amhorach None
July 11, 2010 10:19 p.m.

for the TL:DR crowd, the question is at the way bottom!

I've been setting up a BMW325IX for rallycross, but now that I've started sorting out the car I'm changing directions. I'm instead going to get the BMW "restored" to as close to stock "pretty good but not showroom" mint condition as I can get it and use it as a backup street car.

I started looking for a MkII GTI 16 valve, and there were two out on Craigslist, but both of them had some fairly major issues that had me a bit tentative about taking them home. Instead, a light bulb went off in my head. I re-read the bits about the Golf project in the magazine and went back to Craigslist. There, plain as day, was a 1995 Golf for a fairly budget price. I looked a bit closer at the pictures, did some fact checking online and asked the seller a few questions. Since it was a 3 door, had 4 wheel disk breaks, a roof mounted antenna I was pretty certain it was a sport model. My wife looked over my shoulder at the ad, said she was digging the funky plaid seats and gave her blessing to bring it home as long as I could fit one of the project cars into the garage.

I checked out the car today. There were a few things about the car I don't like: it's been lowered so the oil pan is about 2 inches off the ground, it has a fartcan muffler on it and the paint is peeling, and it has a leaky radiator (a cracked plastic end tank, I hate plastic end tanks!). Other than those fairly minor issues, it is rust free and otherwise seems fairly solid.

The seller lived on a dirt road about half a mile long. Given the car's stance, I couldn't really flog it, but it seemed to handle well, the engine pulled correctly, the transmission shifted well and it has enough power stock to spin the tires in 2nd gear on dirt. Needless to say, I'm bringing it home.

For now, I'm just going to take care of the radiator, any maintenance items that I find that need attention and fix the lowering job that was done to it with some stock springs from a local pick-n-pull. But I'm starting to look for ideas on where to go next. I searched around a bit, and there seems to be a bit too much information out there. I also scared myself a bit reading about the MkIII's notorious reliability.

Is anyone running one of these? If so, will you please post some information about or links to your setup? Like I said, we're early in the build and sorting stages but I've got a bit of information overload going on right now. I want to plan my upgrades and keep my eyes peeled for bargains, and I need a better idea of what I'm looking for.

cghstang Reader
July 12, 2010 8:13 a.m.

There have been a few rallyxed locally quite successfully. One was a stock class non-gti (scca), the other is a '98 gti that ran PF, now M2.

My best suggestiong without knowing all the model specific stuff would be to start out on some chunky all seasons, leave it stock, and go have fun.

Once you've done a couple of events you'll know what you want to change, if anything.

Edit: I think there's someone on the forum here who runs one out in colorado. Here's the thread I was thinking of.

Brett_Murphy New Reader
July 12, 2010 10:57 a.m.

In reply to cghstang:

That's exactly what I'm looking for, thank you. I'm feeling kind of silly that I missed that thread and it was so recent. I've got to improve my Boolean search skills, apparently.

cghstang Reader
July 12, 2010 11:02 a.m.

I don't use the site's search function.

Just put what you're looking for into google followed by ""

In this case it was "rally golf"

That thread came up as the fourth result.

NGTD HalfDork
July 12, 2010 1:46 p.m.

There is a fellow up here in Ontario that runs an A3 Golf for full performance Rally.

parker New Reader
July 12, 2010 5:01 p.m.

I don't know why VW's are so popular for rallycross. Everyone I've seen in Stock or Prepared bicycles or has actually rolled.

d_jabsd Reader
July 12, 2010 5:20 p.m.

In reply to amhorach:

What kind of springs are on it? If they are Neuspeed Race or H&R Race, i would be willing to take them of your hands. I'm tired of losing in GS... not that I will fair any better in ST, but at least the car will look better.

Brett_Murphy New Reader
July 12, 2010 9:33 p.m.

In reply to parker:

In my case, it's because they made almost 5 million of them, the parts are cheap and plentiful in the pick and pulls, and I don't really care if I destroy it while I'm rallyxing. I've done rallyx in my daily driver (a Forester XT). I've just started, and I'm very much still learning the basics, so I'm just pleased as all heck when I don't make the same mistake twice in a day.

I was looking for a neon, but finding a reasonably priced 5 speed neon that hasn't been thrashed to within an inch of sitting in one of the aforementioned pick-n-pulls is apparently next to impossible in my area. There is a Sentra SE-R for sale for 1000 bucks, but the guy wasn't returning my calls.

D_jabsd: I don't know what kind of springs are on it, yet. I'll probably know in a couple of weeks when I have a chance to tear into it. I'm not taking delivery until the 19th.

neckromacr New Reader
July 12, 2010 9:50 p.m.

MKIII's notorious reliability? The 2.0 MKIII's have always been rather stout running on an appetite of oil, gas and abuse.

MKIII's main faults were they were a fatter MKII with no major updates to the chassis. The ABA was probably one of the best of the old 4 cyl water cooled blocks, running very well with it's Monotronic brain.

But this was the last of the generation using the 020 trannies. They are notorious for differential rivets breaking loose when abused, or just really damn old.

Brett_Murphy New Reader
July 13, 2010 12:36 p.m.

In reply to neckromacr:

Going back over some of the things I'd been reading about the reliability, it seems maybe they have a more to do with the cars being 15 years old and a popular target for first time car modifiers than any defect from the factory.

Knurled Reader
July 13, 2010 10:34 p.m.
parker wrote: I don't know why VW's are so popular for rallycross. Everyone I've seen in Stock or Prepared bicycles or has actually rolled.

Some people have the silly idea that they need to RAISE their cars for rallycross.

Lower is better.

VWs just plain handle well. They have a very low front roll center which helps their predictability, and very (VERY) high rear roll stiffness, which helps make up for that low front roll center.

VW engines are also fairly bulletproof and don't mind running 220+ degrees. The chassis is reasonably stiff, there is tons of headroom, and they made a skazillion of them.

Sadly, the "VW enthusiast" part out anything that moves mentality meant that when I tried to find a replacement for my thoroughly rotted A2-chassis, I couldn't find an A2 within reasonable driving distance for under $2k that didn't require massive amounts of repair. A3 chassis cars are also usually rotten and the VR6 cars get parted instantly and the 2.0 cars (the sweetest rallycross vehicle next to the original Neon, IMO) get parted or very poorly swapped with VR6 crap. Don't get me started on the A4-chassis cars, or rather the mentality of almost every one of their "enthusiast" following.

parker New Reader
July 14, 2010 7:06 a.m.

You can't raise them in Stock. I remember watching EVERY VW at Hastings go up on 2 wheels. They seem to have a long oingy, poingy suspension. I've even seen one roll at an autocross.

Brett_Murphy New Reader
July 14, 2010 10:38 a.m.

In reply to Knurled:

Lower is better to a point. The whole VW "stance" thing has some of the cars slammed so low I'm quite sure that speed bumps are an issue. This Golf isn't quite that low, but it is well below stock. At this time, all I want to do is get it to stock ride height.

I guess it also depends on what your local rallycross conditions are like. The course where we run does have a few rocks. I'm going to try and fabricate some skidplates for the oil pan.

The course I ran on is right here:,-78.524866&spn=0.003907,0.008256&t=h&z=18

jungle New Reader
July 14, 2010 1:45 p.m.

what specifically do you want to know? I killed every one in stock-front class, and moved myself into M2 just to have more competition. I typically finish in the top 5, boy does that humble ppl driving modded WRX's, when a naturally asperated 4cyl, fwd, hatch back, w/ 175k miles on it blows them away! :D

Go w/ stock springs, and bilstien HEAVY DUTY spruts, r32 control arm bushings, a K&N drop in filter, a chip (stock they run on 87octane, a chip increases the timing and really wakes the car up), some sort of cat back exhaust, and if it is newer than 1994, get the oem windage tray ($40).

FWIW apparently the rally-x's we have are different than in other parts of the I have yet to anything other than 1st & 2nd gear and each run lasts under one and a half minutes. Most of us use snow tires cuz they work better than all-season, and the courses aren't long.

Brett_Murphy New Reader
July 16, 2010 12:52 p.m.

In reply to jungle:

Thanks for the ideas, Jungle. The newer cars didn't have windage trays? Anything to save a buck, I guess. I'll check into that when I'm messing with the car, it looks like some mods were done, but there is no documentation, so I have no idea to what extent.

July 18, 2010 1:50 p.m.

In reply to the OP.

I rally x the snott out of my mk3 and love it. I also love it when the dubaru dudes look at our times and try to figure out why we are faster than they are.

Car is a 94 sport.

My set up consisted of stock suspension with kyb struts and VR6 strut mounts. Techtonics cat back and a drop in k/n filter and old Falken rally tires. I run the car in P2

I later added a peloquin mini slip in the 80% setting, arp diff bolts, ACT clutch, HOR sport springs, Bilstein heavy duty and a Nuespeed front bar.

My car has 183k miles on it, drive it daily and ice cold AC.

The diff rivets came apart on the original trans and that has been the only failure on the car.

In reply to parker.

Sorry dude never seen a mk3 or mk2 golf roll over on a rally x. Seen plenty of front drive cars including hondas, mazdas, escorts etc etc on wo wheels. Seems to be the normal attitude for front wheel drive cars around here. And we did host the rally x nationals here in Colorado.

Any way love the car. Next on the list is more power and more talent for the nut behind the wheel.

Brett_Murphy New Reader
July 23, 2010 9:48 p.m.

In reply to CaptainSpaulding:

Those pictures are great. Your car looks pretty much identical to the one I bought. How is the ground clearance with the H&R Sport springs on there?

Aug. 2, 2010 1:43 a.m.

The springs are HOR brand and I think Nuespeed used to sell them as sport springs. They didnt lower the car that much maybe a half a inch and they where origninally for a VR6 car and seem to work fine. I just got back from my first track day with the new set up and it worked great.

One thing I have noticed is that alot of the prepared guys are no longer running rally tires but aggresive snow tires.

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