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Thread: Mk3 GTI VR6 Wagon Build

  1. #1
    The Yellow Guy GingerBeef's Avatar
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    Default Mk3 GTI VR6 Wagon Build

    Hello all. It's no secret that Mk3s arnt the most loved generation of VW in this club... But luckily I have enough Mk3 enthusiasm for the rest of us!

    So, a little bit of background:
    First off, no, this is not yet another terrible purchase of mine. This is a friend's terrible purchase. Pretty much, long story short is that he has a bit of a carcaine addiction (arguably worse than me) and loves my mk3, so he's commissioned me to build him a GTI VR6.

    So, here's the car in question! A super crusty 1996 GTI VR6, 5 speed manual in Tornado Red/Pink/Rust!












    Now... I know what you're thinking... "why did you start with the worst Mk3 ever, and that's saying something"
    Well, it was a bit of an impulse buy, cause it was super cheap, and a different friend of mine has been dailying it for the last few years as a winter beater.. So, I had a really good idea of the overall health of the drive train. Also, in my defense, yes, almost half the car has rotted away BUT the other half doesn't look too bad!

    So you can probably see where this is going... This car will never be a "nice car" again (atleast not with how much time and effort I'm willing to put into it). It's a parts car. So we started looking for a suitable chassis. Low and behold, a month or two later and (almost!) the perfect car popped up in Vancouver. I just wish it was a different colour.. This paint is called Suede Silver Metallic.. Which is German for saying its not quite silver, but also not quite grandma 90s beige/tan/gold.
    Anyays.. Behold! A German to Swiss to JDM to Canadian import 1999 Golf Variant/Estate/Touring/Wagon!







    So I'm pretty stoked on this chassis, it was stupid cheap (it's like nobody wants a mk3 or something?) and since it's a late model import, it's extremely clean and straight! As an added bonus, it already has some OEM and aftermarket Euro goodies such as Euro bumpers, fenders, steering wheel, interior etc. As well as genuine Hella Mk4 look headlights, red/smoked/red Magic Colour tail lights, an ABT grille and a Remus exhaust!
    Furthermore, it's a 1.8 8v NA auto... So it's the prime candidate for a VR6 drive train.

    So there we have it! The beginnings of what (I think?) will be the first mk3 GTI VR6 Wagon in Alberta.
    Last edited by GingerBeef; 12-26-2019 at 11:53 AM.
    Jason

    "You dont buy a Volkswagen once, you buy it ten times."
    ---Samuel Moore

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    PM me to get your car detailed! - Brightside Detailing

  2. #2
    The Godfather Canadian Turbo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mk3 GTI VR6 Wagon Build

    Awesome, I personally love MK3s, one of my all time favourites and my first ever brand new car (1997)!!

    I think this should be a great project as wagons are also awesome. I recall Silver Suede being a fairly rare colour, but yes not too exciting.

    Bring on the build!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Blair
    Former Cars: '12 Fiat 500, '10 VW GTI, '05 Smart Fortwo, '96 VW Jetta GLX, '02 VW GTI 337.........

  3. #3
    Member Tuna's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mk3 GTI VR6 Wagon Build

    I LOVE MK3's. I just could never get the right timing to buy one. I did have one for a while though.

    Mk3 VR6 wagon sounds awesome! 2 of my favorite things combined.
    Jay

  4. #4
    less pump-per-nickel stefan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mk3 GTI VR6 Wagon Build

    That's pretty cool. Excited to see the progress. I also really liked my of mk3. This will be a cool ride.
    Stefan
    -> '14 Dakota Grey A4 Allroad
    -> '05 Urban Grey Passat Wagon TDI. Malone 1.5, De-chained BSM, 5-speed swap!
    -> Past rides: '06 Mazda5, '98 Jetta K2, '01 Jetta TDI, '91 Mazda B2200, '81 Toyota Cressida

  5. #5
    The Yellow Guy GingerBeef's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mk3 GTI VR6 Wagon Build

    Step 1 of this project was to move the red mk3 into the garage for a teardown... Unfortunately the car was slightly frozen into the earth.. And also, since no f*cks are given with this body, we just hooked the tow line onto the rusty rear hatch. In my mind, the worst case scenario was that the latch would fail and the hatch would swing open dramatically... I was wrong lol







    Turns out the entire flange joining the rear bulk head to the chassis was made of pure rust, resulting in the quick removal of the panel, with almost surgical precision (just ignore the obliterated rear bumper).

    Anyways, that was a week or two ago, onto the present day. With the car now in the garage, it seemed to make sense to start with pulling the VR6 out.





    It was after we pulled the front end that we realized that the AC has been deleted at some point. This made the engine pull alot quicker as we didn't need to mess with taking out the AC condensor/lines etc. Nice. We also found more catastrophic rust after pulling the intake elbow off and prodding the strut tower with a screwdriver.





    After unhooking all necessary hoses, wiring, axles, exhaust and engine mounts, the engine and trans was yanked out as one unit.

    I must say, this car has been quite a pain to work on. Somebody has been through this car before me, and pretty deep into it. Alot of the oem hardware has been replaced with random junk... Which is annoying because I've torn enough mk3s apart that I've got alot of the fastener heads memorized, so there was alot of extra walking back and forth between the car and my tools. For example, the first axle I took off had the normal #8 triple square bolts, but I was struggling with the other side for way too many minutes before I realized that this axle was held on with mk1 style 5mm internal hex bolts.




    I also noticed a gnarly oil leak at the front of the block that I assume to be from a deteriorated oil cooler seal. No worries though, I was planning on tearing this engine apart for a quick refresh anyways.
    Another thing I did notice was however not cool. WHY IS THERE RTV BETWEEN THE HEAD AND THE BLOCK. I mean, part of the planned refresh was an upgraded headgasket anyways. But still, don't RTV your head to your block kids! Not looking forward to prying this head off down the road..





    With the powertrain out I turned my attention to a few critical, but boring jobs such as ripping the interior apart to harvest the cars manual pedal box, and tediously unclipping and labeling the wiring necessary for the swap. (Yaaaay... Wiring..)







    So that'll be all for now, just a few more things to strip out of the red car, and then I never have to look at this rusty hunk of junk ever again.

    Sent from my CLT-L04 using Tapatalk
    Last edited by GingerBeef; 12-30-2019 at 04:07 PM.
    Jason

    "You dont buy a Volkswagen once, you buy it ten times."
    ---Samuel Moore

    Instagram: @Wangtastic
    PM me to get your car detailed! - Brightside Detailing

  6. #6
    Bashful moderator Geobmx4life's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mk3 GTI VR6 Wagon Build

    Love your build threads Jason!!!
    Hers 2009 Audi A4 6sp manual
    Mine....2005 Golf TDI, VNT 17, Malone tuned stage 4, Spec stage 2 clutch, FMIC, Ventectomy, NewSouth gauges, BuzzKen 2.5 turbo back exhaust, Evolution Skidplate, Helix OEM Reps retrofitted with Morimoto Bixenon mini's, ST coils, colour matched Huffs. Frostheater

  7. #7
    Registered User cam_wmh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mk3 GTI VR6 Wagon Build

    Thanks for sharing the build. Looking forward to following along.
    Cam


    2004 VW R32 Turbo

  8. #8
    The Yellow Guy GingerBeef's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mk3 GTI VR6 Wagon Build

    Small update on this car; havnt had too much time to work on it because of the renovations ive been doing to the barn. Now that its done, and a few of my cars are moved over there I should be able to dedicate more time to this thing. The first thing I did was split the engine from the trans, and removed the smaller cooling hoses, coilpackband clutch assembly off the crusty VR to mount it to the engine stand.



    Next... I started on the jardest part of this swap... The dreaded pedal box. I spent a good hour or so with the special VW diddler tool (in the first pic below) to pop the brake booster off the brake pedal, but that didnt work. I ended up finding a youtube video that suggested using heat to soften up the plastic slightly in order to pop it off. That worked like a charm! Then I got completely stumped by the clutch master cylinder and gave up for the night. I decided to quickly go back into the engine bay to remove the brake booster, master cylinder and ABS module.




    I wish I took pictures of what's going on with the clutch master cylinder, but whoever designed it can burn in hell. Im really not looking forward to reassembling this in the silver car.

    Sent from my CLT-L04 using Tapatalk
    Jason

    "You dont buy a Volkswagen once, you buy it ten times."
    ---Samuel Moore

    Instagram: @Wangtastic
    PM me to get your car detailed! - Brightside Detailing

  9. #9
    The Yellow Guy GingerBeef's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mk3 GTI VR6 Wagon Build

    Another small update, schools been busy lately and I can only work on this thing for a few hours at a time... Still struggling to get that stupid pedal box out... But I did make some progress on it!

    After a combination of swivel joints and extensions I finally managed to get the last nut off holding in the clutch master cylinder. I dont know why VW puts these things in the absolute tightest areas possible. With that nut off, I was able to extract the entire clutch hydraulic system in one go.




    Additionally, with that nut off the actual pedal box was physically disconnected from the car, however, it was still jammed in there really tight... I tried taking off the steering column support off for some extra space, only to find out VW used headless bolts to install it... Why VW. Why?? How did they even torque this on in the factory??



    With some careful angle grinding, I was able to cut a slot in the heads, and used a flat head bit on the ugga dugga to brap it off.



    With the steering column support removed, this gave me a bit more wiggle room, but it was still jammed against the dashboard frame.. So next up was removing the interior vents/switches/etc to remove the dash pad.





    This is when I ran out of time and had to go home for the day.. Next time im in the shop I think I can get the metal frame out, and the pedal box will finally be out... Fingers crossed. Im starting to loose my mind a little bit here..

    Sent from my CLT-L04 using Tapatalk
    Jason

    "You dont buy a Volkswagen once, you buy it ten times."
    ---Samuel Moore

    Instagram: @Wangtastic
    PM me to get your car detailed! - Brightside Detailing

  10. #10
    The Yellow Guy GingerBeef's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mk3 GTI VR6 Wagon Build

    Sunday was a pretty exciting day for the mk3 project, got alot done! It wasn't too cold outside and I was tired of working in the dark, so the first thing I did was push the red mk3 outside. Then, I removed the last few bolts from the lower dash frame/knee bar and finally, the pedal box that I've spent way to much time struggling with came out.







    Next up was unplugging all 6 million connectors from the fusebox, and then snaking the other half of the engine harness out of the little hole in the firewall. This actually wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be.. But im sure the same can't be said when I have to do it in reverse..





    After that, there really wasn't much left in the red mk3 of value. I took the remaining sport plaid seats out, and then the VR6 axles and thats pretty much all. Later I do need to take out the front and rear subframes in order to 5 bolt swap the wagon (and convert it from drum to disc brakes out back). But, for now its easier to push the red shell around on wheels. What's left of the red car was pushed away to clear space the next car to come in. For now, the focus is on resealing that 12V VR6, and getting it ready for the big swap.















    Now all that's left to do is to disassemble the silver wagon to pretty much the same state as the red hatchback is currently in, replace/restore anything that looks crusty, and then on to the tedious part of putting everything from the red car back into the silver car.. Yay.. Honestly, I'm really only dreading the wiring and pedal box, those two things are a huge pain in the ass, everything else is actually pretty fun. When the time comes for reassembly, I think im gonna start with the annoying jobs to get them out of the way first. But that's future Jason's problem

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    Last edited by GingerBeef; 03-10-2020 at 10:02 AM.
    Jason

    "You dont buy a Volkswagen once, you buy it ten times."
    ---Samuel Moore

    Instagram: @Wangtastic
    PM me to get your car detailed! - Brightside Detailing

  11. #11
    The Yellow Guy GingerBeef's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mk3 GTI VR6 Wagon Build

    Small update today, mostly did some cataloguing of parts I have already for the car, and what else I need to move forward. I also decided to start tearing the crusty engine apart for a quick refresh.





    Im still blown away with how much gunk is built up on this engine. Im pretty sure its been leaking oil from every possible location for quite some time now.. I stripped the long block of the serp belt tensioner, power steering pump, alternator, accesory bracket, intake manifold, fuel rail, knock sensors and the oil cooler to prepare the engine for a deep clean and regasketing.







    After pulling the valve cover, i was pleasantly surprised that the inside of the head was more or less pristine (especially compared to what the inside looks like)
    I also soaked the exhaust manifold bolts with Seafoam Deep Creep.. I hope thisbwill make taking that off relatively pain free in the future..

    Sent from my CLT-L04 using Tapatalk
    Jason

    "You dont buy a Volkswagen once, you buy it ten times."
    ---Samuel Moore

    Instagram: @Wangtastic
    PM me to get your car detailed! - Brightside Detailing

  12. #12
    The Yellow Guy GingerBeef's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mk3 GTI VR6 Wagon Build

    So I've been slowly making progress on this VR6 engine. First off was introducing all the crusty accesories and brackets to the parts washer. After a good scrub, things started to look alot more presentable although some parts will still need a fresh coat of paint.





















    Not all the parts are pictured above, but i think that gives a good idea of how crusty literally everything under the hood of the car was... There's alot of scrubbing involved with this project lol. Speaking of scrubbing, next up I wheeled the engine out.... 3 cans of GUNK heavy duty gel engine degreaser and a few hours of elbow grease later and the engine was looking alot better. The THICC coat of grime has bee removed, but the block definitely needs a coat of paint later...











    Finally, I pulled the cylinder head to get a look at the bottom end, and the timing chain components. The upper chain guide was worn out pretty badly, but oddly enough the main rail didn't have nearly as much scoring... Here's some pics of the super worn upper chain guide compared to a brand new OEM one to get an idea of the wear. The next post will detail the timing chain wear and refresh in detail. I just thought this was weird and worth pointing out as I remember the timing chain guides in my own VR6 were worn evenly.









    This was probably a super boring update for yall, but to be honest it was many, many hours of work on my end getting high from varsol fumes. Plus, clean parts are always satisfying right? Anyways, in the last few weeks all the timing chain components and engine gasket stuff all arrived. This means that this engine will be going back together with fresh parts in the next little while! Exciting.

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    Last edited by GingerBeef; 05-22-2020 at 02:10 PM.
    Jason

    "You dont buy a Volkswagen once, you buy it ten times."
    ---Samuel Moore

    Instagram: @Wangtastic
    PM me to get your car detailed! - Brightside Detailing

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