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Coprolalia's Asylum - '89 Scirocco - older, slower, dirtier engine swap

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Fingers crossed man! Bet it pisses it clear.


Yeahhhh, nope.




Not terrible.  Interesting to note it only did 700 miles before the OMGHGF and I took it off the road.

The main beam light is a pain in the arse, as I replaced it a couple of years ago. It's a little bastard seed-size bulb that's specific and difficult to get, but hopefully Brickwerks still stock them, or it's something to do with the wiring of the clocks required to get the glow plug.


The rest... tough crowd, but manageable and easy enough. I have a spare set of undamaged mirrors in storage awaiting swap.

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Harsh but fair? Nothing that we can't easily fix.


Getting on the CV and wheel bearing in the next 24 hours, and think the tell-tale is just an issue with getting the bulb seated properly but need to get the dash out to look. Also found the drivers front suspension damper has seized, odd that it was not picked up?!

I've got a spare set of GMAX suspension taken off a breaker six months ago (with the intention when the suspension failed they would replace the original), therefore that will all get fitted too. Quite happy this current work is being done by my mech, as I don't fancy compressing shocks.


Going to be a very different car after a full engine, gearbox and suspension refresh. Hopefully I'll finally be able to repatriate it to Wales this weekend.

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Ok, so CV and wheel bearing done. Front struts and springs swapped for the slightly lowered item, rear springs swapped for the lowered uprated ones, but the struts were rusty so have left the original but still functional. I only paid £40 for the set so I'm not too bothered. Complete failure on photos, but I'll get some with the new ride height.


The dash light was the bloody little bulb again. Brickwerks seem to be the only place that still sells them, but found another dash to cannibalise. Behold, let there be (a main-beam tell-tale) light.



We've gone back to the original dash due to the issues with the multifunction plug at the back. At some point I think I'll try and drill out one of the redundant holes and install an LED for the glowplug circuit into the dash (and do the LED and resistor mod that cobblers recommended). Probably shouldn't rev the old derv donk to 7000rpm though.


Ran out of time to get everything ready for MOT sadly, so that will come next week.


Otherwise, the Octavia's OSR door lock failed on the central locking a while ago, but was still working on the internal buttony job. TTATS, and if ignored have a tendency to deadlock. I had it replaced by a local indy garage I use with a cheap chinese generic job. It has repayed my diligence with a tensioner rattle. POS.

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Once it's taxed and MOT-ed I'll do a video driving it.

I can't remember what the drop is on the lowering springs, think potentially 30mm. It's still on the original 14 inch steels (with added trims) so shouldn't be ridiculous. The steering is heavy at low speed, but no worse than a lot of unassisted stuff, and really direct once on the move.

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Ok, so here's the lowdown.

I was actually on-call the night before, so was up from 4am and running on fumes most of the day. I caught a late morning train from Cardiff, sadly not a Pacer but some class 150. Arrived into Brizzle TM to find there was a signal failure delaying all the trains by about a half hour. This meant missing my bus connection in Devon and delaying an hour for a later one to the rural hamlet where the work was going on. This shouldn't have been an issue... 


Arrived to this. 




Had a catch up and chat, then set off. First stop as tradition, refusing to comply with suggestions.




Set off to run some errands locally, and then up the A38 for home. After 30 miles I was getting used to the engine/ gearbox/ shell combo, and the engine seemed to have loosened up from it's multiple year garage slumber - breathing easier and pulling harder. I did take a video but it's mainly rainy road noise and wiper action, so I'll have another go. 

It does seem to run very cool, struggling to get up to temp on the long flat run. Not sure if that's a dead thermostat or having such a massive rad for a little diesel, but will need to investigate.

At Sedgemoor I pulled off to check fluid levels, tyres etc. As it sat idling the battery charge light flickered once or twice, now visible in the gloom of dusk, but I thought nothing of it.

As I pulled back onto the M5 the battery charge came on a little brighter for a couple of miles before extinguishing itself. Puzzling. It stayed off for a few miles before flickering some more near Clevedon.

Going up the M49 towards the bridge it came on and stayed on, getting gradually brighter. Some bricks were shat, but sense reigned; this was an old diesel, it don't need no charge. The battery could run the lights and wipers the 35 miles home, and most of the motorway was lit anyway. 

Foot went down a little harder, and I raced on only to get stuck in a queue as the M4 was shut around Newport for the never-ending roadworks. Stress.

The last few miles were quiet sleep deprived hope, and the Scirocco duly made it to my on-street parking.



- It's hilarious to drive - the combination of old school diesel truck soundtrack, turbo whistle and coupe shell is deliciously incongruously mad

- It sips diesel. £10-15 max used for about 200 miles. Again - old small diesel, tall gearing, aerodynamic (0.38cd) shell

- The engine starts on the button, runs sweetly, and the gearbox doesn't whine like the old one

- In gear acceleration is reasonable and surprising

- It will pull away in third, and happily manoeuvres at parking speeds on the clutch only



- Charging circuit issues. Next job is to chase all the wiring, nip everything up and if that fails I may replace the original alternator. A bit of research suggests the regulator fails, but the reg is £10, alternator £35, so tempting to change the lot.

- Wiring is a rats nest. The dealer fit scorpion immobiliser has all been chopped out, and the glow plugs wired in correctly but the under dash harness is all still tangled up together. The fuse board is currently cable-tied to the underside of the dash. Somewhere along the way the main feed to the stereo has also been chopped (so no tunes to drown out the diesel drone). I would like to install a reasonable aftermarket alarm, C/L, glow plug light, get the tunes back and generally tidy everything up.

- The rev counter doesn't work. This should be fairly simple as I think it can take the feed off the W pole of the alternator. All of the above can hopefully be done at the same time.

- Cool running - turn the boost up to warm it up (and swap the thermostat for a spare I have).

- First gear is sometimes reluctant. Suspect dead syncromesh. I can drive around this.

- It's not quick. The pump has been set up for emissions MOT pass. 


So general success, but some issues exposed on the 150 mile motorway shakedown. Plans underway for remedies.

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@artdjones - some sort of university building for the University of South Wales (ex-poly) I think. They're throwing up office blocks with abandon in the city centre.



I've been using the Scirocco as my daily despite the charging issues, using my jump pack as backup. This has thrown up a number of issues as well as the charging:

- The scuttle shake is hilariously bad when it's cold and idling. Very good for mixing cocktails.

- It doesn't get warm between my house and work due to the aforementioned temp problem.

- The wipers are shit.

- Most concerningly, there's a high pitched tinkling chirping noise, not unlike a sticky caliper, coming from the engine bay. It's not associated with speed but is associated with revs, displaying itself just before the turbo comes on boost.


Went out to investigate the charging issue with the multimeter this afternoon. Got it started off the jump. You can faintly here the high pitched rattle in this video as it revs through the range. 



I initially wondered if it was a loose hose clamp or something contacting with engine vibration. One of the hose clamps on the intake manifold rubs on the strut tower, so I've covered it in gaffer tape to see if it's now quieter, however I think the actual noise is coming from the turbo. Sticky turbo bearing? Noise isn't present when it's warm. It started sheeting it down after this, so I've put the battery and jump pack on charge and will continue poking tomorrow.


Edit: I've been thinking about this, and I'm not sure there's a reason I can't use the original 90amp alternator from the original engine to replace the stock 45amp job on this diesel. Mounts should be the same.

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The bearing on this age of turbo is most likely just an oil fed brass affair target than a roller one plus I've never heard of a turbo bearing sticking in all my years of driving them.


The vanes stick on the variable types but that wouldn't have one from that era I don't believe, if it has had one fitted/converted then the vanes can stick and this is easily cured with a bit of Mr muscle (loads of internet vids).


Mechanically if the two alternators do fit in ok electrically there should be no further issues by swapping to the higher rated one.

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Sounds fairly normal to me.Regarding the vibration when cold,have you got the cold start lever on the back of the pump connected up?On Golfs there is a cold start handle in the dash connected up to this lever via a cable, which I presume wouldn't be there on a Scirocco.This advances the timing a little and ups the revs so the car starts easier and runs smoother when cold.A universal choke cable could do the job.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Life has done it's usual thing of getting in the way, so I've had no time on this.

The cold start is hooked up to the choke cable on the dash. Works fine starting with a few blips of the glow plugs.


Had a play with the multimeter on the alternator and tightened up the earth straps. Suspect definitely goosed alternator regulator.

I started stripping the alternator off the spare old EX petrol lump. Gave up when I found one of the bolts wasn't a bolt, but a 10mm hex screw pivot thing, and it was seized. I don't have a 10mm hex bit, so doused it in WD40 and walked away. Stopped in Lidl on my way home for a snack, and they only bloody had a bit set with a 10mm hex!


Meanwhile, the Octavia is leaking like a sieve and filling the rear footwell with water. It also needs 2 new tyres, a service and some general attention.


Other life shit taking priority at the moment, but hopefully back with an update soon.

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It should start with only one operation of the glow plugs.Maybe the relay is making the light go out too soon?Or maybe the plugs are on the way out.I did notice that on the later 1.6Ds the was a contraption on the pump end of the cold start cable with a screw to alter the fast idle so that the engine would run smoothly when cold.Maybe your car needs this arrangement to avoid excessive vibration when cold.

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Sorry, being flippant. It'll actually start without the glow plugs but I use them for a few seconds prior to start. It always fires on the button. There's no light yet, need to wire one in somewhere. The glow plugs are all new, we replaced while the engine was out prior to installation.

I think the main vibration issue is the non-standard engine mount. Once I've got it running reliably I'll fiddle the cold start and see if I can get any improvement.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Have an update. I've been busy getting married and in the process of moving house, but found a bit of time to work on the Derv Rocco today.


I stripped the alternator off the old petrol EX engine to swap, then with everything ready went through the wiring harness of the Scirocco. I know nothing of electrics. I can do basics on greasy bits, but growing up one of my dad's mates did all the electrics, so I've never done any before. 


Doing some research I found this:




The positive cable off the 45W alternator fitted is pretty tortuous, but looked ok. I cleaned up the terminals on the battery end, and the earth.

I have a blue exciter wire, which has a few spade type connections on it's length. I stripped and cleaned these. It then runs behind the washer bottle, then into the cabin and behind the dash. The wiring there is a massive rats nest, and I started stripping out one of the 80s black cabled immobilisers, before I gave up as I was working on the road. The next house has a garage, and I would like to be able to strip it at my leisure.


I then set about testing the alternator. I've not used a multimeter before, but had a crack. The battery gives 12v:



Testing alternator housing to battery terminal gave me around 12v too.


Across the terminals on the alternator I got this:



But I don't really know what it means?

Is the alternator voltage regulator goosed/ on the fritz? 

Equally I wonder if the exciter wire has got dislodged or worked loose on my way home. 


Whilst mucking about behind the dash I fixed and reconnected the power cables and speaker connections for the radio, so at least I have tunes back.

The alternator from the EX has a completely different mounting system as well, so not interchangeable. Pain in the backside, as it means if the alternator is duff I'll have to get another ordered in. 


Meanwhile, the Octavia abides. For sterling (if damp) service, it's been rewarded with a pair of Falken Ziex 310 Ecoruns. I'll also service it in the next few months and sort the horn out, which currently sounds like a damp fart. 



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  • 5 months later...

Six months since I looked at this thread, and six months since I really did any work on the Scirocco. We've moved house and my time has mainly been taken up with renovating the property, rather than being able to play with cars. I was hoping that once the house was mostly done I'd get more time on the cars. That hasn't happened, and it looks like it won't anytime soon either. I've decided to change tack with cars on that basis.


The Octavia has continued to soldier on, fetching and carrying, doing dump runs and generally being a workhorse. It had a major service earlier in the year where all of the vacuum and boost hoses were checked and deteriorated ones replaced or re-sleeved. This has transformed driving it, with boost coming on stronger and a more responsive throttle. Must have had a vac leak somewhere, which also explains the intermittent fault codes (which have now stopped).



I now walk to work, so don't need it to commute, and the majority of the building work is done in the house. This makes it a bit surplus to requirements and despite being in use for three years I've never truly loved it. It's just too functional. It's got it's MOT this week, and then will probably be up for sale on here. I've just got back from a 300 mile round trip in it, and would trust it to go anywhere. Expressions of interest welcome.


I've barely used the Scirocco (once a month-ish). I've lost confidence and trust in it, meaning I automatically reach for the Octy keys. The plan is to use the cash from the Octy sale to fix the Scirocco issues, then drive it for a few months before also punting it on and getting something better. 

Current issues stand at:

- Not charging - ?alternator

- High-pitched clatter coming from the turbo area - could well be gummed up as the engine had been sat for so long before we ran it the turbo could be full of sludge. Going to flush the engine and blow through the lines and see where we are.

- Running cold - suspect thermostat

- Needs properly registering as a diesel

- Needs wiring harness properly fixing to the bulkhead and interior trim put back


I'll work through these, and then it'll also be for sale some time in the new year. Again if it tickles your fancy drop me a PM.


Here's a clip from my recent hols in the mean time.






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Just scanned through this little lot, it made for an interesting read! I've a soft spot for MK1 Octavia estates and also like the idea of the Rocco derv conversion.


RE the MOT, that doesn't look like too bad of a list, should be do-able for far less than £300 I'd of thought.

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Yeah, it actually was a bit more in the end. It's had the rocker cover gasket done again, which was pissing out oil. I replaced it last year and the cheap replacement had already gone hard. The OSF ball joint and suspension arm was the main job (replaced the other one last year so it has matching pair). The garage also included wiring in a new horn, welding up an exhaust bracket, welding the exhaust heat shield back on and the MOT test in that cost. I can't really complain.
It now has a fresh clean ticket and drives reet tidy.
This is making me reluctant to sell it. But then I am a sentimental fool, and it is very good at being 'an car'. And it's sorted apart from minor trim niggles. Ho hum.
Going to get the Scirocco sorted by the same garage, as they seem to know old stuff (mk1 Capri and Volvo 122 are long term projects).

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  • 3 weeks later...

As per News24, I've dropped the Scirocco off at the same garage for a check-over. Diagnosis is a goosed alternator, plus the auto sparky is going to wire the rev counter in properly. 

It's also having an oil flush (god knows what's been dislodged), new thermostat and the chinkly rattle from the turbo area looked at.


One of the mechanics has made me an offer which I'm going to sleep on, or if anyone wants to bung me £2k and take it away they're welcome to.

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As per News24, I've dropped the Scirocco off at the same garage for a check-over. Diagnosis is a goosed alternator, plus the auto sparky is going to wire the rev counter in properly. 

It's also having an oil flush (god knows what's been dislodged), new thermostat and the chinkly rattle from the turbo area looked at.


One of the mechanics has made me an offer which I'm going to sleep on, or if anyone wants to bung me £2k and take it away they're welcome to.


I'm meant to be looking at sensible daily drivers.


A Diesel Rocco would actually be about my ultimate daily driver.  I'm SURE I could get it by the Mrs too.

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  • Coprolalia changed the title to Coprolalia's Asylum - '89 Scirocco - older, slower, dirtier engine swap

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      2004 Toyota Avensis T3-X. KT53 DWZ. Sensible head back on, I decided to get back into something I trusted when my 3rd son was born. This was a lovely car, but not without its problems. The VVTi oil burning issues are well documented and do frequently occur. Ironically, this was less reliable than the Rover it replaced! Despite fearing the worst and 3 months off the road, the new owner has just MOTd it.

      1999 Toyota Avensis SR by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
      1999 Toyota Avensis SR. V263 GDP. Back into bangernomics territory again. The last MK1 Avensis I had was the best car I'd ever had, so I hoped to replicate it with another T22 Avensis. This one came up for sale in my favourite (and rare) colour with a numberplate sequential to my previous car - so it was meant to be. I still have this now, and tomorrow it will tick around to 185,000 miles having been bought by me at 100,500.

      Side Bitches

      1974 Morris Mini 1000 by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
      1974 Morris Mini 1000. GEL 517N. Well, I always wanted one - and was young, free, single and well off at the time (2003). A memorable trip to buy it when I called my new girlfriend by my ex girlfriend's name 20 miles into a 200 mile weekend away. She's never forgiven or forgotten but we're still friends. Oh - and married.

      1977 Ford Capri II GL by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
      1977 Ford Capri II 1600 GL. SMY 675R. I can't remember why I bought this, other than I thought it'd be amusing. It was bought from Norwich for £350 and was perfectly well behaved for the 8 months that I had it (other than a flasher unit expiring). I remember being shocked just how much the windscreen would ice up inside, and duly sold it in November to a guy who was going to drive it daily! It's still alive and now, apparently, black! (Update - it's now silver!!!)

      1989 Volvo 340 DL by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
      1989 Volvo 340 DL. G67 AVN. I bought this for £80. Unbelievable. It was utterly bloody perfect. I wanted to do a banger rally which is why the guy gave it to me so cheap. I'm still yet to do that rally, but no longer have the car. I sold it for about £300 to a family who were clearly down on their luck who, I hope, still have the car.

      1996 Toyota Granvia by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
      1996 Toyota Granvia. N775 JEV. My wife and I decided to increase our numbers further and, with our 4th son on the way, larger transport was required. We quickly realised you can either have 4 children and no apparel, or apparel and no children. After trying a very tired Mercedes Viano, the Granvia was found for 1/4 of the price and it's still here 2 years later. I can safely say that we'll never sell it - it really is another member of the family.

      1993 Mercedes 190e by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
      1993 Mercedes 190e. L795 COJ. I've admired these cars since I was a child. In fact, one of the very few toy cars I still have from my childhood is a Mercedes 190e. Regular readers of "Memoirs from the Hard Shoulder" will know what a PITA this car has been since day 1, but I get the feeling it's a keeper. We'll see!

      1983 Ford Sierra Base 1.6 by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
      1983 Ford Sierra Base. GVG 510Y. Not explicitly my car, but it should be documented here for reference. Oh - and the V5 is in my name. The story is online for all to read as to how five of us acquired what is believed to be the only remaining Ford Sierra Base. Make a brew and read it, it's a fantastic story.

      1982 Ford Sierra L by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
      1982 Ford Sierra L. LCR 503Y. I accidentally won this on ebay for £520. Upon reflection, I shouldn't have sold it - but short stop of saying I regret it. I could never get truly comfortable driving it and, in fairness, I could scratch my Sierra itch with the base if I wanted. Sold it at a stupid profit of £1250. It is believed to be the oldest remaining Ford Sierra in the UK.

      1979 Volvo 343 DL by Bornite Identity, on Flickr
      1979 Volvo 343 DL. DBY 466T As you'll see above, I'd had a 360GLT as a younger lad and fancied one of these earlier cars. The variomatic is, frankly, terrible but amusing. This car has just 8000 miles on the clock and inside was absolutely timewarp. Sadly, the huge bill for the Mercedes 190e cylinder head rebuild meant I had to sell this car shortly after acquiring it. Since then I've had a bit of money luck, and now realise I didn't need to sell it after all. Typical.

      I think that's it. My arthritis is playing up even more now. I've left out a few cars that were actually my wife's, but if I find pictures will add them in at a later date. I'll run this as an ongoing thread on cars and what's happening.

      Current SitRep:

      Purple Avensis: Just about to click over 185,000. Minor drama this week when an HT lead split but otherwise utterly fantastic, fantastically boring and boringly reliable.

      Granvia: Just done 1000 miles in a month around Norfolk, 6 up with suitcases. 31mpg achieved on the way up which is good for an old tub with a 3.0 Turbo Diesel on board. ODO displaying 175,000 which is a mix of miles and kilometers. Say 130,000 miles for argument's sake.

      Mercedes: Being a PITA. It's had the top end completely rebuilt after the chain came off. Now needs welding to pass another MOT and the gearbox bearings are on strike. It's about to go into the garage for winter until I can stomach it again. 151,000 miles on the clock.

      Sierra bASe: Still on sabbatical with AngryDicky who only took it bloody camping in cornwall! Legend.
    • By Supernaut
      What does £191 on eBay get you?
      An E36 BMW 316i with two sets of wheels, a DAB radio, an MOT until December, 110k miles on the clocks, a slightly* fucked back box and a bit of grot on the driver's side sill.






      This is co-owned between me and 17-Coffees and our plan is to do a light restoration and just generally piss about with it. It's actually really nice to drive, and is surprisingly brisk for only being a 1.6.
      Yes, the alloys are getting sacked off ASAP as it came with the original steel wheels with all-but-new Toyo Proxes on them!
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