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Advice for Grass-o-X MK4 Jetta Geezer

Posted by tango606 
tango606
Bobby Barles
Mod Moderator
Location: Northern Virginia
Join Date: 12/16/2017
Age: Ancient
Posts: 4

Rally Car:
MK4 Jetta 1.8T (rally-X)


Advice for Grass-o-X MK4 Jetta Geezer
December 16, 2017 05:57PM
Background (i.e. you don't really need to read this)

Hello Youngsters!
I'm new to this forum, and that alone, for me, is a gas (note- not referring to a fart, at least for now, just how someone my age talks) - not too many gatherings any more where I can still say this is new; attending funerals tend to be more my typical gig now. I'll be retiring soon, and one of the very few downsides of a much younger wife is her still wanting to work and telling me I'd better find some things to do because she doesn't roll with coming home to the whole beer belly, robe, X-box thingee. So, while too late to call it a mid-life crisis, it is what it is, and I'm looking to relive some youthful moments... but in a geezer-smart kind-of-way. Which brings me to rallycross, American style, i.e. grass-o-X, as one of your founding members has aptly labeled it. I want to thrash around in a basher without the risk of, you know, actually bashing myself, and if the personalities found on this forum are typical at your average rally-x, then it would be hog heaven... or, in my case, beef jerky heaven -- to join in. And well, because, race car.

I use to be a gearhead but that was before these fricken pinch welds (where the F are you suppose to jack these unibodies up?!!) so my apologies in advance with stupid questions on all this computerized, emissions, turbos, safety, cupholders, gizmos (hell, I still forget sometimes what seat belts are for which can get awkward when the cop pulls me over and sees the 6-pack safely strapped in). Also, I'm a driveway wrencher and it's going down into the teens tonight in Northern Virginia so bear with me on upcoming seasonal issues and delays (e.g. "get some seat time, geezer!" Well, yea, maybe in April).

In my youth in SoCal, I did some TT scrambles, moto-x, monkey'd on a side cart racer, and the early Baja and Barstow to Vegas insanity before growing a small brain and doubling the number of wheels under me, first doing some karting, and then onto some SCCA 'C' in a Spitfire at Riverside Raceway (may she rest in peace; FU Moreno Valley). Now, however, I'm not looking to be another Dan Gurney or AJ Foyt (showing my age), just want to get sideways in the grass a tad and live to talk about it with some like-minded. At 17, I use to pack my mom's Olds Delta 88 with like-minded pimple-face, teeny-bopper morons and 'rally' up and down some desert dirt roads with a particularly hill used to see if we could get the front end of the 20-ton Olds off the ground, so it's not really about fear, its about growing that old brain over a few decades since. [Note - mention this to the kids and grandkids, and I'll swear you're a damn liar!]

After fully examining the myths of Craiglist having umpteen readily-available 1980s drifting sentras and indestructible Volvos, fishtailing e30 BMers, dirt cheap hardtop Miatas, etc, etc. for just $500, learning about "drift tax" and "ready-to-build rally-perfect premiums" and test driving rust buckets for $2K+, I figured I must not be in one of the cheap rallycross car oasis one constantly reads about. Oh, and did I mention I'm a cheap old bastard -not with the wife and kids/grandkids but with myself. My 'station car' is a cannot-kill-it 1998 Toyota and I got a 2WD 2001 F150 to haul and tow the toys. If I want to treat myself, its not really a financial issue but, by nature, I got to convince myself of the cost/benefit ratio.

So, 2002 MK4 Jetta 1.8T

I'll let the laughter die down a tad before continuing. ;-)
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tango606
Bobby Barles
Mod Moderator
Location: Northern Virginia
Join Date: 12/16/2017
Age: Ancient
Posts: 4

Rally Car:
MK4 Jetta 1.8T (rally-X)


Re: Advice for Grass-o-X MK4 Jetta Geezer
December 16, 2017 06:31PM
The Jetta buy - "Is there no God in heaven?!!!"

Okay, the MK4 is not the glory days of MK-befores
Okay the Jetta is a 300 pound plus pig over the snubby-end golf (just remember my mom's Olds Delta 88; this jetta is like a FF to me!)
Okay, its a turbo, which is going to hardly, if at all, get spun on the typical grass-o-x and laugh at me when called on to torque me out of the hole.
Okay, this is another MK4 yahoo build thread. Nope, I read that thread and I'm going in the opposite direction. Oh, and I listen to smart people - took a few years to figure that out, but it's one of the few advantages of being an old fart. (FYI, that thread did keep me away from bigger brakes, tires, etc - still looking for a bigger Johnson, however - guys, that never goes away regardless of age.

I got this perfectly rust-free, well-maintained, tight drive train, highway darter (remember, my daily is a corolla) with brand new Goodyr all-seasons (unfortunately 17 inch) and pads/rotors that look barely touched for $1500 in one of the most expensive areas in the country where every MK-before and MK4 Golf was either being held together by the rust or came with at least a $1K drift tax or ready-to-rally premium. F-that, I don't do rust buckets; my welding sucks; I'm old, I'm tired.

My initial have-to-fix list was amazingly short. Broken rear bearing on lower front arm replaced with the TT bearing (I did the research, not lazy); big oil leak on the valve cover and this WTF-were-the-Krauts-thinking polymer-rubber 1/2-moon plug thingamajiggie. Oh, and it throws a cat EL but I worked a deal for emiissions inspection that will hold for 2 years (in that time, the car or I might be dead so WTH).

To go thrashing in April, I just want to fab and add a alum skid plate to protect that notorious alum belly pan. Also put some 15in small snows per the advice given on that other MK4 build.

So, what's the problem, you ask.

Blown OEM shocks/struts. What to do? What to do?

Back in a minute, Said young wife is calling for diner.
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tango606
Bobby Barles
Mod Moderator
Location: Northern Virginia
Join Date: 12/16/2017
Age: Ancient
Posts: 4

Rally Car:
MK4 Jetta 1.8T (rally-X)


Re: Advice for Grass-o-X MK4 Jetta Geezer
December 16, 2017 07:29PM
Okay, with that big wind up, my initial ask-for advice is pretty simple - sort of. I have some other needs for advice, but this one is keeping me from moving forward at the moment.

The shocks/struts currently on are pretty much shot. I can either replace these for about $200 with OEM or after market equivalents. Or, I can put something more durable or more suited suspension for grass-o-x for, well, you know, $400, $600 or $800. My cheap gezzer approach is to slap on the OEM stuff and go out and see how that works for me. But the wizen old gezzer in me says I'm going to kick myself if I find out almost immediately that I NEED to put something on there at the 4,6 or 8 x100 level, AND I should have known to do that before I wasted $200 on the OEM stuff. (Believe me I've waded through a lot of ricer threads and some others that are pretty information but geared toward other objectives, e.g., pavement racing to touring station wagon objectives.)

I realize that this is small potatoes, and I risk alienating folks from the other end of the spectrum than what was on display with the other MK4 build. Maybe just look at this as an intellectual exercise? If one has to replace the existing stocks/struts, is there an obvious choice (likely already tested by a lot of smart people over the years) for an MK4 Jetta 1.8T beater?

Thanks!

Bob
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john vanlandingham
John Vanlandingham
Senior Moderator
Location: Ford Asylum, Sleezattle, WA
Join Date: 12/20/2005
Age: Ancient
Posts: 14,035

Rally Car:
Saab 96 V4



Re: Advice for Grass-o-X MK4 Jetta Geezer
December 16, 2017 09:23PM
Quote
tango606
Okay, with that big wind up, my initial ask-for advice is pretty simple - sort of. I have some other needs for advice, but this one is keeping me from moving forward at the moment.

The shocks/struts currently on are pretty much shot. I can either replace these for about $200 with OEM or after market equivalents. Or, I can put something more durable or more suited suspension for grass-o-x for, well, you know, $400, $600 or $800. My cheap gezzer approach is to slap on the OEM stuff and go out and see how that works for me. But the wizen old gezzer in me says I'm going to kick myself if I find out almost immediately that I NEED to put something on there at the 4,6 or 8 x100 level, AND I should have known to do that before I wasted $200 on the OEM stuff. (Believe me I've waded through a lot of ricer threads and some others that are pretty information but geared toward other objectives, e.g., pavement racing to touring station wagon objectives.)

I realize that this is small potatoes, and I risk alienating folks from the other end of the spectrum than what was on display with the other MK4 build. Maybe just look at this as an intellectual exercise? If one has to replace the existing stocks/struts, is there an obvious choice (likely already tested by a lot of smart people over the years) for an MK4 Jetta 1.8T beater?

Thanks!

Bob

Hi Bob
Seriously depending on the organisation, and how nerd-u-lar they are, you have a pretty big chance of surviving just fine on FRESH stock stuffs.
You've done all those other things so maybe you noticed that if you don't shift some weight forward on to the front wheel(s) they're not gonna bite and you hain't gonna turn..

And so at least in the bulk of all the wawwy-cwoss I've been to or watched, the kinda squiggly nature of the tracks coupled with the mandated slow average speed means there's not tons of very hard braking because there's not a large speed differential between the short sections between the turns so you want relatively soft suspension that will move when just rolling off throttle and rolling into turns..
Clearly most people fuck themselves up by charging in too hard and blowing past the corners.
Brakes aren't important..not in a 1-2m run..anything works..

Soft means maybe you might clang-out ocassionally..Fine and some bump stop length..
Golf top mounts fail chronically but since the whole idea was born under SCCA it's plague with rule-itis and class-itis...picky picky picky...
Normally, since I invented it like 10 years ago, all the smrater-er Golf guys use Subaru top mounts..Its as close to a drop in and forget it as you can be and that's nice but who the fuck knows which rules the guys choose to randomly enforce and what that does to what class you're in..Did I mention SCCA? (Who know what that stands for, I was told it was for Silly Car Clown Assholes but I'm not sure so I won't swear that's what it is)
The control arms are made by hiring cute Japanese university exchange students to sneak out at night in slinky cat suits all ninja-like and pick out of cigarette hard packs the aluminum foil and go back to their dorm rooms and use the Origami-fu skills to fold the foil into shapes and that's how they can afford the out-of-state tuition...
So I'd want to box them in and weld 'em up so i could ram into potholes without worry..
But again, no idea what classes and if a simple thing like that would bump you into FWD Modded over 50, parts hair on left class.

All that said I'm telling RWD is simply more FUN..I have ONLY rallied FWD, same car from first event to last over 12 years..It is FUN on stages, but its no fun going slow with..No at least my car has none of the flimsty shit issues and chronic weakness bendy shit that all Golves suffer from..and its over 450lbs lighter and much shorter geared thaan most Golves in the last 30 years so lots of fun..
But wawwy-cwoss is 100% goofin off yeee haw type mayhem....anybody pretending to take it serious is probably some deviant pervert so fuck them..
One of the easiest ways to have fun is shorter gearing....its so much fun that you don't care what class or result you are doing>> Just giggles like when you were a kid and you had the first snow of the season and you just went out and got nuts sidways in some K-mart parking lot..

Why would you zero in on a car with known chronic failures, and for which a LSD is going to cost over $1200-1300-1500 to buy ship and install?

When you know there's funner- and cheaper ways to have more laughs?



John Vanlandingham
Sleezattle, WA, USA

Vive le Prole-le-ralliat

www.rallyrace.net/jvab
CALL +1 206 431-9696
Remember! Pacific Standard Time
is 3 hours behind Eastern Standard Time.
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tango606
Bobby Barles
Mod Moderator
Location: Northern Virginia
Join Date: 12/16/2017
Age: Ancient
Posts: 4

Rally Car:
MK4 Jetta 1.8T (rally-X)


Re: Advice for Grass-o-X MK4 Jetta Geezer
December 17, 2017 11:43AM
Hey John,
You probable figured out that my post was geared to get you to respond; certainly for the sage advice but even more so for the shits and giggles; so happy to get both barrels! I'd wish you were on the authoritarian coast to make rally events even more entertaining, but I don't wish that on anyone residing to the left of Denver.

So, you tipped me in the direction of refresh. I was thinking (I know, that's where the trouble starts) of a slight upgrade to those Bilstein Tourings - soft as stock but maybe a tad more durable for MacStrut sideloads on the outside corner. But then rumors about it not being true Bilsteins but rather a sub-contractors and not up-to-snuff afterall. Now, I think I'll blow those off, go stock and spend the time/money on those John-mod Suba top mounts (apply the paint and play the catch-me-if-you-can with the Class Clowns). That will get me closer to putting on the skid pad (which has already shown its value in a few unauthorized practice runs (found a place that has one particular broad apex where the turbo actually got a chance to contribute to the drift; wife in the car now wants to do this! :-) )

Yea, the Jetta is probable a mistake in the long run, but that's just it, at my age one has the unknown countdown clock constantly and the long run might just be tonight when said wife decides to surprise me with some new outfit... and heart, stops....pum....inggggggg. Also, seem to be getting more of the previously-mentioned unauthorized practice runs in than originally anticipated with side benefit of teaching (1) my last teenager (yea!) how to drive a stick, wife to get sideways (there's a joke in that, but let's not go there), and older son not to be such a whoosie - some safe real joy all around since little Jetty (sorry) became part of the family.

Also keeping my RWD options open where said Jetta can replace my Corolla (if history is any guide, the gods of fate will now drive one of that toyota's rods through the oil pan when I'm 50 miles from home and its 10 below) and take full advantage of a hardtop Miata being dropped in my lap for $2K or a 240 Volvo for $500. Still not sure about proprietary-tools, $$$ oil filter BMers; the e30s now come with big collector item premium (and I'm actually spiritually hesitant to bounce one of these icons around in the dirt); also, I'm amazed at how much pan rust there is on the typical e32 - WTF, happen to German engineering, did I miss something over the last few decades?

So, I got some work to do, and don't want to wear out my welcome here too quickly. I'll be back with some more stupid (senility?) questions - (like maybe I should tear out the airbags so they don't punch me in my brittle old face after some little jarring?)

Thanks again!!!!
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john vanlandingham
John Vanlandingham
Senior Moderator
Location: Ford Asylum, Sleezattle, WA
Join Date: 12/20/2005
Age: Ancient
Posts: 14,035

Rally Car:
Saab 96 V4



Re: Advice for Grass-o-X MK4 Jetta Geezer
December 17, 2017 01:30PM
Quote
tango606
Hey John,
You probable figured out that my post was geared to get you to respond; certainly for the sage advice but even more so for the shits and giggles; so happy to get both barrels! I'd wish you were on the authoritarian coast to make rally events even more entertaining, but I don't wish that on anyone residing to the left of Denver.

So, you tipped me in the direction of refresh. I was thinking (I know, that's where the trouble starts) of a slight upgrade to those Bilstein Tourings - soft as stock but maybe a tad more durable for MacStrut sideloads on the outside corner. But then rumors about it not being true Bilsteins but rather a sub-contractors and not up-to-snuff afterall. Now, I think I'll blow those off, go stock and spend the time/money on those John-mod Suba top mounts (apply the paint and play the catch-me-if-you-can with the Class Clowns). That will get me closer to putting on the skid pad (which has already shown its value in a few unauthorized practice runs (found a place that has one particular broad apex where the turbo actually got a chance to contribute to the drift; wife in the car now wants to do this! :-) )

Yea, the Jetta is probable a mistake in the long run, but that's just it, at my age one has the unknown countdown clock constantly and the long run might just be tonight when said wife decides to surprise me with some new outfit... and heart, stops....pum....inggggggg. Also, seem to be getting more of the previously-mentioned unauthorized practice runs in than originally anticipated with side benefit of teaching (1) my last teenager (yea!) how to drive a stick, wife to get sideways (there's a joke in that, but let's not go there), and older son not to be such a whoosie - some safe real joy all around since little Jetty (sorry) became part of the family.

Also keeping my RWD options open where said Jetta can replace my Corolla (if history is any guide, the gods of fate will now drive one of that toyota's rods through the oil pan when I'm 50 miles from home and its 10 below) and take full advantage of a hardtop Miata being dropped in my lap for $2K or a 240 Volvo for $500. Still not sure about proprietary-tools, $$$ oil filter BMers; the e30s now come with big collector item premium (and I'm actually spiritually hesitant to bounce one of these icons around in the dirt); also, I'm amazed at how much pan rust there is on the typical e32 - WTF, happen to German engineering, did I miss something over the last few decades?

So, I got some work to do, and don't want to wear out my welcome here too quickly. I'll be back with some more stupid (senility?) questions - (like maybe I should tear out the airbags so they don't punch me in my brittle old face after some little jarring?)

Thanks again!!!!

To borrow a line from Dobie's* friend Maynard G Krebs "Woik!!! Yikes!"**

Woik lika joik? Its Sunday, the day of rest..Its a sin to work on Shabos!
I just started a fresh pot of tea..You see the phone number? I put it there cause i hate typing..I do it but I don't like it..I'm gonna pour a cuppa tea, and you tak a break and call..OK? You're an adult, we can talk faster than click...........................................clack....click,,,,,,backspace, clack clack.
And I did live in Springfield Virginia when I was a kid for 3-4 years so I unner-stand, that's for your consideration....


*Bonus points for splainin' who
**24% more free bonus points for splaining this reference to culture



John Vanlandingham
Sleezattle, WA, USA

Vive le Prole-le-ralliat

www.rallyrace.net/jvab
CALL +1 206 431-9696
Remember! Pacific Standard Time
is 3 hours behind Eastern Standard Time.
Please Login or Register to post a reply
john vanlandingham
John Vanlandingham
Senior Moderator
Location: Ford Asylum, Sleezattle, WA
Join Date: 12/20/2005
Age: Ancient
Posts: 14,035

Rally Car:
Saab 96 V4



Re: Advice for Grass-o-X MK4 Jetta Geezer
December 27, 2017 06:46PM
Hey I though you were gonna call..
You OK? Resting up after a hard Christmas?



John Vanlandingham
Sleezattle, WA, USA

Vive le Prole-le-ralliat

www.rallyrace.net/jvab
CALL +1 206 431-9696
Remember! Pacific Standard Time
is 3 hours behind Eastern Standard Time.
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