VW Cabriolet Project for the wifey

Also pulled the alternator apart and smoothed out the mold lines, rough edges, and filed the flash off every single hole in prep for paint.



^ This is just a ridiculous level of detail. I feel like no matter what I work on or how detailed I get this thread is always going to be in the back of my head going, “you’re still a fucking slacker compared to that VW build on NYSpeed”.


I have issues. Dont feel bad.

EDIT: I also stabbed myself at least 2x with the tip of the round needle file. Good times.

You can’t even drive this thing when you get done. Park it in the living room as a work of art. Also, what is going on with the Cavy? please tell me you’re driving the mess out it.

I fixed a few of the issues late last summer with it, drove it a couple times. It needs a re-tune, and maybe a different turbo, I currently hate the response. If it ever stops raining I need to get that taken care of, but I do plan to drive it this year.



Epic progress last night.

Checked crank thrust - right in spec.

Picked up the tools to do the ring fitting / install myself - pliers, ring filer, ring squaring tool (this thing worked amazing and was way easier than flipping a piston over on every hole a bunch of times), and the bore specific wiseco ring compressor (also worked amazing vs the adjustable strap type).

Squaring tool in action

All of the oil rings and 2nd compression rings were already at spec, so I didnt need to mess with them at all which was nice.

The top rings were a bit under, I had to file each about 0.002"

And installed

This thing made the install effortless.

Then I figured why not crack on. Got the ARP head studs in and the MK3 MLS gasket in place. For my VW friends the gasket is p/n 037103383N which is for the MK3 2.0. The one alignment pin either has to be removed or the hole in the gasket drilled. I opted to drill it. I simply taped the layers down so nothing could get between them - unitbit made quick work of it without any burrs.

Then bolted the head down, installed the timing belt etc.

Finally got the oil pump, pickup baffle and OE windage tray .

Im going to assemble the whole thing on the stand just to be sure I didnt forget something stupid and then its time to crack the trans open.



Incredible work.

I recall you saying you’d be ‘offloading’ the engine build, which really only meant offloading the machine work. I’m sure you’d have it no other way. Keep it going, I love this thread.

I was going to have the whole thing done, but my machine shop doesnt really like to assemble, so I was going to have my tuner help me - since he does a lot of assembly also, but our schedules never lined up so I said F it and just tackled it myself.

Hopefully I didnt miss anything dumb. lol


The attention to detail here is unreal…amazing work, Dan…

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Picked up the rest of the coils and got them all modified. I did have to sacrifice one in order to get the process right but whatever.

Remove the rubber boot

Sand the end rib off and trim the tabs down a little for a perfect fit in the modified valve cover.

Trim the boot to length and reinstall


Then I thought Id mock up everything so I could make sure everything fits, adjust any bolt lengths etc. Also why not look at it again assembled.

Decided that it needed a little something, why not try filling the ARP on all the bolts in red. Wasnt too hard and adds a little something that likely no one will notice.

Much better

Then it was time to get the TB back together. I HATED the oe plastic pulley, plus it wasnt exactly in the correct orientation.

Cut this crap off

Turn down the end of the shaft to be just shorter than a custom billet pulley and drill / tap a #8 hole.

A guy I work with has a smallish CNC at home. We designed a pulley and he cut it out for me one night last week. This may only be Rev 1 as Im not 100% on the cable routing yet, but at least I have something to test fit. He can knock me out a final version once im ready easy peasy.

Then got the TB reassembled with one new shaft bearing, a new IAC, and new ss hardware. Yes, I need a different screw for the TB pulley.

SS inserts installed in the intake (the TB is counter bored in back to accommodate them - they came with a loctite on them that I didnt want to disturb trying to shorten them)

TB in place - complete with painted ARP hardware.

Then it was time to prep this guy for paint.

So just a few more things to do and the motor should be about ready and I can get to back to the transmission.


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The red lettering…love the attention to detail. Just when you think this project has raised the bar as high as it can go, you take it up another notch.

Or am i just adding a day to the completion date? lol

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Just adding days, months you know…

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Got a couple of the coolant hoses and the water pump / alt mounts installed. Im using the gates power grip heat shrink hose clamps.

Now the motor is more or less together, I wrapped it up and tucked it into the corner and moved on to the trans.

Got it torn down in prep for the Wavetrac differential install.


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Those gears are pretty dirty. I expect to see them polished or powder coated with some cool little highlights before they’re put back in the trans case to never be seen again. :wink:

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Lol. I havent started putting it back together yet either… :wink:

Been picking away at the trans here / there.

First I had to free the ring gear from the oem differential. It was pretty simple. Two steps of drilling, then tap off the rivet heads, and finally drive them out with the air hammer.

Ready for assy.

Pressed in two studs to get the party started. Then heated the ring gear to 200C so it would basically drop on the diff. (i did end up using a propane torch some as well)

All assembled with ARP hardware, a new VSS ring, and new bearings.

Finally, installed the new bearing races in the case without shims so I could measure for the new shim. Turned out I needed a 0.92mm shim vs the 0.80mm installed orig.

Then it was time to tackle the cases. I had a friend of a friend wash them at his shop. He has a big heated parts washer thing he uses for transmissions. Well, it wasnt the result Id hoped for to say the least.

So I brought them into work and spent a couple of lunch hours bead blasting them inside and out. @JayS

And done. I chased all the threaded holes and washed / blew everything out really well. Installed the acquired diff shim / bearings etc.


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Painted some parts this weekend. All shots are of the clear right off the gun. Im still tickled at how well this SPI clear lays down.

And then I just had to mock up a few parts on the trans. A video was necessary.



Looks like candy :+1:

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Since I was too cheap to upgrade to the aluminum bearing housing on the EFR (dumb plan) I decided to Cerakote it to keep surface rust at bay.

It was super simple and looks good. I had to pick up a touch up gun to spray it as they call for a 0.8mm tip and my smallest was 1.3. For $18 it worked great.

Hoping to start trans assembly tonight.