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Merits of the MK3 Golf

Posted by SeamusMcC 
SeamusMcC
Seamus McCarthy
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Merits of the MK3 Golf
April 18, 2017 10:18AM
Hey everybody. This may be my first post so don't hold any punches.

I'm currently putting together a budget/plan for a cheap and fun 2wd. I have no formal racing background but was a big fan of FWD and dirt roads as a younger man and would like to get back into that hobby in more sanctioned format. My rough plan is to run the car primarily in grass-o-cross, ice racing, hill climb events and maybe a rally sprint for the first year to get seat time and maybe have save enough for a day or two of classes. It would be nice if the car could serve as platform to make the jump to stage rally going into 2019.

Which brings me to my question, what are the merits of the MK3 Golf in rally. I saw Scott Fuller used to run a couple of them and they seemed to have done well. Other then that it seems everyone is running an MK2. Based off of some limited car scouting/window shopping most MK2's that are running are going for more then running MK3. Also, at any given time it seems there are maybe 1 or 2 MK2's available in my area but there are like 10 or so MK3s. I know the VR6 is a bad idea but the ABA (or was it ABF) seem good. It's the same suspension as the MK2 so I'd imagine lots of support. I saw somewhere that the shell weighs like 75lbs more but I don't think that would have a big effect on me at this level and that is wider, which is supposed to better right?

Anyway let me know if I'm an idiot before I get too attached and head in the wrong direction.
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john vanlandingham
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Re: Merits of the MK3 Golf
April 18, 2017 02:52PM
The problem of a MkIII is same as a MkII or MkIV:

eventually you will want to get competitive and the key parts of what makes a rally car a rally car--is in the gearbox: the gears, the final drive and the diff..
Really its a problem for all FWD cars.
The parts are difficult to find, VERY expensive, and not really significantly stronger, and they take a certain (moderate) level of skill to install..

And if you don't have the dough to do the whole box all at once, then that means removing the whole box and splitting it 2 or even 3 times...

Then there's the problem--unsolved in any real way for 30 years---of the outer CV joint blowin its guts out or the CV breaking off the splined part again and again...

And there there's the whole rear "twisted up" beam which twists and stays.

And the tiny rear spindle bending..

And the microscopic little 5" floppy discs in the rear...

I like how Golves go and the Lego-ability of mix-n-match and the pretty amazing little engines which once built right can go 5 seasons of pounding and not blink an eye...

But sooner or later all those problems show up...

You will never be able to go to a junk yard and find a useful ring and pinion.
Or a LSD..

Again same for all FWD cars...

Just a suggestion for thinking but let's look at a real rally, not some dirt lot thing with 18 entries, but one with some data, 228 entries just a couple of weeks ago:

http://www.raceconsulting.com/rally/resultat/tavling.jsp?tavling=1048

Winter event, on snow with some really bad ass ex-kitcars better than Scott Fuller's cars by a serious step.. The scored for some reason FWD, RWD etc, Normally its just 2wd.
http://www.raceconsulting.com/rally/resultat/resultat.jsp?tavling=1048&urval=granskad.deltar.tavlingsklass27495&rubrik=Klassresultat&underrubrik=Klass%202%20Supercupen%20(Fwd)

47 FWD cars in the class..10 Golves

There's a 1300 class which is basically a Suzuki 1300 GTI class--

Next is RWD class:
http://www.raceconsulting.com/rally/resultat/resultat.jsp?tavling=1048&urval=granskad.deltar.tavlingsklass27496&rubrik=Klassresultat&underrubrik=Klass%203%20Supercupen%20(Rwd)

36 starting

Historic class:
http://www.raceconsulting.com/rally/resultat/resultat.jsp?tavling=1048&urval=granskad.deltar.tavlingsklass27497&rubrik=Klassresultat&underrubrik=Klass%204%20Supercupen%20(Grp.%20H%20Classic%20/%20App.%20K)

21 starting.....3 FWD cars

http://www.raceconsulting.com/rally/resultat/resultat.jsp?tavling=1048&urval=granskad.deltar.tavlingsklass27486&rubrik=Klassresultat&underrubrik=VOC%20Mekonomen%20Rally%20/%20Grp.F%20/%20Grp.%20N%20-1400%20/%20Grp.%20R%201

VOC "Volvo Original Cup" class with Group F (stock stuff) 37 starting, 2 FWD cars 35 RWD Volvos

And a couple more cars..Bear in mind this is a mid winter event, snow and lots of it..

Lookat all the cars and what do you see the overwhelming majority of them being?

I chose Sweden because it is the ONLY country with serious competition where Golves have even been popular..and there's 10....out of 228...

Better than Subarus by a big factor 250%: 4 out of 228

And in the last few years a number of guys all over the couintry have said "Dayum, if i knew what I know now I would not have listened to "EVERYbody and got a Golf--or Focus-or whatever.."
Something to ponder before diving to deep..

The question should just jump out: why do those guys keep driving these old RWD cars and driving them pretty damn good (look at times for the first 3-4 FWD guys, and then the 3-4 RWD and the Historic guy in the 240...Then to give you an idea how fast the field is, look at the name of the driver in 3 in RWD class...

I push rwd just because it can be prefectly fine as a entry level car, if you ignore the kids just starting in their 'spensive BMWs, it can be an easy car to upgrade when the time comes and the car can be plenty of fun doing a hillclimb or a track day or a drift day or playing killing cones on grass..But an optimised FWD is not going to be much fun in any of those venues--

I know because I have only driven FWD in rally.
We here in America, and our good friends just to the North are not always the center of the world, we are not always the smartest and the best at everything...Obviously.
There's an old saying "a smrat man learns from his mistakes"

I say "A really smrat man learns from the other guys mistakes"
Look at those lists, think.. Ask why all these old RWD cars?



John Vanlandingham
Sleezattle, WA, USA

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dunhamr1
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Re: Merits of the MK3 Golf
April 18, 2017 03:11PM
In general to build a FAST competitive rally car that doesn't cost Buku bucks you'll want to go RWD like John is talking about.

In regards to your question though, there is nothing inherently wrong with the MKIII over the MKII, in fact most people running the MKIII's nowadays are basically MKII bodies with MKIII running gear (ABA Motor/ 020 or 02A gearbox, and MkIII rear beam) dropped in because you're hard-pressed to find the MkII parts anymore like you observed.

My take is that if everyone has a crapcan econo-box transmission than there's really no need to be upgrading to the crazy expensive diffs and ratio set-ups, just run what you brung kinda thing. However it's always nice to spend less money to go racing... plus sideways and smiling is a great place to be..
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danster
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Re: Merits of the MK3 Golf
April 18, 2017 04:08PM
Most likely anything Golf mk1 and mk2 will have a price premium because of the large following those cars have and the ever more limited supply of decent used parts for them as time goes by.
I think it is called scene tax by the yoofs.

If you are only planning to feck about at grassocross and ice racing then you don't need works spec shit to have fun. In fact a tuned peaky engine is probably the last thing you'd want. Checkout recent mk4 1.8t build dealing with that and a myriad more issues...

The mk3 is mechanically similar to mk2 but has its flaws such as variable engine position system within the bay due to shite std engine mounting design. See other recent thread on that...

Bonus point is that 5 stud design has larger splined outer CVs and those drive flanges will take huge CVs from more modern bonkers torquey new TDI vehicles with bolts rather than nut clamping them in the drive flange.
At least if you do feck a shaft you can change it without splitting the strut from the upright! You could even source an 02J box with a 4.25 FD and some of those boxes have 108mm flanges, but gearbox mounting bracket bosses may differ from 02A box..
Yeah it is not a pukka Sadev sequential with ultimate ratios but feck it, if you are playing around at clubman level who gives a feck.
if you have some basic engineering intelligence along with fabrication skills and a welder you can rectify a lot of the weaknesses that nearly all cars have such as engine mounting design. Not everything has to be carbon fibre and titanium bling.

A question I will ask is: What is the requirement for cars to pass emissions for grassocross and rallying? Are you free to throw away the oem injection and bolt on carbs, or is retention of lambda and CAT a requirement?



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Pete
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Re: Merits of the MK3 Golf
April 18, 2017 06:27PM
Benefits: They are simple, the weak points are known, so you won't need to reinvent the wheel

Downside: They're pretty much all gone, aren't they? Between rust up north and methy VW "fans" who buy up all the cheap cars to part them out because they don't know how to put things back together, good luck finding a good cheap shell anymore. S'why I got out of front drive VWs.

Otherwise an A3 is an A2 on steroids, all the bolt-on-able things you need to make an A2 non-scrody come from the A3, and the A2 was one of the best front wheel drive chassis available on this continent.



Pete Remner
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1978
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/18/2017 06:28PM by Pete.
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DanielSL
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Re: Merits of the MK3 Golf
April 18, 2017 07:37PM
If I was going to do it all over again, as much of a VW/Audi guy as I am, I would have started RWD as well. I would have built a 318Ti Bimmer. As you get better, and want to be more competitive, you can drop in a 325 engine, or even an M3 motor if you really wanted to.

Staying with the FWD platform however, I think even after a year of being demeaned and belittled by these guys, I still would have gone with the Mk. 4 over the Mk. 3; and for things I only found out after I had already bought the roller, and started the project.

From what I've been told here, the Mk. 4's started with a majority of laser seam welding, which stiffened up the car a lot over earlier chassis. From research on here, the Mk.2 and Mk.3 stub axle issue is fixed by using Mk. 4 hardware on an adapter. You can still use the 2.0 engine for NA classes, and you can use the 1.8 for turbo classes; all just drop in, and plug and play into the engine bay.

I also really like the availability of spares. Even though there are a lot of Mk. 3 cars out there, most of them are run ragged, and in horrible shape. Its amazing how many really nice Mk. 4 shells are out there dirt cheap. With it being made for 6 years, there's a really good amount of vehicles available. Also, with the cross shopping of Audi TT and Audi A4 bits, there's an insane amount of spares at any European wrecking yard.

I've got the 5 speed O2J box, with the 4.24 final drive ratio, and the 108 CV's mentioned above, and its more than strong enough to handle the power and torque coming out of the 1.8T. I can't see any problem with you running even a severely tuned 2.0 to it and worrying about the same CV issues Mk. 1 and Mk. 2 cars have.

No matter what you decide, welcome aboard, and good luck with the project.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/18/2017 07:39PM by DanielSL.
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NGTD
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Re: Merits of the MK3 Golf
April 18, 2017 10:45PM
Keep in mind that the latest A3 platform was made in 99 so they are almost 20 years old. If you are in the rust belt, most of them are gone.

Jump up to an A4 platform (MkIV)?
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NoCoast
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Re: Merits of the MK3 Golf
April 19, 2017 01:25AM
Not many merits. How huge of a long time rally fan are you to remember Scott Fuller? I think that guy was finishing rallying about the time I started rallying. Not many recall him... Stoked that you are thinking of making that next step!
There are plenty of newer 2WD cars that are probably better.
Newest, I'd look at the Chevy Sonic first.
I've always been a little partial to the Hyundai Accent.
They all look a little skimpy on stuff like control arms but looks maybe can be deceiving.



Grant Hughes
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Josh Wimpey
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Re: Merits of the MK3 Golf
April 19, 2017 12:42PM
There is a very very nice MK3 rally car for sale here in VA. It is close clone to Fuller's cars and has never entered a stage rally -- just played with.

Not sure on price but this is the car that Mark Spence built after crashing his other mk3 too many times back in 2007ish.



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Doivi Clarkinen
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Re: Merits of the MK3 Golf
April 19, 2017 03:05PM
Scott Fuller's Mk.3 Golves were factory F2 Kit Cars, so big bucks and had all the weaknesses previously mentioned addressed. Sequential 6 speeds, 260hp way expensive engines, Proflex shocks, rod end everything in the suspension, rear beam reinforced and triangulated, all that stuff. I serviced for him in 2003. Really cool cars but a lot of maintenance, too.

Also, no, the Mk.2 and Mk.3 cars are not all gone and rusted away. Rust free examples are a dime a dozen on the west coast. https://seattle.craigslist.org/search/cto?query=vw+golf&max_price=1500&max_auto_year=2003
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DanielSL
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Re: Merits of the MK3 Golf
April 19, 2017 03:13PM
Oh lord, if it wasn't the wrong side of the country, I'd go grab that VW Fox 2-door right now. Always wanted one of those in the mid 80's.
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KTurner
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Re: Merits of the MK3 Golf
April 19, 2017 03:31PM
If I was building another fwd car I would be looking at the mk2 focus and possibly even a mk3 (long wheelbase though). The focus is cheap and can make ok power, the rear suspension and motor mounts need to be addressed but have solutions? They were sold in high volume and are out there.



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RallyBrighton
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Re: Merits of the MK3 Golf
April 19, 2017 03:57PM
I'll cut you a heck of a deal on my MKII Jetta...

Are you on the facespace FS/FT page? If not, let me know and I'll send you a link or info.
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NoCoast
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Re: Merits of the MK3 Golf
April 20, 2017 11:44AM
Civic is another decent option with good results in past.



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DanielSL
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Re: Merits of the MK3 Golf
April 20, 2017 12:53PM
Grant, doesn't Ryan still run the Integra with pretty good results?
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