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Volkswagen Golf Cabrio - Update

It’s been almost 18 months since I purchased a, let’s be honest here, beat-up Volkswagen Golf Cabrio from 1994. At the time my knowledge about car mechanics was pretty much zero. Did I tell you I like a good challenge?

I needed to start with the basics, like new brakes, struts and an obviously leaking exhaust to pass the annual safety and roadworthiness inspection. A big shout-out to ChrisFix for all his detailed videos.

Big jobs

With the basics out of the way I had to move on to the mechanical part of things. I really wanted to keep this thing on the road. Because I had a roadtrip planned with my co-workes from Kabisa I really needed to sort out the clutch, because it was gone. It was not completely dead yet, but almost.

This was my first big job. One that real mechanics and dealerships charge you hundreds of Euro for. It was daunting, to be honest. However, with good preparation, tips from friends (who actually know what they’re talking about), and a lot of curse words, I managed it.

Another big job, which I managed to do last year after retiring the car to storage for winter, was the timing belt. Another big job that feels impossible and is normally hugely expensive. Again, with some good preparation it was, actually, a breeze. Okay, the 1.8 liter, single cam, petrol engine is rather simple compared to modern engines. Since I needed to drain the coolant for the new water pump, I replaced some more coolant flanges at the same time. Those had sprung small leaks. Note for next time: replace them all in one go on a car of this age.

I also ran into a problem with the O2 sensor. In a 2001 Polo I used to drive, this was like a problem every six months. Turns out that you just need a new sensor (which are not that expensive), the right socket for an O2 sensor and the strength of a giant.


I also spent some time on making the car look better and just that bit more luxurious. I found an full leather interior set, which was easily swapped out and makes the whole car look soooo much better.

I also found a nice car stereo (Blaupunkt Milano 200 BT). It’s didn’t cost a fortune and works way better than the cheap unit it came with. I would have liked to get a vintage Beta or Gamma set from VW, but it was hard to find an affordable one.

What’s next?

Right now I have three main jobs left to do on the car:

  1. Re-paint (part of) the front bumper where it’s scratched. This will probably need some sanding, priming and painting. I hope to do this early spring when the weather is a bit warmer.
  2. Re-seal the ventilation blend doors. The foam is gone, so now it only blows warm air. Check HumbleMechanic, he can explain it better than I can.
  3. Clean and polish the entire car and touch up the plastic trim. I tried Meguiars Ultimate Black Plastic Restorer and it seems to work wonderfully.

When all that’s done. Well, I think I’m going to drive it for a bit and put it up for sale. I’m going to miss this little car, but I also really want to move on to a new project. Maybe a Skoda Octaiva Vrs or some other nice VAG car to sink my teeth in.