided to use it as my project car. I know that the 1.8T is a great engine to tune, very reliable, and the new engine would be a good base for future tuning. But my friend showed me an article (in some random magazine) about a i93 Corrado VR6 that was turbocharged and tuned to 570 hp and running 11s on the track. This got me to wondering. Money is not that much of an issue; I've got about 25K saved up for tuning. Should I still get the 1.8T engine swap or maybe now get the VR6 engine swap? I want power; I want to smoke Corvettes and some serious American muscle. Can the 1.8T get me power in the 550-hp range, or is the VR6 the best bet for a car running 11s? Iim really eager to know which engine will work, because I know this project will be a blast to do.
Scott Weltz
San Jose, California

Scott,
The 1.8T and VR6 engine are both great engines and take well to modifications. However, consider that simple fact that there is no replacement for displacement. When seeking the type of horsepower figures that you are, you are starting to reach the limits of the 1.8T engine. Tuners in Europe such as MTM and Dahlback have coaxed 550+hp out of the 1.8T engine - they have also done very extensive modifications to the engine including increasing displacement to 2.0 liters and modifying the engine block in addition to other modifications. While these types of modifications are feasible, they will burn through your $25,000 budget quickly. However, that being said, a turbocharged VR6 engine isnit cheap to build either, but since you are starting from scratch, you can do a complete rebuild of the engine to make it work properly with forced induction. To get things started with your project, I would contact ATP mfg at () as they carry variety of VR6 turbo components that can form the basis for your project. Since you are in the San Jose area, I would also consult with Tomas Sport Tuning in San Pablo () who specializes in custom turbo VR6 applications.
Joe Lucchio



MKIII 1.8T Swap
I own a 1994 Golf GL four-door, equipped with a 2.0L 8V, and a, very interested in getting higher horsepower out ofit. To date, I have only added a Neuspeed P-Chip, of which I am quite satisfied with. I am looking to acheive somewhere in the area of 250 hp, but at the same time need it as a daily driver-and am on somewhat of a budget. I eve read many articles about the Neuspeed 2.0L supercharger and am not that impressed with the output (despite the torque numbers). I have also looked into the ATP turbo kits for my VW, which looks more promising but are quite a feat to install. I am wondering before I put any money into my engine, is it worth stressing my current 2.0L 8Vv, into putting out high hp figures? Or should I just go for a 1.8T swap. I am well aware that a 1.8T was not intended for an MKIII, but I have found a garage that would do the swap for around $6,000. The engine is not stolen, and it would come mechanically complete, i.e., transmission, clutch, subframe, axels, cv joints, brakes, suspension, hubs, etc. Which would give me a 180-hp base to work from? Although I could get the same power out of my 2.0L for much cheaper, which is the better choice?
Tim Savage
Lacolle, Quebec, Canada

Tim,
To achieve 250hp out of the 2.0L 8V isnit going to be as inexpensive as you might imagine, since it would require much more than a simple bolt on turbo kit. In addition, you will need to consider upgrading the drivetrain and braking system to handle the additional power as well. The 1.8T swap that you mention appears to be a good deal considering everything that is included. With minor modifications to the 1.8T you will be looking at over 200hp at the wheels, something that you wonit be able to achieve quite as easily with the 8V 2.0L
Joe Lucchio



Golf III Headlights
I work in an autobody shop in Seattle, and I'm purchasing a '98 GTI VR6 that's been in a front-end collision. Both of the headlights are wasted and I want some A4-style headlights. I was told by a guy at the local VW wrecking yard that he had read an article in your magazine that showed a way you could modify the core support and put in a set of '00 Cabrio headlights because they were built on the MkIII chassis. I researched the part numbers in our estimating software and found that the '99-02 Cabrio headlights are the same part number as the '99-current Golf headlights, which I was told won't work. Is there any truth to what he said ? I've found that Hella makes an "A4-look" headlight but it seems to only be in Europe.
T.J. Holsworth
Seattle, Washington

T.J,
You are correct that the i99-02 Cabrio headlights are the same ones that are available on the MKIV Golf, even though the Cabrio is still built on the MKIII chassis. Swapping in actual MKIV lights on a MKIII would require that you basically swap the whole front end including the radiator support, fenders, and hood. The MKIV ilooki lights on the other hand are a direct bolt in replacement for the MKIII. These can be found at a number of places in a number of different configurations. Check out Virtual World Parts at ( ) or TMTuning at () both of whom carry the Hella MKIV look kit for your car.
Joe Lucchio

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