Upgradeing a mk2 golf gti 8v

Hi, i'm new to the group and i'm just about to start work renovateing my GTi and I could do with some advice!
Right i'm starting to plan what i'm going to do to the Golfs chassis and
engine so I don't just run head long into it and cause more problems than its worth for myself before I do anything about cosmetics. And I was wondering what you guys thought about what I have so far, plus I need your advice/help on a cpl of things, or anything you care to comment on really :).
First I was wondering, besides aftermarket discs like black diamond...etc what is the recommended upgrade from mk2 GTi 8v callipers and disc's (front and rear)?
Something like these Audi Quattro items? http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category 372&itemE58034610&rd=1
I would like something that pretty much bolts on although I don't mind a little modification since my dad has a pretty nice workshop, without me having to put my 2nd kidney on ebay to pay for the parts lol ;) Recommendations would be ace, also parts required for the conversion would be pretty useful too!
Second on my list is the suspension, i'm not sure where to go on this one. Maybe Bilstein? I want something better than the GTi set up, but still comfortable if that is possible?
The engine; I am going to crack it open sometime next week and have a look at the general condition of it and see if its worth re-conditioning. If it is worth it, I will get the engine running properly before I do any modifications and check out how much my insurance will be with the chassis mod's. Then if I can afford it, I will probably go for a 2.0 Audi 80 block to generate a little extra torque. Maybe a 2nd hand performance manifold to mate up to the scorpion system if I can source one, I think I will remove the exhaust and give it a clean up when I am renovating the underside of the golf. The previous owner said it had kent cams and a big valve head (but no paper work to prove it), if I do infact have the Kent cams, I will see if I can located a suitable vernier pulley to match it.
Then a rolling road tune to get power figures and everything set up right along with the camber/geometry of the suspension set up.
Is there anything I have missed out?
Cheers
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You don't mention the year or much about the car, even the market. However, based on your language I assume you are in the UK.

There's really not much that can be done easily (or cheaply) to the rear discs. If your rear calipers seize you might want to consider upgrading to Mk4 rears, they are a little lighter, but otherwise... not much improvement. When they came out, people assumed that because they were aluminum they wouldn't seize any more, but from what I've heard they seize just as bad as the earlier ones.
As for the fronts, if you are looking for a bolt-on upgrade the Girling G60's (like the ones in the auction) are the "ultimate" with stock parts. However, I have heard that those calipers are... excessive... and not worth the extra unsprung weight. I personally have used the Corrado G60 (Girling 54 w/ 280mm rotor) setup in my 86 and found it to be more than adequate. Also, bare in mind that the pads follow the calipers and it may be harder to find the Girling 60 pads and they will certainly be more expensive. I personally wouldn't go with the expensive aftermarket stuff when the stock stuff was good enough for not much money.
I don't know about UK cars, but in the US, they switched to a slightly enlarged front suspension setup in 1988. If your car is pre-88 you will need new ball joints, and complete hub carrier assemblies. Also, both the Girling 54 and Girling 60 calipers were used with 22mm master cylinders, yours is probably a 20 so you should upgrade that too.
You can run either 256 or 280 mm rotors with the Girling 54, and 280 mm with the Girling 60. If you are using 256mm rotors you will need 14" wheels (not sure if all 14" will work or not). If you are using 280mm you will need 15" wheels, however some 15" wheels may require spacers.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category 372&itemE58034610&rd=1> I would like something that pretty much bolts on although I don't mind a

If you have the later model car, you need the caliper carriers, calipers, rotors, pads and a master cylinder. The job really isn't much harder than a bleed job and rotor/pad replacement. If you have an older car the steering knuckle is two bolts at the top, three bolts holding in the ball joint, and a nut holding in the tie rod (use a puller to get the tie rod out, don't bang on it with a hammer). It's pretty straightforward.

You have tons of possibilities on the suspension. Generally Koni or Bilstein are preferred among non-coilovers shock/struts. Replacement is pretty easy two bolts at the bottom one nut at the top (it helps to have air tools for this), you will also need a strut-style spring compressor to disassemble the assembly. If you go to Koni or Bilstein you might want to consider switching to VR6 strut bearings. Rears are held in by 1 nut at the top and one bolt at the bottom, which is pretty easy unless the bolt is seized. If neccessary you can simply cut it off.
There are tons of springs available if you want progressive rate lowering springs which are good for all but harsh roads. If you go with Bilstein you should get Bilstein Sports if you use lowering springs, or HD if they aren't.
You might also want to consider a rear sway bar or a front strut brace.

I don't have the first clue what engine you have. However, if I were picking exhaust manifolds I'd probably go with the dual exhaust manifold with either a stock or Techtonics dual downpipe. Headers aren't that much better than the stock dual system, and they tend to fail much more often. If you are talking about intake manifolds, I've never heard of aftermarket intake manifolds.
If you want to upgrade the engine, in the US, the two most obvious options would be the 2L 8V ABA motor (from the Mk3 cars) or the 2L 16V 9A motor from the 90-92 GTI/GLI and the early Passat. The 3A motor you mentioned seems to have fallen out of favor because they aren't readily available and they are all pretty old. I've heard a lot of people have had problems too. If you have CIS-E the common thing to do is to rebuild your head and drop it on the ABA block. That way you can stick with the original ignition and injection system (although you will have to get an Audi 80 distributor or modify the ABA distributor (swap the trigger ring with the one from your car). But the UK cars could be completely different.

The only thing thats adjustable on a stock Mk2 is the front toe. Front camber can be adjusted by putting in camber adjustable bolts in the knuckle. Rear toe can be adjusted with shims. There's really not much you can do without getting pretty exotic to the suspension geometry.
dan
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I'm sorry for the lack of detail, I am indeed based in the UK. The car is a 1985 Mk2 GTi with K-jet injection.

Ok i'll take your advice and leave the callipers, maybe i'll upgrade the disc's and pads to aftermarket spec instead.

I have enquired about a 280mm conversion set at VW breaker yards and I am awaiting a reply. Am I right in thinking this is all I will require:
-Suitable Hub carriers with removable pad carriers -280mm pad carriers -16v or any other 280mm calipers that will fit my GTi (although I will ask about the Girling 54's if/when they reply) -two 280x22mm discs -correct diameter ball joints for my GTi's spec hub carriers
do I need anything else?

I have had the car for less than a week but that is definately worth finding out. Will the 22mm master cylinder from say a G60 be a straight swap?

I am currently using 16" wheels but I may be replaceing them with deep dished 15" wheels at a later date, so I will keep your advice in mind.

I think I will proberbly go for non ajustable Koni shocks and -30mm Bilstein Sports then.

I have already located some OMP items, front, lower front and rear strut braces.

I currently have a Scorpion 2x3" stainless steel system with a 2.5" bore up to the exhaust manifold. I think I will leave it stock for now, unless a high quality 2nd hand item pops up for the right price ;)

I found this conversion very confuseing when I tried reading a FAQ posted on clubgti.co.uk and guides, I couldnt tell if the FAQ was designed for K-Jet or Digifant.
Could you tell me exactly what I will need for the 2.0 conversion on my 85 K-Jet? Since I have been told the 2L 8v mk3 engines are more restrictive than the mk2 1.8 8v head and 2.0 block combo, plus it is a considerably cheaper option.

All I can say is, wow! Thanks so much! For so much much useful infomation, and I hope you can answear a these last few dull questions of mine :)
Cheers Dan!
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Ate Powerdisc are a worthwhile upgrade. They're a bolt-on replacement for stock and the price is usually inoffensive. They work really well in the wet. You'll appreciate the advantage in the UK :-)

You definitely need a new master cylinder. Larger diameter. 22mm IIRC. Otherwise you run out of pedal travel.

My mechanic upgraded his '87 to that spec.. Used Mk3 Golf hubs, etc. 259mm rotor, IIRC. It doesn't stop any better than my 1990 GTI with Ate Powerdisc.

Make sure that you don't lower it too much or the bump steer will make the car "undriveable".

Front-lower and rear strut brace are cosmetic items in a Mk2 unless you're into seriously heavy racing.
Save your money for renovating/upgrading the central electrics and buying good workshop manuals for your own and any donor cars.

The conversion of a pre-'89 Golf/Jetta to the later engine requires much more electrical work. Central electrics were greatly revised in 1989/1990 model years. That creates problems for conversion unless you have wiring diagrams for both the donor's car and your own; and you've sat down and nutted out which wires are required by the engine; and which are required by the rest of the car.
Digifant-based cars for example have a "plain" fuel pump relay, whereas the K-Jet's have a relay that requires Hall-sender pulses to tell it that the engine is still turning.
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Ok, what part list should I give the breakers yard, to avoid any confusion to convert my UK 85' 8v GTi to 280mm using Corrado G60 parts?

Oh I don't want to take my engine out and put a later engine in, I want to put the 2.0l block off a audi 80 onto the 8v K-Jet head, for an increase in torque. I just cant find a guide/faq that gives clear instruction on how to do it!
Cheers!
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That car doesn't exist in the US. In 85, all GTIs were equipped with KE-Jetronic with knock sensing ignition, so take anything said with a grain of salt.

Since you can't move up to vented, I'm not sure much can be done except going with better pads. That said, the OE VW pads are pretty decent, and quite frankly, the rear brakes don't do that much. Not much weight is on the rear, and when you are braking hard, even less is. The Jettas (and maybe the GTIs) had a brake pressure regulator on the rear axle which is kind of neat. It allows weight sensitive brake biasing.

The 16V and Corrado G60s (at least in the US) used the Girling 54 caliper. If you see a caliper you should prominently see "Girling 54" stamped into it. The EBay auction you mentioned was a Girling 60. It's worth pointing out that in the US I believe that no Mk2 GTI had Girling 54s, they were only in the late model Jetta GLi's (Jetta equivalent of GTI). They were also in the 16V Sciroccos.
The easiest thing to do is just grab the whole steering knuckle from an appropriate Mk3 car. All 4 cylinder Mk3 cars in the US had everything you need except the caliper carrier was for the 256mm discs instead of the 280. For the 280, you'll probably need to get it off a Corrado. I'm not sure if the VR6 cars (both Mk3 and Corrado) are the same. I'm also not sure if the ball joint on the Mk3 is the same as you need. I'd just buy new ball joints, in the US they can be had for about the equivalent of 6 quid each, of course, everything is more expensive in the UK). Make sure to use new hardware when installing.

You have a 20mm. It should say on the master cylinder. The 22mm is readily available from any car with the Girling 54 calipers (i.e. 4 cylinder Mk3, G60, Passat, etc). I think Bernd's comments were correct. When I had my 280mm brakes on my 86, I was using the 20mm master cylinder. The brakes were incredibly strong, but the pedal was near the ground before they engaged. Don't switch to the Girling 54s (or 60s) without at least a 22mm. It's a straight swap (although the resevoir may be different so make sure you get the resevoir with the cylinder). Some Audis have similar master cylinders made of aluminum. They also have a 23.8mm and 25.4mm master cylinder in the same form factor. I've been told they work as well, but can't confirm it. They will make the pedal quite stiff however.

I agree with Bernd about going too low, however I think 30mm is perfectly safe, its hardly noticable. I'd stick with either Koni or Bilstein all around, why mix and match?

Again, I agree with Bernd... Strut bars don't make that much difference, a rear sway bar is much more important. The purpose of the strut bar is to prevent the chassis from twisting. This sort of twisting will usually lead to paint damage (flaking off) near the tops of the strut mounts. if you see a lot of paint damage there, you might want to consider strut bars, otherwise, they probably won't do much good.

Not sure what you mean by 2x3". If you mean you have 2 3" pipes thats absurdly too big. 2.25-2.5" is perfectly adequate for you car. Unless you turbocharge it or do something ridiculous, you'll never get it above 170 hp or so. Switching to a 2.5" is a huge increase over stock for the exhaust cross-section.

No, I can't, because I don't know whats on your car now since like I said, your car doesn't exist in the US market.
In the US market, the ABA swap is relatively simple. The old head (after being rebuilt) is bolted up to the ABA block. Use an ABA headgasket kit (now would be a good opportunity to install new valve cover studs and switch to the newer neoprene valve cover gasket included in your headgasket kit). I think you need to use the Mk3 timing belt, but to be honest, I can't remember. There are three things that must be done:
1) Your original distributor is incompatible with the ABA. So there are a few possibilities: a) Use an Audi 80 distributor, b) Use the Mk3 distributor but remove the trigger ring (with a hydraulic press) from your old distributor and mount it on the Mk3 distributor, c) Use the Mk2 distributor but you must buy a metal seal and remove the intermediate shaft gear from the Mk3 distributor and install it on the Mk2.
Everyone seems to recommend the third one, but imho its a lousy option. The gear is held in by a pin that is designed not to be removed. I couldn't figure out how to get it off, so I took it to a machine shop that spent an hour trying to remove it, they finally succeeded, but they made no guarantees about the condition of the part afterwards and were not confident they could reinstall it. I had a friend who did this, and swore that the distributor wobbled afterwards. Swapping the trigger ring is relatively simple as long as you are careful and can be done in a couple of minutes.
2) The PCV system is in the block on the ABA engines and its in the head in the earlier ones. You'll need to figure something out. Most places I've seen suggest installing a block off plate over it. Mine came with a plastic piece which was designed to take a hose to go off to the airbox. I just removed the hose and installed a little plastic cap, quite easy, took a few seconds.
3) Allegedly you need to install a freeze plug somewhere, although I'll be damned if I could figure out where, mine seemed fine.
Other than the above mentioned three things and the parts mixing and matching it swaps in and out just like the original engine (although the block is 16mm taller so it may create some clearance issues on some strut bars, and may screw up some exhausts. I never had a problem with that though. Besides more power, the ABA block included a lot of improvements in its oiling system including piston oil squirters, a stronger oil pump, and a baffled oil pan, which is a huge improvement over stock if you are cornering hard.
I have not heard that the 2L 8V head is more restrictive than the earlier heads. I have heard the 2L 16V head is more restrictive than the 1.8L head. This was done intentionally because too many people were complaining about a weak low-end. Some porting working when rebuilding the head should make the 2L 16V flow at least as well as a 1.8L 16V though. One advantage of the 2L 8V (from the Mk3) versus the older engines was that it was a crossflow which means at the very least that the intake manifold is placed over the engine instead of over the exhaust manifold so your intake air will be colder and more dense. On the other hand, it may also mean you have bonnet clearance issues on the Mk2. Also, the ABA was running Motronic injection which is fully electronic and therefore would require substantially more electronics swapping.
The stock fuel injection should probably be able to handle the swap with minimal if any adjustment. Ignition is another matter. In the US all of these cars would have the "knock sensing ignition". If you have this, it should work fine without any adjustment. If not, the timing curves may be fairly wrong and without a knock sensor its just plain dangerous. Also, US market 85s had a different ignition profile (more conservative) than the later cars. You could cut a wire in the harness to switch to the more aggressive profile. This should give a slightly power improvement. After my swap, I found that there were some issues with the 8V knock sensor computer -- from the factory -- which were apparently resolved on the 16V version. Apparently, no one had noticed this before as far as I can tell.
Switching to a 2L 16V should also be relatively straightforward since xall the hardware is pretty much interchangable. All the accessories on a 16V must be 16V accessories (unlike the ABA swap where you can use your original accessories), same with the manifolds. You should again be able to use your stock fuel injection, your ignition may be problematic (for the reasons mentioned above). If you already have knock sensing ignition, you can simply drop in a 16V knock sensor computer instead of the 8V and everything will be fine. There's a little more to this, but its not too bad.
dan
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Do you have an email address you wouldnt mind me contacting you on Dan?
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I have 2 brand new front rotor from a 1990 20V Audi Quattro if you are interested. They are the early smaller diameter rotors.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category 372&itemE58034610&rd=1
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no reason to upgrade the brake size unless you have a stupid big motor in the car. get some good quality rotors and pads and leave it at that, or, maybe, go up to the 10.1's from the A2 Jetta GLI 16V but brakes should not be a problem on this car
as far as using the audi engine, you will have to swap the oil pan, oil pump pickup, and fabricate a block off for the PCV system in the side of the block. additionally, you will have to either run the audi distributor or use the VW unit with the Techtonics adapter sleeve and the VW jackshaft, machined to clear the 2.0 crank. The rest should bolt up.
my 2.0-16V GTI I had, 1992, had the 9.4 inch brakes on the front that never gave me a problem, and it would run a 10.4 in the 1/8th mile, stock. for reference my friends 03 Lexus IS300 ran a 10.3 -Ken
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