I've had the car for three weeks now, and I've made quite a lot of progress...
I fixed the squealing fanbelt so it's no longer embarrassing to go into car parks, and I've fitted a headunit, a nice little Sony unit with bluetooth and a built-in MOSFET amp, which will hopefully handle my modest audio needs. I also took out the idle valve and gave it a good blast with some carb cleaner. I also cleaned out the intake pipes and idle screw at the same time.
I took the car to Reading for work, and then into central London too, a total of about 400 miles. The car did okay on the whole, except for when the bucket exhaust fell off (that would explain the load throaty noise!). Nearly 200 miles from home, I took it into ATS. They found the front/downpipe section to be leaking also. I asked them to patch up the front the best they could, and to replace the back box which had snapped in two. I had wanted an OEM exhaust, but I didn't really have much choice, and settled for a Timax backbox, costing £150. The car is a lot quieter now at least, and it doesn't smell quite so bad!
Also, when I was stuck in traffic, the oil temp seemed to hold at 120 degrees for long periods of time. To be honest, the oil temp in general is very high compared to the 8v, but the 8v was running Mobil 1 0W40 which may explain it.
Most worryingly, when I was stuck in traffic on the way home on the M1, I started to hear a grinding/clunking noise from the front while idling in gear with the clutch down. It only happened once when the oil temp was up at 120 degrees, and went away as soon as the revs got past 2000rpm. I'm not sure what to make of it, but I'm putting it down to the clutch for now (fingers crossed!) which slips occasionally in 4th and 5th and will need replacing soon. Could also be the bottom end, though I've had no problems at all since then, and no other signs of a failure. Still, at 162k miles, I'm thinking that a bottom end rebuild may be on the cards anyway, sooner rather than later.
Last week I was away, so I asked my folks to take it into the garage for a few jobs. He did the cambelt, water pump, thermostat and gear linkage. He also messed about with the CO and idle, and the car is a lot smoother now, and smells even less, though I could swear it doesn't pull quite as well (I may just be getting used to the power). I've also done the dizzy oil seal, changed the rotor arm, cap, leads and plugs, and put in a K&N panel filter. I was going to change the oil and filter, but discovered that the sump was rotten, so I'm going to get a new sump first.
I've covered a fair few miles to pick up some parts. I went to pick up a few parts from a guy in Derbyshire for the 16v, only to find he also had a bonnet and grille in Pearl Grey (both bits that need replacing on the 8v). So I had those too.
The grille was in pretty good condition, and the spots were perfect, so I decided to swap it for the grille on the 16v. I also repainted the red stripe in Tornado Red, which took about 1 hour to mask up and 20 seconds to spray paint! Looks good now though.
I went to pick up a headlining when I was down in Reading. Note to anyone travelling to pick up a headlining in your MK2: It does just about fit in the back of the car, but these things fall apat when you even breathe on them, so don't keep them in the back of your car any longer than you have to. Unfortunately I wasn't returning home for another three days and by the last day the headlining was starting to suffer. I eventually got round to fitting it, and it doesn't look to bad - a tiny sag around the rear view mirror, but a hell of a lot better than the old one. Unfortunately I broke a c-pillar and b-pillar trim in the process, but I guess it was a small price to pay!
I also picked up a genuine steering wheel and boss from the same guy. This had to be the best improvement I have made so far to make the car feel Golf-like again. With the aftermarket steering wheel the car felt okay but a little unfamiliar, but once the original wheel was back in again, it felt like a Golf again :-)
I have to say that the handling on this car is much better than that on my 8v, and the ride is much better. I guess the 8v is due a major overhaul and a set of new bushes and mounts.
Last weekend I went to visit my 8v which is currently holed up in my gf's parents' garage. I went to start stripping down the front end ready of the 8v for the bodyshop, but I also decided to raid it for a few parts :-)
I swapped the wheels over, as the RAs on the 16v look a little worse for wear. The rims are probably in better shape on the 16v, but the paint had worn badly. Plus the 8v had a full set of nearly new Toyo Proxes T1Rs, so it was an easy decision. I also swapped over the Golf ball gearknobs, stole the GolfGTI and VW rear badges, VW floor mats, VW first aid kit, and front door speaker covers. I was going to swap the centre console but ran out of time. I'm hoping to get the 8v repaired, so I don't want to take too much.
I'm going to slow down a little now. The car is now running pretty well and most of the work I need to do is on the bodywork. Panels in Royal Blue are proving hard to come by, so I may bite the bullet and get a pattern bumper from Big Boys Toys next week, and some paint from VW. I want to give the car a full detail too, but it seems pointless if I'm planning to replace some panels soon. After the 8v has been in the bodyshop for a jig, I may book the 16v in too to get all the dents sorted out.