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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey folks,

I did something silly - I have two Mk1 TTs now! I guess I have a type.

Here's the new one:

Wheel Cloud Sky Car Tire
Wheel Tire Sky Cloud Vehicle


It's a 2001, 225, AMU engine. This one is a little beaten up, it hasn't had much love in the last couple of years. Just as an example of the standard of care it has had recently, the tyre pressures on the day I bought it were an incredible 56psi:

Watch Tire Hand Wheel Automotive tire


My plan for this is to turn it into an off road/safari adventure car. I specifically looked for a car that has a lot wrong with it and will be challenging/uninteresting to restore to original condition, and this one is perfect. Lots of interior damage, paint in bad shape, lots of fault codes and even the airbag light on the dash is flickering intermittently. Not particularly remarkable as an example of a Mk1, and I reckon anything I do to this battered car is going to be an improvement!

The intended use is screwing around in the mountains and deserts of California and Nevada in various seasons - lots of dust, rocky trails, snow, and mud. Not going to be doing any rock crawling, desert racing, etc. This is just for supporting fun adventures in entirely the wrong car for the job.

The vision is to try to preserve as much of the beautiful lines and style of this car as possible. There's an off road conversion of a Mk1 on YouTube by Dave Makes Stuff, which is the only other person I've found mad enough to have tried this with a Mk1. Not a fan of the missing/cut bumpers though, I'd like to preserve more of that.

With that in mind, my intended feature list:
  • Lifted, ideally doubling the ride height to around 200mm but I'll take what I can get. Looking at air kits but haven't found one in stock yet...
  • 16" wheels in white, looking at Braid Fullrace T Dakar at the moment. Would love to go smaller but from searching around I can't make 15s clear the front calipers.
  • Knobbly mud tyres, looking at BFGoodrich KM3, but haven't decided on that.
  • Might have to flare the arches but hoping to avoid it, it's too pretty...
  • 20mm spacers
  • Custom top rack, using the four OEM mounting points.
  • Custom rear rack, extending down from the top rack to new mounting points that'll come out through the rear bumper.
  • Carrying two full spares on the rear rack - they'll be on hinged mounts allowing them to swing out of the way, supported by gas struts, so you can fold the wheels up and still open the boot.
  • Tow bar! (Curt 11765)
  • Skid plate under the front bumper, probably stainless.
  • Skid plate covering the under body fuel lines.
  • Strengthened skid plate/support bars under the sump.
  • Haldex TouchMotion controller.
  • Rear seat delete.
  • Custom curvy bull bars - trying to match the beautiful curve of the front bumper.
  • LED light bars - one on the bull bars, one on the front of the top rack.
  • Amateur radio - mobile unit probably replacing the CD changer, with a remote display on the dashboard.
  • Big antenna, to support 2m and 70cm bands.
  • Cute little dune flag - it's a low car and it's already a dumb project, so why not!
  • Wrapped, probably something matte and dark. Not black, maybe a dark green. There are some "forest green" TTs, maybe something close to that. Toyed with the idea of dazzle camo in black and white but that goes against the idea to preserve the curvy lines as much as possible, so that's out!
  • Delete the skinny spare, more space for fun stuff.
  • Delete the weight under the rear bumper.
Before I even get started on that list though, I need to address:
  • Oil, filter
  • Air filters (engine, cabin)
  • Spark plugs
  • Flush coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, bleed ABS pump, etc.
  • Replace all suspension bushings and tie rod ends
  • Replace/diagnose problem with the longitudinal motion sensor
  • Diagnose the flickering airbag dash light, didn't see it set a fault code... Not sure what's up there.
  • Replace brake rotors, pads, and probably calipers - opportunity to get them in red! Might just paint them once they're out, or take them to a friend who has a powder coating setup.
Anyway, that's the plan - looking to the forum here for advice on what I've forgotten, and parts I should be looking at.

Specifically on suspension - I'm looking for as much lift as possible. There are simple spacer kits for up to 1.5" of lift, air suspension kits that are mostly designed for lowering. Not sure what to do there, and it's sounding like a four corner air kit for the Mk1 is difficult to find but I'm working on it...

Advice, support, insults, all appreciated!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The tow bar arrived recently. Still amazed that anyone bothered designing and manufacturing one for this car, I laugh every time I see it... Fitting it is going to be fun too, you need to drill the frame and use some wire to fish nuts inside it to get them started on the bolts.

Wheel Tire Automotive parking light Car Vehicle
 

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Well from 1st post you can see, it won't see European roads ;)
Difficult to be sure as his location is set as Ireland. Which is still in Europe.

I did suspect he is in the USA though and they get away with just about anything over there...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yep, probably best! Though I notice that Dave's project is road legal in the UK, wondering if there are any corners cut there, and I wonder what his insurance company knows! Still, CA and NV in particular are much more permissive.

Ireland vs US - I'm in both, have a TT in each! The Irish one is stock and well kept, the US one is the one I go nuts with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Still struggling to find an air suspension kit - nobody seems to offer them for the rear. Air Lift Performance only offer it for the front. (see the fitment list on the bottom of that page, lists the Mk1 TT but front only)

May need to put something together myself with their "builders series" and perhaps do some fabrication work.

For the first stage of this project I'll probably just get some solid spacers, so I can use it this summer. Probably these:


Tire Wheel Automotive tire Light Product


If anyone has advice about how I should go about lifting it and what parts to use, please let me know!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Starting with the basics: changed oil, flushed and replaced coolant. Cleaned sludge out of the coolant reservoir.

Now that I've done some of the essential work, spent a while under it, and driven it tentatively for a few days I trust it a bit more. Couldn't resist taking it for the first little dirt road adventure - just a five mile run up and down a 1100ft hill. Rocky dirt roads, some big ruts and bumps. It performed well, coolant temp stayed under 85C, some little slides around corners that felt pretty controlled.

This is nothing, but it's a start!

Automotive parking light Automotive side marker light Wheel Tire Car
Automotive parking light Wheel Tire Automotive side marker light Vehicle
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I almost ran out of fuel - couldn't read the DIS range estimate, fuel gauge read just under 1/2, VCDS reported 0 litres remaining. Luckily I was already suspicious of the fuel gauge and had stopped at a fuel station to get out the VCDS tool!

Getting started on ordering parts. So far: new calipers, (red!) discs (vented, drilled, slotted!) and pads all around. Ball joints, tie rod ends. Braided brake lines. (also red!) New floor mats that actually clip to the floor properly, new pedal rubber pads, new boot gas lift struts, new DIS LCD - doing the soldering replacement on that myself, and while I'm at it I will check out the dodgy fuel gauge and I suspect there's some damage to the instrument cluster wiring but we'll see.

The initial lift work this summer will be pretty minor, looking at either of these two kits from vwliftkits.com:

Wheel Automotive tire Light Product Purple


Automotive tire Material property Font Gas Household hardware


Getting some mixed messages from them about which is the right one for my car even after giving them the VIN, so if anyone here knows for sure which one I should use, please tell me!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
After working with the seller a bit more I settled on the first kit. Not much lift but it'll have to do for now.

Also ordered: timing belt kit, water pump, thermostat, engine mount bolts, accessory belt, etc, etc. Strut mount kit, upper strut stop, strut/knuckle bolt, etc. May as well renew the strut mount stuff while I have it all in pieces. 4x Hella coil packs, 4x NGK spark plugs.

It'll be a busy few weeks!

Still working on the wheel and tyre combo.

Current front runners are these:
Tire Wheel Automotive tire Synthetic rubber Tread


Wheels:
Wheel Automotive tire Hubcap Bicycle part Alloy wheel


The 215/65R16 size has an outer dia of 27", which is going to be pretty damn tight in the 28.5" dia wheel wells. The 1" of lift will help a bit, but I still think it's going to rub somewhere. I'm OK with removing/modifying the wheel arch liner, adding spacers, and rolling the fenders if I have to.

The wheel and tyre sizing problem would be a lot easier if I could use 15" wheels, but as I've read here 15s won't fit and 16 is the minimum to clear the front calipers. There seem to be very few off road tyres that have a small enough outer dia and a 16" inner dia.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yep, pretty much. The plan for now is just to do the basics and next year put in better suspension, probably air, so I can lift it further. Proper underbody protection is probably also a next year project due to time constraints so it'll have only light adventuring this year, but it'll get filthy all the same.

Basic lift kit on the way, wheels and tires ordered. Exciting few weeks ahead.
 

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I'd go for the 16" wheels with spacers to get a decent sidewall (just like the old dirty Porkers) and to push the wheel out a bit as if the suspension is lifted sufficiently then the hubs would be closer into the medial line of the cars. Bash plates are a definite I'd think. You're going to eat CV joints on the drive shafts- I raised my Xtrail by only 1.5 inches and it eats them- but worth it. You'll have to get the rear wing extension for the look .. And a Martini Paint job ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Is there no air lift kit for the rear because they are separate springs and dampers?
I'm not sure if that's the reason, I know you can get air-adjusted shocks too, but from talking to some suppliers it sounds like there's no kit available because nobody is bothering to make them anymore. Guess the car isn't popular enough. Anyway, next year I will add a front air kit (easy) and figure out what to add for the rear.

I'd go for the 16" wheels with spacers to get a decent sidewall (just like the old dirty Porkers) and to push the wheel out a bit as if the suspension is lifted sufficiently then the hubs would be closer into the medial line of the cars. Bash plates are a definite I'd think. You're going to eat CV joints on the drive shafts- I raised my Xtrail by only 1.5 inches and it eats them- but worth it. You'll have to get the rear wing extension for the look .. And a Martini Paint job ;)
Yeah, exactly. 16" ones ordered - Black Rhino Boxer - but I also sent an enquiry to Braid about availability for my first choice ones, the Fullrace Dakar in white, they look so pretty. Once I know what wheels are actually available/going to ship I'll order the spacers, probably 15mm front / 20mm rear. Thinking that I might need more spacing though, the offset for the Black Rhino Boxer is only +15 but the OEM wheels are more like +30? The ones I have on the other TT are RS4 clones and are +29... Might need some aggressive spacing just to get back to a sensible width and clear the suspension etc.

Bash plates - definitely. Not this summer, too much happening, so it'll have light use until I can get that done. I'll be making all that myself, I'm not a totally shitty TIG welder and can manage that. Also a custom rack probably.

I've been wondering about the CV joints alright, and wondering if I can get a double jointed axle to help relieve the pressure on that joint. I've only ever replaced a stock driveshaft so I don't really know what's available or where to look. I assume this would be some sort of custom axle - where do you go to get something like that made up?

Or, yeah, just replace axles more often, yikes.

Wondered about Gulf livery but thought that might be a bit too far! Still, the silver paint is in bad shape and is very boring, so I want to do something interesting to it...
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Two words- Portal Axles. God knows how though!!!


Have you investigated the lifted 4x4 Golf Mk2s they made back in the day?
Ha, yeah, I don't think portal axles are going to happen on this! A friend pointed me toward https://4xshaft.com/ who'll make custom driveshafts, including double cardan ones, so my plan is to use the stock driveshafts until I break one and then some Learning will occur.

I hadn't seen those, no - found Lifted MK2 Golf TDI and it's a good story.
 
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