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mikesbikester New Reader
6/18/22 11:09 p.m.

In reply to preach (dudeist priest) :

Thank you for the feedback on the fab work. I was pretty happy with how the strut mounts came out, but they're not perfect. We'll get into changes I had to make to them soon enough.

Good for you! Getting close to retirement that's awesome. Great pic of your Cayman, this reminds me I need to order pictures from the dudes down there.

mikesbikester New Reader
6/19/22 1:04 a.m.

This may be slightly out of order. I made a light bar for my friends SX4, it came out ok. Thing had a lot of lights on it, looked wild. Fun tube bender project. This was the end of February 2018.

Designed some velocity stacks for the 8V intake manifold I was designing. All the CNC work was programmed by my co worker Charles. We would stay late or come in early and run our fun car parts, it was a good learning experience. These are still in a box somewhere, probably with the spare 8v head and manifold flanges. Maybe lost forever, who knows.

Thinking about suspension things, realized I could replace the busted strut insert in my coilover (not a great idea) I had come across various coilover builds using mk2 bilstein HD dampers. Apparently some of the subaru guys and others use the, (transitions from not a great idea, to bad idea) so I pulled apart the struts, ordered some mk2 HD dampers, did a bunch of measuring, made some delrin bushings to locate the bottom of the insert in the coilover body. Had Charles thread mill a weld on coupler to allow the strut nut to bolt down.

And there you have some HD inserts crammed into coilover bodies.

Well the new HD insert is much longer than the old coilover body insert, which may work OK for a car with a car thats got a taller ride height, but its taking up travel in my application. Another thing that is taking up travel is the strut mounts, since they're probably 1.5 or 2" lower than stock. This is why the wack steeze monster truck front ride height developed with the strut mount install. It wouldn't really be able to be remedied by a different coilover. With some messing around, getting the car to the ride height that was reasonable, the up travel looked like this.

Properly sitting on the bump stop. I read some more about bilsteins inverted struts like these, and ended up shortening the insert, shortening the bump stop, and re working the housing to take the modified insert. It worked to roll the car around with a little more travel but by this point I needed to sort out how to raise the strut mounts, and needed to swap out the trash coilovers I had built. I do not recommend going down this rabbit hole. For a mk4 street car, just go buy any off the shelf suspension instead of putting in the effort to do something like this, it was a massive waste of time and money. This concludes the bad suspension idea section of the build. 

Here is a pictures of the mk4 and the ranger that I shouldnt have sold.

Moving on, those 16" wheels that I bought from Zach a while ago. The cheap stack of ATR sports showed up for that project. Before I forget, I didn't really like these tires. Traction was not great, wet traction was especially not great. As far as cheap tires go, I don't recommend these ones.

Arts and crafts time after hours at work with the help of Charles, we busted out 6 banded steels. Having a couple for practice was good. I added a 2-1/4" wide band to them, so they ended up at like 8-3/4" wide or so.

That brought us through March 2018. Of course this rubbed pretty bad but it was a better tire setup than the bald snows, and a fun learning experience. After that I hacked up the fenders and added some ebay flares to keep it from rubbing. I should have just searched around for some 5x100 16's so I could ditch the adapters, then it would have fit without flares or whatnot. but there was some crusty parts that needed to get chopped out anyway, so moving into April 2018, here goes wrinkling up my rear quarter sheet metal.

April 2018, I bought Dan's dad's GTI. Went out to NH at the beginning of May to pick it up. Here it is with Dan's old GTI. 

We managed to get this great pic of 4 generations posted up, all friends cars.

And safely back home to Ohio with the mk4

June 2018, I made some caliper bushings, similar to others that are available from various aftermarket companies. Designed them and made from bearing bronze. They seem to work fine. Got some rubber caps to keep dirt out of them.


At the end of July 2018, I drove out to NH to kick it with the homies and go to autocross at Canaan. Mk4 did dual duty for me and Mitch, it worked ok other than the bonk suspension which we knew wasnt gonna work that great. For a car that ends up in street mod (if I remember right) due to the stupid subframe, it isn't competitive at all but we had a blast driving, riding along, giving ride alongs, overall just an awesome time. A year prior we swapped the stock seats for some mk4 Wolfburg seats and it also had a beetle carpet so it was pretty ok to road trip in. Here are some pics from that trip, first one somewhere on I90.

Dan, Alex and I headed to Canaan. Alex had ditched his red TDI Jetta for a great 9th gen SI.

Mitch gridded up, listening to some jams, looking all official with door magnets

Here's a random pic from early July 2018, canoe shuttling after a paddle with Russ.

That's all I got for tonight, will post more stuff that worked tomorrow. Thanks again for following along!

mikesbikester New Reader
6/19/22 10:25 p.m.

September 2018, got some Bilstein HD sports, paired them with H&R race springs.

This is how the control arm looked with the new suspension setup installed.

Before the install, I re-worked the strut mounts, they now mount on top of the strut towers, this freed up a couple inches of travel and got the strut mount back closer to where it is in stock form. I'd prefer to have the mount on the bottom side of the tower, but I didn't have time to raise the towers or re design the strut mounts.

October 2018, I think this was tossing some new lenses in the headlights, my dude Russ with the assist.

Car looks silly with no bumper.

Beginning of December 2018, Beige landed in the driveway. If you want to read about it, build thread is here. https://www.vwvortex.com/threads/beige-jetta-build-adventures.9460912/ It's similar to this thread but shorter timeline.

Beginning of January 2019, did the heater core in the mk4

After 85k street miles, the 034 track density mounts developed a bunch of play again. 034 trans side mount had been warrantied previously. Mileage check in, we're at 340k for this project.

heres the play in the trans side mount

Here's the play in the timing belt side mount

So here is what I came up with. Bushings are UHMW.

The bolt hole locations were an educated best guess, and they werent quite right. Trans side didnt line up at all.

I thought about it for a bit and was able to salvage the mount by turning the holes into slots like this.

The mounts worked well and are still great 30k miles later. If I were to do it over again, I'd make both the timing belt side and the transmission side slotted. Since the motor was slightly shifted from the original location, I had to slide the bushing over on the dogbone which was frustrating at the time. 

The reduced movement is really a big difference when driving with some spirit, but for the other 98% of the time they're absurdly loud, should have just bought stock ones. I helicoiled the aluminum brackets on the trans and motor M12x1.75, the threads on those brackets often strip out when changing motor mounts on these cars.

Thats all for today, next time we'll get some fresh tires and do some suspension work.

mikesbikester New Reader
6/20/22 11:15 p.m.

Early May 2019, new set of federals, 245/50r16

Back tires of course rubbed. But I was looking at the rear bump stop that was leftover from when I was running coilovers and it seemed like it was way too short. Suspension wise I think it is pretty close to stock ride height at this point, so I ordered some stock bump stops and did a heckin measure.

This probably makes the rear stops much more active, but it did the trick.

July 2019, finished a project I had started in 2015, polishing roof bars. Not perfect, but good enough for something that primarily is used to kill bugs at highway speed.

Also July 2019, my friend Bill and I loaded up and headed to MK1 Madness. Bill's black Jetta pictured here comes into the story in a couple years.

Dan met us at madness, it was a pretty awesome weekend hanging with them dudes and seeing some great cars. Boy was it hot, the drive was brutal pulling, the trailer. Bill assembled a beer box heat shield on top of the tunnel to help reduce the heat that was pouring into the car from the exhaust. Overall, awesome weekend. If you have a chance to go to Mk1 Madness, do it. Its an amazing weekend.

September 2019, the pressure line from the PS pump to the rack let go. I took the opportunity to make new lines, and add a small cooler into the return line. It probably doesn't do much but a little extra capacity is good. Here's the cooler mounted in the lower grill. Just welded some tabs to the bumper beam for it to bolt to.

Here are the new feed and return lines. I used -6AN, and learned that AN lines dont like doing high pressure like power steering. 

So after the pressure line blew apart and dumped PS fluid all over the road, I re-made it from PTFE 6AN, this worked way more better.

Well that didnt fix all of the PS leak, and with some investigation, I found the hard lines on the rack were leaking, so I found a dude parting out a TT, and went to pick up the rack, arms and spindles from him. The rack that was in the TT was junk, but he had a clean stock mk4 rack that he hooked me up with instead, and I got the beloved TT spindles and arms. Out came the whole assembly.

Leaking hard lines in question

It was fun to check over all the parts on the subframe, clean up and clean all the gunk off.

Reassembled with the 1.8/VR spindles, and waited a week or so to swap the TT spindles and arms to have some time to change the bushings and wheel bearings in that stuff. 

TT junk installed

End of September 2019, road trip down South to see Alex and his Wife on their summer vacation. We got to hang out and swapped cars for a bit on BRP.

We were all headed home in one shot but they had a much further drive than me, as they were going NC to NH. We rolled out early, Fueled up before the gas station was open apparently.

Sunrise in VA

Rolled back roads up to Huntington WV then grabbed the highway for the last bit back. It was a lot of hours of twisty roads, pretty solid day.

March 2020, in a real slick move I had jammed the door handle into the window clip access hole in the door. Then rolled down the window without thinking about it

So that resulted in a back burner project promptly becoming a priority. I had lexan to do the windows sitting around for almost a year. Here goes.

back windows got naca ducts

gangs all here

All this trash went in the trash.

August 2020, ignition tune up. plugs, wires, new coil.

tired plugs

Bill and I went on a Mk4 camping trip in VA and did some exploring, also August 2020.

back road exploring

Somewhere up on BRP again

I did a timing belt and water pump on Bill's Jetta shortly after this trip. A little rusty, but it's a pretty good car. Very similar to mine, 2.0, BEV motor, his is an auto though, leather, sunroof, whatever.

Thats it for now! Getting so close to caught up. Probably some more about Bill's car next time.


mikesbikester New Reader
6/22/22 11:52 p.m.

For Bill's car, we ran down to VA (I think) and picked up a TT that had been parted 

We used the TT to manual swap the black mk4, arms, spindles, rack, subframe, etc. I bought the 1.8t from it to stash away for my mk4. Bill got new brakes, pieced together the 256mm vented rear rotor setup, Eibach sport springs and Bilstein HD's. We made the wiring changes for the clutch position switch and starter interlock, flashed the ECU with the manual software from my car, and everything worked.

September 2020, put the kirkeys back into the grey mk4. Re made the seat brackets

December 2020, I stashed the car with Alex in NH. Stashed 1.8t and other parts with Mitch.

Joey with the parts hauling/ride back assist.

In the spring 2021, a great car trade plan was executed. Alex sold his mk6 TDI wagon to carvana for what he paid years ago, and bought my mk6 GTI for cheap. This got me out of a car payment and shortened his payment by a year or more while decreasing it. I bought Bill's mk4 since he was moving out West and didn't really want to bring it with him, and I really don't do much driving so his car would be fine for running around town. It was a win win win or something.

So back to the grey mk4, and to get us to up to date, in May 2022, I flew out to Boston, Alex picked me up at the airport, then we loaded up the car with the 1.8t and a bunch of parts, and I rolled back to MI. Here are some highlights of that trip.

Rt 9 through VT never disappoints


joyous passenger, didnt have much to say but seemed happy to be along for the ride.

rolled 370k

Met up with Zach from Ohio, he was headed the other way on I-90 towards Utica to buy some wheels, and we were able to work out a perfect lunch stop for both of us outside of Rochester. Hes got one of these TDI wagons

Back home in Michigan, now I got both my cars that are basically the same, in the same spot.

The plan is to fix a few things on the black car before a friend buys it, and after it's gone I'll start working on swapping the 1.8t in. I'd like to get into some autocross or TSD or other SCCA events here in Michigan but I really need to focus on fixing and getting rid of the black car now. Anyway, that's where we're at, just about up to date.

mikesbikester New Reader
7/6/22 7:43 a.m.

Small update, been making some progress on that black mk4 to get it ready for it's next owner. It leaves in a few weeks. Changed out the rear door locks, so nice that it locks and unlocks reliably now.

New window regulators, the old ones were broken and the windows would roll down but not back up.

Trans fluid changed

New fuel pump and filter

Some new bumper vent inserts

Still need to reupholster the headliner, change the clutch master cylinder, change the oil, install fender liners, probably some other things I'm forgetting.


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