Ah, time for a Rabbit update

A buddy came over and we pulled the entire interior out.

Carpet before cleaning
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...and after
Passenger cleaned vs. driver dirty

We didn’t pull the carpet as it was all in one piece and glued in. The extractor was pulling up clear water at that point so we said “yeah that’s fine”.

Next up, power wash the exterior and interior reassembly. The interior is no longer the worst part of this car. That means I need to get started on the rest of the car. So far, my plan of attack is as follows:

1. Reassemble interior.

This includes checking all the electricals in the cabin and sourcing replacement vent shrouds as some old plastics snapped when removing the dash. We also tossed the headliner and cardboard as it was too moldy to do anything with. The trunk carpet took the same fate, as mice had been living in the wheel well. I’ll figure out both of these in the future.

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2. Sort brakes.

The brakes hold pressure and the reservoir has (black) fluid in it. That indicates to me that there are no leaks. This week I’ll jack up the car and inspect the brake lines. If they’re fine, I won’t mess with the hard lines. I’m expecting that the soft lines will need replaced. I’m unsure if the pistons and wheel cylinders will need rebuild or not. If I convert to DOT 5 brake fluid I will have to rebuild them anyway, but that won’t happen to the spring if at all.

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3. Check fuel delivery.

I think my fuel line is off on the tank side as a bit of diesel leaked while we unloaded it last week. Gotta crawl around and find what’s up there. I’m probably going to drain the whole system just so the fuel is known to be good. I’m not sure if I have a pump on my tank side (Bentley manual will be in later this week anyways), and I’m sure the injector pump needs some refreshing. A friend who knows diesel stuff better than me (ie, he knows diesel stuff) recommended I pull the pump and let it sit in a bucket of diesel for a few days to get the seals lubricated and the pump itself primed. I may pull injectors, but based off of forum reading, they’re likely fine and might not need anything.

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4. Refresh what I can on the engine without pulling it.

Last, I need to actually make the motor work. At a bare minimum I need to replace all the hoses and belts. The heater hoses that go into the firewall were eaten up by mice, so if I want to keep coolant inside, those will need replaced. I’m going to pull the radiator and clear it out (run hot water through it until it’s clean ish) and put all new hoses in on everything. I should also pull the vacuum pump. Those familiar with the EA827 architecture will know that on gas motors, the distributor is driven by the oil pump. To prime a motor that’s been sitting, the best route is generally to take a long bit of metal with a notch cut in it and spin the oil pump with a drill. On this motor, the vacuum pump is in the same place as a distributor would be in a gasser- I should take it out and clean it and lube it as needed anyways, so I’ll do this after I change the oil.

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I pulled the air filter housing off yesterday and found a big mouse nest. It didn’t look like it made its way all the way up to the intake runners, but I am going to pull the manifold anyways and clean it out. If there’s nest in the runners, mice likely made their way into whatever valves were open. So, if there’s nests in the runners, the head is coming off. If not, I’m going to have to pull the valve cover to do timing, bearing lubrication, and a valve adjustment anyways. I will likely have to pull the head down the road anyways to lap valves (since there are almost certainly rusty valve seats), but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Apart from that, I’ll change oil, prime it, bleed fuel lines, maybe change glow plugs, throw a battery in there, and... it should be good?

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5. Body work.

There’s not really any rust on the chassis. A few tiny spots in the spare wheel well as normal, but I couldn’t find any along the firewall, strut towers, door sills, wheel arches, or any of the other normal rust spots. The only rust is the hood, where raccoons had been pooping for decades. To that end, I will likely have to pull the hood off, clean the rust, bondo it up, and shoot it with primer before I decide the next phase. Other than that, there’s really no other body work needed, as far as I can tell.

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6. Send it???

As of my present evaluation of the car, there isn’t really anything else it needs. I guess I’ll see how much that changes down the road.

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