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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well here's my first true project car, one I actually plan on keeping. It's a silver Volkswagen Jetta GLX, last of the Mk. III Jettas in top-of-the-line GLX trim with a VR6 engine and 5 speed transmission. For being 10 years old and fairly neglected by its previous owner, it's in pretty good shape on the outside. Only two small spots of rust I will take care of for now, other than that a good buff and wax job will make it look pretty good.

Interior is 50/50, with the important stuff in good shape (all leather seats and dash are good) and the problem areas are fixable with a little time and money: 2 disfunctional power windows, noncentral locking, crappy aftermarket stereo, missing dash trim pieces, saggy sunroof cover headliner, gnarly looking carpets. The bigger challenge will be under the hood: first known problem is a blown head gasket, and also predicting changing the timing chain while I'm in there. AC works good, it already has a few new components like radiator and electric water pump so I felt confident in shelling out $500 for the car.

Once I get it in good running order I plan on some light modding such as new shocks/ springs, new rims (probebly 17s), retint and upgrade the head unit and add a sub. I'll post more pics once I finish my initial cleaning. Unfortunately, right now I don't have much spare cash so it will probebly be a long process of fixing this up. I have nothing but time though....


 

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Have fun with the project Ajax!! My MKIII has gone from my daily driver to my summer fun car with the purchase of the Escape. Tom (tajescape) on the boards is also another long time vw guy :thumb:

Keep us updated on the progress!!
 

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Now I know what you meant when you posted this....
Ajax said:
Just washed and spray waxed "new" car. Dreading cleaning the interior tomorrow.... :(
:D

I wish you all the luck in the world with this project, Ajax !! :beer: And when you are finished you will no doubt have a vehicle that you can be very proud of. :)

Have fun ! :)
 

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Coming from an area that uses a LOT of road salt in winter, that looks like a pretty solid car for $500.
The Jettas are really nice fixer uppers and overall a pretty nice car. I don't know how often I see these as 15-20 year old cars still rolling along looking pretty good.
This could be a fun project, looking forward to seeing updates.
 

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My neice in Florida has one. She loves it! It looks great! Then again her Dad, my brother, just dumped over $2500 in parts under the hood! Be careful! These V-dubs get expensive quick! :wall:

It looks good for a $500 car. Hope it works out better for you than my neice... :rockon:
 

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Nice find for $500. Good luck. Sounds fun. Wish I had the time, $, and room for a project car
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the compliments, I'm excited to have it.

I've been "stalking" this car for months, it belonged to my buddy's sister-in-law's boyfriend :bill: He had been complaining about it for a while, the little things going wrong with it and he has no mechanical skills, and blowing the head gasket was the final straw. I mentioned to my buddy how I like VWs, we even test drove a 2000 VR6 Jetta (Mk IV body style, not all that different though.) I've previously owned a 98 Golf 2.0 4 door, so I know they can be pricey but I don't mind paying for the experience. I think I'm ahead of the game already with only $500 for a car with 85% in great shape and the rest fixable.

I spend about 4 hrs cleaning the interior, it was full of sand, leaves, dog hair etc. It's not completely clean but it pretty good shape and will only get better as time goes on. I actually broke my vacuum cleaning this- it was old :violin: She still needs a real buff and wax job and touch up of 2 rust spots.

Ding with rust:


Other rust spot:


Interior, cleaned up a bit:

 

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Still, all things considered. If you can fix it without taking out a home mortgage, it should be good. :thumb:
 

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nice car! my friend has the same one, maybe a different year, but the 5-spds are a lot of fun to drive!
especially with a full 3" exhaust, down shifting is a lot of fun :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So far I've given it a full 3 step Maguilar's Wax - clean, polish and carnuba wax. It looks pretty good but there are several scratches to the clearcoat but being silver it's not very obvious so I'm reasonably happy. More important that it's clean now with a good coat of wax to keep it that way.

I pulled the rear pass side door apart and pulled the window regulator, the window would go down but not back up, the little plastic gears striped on it. New regulator installed, window goes up and down quite nicely now, no more taping it shut. Drivers door window motor makes noise but doesn't move, found a regulator cable broken, so new motor/ regulator on order for that.

I got the head gasket kit in (new gasket, bolts, valve cover gasket) and will begin tearing the motor apart tomorrow and Saturday, and send the head out for machining and checks. I'll take pics and post them. From what I've read, I shouldn't have to replace the timing chains but will check the guides for wear while I'm in there.

Also on the lookout for some new rims, the tires are shot and I'd like to upgrade from 15" to 17" soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The engine sans head:

Scarey stuff, I've never pulled a motor apart this much. At least everything went pretty well, only broke 2 hoses, nothing major. Waiting on the head inspection.
 

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WOW! Never saw the head off VW's crammer V-6...
 

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It's an interesting design, a 15° V6 with no valley and just one head gasket.
The coolant certainly left it's mark on a couple of thoses pistons.
Good luck hope the head doesn't need too much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
A few more pics. Here's the head with the valve cover off. Looks like dual overhead cam but it's single because that's both cylinder banks. And no I didn't spill my coffee in there- that's oil and water mixed up real nice. Second pic is the head laying on its side.


 

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ROCK THE MKIII! :thumb:
The VR6 is an outstanding motor, and it's quite unfortunate that it had to suffer in the way it did. Hopefully it'll be alright.
Very nice find. I might say that I'm more than a little envious, but about 3800 lbs of Detroit steel might be a little upset with me.
Oh, and I appreciate the photos of the VR6 in pieces. I've never really seen one torn apart, except in diagrams. It's a fascinating setup.
How much are you looking at spending on wheels, btw? I'd go 17, maybe 18 if I was feeling crazy. Maybe some '04 MKIV GLI wheels, because those are sick, and they'd look great on the III.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Here's some updated pictures:

The head was straightened, decked and rebuilt, here it is installed on the block again:



The timing chain and valve cover installed:



Almost everything but the airbox, battery and a few hoses still on order:



She got the head rebuilt, a new set of aftermarket cams, a new chip to take advantage of the cams plus clear the secondary air pump codes (due to the fact I removed the SA pump), and some new plugs. I'm still waiting on a PCV delete kit as well, everything else seems good.
 

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Looking good! The finish line is within sight. :thumb:
I need to find a spot I can work on stuff like this, too cold to do any work outdoors. :frozen:
 

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Thanks for those photos Ajax.
You are definitely motivated, which is a positive attitude. :clap: :thumb:
 
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