Jay's 1.4SE aka the snotbox


well it's official, i'm a muppet!!! 😞

Did some more on the interior today, got the centre console in and couldn't find the handbrake switch that sits on the handbrake assembly.
Figuring that I could come back to that I ploughed on with the seats and the seatbelts, just want it all back in one piece now as ive had interior parts floating round the house for ages now!!
Drivers seat, no problems, same with the seat belt.
Passenger seat, two bolts missing and a bolt missing for the seat belt lower mount.🤬

So an hour later, after looking through all the boxes of fixings and toolboxes as well as under the front false floors. I came to the conclusion that the bolts must be under the rear carpet!!

So out it all came again, both front seats, rear seats, centre console and all the threshold trims, another hour later I found all the bolts I was looking for, where I thought they were going to be, I was cussing myself!!
the upshot of this is I have also found the handbrake switch, so every cloud has a silver lining.

Another hour later and its all back together, finally looks like a complete car, the most complete it has been since I bought it.

Also took the time to actually run it up to temperature as well, the idle occasionally dies down to about 650 rpm for a few mins and then pics back up to 750rpm but aside from that the engine seems sweet enough.

Next few jobs are front suspension/steering related, I have two coil springs to be replaced and also have an issue with the steering rack as well


on with the suspension today.......

Having done a bit of reading the drivers side strut is the difficult one, and I can see why now as well, the brake fluid reservoir obliterates any access for a ratchet


I ended up undoing the 4 x 10mm headed bolts that hold the metal frame to the bodywork, with those undone I could move the unit out of the way and get access to the 3 x 13mm bolts

I knew that this car had been mistreated and bodged, however this amazed me......


every bolt in/around the hub area was just over finger tight, and the strut was only just located in the hub assembly. The spring had snapped and im guessing that someone has attempted to fix it and then abandoned the idea.

Jobs to do on the front suspension:
Both coil springs need replacing
N/s CV boot needs replacing
Os track rod end is shot
Both drop links knocking their socks off

Ive also got an issue with the steering where it goes heavy after a while, VCDS shows the G250 sensor as being faulty. Im tempted to drop the front subframe, overhaul the suspension and deal with the steering issue at the same time, im still sat on the fence on this one.

More to follow, along with some better pictures


The weather being as it has been I’ve found it too cold to be out in the garage, today has been the first day back in there and there has been a bit of progress.

Managed to get the o/s strut off the car, not as easy as I was hoping, I had to compress the spring in order to gain a few more inches so as to be able to split the strut and hub assembly.

Finally with the strut off the car and on the bench it was stripped, as soon as I undid the main retaining nut the strut bearing fell apart


It’s rusty, dirty and generally in very poor condition, looking at the strut unit as well the shock absorber hasn’t got as much resistance as I would have expected.

I also made a start on the left side strut, that one hasn’t been apart yet and all the bolts and nuts are seized on. The pinch bolt the connects the hub to the strut will not loosen at all. At this rate I am seriously toying with the idea of dropping the front subframe and dealing with it all off the car and on the bench.

This was always a budget build, knowing what needs to be done on the back axle and brakes as well we are getting perilously close to this being beyond the budget, if the steering rack proved to be too expensive then sadly this could end up being broken.
I’ve not given up yet, I’m still enjoying doing the work and really want to get it in the road and enjoy it

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I'm tempted to rename this project bodged!!

Everything about this car that has been touched by the previous owner has been bodged, done incorrectly or just neglected.

A classic case in point was the wipers, they have never worked since I got the car, the initial thinking was it was a bad earth, after some time with a multimeter I found it was the relay, Thanks to @Ami a replacement had the motor working.
Then all I had to do was set the linkage up - https://www.a2oc.net/community/index.php?threads/wiper-arm-catching-scuttle.45554/#post-429267

With that done I was back to the suspension, I had managed to release the 18mm headed pinch bolt that connects the hud to the strut and with the help of a hammer I managed to separate the hub and strut.

Back on the bench I initially thought the spring that had been supplied was the wrong one as there was a massive difference in length


However when. looked closer I could see where the difference was


So someone has suffered a broken spring, but instead of replacing it they have removed the broken bit and then reset the spring into place, giving it a 'lowered look'. Whilst I had it all apart I decided to clean and regrets the strut top mount on their side as well, I wasn't as bad as the driver side one but you could tell it was in need of some new grease.
Stripped, cleaned and replaced with grease it feels a lot better.

An hour later the strut was back in the car and all connected, next job is one I really hate......CV boots. I had thought the boot was split, luckily it wasn't. The previous owner had just tried to put it on with a cable tie!!



so all cleaned up i'm just waiting for an amazon delivery of metal CV boot clips, tomorrows job, as well as cleaning up this mess


The car has been sat for a long time prior to me getting it, as a result the discs had a lot of surface rust and I wanted to check the condition of the pads and calipers.



I've managed to get rid of a fair bit of the surface rust and because the discs looked almost new it was a shame not to reuse them, the front pads all looked quite new as well so were given a clean up, the callipers cleaned up, sliders cleaned and re-greased, the pistons were checked and they all move smoothly. They were put back together having put copper slip where required.

Tomorrow the CV boot gets strapped down properly, the wheels gets degreased and hopefully the car ends the day sitting on all 4 wheels again


A2OC Donor
Excellent work! It's going to be quite a transformation when you're finished and you'll have a lovely looking, well sorted car. Look forward to future installments.


Project bodge strikes again!!!

The plan was to have the CV boot fitted on Sunday morning once the correct metal boot ties had arrived.
Amazon fulfilled their part of the bargain, however the previous owner had fitted a universal cv boot, one of these that you cut to the right diameter never understood why people use them on cars that have good parts availability.
When they cut the boot to fit they cut in the wrong place, as a result the boot won’t stay in place because the flat surface of the boot that the cv boot clip grips to is half the normal width.

£13 for a febi one delivered the next day (thanks Amazon) all I had to do was split the shaft and cv joint with a soft headed mallet......so much easier said than done.

So..... Monday arrives and so does Amazon with the boot kit

Half an hour later and it’s almost back together


The strut was then put back in, I’d take it out as I bough a new strut top bearing for the left side as well.
Putting it all back together I noticed the pad sensor has been “doctored”

So finally it’s down on all 4 wheels, the front does look a little high currently though, it should settle over the next few weeks.


The G250 steering sensor error has disappeared however it’s still has periods where the assistance disappears and it goes very heavy.
We now have a new error message though 00812 brake pressure release solenoid, now aside from stripping the brakes for cleaning I haven’t touched anything else.

And on the subject of brakes, the little tile is still marking its territory


N/S rear brake cylinder is leaking and the O/S is binding, next job is the rear brakes, however the last mot advised that the rear axle bushes had some play in them, so it may be a bit more than just the brakes that need attention on the rear

Final picture.......the strut top bearings that came off the car, the steering was a little smoother with the new febi ones fitted


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Spent a lot of last night looking into the steering issue, to the point where I tied myself up in knots and decided that I would start with the easy stuff and work forward from there.
The headlights were already out as they need work doing on them so access to the power steering reservoir was dead easy.


first check - do I have enough fluid in the pot? So there’s fluid in the pot but the dipstick is dry, a quick top up with some CHF to the right point and it looks like as have a result!!
No more heaviness it’s a lot smoother and a couple of lock to lock spins make it a bit smoother again. This could be the cheapest fix in the little car yet, only time will tell.
i'm really happy that this seems to be sorted as the rack was one job that really worried me, it kept throwing up error messages and the intermittent heaviness had me costing up steering racks and G250 sensors.
Once I had put new springs and strut top bearings in the steering became smoother, I had read somewhere that rough bearings that cause resistance can throw the sensor into thinking there's something amiss with the steering rack, hence the error code.

Now confession time......im a *********** (insert derogatory name) Feeling really please with myself because the front suspension was fitted I put the car back together and forgot to remove the locking wheel bolt from the O/S wheel bolt after I had tightened it up, as a result its gone missing. so ive looked everywhere and its nowhere to be seen so I guess I will have to find imaginative ways to remove the locking wheel bolts!!

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Now confession time......im a *********** (insert derogatory name) Feeling really please with myself because the front suspension was fitted I put the car back together and forgot to remove the locking wheel bolt from the O/S wheel bolt after I had tightened it up, as a result its gone missing. so ive looked everywhere and its nowhere to be seen so I guess I will have to find imaginative ways to remove the locking wheel bolts!!

I purchased a replacement locking wheel nut adapter from ebay, I think that all A2’s came with splined keys with an odd number of splines on them, so it is just a case of counting the number of splines that the bolts on the car have and then buying the appropriate key. Try searching for “VW Spline locking wheel nut” There are also sets of all the keys available but they are obviously more costly.


Its been a few weeks now since I have opened the garage doors and done any work, combination of cold weather and my daily driver deciding that it wanted some attention (given that its done 185,000 miles I suppose it deserves it)

Reconnected the battery and she fired up, a bit clack to begin with but settled down within a few seconds. I have a new error as well!! 00812 - Brake Pressure Release Solenoid (F84), this one occurred when the brake pedal went to the floor after the front brakes were overhauled. something else to keep me occupied!!

The next job is the rear brakes and possibly rear arm bushes. Ever since i've had the car the back brakes have been binding on one side and leaking on the other.
A quick strip down revealed:

Very wet and in need of overhauling, so i've got a set of shoes, springs and cylinders on order.

Whist under the car I was looking at the rear arm bushes, they had been advised at a previous MOT, looking at them I have a feeling it's time to drop the rear axle and replace the bushes.


So now that the weather has improved and the nights are getting longer i'm hoping that I can get the car sorted to the point where it will pass an MOT, the plan is to try and get it in for its mot before the middle of next month.


So over the last few days i've been tacking the back axle.

It took a few hours but finally its out.....


Both of the rear brake pipes are badly corroded, they will need replacing.

There are a new set of rear shocks, shock boots/bump stops, brake shoes, springs and wheel cylinders to go on the back

Now I have to strip the bushes out of the axle and measure them so I can order replacements. I'm also tempted to strip the axle completely and send it off to be sandblasted and then repaint it however I really would like to car back in for MOT as soon as possible now as its been about 4 months since I bought it and I still haven't driven it properly!!


A2OC Donor
Bushes will either be 69 or 72mm. The 72's are easy to find and are the default that most people stock. I never did find the 69's I needed in rubber and ended up with poly's (which were very much my second choice). As it happens, the MOT tester was satisfied with the existing bushes so I haven't fitted the poly's yet.

Great project btw! :cool:


Bushes will either be 69 or 72mm. The 72's are easy to find and are the default that most people stock. I never did find the 69's I needed in rubber and ended up with poly's (which were very much my second choice). As it happens, the MOT tester was satisfied with the existing bushes so I haven't fitted the poly's yet.

Great project btw! :cool:

Thanks, i'm hoping that mine are the 72's however the bigger struggle may be getting the bushes fitted, I may have to make up a tool to pull the bushes into the axle as I'm not keen on spending the best part of £80 for a kit that I may never use again.


Another day on the rear axle.

I want to get it shot/media blasted as this will clean it up a lot better that a wire brush on a drill will, and give a better base for the paint.
In order to do that I need to completely strip it down, not a big issue aside from getting the rear abs sensors out as experience has taught me these things weld themselves to the axles after a while.
Luckily both of them came out easily

A home made hub puller had both of the rear hubs extracted in no time and the rear stubs didn’t put up much of a fight either.
Part of the joy of working on cars is encountering previous bodges, and snotbox has been no exception. I knew there had been a rear wheel bearing fitted in the past and having seen the hub I’m guessing the old one put up a fight to the death

Someone has been at it with a grinder!!

So it looks like I’m in need of a new/replacement stub axle as this one is fubar’d

So currently it all looks like this......



I’m now waiting on an ultrasonic cleaner so I can clean up the odds and ends and also hoping to hear back from a company who can clean the axle for me. All things being well I will be putting it all back together next week now

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You’ve been lucky. When we did this job one of the stub axle bolts sheared off, although yours are rusty, they don’t look too bad. Good job though, and one that will become more common place as these cars age.


After a frustrating day in work I thought I would have a look at the rear bushes on the axle.

One side of the bush has an external flange, with some tapping it separated from the bush itself. with a flat ended screwdriver I had a poke and a prod about and the centre of the bush separated itself with very little effort


The bush was very perished

with the rubber out all that remained was to remove the outer part of the bush

It didn't put up much resistance!!

The other side is just as rotten by the seems of it, but that's tomorrows little job


Finally got the axle all stripped, new brake pipes, rear bushes on order and all the nuts and bolts currently being ultrasonically cleaned.


The backplates before



Much cleaner without the aggravation of getting dirty.

Before fitting the bushes I decided to clean out the axle just to make life a little easier

The rear axle bushes arrived today and guess what!!!!

I’ve got a 69mm back axle
The 72mm bushes will never fit, I expected it to be tight but having got a set of vernier callipers it’s clear.


So it looks like my only option is polybushes, everyone ive spoken to about then comments that the ride quality is compromised by them

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