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2004 VW R32 preservation and rebuild
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cloval
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2020 8:23 pm    Post subject: 2004 VW R32 preservation and rebuild Reply with quote

At the beginning of this year I purchased a minor project car, so I figured I would start a thread here to document progress. It seems like project cars are being worked on and forums are much more active due to the health crisis and free time that people have. I don't subscribe to any social media, so I never noticed the traffic that those outlets diverted, but I'm sure it's significant. Thesamba will ALWAYS be the true enthusiast spot. Anyway...

I have had the MKIV R32 on my list of cars to own since 2006, the first time I heard one start. During a random online search in January I found one for sale local to me and went to look at it with the thought of doing some research and buying in a couple of years. The car was much cleaner than expected, so I left a deposit the next day, negotiated a reasonable price and sealed the deal later that week. The car has a few minor flaws which I started correcting, but it will be garaged and driven whenever the weather is nice, so I'm happy it's not a perfect condition, trailer queen. I'm still shocked that I own it considering than only 175 were made for the US market in this configuration. The car will be mostly stock with some OEM+ upgrades, and an emphasis on drivability. The first changes were:

Bilstein sport shocks with H&R sport springs
Original OZ Racing Aristos (craigslist find)
New summer tires
Replacing the Magnaflow cat-back exhaust with a new, OEM system.


The remainder of work will involve detailing, fixing minor things that are damaged/lost, and scheduled maintenance. Luckily I have a nice canvas to start with. Stay tuned and enjoy.
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kpf
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2020 8:47 pm    Post subject: Re: 2004 VW R32 preservation and rebuild Reply with quote

Congrats! Looks really clean!
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cloval
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2020 8:37 am    Post subject: Re: 2004 VW R32 preservation and rebuild Reply with quote

kpf wrote:
Congrats! Looks really clean!


Thanks! It's getting there.
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cloval
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2020 9:18 am    Post subject: Re: 2004 VW R32 preservation and rebuild Reply with quote

The first change I wanted to make is to suspension, wheels and tires. These three things alter the look of a vehicle significantly and also impact performance in different ways. The previous owner installed ST coilovers, set to pan scrape, and fit 18x9 Turbomac wheels with spacers. Not the worst i've ever seen, but also not my style. The fender liners have large channels worn from tire rub, so all four will eventually be replaced. Luckily the fenders were not damaged.
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Aristo wheels were my first replacement choice. A random search of craigslist the same week resulted in a set of 4 original OZs about an hour from my work! I contacted the seller that evening and arranged a meeting for the weekend. He said that was fine, but he had a few interested parties and they may be gone. One person was willing to drive 10hrs from Oregon because they had been searching locally and not found a set. CRAZY. With all that I told him I would be there the following day with cash. After inspecting them, I paid the $400 he was asking and loaded them up. I had the wheels I wanted for a car I didn't own yet!
My initial thought was to have them stripped and refinished, but the spray can finish looked decent, so I decided to spend money on other parts of the project.
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The tire search was simple. I went on tirerack, looked for the stock size with good ratings and a reasonable price, settling on the Hankook Ventus V12 Evo2. If I don't like them they will wear fast enough with the driving I plan to do. So far, no complaints after ~4000 miles.
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LXIX
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2020 12:47 pm    Post subject: Re: 2004 VW R32 preservation and rebuild Reply with quote

Wow, by "suprisingly clean" I didn't think you meant detailed. That is a really nice looking interior. Any issues with it?
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cloval
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2020 6:32 pm    Post subject: Re: 2004 VW R32 preservation and rebuild Reply with quote

LXIX wrote:
Wow, by "suprisingly clean" I didn't think you meant detailed. That is a really nice looking interior. Any issues with it?


The interior is a solid 9/10, with seats, dash and headliner in excellent condition. However there are the common MK4 issues I am fixing. The driver seat had two small blemishes on the lower and side bolster which can be seen in the photo, so I used a vinyl repair kit to stop further damage. I replaced the master window switch, re-glued some felt on the package cover, changed light bulbs, and replaced some worn shifter bushings.

Other things on the list:
Passenger door "puddle light" intermittent, replace door lock mechanism.
Glove box handle failed, replace glove box assembly.
Windshield has a few cracks and will be changed, bummer because it's the original Sekurit.
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cloval
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2020 7:18 pm    Post subject: Re: 2004 VW R32 preservation and rebuild Reply with quote

The next step after wheels and tires was suspension replacement. I had some basic criteria that narrowed the decision: drivability, some degree of comfort, and a ride height similar to the Euro r32. After research, my final choice was the combo of Bilstein Sport shocks, H&R Sport springs and HD rubber upper strut bushings.

The car felt pretty good on the old suspension, but it was so low that I couldn't drive it aggressively without major tire rub.
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New stuff installed. I started removing the black paint covering the original, blue caliper paint, but the results weren't great.
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The next piece of the puzzle was exciting. The car had a Magnaflow muffler with an unresonated mid pipe and a loud interior drone that was not enjoyable. I listened to many exhaust sound clips online and none of them appealed to me like the stock muffler. Of course the "flapper valve" never has been or will be connected.
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cloval
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2020 9:52 am    Post subject: Re: 2004 VW R32 preservation and rebuild Reply with quote

With the suspension work completed I started working on some exterior cosmetics. The car has been in minor accidents and sections have been resprayed. Some of the original paint remains, of course it suffers from the common MK4 VW clear coat issues. My goal here is to seal it and keep it from spreading.

I cleaned the areas with soapy water followed by Isopropyl alcohol, then lightly sanded with 3M 1000-grit wet/dry making sure to keep the paint and paper damp with water. A tip I learned: Sand from the outside of the failure to the center, only moving in one direction, to keep the hard edge from lifting. Stop when a hint of color appears on the paper.
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I used large cardboard shields with cutouts about 2" larger on all sides than the actual failure point to allow for blending. I sprayed about 5 or 6 light, even coats with 15 min. between each coat. Found this clear at my local Finishmaster. Made in Germany.
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After the clear had dried for a week or so, I took the car to my friend's house and he removed over spray with a buffer and rubbing compound. We were pleased with the results. It's difficult to see from 1 ft away and the light has to be at a certain angle. I followed the same procedure on a much larger hood patch and the results were the same. Overall, I'm very happy with it and now the clear won't continue to fail. Hopefully this process can be useful to anyone or any car that has minor issues.
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cloval
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2020 9:15 am    Post subject: Re: 2004 VW R32 preservation and rebuild Reply with quote

The original grille had some cracked tabs, but luckily the car came with N.O.S replacements in VW boxes and new, chrome VW emblems. I wanted a look that would break up the red, separate the R32 from a standard Golf or GTI, and blend with the lower three grills. I lightly sanded the primer coated outer and applied another German paint I found at Finishmaster.
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Exactly what I envisioned. New emblem and hood pull added, original R32 badge reused.
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Next was removal of blacked-out and additional emblems. I used a hair dryer to soften the glue, and dental floss to "saw" the emblem off. A "4motion" badge added to the hatch at some point was also removed.
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I didn't bother taking photos of the following: Removal of smoked maker lights and amber side makers reinstalled, along with the related driver side wires/socket that were completely ripped out. Original Hella horns replaced an air horn setup that was added, and faded/cracked lower grilles were replaced with new pieces. Also, I removed the faded Cupra R lip that is too common among R32s.

While the bumper cover was off to install the lower, center grille, I installed a bracket repair kit on the left headlight, a high beam bulb spring clip on the right(bulb was held in by wadded paper and a rubber coated garden glove), and new low beam and city bulbs all around.
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cloval
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2020 7:45 am    Post subject: Re: 2004 VW R32 preservation and rebuild Reply with quote

With all the minor cosmetics changed, suspension parts replaced, and new exhaust installed, the first stage of this project is complete. It handled, drove and sounded completely different. Totally living up to the hype that I had read about for so long. There is still a lot that needs attention.

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vwjunkie3
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2020 9:31 am    Post subject: Re: 2004 VW R32 preservation and rebuild Reply with quote

Looking very sweet!! Congrats on the R32

Looks great since you are taking it back to original spec,
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Sforza209
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2020 2:35 pm    Post subject: Re: 2004 VW R32 preservation and rebuild Reply with quote

Hey, wanna sell those turbo macs?!
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cloval
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2020 8:39 am    Post subject: Re: 2004 VW R32 preservation and rebuild Reply with quote

The Turbomac wheels have been sold. I've sold all the things removed to fund new part purchases.
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cloval
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2020 8:48 am    Post subject: Re: 2004 VW R32 preservation and rebuild Reply with quote

vwjunkie3 wrote:
Looking very sweet!! Congrats on the R32

Looks great since you are taking it back to original spec,


Thanks! It's getting there. I still have quite a bit to do, so more updates are on the way.
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vwjunkie3
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2020 11:25 am    Post subject: Re: 2004 VW R32 preservation and rebuild Reply with quote

Looking forward to more updates!!
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Sforza209
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2020 2:17 pm    Post subject: Re: 2004 VW R32 preservation and rebuild Reply with quote

Ah damn! Those wheels would of made a nice addition to my MKVI GTI!
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arne2
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2020 2:44 pm    Post subject: Re: 2004 VW R32 preservation and rebuild Reply with quote

Sforza209 wrote:
Ah damn! Those wheels would of made a nice addition to my MKVI GTI!
Mk4 and Mk6 are different bolt patterns. Mk4 5x100, Mk6 5x112.
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Sforza209
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2020 6:33 pm    Post subject: Re: 2004 VW R32 preservation and rebuild Reply with quote

arne2 wrote:
Sforza209 wrote:
Ah damn! Those wheels would of made a nice addition to my MKVI GTI!
Mk4 and Mk6 are different bolt patterns. Mk4 5x100, Mk6 5x112.


Goes to show you how much I know!
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GBA 88West LA
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2021 5:18 pm    Post subject: Re: 2004 VW R32 preservation and rebuild Reply with quote

clean ride
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cloval
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2021 12:08 pm    Post subject: Re: 2004 VW R32 preservation and rebuild Reply with quote

GBA 88West LA wrote:
clean ride


Thanks! Updates are on the way. Taking a break while I save for parts purchases.
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